The book of Joshua is, at least in parts, ancient. Early Jewish and Christian scholars supposed it to have been written by Joshua himself or under his directions; but in its present form the book seems to be a compilation and revision of narratives, written a few centuries after the conquest of Canaan. So close, however, is the resemblance between this work and the five books of Moses that it has often been classed with them, and instead of the Pentateuch or fivefold holy writings, scholars have spoken of the hexateuch or six holy books.
The narrative in Joshua serves as a natural conclusion to the works of Moses, as well as a natural introduction to the historical books that follow. It tells of the first entry into the Promised Land, of the conquest of the territory, and of its division among the tribes of Israel. Thus we find in Joshua the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Pentateuch; and we find also the first suggestions of the Hebrews' later entanglements and of the punishments which they had been forewarned must follow upon sin.
Structurally the book divides itself into three parts. The first twelve chapters tell in a single vigorous, swift-flowing narrative of the successive triumphs of Joshua, the miraculous crossing of the Jordan, the downfall of Jericho, the overthrow of Ai, the submission of Gibeon, the conquest of the southern kings and then of those of the north.
Chapters thirteen to twenty-one are wholly different. They describe the partition of the land among the tribes of Israel. This topographical survey is so minute and so complete that it forms in itself perhaps the most valuable and interesting geographical document that has come down to us from ancient times. The majority of the cities mentioned and localities described can still be recognized.
Then comes the closing portion of the book, which does for Joshua what Deuteronomy does for Moses, gives an account of his farewell to his people, his final passionate appeals to them for obedience to God, and then his death.
The Ark Passes Over the Jordan by James Tissot
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And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua Chapter 1
The Lord appoints Joshua to succeed Moses 1-4. God promises to assist Joshua 5-9. Preparation to pass over Jordan 10-15. The people promise to obey Joshua 16-18.
Joshua Chapter 2
Rahab receives and hides two Israelites 1-7. Rahab and the spies 8-21. The return of the spies 22.
Joshua Chapter 3
The Israelites come to Jordan 1-6. The Lord encourages Joshua – Joshua encourages the people 7-13. The Israelites pass through Jordan on dry land 14-17.
Joshua Chapter 4
Stones taken out of Jordan 1-9. The people pass through Jordan 10-19. The twelve stones placed in Gilgal 20-24.
Joshua Chapter 5
The Canaanites are afraid, Circumcision renewed 1-9. The passover at Gilgal, The manna ceases 10-12. The fall of Jericho 13-15.
Joshua Chapter 6
The Fall of Jericho
Joshua Chapter 7
The Israelites smitten at Ai 1-5. Joshua's humiliation and prayer 6-9. God instructs Joshua what to do 10-5. Achan is detected, He is destroyed 16-26.
Joshua Chapter 8
God encourages Joshua 1-2. The taking of Ai 3-22. The destruction of Ai and its king 23-29. The law read on Ebal and Gerizim 30-35.
Joshua Chapter 9
The kings combine against Israel 1-2. The Gibeonites apply for peace 3-13. They obtain peace, but are soon detected 14-21. The Gibeonites are to be bondmen 22-27.
Joshua Chapter 10
Five kings war against Gibeon 1-6. Joshua succours Gibeon, the sun and moon stand still 7-14. Kings taken, their armies defeated, and they are put to death 15-43.
Joshua Chapter 11
Conquest of northern Canaan 1-9. Hazor burned 10-14, All that country subdued15-23.
Joshua Chapter 12
The two kings conquered by Moses 1-6. The kings Joshua smote 7-24.
Joshua Chapter 13
Bounds of the land not yet conquered 1-6. Inheritance of Reuben 7-33.
Joshua Chapter 14
The nine tribes, method of setting tribal boundaries 1-5. Caleb obtains Hebron 6-15.
Joshua Chapter 15
The borders of the lot of Judah 1-12. Caleb's portion, His daughter's blessing 13-19. The cities of Judah 20-63.
Joshua Chapter 16
The sons of Joseph.
Joshua Chapter 17
The lot of Manasseh 1-6. The boundaries of Manasseh, The Canaanites not driven out 7-13. Joseph desires a larger portion 14-18.
Joshua Chapter 18
The tabernacle set up at Shiloh 1. The remainder of the land described and divided 2-10. The boundaries of Benjamin 11-28.
Joshua Chapter 19
The lot of Simeon 1-9. The lot of Zebulun 10-16. The lot of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan 17-51.
Joshua Chapter 20
The law concerning the cities of refuge 1-6. The cities appointed as refuges 7-9.
Joshua Chapter 21
Cities for the Levites 1-8. The cities allotted to the Levites 9-42. God gave the land and rest to the Israelites, according to his promise 43-45.
Joshua Chapter 22
Reuben and Gad, with the half tribe of Manasseh, dismissed to their homes 1-9. They build an altar of testimony, The congregation offended thereat 10-20. The answer of the Reubenites 21-29. The children of Israel satisfied 30-34.
Joshua Chapter 23
Joshua's exhortation before his death 1-10. Joshua warns the people of idolatry 11-16.
Joshua Chapter 24
God's benefits to their fathers 1-14. Joshua, choose whom you will serve, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" 15, Joshua's death, Joseph's bones buried, The state of Israel 29-33.
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