Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 17


Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 17
Watching Now

I. The Person

A. His name

B. Successor to Moses

II. The Book of Joshua

A. Connected to Deuteronomy

B. History and geography

C. Purpose

D. Genre

E. Date and Authorship

III. Outline

A. Entering the land - crossing over

B. Occupying the land – take

C. Allocation of the land – divide

D. Keeping the land – worship

IV. Holy War

A. Meaning of the Hebrew word

B. Preserve the purity of Israel's worship

C. Judgment on the Canaanites

D. Suspension of common grace

V. Covenant Obedience

VI. The Gospel Promised Beforehand

  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


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Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt

Survey of the Old Testament



I. The Person (00:13):

All right. This is our lecture on the Book of Joshua. The Book of Joshua is the first of four books in the Former Prophets consisting of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The book is named after the leader who succeeded Moses and his name means, "Yahweh saves." In Hebrew, it's Yehoshua. This is also the Hebrew name for Jesus. Joshua and Jesus share the same name. Jesus is just how we came through Greek and Latin and now in English.

But you can see this coming up and Jesus' name in Matthew 1:21 where the angel of the Lord is speaking, “that she will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus or Joshua, which means, for he will save his people from his sins.” That whole Joshua name is really significant. He will, Yahweh saves or Yahweh saves and Jesus then will save us, not from the enemies like the Amalekites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, but from our sins, the real enemy in our life.

Who is Joshua? Who is Joshua, often called son of Nun? We first encountered Joshua way back in Exodus 17, when Moses appoints him to lead a fight against the Amalekites. So that's right after the rock episode, the Massah and Meribah episode that we spent some time on. Then they go to war against the Amalekites, and Joshua gets appointed as a leader. Next in Exodus 32, Joshua was described as Moses' assistant or minister. Maybe he got promoted. That's Exodus 17 and Exodus 32, he worked out as a military campaign fighter, and now he's going to be Moses' assistant.

 A. His name (01:46):

Tracking down the line then to the history and biography of Joshua, in Numbers 11:28, Joshua is described as the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth. So he's going to track with Moses for a very long time, 40 years in fact. In Numbers 13:16, a few chapters later, we discover that Moses changed Joshua's name. Isn't that interesting? We don't often think about that, that he was first Hoshea, which means “he saved”, and then Moses changed it to Yahoshua, kind of putting the Yahweh part up front, to Yahweh saves. Okay, so he saves, who saves? Now, you've got the answer, Yahoshua. He always saves.  That's great, and so we have the additional, they call that the theophoric element. Whenever you have a YA or a WH at the end, a YA at the beginning of a word or a WH at the end of a word, that's part of the Yahweh theophoric element part that makes the divine name appear in that.

 B. Joshua is a Second Moses Figure (02:46):

In the book of numbers, Joshua was one of the two out of 12 spies with Caleb that brought back a positive report regarding the inhabitance and resources in Canaan. Joshua and Caleb are the only two men from that first generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt to enter into the promised land.  You can see, for example, if you want, in Numbers 26 and Numbers 32, Joshua is Moses' successor and therefore he is going to become a second Moses figure for us.

Now that's a really important concept and theme I want you to think about, second Moses' figures. Moses is a prophetic covenant mediator, and what we're going to see is that people down the line in the history of Israel are going to do things that remind us of Moses, and they're going to be called second Moses figures. There are events that are going to happen or that have  happened in the life of Moses, and we call this second Exodus events. So the big event for Moses was the Exodus and he was a prophetic covenant mediator. We're going to have more Moses's and more Exoduses down the line.

For example, when we get to the Deborah and Barrack judge narrative in the next book, the description of the defeat of the enemy is an Exodus kind of description. They're at the river, they have chariots, the enemy gets flooded with chariots, and then in the song it says, "And Yahweh is marching on in a sycophantic glory defeating those people," so that we have second Exodus events.

In the next one, Gideon, Gideon is a second Moses figure. His call is like Moses. His commission is like Moses. When we read through Gideon's call, we're going to say, "I think I've heard that before," and you're right. So he’s the second Moses figure. So it's important to know that the way the Lord works is in these special patterns and we call it typology, but it's really just patterns of people and events that keep our minds and our hearts on track, so that when Christ comes and we see all that He's doing, we see all the patterns and tracks that He is.

Remember when He was transfigured with Elijah and Elisha, it says they were talking about His departure. The word there in Greek is, Exodus. So they're talking about His Exodus. It’s so important to see these images and pictures. It's one of the things I really benefited from in my seminary career. There were a bunch of biblical theologians there at Gordon-Conwell in those days, and they were always seeing these patterns, types, and connections.  I had never seen those in my life. I'd never been instructed to see them or look for them. Once you know how to do it, you start seeing more and more, and the Bible is less disconnected and more connected.

