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- This is the Biblical character Joshua. For the canonical book of the Old Testament, see Book of Joshua
Joshua (Hebrew Yehoshúa) was the first leader of the tribes of Israel after Moses. Moses personally granted this right to Joshua in the presence of all Israel before his death on Mount Nebo with God's blessing.
"Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. (8) The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deu. 31:7-8, NIV).
Early years and apprenticeship under Moses
Joshua as military commander
Joshua led Israel's campaign to conquer the land of Canaan, having already established his military credentials by his leadership of Israel's victory over the Amalekites in the Sinai peninsula (Ex. 17:8-13). Joshua's military leadership and tactics were direct from God, and the book of Joshua is very clear on this point. "(2) Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. (3) March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. (4) Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. (5) When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in." (Jos. 6:2-5, NIV)
After the military campaign was complete and he had granted land to the tribes of Judah, Ephraim, and half of Manasseh "Joshua removed the Tabernacle and the Ark from Gilgal to Shiloh, and took up his residence there. Here he continued the work of apportioning the rest of the land by lot according to the families".
Joshua as Israel's leader
Joshua played a significant role in the history of Israel by bringing about the partial fulfilment of the Mosaic covenant by establishing the nation of Israel in Canaan. He also presided over the division of the lands into the hands of the tribes of Israel. Under Joshua's leadership Israel established itself as the dominant power in the region, Egypt and Babylon could not maintain a standing presence in the region and the Assyrian invasion was centuries away (Zondervan, 2002). Some scholars attribute the success of the nation of Israel during Joshua's time leading them to his leadership ability and God's blessing upon him. Joshua's approach in leading Israel was different from Moses, and this is especially evident in the campaign to conquer Canaan.
Joshua lived to be "old and well advanced in years" (Jos. 23:1, NIV) and was buried at Timnath Serah (which he apportioned to himself) in the hill country of Ephraim (Jos. 24:30).
- Zondervan, "Introduction: Joshua", NIV Study Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002