Overview: Joshua

Overview: Joshua

The book of Joshua. Let’s back up and remember the story so far, So God chose Abraham and then his family became the people of Israel, who are then enslaved down in Egypt. So through Moses, God rescued Israel out of Egypt, he made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai and he brought them through the wilderness. So Israel then camped outside the promised land and Moses called them to obey God’s commands so that they could show all the other nations what God is like. The book of Joshua picks up right after Moses has died and Israel is ready to enter the land. So the story of Joshua is designed with four main movements. Joshua first leads Israel into the promised land, and then once they are there, they meet all this hostility from the Canaanites and so they engage them in battle, then after their victory Joshua divides up the promised land as the inheritance for the twelve tribes and then the book concludes with these final speeches that Joshua gives to the people. So let’s dive in and we will see how all of it flows together. The first section begins with Moses’ death and Joshua is appointed as Israel’s new leader, and the author intentionally presents Joshua as a new Moses, so like Moses, Joshua calls the people to obey the Torah, which means the covenant commands that they were given at Mount Sinai, and then Joshua sends spies into the land just as Moses did back in Numbers chapters 13 and 14 except it goes way better this time. In fact, some Canaanites turn and follow the God of Israel, Joshua then leads all Israel across the Jordan river and into the land. Just like the sea parted for Moses in the Exodus so here the river Jordan parts and the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant across leading all Israel with them. Now, in chapter 5 the story transitions, so the people look back to their roots as God’s covenant people and so the new generation is circumcised and they celebrate their first Passover in the land. But then, they turn prepared to go forward and Joshua has this crazy encounter with a mysterious warrior, who, it turns out is the angelic commander of God’s army, and Joshua asks, “Are you for us? Or are you for our enemies?” The warrior responds, “Neither.” Which shows that the real question here is whether Joshua is on God’s side. It makes clear that this whole story is not about Israel versus the Canaanites, rather this is God’s battle, and Israel is going to play the role of spectators or sometimes supporters in God’s plan. Which leads to the next section. We find stories about all these conflicts that Israel has with different Canaanite groups, and the first part retells the story of two battles in detail and that is followed by a series of short stories that condense years of battles into a few brief summaries. So the first two battles are against Jericho and then Ai, and they offer these contrasting portraits of God’s faithfulness versus Israel’s failure. At Jericho, Israel is to take a completely passive approach, so they let God’s presence in the Ark lead them around the city to music for six days and just like Rahab turned to the God of Israel maybe the people of Jericho would do the same, but they don’t, and so on the seventh day the priests blow the trumpets and the walls come falling down leading Israel to victory. The point of the story is that God is the one who will deliver his people; Israel simply needs to trust and wait. Now the next story, of the battle of Ai makes the opposite point. So there is this Israelite named Achan, and he steals from Jericho some of the devoted goods that were to belong to God alone and then he lies about it. It’s a pretty lame move after all that God has done for Israel, and so Israel goes into battle with the city of Ai and they are totally defeated, and it’s only after humble repentance and severely dealing with Achan’s sin that Israel gains victory. And so together these two stories are placed right up front to make an important point. If Israel is going to inherit the land, they have to be obedient and trust in God’s commands. They don’t get special treatment. Now the second part of the section begins with the Gibeonites, a Canaanite people group and they do just as Rahab did as they turn to follow the God of Israel and they make peace with Israel. This is in contrast to all these other Canaanite kings who start to form alliances and coalitions and they want to destroy Israel. So Israel engages them in battle and they win by a land slide. So this whole section concludes with this summary list of all of these victories won by Moses and then by Joshua. Now, let’s stop for a second because odds are that these stories and the violence in them, they are going to bother you, and if you are a follower of Jesus, you’re bound to wonder, like, didn’t Jesus said to love your enemies? Why is God declaring war here? So first, why the Canaanites? The main reasons are actually given earlier in the biblical story is that the culture of the Canaanites had become extremely morally corrupt, especially when it comes to sex, go check out Leviticus chapter 18, and they also widely practiced child sacrifice, go see Deuteronomy chapter 12, and so God didn’t want these practices to influence Israel, the Canaanites had to go. Which raises the second question. Did God actually command the destruction of all the Canaanites, like a genocide? So at first glance, you know, you look at the phrases used in these stories. They “totally destroyed them”, they “left no survivor or anything that breathed”, but when you look a second time more closely, you’ll see that these phrases are clearly hyperbole and not literal. So go back to the original command about the Canaanites in Deuteronomy chapter 7. Israel is first told to drive out the Canaanites, but then to totally destroy them and then that is followed by commands to not intermarry with them or enter into business deals with them. So you can’t marry someone that you’ve destroyed. I think you get the point. The same idea applies to the stories in Joshua, look closely. So for example, we’re told in Joshua chapter 10 that Israel left no survivors in the cities of Hebron or Debir, but then later in chapter 15 we see these towns and they’re still populated by Canaanites, and so what we’re seeing is that Joshua fits in with other ancient battle accounts by using non-literal hyperbolic language as part of the narrative style. And so the word genocide doesn’t actually fit what we see here. Especially in light of the stories about the Canaanites who did turn to the God of Israel, like Rahab or the Gibeonites, God was open to those who would turn to him. The last thing to think about is that these stories mark a unique moment in Israel’s history. These battles were limited to the handful of people groups living in the land of Canaan. With all other nations, Israel was commanded by God to pursue peace, go read Deuteronomy chapter 20. So the purpose of these battle stories was never to tell you, the reader, to go commit violence in God’s name. Rather, they show God bringing his justice on human evil at a unique moment in history, and how he delivered Israel from being annihilated by the Canaanites. Now, let’s go back to the book’s design. After years of battles we see an aging Joshua and he starts dividing up the land for the twelve tribes of Israel, and most of this section is like lists of boundary lines, and let us be honest, it’s kind of boring. It’s like reading a map that has no pictures. But for the Israelites these lists were super important. This was the fulfillment of God’s ancient promises to Abraham that his descendants would inherit the promised land. . And so now it was all coming to pass right down to the detail, which leads to the final section. Joshua gives two speeches to the people they’re very similar to the final speeches of Moses in Deuteronomy. Joshua reminds them of God’s generosity, how he brought them into the land and rescued them from the Canaanites. And so, he calls them to turn away from the Canaanite gods and be faithful to the covenant they made. If they do, it will lead to life and blessing in the land, but if they’re unfaithful, Israel will call down on itself the same divine judgement that the Canaanites experienced. They’ll be kicked off the land into exile, and so Joshua leaves Israel with a choice. What is Israel going to do? That’s the big question that looms as the story ends. And that’s the book of Joshua.

