Anda di halaman 1dari 46

1

BIBLE STUDY FOR SMALL GROUP ON THE BOOK OF JOSHUA



Joshua 1 (NKJV) Scripture Reading
Gods Commission to Joshua
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke
to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses assistant, saying:
2
Moses My servant is dead. Now
therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am
giving to themthe children of Israel.
3
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread
upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.
4
From the wilderness and this Lebanon as
far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great
Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.
5
No man shall be able to
stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will
not leave you nor forsake you.
6
Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you
shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.
7
Only
be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law
which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the
left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from
your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do
according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and
then you will have good success.
9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good
courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever
you go.
The Order to Cross the Jordan
10
Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
11
Pass through the
camp and command the people, saying, Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within
three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD
your God is giving you to possess.
12
And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh Joshua spoke,
saying,
13
Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you,
saying, The LORD your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.
14
Your wives,
your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on
this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty
men of valor, and help them,
15
until the LORD has given your brethren rest, as He gave
you, and they also have taken possession of the land which the LORD your God is giving
them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses
the LORDs servant gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise.
16
So they answered Joshua, saying, All that you command us we will do, and wherever
you send us we will go.
17
Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you.
2

Only the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses.
18
Whoever rebels against
your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be
put to death. Only be strong and of good courage.
Joshua 1 Wesley Study, Geneva Commentary, NIV & Study Bible
In this chapter, God appoints Joshua to govern in the stead of Moses, and gives him
instructions and encouragement, ver. 1 - 9. He enters on his office immediately, giving
orders to the officers, and to the two tribes and an half, ver. 10 - 1 5. The people accept
him as their governor, ver. 16 - 18
Verses:
1:1 After the death of Moses - Either immediately after it, or when the days of
mourning for Moses were expired. Joshua was appointed and declared Moses's
successor in the government before this time; and here he receives confirmation
from God therein. The servant of the Lord - This title is given to Moses here and
Joshua 1:2 , as also 34:5 , and is repeated not without cause, to reflect honor
upon him, to give authority to his laws and writings, in publishing whereof he acted
as God's servant, in his name: and that the Israelites might not think of Moses
above what was meant, remembering that he was not the Lord himself, but only
the Lord's servant.
Question: What qualifications did Joshua have to become the leader of a nation?
In this book the Holy Spirit sets most lively before us the accomplishment of
Gods promise, who as he promised by the mouth of Moses, that a prophet would
be raised up to the people like him, whom he wills to obey, ( Deuteronomy 18:15 ):
so he shows himself true to his promise, as at all other times, and after the death
of Moses his faithful servant, he raises up Joshua to be ruler and governor over
his people, that they should neither be discouraged for lack of a captain, nor have
reason to distrust Gods promises later. So that Joshua might be confirmed in his
calling, and the people also might have no opportunity to grudge, as though he
were not approved by God: he is adorned with most excellent gifts and graces
from God, both to govern the people with counsel, and to defend them with
strength, that he lacks nothing which either belongs to a valiant captain, or a
faithful minister. So he overcomes all difficulties, and brings them into the land of
Canaan: which according to Gods ordinance he divides among the people and
appoints their borders: he established laws and ordinances, and put them in
remembrance of Gods revealed benefits, assuring them of his grace and favor if
they obey God, and of his plagues and vengeance if they disobey him. This
history represents Jesus Christ the true Joshua, who leads us into eternal
happiness, signified to us by this land of Canaan. From the beginning of Genesis
to the end of this book is 2567 years. For from Adam to the flood are 1656, from
the flood to the departure of Abraham out of Chaldea 423, and from then to the
death of Joseph 290. So that Genesis contains 2369, Exodus 140, the other three
books of Moses 40, Joshua 27. So the whole makes 2576 years. Geneva
3

Commentary
Question: Do you believe God fails to work among as He could due to lack of
either faith or obedience in the church or in our lives? Explain.
1:2 Now therefore arise - Let not the fading of the most useful hands be the
weakening of ours. When God has work to do, he will either find or make
instruments fit to carry it on. Moses the servant is dead; but God the master is not:
he lives forever.
Because Joshua worked with Moses for 40 years he was prepared for what God
had appointed him to do. A smooth transition is essential for the establishment of
a new administration. This does not happened when new leaders are not trained.
It is good for leaders in position to begin training others to take over their place.
Then if you leave or are promoted, operations can continue to run efficiently. (NIV
Study)
Question: What importance do you see or have seen on either poor or good
transitions in leadership?
1:3 Every place - That is, within the following boundaries.
1:4 This Lebanon - Emphatically, as being the most prominent mountain in Syria, and
the northern border of the land: or this which is within thy view.
1:5 With Moses - To assist him against all his enemies, and in all the difficulties of
governing this stiff - necked (very determined and not willing to change) people,
which Joshua might justly fear no less than the Canaanites. Forsake thee - I will
not leave thee destitute either of inward support, or of outward assistance.
Joshuas new job consisted on leading more than two million people into a strange
land and conquering it. Every new job is a challenge and can be frightening.
Question: Just as God was with Joshua, how is He with us in new challenges?
1:6 Be strong and of a good courage - Joshua, though a person of great courage and
determination, whereof he had given sufficient proof, yet needs these
exhortations, partly because his work was great, and difficult, and long, and in a
great measure new; partly because he had a very humble opinion of himself,
especially if compared with Moses; and remembering how perverse and
headstrong that people were, even under Moses, he might very well suspect the
burden of ruling them would be too heavy for his shoulders.
God told Joshua that to succeed he must 1. Be strong and courageous, 2. Obey
Gods law, 3. Constantly read and study the Word. Gods opinion is most
important than the worlds standards. (NIV Study)
4

Question: How can we be successful in Gods eyes even though we may not be
considered successful in the eyes of society?
1:7 Commanded thee - Remember, that though thou art the commander of my
people, yet thou art my subject, and obligated to observe all my commands. To
the right hand or to the left - That is, in any kind, or upon any deception which
plainly shews, that God's assistance promised to him and the Israelites, was
conditional, and might justly be withdrawn upon their breaking of the conditions.
Whithersoever thou goest - That is, whatsoever thou doest.
1:8 Out of thy mouth - That is, thou shalt constantly read it, and upon occasion
address it, and the sentence which shall come out of thy mouth, shall in all things
be given according to this rule. Day and night - That is, diligently study, and upon
all occasions consider what is God's will and thy duty. The greatness of thy place
and employments shall not hinder thee from this work, because this is the only
rule of all thy private actions, and public administrations.
Showing that it is not possible to govern well, without the continual study of Gods
word. (Geneva)
1:9 I commanded thee - I whom thou art compelled to obey: I who can carry thee
through everything I put thee upon: I of whose faithfulness and almighty power
thou hast had large experience?
Question: What is the difference between knowing God is with you in everything
and actually believing or sensing it? If there a difference?
1:10 The officers of the people - These who commanded under Joshua, in their
respective tribes and families, attended him for orders, which they were to
communicate to the people.
1:11 Prepare you victuals (supplies, foodstuff) For although Manna was given them to
supply their want of ordinary provisions in the wilderness; yet they were allowed,
when they had opportunity, to purchase other provisions, and did so, 2:6 ,28. And
now having been some time in the land of the Amorites, and together with Manna
used themselves to other food, which that country plentifully supplied them with;
they are warned to furnish themselves therewith for their approaching march.
Three days - These words, though placed here, seem not to have been delivered
by Joshua 'till after the return of the spies; such transpositions being frequent in
scripture. 3:2 .
1:13 Commanded you - His charge to you, and your promise to him. Rest - That is, a
place of rest, as that word indicates.
These people had been on the move for their entire lives. The people who had no
land would be given a land of their own, and they would be able to settle and to
5

rest. (NIV Study)
Question: What does the word rest mean for you?
1:14 Before their brethren - In the front of all of them; which was but reasonable;
because they had the advantage of their brethren, having actually received their
portion, which their brethren had only in hope, because they were freed from
those obstacles which the rest were exposed to, their wives, and children, and
estates being safely lodged; and to prevent their withdrawing themselves from the
present service, which they otherwise would have had temptation to do, because
of the nearness of their dwellings. Armed - For by this time they were well
furnished with arms, which they had either from the Egyptians, Amalekites, or
Amorites, from whom they had taken them; or by purchase from those people by
whose borders they passed. Men of courage - All such were obliged to go over if
occasion required it, but Joshua took only some of them, because they were
sufficient for his purpose, and because some were fit to be left, both to secure
their own wives, children, and possessions, and to prevent their enemies on that
side from giving them disturbance in their enterprise upon Canaan.
1:16 And they answered - Not the two tribes and an half only, but the officers of all the
people, in their name, concurring with the divine appointment, by which Joshua
was set over them. Thus must we swear allegiance to our Lord Jesus, as the
captain of our salvation.
In conquering the promise land, it would have been chaos if everyone would had
wanted their own way. They had to follow the leaders plan and be willing to
support Joshua. (NIV Study)
Question: What things do we need to do in order to follow Gods plan fully in our
lives?

1:17 Unto thee - The same obedience which we owed, to Moses, we promise unto
thee. With Moses - This is not a limitation of their obedience, as if they would not
obey him any longer than he was prosperous, but an additional prayer for him. As
we have hereby promised thee our obedience, so our prayer shall be, that God
would bless and prosper thee, as he did Moses.
They not only promise to obey him as long as God is with him: but to help punish
all who rebel against him. (Geneva)



6

Joshua 2 NKJV - Scripture Reading
Rahab Hides the Spies
Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove
[a]
to spy secretly,
saying, Go, view the land, especially Jericho. So they went, and came to the house of
a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.
2
And it was told the king of Jericho, saying,
Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the
country.
3
So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, Bring out the men who have
come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the
country.
4
Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, Yes, the men came to
me, but I did not know where they were from.
5
And it happened as the gate was being
shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know;
pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.
6
(But she had brought them up to the
roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)
7
Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as
those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.
8
Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof,
9
and said to the men: I
know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and
that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.
10
For we have heard
how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt,
and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the
Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
11
And as soon as we heard these
things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone
because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth
beneath.
12
Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have shown you
kindness, that you also will show kindness to my fathers house, and give me a true
token,
13
and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they
have, and deliver our lives from death.
14
So the men answered her, Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of
ours. And it shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and
truly with you.
15
Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house
was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall.
16
And she said to them, Get to the
mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have
returned. Afterward you may go your way.
17
So the men said to her: We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have
made us swear,
18
unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord
in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your
mother, your brothers, and all your fathers household to your own home.
19
So it shall
be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be
on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his
7

blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.
20
And if you tell this business of
ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.
21
Then she said, According to your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they
departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.
22
They departed and went to
the mountain, and stayed there three days until the pursuers returned. The pursuers
sought them all along the way, but did not find them.
23
So the two men returned,
descended from the mountain, and crossed over; and they came to Joshua the son of
Nun, and told him all that had befallen them.
24
And they said to Joshua, Truly the LORD
has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are
fainthearted because of us.

