Study of Joshua


The book of Joshua is very appropriately named after its principal character who dominates the scene throughout the entire book.

Joshua had been trained for his position as the leader of Israel as

an assistant to Moses. In Exodus 17:8-16 he had led the Israelites in victory over the Amalekites. He was one of twelve spies sent to spy out the land of Canaan in Numbers 13 and 14, and he was one of the two who advised an immediate invasion of the land, asserting that by faith in God they would conquer the land.

Although the liberal critics continue their JEDP Documentary Hypothesis through Joshua, historical tradition has ascribed the book to Joshua, the son of Nun. In reality, the book is anonymous. However, the book was obviously written by an eyewitness; at least parts of the book are written by Joshua himself (cf. 24:26); and archaic names were still in use in the book of Joshua, some of which were changed shortly afterwards, suggesting that the narrative was written very early.

It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that Joshua wrote nearly all of the book himself although some supplementary material such as the account of Joshua's death may have been written by someone else, such as Eleazar or Joshua's son, Phineas.

The book of Joshua illustrates the principle that the child of God will be in conflict with evil powers and with Satan himself if he earnestly undertakes to possess all that God has promised to him on this earth. It also illustrates the victory able to be achieved when God's work is done in God's way.

The following outline is taken from Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 251-252:

I. The Conquest of the Land, 1:1 - 12:24

A. Joshua's divine commission, 1:1-9

B. Preparations to cross the Jordan; the spies rescued through Rahab, 1:10 - 2:24

C. The crossing of the Jordan River, 3:1 - 4:24

D. Circumcision at Gilgal, 5:1-15

E. Capture of Jericho, the earnest of victory, 6:1-27

F. Failure at Ai; the putting away of sin; the ultimate triumph, 7:1-8:29

G. The altar at Mount Ebal; the solemn reading of the Law, 8:30-35

H. The alliance with the crafty Gibeonites (the first entanglement with the world), 9:1-27

I. Conquest of southern Canaan; the battle of Gibeon, 10:1-43

J. Conquest of northern Canaan, 11:1-15

K. Summary of Joshua's campaigns, 11:16 - 12:24

II. The Dividing of the Inheritance, 13:1 - 22:34

A. Joshua's instructions concerning the division, 13:1-7

B. Assignment to the eastern tribes, 13:8-33

C. Assignment to the western tribes, 14:1 - 19:51

D. Appointment of the cities of refuge, 20:1-9

E. Appointment of the Levitical cities, 21:1-45

F. Eastern tribes dismissed to their homes, 22:1-34

III. Joshua's Final Charge to Israel, 23:1 - 24:33