Chapter 1


      • The ESV Archaeology Study Bible notes the following, “This chapter consists largely of four speeches: God to Joshua (vv.1-9), Joshua to the officers (vv. 10-11), Joshua to the Transjordan tribes (vv. 12-15), and the Transjordanian tribes to Joshua (vv. 16-18).”

God Commissions Joshua

    • After Moses, the servant of the Lord, died, the Lord spoke to Joshua (Nun’s son) who had been Moses’ assistant. The Lord said:

      • My servant Moses is dead. Therefore, it is time for you to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River to the land I am giving to them. Just as I promised Moses, I have given you every place your foot steps- from the Negev wilderness (in the south) to Lebanon (in the north), from the Euphrates River (in the east) to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites. As long as you live, no one will be able to stand against you because I will be with you, just like I was with Moses. I will not leave you or abandon you.”

        • The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible makes the following notes regarding this territory, “The name Canaan and the territory it defines in these early Biblical texts is identical to the territory that the Egyptian New Kingdom Empire (c. 1550-1150 BC) referred to as Canaan. Only in this period do both the Bible and Egypt apply the term to this territory, and the extent of the territory for both is the same…”

      • The HCSB adds, “The basis for the Israelite conquest of Canaan was the Lord’s promise to Abraham that He would give the land of Canaan to his descendants (Genesis 12:7; 15:7-21; Deuteronomy 1:7-8).”

      • Guzik writes, “The whole land was given, but they could only possess that which they claimed (every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you). What they took must be fought for against a determined opposition… God certainly could have simply eliminated all their enemies with a mere thought; but He calls Israel into partnership with Himself to see His will done…Because taking the land took effort, the challenge ahead was not for those content with Egypt, but for those who would press ahead for what God had called them to.”

      • The Lord continued, “Be strong and courageous because you will lead the people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers to give them. Be strong and courageous. Be careful to obey all of the law that My servant Moses gave to you. Do not deviate from this law, turning to either the right or the left, so that you’ll be successful wherever you go. Make sure this Book of Law is always on your lips, meditate on it day and night so that you can be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you be prosperous and successful in all that you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Don’t be afraid or become discouraged because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

        • As the HCSB noted above, the basis for the Israelite conquest and possession of the land is indeed the Abrahamic covenant (ratification of the covenant recorded in Genesis 15:7-21). However, it should be recognized that there is a significant difference between unconditional covenant “ownership” of this Promised Land and actual possession of it. While God’s promise to Israel is that this land (the inheritance He promised to their fathers) unconditionally belongs to them, their possession of this land is conditional- based on their obedience. This is made abundantly clear in the language used in the passages above.

      • HCSB writes, “The Lord exhorted Joshua to be strong and courageous in his leadership, based on His promise to Abraham and the certainty of victory. The success of Joshua’s leadership hinged upon his obedience to the Book of the Law of Moses; he was to meditate upon the words of the Law continually.”

Joshua Addresses the Officers

    • Then Joshua gave the following command to the officers of Israel: “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready because within three days we are going to cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving to you as your inheritance.”

Joshua Addresses the Transjordanian Tribes

    • Joshua told the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, “Don’t forget what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded: ‘The Lord your God will provide you a rest and is giving you this land.’ Your wives, children, and livestock may remain in this land that Moses gave you on this east side of the Jordan River. However, your fighting men must arm themselves, lead the other tribes across the Jordan River, and help them take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving to them until He gives them rest as He has given you. Then you can return to your land across the Jordan River.”

      • Guzik writes, “These tribes which decided to settle on the east side of the Jordan river (land that Israel had already conquered) had promised to cross over and help the rest of the nation take the land on the west side of the Jordan river (Numbers 32:16-32).”

      • …This was in accordance with the command Moses had given these tribes in Deuteronomy 3:12-20. The theme of ‘rest’ is prominent in the narrative. ‘Rest’ is equivalent to possession of the land; the Transjordanian tribes would not ‘rest’ in their land until the ten tribes possessed the land of Canaan.” (HCSB)

Transjordanian Tribes Respond to Joshua

    • They answered Joshua, “We will do everything you have commanded us and go wherever you send us. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. May the Lord your God be with you just as He was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your orders, or disobeys your commands will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

      • The NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “…the tribes living east of the Jordan did cross with the rest of Israel, and they did not return to their own land and homes until Joshua dismissed them (22:6).”

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