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Investiture of Joshua by Moses

Joshua (Hebrew: יהושע, Yehōshūaʻ; "Name means::YHWH is Salvation") or Joshua, son of Nun (Hebrew: יהושע בן נון, Yehōshūaʻ Ben Nūn; Arabic: يشع بن نون, Yusha‘ ibn Nūn) (ca. Born::2470 AM–fl. Flourit::7 Adar 2553 AMDied::2580 AM)[1] was the second Judge of Israel, the first commander-in-chief of the army of Israel, and the immediate successor of Moses as Judge.

Life and ancestry

Joshua was an Ephraimite, born in Egypt, likely in 2470 AM, three years before Moses fled to Midianite country after killing an Egyptian.[2] The Chronicler records eight generations between Joshua and his ancestor Ephraim. His full name was Joshua, son of Nun (Hebrew: יהושע בן נון, Yehōshūaʻ Ben Nūn) and he was also known as Hoshea (Hebrew: הושע, Hōshēaʻ; "Name means::Salvation"). Joshua was probably born 179 years after Ephraim was born, thus requiring slightly more than 22 years per generation. The tribe of Judah has definite instances of generations occurring 15 years apart, so this is quite reasonable.



Joshua attracted the notice of Moses shortly after the Exodus of Israel. When Amalekite warriors attacked the Israelites from the rear at Rephidim, Moses chose Joshua to recruit an army and launch a counterattack. Moses stood on a high hill and held his rod high to invoke the blessing of God on the combat. Joshua won handily, because Moses had Aaron and Hur to hold his arms up. After that battle, God told Moses to tell Joshua to remember to destroy the Amalekites utterly at any opportunity, and furthermore told Moses to put that order in writing. (Exodus 17:8-16 )[3][2]

Thereafter Joshua served as Moses' chief of staff. He accompanied Moses and the seventy elders to the top of Mount Sinai and then descended part of the way while Moses received the Tablets of Law containing the Ten Commandments and the plans for the Tabernacle. (Thus he was not involved in the golden calf incident.)[3][2]

In the spring of the second full year after the Exodus, Moses sent twelve spies to travel about 600 miles (or 1000 km) to Canaan. Joshua was one of the twelve; another was Caleb, a Kenizzite immigrant attached to the tribe of Judah. Joshua and Caleb delivered an enthusiastic report that emphasized the rich natural resources of the land, but the other ten spies emphasized and perhaps exaggerated the military strength of the present inhabitants. Joshua and Caleb insisted that the people of Israel could conquer the land, because they would have God's help. But the people would not listen, and so God ordered that the Israelites would not enter Canaan until every adult member of that generation was dead, except for Caleb and Joshua. To emphasize this point, God sent a plague that killed every spy except Caleb and Joshua. But the next day, the Israelites tried to enter Canaan anyway, and were soundly beaten. (Numbers 13-14 )[2][4]


When Moses was about to die, he nominated Joshua as his successor. (Deuteronomy 31:23 ) After Moses was dead, God addressed Joshua directly to confirm him as the Israelites' new leader and remind him to maintain his courage. (Joshua 1:1-9 )[5]

The Israelites observed thirty days of mourning for Moses, and then Joshua ordered the people to prepare to cross the Jordan River after three days. On 10 Abib 2553 AM (15 April 1451 BC), the Israelites crossed the Jordan. Thus began the War of the Conquest of Canaan, which lasted for seven years.[3][2][5][4]

(The Midrash states that Joshua married Rahab, the priestess of Asherah in Jericho who harbored Joshua's two spies. But the Old Testament does not name any wife for Joshua,[3] and the New Testament clearly states that Salmon of Judah, and not Joshua, married Rahab; see Matthew 1:5 .)

