The Book of Joshua begins with God affirming the commission of Joshua as Moses’ successor and instructing him in his duties. Then comes the job of moving an entire nation of people across the Jordan River into Canaan, followed by the actual task of setting about to take the land that has been promised to them.
Crossing into Canaan (Joshua 1-5)
- God commissions Joshua, giving him His instructions and charging him with responsibility for His people (Joshua 1).
- Joshua sends two spies to survey the land, particularly Jericho (Joshua 2:1). At the house of Rahab, they receive her kindness and she gets a promise from them that she and her family will be saved when the invading force enters (Joshua 2). This is an important event leading to the coming of Christ for two reasons. First, Rahab is directly in the genealogical line of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-5). Secondly, it demonstrates God’s saving grace for others in addition to the Israelites.
The Israelites cross the Jordan into Canaan (Joshua 3-4). The Levitical priests are instructed to carry the Ark of the Covenant 2000 cubits (about 1/2 mile) ahead of everyone else. In a scene most reminiscent of the crossing of the Red Sea, God causes the waters of the Jordan to stand apart and rise, leaving dry ground for first the priests with the ark, and then the people, to cross over. This highly symbolic event was orchestrated by Joshua at God’s instruction to demonstrate to the people visibly the leadership that had now passed from Moses to Joshua.
- Twelve stones (one for each tribe) were gathered from the Jordan and placed as a monument for their descendants to be reminded of this historic event.
- God’s people observe the first Passover in Canaan (Joshua 5).
Taking the Land in Canaan (Part 1- Joshua 6-8)
After seven days of marching with the Ark, a final blow of the trumpets and a shout by the people brings the walls of Jericho down (Joshua 6:1-21).
- Achan’s sin (taking some of the “devoted things” for himself brings about death for about 3,000 in defeat at Ai (Joshua 7).
- Renewed by the Lord, Joshua takes 30,000 and sets up an ambush that with the Lord’s aid, leads to the fall of Ai. Joshua builds an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, and writes the law of Moses on stones. With half of the nation, the Levitical priests, elders and all on either side of the Ark in front of Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, Joshua blesses them and reads every word of the law (Joshua 8).
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.