The book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Bible, and the first of twelve historical books. It is made up of twenty-four chapters, six hundred and fifty-eight verses, and eighteen thousand, eight hundred and fifty-eight words. (1). It is a book of triumph for faithful obedience to God (4).Joshua…forges a link between the Pentateuch and the remainder of Israel's history. Through three major military campaigns involving more than thirty enemy armies, the people of Israel learn a crucial lesson under Joshua's capable leadership: victory comes through faith in God and obedience to His word, rather than through military might or numerical superiority. (2).
The following is a textual outline of the book of Joshua:
I. The Conquest of Canaan
A. Preparation for taking the promised land (1:1 to 5:15)
1. The land was a gift from God (Gen 15:18; Deut 26:9)
2. Joshua commissioned to lead the people (1:1-18)
a. God appointed Joshua as leader of the people (1:1-9)
b. Joshua commanded the people to enter the land (1:10-11)
c. Instructions to the Gadites, Ruebenites, and Manasseh (1:12-15)
d. The people accept Joshua as their leader (1:16-18)
3. Preparing to take the land God had given them (2:1 to 5:1)
a. Two spies sent to Jericho (2:1-7)
b. Agreement with Rahab (2:8-22) Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25
c. Report of the two spies (2:23-24)
d. Miraculous crossing of the Jordan on dry land (3:1-17) God always gives the way Jeremiah 10:23, Proverbs 14:12, and Ephesians 3:3-5
e. Two memorials consisting of 12 stones each (4:1-24)
f. Effect of crossing on the Kings of Canaan (5:1)
g. Circumcision of the males in Israel (5:2-9)
h. Passover observed (5:10-11)
i. Manna ceased (5:12)
j. Captain of the Lord’s host appears to Joshua (5:13-15)
B. Conquest of Canaan (6:1 to 13:7)
1. Victory at the battle of Jericho (6:1-27) Hebrews 11:30
2. Defeat at the first battle of Ai (7:1-5)
3. The sin and punishment of Achan (7:6-26) Notice Joshua 6:18-19 and Hebrews 10:31. When God gives us our blessings we should not want to hold on to treasures of this world Colossians 3:1-5.
4. Victory at the second battle of Ai (8:1-35)
5. Conquest of Southern Canaan (9:1 to 10:43)
a. King in Southern Canaan join forces to fight Israel (9:1-2)
b. Gibeonites deceive Israel into making a league with them (9:3-27)
c. Five Kings of the Amorites threaten war with Gibeon (10:1-5)
d. Gibeonites call for Israel to help them (10:6-7)
e. Defeat of the five kings - the sun stood still (10:8-27)
f. Finishing the task in Southern Canaan (10:28-43)
6. Conquest of Northern Canaan (11:1-15) 11:6; be not afraid. God delivers victory I John 5:4
7. Summary of the conquest of Canaan (11:16 to 12:24)
8. Undefeated parts of Canaan (13:1-6)
II. Division of the Land of Canaan (13:7 to 24:33)
A. Possession of the land East of Jordan (13:7-33)
1. Total territory East of Jordan (13:7-14)
2. Portion divided to Reuben (13:15-23)
3. Portion divided to Gad (13:24-28)
4. Portion divided to the half tribe of Manasseh (13:29-33)
B. Possession West of the Jordan (14:1 to 19:51)
1. Levites given no land, save cities to live in (14:1-5) See Joshua 18:7
2. Division to Judah and Caleb (14:6 to 15:63)
3. Inheritance of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim (16:1 to 17:18)
4. Israel moves to Shiloh and set up the tabernacle (18:1)
5. Twenty-one men, three from each tribe, describe the land (18:2-9)
6. Land divided by lot among the remaining seven tribes (18:10 to 19:48)
a. Inheritance of Benjamin (18:11-28)
b. Inheritance of Simeon within Judah (19:1-9)
c. Inheritance of Zebulun (19:10-16)
d. Inheritance of Issachar (19:17-23)
e. Inheritance of Asher (19:24-31)
f. Inheritance of Naphtali (19:32-39)
g. Inheritance of Dan (19:40-48)
7. Joshua given his inheritance (19:49-51)
C. Six cities of refuge (20:1-9)
D. Levitical cities (21:1-42)
E. Gad, Ruben, and Manasseh sent to their inheritance (22:1-9)
F. Two and half tribes build an altar (22:10)
G. Explanation that the altar was not for sacrifices but for a memorial that those on the East of Jordan were brethren to those on the West of Jordan (22:11-34).
H. Joshua’s farewell speech to Israel, warning against idolatry (23:1-16) How does God feel about idols?Exodus 23:24
III. Joshua's Death
A. The covenant at Shechem (24:1-25) 24:3 tie to Acts 7:2-3
B. The law written in a book and a memorial stone set up (24:26-28)
C. Death of Joshua (24:29-31)
D. Bones of Joseph buried at Shechem (24:32)
E. Death of Eleazar, the high priest (24:33)
Though most of the book of Joshua was written by Joshua himself, it is likely that there was at least one more author who added to the book the account of Joshua's death, much like Joshua himself did after Moses' death. Records in Joshua of events that took place in Judges, the book after Joshua, may have been written by someone other than Joshua, possibly Eleazar or Phinehas, who both outlived Joshua. (4).
