Overview of the book of Joshua
After the death of Moses, Joshua took up the mantle of leadership of Israel. Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt. Joshua was to lead them into the Promised Land.
The book of Joshua can be broadly divided into three parts.
1. Chapters 1-5: Preparation and conquest
The first 5 chapters of Joshua detail the preparation for the conquering of the Land.
God?s word to Joshua in Joshua 1: 5- 9 has been a source of strength and encouragement to thousands of Christians over the centuries. These verses lay the foundation for Joshua?s success and indeed ours.
Rahab hiding the spies and receiving instructions to mark her house with a scarlet (brilliant red) cord speaks to us about the blood of Jesus and the enormous role it plays in our salvation and protection. The Israelites marked their doorpost with blood when God delivered them from Egypt. Rahab was doing a similar thing.
The crossing of the river Jordan in Chapter 3 is another very significant event. It mirrors Israel?s deliverance from Egypt when they crossed the Red sea. It is a beautiful picture of salvation. God takes us out of the world to bring us into His promises. It is a timely reminder to all of us not to get stuck in the wilderness.
The memorial stones taken from the river Jordan, as ordered by God, to remind the Israelites of their deliverance is a vital lesson we should all learn in chapter 4. Never forget the goodness of God. The things we forget can get us into trouble. Anytime Israel forgot the goodness of God they always went back into sin and idol worship. Are you keeping ?stones of remembrance? in your life?
Chapter 5 brings us to the height of the Israelites preparation. Here Joshua comes face to face with the Commander of God?s army. Despite everything that Joshua had received he still needed this spiritual warrior to lead him into battle. Let us learn never to place our confidence in our own spirituality. God fights for us. He equips us to follow him. Yet it is He who works through us to bring the victory.
We would do ourselves a great benefit to study and learn from Joshua. He was a success right to the end. He never fell. The first five chapters of Joshua tell us the secret of his success. Learn from them, as they will help you through the battles of life.
2. Chapters 6 - 13: The main battles and conquest of the land
Chapter 6 - 8
Jericho was the first city to fall. All the spoil were taken into the house of the Lord. Only Rahab was spared. However greed got the better of Achan and he kept some of the garments, silver and gold for himself. His sin led to the defeat of Israel when they went to attack the city of Ai. This was Israel?s first mistake. Achan?s sin was exposed and he faced the judgement, suffering a horrible fate. Ai was eventually defeated.
Israel?s second mistake is when they made a treaty with the Gibeonities. The Gibeonities deceived the Israelites into thinking they lived far away and were not part of the land of Cannan. Without consulting God, Israel made a treaty never to attack them. Something they lived to regret.
Chapters 10 - 12
The battle for Jerusalem, which also involved the king of Hebron, King of Jarmuth, King of Lachish and the king of Eglon is a fascinating and revealing story. This is where Joshua commanded the sun to stand still in order to aid him in winning the battle. Chapters 9 and 10 contain the details.
3. Chapter 13- 24: dividing and settling in the land
Chapter 13 - 20
With the land conquered Joshua goes about dividing the land among the tribes of Israel.
Six cities of refuge were also allocated for those who are awaiting judgement after committing a crime. An offender who made his way to that city was given a refuge from the consequences of his or her sin until proper investigation and judgement could be carried out.
They were safe in the city as long as the High Priest was alive. Thank God we have a High priest who never dies. See the details in chapter 20.
Chapters 21 - 24
A misunderstanding between the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh on one side and the rest of Israel on the other nearly lead to a civil war. Read the full account in chapter 22. How often have misunderstandings led to break ups and civil wars in the church these days.
The book of Joshua is an excellent book in bringing us understanding in spiritual warfare and how to prosper in the will of God. To prosper for Joshua did not mean making a lot of money but to accomplish everything God had in store for him. You could easily spend a year studying this book and the lessons you would glean from it would be enormous.
Following are some questions based on several of the chapters.
They are to aid you in the meditating on God?s word. Just what God said to Joshua in chapter 1.
If you have read the summary given above and all the relevant chapters before commencing on the questions you should be able to answer the questions.
These studies are ideal for use for in a personal study time or Bible group discussion.
See our notes on how to lead a bible study group.
Questions for discussion on Joshua 1