Joshua Chapter 2 Study Guide: Wesley, Geneva, NIV & NKJV Study Bible
Verse 1 Sent - Two men - Not twelve, as Moses did, because those were to view the
whole land, these but a small parcel of it. To spy - That is, to learn the state of the land
and people. It is evident Joshua did not this out of distrust; it is probable, he had God's
command and direction in it for the encouragement of himself and his army. Secretly -
With reference not to his enemies, that being the practice of all spies, but to the
Israelites; a good caution to prevent the inconveniency which possibly might have
arisen, if their report had been discouraging. Jericho - That is, the land about Jericho,
together with the city. Heb. The land and Jericho, that is, especially Jericho. Harlot's -
So the Hebrew word is used, Judges 11:1 , and so it is rendered by two apostles,
James 2:25 , such she either now was, or rather, had been formerly. Lodged - Or, lay
down; as the same word is rendered, Joshua 2:8 , composed themselves to rest; but
they were hindered from that intention. God sent the spies to Rahabs house because
he knew her heart was open to him and that she would be instrumental in the Israelites
victory over Jericho. The NKJV says the spies went to a house where news would be
easily available. It is also possible that Rahab had been reduced to prostitution because
of the death of her husband and the needs of her poor family.
Question: How can we not allow our past to hinder us from doing the will God has for
us?
Question: Joshua sent the spies in secretly; what times do we need to use discretion in
what we do or the way we do things?
2:3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying,
b
Bring forth the men that are
come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the
country. Though the wicked see the hand of God on them, they do not repent, but seek
how they may by their power and policy resist his working. Probably Israel had but one
friend in all Jericho: and God directed them to Rahab! Thus what seems to be most
8

accidental, is often over - ruled, to serve the great ends of providence. And those that
acknowledge God in their ways, he will guide them with his eye. Despite the secrecy of
the spies, the news traveled fast.
Question: How ca something that seems to be an accident or mistake work for the
glory of God in the end?
Verse 4 But the woman had taken - and had hid them, before the messengers came
from the king; as soon as she understood from her neighbors, that there was a
suspicion of the matter, and guessed that search would be made. And this is justly
mentioned as a great and generous act of faith, Hebrews 11:31 , for she apparently
ventured her life upon a steadfast persuasion of the truth of God's word and promise
given to the Israelites. Whence they were - Her answer contained in these and the
following words, was false, and therefore unquestionably sinful; though her intention
was good therein. But it is very probable, she being a Heathen, might think, that an
officious lie is not unlawful. Most of us will face a dilemma at one time or another. We
will need to decide how we will react under certain circumstances. God does not
demand that our judgment is perfect but simply asks us to trust Him.
Question: Is a lie ever justified to tell under any circumstance?
2:6 But she had brought them up to the
c
roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks
of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. (c) Meaning, on the house: for then
their houses were flat above, so that they might do their business on it. That they might
be dried by the heat of the sun. Flax was harvested in the fields and piled high on the
rooftop to dry. It was then make into yarn which was used to make linen cloth. Flaz
grows to a height of three or four feet. Staked on the roof, it made an excellent hiding
place for the spies.
Verse 7: Fords - Or passages, that is, the places where people used to pass over
Jordan, whether by boats or bridges. The gate - Of the city, to prevent the escape of the
spies, if peradventure Rahab was mistaken, and they yet lurked therein.
2:8 Laid down - To sleep as they intended.

2:9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that
your terror (the dread of you) is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land
faint because of you. For so God promised, ( Deuteronomy 28:7 ; Joshua 5:1 ). Many
may think that a pagan like Rahab would not be interested in God, yet she was willing to
risk her life for a God she barely knew. We must never allow anything to get in the way
of begin a witness for Christ. Her use of the word Lord indicates that she come to faith
in the living God. God had graciously opened the heart of a foreign prostitute to accept
Him as Lord.
9

Question: What are ways that people gauge the appearance of a situation or someone
on whether they will serve God or come to church?
2:11 And as soon as we had heard [these things], our hearts did melt, (dissolved, lost
all courage) neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for
e
the LORD your God, he [is] God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. (e) In this the
great mercy of God appears, that in this common destruction he would draw a most
miserable sinner to repent, and confess his Name. Rahab realized something that many
of the Israelites did not - that the God of heaven is not an ordinary God. He is all
powerful. Today we worship the same God who is all powerful. He was powerful enough
to destroy a wicked army, and is powerful enough to save us from certain death (loss,
failure, and downfall) as he did the Israelites.
Question: In what ways has God shown his power in your life?
Verse 12 By the Lord - By your God who is the only true God: so Rahab owns his
worship, one eminent act whereof is swearing by his name. My father's house - My near
kindred, which she particularly names, Joshua 2:13 , husband and children it seems she
had none. And for her, it was needless to speak, it being a plain and undeniable duty to
save their preserver. True token - Either an assurance that you will preserve me and
mine from the common ruin: or a token which I may produce as a witness of this
agreement, and a means of my security. This is all that she asks. Rahab asks them to
swear to her although to swear in Gods name was a serious matter, but the spies
agreed to her request. But God did for her more than she could ask or think. She was
afterwards advanced to be a princess in Israel, the wife of Salmon and one of the
ancestors of Christ.
2:14 And the men answered her, our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And
it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with
thee. We warrant you on pain of our lives. Our business - That is, this agreement of
ours, and the condition of it, lest others under this pretense, should secure themselves.
By which they shew both their piety and prudence in managing their oath with so much
circumspection, that neither their own consciences might be ensnared, nor the public
justice obstructed.
Question: What power do our words have as speak using Christs Word in helping
others through difficult times of faith, fear, or other issues?
Verse 15 Town - wall - Which gave her the opportunity of dismissing them when the
gates were shut. Upon the wall - Her particular dwelling was there: which may possibly
be added, because the other part of her house was reserved for the entertainment of
strangers. In Joshuas day it was common to build houses on city walls. Many cities had
two walls about 12 to 15 feet apart. Houses were built on wooden logs laid across the
10

tops of the two walls. Rahab may have lived in such a house with a window that looked
out over the outside wall.
2:16 And she said unto them, Get you to the
g
mountain, lest the pursuers meet you;
and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may
ye go your way which was near to the city. The mountain - That is, to some of the
mountains wherewith Jericho was encompassed, in which also there were many caves
where they might lurk. Three days - Not three whole days, but one whole day, and part
of two days.
2:17 And the men said unto her,
h
We [will be] blameless of this thine oath which thou
hast made us swear. Blameless - That is, free from guilt or reproach if it be violated,
namely, if the following condition be not observed. We will be released from our oath if
you perform this condition that follows for so shall you and yours be delivered. Said - Or,
had said; namely, before she let them down; it being very improbable, either that she
would dismiss them before the condition was agreed on; or that she would discourse
with them, or they with her, about such secret and weighty things after they were let
down, when others might overhear them. 2:19 And it shall be, [that] whosoever shall go
out of the doors of thy house into the street,
i
his blood [shall be] upon his head, and we
[will be] guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood [shall be] on
our head, if [any] hand be upon him. He shall be guilty of his own death.
2:18 Into the land - That is, over Jordan, and near the city. This line of scarlet -
Probably the same with which she was about to let them down. Window - That it
may be easily discerned by our soldiers. The red cord was significant as if
represented the blood of atonement.
2:19 Upon his head - The blame of his death shall rest wholly upon himself, as being
occasioned by his own neglect of the means of safety. Our head - We are willing
to bear the sin, and shame, and punishment of it. Be upon him - So as to kill him.
2:20 And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou
hast made us to swear. So that others should think to escape by the same means.
2:21 In the window - Forthwith, partly that the spies might see it hung out before their
departure, and so the better know it at some distance; partly lest some accident
might occasion a neglect about it.
2:22 Three days - Supporting themselves there with the provisions, which Rahab had
furnished them with. The ways - That is, in the road to Jordan, and the places near
it, but not in the mountains.
11

Questions for Reflection: Joshua was a great leader. He looked to Moses
example who did what God commanded him. Who is you Joshua, or who is your
Moses? Those whom we hang around with and make our best friends will
influence us either good or bad. We are modeling others to be either more like
Christ or less like Him. Do those who are watching us see Christ reflection is us?
Let us pray that we will be good Joshuas.





















12

Joshua Chapter 3 Scripture Reading (NKJV)
Israel Crosses the Jordan
Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove
[a]
and came
to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed
over.
2
So it was, after three days that the officers went through the camp;
3
and they
commanded the people, saying, When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD
your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place
and go after it.
4
Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand
cubits by measure. Do not come near it that you may know the way by which you must
go, for you have not passed this way before.
5
And Joshua said to the people, Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do
wonders among you.
6
Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, Take up the Ark of
the Covenant and cross over before the people. So they took up the Ark of the
Covenant and went before the people.
7
And the LORD said to Joshua, This day I will
begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses,
so I will be with you.
8
You shall command the priests who bear the Ark of the Covenant,
saying, When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in
the Jordan.
9
So Joshua said to the children of Israel, Come here, and hear the words of the LORD
your God.
10
And Joshua said, By this you shall know that the living God is among you,
and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites
and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the
Jebusites:
11
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over
before you into the Jordan.
12
Now therefore, take for yourselves twelve men from the
tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe.
13
And it shall come to pass, as soon as the
soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth,
shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the
waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.
14
So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the
priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people,
15
and as those who bore the
ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge
of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest),
16
that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very
far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the
Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over
opposite Jericho.
17
Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood
firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground,
until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.

13

Joshua Chapter 3 Study Guide Matthew Henry Commentary
This chapter, and that which follows it, give us the history of Israels passing through
Jordan into Canaan, and a very memorable history it is. Long afterwards, they are told
to remember what God did for them between Shittim (whence they decamped, Josh.
3:1) and Gilgal, where they next pitched, Josh. 4:19; Mic. 6:5; that they might know the
righteousness of the Lord. By Joshuas order they marched up to the rivers side, (Josh.
3:1), and then almighty power led them through it. The people are directed to follow the
ark, Josh. 3:2-4. II. They are commanded to sanctify themselves, Josh. 3:5. III. The
priests with the ark are ordered to lead the van, Josh. 3:6. IV. Joshua is magnified and
made commander in chief, Josh. 3:7, 8. V. Public notice is given of what God is about to
do for them, Josh. 3:9-13. IV. The thing is done, Jordan is divided, and Israel brought
safely through it, Josh. 3:14-17. This was the Lords doing, and it is marvelous in our
eyes.
Verses 16
The Children of Israel came to Jordan and lodged there, Josh. 3:1. Which according to the
Hebrews was in March, about 40 days after Moses death (Geneva) . They did not know how
they would pass the river, yet they went forward in faith, having been told (Josh. 1:11) that they
would pass it. We also must go on in the way of our duty though we foresee difficulties, trusting
God to help us through them when we come to them. Let us proceed as far as we can, and
depend on divine sufficiency for that which we find ourselves not sufficient for.
Question: In what way(s) have you found that God helped you through a need or
situation that you never dreamed was remotely possible in the way He worked it all out
for you?
In this march Joshua led them, and particular notice is given of his early rising (Josh.
6:12; 7:16; 8:10), which intimates how little he loved his ease, how much he loved his
business, and what care and pains he was willing to take in it. Those that would bring
great things to pass must rise early. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty. Joshua
herein set a good example to the officers under him, and taught them to rise early, and
to all that are in public stations especially to attend continually to the duty of their place.
Question: How do you find it difficult and why to rise early in the morning to get more
things accomplished? How does your time of rising affect your present life?
The people were directed to follow the ark. Officers were appointed to go through the
host to give these directions (Josh. 3:2), that every Israelite might know both what to do
and what to depend upon. They might depend upon the ark to lead them; that is, upon
God himself, of whose presence the ark was an instituted sign. It seems, the pillar of
cloud and fire was removed, else that would have led them, unless we suppose that it
now hovered over the ark and so they had a double guide: honor was put upon the ark,
and a defense upon that glory.
14

