The Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Judges


The sixth Book of our Bible , and the first of the historical books is The Book of Joshua.

So called not because he is the author, but because he is the principal figure in it. It describes (1) the conquest of Canaan (Josh. 1-12); (2) the allotment of the land among the tribes and Joshua’s final exhortations (Josh. 13-24).

(1) The story of the conquest falls into two sections of nearly equal length but very dissimilar in the fulness and minuteness of the particulars they give; (a) Josh. 1-6, description of the way in which the Jordan was crossed, the headquarters of Israel fixed at Gilgal, Jericho taken, and command of the passes to the higher plateau of western Canaan secured; (b) a condensed account of the victories of Israel over the inhabitants of this higher plateau, consisting of three parts, relating to the central, southern, and northern portions respectively. This narrative concludes with a general statement of the results of the conquest and a list of conquered cities.

(2) This section falls under three heads: (a) Josh. 13, the assignment of the eastern territory to Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh; (b) western territory to Judah (Josh. 14-15), to children of Joseph (Josh. 16-17), and to seven remaining tribes (Josh. 18-19); (c) Josh. 20-21, the arrangements about the cities of refuge and the provision for the Levites. The book concludes (Josh. 22-24) with an account of the setting up of the altar by the trans-Jordanic tribes and Joshua’s farewell address.

The book was regarded by the Jews as the first of the "former prophets," but it is more properly a continuation of the first Five Books.

Joshua 1:1. The Book of Joshua and the Man Joshua

"The Book of Joshua is one of the most important writings in the old covenant, and should never be separated from the Pentateuch, of which it is at once both the continuation and completion. Between this Book and the five Books of Moses, there is the same analogy as between the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The Pentateuch contains a history of the Acts of the great Jewish legislator, and the Laws on which the Jewish Church should be established. The Book of Joshua gives an account of the establishment of that Church in the Land of Canaan, according to the oft-repeated promises and declarations of God. The Gospels give an account of the transactions of Jesus Christ, the great Christian legislator, and of those Laws on which his Church should be established, and by which it should be governed. The Acts of the Apostles gives an account of the actual establishment of that Church, according to the predictions and promises of its great founder. Thus, then, the Pentateuch bears as pointed a relation to the Gospels as the Book of Joshua does to the Acts of the Apostles." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:4.)

Clarke called the Old Testament the Jewish Church, meaning the organization founded by Jehovah among the early Israelites. But Latter-day Saints know that Jehovah was the premortal Christ. This fact explains the remarkable parallels. Both Churches were the Church of Jesus Christ, given in different circumstances and with different priesthood emphasis. But in both cases baptisms were performed, and the principles of righteous living and faith in God were clearly taught.

These parallels suggest that the book of Joshua may continue the typology, or symbolism, of Christ, just as did the law of Moses. Indeed, Latter-day Saints are taught that Moses was "in the similitude of [the] Only Begotten" (Moses 1:6; see also McConkie, The Promised Messiah, pp. 442-48). Just as Moses, in his role as prophet, lawgiver, mediator, and deliverer, was a type of Jesus Christ, so Joshua, who led Israel into the promised land, was also a type of Jesus, who leads all the faithful into the ultimate land of promise, the celestial kingdom. (See Alma's comparison of the promised land to eternal life in Alma 37:45.)

"Joshua, the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, was first called Oshea or Hoshea, ... [Numbers 13:16], which signifies saved, a saviour, or salvation; but afterwards Moses, guided no doubt by a prophetic spirit, changed his name into ... Yehoshua or Joshua, which signifies he shall save, or the salvation of Jehovah; referring, no doubt, to his being God's instrument in saving the people from the hands of their enemies, and leading them from victory to victory over the different Canaanitish nations, till he put them in possession of the promised land ... By the Septuagint he is called ..., Jesus Naue, or Jesus son of Nave: and in the New Testament he is expressly called ... Jesus; [see Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8]." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:3.) In other words, in the original Hebrew both Joshua and Jesus were the same name.

