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Joshua

The Bible Lives commentary on the book of Joshua.

Joshua 4

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The book of Joshua, amongst others, challenges the minds and hearts of so many who call themselves Christians. Modern Christians try to stay quiet, rather than speak of God’s greatness and His miraculous power. This is because their faith is on a knife-edge, and they are afraid to appear to be ‘stupid’ or of low intelligence.

This is why unbelievers think Christians have nothing to say. And even if they do, they agree with pseudo-science and self-professing intellectuals. I have a PhD, which proves something about my intelligence. Many I know also have PhDs in a variety of disciplines. None of us is stupid or of low intellect. So, we do not hide it and will challenge those loud-mouths who try to challenge us! Will you do so to hold your own and speak out for the Lord? You do not need a PhD, just truth and a willing heart.

Verses 1-3

  1. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

  2. Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,

  3. And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

The people crossed the Jordan on a dry river bed. When all had passed over God spoke to Joshua about the 12 men previously chosen from the tribes as representatives. Each man was to pick up a large stone from the river bed and to bring it to the dry land on the West of the river. This was where the tribes would sleep for the night. It means the Israelites were now very close to Jericho, and could easily be seen from the walls, bringing terror to the inhabitants.

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Joshua 3

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The people of Israel had already experienced God’s mercy, by defeating the Amorites who opposed them. Now they were to live through a great miracle, the stopping of the river Jordan. This would be followed by yet other miracles. In this the people saw God in action, and came to see that Joshua was indeed God’s man. If you know a man is of God, listen to him, insofar as he teaches God’s word and his actions are true, for this is what we must all do.

Verse 1

  1. And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

The actual time scale is not given here: Joshua arose early in the morning sometime after receiving the report from the two spies. Any consequent activity after that would have taken a great deal of logistics and planning, unless God Himself gave Joshua direct commands to act straight away. All the tribes moved on to the east bank of the Jordan, by the crossing points, and erected their tents for a short stay.

Very often God can instruct us to do this or that without us knowing what comes next, or what to do. He will then give further instructions at a later date, maybe to commit to action instantly, even if we have no humanly logical reasons to do so – it comes down to trust in God.

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Joshua 2

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This describes the very beginning of the taking of Canaan. The massive collection of Hebrew tribes had already conquered the Amorites to the south-east of Jordan. Now they were poised to begin the taking of the rest of Canaan, starting with Jericho. Just as the Hebrews began their war with only two spies, so modern Christians can wage resistance to evil with just one man or woman, living aright and being holy. (Date for this chapter is approximately 1400BC).

Verses 1&2

  1. And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

  2. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.

Joshua sent out two spies to bring back information regarding Jericho and its surrounding land. They were “sent out of Shittim”. We are not sure if this was the place west of Jerusalem or the place east of the Jordan where the Hebrews camped before crossing the Jordan, but it does not alter the account. Did they cross from east to west... or west of Jordan to travel east to the city? We cannot say for certain, but it is likely they went from the east.

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Joshua 1

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The Hebrews became a nation forty years previously, when they came out as a people from Egypt, but this is the foundation of Israel as a nation with its own land. Modern arguments against this are irrelevant for any Christian, because what God says is supreme – not what men say.

Penned by Joshua, some suggest this Book (Sefer Yĕhôshúa) was written after the events spoken of, by a prophet as historian. Nevertheless, it is completely accurate, given to men by God through direct inspiration. It is the first book of Deuteronomistic history, covering the time between the conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian exile.

This looks at the beginning of Israel-proper, the defeat of enemies, and the dividing-up of the land between the 12 tribes. ‘Scholars’ claim that what is found in the Book is much later than it suggests. Readers should be suspicious of this claim, because it is a typical way to dismiss the authenticity and authority of scripture.

Rabbinical books put the name of Joshua to the Book and I see no problem with that – God can give a man today information pertaining to long ago, and the far future, as well as concerning the present. Atheists and unbelieving theologians tend to cast aside the divine. As believers we must not be tempted to follow these deceptions. On the other hand, there might have been multiple writers. If so, each was divinely inspired to write what they did.

Joshua assisted Moses, who handed over leadership to him, after God refused to allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. Joshua was named Hoshe’a, of the tribe of Ephraim, and was born in Egypt. The name Joshua/Yehoshu’a was given to him by Moses. In Numbers we find him mentioned as one of the 12 spies who toured Canaan to gather intelligence for Moses. He lived to age 110 during the Bronze Age.

 

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