Question: What do you think? How might we be led by God through more than one
avenue?
It is called here the ark of the covenant of the Lord their God. What greater
encouragement could they have than this, that the Lord was their God, a God in
covenant with them? Here was the Ark of the Covenant; if God be ours, we need not
fear any evil. He was nigh to them, present with them, went before them: what could
come amiss to those that were thus guided and guarded?
WOW! Praise the Lord! We need not fear for who is fear
from_____________________? Do you have to remind yourself of this at times?
Formerly the ark was carried in the midst of the camp, but now it went before them to
search out a resting-place for them (Num. 10:33), and, as it were, to give them
possession of the promised land, putting them in possession of it, In the ark the tables
of the law were, and over it the mercy-seat; for the divine law and grace reigning in the
heart are the surest pledges of Gods presence and favor, and those that would be led
to the heavenly Canaan must take the law of God for their guide (if thou wilt enter into
life keep the commandments) and have the great reconciliation in their eye, looking for
the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Question: What are the surest ways for us to remain in the presence of God?
They might depend upon the priests and Levites, who were appointed for that purpose
to carry the ark before them. The work of ministers is to hold forth the word of life, and
to take care of the administration of those ordinances which are the tokens of Gods
presence and the instruments of his power and grace; and herein they must go before
the people of God.
Question: How does a pastor take care to bring forth the Word of Life and help others
be an instrument to do so as well?
The people must follow the ark: Remove from your place and go after it, (1.) As those
that are resolved never to forsake it. Wherever Gods ordinances are, there we must be;
if they flutter, we must remove and go after them. (2.) As those that are entirely satisfied
in its guidance, that it will lead in the best way to the best end; and therefore, Lord, I will
follow thee whithersoever thou goest. This must be all their care, to attend to the ark,
and follow it with an implicit faith. Thus must we walk after the rule of the word and the
direction of the Spirit in everything, so shall peace be upon us, as it now was upon the
Israel of God. They must follow the priests as far as they carried the ark, but no further;
so we must follow our ministers only as they follow Christ.
Question: What does it mean to follow God wherever He leads us?
In following the ark, they must keep their distance, Josh. 3:4. They must not come within
a thousand yards of the ark. (1.) They must thus express their reverent regard to that
15

token of Gods presence, lest its familiarity with them should breed contempt. This
charge to them not to come near was like a darkness, bondage, and terror: but we now
through Christ have access with boldness. (2.) It was made to appear that the ark was
able to protect itself, and did not need to be guarded by the men of war, but rather it
was a guard to them. Its friends walked half a mile behind except the unarmed priests
that carried it as perfectly sufficient for its own safety and theirs that followed it! (3.) It
was the better seen by those that were to be led by it: That you may know the way by
which you must go. Had they been allowed to come near it, they would have
surrounded it, and none would have had the sight of it but those that were close to it;
but, as it was put at such a distance before them, they would all have the satisfaction of
seeing it, and would be animated by the sight.
Questions: Are there things that God keep us away from that may not necessarily be
sin to someone else, but that he knows will not be in our own best interest? Why?
And it was with good reason that this provision was made for their encouragement: For
you have not passed this way heretofore. This had been the character of all their way
through the wilderness; it was an untrodden path, but especially through Jordan. While
we are here we must expect and prepare for unusual events, to pass ways that we have
not passed before, and much more when we go henceforth; our way through the valley
of the shadow of death is a way we have not gone before, which makes it the more
frightening. But, if we have the assurance of Gods presence, we need not fear; that will
furnish us with such strength as we never had when we come to do a work we never
did.
Question: What has been your experience near the bedside of a Christian and sinner
who were near death? Did you see any difference?
They were commanded to sanctify themselves, that they might be prepared to attend
the ark; and with good reason: For to-morrow the Lord will do wonders among you,
Josh. 3:5. See how magnificently he speaks of Gods works: he doeth wonders, and is
therefore to be adored, admired, and trusted in. See how intimately acquainted Joshua
was with the divine counsels: he could tell before-hand what God would do, and when.
See what preparation we must make to receive the discoveries of Gods glory and the
communications of his grace: we must sanctify ourselves. This we must do when we are
to attend the ark, and God by it is about to do wonders among us; we must separate
ourselves from all other cares, devote ourselves to Gods honor, and cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. The people of Israel were now entering into the holy
land, and therefore must sanctify themselves. God was about to give them uncommon
instances of his favor, which by meditation and prayer they must compose their minds
to a very careful observation of, that they might give God the glory, and take to
themselves the comfort, of these appearances.
Question Comment: This reminded me of what our pastor is doing at this time as we
walk around the walls. This is a time for us to allow God to search and cleanse us from
16

anything that stands in the way of His will begin accomplished. What sacrifice is there in
allowing God to do this in and through us as a church body?
The priests were ordered to take up the ark and carry it before the people, Josh. 3:6. It
was the Levites work ordinarily to carry the ark, Num. 4:15. But on this great occasion
the priests were ordered to do it. And they did as they were commanded, took up the
ark, and did not think themselves demeaned, went before the people, and did not thing
themselves exposed; the ark they carried was both their honor and their defense. And
now we may suppose that prayer of Moses used, when the ark set forward (Num.
10:35), Rise up, Lord and let they enemies be scattered. Magistrates are here instructed
to stir up ministers to their work, and to make use of their authority for the furtherance of
religion. Ministers must likewise learn to go before in the way of God, and not to shrink
nor draw back when dangers are before them. They must expect to be most struck at,
but they know whom they have trusted.
Question: Why do you think ministers may possibly neglect to preach the whole Gospel
to congregations? Why may they avoid certain topics in preaching about them, and do
you see this a neglect or using wisdom?
Verses 713
We may observe here how God honors Joshua, and by this wondrous work he is about
to do that will make Israel know that he is their governor, and then how Joshua honors
God and endeavors by it to make Israel know that he is their God. Thus those that
honor God he will honor, and those whom he has advanced should do what they can in
their places to exalt him. Amen!
God speaks to Joshua to put honor upon him, Josh. 3:7, 8. 1. This would make Joshua
great among the people that he designed to magnify him in the sight of all Israel. He
had told him before that he would be with him (Josh. 1:5), and that comforted him, but
now all Israel shall see it, and this would magnify him. Those are truly great with whom
God employs and owns in his service. God magnified him because he would have the
people magnify him. By the dividing of Jordan, they shall be convinced that God is in
like manner with Joshua as he was with Moses in bringing them into Canaan. God
commanded Joshua to give orders to the priests themselves, (Josh. 3:8): Thou shalt
command the priests, that is, Thou shalt make known to them the divine command in
this matter, and take care that they observe it, to stand still at the brink of Jordan while
the waters part, that it may appear to be at the presence of the Lord, of the mighty God
of Jacob, that Jordan is driven back, Ps. 114:5, 7. God could have divided the river
without the priests, but they could not without him. The priests must herein set a good
example to the people, and teach them to do their utmost in the service of God, and
trust him for help in time of need.
Question: What importance do you see from this that God places on leaders?
Joshua says, (Josh. 3:9): Come hither to me, as many as can come within hearing,
and, before you see the works, hear the words of the Lord your God, that you may
17

compare them together and they may illustrate each other. He had commanded them
to sanctify themselves, and therefore calls them to hear the word of God, for that is the
ordinary means of sanctification, John 17:17. He now tells them, at length, by what way
they should pass over Jordan, by the stopping of its streams (Josh. 3:13): The waters of
Jordan shall be cut off. God could by a sudden and miraculous frost have thickened the
surface, so that they might all have gone over upon the ice; but that being a thing
sometimes done even in that country by the ordinary power of nature (Job 38:30), it
would not have been such an honor to Israels God, nor such a terror to Israels
enemies; it must therefore be done in such a way as had no precedent but the dividing
of the Red Sea: and that miracle is here repeated, to show that God has the same
power to finish the salvation of his people that he had to begin it, for he is the Alpha and
the Omega; and that the word of the Lord, was as truly with Joshua as he was with
Moses. And by the dividing of the waters from the waters, and the making of the dry
land to appear which had been covered, God would remind them of that they might
know that the God whom they worshipped was the same God that made the world and
that it was the same power that was engaged and employed for them.
Question: When God is working out His purpose, He does not reveal the whole plan in
advance. How has God worked for you in a way that you understood more about His
doings later, and realized what a great God you serve?
The people having been directed before to follow the ark are here told that it should
pass before them into Jordan, Josh. 3:11. (1.) The Ark of the Covenant must be their
guide. During the reign of Moses, the cloud was their guide, but now, in Joshuas reign,
the ark; both were visible signs of Gods presence and presidency. (2.) It is called the
ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth. He that is your God (Josh. 3:9), in
covenant with you, is the Lord of all the earth, has both right and power to command,
control, use, and dispose of all nations and of all creatures. He is the Lord of all the
earth, therefore he needs not you, nor can He be benefited by you; therefore it is your
honor and happiness to have him in covenant with you: if he be yours, all the creatures
are at your service, and when he pleases shall be employed for you.
Question: How have things ever appeared unfair to you, but you knew that according to
God it really was not unfair. How did you deal with this?
When we are praising and worshipping God, we must remember that he is the Lord of
the whole earth, and reverence him and trust in him accordingly. Behold the Ark of the
Covenant, even the ark of the Lord, or even of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth.
(3.) They are told that the ark should pass before them into Jordan. God would not
appoint them to go anywhere but where he himself would go before them and go with
them; and they might safely venture, even into Jordan itself, if the Ark of the Covenant
led them. While we make Gods precepts our rule, his promises are ours, and his
providence our guide. We need not dread the greatest difficulties we may meet with in
the way of duty. That promise is sure to all the seed (Isa. 43:2), When thou passes
through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow
thee. Praise His Name!
18

From what God was now about to do for them he infers an assurance of what he would
yet further do. Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, though you see
him not, nor are to have any image of him, is among you to give you law, secure your
welfare, and receive your reverence, he himself will, without fail, drive out from before
you the Canaanites. So that the dividing of Jordan was intended to be to them, (1.) A
sure token of Gods presence with them. By this they could not but know that God was
among them, unless their unbelief was as obstinate against the most convincing
evidence as that of their fathers was, who presently after God had divided the Red Sea
before them, and had asked, Is the Lord among us, or is he not? Exod. 17:7. What can
stand in his way before whom rivers are divided and dried up? This assurance which
Joshua here gives them was so well grounded that it would enable one Israelite to
chase a thousand Canaanites, and two to put then thousand to flight; and it would be
abundantly strengthened by remembering the song of Moses, dictated forty years
before, which plainly foretold the dividing of Jordan and the influence it would have upon
the driving out of the Canaanites. Exod. 15:15-17, The inhabitants of Canaan shall melt
away, and so be effectually driven out; they shall be as still as a stone till thy people
pass over, and then thou shalt bring them in and plant them. Note, Gods glorious
appearances for his church and people ought to be improved by us for the
encouragement of our faith and hope for the future. As for God, his work is perfect. If
Jordans flood cannot keep them out, Canaans force cannot turn them out again.
Question: How can our faith help or hinder the work of the Lord in our church? What
can we do to increase this faith in our words and actions?
Joshua directs them to get twelve men ready, one of each tribe, who must be within call
to receive such orders as Joshua should afterwards give them, Josh. 3:12. Now
therefore take you
e
twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. Who
would set up twelve stones in remembrance of the benefit. It does not appear that they
were to attend the priests, and walk with them when they carried the ark, that they might
more immediately be witnesses of the wonders done by it, as some think; but they were
to be at hand for the service they were called to, Josh. 4:4
Verses 1417
Here we have a short and plain account of the dividing of the river Jordan, and the
passage of the children of Israel through it. The story is told, in short, matter of fact.
This river was now broader and deeper than usually it was at other times of the year,
Josh. 3:15. The melting of the snow on the mountains of Lebanon, near which this river
had its rise, was the occasion that at the time of harvest, barley-harvest, which was the
spring of the year, Jordan overflowed all his banks. This great flood very much
magnified the power of God and his kindness to Israel. Let the banks of Jordan be filled
to the brink, filled till they run over, it is as easy to Omnipotence to divide them, and dry
them up, as if they were ever so narrow, ever so shallow; it is all one with the Lord.
That as soon as ever the feet of the priests dipped in the brim of the water the stream
stopped immediately, Josh. 3:15, 16. So that the waters above swelled, stood on a
19

