Book of the Week 6: Joshua

Hebrew Name: Yehoshua

Author: Joshua (chapters 1-24:27), Unknown (chapter 24:18-33)    

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 24

Basic Facts

  1. Joshua is the sixth book of the Bible.
  2. The book of Joshua is classified as a book of history.
  3. Joshua is the first book of the Bible that was not written by Moses.
  4. The book of Joshua is named after the Hebrew name of the book, Yehoshua, which means “Yahweh is salvation.”
  5. The book of Joshua is also named after Joshua the son of Nun, the successor of Moses.

Story of the Book

The book of Joshua tells the story of how God fought for the people of Israel to conquer the Canaanites and deliver the Israelites into the promised land. Joshua is divided up into three basic sections: the Israelites cross into Canaan, the Israelites conquer Canaan, and the Israelites settle in the land by tribe. The story begins with Joshua assuming the mantle of leadership over the nation. God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous. God then miraculously stops the Jordan river so that the people enter the land of Canaan on dry ground.

God leads the people of Israel in a series of three campaigns to conquer the Canaanites: first in the center of the country, then a southern campaign, and finally a northern campaign. After the main conquest, the people settle in the land but ultimately fail to completely destroy their enemies. The story ends as God fulfills his promise to bring Israel into the land, and the people divide up the land by tribe—some on the eastern side of the Jordan river and some on the western side.

Jesus Foreshadowed in Joshua

When God led the people of Israel into the promised land, Joshua and the army of Israel failed to completely destroy their enemies. Because of this, Joshua failed to give them complete rest (though this was accomplished in part in Joshua 22:4). Hebrews 4:8 says that Joshua did not give final rest to the people of God, and therefore there was a sabbath rest for the people in days to come. The rest of Hebrews 4 goes on to say that Jesus, as the great high priest, is the one who would accomplish this complete rest. When Israel entered into the promised land, they received the land of promise as their inheritance from the Lord (Joshua 14:9; Acts 13:17-20). When Jesus came, he came as the mediator of a new covenant that secured an eternal inheritance for the people of God. This eternal inheritance is a better inheritance in Christ which entails eternal life with God and freedom from sin (Hebrews 9:15-28). If the Israelites rebelled in disobedience, they would lose their land inheritance, but we have the Holy Spirit who guarantees our inheritance in Christ (II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:11-14; Hebrews 9:15; I Peter 1:3-5).