So in what way is Joshua the second Moses figure? Let me just show you some of the ways and some of his calling and commission. Deuteronomy 31:14 says, "And the Lord said to Moses, behold the days approach when you must die," this is the Lord saying to Moses, "Call Joshua and present yourselves and attend meeting that I may commission him." Then a few verses later. "And the Lord commissioned Joshua, the son of Nun, and said, be strong and courageous for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you." Remember, that's the promise of the divine presence, the promise that Moses got to fulfill his commission. It's interesting too, how does Joshua bring them into the land? He divides the Jordan River and they march through, and so that's an Exodus event. "And Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the spirit of wisdom for Moses had laid his hands on him, so the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord commanded Moses." He's got that same mediatorial leader thing.

II. The Book of Joshua

A. Connected to Deuteronomy (06:14):

The book of Joshua is hinged to the book of Deuteronomy by the repeated death account of Moses. In Deuteronomy 34:5-37, it says, "And so Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab," according to the word of Lord. Then in just a few verses later in Joshua 1-2, "After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, son of Nun, et cetera." That servant is now dead.  What you're going to see is that death accounts are pretty important in the Bible because they usually mark the beginning of something new.

For example, when Saul dies, when David dies, when Solomon dies, things like that. You're going to see that if I can just make some kind of funny picture here, Joshua, this is going to be Deuteronomy. This is going to be Joshua. This is going to be Judges. Moses dies here and here, and Joshua dies here and here. He actually dies here twice. He died three times in scripture. It's a point known for men to die once, but he got it three times. What they do is they sell these books together, and they point to the crisis of leadership. They help us to see that, we need kingship, because kingship is rooted in the Abraham covenant. We need kingship.

B. History and Geography (07:28):

It’s about history and geography. The book of Joshua begins with Israel, east of the Jordan river, waiting to cross over and occupy the land of its inheritance. It ends with Israel in the promised land and dispersing to their inheritances after the initial phase of the occupation. If the Exodus took place in 1446, and they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, this puts the events recorded in the book of Joshua beginning in 1406. Joshua dies at about at 110 years old, so about to '360. So 1406 to '360, something like that, when this generation crossed the land at that time.

I have a map here to show you, just because now that you've had the historical geography class, this may not be as important. You can see here on the left hand column, you've got the listing of the tribes and you've got the text references where they get their inheritance. So from Joshua 13 to 19, and it's a pretty cool arrangement of how it works. Let's start in the south in Mississippi fashion. So down here at very, very bottom, you're going to get Simeon where his tribe is underneath Judah. When the Lord tears, the tribes of Israel away from the line of David and puts those in the north in south, Simeon is the only one that remains aligned with Judah. We'll even see in the book of Judges at the very beginning, when Judah goes out to take its land, it says, "Hey, Simeon, you go with me and then I'll go with you." They had this strong kinship bond there.

Then we have Judah. We have Dan, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Now I remember we told you that Ephraim and Manasseh aren't one of the original 12 patriarchs, but rather they're the sons of Joseph. So Joseph is getting a double portion in the land. Notice that Dan is down here in the south below Ephraim at the big beginning, but later they're going to forsake their inheritance and go up north, and illicitly take people and a place. Dan will be the most Northern tribe and then Simeon and Judah will be the most Southern tribe.

We also can make a distinction here. The inheritances on this side of the Jordan River, are called the Transjordanian tribes. They include Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. Reuben would have been Jacob's firstborn. Look, and you can see Manasseh has a massive territory both on the Transjordanian side and the Cisjordan side. Then you can see, you've got Zebulon, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and then Dan ends up moving way up here at the end. That is going to play an important role in the book of Judges, because at the end of the book of Judges in 17 to 21, where you have the two conclusions, all of the idolatry is going on is because the tribe of Dan is moving north instead of staying in their inheritance.

The purpose of the book is the land. Joshua is to record Israel's possession of the land that was promised to them by God, 700 years ago. The book of Joshua, especially this section right here that we see on the map this is evidence. This is concrete, literary, covenant deposited evidence of Yahweh's faithfulness to keep His promise.

C. Purpose (10:58):

You can point to it in scripture and say, "This is where they had land. This is where they had land. This is where they had land." Those chapters represent Christmas after 700 years, because it'd be like 700 years of pandemic and social distancing, and then getting to be together again, it's that kind of event for them. Worship and happiness, and think about getting to be that generation who got to take on that blessing and inheritance. There was 700 years of people not getting that, and they were the ones! It was such a gift. It's really an important thing to think about. So land is a big deal.

The Hebrew noun, eretz, that's the word for land, occurs 311 times in the book of Genesis, more than any other book in the Hebrew Bible. It serves as a major theme running from Genesis through Joshua. So you can see in Genesis in these Abrahamic promises that we have, the issue of land and inheritance is huge. 311 times in the book of Genesis, that's one of those whole literary counting things again. Why is land so important? It’s because they've been kicked out of Eden, their original inheritance, and they're looking for the new land. So the patriarchal promise of the land features frames. The patriarchal narratives are from Genesis 12:7 to Genesis 50:24, and it is repeated at least 11 times in that period of time. From Genesis 12 to Genesis 50, the land promises are repeated 11 times to the patriarchs, Abraham, then to Isaac, and then to succeeding generations in 50:24.