heap, and the remembrance of it remained among them long after: When they passed
through the red Sea, the waters were a wall on either hand, here only on the right-hand.
Note, The God of nature can, when he pleases, change the course of nature, and alter
its properties, can turn fluids into solids, waters into standing rocks, as, on the contrary,
rocks into standing waters, to serve his own purposes. See Ps. 114:5, 8. What will he
not do for the perfecting of his peoples, salvation?
It is foretold, among the great things God will do for the gospel church in the latter days,
that the great river Euphrates shall be dried up, that the way of the kings of the east
may be prepared, Rev. 16:12. When the time has come for Israels entrance into the
land of promise all difficulties shall be conquered, mountains shall become plains (Zech.
4:7) and rivers become dry, for the ransomed of the Lord to pass over. When we have
finished our pilgrimage through this wilderness, death will be like this Jordan between
us and the heavenly Canaan, but the ark of the covenant has prepare us a way through
it; it is the last enemy that shall be destroyed.
Question: What is that last enemy that will be destroyed?
That the people passed over right against Jericho, which was, 1. A boldness, and a
noble defiance of their enemies. Jericho was one of the strongest cities, and yet they
dared to face it at their first entrance. 2. It was an encouragement to them to venture
through Jordan, for Jericho was a goodly city and the country about it extremely
pleasant; and, having that in view as their own, what difficulties could discourage them
from taking possession? 3. It would increase the confusion and terror of their enemies,
who no doubt were the amazed spectators of this work of wonders.
That the priests stood still in the midst of Jordan while all the people passed over, Josh.
3:17. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood
g
firm on dry
ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all
the people were passed clean over Jordan. Either tarrying till the people were past, or
as some read, sure, as though they had been on dry land. (Geneva) There the ark was
appointed to be, to show that the same power that parted the waters kept them parted
as long as there was occasion; and had not the divine presence, of which the ark was a
token, been their security, the waters would have returned upon them and buried them.
there the priests were appointed to stand still, As they made a bold step when they set
the first foot into Jordan, so now they made a bold stand when they tarried longest in
Jordan; but they knew they carried their own protection with them.
Ministers in times of peril should be examples of courage and confidence in the divine
goodness. It was to encourage the faith of the people, that they might go triumphantly
into Canaan, and fear no evil, no, not in this valley of the shadow of death (for so the
divided river was), being assured of Gods presence, which interceded between them
and the greatest danger, between them and the proud waters, which otherwise had
gone over their souls. Thus in the greatest dangers the saints are comforted with his rod
and his staff, Ps. 23:4.
Question: What does the Lord is My Shepherd personally mean to you?
20

Joshua 4 Scripture Reading New King James Version (NKJV)
The Memorial Stones
4 And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan,
that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying:
2
Take for yourselves twelve men from the
people, one man from every tribe,
3
and command them, saying, Take for yourselves
twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the
priests feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging
place where you lodge tonight.
4
Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of
Israel, one man from every tribe;
5
and Joshua said to them: Cross over before the ark
of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone
on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,
6
that this
may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, What do
these stones mean to you?
7
Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan
were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the
Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial
to the children of Israel forever.
8
And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve
stones from the midst of the Jordan, as the LORD had spoken to Joshua, according to
the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the
place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
9
Then Joshua set up twelve stones
in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of
the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.
10
So the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was
finished that the LORD had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all
that Moses had commanded Joshua; and the people hurried and crossed over.
11
Then
it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over, that the ark of the
LORD and the priests crossed over in the presence of the people.
12
And the men of
Reuben, the men of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the
children of Israel, as Moses had spoken to them.
13
About forty thousand prepared for
war crossed over before the LORD for battle, to the plains of Jericho.
14
On that day the
LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they had feared
Moses, all the days of his life.
15
Then the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,
16
Command the priests who bear the ark of
the Testimony to come up from the Jordan.
17
Joshua therefore commanded the
priests, saying, Come up from the Jordan.
18
And it came to pass, when the priests
who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD had come from the midst of the Jordan,
and the soles of the priests feet touched the dry land, that the waters of the Jordan
returned to their place and overflowed all its banks as before.
21

19
Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they
camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.
20
And those twelve stones which they
took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal.
21
Then he spoke to the children of
Israel, saying: When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What are
these stones?
22
then you shall let your children know, saying, Israel crossed over this
Jordan on dry land;
23
for the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before
you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He
dried up before us until we had crossed over,
24
that all the peoples of the earth may
know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God
forever.
JOSHUA CHAPTER 4 BIBLE SUDY Matthew Henry
We may well imagine how busy Joshua and all the men of war were while they were
passing over Jordan, when besides their own marching into an enemys country, and in
the face of the enemy, they had their wives, and children, and families, their cattle, and
tents, and all their effects, bag and baggage. So every man must needs have his head
full of care and his hands full of business, and Joshua more than any of them. And yet,
in the midst of all his hurry, care must be taken to complete the memorial of this
wondrous work of God. How much we have to do the business for ourselves and our
families, we must not neglect nor omit what we have to do for the glory of God and the
serving of his honor, for that is our best business.
Question: Joshua did not leave out any age group in this crossing of the Jordan. It was
important enough to include all. In doing our work for God, how may this cause family
conflict at times? What do we do in situations when these times arise in our lives?
God gave orders for the preparing of this memorial. Had Joshua done it without divine
direction, it might have looked like something to continue his own name and honor, nor
would it have commanded such a sacred regard for future generations; however, God
himself appointed it. Gods works of wonder ought to be kept in everlasting
remembrance for the preserving of the memorial of them. Note: Are we too busy to take
time to build our own memorial to Gods power? Some of the Israelites that passed over
Jordan perhaps were so little affected with this great favor of God to them, that they felt
no concern to have it remembered; while others, it may be, were so much affected with
it, and had such deep impressions made upon them by it, that they thought there
needed no memorial of it to be erected. The heart and tongue of every Israelite in every
age would be a living lasting monument of it. But God, knowing their frame, and how apt
they had been soon to forget his works, ordered an means for the keeping of this in
remembrance to all generations. It would likewise serve to confirm the proof of it to
those who in after-ages might question the truth.
Question: God had done a great thing here and wanted future generations to
remember this event. What are ways that we can remember those things that God has
done for us in the past?
22

When all the people had clean passed over Jordan.not even the feeble, that were the
furthest back of them were left behind. God had done his work completely, and every
Israelite got safe into Canaan. Then God spoke unto Joshua to provide materials for this
monument. When Joshua was ordained by to this great trust, God appointed that
Eleazar should ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim, and at his word Joshua
and all the children of Israel must go out and come in, Num. 27:21. 2. One man out of
each tribe, and he a chosen man, must be employed to prepare materials for this
monument, that each tribe might have the story told them by one of themselves, and
each tribe might contribute something to the glory of God thereby (Josh. 4:2, 4): Out of
ever tribe a man. Not the Levites only, but every Israelite must, in his place, help to
make known to the sons of men Gods mighty acts, Ps. 145:12. The two tribes, though
seated already in their possession, yet, sharing in the mercy, must lend a hand to the
memorial of it. The stones that must be set up for this memorial are ordered to be taken
out of the midst of the channel (where, probably, there lay abundance of great stones),
and as near as might be from the very place where the priests stood with the ark, Josh.
4:3, 5. This intended monument deserved to be made of stones curiously cut with the
finest and most exquisite art, but these stones out of the bottom of the river were more
natural and more apt indications of the miracle.
Questions: Notice that God included every tribe to be a part of this remembrance. Why
do you think this was so? What is the purpose today of including many people in the
church in a particular project? What about including or leaving out some family
members or church folks in events?
In the institution of signs, God always chose that which was most proper and significant,
rather than that which is arrogant; for God hath chosen the foolish things of the world.
These twelve men, after they got over Jordan, must be sent back to the place where the
ark stood, being permitted to come near it (which others might not) for this service:
Pass over before the ark (Josh. 4:5), that is, into the presence of the ark, which now
stands in the midst of Jordan, and thence get these stones. The use of these stones is
here appointed for a sign (Josh. 4:6), a memorial, Josh. 4:7. They would give occasion
to the children to ask their parents in time to come, How came these stones are herer?
(probably the land was not stony), and then the parents would inform them, as they
themselves had been informed, that in this place Jordan was divided by the almighty
power of God, to give Israel passage into Canaan, as Joshua enlarges on this head,
Josh. 4:22-24
According to these orders the thing was done. 1. Twelve stones were taken up out of
the midst of Jordan, and carried in the sight of the people to the place where they had
their head-quarters that night, Josh. 4:8. It is probable that the stones they took were as
big as they could well carry, and as near as might be of a size and shape. By these
stones which they were ordered to take up God let them enter and take possession;
(Josh. 4:8), because they were the representatives of their individual tribes. In reference
to this, we may observe that when the Lord Jesus, our Joshua, having overcome the
sharpness of death and dried up that Jordan, had opened the kingdom of heaven to all
believers, he appointed his twelve apostles according to the number of the tribes of
23

Israel, by the memorial of the gospel to spread the knowledge of this to remote places
and future ages. 2. Other twelve stones (probably much larger than the other, for we
read not that they were each of them one mans load) were set up in the midst of Jordan
(Josh. 4:9), piled up so high in a heap or pillar as that the top of it might be seen above
the water when the river was low, or seen in the water when it was clear, or at least the
noise of commotion of the water passing over it would be observable, and the crew
would avoid it, as they do a rock. Some way or other, it is likely, it was visible, so as to
notify the very place where the ark stood, and to serve for a duplicate to the other
monument, which was to set up on dry land in Gilgal, for the confirming of its testimony
and the preserving of its tradition. The sign being doubled, no doubt the thing was
certain.
Questions: Do you have traditions that you carry on in your family as the men did with
the stones here to remind them in generations to come of this miracle?
Verses 2024
The twelve stones which were laid down in Gilgal (Josh. 4:8) are here set up either one
upon another, yet so as that they might be distinctly counted, or one by another in rows;
for after they were fixed they are not called a heap of stones, but these stones.
l.It is here taken for granted that future generations would enquire into the meaning of
them, supposing them intended for a memorial: Your children shall ask their fathers (for
who else should they ask?) What mean these stones? Notes, Those that will be wise
when they are old must be inquisitive when they are young. Our Lord Jesus, though he
had in himself the fullness of knowledge, has by his example taught children and young
people to hear and ask questions, Luke 2:46. Perhaps when John was baptizing in
Jordan at Bethabara (the house of passage, where the people passed over) he pointed
at these very stones, while saying (Matt. 3:9) God is able of these stones (which were at
first set up by the twelve tribes) to raise up children unto Abraham. The stones being the
memorial of the miracle, the childrens question gave occasion for the improvement of it;
but our Saviour says (Luke 10:40), If the children should hold their peace, the stones
would immediately cry out; for one way or other the Lord will be glorified in his works of
wonder.
Question: We may find there are times to hold our peace and other times we need to
do more. What is the difference between doing right and doing well?
II. The parents are here directed what answer to give to this enquiry (Josh. 4:22): You
shall let your children know that which you have yourselves learned from the written
word and from your fathers. Note, It is the duty of parents to acquaint their children
betimes (early) with the word and works of God, that they may be trained up in the way
they should go.
1. They must let their children know that Jordan was driven back before Israel, who
went through it upon dry land, and that this was the very place where they passed over.
24

