Joshua, the new leader
It was back in the book of Genesis that God had promised to Abraham that He will give the land of Canaan to him, and after 14 generations, finally Joshua was about to set foot into the Promised Land. Moses, who had freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and had lead the people for 40 years in the wilderness had died, and Joshua took on the heavy role of being the new leader.
In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, God encourages Joshua by telling him to “Be strong and courageous”. In the book of Joshua, we see Joshua growing as the new leader, leading the people to conquer the land of Canaan, and dividing the land for the tribes of Israel. It is made clear that the battle is not Israel’s, but God’s battle in Joshua 5. After Joshua crosses the Jordan river, he sees a mysterious warrior, and asks if he is an ally or an enemy. However, the warrior replies that he is neither, and that he is the “commander of the Lord’s army”.
We see many scenes of battle in the book of Joshua. At Jericho, they use the strategy of marching around the wall to make it crumble down, and during a battle with the Amorites a miracle occurred when the sun stopped moving or a full day. The book of Joshua has themes of conquering the Promised land, but also of “remembering” the miracles and promises of God.
Just as was 40 years ago, Joshua sends out 2 spies into the Promised land, and this time they were able to gain valuable information on the city of Jericho. As the people prepared to cross the Jordan river, God causes the water to part, similar to what happened with Moses and the sea. A stone memorial is made to remember this. After conquering Jericho, the Israelites head to Ai, but suffer defeat due to the sin of Achan. Achan is stoned to death, and the pile of rocks are left there as a memorial.
What was important for the Israelites as they were getting ready to start a new life in a new land, is that they “remember” God. Because of this, God had commanded the Israelites to completely destroy the people who lived there and worshipped other Gods. God wanted to remove anything that would destroy the relationship between God and Israel. In the end, Israelites are not successful in completely removing these foreign people with foreign Gods, and this would come back and cause trouble later on in history.
Beginning of a new chapter in history
The latter part of the book of Joshua focuses on how the land is divided among the 12 tribes. As shown in the map above, the location and size of the land differs quite a bit depending on the tribes. Part of the tribes even decide to live on the East side of the Jordan river. Caleb, who had gone in to the Promised land 40 years ago with Joshua as spies, still very active at over 80 years old, fought as well and gained land.
The period when the Promised land was conquered is said to be around 13th century BC. Israel had changed from a wandering people, into a nation. They did not have a king over them, and in the next book of the Bible “Judges”, we will see leaders who come up after Joshua.
#Joshua #Bible #ヨシュア #聖書