by Jay Smith
The genre of the book of Joshua is Narrative History. It was authored by Joshua the leader of the Israelites circa 1405-1383 B.C. The key personalities are Joshua, Rahab, Achan, Phinehas, and Eleazar. It was written to assure the Israelites the Living God will reward obedience, and also to record the entrance and conquest of the promise land.
Joshua demonstrates his faith in God as He follows the orders given to Him and takes leadership of the nation. Joshua truly was “strong and courageous” (1:7).
• In chapters 1-4, Joshua and the Israelites enter the promise land and in doing so we read of an amazing entry. As they arrive at the Jordan River, we find details of an incredible, miraculous crossing. God shows His incredible grace to a prostitute named Rahab, the ancestress of King David.
• Then in chapters 5-12, Joshua follows God’s orders and first conquers the central of the promise land. This includes the unlikely manner in which they conquer the grand fortress of Jericho. God alone moved and conquered this impossible achievement. Ai was the next town and although it took two tries, the first due to sin in the camp, on the second attempt God again moved and dominated. Next, the Israelites occupied the southern land and then the northern land to complete the occupancy; however, although they controlled the region, they never did completely conquer it.
• Finally, in chapters 13-24, the land is divided up and distributed among the tribes of Israel. Some of the larger cities are placed aside for the Levitical priests who did not receive a portion of land, due to their duties. Lastly, Joshua dies but before he passes he gives one of the greatest challenges that lasts for all generations including our own, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (24:15).