They saw how deep and strong a stream Jordan now was, but the divine power put a
stop to it, even when it overflowed all its banksand this for you, that live so long
after. Note, Gods mercies to our ancestors were mercies to us; and we should take all
occasions to revive the remembrance of the great things God did for our fathers in the
days of old. The place thus marked would be a memorandum to them: Israel came over
this Jordan. A local memory would be of use to them, and the sight of the place
reminded them of that which was done there; and not only the inhabitants of that
country, but strangers and travelers, would look upon these stones and receive
instruction. Many, upon the sight of the stones, would go to their Bibles, and there read
the history of this wondrous work; and some perhaps, upon reading the history, though
living at a distance, would have the curiosity to go and see the stones.
2. They must take that occasion to tell their children of the drying up of the Red Sea
forty years before: As the Lord your God did to the Red Sea. Note. (1.) It greatly
magnifies later mercies to compare them with former mercies, for, by making the
comparison, it appears that god is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. (2.) Later
mercies should bring to remembrance former mercies, and revive our thankfulness for
them.
Question: How or when do you continue to retell your story to others of what God has
done for you in the years past? Everyone has a story; what is your story?
3. They must put them in the way of making a good use of these works of wonder, the
knowledge whereof was thus carefully transmitted to them, Josh. 4:24. (1.) The power
of God was hereby magnified. All the world was or might be convinced that the hand of
the Lord is mighty, that nothing is too hard for God to do; nor can any power, no, not
that of nature itself, obstruct what God will effect. The deliverances of Gods people are
instructions to all people, and fair warnings not to resist with Omnipotence. (2.) The
people of God were engaged and encouraged to persevere in his service That you
might fear the Lord your God, and consequently do your duty to him, and this for ever,
or all days (margin), every day, all the days of your lives, and your seed throughout
your generations. The remembrance of this wonderful work should effectually restrain
them from the worship of other gods, and constrain them to abide and abound in the
service of their own God. Note, In all the instructions and information parents give their
children, they should have this chiefly in their eye, to teach and engage them to fear
God for ever. Serious godliness is the best learning.
Question: How can we best teach our children and grandchildren these Truths? Our
church children?




25

Joshua 5 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Second Generation Circumcised

So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan,
and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried
up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over,
that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the
children of Israel.

2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the
sons of Israel again the second time. 3 So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and
circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. 4. And this is the reason why
Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all
the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of
Egypt. 5 For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born
in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. 6
For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who
were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey
the voice of the Lordto whom the Lord swore that He would not show them the land
which the Lord had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, a land flowing with
milk and honey. 7 Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their
place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.

8 So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their
places in the camp till they were healed. 9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, This day I
have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. Therefore the name of the place is
called Gilgal to this day.

10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth
day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. 11 And they ate of the produce of
the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the
very same day. 12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce
of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the
land of Canaan that year.

The Commander of the Army of the Lord

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked,
and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua
went to Him and said to Him, Are You for us or for our adversaries? 14 So He said,
No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come. And Joshua fell on
his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, What does my Lord say to His
servant? 15 Then the Commander of the Lords army said to Joshua, Take your
sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.

26

Joshua Bible Study Notes Ch. 5 Matthew Henry, NIV Study Bible

Verses 1-9 Commentary
The Amorites and Canaanites were the two major groups living in Canaan at the time of
Israels invasion. The Amorite gods infected the Israelites and they eventually turned
away from the true God eventually bringing their downfall. The Israelites spent 39 years
in the dessert unnecessarily because they were afraid of the Canaanites.
Question: How often do we fear and worry due to not trusting God?
A vast show, no doubt, the numerous camp of Israel made in the plains of Jericho,
where now they had pitched their tents. That which had long been the church in the
wilderness has now come up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved and terrible
as an army with banners. How terrible she was in the eyes of her enemies we are here
told, Joshua 5:1. How fair and clear she was made in the eyes of her friends, by the
rolling away of the reproach of Egypt, we are told.

Here is the fright which the Canaanites were put into by their miraculously passing over
Jordan, Joshua 5:1. The news of it was soon dispersed all the country over, not only as
a prodigy in itself, but as an alarm to all the kings and kingdoms of Canaan. Now, as
when Babylon was taken, One post runs to meet another, and one messenger to meet
another, to carry the amazing tidings to every corner of their land, Jeremiah 51:31. And
here we are told what impressions the tidings made upon the kings of this land: Their
heart melted like wax before the fire, neither was there spirit in them anymore. This
reveals that, though the heart of the people generally had fainted before.
The kings had till now kept up their spirits pretty well, being in possession, their country
overcrowded, and their cities strengthened, they should be able to stand against the
invaders. When they heard they had crossed over Jordan, they realized the defense of
their country was broken through. They heard how they had come over by a miracle,
God fighting for them, and their hearts failed them, they gave up the cause for gone,
and were now at their wits' end. They had reason enough to be afraid Israel itself was a
forbidding body, and much more so when God was its head, a God of almighty power.
What can make head against these people if even the Jordan be driven back before
them? God impressed these fears upon them, and dispirited them, as he had promised
(Exodus 23:27), I will send my fear before thee. God can make the wicked to fear where
no fear is (Psalm 53:5), much more where there is such cause for fear as was here. He
that made the soul can, when he pleases, make his sword thus to approach to it and kill
it with his terrors.
Question: How do you pray when you are facing things that seem frightening to you, or
just a real concern that is out of your hands?

The opportunity which this gave to the Israelites to circumcise those among them that
were uncircumcised: At that time (Joshua 5:2), when the country about them was in that
great consternation, God ordered Joshua to circumcise the children of Israel, for at that
time it might be done with safety even in an enemy's country their hearts being melted,
their hands were tied, that they could not take this advantage against them as Simeon
27

and Levi did against the Shechemites, when they came upon them while they were sore
killing them because of the sin against their sister. Joshua could not be sure of this, and
therefore, if he had ordered this general circumcision just at this time of his own
authority, he might have been criticized as being unwise since it was not seasonable at
this time, and might have been of dangerous consequence. However when God
commanded him to do it, he must not consult with flesh and blood for God that told them
to do it would, no doubt, protect them and bear them out in it.
Question: When are there time for using wisdom in situations and other times for
obeying God when we face difficult decisions? What is the difference?
All that came out of Egypt were circumcised, Joshua 5:5. While they had peace in Egypt
doubtless they circumcised their children the eighth day according to the law. But after
they began to be oppressed, especially when the order was made for the destruction of
their male infants (Passover) the administration of this ordinance was interrupted. Many
of them were uncircumcised either during the time of the three days' darkness, or a year
after, just before their eating the second Passover at Mount Sinai (Numbers 9:2) as
many think. All that were born since that fatal day on which God swore in his wrath that
none of that generation should enter into his rest were uncircumcised.

God commanded it to Abraham, under a very severe penalty, that every man-child of
his seed should be circumcised on the eighth day? Genesis 17:9-14. Was it not the seal
of the everlasting covenant? Was not so great a stress laid upon it when they were
coming out of Egypt that when, immediately after the first Passover, the law concerning
that feast was made perpetual, this was one clause of it, that no uncircumcised person
should eat of it, but should be deemed as a stranger? To have all their children that
were born for thirty-eight years together left uncircumcised is unaccountable. So great
an omission could not be general but by divine direction.
Question: What was the meaning behind circumcision?
The rite of circumcision marked Israels position as God covenant people. When God
made the original covenant with Abraham, he required that each male be circumcised
as a sign of cutting off the old life and beginning a new life with God. Gen 17:13. Other
cultures used it as a sign of entering adulthood.
Other thoughts: It was appointed to be a mark of distinction between the Israelites and
other nations, and therefore in the wilderness, where they were so perfectly separated
from others, here was no occasion for it. Some think that they did not look upon the
precept of circumcision as obligatory till they came to settle in Canaan for in the
covenant made with them at Mount Sinai nothing was said about circumcision. It was
requisite that children after they were circumcised should rest for some time while they
were sore, and stirring them might be dangerous to them God therefore would have
mercy and not sacrifice. Sometimes they staid a year in a place (Numbers 9:22), if not
much longer, and in their removals the little children, though sore, might be wrapped so
warm, and carried so easy, as to receive no damage. Circumcision was originally a seal
of the promise of the land of Canaan, as we observed before. It was in the believing
hope of that good land that the patriarchs circumcised their children but when God had
28

sworn in his wrath that the men of was who came out of Egypt should never enter
Canaan, ( Joshua 5:6, reference being made to it), all that fell under that sentence, were
forbidden to circumcise their children, by which they were told they should never have
the benefit of that promise of which circumcision was the seal.
Questions: The question that came to my mind here is would we continue to service
God if there was no heaven? Would we service Him if there was no reward of some
kind? How difficult is it to continue working for the Lord and praying for our children,
when we may see nothing?
And this was such a significant indication of God's wrath as the breaking of the tables of
the covenant was when Israel had broken the covenant by making the golden calf. It is
probable the children of Caleb and Joshua circumcised, for they were excluded out of
that sentence. Of Caleb it is particularly said, to him will I give the land, and to his
children (Deuteronomy 1:36), which was the very promise that circumcision was the
seal of: and Joshua is here told to circumcise the people, not his own family. Whatever
the reason was, it seems that this great ordinance was omitted in Israel for almost forty
years together.

The orders given to Joshua for this general circumcision (Joshua 5:2): Circumcise again
the children of Israel, not the same person, but the body of the people. Why was this
ordered to be done now? (1.) Because the promise of circumcision was instituted to be
the seal. (2.) Because now the seal of the covenant is revived again. But why was it not
done sooner? Why not while they were resting some months in the plains of Moab?
Why not during the thirty days of their mourning for Moses? Why was it not deferred
longer, till they had made some progress in the conquest of Canaan, and had gained a
settlement there, at least till they had entrenched themselves, and fortified their camp?
Why must it be done the very next day after they had come over Jordan? Answer:
Because divine Wisdom saw that to be the fittest time, just when the forty years were
ended, and they had entered Canaan and the reasons which human wisdom would
have offered against it were easily overruled.
.[1.] God would hereby show that the camp of Israel was not governed by the ordinary
rules and measures of war, but by immediate direction from God, who by thus exposing
them, in the most dangerous moments, magnified his own power in protecting them
even then. And this great instance of security, in disabling themselves for action just
when they were entering upon action, proclaimed such confidence in the divine care for
their safety as would increase their enemies' fears.
[2.] God would rouse his people Israel against the difficulties they were now to
encounter, by confirming his covenant with them, which gave them unquestionable
assurance of victory and success, and the full possession of the land of promise.
[3.] God would teach them, and us with them, in all great undertakings to begin
with God, to make sure of his favor, by offering ourselves to him a living sacrifice
(for that was signified by the blood of circumcision), and then we may expect to
prosper in all we do. [4.] The
reviving of circumcision, after it had been so long disused, to remind them of that which
Moses had told them (Deuteronomy 21:8), that when they should have come over
29

Jordan they must not do as they had done in the wilderness, but must come under a
stricter discipline. It was said concerning many of the laws God had given them that
they must observe them in the land to which they were going, Deuteronomy 6:1,12:1.
[5.] This second circumcision, as it is here called, was typical of the spiritual
circumcision with which the Israel of God, when they enter into the gospel rest. It
points to Jesus as the true circumciser, the author of another circumcision than
that of the flesh, commanded by the law, even the circumcision of the heart
(Romans 2:29), called the circumcision of Christ, Colossians 2:11. (Holiness of
Heart) It was not necessary that it should be done by a priest or Levite, but any one
might be employed to do it.