There are further analogies between organizations of the old and new covenants: "On this very ground of analogy Christ obviously founded the Christian Church; hence he had his twelve disciples, from whom the Christian Church was to spring, as the Jewish Church or twelve tribes sprang from the twelve son of Jacob. He had his seventy or seventy-two disciples, in reference to the seventy-two elders, six chosen out of each of the twelve tribes, who were united with Moses and Aaron in the administration of justice, &c., among the people. Christ united in his person the characters both of Moses and Aaron, or legislator and high priest; hence he ever considers himself, and is considered by his apostles and followers, the same in the Christian Church that Moses and Aaron were in the Jewish. As a rite of initiation into his Church, he instituted baptism in the place of circumcision, both being types of the purification of the heart and holiness of life; and as a rite of establishment and confirmation, the holy eucharist [the Lord's Supper] in place of the paschal lamb, both being intended to commemorate the atonement made to God for the sins of the people. The analogies are so abundant, and indeed universal, that time would fail to enumerate them. On this very principle it would be a matter of high utility to read these Old Testament and the New Testament books together, as they reflect a strong and mutual light on each other, bear the most decided testimony to the words and truth of prophecy, and show the ample fulfilment of all the ancient and gracious designs of God." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:5.)

Joshua 1:1-9. Why is the book called the book of Joshua? (See Bible Dictionary, page 718, s.v. "Joshua, Book of")

Joshua 1:1-9. What instruction did the Lord give to Joshua?

Joshua 1:12-15. When were the men of the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh to return to their families?

Joshua 1:16-18. To what extent did these men support Joshua?

Joshua 2:1. Where did Joshua send his two spies? (See also Map 4)

Joshua 2:1-7. Was Rahab a Harlot?

"In the narrative of these transactions Rahab is called zonah, which our own, after the ancient versions, renders 'harlot.' The Jewish writers, however, being unwilling to entertain the idea of their ancestors being involved in a disreputable association at the commencement of their great undertaking, chose to interpret the word 'hostess,' one who keeps a public house, as if from the Hebrew word meaning 'to nourish' (Joseph. Antiq. v:I; ii and vii; comp. the Targum and Kimchi and Jarchi on the text). Christian interpreters also are inclined to adopt this interpretation for the sake of the character of the woman of whom the Apostle speaks well, and who would appear from Matt. 1:4 to have become by a subsequent marriage with Salmon, prince of Judah, an ancestress of Jesus. But we must be content to take facts as they stand, and not strain them to meet difficulties; and it is now universally admitted by every sound Hebrew scholar that zonah means 'harlot,' and not 'hostess.' It signifies harlot in every other text where it occurs, the idea of 'hostess' not being represented by this or any other word in Hebrew, as the function represented by it did not exist. There were no inns; and when certain substitutes for inns subsequently came into use, they were never, in any Eastern country, kept by women. On the other hand, strangers from beyond the river might have repaired to the house of a harlot without suspicion or remark. The Bedouins from the desert constantly do so at this day in their visits to Cairo and Bagdad. The house of such a woman was also the only one to which they, as perfect strangers, could have had access, and certainly the only one in which they could calculate on obtaining the information they required without danger from male inmates. This concurrence of analogies in the word, in the thing, and in the probability of circumstances, ought to settle the question. If we are concerned for the morality of Rahab, the best proof of her reformation is found in the fact of her subsequent marriage to Salmon; this implies her previous conversion to Judaism, for which indeed her discourse with the spies evinces that she was prepared." (Fallows, Bible Encyclopedia, s.v. "Rahab," 3:1424.) That Rahab's faith in Jehovah was sincere is supported by the fact that both Paul and James cited her as an example of faith (see Hebrews 11:31; James 2:5).

Joshua 2:3-6. How did Rahab save the spies from the king?

Joshua 2:8-24

These verses illustrate the value placed upon an oath or promise by men of ancient times. Unfortunately, men of that day were more faithful to their covenants with other men than they were to those made with God. A token was agreed upon as proof of their intention to protect Rahab and her family from destruction in return for her assistance. Rahab was to place a "line of scarlet thread" in the window of her house (V. 18). This thread would serve as a reminder to attacking Israel that Rahab and all within her house were to be spared from destruction.

Joshua 2:9-11. What had happened to Rahab's people when they heard that the Israelites were coming? Why?

Joshua 2:12-13. What did Rahab require of the two spies?

Joshua 2:14. What did the men agree to do?

Joshua 2:18. What was Rahab to do when the Israelites came?

Joshua 3:3. What were the people to do when they saw the ark?

Joshua 3:5. Why were the people to sanctify themselves?