local_offerevent_note October 9, 2019

account_box Matthew Anderson


70 thoughts on “Overview: Joshua”

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  • It was protection and not a deliberate attack. They were defending themselves from the darkness and not trying to invade them.

  • Thanks for this video. The Bible really opens up when you can explore it with this method and improving personal reading levels.

  • God ended his work in Moses, Joshua now finishes what God began in Moses, Again Joshua being Joshua the Christ which is his real name, not Jesus. God was going to finish in Joshua what he Never intended to finish through Moses, Hence his work ended before entering the promise land. Christ Joshua will finish where Moses left off. The return of the Kingdom of God.

  • no offense and your videos are quite well done, but the little few that I've been watching basically what I'm getting is God is a dictator, making promises and basically not following through on any it. Pretty-much finding any excuse not to. This God is not a good example of good

  • Human nature is harsh. The only way to get it through our thick skulls is through hardship. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Our parents want what's best for us, and God has appointed them to lead us the way… I fear that I may not be following the right way.

    I would like to offer a simple prayer at this moment: My dear Lord- Sir. Please forgive me for being such a knucklehead. Help me to forsake my wrong behavior at this moment. I know it's not easy, but my caregivers know what is right for me. Please, give me the courage and the understanding, and the guts to do what is right on a daily basis. I pray this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen

    Pray for me.

