The Bible Book by Book

By J. B. Tidell, A.M., D. D.

Chapter B6 - Joshua

Historical Books of the Old Testament. The twelve books, including those from Joshua to Esther, are called historical. They narrate the history of Israel from the entrance of Canaan to the return from captivity, which is divided into three periods or epochs. (1) The Independent Tribes. This consists of the work of the conquest of Canaan and of the experiences of the Judges and is recorded in Joshua, Judges and Ruth. (2) The kingdom of Israel. (a) Its rise, 1 Sam. (b) Its glory, 2 Sam., 1 K. 1-11, 1 Chron. 11-29, 2 Chron. 1-9. (c) Its division and fall, 1 K. 12-22, 2 K. 1-25; 2 Chron. 10-36. (3) The Return from Captivity, Ezr. Neh. and Est.

Name. Taken from Joshua, the leading character, who may be described as a man of faith, courage, enthusiasm, fidelity to duty, and leadership.

Connection with Former Books. Joshua completes the story of the deliverance begun in Exodus. If Israel had not sinned in believing the evil spies and turning back into the wilderness, we would not have had the last twenty-one chapters of Numbers and the book of Deuteronomy. Joshua then would have followed the fifteenth chapter of Numbers, thus completing the story of God leading Israel out of Egypt into Canaan.

The Key-Word is redemption with the emphasis put upon possession while redemption in Exodus put the stress upon deliverance. The two make full redemption which requires being "brought out" and "brought in."

Purpose of the Book. (1) To show how Israel was settled in Canaan according to the promise of God. (2) To show how, by the destruction of the Canaanites, God punishes a people for their sins. (3) To show that God's people are finally heirs of earth and that the wicked shall be finally dispossessed.

Some Typical and Spiritual Matters. (1) The conflict with Canaan. In the wilderness the conflict was with Amalek who was an illustration of the never ending conflict of the flesh or of the "new man" and the "old man." In Canaan the conflict is typical of our struggle against principalities and powers and spiritual hosts in heavenly places, Eph. 6:10-18. (2) Crossing the Jordan is an illustration of our death to sin and resurrection with Christ. (3) The scarlet line illustrates our safety under Christ and his sacrifice. (4) The downfall of Jericho. This illustrates the spiritual victories we win in secret and by ways that seem foolish to men. (5) Joshua. Joshua is a type of Christ in that he leads his followers to victory over their enemies; in that he is their advocate in time of defeat and in the way he leads them into a permanent home.


I. Conquest of Canaan, Chs. 1-12.

1. The preparation, Chs. 1-2.

2. Crossing the Jordan, Chs. 3-4.

3. Conquest of Jericho, Chs. 5-6.

4. Conquest of the South, Chs. 7-10.

5. Conquest of the North, Ch. 11.

6. Summary, Ch. 12.

II. Division of Lands, Chs. 13-22.

1. Territory of the different tribes, Chs. 13-19.

2. Cities of Refuge, Ch. 20.

3. Cities of the Levites, Ch. 21.

4. Return of the Eastern Tribes, Ch. 22.

III. Joshua's Last Counsel, and Death. Chs. 23-24.

1. Exhortation to fidelity, Ch. 23.

2. Farewell address and death, Ch. 24.

For Study and Discussion. (1) The cooperation of the two and one-half tribes in the conquest of Canaan. (2) Make a list of the different battles and indicate any in which Israel was defeated. (3) The portion of the country allotted to each of the tribes of Israel. (4) The story of the sins of Achan. Its results and his discovery and punishment. (5) The story of the Gibeonites, their stratagem and consequent embarrassment of Joshua. (6) Make a list of incidents or occurrences that show a miraculous element running through the narrative. (7) The story of Rabab, the harlot. (8) The names of the several tribes of Canaan and the history of each. (9) The place of prayer and worship in the narrative. Give instances. (10) Evidences found in the book that God hates sin.