Joshua 3:7-17. How would the Lord magnify Joshua in the sight of all Israel? (See also Joshua 4:14)

Joshua 4. Why Did Israel Set Up Memorial Stones?

Biblical peoples were very fond of symbolic acts to commemorate great events. In order to memorialize God's blessing in parting the waters of the Jordan River, Joshua commanded that twelve stones be taken from the riverbed and placed where all the people could see them: "These stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever" (V. 7). In later years, when their children would ask the meaning of the stones, Israel could rehearse the story of God's miracle; thus, the stones would serve as a visible reminder of God's power.

Joshua 4:4-7, 21-24. Why was a man from each tribe to take up a stone?

Joshua 4:18. What happened to the River Jordan when the priests came out?

Joshua 5:1

It is important to remember that the Israelites did not move into a land where no one lived. On the contrary, the area known as Canaan had been inhabited for centuries. The mention of the Amorite and Canaanite kings and their response to the miraculous crossing of the Jordan further indicates that all of the land of Canaan was laid at the feet of Israel by the Lord. They had only to physically conquer those who were already defeated mentally, but they lost the advantage the Lord gave them when they began to forsake their covenants with Him.

Joshua 5:11. What happened to the hearts of the Amorite and the Canaanite kings? Why?

Joshua 5:2-7. Why were all the males circumcised?

Joshua 5:2-8. Why Were the Israelites Circumcised Now?

Israel had wandered forty years in the wilderness because they were not faithful in their covenant with God. It is not surprising, then, that during that period they had failed to continue the practice of circumcision, which was the symbol of their covenant. Therefore, after Joshua had led his people through the waters of the Jordan -- a type of baptism -- onto the sacred ground that had been denied their fathers, the Lord required them to reinstitute the physical token of the covenant.

Joshua 5:12. What gift of God ceased after the Israelites passed over Jordan?

Joshua 5:13-14. Who Was the Captain of the Lord's Host That Joshua Saw?

Although there is a noticeable lack of detail in this account, what is recorded suggests a miraculous vision shown to Joshua. Most commentators assume either a mortal servant of God or an angel came to strengthen Joshua and Israel as they prepared for their first battle.

Two things, however, suggest that Joshua may actually have seen Jehovah, the premortal Jesus Christ. First, when Joshua fell down to worship him, no attempt was made to stop him. Yet the mortal servants of God are quick to prevent others from worshiping them, even when they have demonstrated great power (see Acts 10:25-26; 14:8-18; Alma 18:15-17). The same thing is true of angels, for twice, when he was awed at the presence of angels and fell at their feet to worship them, John the Revelator was told the same thing, "See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets" (Revelation 22:9; see also 19:10). The angel who appeared to Samson's parents clearly taught them that any offerings were to be to the Lord (see Judges 13:16). But no attempt was made to prevent Joshua from falling down to worship this being.

Second, the personage commanded Joshua to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground -- the same instructions Jehovah gave to Moses on Mount Sinai (see Exodus 3:5). But, since this account in Deuteronomy is very scant on details, it can only be surmised that the being may have been the Lord.

Joshua 5:13-15. Whom did Joshua see while he was "by Jericho"?

Joshua 6. The Fall of Jericho

The inhabitants of Jericho knew full well of the powerful destruction that Israel had directed against the kingdom of the Amorites east of Jordan. Therefore, it is no surprise that they shut up their walled city against Israel.

The prevalence of the number seven in the Lord's dealing with Jericho's defense is significant. Throughout the law of Moses, seven was used numerous times to signify the covenant. Its association with the covenant probably stems from the idea that "seven ... is associated with completion, fulfilment, and perfection" (Douglas, New Bible Dictionary, s.v. "number," p. 898). By patterning the conquest of Jericho in sevens, the Lord taught Israel that their success lay in the covenant with Jehovah; His perfect power brought conquest, not their own.

The horn blown was the Hebrew shofar, or ram's horn (see vv. 4-6). Scholars are generally agreed that the shofar was the oldest musical instrument in Israel. After being flattened by heat, the horn of a ram was forced to turn up at the ends. This shape thus created a most unusual and easily recognizable sound. In early times the horn was used to warn of approaching armies, to give the signal for attack, or to dismiss troops from the field.