  • Verily I say unto you, those that wouldst proclaim themselves followers of my Father and the Son, and proclaim aloud "Lord, I am with thee!" are the self same who wouldst stand with Jericho and its gods at the coming of Joshua. You have heard it said, "Go forth and destroy the wicked of Canaan and spare none." And in your muffled hearts have heard not, and understood naught. Let it be known the Kingdom of God is within you. Purge thyself of the unclean from the Holy Land within, lest thou find thy abode in the words and minds of men.

  • I like Joshua. It’s so vast and intriguing with all the description. It is boring at times, but how awesome a read!

  • Jesus!
    These people dont even read their own bIble.
    Pursue peace with other nations- Deut 20?
    God's version of peace is doing forced labor by the inhabitants or those nations or kill all the men of the city along with raping women and children?
    People should worship the devil than such a perverted God. Yuck!

  • Hey Tim, I have a question for you! In a recent series you mentioned the Angel of the Lord is Christ, but here call Him an angelic commander of the lords armies — can you expand on this for us please?

  • I love watching these whenever I finish a book to clarify and confirm what I’ve read. Great stuff!! Another verse that got me scratching my head is Joshua 10:20–must be that hyperbole again!

  • The Israelites committed genocide like what they are doing in Palestine. Stop trying to whitewash this act of genocide. People were living in Canaan. These so call Israelites were invaders using their fake God to justify this theft and genocide. You can put your trust in these ignorant Jews all you want. These people were desert dwellers looking to steal and murder to survive.

  • So the victories in Joshua are hyperboles, then is the story og Noah a hyperbole too? Did all life but that that were on the ark (in the water) distroyed?

  • I do not agree. remember when God told Samuel to tell newly elect king of Israel Saul to wipe out all the amalekites and all breathing things in battle but saul disobeyed and kept the king alive and all good animals for sacrifice? God was angry because He really meant for saul to destroy everything. after that battle samuel let saul know that he wasn't going to be king anymore but that God had chosen another because of his disobedience.

    In this case Israel was to wipe out all the canaanites because yes they practiced evil but also because they were of the nephilim descendants e.g King of OG whose bed was like 12 cubits long and who moses killed, Goliath was actually a direct descendant of king Og of Bashan by the way. The point is Israel did not successfully destroy these tribes like they were commanded, so God let them be taken over and defeated completely and taken into captivity by Babylon. until the return of the Messiah.

    @ The Bible Project; If your going to explain the word of God please do not change the words or downgrade meanings other wise only curses and plagues shall come down on you. Revelation 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

  • Jubilees also tells us that Canaan stole this land from Shem's descendants who were given the land that Canaan occupied as an inheritance. He did so knowing that he would be cursed. Hence, why God gave it to Abraham (Descendant of Shem) and the Canaanites later removal as was promised if he disobeyed by occupying the land. The portion of land given to Shem was considered blessed because it's where God dwelled. It included the holiest places the Garden of Eden (holy of holies), Mt. Sinai., Mt. Zion and Mt. of the East.

  • Maybe we're reading different translations, but Achan didn't lie about stealing. Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel and went family by family to investigate who had stolen goods from the city conquest. When he got to Achan, Achan told the truth. He had some precious metals, an expensive Babylonian cloak, and some other items. He told Joshua exactly where it was hidden (buried), and soldiers investigated that spot. The soldiers confirmed that Achan was telling the truth about stealing these items, despite being instructed by the Lord (through Joshua) to not steal/plunder. I don't think this video does the story justice in speaking on the outcome of Achan.

    For those that are unaware, Joshua ordered all of Achan's family's possessions seized, he had Achan stoned to death, AND Joshua ordered Achan's wife and children to be burned alive.

    I personally don't think Joshua's response was right. Of all the tribes of Israel, only one man stole from the city they had just conquered? When confronted, Achan told the truth. Are we really to believe that Achan was the only guilty person? What I think is more likely, is that others did the same as Achan, but they lied to Joshua and got away with it. In the end, Achan was the scapegoat and his entire family was wiped out as punishment for his crime. I don't see much justice in this. Is god not merciful? Does god not forgive those who are truthful and ask for forgiveness?

