Summary: The Study Of Joshua: The Conquest Of Canaan
The Study Of Joshua: The Conquest Of Canaan
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Joshua was one of the great men of God in the Old Testament. He served for 40 years as Moses’ assistant (Exodus 24:13; Exodus 33:11). He led the army of Israel to victory when they were attacked by the Amalekites at Rephidim (Exodus 17:8-16). Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of their generation who were allowed to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 13:1-14:38).
“Joshua” is written the same as “Jesus” in Greek. This explains why Joshua is called Jesus in Hebrews 4:8 in the King James Version of the Bible. Joshua’s original name was “Hoshea” which means “salvation.” It was changed to “Joshua” which means “savior” (Numbers 13:16).
The book of Joshua has a special place in God’s plan to save man. God promised to make a great nation from Abraham’s family. This would be the nation from which Christ would come. It was necessary for this nation to have a land in which to live. Therefore, God promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:1-7; Genesis 17:8; Galatians 3:8,16). The book of Joshua shows how God fulfilled the land promise to Abraham.
Joshua Becomes the Leader of Israel
The children of Israel were camped east of the Jordan River. Mourning for Moses was now over and it was time to enter the Promised Land. When God gave the command to begin the conquest, He made a two-fold promise to Joshua:
1. “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life;”
2. “I will not leave you or forsake you.”
Then God gave Joshua a two-fold admonition:
1. “Be strong and of good courage;”
2. “Observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you.”
Joshua sent two spies across the Jordan to Jericho. Rahab, a harlot who lived in Jericho, hid the spies. She had heard of the mighty works of God in the desert. She had become a believer. Because of her faith, she and her family were spared when Jericho was destroyed. She later married an Israelite. She became a part of the family line of our Lord (Matthew 1:5).
When Israel crossed the Jordan, it was the time of harvest and the river was at flood stage. God made it possible for them to cross. The priests carried the ark of the covenant and went in front of the people. While they stood in the water at the edge of the river, the flood waters rose in a heap a great distance upstream. All of Israel crossed over on dry ground. Joshua had twelve large stones taken from the middle of the river. They were set up as a monument so future generations would see them and remember what God had done.
The first great battle to take the land was the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6). God told the children of Israel, “I have given Jericho into your hand.” God gave them the city, but they had to take it. They had to follow His instructions in taking it. This is like our salvation today. God gives it to us (Ephesians 2:8,9). But we have to receive it by following God’s instructions. We must do what He tells us to do if we want to be saved (Hebrews 11:30).
Israel went around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they went around the city seven times. Then the priests blew the trumpets and the people shouted. The walls fell down and the army of Israel entered the city. Everyone was killed except for Rahab and her family. The city was to be a burnt offering to God. Therefore the Israelites were forbidden to take the spoils of war. Everything was supposed to be burned.
One man disobeyed. He took a beautiful garment and some gold from Jericho and hid them in his tent (Joshua 7). When the army of Israel went to fight against the city of Ai, they were defeated and thirty-six men were killed. God told them it was because someone had disobeyed Him and had taken some of the spoil at Jericho. Lots were cast and it was found that a man named Achan was guilty. He and all his family were stoned. Then Israel’s army went against Ai and easily took it.
Israel had strict orders to make no covenant with any of the people of the land. All were to be destroyed (Exodus 23:31-33; Deuteronomy 7:1-5). However, the people of Gibeon had heard of Israel’s great victories (Joshua 9). They were afraid. They planned to deceive Israel into making a covenant with them so they could survive. They told Israel they were not of the land but had come from a distant city. They asked Israel to make a covenant of peace with them. Israel made the covenant without first consulting with God. When they learned they had been deceived, they had to keep the covenant. They did not kill the people but made them servants instead.