As the ark of the covenant symbolized the presence of God in the tabernacle's Holy of Holies, so it symbolized His leadership of the armies of Israel as they carried it before them while they marched around the city (see vv. 4, 6-8). This was not a mere mortal conflict: Canaan was to be destroyed by the very God of Israel. This truth was impressively taught to Israel by the presence of the ark.

Great care was given to honoring every detail of the oath that had been given to Rahab.

Joshua 6:11-21. How did the Israelites capture the city of Jericho? (See also Map 4)

Joshua 6:18. What did Joshua caution the people against doing?

Joshua 6:20. What Caused the Walls of Jericho to Fall?

Men have argued this question for ages. Did the marching feet, the blaring trumpets, and the final shout weaken the walls in some way so that they tumbled in accordance with natural law? Or was some other principle in operation? Did the Lord simply, at a convenient point in time, level the walls by His power? Elder James E. Talmage discussed this question in these words:

"May we not believe that when Israel encompassed Jericho, the captain of the Lord's host and his heavenly train were there, and that before their super-mortal agency, sustained by the faith and obedience of the human army, the walls were leveled?

"Some of the latest and highest achievements of man in the utilization of natural forces approach the conditions of spiritual operations. To count the ticking of a watch thousands of miles away; to speak in but an ordinary tone and be heard across the continent; to signal from one hemisphere and be understood on the other though oceans roll and roar between; to bring the lightning into our homes and make it serve as fire and torch; to navigate the air and to travel beneath the ocean surface; to make chemical and atomic energies obey our will -- are not these miracles? The possibility of such would not have been received with credence before their actual accomplishment. Nevertheless, these and all other miracles are accomplished through the operation of the laws of nature, which are the laws of God." (Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 222-23.)

Joshua 6:22-23, 25. What happened to Rahab, her family, and her possessions?

Joshua 6:26. What did Joshua declare "as by an oath"?)

Joshua 7:1. What did Achan do to anger the Lord? (See also Joshua 6:18a)

Joshua 7:6

The act of placing dust upon one's head had the same symbolic meaning as dressing in sackcloth and sitting in ashes. It was a token of great remorse, true humility, and deep repentance. It also symbolized the unworthy station of man compared to deity (see Genesis 37:34; compare Job 2:12; Lamentations 2:10). This sense of unworthiness seems to be the meaning of King Benjamin's comment that the people considered themselves as less than the dust of the earth (see Mosiah 4:2).

Joshua 7:11-13. Why was the army of Israel defeated by the men of Ai?

Joshua 7:20-21. What had Achan taken?

Joshua 7:24-25. What happened to Achan and all his possessions?

Joshua 8:2. What did the Lord instruct the people to do with the spoils of Ai?

Joshua 8:9-20. How did Israel take the city of Ai?

Joshua 8:26. What happened to the inhabitants of the city?

Joshua 8:29. What happened to the king of Ai?

Joshua 8:34-35. What did Joshua read to the Israelites?

Joshua 9:1-2. What did all the kings in the land do when they heard of the Israelites' success?

Joshua 9:3-14, 24. What did the inhabitants of Gibeon do? Why? (See also Joshua 9:7a)

Joshua 9:15. What agreement did Joshua make with them?

Joshua 9:20-23. What did Joshua make them be? Why?

Joshua 10:4. Why did king Adoni-zedek call upon the other kings to smite Gibeon?

Joshua 10:6. What did the men of Gibeon ask Joshua to do?

Joshua 10:8. What did the Lord say to Joshua?

Joshua 10:11. How did most of the Amorites die that day?

Joshua 10:12-13. What did Joshua command to stand still? Why?

Joshua 10:26-27. What happened to the Amorite king?

Joshua 10:40. What did the Israelites do to "all that breathed" in the land?

Joshua 11:6. What did the Lord tell Israel he would do to the army?

Joshua 11:6, 9. What Does Hough Mean?

To hough a horse is to cut the leg tendons above and behind the tarsal joint or ankle, thus rendering the horse useless. The Israelites were foot soldiers rather than charioteers. The fear seems to have been that should the horses and chariots be used as vehicles of war, Israel would turn from faith in God and trust in the arm of flesh (see 2 Samuel 8:4; Isaiah 31:1).

Joshua 11:12, 15. How strictly had Joshua followed the commands of the Lord through Moses?

Joshua 11:19. Who were the only people to make peace with Israel?