The names given to the place where this was done, to perpetuate the memory of it. It
was called the hill of the foreskins, Joshua 5:3. Probably the foreskins that were cut off
were laid on a heap, and covered with earth, so that they made a little hillock. It was
called Gilgal, from a word which signifies to take away, from that which God said to
Joshua (Joshua 5:9), This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt. God is jealous
for the honor of his people. Their circumcision rolled away the reproach of Egypt. They
were hereby owned to be the free-born children of God, having the seal of the covenant
in their flesh, and so the reproach of their bondage in Egypt was removed. Now that
they were circumcised it was to be hoped they would be so entirely devoted to God that
the reproach of their affection to Egypt would be rolled away. Their coming safely to
Canaan rolled away the reproach of Egypt, and the wilderness had shut them in.
Exodus 14:3. Their wandering so long in the wilderness confirmed the reproach, but
now that they had entered Canaan in triumph that reproach was done away. When God
glorifies himself in perfecting the salvation of his people he not only silences the
reproach of their enemies, but rolls it upon themselves.
Question: In what ways does God roll away for us as Christians as we honor Him?

Verses 10-12 Commentary - The Ceasing of the Manna.
We may well imagine that the people of Canaan were astonished, and that when they
observed the motions of the enemy they could not but think them very strange. When
soldiers take the field they are apt to think themselves excused from religious exercises
(they have not time nor thought to attend to them), yet Joshua opens the campaign with
one act of devotion after another. That is likely to end well which begins with God.
Prayer is not an alternative to preparation, and faith is not a substitute for hard work.
God can provide for His people, but He also expects them to use their own talents and
resources to provide for themselves. If prayers have gone unanswered, perhaps what
you need is within your reach. Pray instead for the wisdom to see it and to energy and
motivation to do it.
Question: In what way have you noticed a difference in your day when you put God first
than when you did not begin your day with time with Him?

I. A solemn Passover is kept, the fourteenth day of the first month, and in the same
place where they were circumcised, Joshua 5:10. While they were wandering in the
30

wilderness they were denied the benefit and comfort of this ordinance, as a further
token of God's displeasure but now, in answer to the prayer of Moses, Psalm 90:15,
God comforted them again, after he had afflicted them, and now that joyful ordinance is
revived again. Now that they had entered into Canaan it was very appropriate to
remember those wonderful works of divine power and goodness by which they were
brought out of Egypt. The Passover followed immediately after the circumcision. When
those that received the word were baptized, immediately we find them breaking bread,
Acts 2:41,42. God gave them an early performance of that promise that when they went
up to keep the feasts and their land would be taken under the special protection of the
divine Providence. Exodus 34:24, Neither shall any man desire thy land. He now
prepared a table before them in the presence of their enemies, Psalm 23:5.
Question: What promise(s) do we have in the Bible if we give honor accordingly?

II. Provision was made for their camp from the corn of the land, and the ceasing of the
manna, Joshua 5:11,12. Manna was a wonderful mercy to them when they needed it.
But it was the mark of a wilderness state; it was the food of children and it would be
more acceptable to them to eat of the corn of the land, as they were now furnished with.

1. (1.) After the Passover they were to keep the feast of unleavened bread, which they
could not do when they had nothing but manna to live upon. But now they found old
corn enough in the barns of the Canaanites to supply them plenty. (2.) On the morrow
after the passover-sabbath they were to wave the bundle of first-fruits before the Lord,
Leviticus 23:10,11. And this they were particularly ordered to do when they came into
the land. Thus they were well provided for, both with old and new corn. And as soon as
the fruits of this land came to their hands they had an opportunity of honoring God with
them. Some believe from Amos 5:25 that after the sentence passed upon them there
were no sacrifices offered till they came to Canaan, and consequently no Passover was
kept.
2. Notice the ceasing of the manna as soon as ever they had eaten the old corn of the
land, (1.) To show that it did not come by chance or common providence, as snow or
hail does, but by divine wisdom and goodness for, as it came just when they needed it,
so it continued as long as they had occasion for it and no longer. (2.) To teach us not to
expect extraordinary supplies when supplies may be had in an ordinary way. If God had
dealt with Israel, the manna would have ceased when they called it light bread but as
long as they needed it God continued it, though they despised it, and now that they no
longer needed it God withdrew it. Perhaps some of them desired it. He is a wise Father,
who knows the necessities of his children, and accommodates his gifts to them, not to
their humors. The Word and ordinances of God are spiritual manna, with which God
nourishes his people in this wilderness, and, though often lost, yet they are continued
while we are here but when we come to the heavenly Canaan this manna will cease, for
we shall no longer have need of it.
Question: As long as Christ was on earth, the disciples had all they needed; but when
he returned to heaven he left the Holy Spirit to guide them in all things. How does this
apply to us today in the way God deals with us in our Christian journey? When Christ
first saves us, what is the difference soon after in how we may feel? Why is this
31

necessary?

Verses 13-15 Commentary - The Captain of the Lord's Host. B. C. 1451

I. God made himself known to Joshua. Note: We may expect the discoveries of the
divine grace when we are found in the way of our duty and are diligent and sincere in
our attendance on holy ordinances.

II. The place where he had this vision. It was in Jericho, so the word is in it by faith and
hope. It seems, he was all alone, fearless of danger, because sure of the divine
protection. Some think he was meditating and praying and to those who are so
employed God often graciously manifests himself. Or perhaps there he was to take a
view of the city, to observe its defenses, and plan how to attack it and perhaps he was
at a loss within himself how to make his approaches, when God came and directed him.
Note, God will help those that help themselves.
Question: How can we as people misuse the statement, God will help those that help
themselves?

III. The appearance itself. Joshua, as is usual with those that are full of thought and
care, was looking downwards, his eyes fixed on the ground, when of a sudden he was
surprised with the appearance of a man who stood before him at some little distance,
which obliged him to lift up his eyes. Joshua 5:13. He appeared to him as a man, but a
significant man, and one fit to be taken notice of. NIV Study believes that the angel was
of superior rank, the commander of the Lords army. Some say he was an appearance
of God in the human form. 1. Other thoughts: We have reason to think that this man
was the Son of God, who, before he assumed the human nature, frequently appeared in
a human shape. He here appeared as a soldier, with his sword drawn in his hand. To
Abraham in his tent he appeared as a traveler; to Joshua in the field as a man of war.
Christ will be to his people what their faith expects and desires. Christ had his sword
drawn, which served, (1.) To justify the war Joshua was engaging in, and to show him
that it was of God, who gave him commission to kill and slay. If the sovereign draw the
sword, this proclaims war, and authorizes the subject to do so too. The sword is then
well drawn when Christ draws it. (2.) To encourage him to carry it on with strength for
Christ's sword drawn in his hand signifies how ready he is for the defense and salvation
of his people.

IV. The bold question with which Joshua approached him and asked, Art thou for us or
for our adversaries, which suggests his readiness to entertain him if he were for them,
and to fight him if he were against them. This shows, 1. His great courage and resolve.
He was not ruffled by the suddenness of the appearance, nor daunted with the majesty
and bravery which no doubt appeared in the countenance of the person he saw. God
had instructed Joshua to be courageous, and by this it appears that he was by Gods
word which requires his people through the work of his grace in them. 2. His great
concern for the people and their cause so heartily has he embarked in the interests of
Israel that none shall stand by him with the face of a man but he will know whether he
32

be a friend or a foe. It should seem, he suspected him for an enemy, a Goliath that had
come to defy the armies of the living God, and to give him a challenge. Sometimes we
look upon something that as against us which is actually for us.
Question: Why do we need to be careful about being quick in our judgment of others?

V. The account he gave of himself, Joshua 5:14. "Nay, not for your adversaries, you
may be sure, but as captain of the host of the Lord have I now come, not only for you as
a friend, but over you as commander in chief." Perhaps Christ is called the captain of
our salvation (Hebrews 2:10), and a leader and commander to the people, Isaiah 55:4.
Those cannot but be victorious that have such a captain. He now came as captain to
review the troops, to animate them, and to give the necessary orders for the besieging
of Jericho. Christ must be the captain in whatever ministry that we participate in the
church. He is the true Worship Leader in the church that allows him to be.

VI. 1. Joshua paid homage to him: He fell on his face to the earth and did worship.
Joshua was himself general of the forces of Israel, and yet he was far from looking with
jealousy upon this stranger, who produced a commission as captain of the Lord's host
above him he did not offer to dispute his claims, but cheerfully submitted to him as his
commander. It will become the greatest of men to be humble and reverent in their
addresses to God. 2. He begged to receive commands and directions from him: What
saith my Lord unto his servant? His former question was not more bold and soldier-like
than this was pious and saint-like nor was it any belittling to the greatness of Joshua's
spirit thus to humble himself when he had to do with God: even crowned heads cannot
bow too low before the throne of the Lord Jesus, who is King of kings, Rev. xix. 16. The
foundation of all acceptable obedience is laid in a sincere dedication of ourselves, as
servants to Jesus Christ as our Lord, Psalm 16:2. The enquiry Joshua makes: What
saith my Lord? Implies an earnest desire to know the will of Christ, and a cheerful
readiness and determination to do it.

VII. The further reverence which this divine captain required from Joshua (Joshua 5:15):
Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, in token of reverence and respect (which with us are
signified by uncovering the head), and as an acknowledgment of a divine presence.
Outward expressions of inward reverence and a religious awe of God is required of us,
whenever we approach to him in solemn ordinances. Bishop Patrick well observes here
that the very same orders that God gave to Moses at the bush, when he was sending
him to bring Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 3:5), he here gives to Joshua, for the confirming
of his faith in the promise he had lately given him, that as he had been with Moses so
he would be with him, Joshua 1:5. And (lastly) Hereby he prepares him to receive the
instructions he was about to give him concerning the siege of Jericho, which this captain
of the Lord's host had now come to give Israel possession of.
Note: Respect for God is just as important as it was in Joshuas time. However,
removing shoes is no longer our cultural way of showing it.
Question: In what ways can we show a reverence and respect to God, in the church, in
the home?
33

Joshua Ch. 6 (City of Jericho)
The city of Jericho walls were 25 feet high and 20 feet deep. It was built thousands of
years before Joshua was born. It was a symbol of power and strength. It was about 7
acres so the walk would not take very long. The number 7 was significant in the bible
and signifies here completion. On the 7
th
day they marched around the walls 7 times
symbolizing completion of the task. Gods command that they offer the city of Jericho to
Him is similar as offering the first fruits of the harvest. Jericho being completely
destroyed as the walls fell down flat illustrates Gods complete mastery over all His
peoples opponents. The harlot who was saved became a member of the family line of
Jesus. It was apparent that God was with Joshua and the news spread far and wide.
Today, we do not need to be afraid of the power of a defeated enemy Satan. We can
overcome Satan through Christs power. God wants us to be pure and clean. We must
reject anything that would hinder our walk with him or that remind us of where we came
from.
Question: Why do you think God gave Joshua all the specific instructions for destroying
the city of Jericho and almost everyone within the city?
Joshua 7 New King James Version (NKJV)
Defeat at Ai
7 But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for
Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi,
[a]
the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took
of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel.
2
Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side
of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, Go up and spy out the country. So the men went
up and spied out Ai.
3
And they returned to Joshua and said to him, Do not let all the
people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not
weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.
4
So about three thousand men
went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai.
5
And the men of Ai
struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as
Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people
melted and became like water.
6
Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the
LORD until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
7
And
Joshua said, Alas, Lord GOD, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at
allto deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been
content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!
8
O Lord, what shall I say when Israel
turns its back before its enemies?
9
For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the
land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will
You do for Your great name?
The Sin of Achan
34

