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God’s Commission to Joshua

 1

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying, 2“My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the Israelites. 3Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. 4From the wilderness and the Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, to the Great Sea in the west shall be your territory. 5No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. 8This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. 9I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Preparations for the Invasion

10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, 11“Pass through the camp, and command the people: ‘Prepare your provisions; for in three days you are to cross over the Jordan, to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God gives you to possess.’ ”

12 To the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, 13“Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest, and will give you this land.’ 14Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan. But all the warriors among you shall cross over armed before your kindred and shall help them, 15until the Lord gives rest to your kindred as well as to you, and they too take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land and take possession of it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan to the east.”

16 They answered Joshua: “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! 18Whoever rebels against your orders and disobeys your words, whatever you command, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”


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Jos 1:1-18. The Lord Appoints Joshua to Succeed Moses.

1. Now after the death of Moses—Joshua, having been already appointed and designated leader of Israel (Nu 27:18-23), in all probability assumed the reins of government immediately "after the death of Moses."

the servant of the Lord—This was the official title of Moses as invested with a special mission to make known the will of God; and it conferred great honor and authority.

the Lord spake unto Joshua—probably during the period of public mourning, and either by a direct revelation to the mind of Joshua, or by means of Urim and Thummim (Nu 27:21). This first communication gave a pledge that the divine instructions which, according to the provisions of the theocracy, had been imparted to Moses, would be continued to the new leader, though God might not perhaps speak to him "mouth to mouth" (Nu 12:8).

Joshua—The original name, Oshea, (Nu 13:8), which had been, according to Eastern usage, changed like those of Abram and Sarai (Ge 17:5-15) into Jehoshua or Joshua (that is, "God's salvation") was significant of the services he was to render, and typified those of a greater Saviour (Heb 4:8).

Moses' minister—that is, his official attendant, who, from being constantly employed in important services and early initiated into the principles of the government, would be well trained for undertaking the leadership of Israel.

2-9. now therefore arise, go over this Jordan—Joshua's mission was that of a military leader. This passage records his call to begin the work, and the address contains a literal repetition of the promise made to Moses (De 11:24, 25; 31:6-8, 23).

3, 4. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon that have I given you—meaning, of course, not universal dominion, but only the territory comprised within the boundaries here specified (see on De 19:8).

4. all the land of the Hittites—These occupied the southern extremities and were the dominant tribe of Canaan. Their superior power and the extent of their dominions are attested by the mention of them under the name of Khita, on the Assyrian inscriptions, and still more frequently on the Egyptian inscriptions of the eighteenth and nineteenth Dynasties. What life and encouragement must have been imparted to Joshua by the assurance that his people, who had been overwhelmed with fear of that gigantic race, were to possess "all the land of the Hittites"!

5-9. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee—Canaan was theirs by a divine grant; and the renewed confirmation of that grant to Joshua when about to lead the people into it, intimated not only a certain but an easy conquest. It is remarkable, however, that his courage and hope of victory were made to depend (see on De 17:18) on his firm and inflexible adherence to the law of God, not only that regarding the extirpation of the Canaanites, but the whole divine code.

10-18. Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people—These were the Shoterim (see on Ex 5:6; De 20:5).

11-13. command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals—not manna, which, though it still fell, would not keep; but corn, sheep, and articles of food procurable in the conquered countries.

for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan—that is, the third day, according to Hebrew idiom—the time allotted for getting ready before the encampment in Abel-Shittim broke up and they removed to the desert bank of the river where no victuals were available. At the same time Joshua himself convened the two and a half tribes which had settled east of Jordan, to remind them of their promise (Nu 32:1-42) to assist their brethren in the conquest of western Canaan. Their readiness to redeem their pledge and the terms in which they answered the appeal of Joshua displayed to great advantage their patriotic and pious feelings at so interesting a crisis.

14. ye shall pass … armed—that is, officered or marshalled under five leaders in the old and approved caravan order (see on Ex 13:18).

all the mighty men of valour—The words are not to be interpreted strictly as meaning the whole, but only the flower or choice of the fighting men (see on Jos 4:12).

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