Joshua 12:1-24. How many kings were conquered by Israel?

Joshua 13:1-33. Whose inheritance was confirmed?

Joshua 13:1. How much land remained to be possessed?

Joshua 14:2. What method was used to divide the land among the tribes? (See also Map 5)

Joshua 14:4. Which tribe was divided into two tribes?

Joshua 14:9, 13-14. Why was Caleb given Hebron for an inheritance?

Joshua 15:15, 24, 29. What city was included in the inheritance of Judah?

Joshua 15:63. Why did the Jebusites dwell with Judah in Jerusalem?

Joshua 16:1-10. Locate on a map the places where the children of Ephraim and Manasseh settled?

Joshua 16:10. What did the Canaanites do who dwelt in Gezer? (See also Joshua 16:10b)

Joshua 17:1-16. Which two tribes received additional inheritances?

Joshua 17:17-18. What did Joshua say to the house of Joseph?

Joshua 18:1. What was set up at Shiloh?

Joshua 18:11. How did the tribe of Benjamin receive their inheritance?

Joshua 18:21-28. How many cities did the children of Benjamin receive?

Joshua 19:1, 10, 17, 24, 32, 40. How did the remaining six tribes receive their inheritance?

Joshua 20:1-3. What did the Lord tell Joshua to do? Why?

Joshua 20:3-4. What was a person to do who killed another by accident?

Joshua 20:6. When was such a person allowed to return to his home?

Joshua 21:3-42. How many "cities with their suburbs" did the Levites receive?

Joshua 21:43-45. What did the Lord do for Israel?

Joshua 22.

This chapter demonstrates the critical balance between true worship and apostate idolatry. Without a knowledge of why the 2 1/2 tribes had built the altar on the other side of Jordan, one would judge the action to be an adulteration of the holy worship in the tabernacle. Satan's counterfeits can appear very convincing. Fortunately, the tribes showed that it was an act of legitimate worship and not idolatry. The tragedy is that in a short time Israel would no longer react strongly against idolatry.

Joshua 22:1. Whom did Joshua call together?

Joshua 22:2-6. What did Joshua say to them?

Joshua 22:5. What did Joshua tell them to take diligent heed to do?

Joshua 22:10. What did they build on "the borders of Jordan"? (Joshua 22:10)

Joshua 22:11-12. What did the rest of the tribes prepare to do?

Joshua 22:24-28. What reason was given for building the altar?

Joshua 22:30-33. How did the other tribes receive this explanation?

Joshua 23

The thirty-one Canaanite city-states destroyed by Joshua in his day were not all that the Lord intended to purge from Israel (see Numbers 23:4-5). Since men tend to adopt the values or habits of those with whom they associate, it was imperative that all idolatrous nations in Canaan be destroyed. Joshua warned Israel of three things in the event that some heathen nations, including those that surrounded them, were allowed to remain: (1) beware of social intercourse with them (see Joshua 23:7), (2) refrain from worshiping their false gods (see vv. 7-11), and (3) avoid intermarriages with them (see v. 12). Otherwise, "snares and traps," "scourges," and "thorns" awaited Israel (V. 13).

Joshua 23:5. What did Joshua say the Lord would do for Israel?

Joshua 23:6-13. What did Joshua exhort Israel to do? Why?

Joshua 23:14. What did the people know in their hearts?

Joshua 23:15-16. When would the Lord's anger be kindled against Israel?

Joshua 23:16. What would the Lord do in his anger?

Joshua 24:1-13. What did Joshua review with the leadership of Israel?

Joshua 24:14. What did Joshua encourage them to do?

Joshua 24:15. What ultimatum did Joshua deliver to Israel?

Joshua 24:16-18. How did the people respond?

Joshua 24:21-25. What did Israel promise to do?

Joshua 24:29. How old was Joshua when he died?

Joshua 24:32. Reference is made here to "the bones of Joseph" (V. 32). When Joseph, Jacob's son, was dying, he extracted a promise from the children of Israel that they would take his body with them when they left Egypt (see Genesis 50:25). Most likely his body had been embalmed in the Egyptian manner. Upon Israel's departure from Egypt, Moses honored the promise and "took the bones of Joseph with him" (Exodus 13:19). Following Israel's arrival and settlement in the promised land, Joseph's remains were interred, as recorded in Joshua 24:32.

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