  • I agree with the people who argue that the language isn’t hyperbolic
    Also the Gibeonites didn’t just realize their sin and repent and turn to the Lord; they did believe that The Lord would use Israel to wipe them out; so they came up with a plot to deceive Israel and trick them into a covenant that the Lord had expressly told Israel not to do

    The plot worked because Israel’s leaders did not do their due research and didn’t check with the Lord
    In order to make themselves feel better about their error; the leaders of Israel made the Gibeonites into slaves

    That’s a significant difference in reading to what this video claims
    I like a lot of what The Bible Project does; This video does highlight a few of the concerns I have with the way they portray some of their theology

  • Owner of your life,
    Free Will is responsibility of your consciousness.
    Passions or mindfulness or believing or faith or will or chi or spirit.

    To let god be closer some how, it is of this feminine or emotions of our awareness.
    That carry life with will to live.

    Use the most powerful technology believe and gain those strengths of it's reward.

    That's the greatest technology it is choosing what to believe in.
    So have faith in your beliefs and you can have plenty freely from God or the universe.

    That is your free wills power, any thing is possible. When you have strength in your particular passions also known as faith.

    Because mindfully impowering the right passions or beliefs to cause change or your own miracles.

    With the right beliefs anything is possible. Through your relationship and faith in your beliefs.

  • if anyone in here follows q, doesnt it seem as though this is being playing out in present day? People are growing tired of the corruption, secrets and lies from the powers that be and are anymously organizing to defeat them. Currently we are lead by a super elite (sex) cult that has ties to banks, governments, Intel agencies, and big corporations. If what any of what q says, we're almost at the end of the battle and we are going to win. We being we the people of Israel. God, I hope this plays out like it did last time. If history repeats itself, it will.

  • When referring to the reference that supports the theory of hyperbole, you refer to Joshua 15:13-15 but I’m quite sure you mean to refer to Joshua 13:13-15?? Just a little error. Love the video and the series though ❤️

  • On chapter 19, struggling with this book. Had to take a break, thanks for this video. Feel motivated to finish Joshua now 🙏🏼

  • Apoximately what year did the Philistines/Palistinians leave their homeland is southern Europe and imigrate to the Middle East?

    “Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate.” (Isaiah 6:11)


    "Joshua was a conqueror of the land of Canaan just as My Son Jesus is a conqueror of the land of your heart. He was a prophecy of what was to come, even having the same name as the Saviour. But what was Joshua prophesying? He prophesied a cleansing of your heart from all its inhabitants until only My word remains. But what happened when Israel came across a land and failed to cleanse it? They became complacent and began building for themselves, leaving the foreigners in the land. Joshua indeed means salvation but if you have issues in your life that you don’t allow Him to save you from, you will be caught up in deeper problems later on in life and far more severe. Today is the day of salvation. Do not linger or get comfortable with darkness in your heart. Cleanse your heart now. You may ask Me how much cleansing you need? Until your heart is laid waste without strongholds, until every evil tree is cut down without fruit so that your heart is left desolate from all darkness, ready for My rule.

    To cleanse a land full of darkness can be a difficult thing especially when the heart has lived with it so long. That is why it is going to take more than truth to conquer. You have to possess it by force and stand at all cost. Are you willing to sacrifice all to overcome? Are you willing to face the giants in your life knowing that the Lion in you is greater? You are called to be a conqueror of the world by expanding My light. But like all conquerors, your heart must first be conquered, knowing that darkness offers nothing rewarding. Only then will you possess the wisdom and strength to overcome. "

  • Can’t believe how good these videos are!! Thank you so much, may God keep blessing your work as you bless others with it!!

  • May the Lord bless you with abundant rewards in eternal life because of your time spent helping bringing people closer with the Lord!

  • God is showing us also that no man can lead you to the promised land…except for the Son of Man…Jesus…
    It all points to Jesus Christ…
    Amen! The book of life…the Living Word!