Joshua was written after Canaan had been conquered by Joshua and the Israelites. The majority of the book of Joshua (at least twenty-two out of twenty-four chapters) was written before his death. Though the time of Joshua's death is not exactly known (1), some have estimated that Joshua would have been written by 1380 B.C. (4).
The title of this book is appropriately named after its central figure, Joshua. His original name is Hoshea, “Salvation” (Num. 13:8); but Moses evidently changes it to Yehoshua, “Yahweh is Salvation” (Num. 13:16). He is also called Yeshua, a shortened form of Yehoshua. This is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek name Iesous (Jesus). Thus, the Greek title given to the book in the Septuagint is Iesous Naus, “Joshua the Son of Nun.” The Latin title is Liber Josue, the “Book of Joshua.” His name is symbolic of the fact that although he is the leader of the Israelite nation during the conquest, the Lord is the Conqueror.“
At the time of the Israelite migration into Canaan the superpowers of the ancient Near East were relatively weak. The Hittites had faded from the scene. Neither Babylon nor Egypt could maintain a standing military presence in Canaan, and the Assyrians would not send in their armies until centuries later. As the tribes circled east of the Dead Sea, the Edomites refused them passage, so Israel bypassed them to the east. However, when Sihon and Og, two regional Amorite kings of Transjordan, tried to stop the Israelites, they were easily defeated and their lands occupied. Moab was forced to let Israel pass through her territory and camp in her plains. Also the Midianites were dealt a severe blow. Biblical archaeologists call this period the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 b.c.). Today thousands of artifacts give testimony to the richness of the Canaanite material culture, which was in many ways superior to that of the Israelites. When the ruins of the ancient kingdom of Ugarit were discovered at modern Ras Shamra on the northern coast of Syria (see chart, p. xxiii), a wealth of new information came to light concerning the domestic, commercial and religious life of the Canaanites. From a language close to Hebrew came stories of ancient kings and gods that revealed their immoral behavior and cruelty. In addition, pagan temples, altars, tombs and ritual vessels have been uncovered, throwing more light on the culture and customs of the peoples surrounding Israel. Excavations at the ancient sites of Megiddo, Beth Shan and Gezer show how powerfully fortified these cities were and why they were not captured and occupied by Israel in Joshua's day. Many other fortified towns were taken, however, so that Israel became firmly established in the land as the dominant power. Apart from Jericho and Ai, Joshua is reported to have burned only Hazor (11:13), so attempts to date these events by destruction levels in the mounds of Canaan's ancient cities are questionable undertakings. It must also be remembered that other groups were involved in campaigns in the region about this time, among whom were Egyptian rulers and the Sea Peoples (including the Philistines). There had also been much intercity warfare among the Canaanites, and afterward the period of the judges was marked by general turbulence. Much of the data from archaeology appears to support a date for Joshua's invasion c. 1250 b.c. This fits well with an exodus that would then have taken place 40 years earlier under the famous Rameses II, who ruled from the Nile delta at a city with the same name (Ex 1:11). It also places Joseph in Egypt in a favorable situation. Four hundred years before Rameses II the pharaohs were the Semitic Hyksos, who also ruled from the delta near the land of Goshen. On the other hand, a good case can be made for the traditional viewpoint that the invasion occurred c. 1406 b.c. The oppression would have taken place under Amunhotep II after the death of his father Thutmose III, who is known to have used slave labor in his building projects. The earlier date also fits better with the two numbers found in Jdg 11:26 and 1Ki 6:1, since it allows for an additional 150 years between Moses and the monarchy.
There are three purposes for the book of Joshua:
The historical purpose.
This book reveals how God brought the holy nation into the Holy Land in fulfillment of His promises to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It shows how Joshua and Israel conquered and settled the promised land.
The doctrinal purpose.
There are a number of significant teachings in Joshua. The book manifests God's faithfulness to His promises. It shows that the victorious life must be lived by faith in God. It indicates that although God's gifts are free, we must struggle by faith to take hold of our possessions.
The Christological purpose.
The name Joshua means “Jesus” or “savior.” This is how the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint or LXX) translates the title of this book. The role of Joshua as captain of his people and the one who leads them into their possessions certainly foreshadows Christ. Christ is also portrayed in the Book of Joshua in the person of the “commander of the army of the Lord (Josh. 5:14). The context of this passage shows that it is indeed the “angel of the Lord,” or the preincarnate Christ Himself, whose holy presence demands worship on Joshua's part (cf. Exod. 3:2a). Finally, Christ is the inheritance of the saints (cf. Eph. 1:14). (4).
Popular Verses From Joshua:
While the Bible teaches that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16), some verses are used more frequently than others. The following are some of these:
Joshua 1:8 - “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Joshua 1:9 - “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Joshua 5:15 - “And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.”
Joshua 10:25 - “And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.”
Joshua 23:8 - “But cleave unto the Lord you God, as ye have done unto this day.”
Joshua 23:10 - “One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.”
Joshua 24:14 - “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15b - “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
(2) Thomas Nelson 1989 Reference Edition King James Version Bible
(4) Norman L. Geisler. (2000) “A Popular Survey of the Old Testament.”