When the war was over, Joshua apportioned the land among the twelve tribes of Israel, including much land that remained to be conquered.[3][2][4] At one point he had to send Phinehas, Aaron's grandson, at the head of a delegation to the Reubenites, Gadites and Manassites to investigate reports of an altar that they had erected on their side of the Jordan. (Joshua 22 )

Flavius Josephus estimates that Joshua lived twenty years after the end of the war.[6] During this time Joshua administered justice to the people, as Moses had before him and as Othniel and other Judges would after him. Toward the end of his life (2580 AM/1424 BC), Joshua delivered his farewell address. In this address he famously said,

"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River [Jordan], or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." - Joshua 24:15 (NASB)

This quote, and especially the last sentence, can often be seen on Christian memorabilia and merchandise.

The people boasted that they would indeed serve the Lord. Joshua predicted that they would find themselves unable to serve Him faithfully. (Joshua 24:16-28 ) Thousands of years later, the Apostle Paul would remind Christians that they, too, cannot possibly serve God without missing the mark, i.e. sinning, to one extent or another.[4]


Joshua died on or about 2580 AM, after living for life span::110 years.[2] He was buried in Timnath-serah, in Ephraimite country.


The English name Joshua is a rendering of the Hebrew: יהושע, Yehōshūaʻ meaning "YHWH is Salvation". The Anglicized transliteration of the Greek transliteration of Yehōshūaʻ used in the Septuagint to refer to Joshua is Ίησους, Iēsous or Jesus. Some commentators have thus suggested that Joshua is a type of Christ, and have pointed to the parallel between Joshua's crossing of the Jordan and Jesus' baptism in the Jordan.[3] In addition, they point to the army of Israel marching seven days instead of six around the walls of Jericho, and to John the Baptist citing a memorial that Joshua had erected at the crossing site.[7] Other commentaries point out that Joshua underwent a lifetime of training before he took his leadership position, and see this as a reminder to all persons eager to serve not to be impatient and attempt a mission for which they are not trained.[8]


Many scholars dispute the historical accuracy of the book of Joshua, which is the most important source for Joshua's career.[5] Most authorities accept the idea that Joshua lived and fought his battles during the Late Bronze Age. This period is classicaly thought to last from 1400 BC to 1200 BC. Recent archaeological findings at Jericho have served to provide better support for the Biblical narrative.

Preceded by
Successor of::Moses
Member of::Judge
Flourit::7 Adar 2553 AMDied::2580 AM
VacantTitle next held bysucceeded by::Othniel


Landmarks in the Biblical Chronology. Long sojourn aligned with the revised Egyptian Chronology (Egyptian History) as per David Down. Some adjustments for co-regency in the 12th dynasty. Pharaohs of Egypt shown where there is good archaeological evidence to support the synchronism with the Biblical time line.

A schematic diagram illustrating the relationship between the Egyptian Kingdoms and dynasties and the various phases of Israel as the Israelites grew to be a nation while they were in Egypt and then traveled to the promised land where they were ruled initially by Judges and later by Kings. The nation of Israel became divided into North (Israel) and South (Judah) after Solomon. There was no first intermediate period.

An approximate timeline showing the Israelite Sojourn and the relationship to the various dynasties of Egypt.

See also


  1. Jones, Floyd N., The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004, pp. 88-94, 278
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Blank, Wayne, "Joshua," Daily Bible Study, n.d. Accessed December 15, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Shyovitz D, "Joshua," Jewish Virtual Library, 2008. Accessed December 14, 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Konig G, "Joshua,", 2001. Accessed December 15, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Joshua," SparkNotes, n.d. Accessed December 15, 2008.
  6. Josephus, Antiquities, 5.1.19,23. Cited in Jones, op. cit., p. 90.
  7. Missler C, "The Conquering Hero - Joshua," Koinonia House Online, 1996. Accessed December 15, 2008.
  8. Sullivan D, "Biblical Lives to Live By: Joshua," Evangel Baptist Church, n.d. Accessed December 15, 2008.

External links

  • "Joshua." Old Testament Gateway, Tabor College, Victoria, Australia. Contains multiple links to various essays about Joshua and his times and to various English and Hebrew manuscripts of the Book of Joshua.
  • Henry, Matthew. "Joshua." Concise Commentary on the Bible, n.d. Accessed December 15, 2008.</ref>