  • I do believe that when God told the Israelites to kill everyone in the land he literally meant it. This is a hard thing for Christians to explain to a world that thinks with human understanding. The peoples that were destroyed did child sacrifice and that child sacrifice was linked to the gods that they worshiped. God wanted all adults from that culture slaughtered so that the Israelites wouldn't pick up any of that culture and its sickness spread to theirs. When you think about children of a conquered nation what can you expect would happen with them if they lived? The people they would be living with are the Israelites and as we all know the Israelites were not a perfect people. The children would've been at the mercy of individuals that would have taken them in. Likely they would've become slaves. The babies would've died anyways due to having no mothers to feed them milk. I'm guessing that in the eyes of our creator having the children killed is a mercy especially since he is capable of raising them all from the dead one day anyways. Honestly if I was a child of the Canaanites I would've rather been killed by an invading army than die at the hands of my own parents and people. The ways in which the Canaanites sacrificed their children were horrific and evil and if any of us could see what they did likely people would say something like "drop a nuke on them" in order to put to end the horror that you would've seen. God is far more intelligent than any of us and he knows what is best. But I do believe that the Israelites failed in killing all of the Canaanites and eventually started adopting some of their customs. Towards the end they even started doing the child sacrifice.

  • I love most of your work, but disappointed that you have chosen to disbelieve God when he required Joshua to destroy the entire Populations of the Canaanitish nation’s who surrounded them by calling it hyperbole. God expected Israel to do obey Him, and by not obeying him he said that the Canaanites would become as ‘thorns’ in their eyes from then on, and that’s what happened. You are forgetting how evil sin is in God’s eyes. Remember Samuels reaction to Saul not killing Agag, You have such an amazing knowledge of the Scriptures yet you let this slip past you???

  • One thing that the Bible didn't mention a great deal is that a lot of the cananites were Nephilim Giants. (Fallen Angel Hybrids) Which is probably the reason why some cities were so hateful and why God wiped them out. They were known as the soulless ones. And for good reason. (Hence the child sacrifices.)

  • You alleging that the Israelites didn't reeeeeallly commit genocide and plunder the other tribes belongings and take their virgins for themselves to rape and enslave, that it's "just hyperbolic language" is honestly one of the most pathetic apologetics I have ever heard in an attempt to justify the primitive brutality and malevolence of this mythological story and the deity it writes about. Same God who destroyed entire cities after the earth had just supposedly re-populated after he committed genocide and killed everyone except for eight people and two of each animal (lmao I know right?)

    "This book wasn't meant to tell you to go out and hurt people who go against God" dude. You just got done describing the Torah, a book that says you have to stone people for working on a Sunday.
    Tired. Old. Apologetics.

    "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
    – Richard Dawkins

  • My goodness, the number of triggered people hearing that the Book of Joshua more than likely has "hyperboles". As if the Bible doesn't already have a lot of symbolism, and metaphors. Just like stated in the video, Biblical text does seem to have narrative issues (I say seems because I realize we all interpret the Bible differently).

    Praytell though, how is there a command to wipe them out but then in Judges 4 Canaanites are in control of Hazor under a ruling Canaanite king? From the studying I've done, there "hyperbole" assumption could be correct. Now, please understand, I'm not saying that other accounts of mass killings of a group of people enacted by God are "hyperboles", but that when we look at the Book of Joshua and this story, that could very well be the case.

    Let us not even get into the fact that Canaanite remains have been found in Lebanon. Let us not get so up in arms, but be slow to speak and quick to listen, Brothers and Sisters.

    If anyone has different references or study material please send them my way, I do not hate constructive criticism or to learn more about the word of God.

    God Bless!

  • I love the story of Rahab, brought me to tears. God wanted to drive out the canaanites but in one moment of faith by Rahab God admired her faith and was extremely pleased with her that he accepted her into the Israelites and also let her marry with one of the men of the Israel and also through her lineage came Jesus! Shows how God loves us and our faith in him means everything to him.

  • Jesus said love your enemies; you can have love and respect for someone and still have to kill them… example: self defense

  • I began watching these videos starting from Leviticus. When I watched this one and the assertion that the extermination of the Canaanites was hyperbole, I started to feel uncomfortable. Dt. 7:1-2, 9:4-6 and 20:16-17 talk about devoting to complete destruction and saving nothing alive that breathes. Also, the Gibeonites tricked Joshua, I see nothing that states they became believers. The Israelites never conquered all the land so they would still have a problem intermarrying with Canaanites. It was a gradual and incomplete conquest.

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