I. CONQUEST OF CANAAN
Divine Promise of Assistance.
1After Moses, the servant of the Lord, had died, the Lord said to Moses’ aide Joshua, son of Nun: 2#The beginning of the Book of Joshua strongly emphasizes the credentials of Joshua as Moses’ worthy successor (vv. 2, 3, 4, 7; cf. v. 17; 3:7; 4:14; 5:15). The movement Joshua leads, whereby the Israelites take possession of the land of Canaan, is thus made continuous with the exodus from Egypt, even though (except for Joshua and Caleb) the generation that left Egypt under Moses’ leadership has died out (5:4, 6), and the people who will make the land of Canaan the land of Israel are a new generation. Thus the book is at pains to establish the continuity between exodus and conquest. Moses my servant is dead. So now, you and the whole people with you, prepare to cross the Jordan to the land that I will give the Israelites. 3#a. [1:3–4] Jos 14:9; Gn 15:18; Dt 11:24–25; 34:4. Every place where you set foot I have given you, as I promised Moses. 4#The frontiers are as follows: in the south the wilderness of Sinai, in the north the Lebanon range, in the east the Euphrates, and in the west the Great Sea, the Mediterranean. These boundaries are ideal rather than actual. All the land of the Hittites, from the wilderness and the Lebanon east to the great river Euphrates and west to the Great Sea, will be your territory.#b. [1:4] Gn 10:19; Nm 13:17, 21–22; 34:3–12. 5No one can withstand you as long as you live. As I was with Moses, I will be with you:#c. [1:5] Dt 3:21–22; 31:8, 23; Heb 13:5. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6Be strong and steadfast, so that you may give this people possession of the land I swore to their ancestors that I would give them. 7#d. [1:7–8] Dt 2:27; 5:29; 17:11, 20; 28:14; Ps 1:1–3. Only be strong and steadfast, being careful to observe the entire law which Moses my servant enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you go. 8Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night,#e. [1:8] Ps 1:2. that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed. 9I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.
10#f. [1:10–11] Dt 20:5–9. So Joshua commanded the officers of the people: 11“Go through the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for three days from now you shall cross the Jordan here, to march in and possess the land the Lord, your God, is giving as your possession.’”
The Transjordan Tribes.
12#g. [1:12–18] Nm 32; Dt 3:12–20. Joshua addressed the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh: 13“Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you when he said, ‘The Lord, your God, is about to give you rest; he will give you this land.’ 14Your wives, your children, and your livestock may remain in the land Moses gave you here beyond the Jordan. But all the warriors among you must cross over armed, ahead of your kindred, and you must help them 15until the Lord has settled your kindred, and they like you possess the land the Lord, your God, is giving them. Afterward you may return and possess your own land, which Moses, the servant of the Lord, has given you east of the Jordan.”#h. [1:15] Jos 22:4; Dt 3:20. 16They answered Joshua, “We will do all you have commanded us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17As completely as we obeyed Moses, we will obey you. Only, may the Lord, your God, be with you as God was with Moses. 18Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey all your commands shall be put to death. Only be strong and steadfast.”