10
So the LORD said to Joshua: Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face?
11
Israel has
sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For
they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived;
and they have also put it among their own stuff.
12
Therefore the children of Israel could
not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because
they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless
you destroy the accursed from among you.
13
Get up, sanctify the people, and say,
Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: There is
an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until
you take away the accursed thing from among you.
14
In the morning therefore you
shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD
takes shall come according to families; and the family which the LORD takes shall come
by households; and the household which the LORD takes shall come man by man.
15
Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire,
he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and
because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.
16
So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of
Judah was taken.
17
He brought the clan of Judah, and he took the family of the
Zarhites; and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man, and Zabdi was taken.
18
Then he brought his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of
Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
19
Now Joshua said to Achan,
My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him,
and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.
20
And Achan answered
Joshua and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what
I have done:
21
When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two
hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them
and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the
silver under it.
22
So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his
tent, with the silver under it.
23
And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought
them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.
24
Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the
garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep,
his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor.
25
And
Joshua said, Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day. So all
Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned
them with stones.
26
Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this
day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that
place has been called the Valley of Achor
[b]
to this day.
Chapter 7 Study Guide

35

Commentary on J oshua 7:1-5
Achan took some of the spoil of Jericho. The love of the world is that root of bitterness,
which of all others is most hardly rooted up. We should take heed of sin ourselves, lest
by it many be defiled. Hebrews 12:15; and take heed of having fellowship with sinners,
lest we share their guilt. It concerns us to watch over one another to prevent sin,
because others' sins may be to our damage. The easy conquest of Jericho excited
contempt of the enemy, and a disposition to expect the Lord to do all for them without
their using proper means. Thus men abuse the doctrines of Divine grace, and the
promises of God, into excuses for their own laziness and self-indulgence. We are to
work out our own salvation, though it is God that works in us. It was a dear victory to the
Canaanites, whereby Israel was awakened and reformed, and reconciled to their God,
and the people of Canaan hardened to their own ruin.
Questions: 1. How can we experience the blessings of God? 2. What does it mean to
have no fellowship with sinners? 3. What does it mean to work out your own salvation?
Commentary on J oshua 7:6-9
Joshua's concern for the honor of God, more than even for the fate of Israel, was the
language of the Spirit of adoption. However, he did not consult God, but relied on his
own strength to defeat the small city of Ai. Only after defeat, he laments their defeat, as
he feared it would reflect on God's wisdom and power, his goodness and faithfulness.
Joshua and the elders tore their clothes and sprinkled dust on their heads as a sign of
deep mourning before God. We cannot at any time urge a better plea than this, Lord,
what wilt thou do for thy great name? Let God be glorified in all, and then welcome his
whole will.
Questions: 1. How have you experienced the lives of people begin to fall apart and
they turn to a Christian? Why? What did you do or say? 2. What is the danger of
becoming comfortable with success? 3. What is the importance of begin honest with
God in prayer?
Commentary on J oshua 7:10-15
God awakens Joshua to examination, by telling him that when this accursed thing was
put away, all would be well. Times of danger and trouble should be times of reformation.
We should look at home, into our own hearts, into our own houses, and make diligent
search to find out if there be not some accursed thing there, which God sees and
abhors; some secret lust, some unlawful gain, some undue withholding from God or
from others. We cannot prosper, until the accursed thing be destroyed out of our hearts,
and put out of our habitations and our families, and forsaken in our lives. When the sin
of sinners is confessed, God is to be acknowledged. With a certain and sure judgment,
the righteous God does and will distinguish between the innocent and the guilty. God
needed the entire army to be committed to the job they had to do. God would not
36

protect them until the sin was removed. God is not content with our doing right part of
the time.
Questions: 1. How can we, today and the church reform to Gods ways and put way
things that may need removed? 2. What things does Gods church contain in general
that may need reviewed for having His blessing on services? 3. How can we have
Gods blessing in our homes? 4. Should sin ever be overlooked in the church?
Commentary on J oshua 7:16-26
God has many ways of bringing to light the hidden works of darkness. Achan's sin
began in the eye. He saw these fine things, as Eve saw the forbidden fruit. They that
would be kept from sinful actions, must check themselves from sinful desires,
particularly the desire of worldly wealth. Had Achan looked upon these things with an
eye of faith, he would have seen they were accursed things, and would have dreaded
them; but looking on them with an eye of greed only, he saw them, and coveted them.
When he had committed the sin, he tried to hide it. As soon as he had got this plunder,
it became his burden, and he dared not to use his ill-gotten treasure. So differently do
objects of temptation appear at a distance, to what they do when they have been
gotten. That which is pleasing in the commission, is bitter in the reflection. See how they
will be deceived that rob God. Sin is a very troublesome thing, not only to a sinner
himself, but to all about him. Achan perished not alone in his sin. His sons and
daughters were put to death with him. It is probable that they helped to hide the things;
they must have known of them. What fatal consequences follow, even in this world, to
the sinner himself, and to all belonging him the family! One sinner destroys much
good. Achan did not take God seriously.
Questions: How are others affected by our sin? Why did God have the whole family
killed? Hoe does one small sin affect the whole body?









37


Review: Joshua Chapter 7-8
Chapters 7 and 8 give us the bittersweet story of Ai, the next city in the line of conquest.
It was such a small city and looked so easy to overcome that only a few thousand were
sent to capture it. They suffered a serious defeat, and about 36 Israelites were killed. As
Joshua inquired before the Lord the reason for this, God told him that the defeat
resulted from the disobedience of one man, Achan, of the tribe of Judah, who had
hidden in his tent some silver, a wedge of gold and a garment from Babylon. When the
sin of Achan was discovered, he and his family was stoned to death with then made it
possible to attack the city of Ai, this time by the strategy of ambush. The city fell and all
the inhabitants were put to the sword. We must be ready to take up battle against the
evil of Satan by the power of the Spirit, for "the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,
and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh" (Galatians. 5:16). Punishment will
follow us if we fail to put aside sin.
Joshua 9 New King James Version (Scripture Reading)
The Treaty with the Gibeonites
9 And it came to pass when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan, in the hills
and in the lowland and in all the coasts of the Great Sea toward Lebanonthe Hittite,
the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusiteheard about it,
2
that they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord.
3
But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai,
4
they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old
sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended,
5
old and patched sandals on
their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry
and moldy.
6
And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the
men of Israel, We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with
us.
7
Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites, Perhaps you dwell among us; so how
can we make a covenant with you?
8
But they said to Joshua, We are your servants.
And Joshua said to them, Who are you, and where do you come from?
9
So they said to him: From a very far country your servants have come, because of the
name of the LORD your God; for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt,
10
and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordanto
Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth.
11
Therefore our
elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, Take provisions with
you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say to them, We are your servants; now
therefore, make a covenant with us.
12
This bread of ours we took hot for our provision
from our houses on the day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and
moldy.
13
And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn; and
38

these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long
journey.
14
Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of
the LORD.
15
So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let
them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.
16
And it happened at the
end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they
were their neighbors who dwelt near them.
17
Then the children of Israel journeyed and
came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth,
and Kirjath Jearim.
18
But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of
the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation
complained against the rulers.
19
Then all the rulers said to all the congregation, We have sworn to them by the LORD
God of Israel; now therefore, we may not touch them.
20
This we will do to them: We will
let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them.
21
And the rulers said to them, Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water
carriers for all the congregation, as the rulers had promised them.
22
Then Joshua
called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, Why have you deceived us, saying, We
are very far from you, when you dwell near us?
23
Now therefore, you are cursed, and
none of you shall be freed from being slaveswoodcutters and water carriers for the
house of my God.
24
So they answered Joshua and said, Because your servants were clearly told that the
LORD your God commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy
all the inhabitants of the land from before you; therefore we were very much afraid for
our lives because of you, and have done this thing.
25
And now, here we are, in your
hands; do with us as it seems good and right to do to us.
26
So he did to them, and
delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they did not kill them.
27
And that day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation
and for the altar of the LORD, in the place which He would choose, even to this day.
Chapter 9
One of the cities that lay in the immediate path of Joshua and his armies was the city of
Gibeon, near present-day Jerusalem. After the news about their victory became
widespread, the Israelites experienced opposition in two forms: direct (Kings in the area
began to unite against them), and indirect (the Gibeonites resorted to deception). Afraid
for their lives, the Gibeonites resorted to a ruse to trick the Israelites into making a treaty
of peace with them, which God had strictly forbidden should be done with any of the
inhabitants of the land. Had they been far away it would have been acceptable to make
a treaty of peace however since they were closer, God had forbidden this. The Hivites
(people of Gibeon) were among those whom God wanted destroyed.
Discussion: What opposition may we face as we obey Gods commands? How do we
guard against these pressures?
39

When the leaders sampled these mens provisions, they saw that the bread was dry and
moldy, the wineskins were cracked, and the clothes and sandals worn out. But they did
not see through the deception. When later, upon attacking Gibeon, Joshua learned of
their deceit, the worst he could do to them was to make them hewers of wood and
carriers of water. The peace treaty seemed innocent enough, so Joshua and the
leaders made this decision on their own. By failing to seek Gods guidance and rushing
with their own plans, they had to deal with angry people and an awkward alliance. Once
again they had forgotten to go to God. We too must seek godly counsel, the Scriptures,
and God in prayer in order to make right decisions.
Discussion: What trouble may we face when we get in a hurry and do not take time to
pray and seek the will of God? How often do we fail in learning our lessons the first
time, and repeat the same mistakes again - possibly many times.
Joshua and his advisors had made a mistake. But because they had given an oath to
protect the Gibeonites, they would keep their word. The oath was not nullified by the
Gibeonites trickery. But God had commanded that oaths be kept, and breaking an oath
was serious. To take an oath was to give a sacred and unbreakable word to follow
through on what was promised. Swearing falsely was a grave sin.
Discussion: How does this encourage us to keep our word when we say we will do
something? How can we hinder our testimony by breaking promises or going back on
our word?
The kings of the Canaanite cities to the south now determined to combine their armies
for a united attack on Gibeon. This large city, thus attacked by their own allies,
immediately called upon Joshua for defense, due to the treaty of peace he had made
with them. Joshua being a man of integrity immediately responded to their help. By a
forced march from Gilgal, Joshua and his armies traveled by night and took the enemy
armies by surprise, throwing them into a panic.
Discussion: How willing would you be to help someone who had tricked or deceived
you? How willing are we to help those who make a mess of their lives without being
tempted to say, It was their own fault?
It was on this great occasion that Joshua prayed and asked for the lengthening of the
day that they might have needed time to accomplish the routing of the enemy. It is
recorded that the sun stood still over Gibeon and the moon over the valley of Aijalon for
almost the length of a day. Accompanying this, huge hailstones fell from the heavens,
killing more of the allied armies than even the Israelites themselves killed with the
sword. This event has been ridiculed by the critics for centuries, but impressive
evidence now has been discovered that the earth has in times past shifted on its axis,
and such a shift would account for the phenomenon recorded in Joshua. However done,
God used miraculous measures of intervention that turned the tide of battle for his
people.
40

Discussion: Symbolically, Satan will attempt to use circumstances in such a way as to
harass and frighten the Christian; how can we meet with these tactics?
With Gods help, Israel won the battle against the Amorite armies. Joshua told his men
to never be afraid because God has would give them similar victories over all their
enemies. The same God, who empowered Joshua and the people, is the same God we
serve today who will help us be victorious over our enemies and those who seek to
harm us. All credit is given to God.
After the battle of Gibeon the conquest of the south was soon accomplished. The cities
were taken one by one and the inhabitants slaughtered in obedience to the command of
God to eliminate the cities of the Canaanites in their entirety. On the defeat of the
northern kings, the entire land lay under the control of Israel. Gods promise to Joshua
had been fulfilled that "no man will be able to stand before him." We see here that the
three great enemies of the believer--the world, the flesh and the devil--are overcome by
the simple means of faith and obedience to the Word of the living God.
This first section of the book of Joshua is clearly designed to encourage us to
understand that a complete victory is possible over these three foes--the world, the flesh
and the devil. And though there are temporary failures (as at Ai) and partial
compromises (as with the Gibeonites), God will give us victory just as He conquered the
giants of the Israelites.
Next week will be our final study on the Book of Joshua.











41

JOSHUA BIBLE STUDY
Overview of Joshua Chapters 11 & 12
Jabin king of Hazor with many kingdoms in the north fight against Israel; Joshua leads
Israel in destroying these kingdoms, restricting the horses and burning the chariots.
Victory is thus complete over both north and south Canaan. List of kingdoms which
Israel defeated: first, many on east side of Jordan River (starting with lands of Sihon
and Og), then 31 kings on the west side in the promised land.
Obedience is a theme throughout the book of Joshua and he carefully obeyed all the
instructions given by God. Obedience is one aspect of our lives that we CAN control.
We cannot control our understanding because we do not always have the facts. We
cannot control how people treat us; however, we can control our choice to obey God.
Joshua followed every detail of Gods command to Moses. In comparison, starting a
new job will normally bring a new style and personality to that job. But starting
everything from scratch can make it difficult for an organization.
This conquest seemed to have happened quickly over so much land. However, Gods
workings in our lives can be slow.
Discussion: How might the workings of God be slow in individuals in contrast to the
seemingly quick workings for Joshua in the many conquests that were made in these
chapters?
Joshua Chapters 13-21
After seven years of battle, Israel gained control over the land. Joshua was well
advance in years (he was between 85-100 years of age), but God tells him there is
much land that remains to be conquered. The land was divided and allotted to the
tribes. Joshua dismisses the army, for it was now each tribes responsibility to clear out
the remaining enemies from their own areas. Joshua continues to encourage the people
to remain faithful to God so they can remain in the land. His work was not done. No
matter what age a person is, work for the Lord continues. Older people are filled with
wisdom and remain capable of serving and should be encouraged to do so. The
promise land obtained here was Israels earthy inheritance.
Discussion: What kind of inheritance does the Christian have in life to look forward to
by living a faithful life?
God knew the land that would be conquered and how it would take place. He knew their
future just as He knows our future. He knows what lies ahead of each one of us the
victories, as well as the disappointments. Regardless, we must go to battle just as the
Children of Israel did.
Discussion: (1) What are the unconquered lands for the present church, Christian
families, or you as an individual? (2) What territory has God given you to conquer?
42

If we fulfill the mission God has given us to do our inheritance will be a new heaven and
a new earth. One reason the Israelites encountered so many problems was that they
failed to conquer fully the land and drive out the inhabitants. Cancer spreads quickly in
the body and attacks our organs until it eventually kills us. This is why God needed
them to completely remove the enemy sin.
Discussion: How have we fully embraced the Ten Commandments, or have we
become lukewarm in our beliefs as a holiness denomination? Do we tolerate sinful
practices or thoughts? Have we accepted medoracrcy as good enough? (Some tough
questions) Any comments?
When Joshua allotted each tribe its own territory by casting lots, he reminded them that
they were individually responsible to claim the territory which rightly belonged to them.
There would be battles involved, but they were to be assured that the ultimate victory
would be secure, for God had given His word.
The Levites were given no inheritance within the land except for certain cities to dwell
in, and they were reminded again that the Lord was their portion. These cities were
throughout the land on behalf of the people. The tribe of Levi was dedicated to serving
God. The Levites needed more time for the responsibilities that this would take and to
become land owners would hinder their service to God. Instead God arranged for the
other tribes to meet their needs through donations. Joshua 13:14; Numbers 35:2-4).
Discussion: What hindrances do minister have today that hinder them from serving full
time in the church? Could this possibly affect a church? What can be done to
compensate for this rising need?
Three are special stories we can learn from of those who inherited the land. Caleb, who
at 85 years of age was still willing to claim the inheritance promised to him when he was
yet in the wilderness with Moses. In agreement with his request, Caleb was allotted the
city of Hebron and its provinces as a permanent inheritance (Joshua 14:6-14). But in
order to conquer it he must drive out the giants who dwelt there. The names of three of
these giants, sons of Anak, are given: Sheshai,"who I am,"Ahiman,"what I am,"Talmai, "
what I can do."
Discussion: How are these three kings symbolic of the believer's struggle to subdue
the giants of self which oppose their progress?
Joseph received a double portion because he was the oldest son of Jacobs wife
Rachel. His portions were divided between his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh,
whom Jacob considered as his own (Genesis 48:5). Although he was one of Jacobs 12
sons, he did not have a tribe named after him. The largest territory and the greatest
influence in the northern half of Israel belonged to their tribes. God was with Joseph in a
mighty way throughout his life. What many lessons we can learn of living a life daily
forgiving those who irritate us and get angry with us for simple reasons.
43

Then we read of the allotment of an inheritance to the daughters of Zelophehad, as
Moses had promised them (Joshua 17:3-6). These women went to Elazar, the Priest,
Joshua, and the leaders with an honorable request, that the Lord had commanded this
to be done. Moses put justice ahead of tradition and gave these five women the land
they deserved. God told Moses to add a law that would help other women in similar
circumstances to inherit property as well. It is easy to refuse to honor a request because
we have never done it that way before.
Discussion: Why do people find it difficult to honor request because things have never
been done the way they are used to them being done?
The tribe of Dan found that some of their land was difficult to conquer, so they chose to
migrate to Leshem where they knew the victory would be easier (Joshua 19:47-48).
Anyone can trust God when the going is easy. It is when things look impossible and
circumstance are not going favorable for us, that our faith and courage will make a
difference when put to the test. When we have faith in God, the problem or situation will
be easier to handle only in Him. Nothing is easy, but faith has a way of making it
possible.
God proved faithful to fulfill every promise he had given to Israel (Joshua 21:43-45).
God promises are fulfilled according to his timetable. The more we learn of those
promises God has fulfilled and continue to fulfill, the easier it is to hope for those yet to
come. Sometimes, we become impatient, wanting God to act now, instead we should
faithfully do what we know he wants us to do and trust him for the future. Beware of
temptation to quick early and leave Gods work undone. NIV Study Bible.
Discussion: How does leaving Gods work incomplete affect others and maybe us?
What is a good remedy for times when this may happen?
Closing Prayer Needs:








44

JOSHUA SCRIPTURE READING CHAPTER 23
Joshuas Farewell to the Leaders
After a long time had passed and the LORD had given Israel rest from all their enemies
around them, Joshua, by then a very old man,
2
summoned all Israeltheir elders,
leaders, judges and officialsand said to them: I am very old.
3
You yourselves have
seen everything the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was
the LORD your God who fought for you.
4
Remember how I have allotted as an
inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remainthe nations I
conqueredbetween the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west.
5
The LORD
your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you,
and you will take possession of their land, as the LORD your God promised you.
6
Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses,
without turning aside to the right or to the left.
7
Do not associate with these nations that
remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must
not serve them or bow down to them.
8
But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as
you have until now.
9
The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one
has been able to withstand you.
10
One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your
God fights for you, just as he promised.
11
So be very careful to love the LORD your God.
12
But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that
remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them,
13
then you
may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you.
Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in
your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you.
14
Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul
that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every
promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
15
But just as all the good things the LORD
your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things
he has threatened, until the LORD your God has destroyed you from this good land he
has given you.
16
If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he
commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORDs
anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given
you.
JOSHUA 23-24 Joshuas Farewell to the Leaders
THE CONSECRATION (NIV Study Bible)

The last portion of the book of Joshua, from chapters 22 through 24, include the
account of the misunderstanding which arose between the tribes of Reuben and Gad
45

and the half-tribe of Manasseh east of Jordan, and closes with two addresses by
Joshua to the people shortly before his death. When the major portion of the land had
been conquered Joshua permitted the two and one-half tribes to return to their homes
east of the Jordan, but to the dismay of the other nine and one-half tribes, the eastern
Israelites immediately erected an altar on the west side of the river. Remembering the
sin of Achan and how God had punished the whole nation for the sin of one man, the
western tribes gathered armies at Shiloh, under the leadership of Phinehas. They came
to Gilead and demanded an explanation, reminding the eastern tribes that burnt
offerings and meal offerings and other sacrifices were to be offered only at the
Tabernacle in Shiloh.
The two and one-half tribes then explained that they had no intention of using the great
altar for any such sacrifices, but had erected it as a memorial to teach their children that
they too shared the inheritance of the Lord with the rest of Israel. These two tribes
seem, therefore, to typify the Christians who still remain at heart committed believers,
but who in their daily lives experience incomplete enjoyment of the full inheritance.
Discussion: What do we mean by remaining committed to the church with our tithes,
offerings, and attendance, yet not daily experiencing the full inheritance of God?
Joshua becomes old, and gathers all tribes at Shechem to speak to them about
following God. The story of the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land is given.
Joshua knew the weakness of the people. The consequences of disobedience are
again emphasized, but Israel is insistent that it will obey God. Talk is cheap and
promised can be broken. It is easy to say we will obey God and another thing to live it.
Joshua tells them noe to associate with the pagan nations or worship their gods. He
shares how the loss of land will follow from disobedience and intermarriage with the
foreign people. The covenant is renewed, and its words commemorated on stone.
Joshua and Eleazar die. Josephs bones are buried at Shechem.
Discussion: How can who we associate with and relationships be a temptation to us?
Joshua ended his message with a magnificent summons to the people to make
personal choice among themselves as to whom they will serve; but he warned again
that such service must be from the heart and not from lips only. HE told them to get rid
of foreing gods or odols. We must get rid of anything in our lives that hnders our worship
to God wrong priorities, jealousies, predjudices. Joshua had been living an example to
the people and left a memory behind for us to follow.
Discussion: Why is it important to leave behind a good memory to those behind us?
Shortly after having recorded the promise of the people to serve the Lord, Joshua died
at the age of 110. Numerous stories in the book of Joshua show what Israel had to
suffer because of failure to follow God wh9leheartedlly. God was loving and patient with
them as he is with us. Gods patientce with us in not an approval or or an indifference in
sin in individuals. The times comes when we must choose who or what will control us.
46

Discussion: What are the results of demanding our own way?
In making a definite stand for the Lord, Joshua again displayed spiritual leadership.
Regardless, of what the Israelites would decide to do, Joshua had made a commitment
to God. He was willing to be an example to the people. Once you have chosen to follow
God all the way, reaffirm that commitment every day. The way we live shows others the
strength of our commitment to God. This is not to be done alone, but by binding
ourselves together with others who have faith in God and doing the work God has called
us to do.