Let me just remind you of that particular promise. This is going to be Genesis 12:1-3 and seven. This is the promise that's getting fulfilled. Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I'll make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I'll bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you or dishonors you, I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed." Verse seven, "Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, to your offspring, I will give this land. So he built an altar to the Lord who appeared to him." So it's repeated twice there in Genesis 12. It actually brackets the Abrahamic promise right there, land and land.

Prior to the book of Joshua, Abraham's family had become a great nation. They had a great name, and they had been a blessing to the nations around them. Think about Joseph saving the world and their enemies had been cursed, that is Egypt. So all of this has been fulfilled. The only thing missing now at the beginning of Joshua is the fulfillment of the land. In Joshua 21:43-45, "Joshua says, so the Lord gave to Israel, all the land that He swore to give the fathers, and they took possession of it and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as He had sworn to their fathers. Not one or all their enemies had withstood them for the Lord had given them all their enemies into their hand." Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed. All had come to pass. Isn't that great? The theme of the book of Joshua is the faithfulness of Yahweh to fulfill all of His covenant promises again and again and again.

D. Genre of Joshua (14:04):

In terms of genre, it's classic Hebrew narrative. In fact, Joshua is one of the easiest books to read in Hebrew because of its vocabulary. So that's a good one for you, Terry, to tackle sometime soon. It's a combination of events and speeches recorded as theological history, that is theological history with a purpose. The record of history recorded in the Bible is not unbiased. It is completely biased. It has an intention and a plan. It's not the simple recording of events and the unbiased and interpretation of those events, which is impossible. It is the covenantal record of Yahweh's faithfulness to keep his promises in the midst of Israel's infidelity. That's why it's being written. So this is like, "Gang, Yahweh has fulfilled His promises, you have no excuses for not obeying now."

E. Date and Authorship (14:54):

 What about the date and authorship for this book? When was this book written and does that have any impact on, was it written in the exilic period, the post-exilic period, the monarchy? What were they trying to do with it? Unfortunately, this book is anonymous and we're going to see that with Joshua. We talked about the five books of Moses being Mosaic in all likelihood in substance simply, if that's the best argument. But the book of Joshua, the book of Judges, the book of Samuel, and the book of Kings, these Former Prophets are all anonymous. The Talmud says, and some of the rabbis, that's Jewish interpretation, that they attribute it to Joshua himself.

But some saw parts of the book written by later hands. Of course, that's probably true. The way I think about it is, Joshua wrote the majority of it. Then there were some final redacting and editing, maybe during the monarchy, and again, at the post-exilic time with Ezra, when he put the can together in my imagination. Again, I'm just saying, for me, Ezra's that guy, but it's not that for everybody. It's not an orthodoxy question, it's just a miles as imagination question.

So, a lot of people see Joshua as the author. For example, Joshua 24:26 states that Joshua recorded these things in the book of the law of God. So you've got internal evidence that Joshua is recording something, referring to the covenant that people had made in Shechem, but there are no further indications here or elsewhere that he wrote the rest of the book. So there's probably some stuff, some updating, maybe of names or locations.

Another rabbi, Abravanel, was his name, attributed it to Samuel due especially to the phrase that we see repeatedly to this day. So he's saying, "And that stone is still there to this day." Or, "That border marker still there to this day. Or, "These pile of stones of the witness are still there to this day." Well, it wouldn't make sense. It was Joshua, right? That was last week, of course, it's there to this day. So you've got some of those statements that appear in 4:9, 5:9, 6:25, 7:26. So even if Joshua or Samuel were the author, or maybe co-author, there's going to be some updating.  I have no problem with that. That doesn't impugn any Historicity, inherency, authority at all, as the spirit of Christ carry these men and women along to care for and transmit the scriptures.

There are some other things here. There's a formula in chapter 15:63 and 16:10, that points to a period, not later than the 10th century. This is because 15:16 mentions the Judites living in Jerusalem alongside Jebusites, whom they cannot drive out. We know that David ended up driving them all out. So it seems that it's before the monarchy or something like that. So since David captured Jerusalem in 1003 BC, by the end of the next century, at least, Jebusites presumably would not have lived there. So there are some things in there. The problem is we don't know the history of the text and so we can say substantively Joshua wrote it or parts of it, maybe Samuel updated it. Then again, in the monarchy, David, maybe even in Solomon or his men kept bringing it into its fullness, and then Ezra at the end.

So if Joshua dies around 1350 BC, then the book could have been initially drafted by Joshua between 1400 and 1350. He had 50 years in the land there. Then it was perhaps revised and updated by someone like Samuel around a 1000 BC, and then ultimately Ezra in 450. That's my thing. So it's got three stages of composition, 1400 to 1350 Joshua, Samuel around a 1000, and then Ezra 450 to 400, something like that. So I think that's a healthy way to think about how some of these books came together.

When we talk about ex-Jesus and we talk about reading the Bible and studying it, we often talk about the importance of who was the author and who was his audience? So what was the author's original intent and how was it received? We're trying to figure that stuff out that's why we ask these questions. We have to have a flexible way of thinking about some of these things because our evidence has gaps in it. We have to construct things. We also know that all of these things are recorded for us, the church, as well for encouragement and hope. So we dig in and we apply as best we can.

 I feel like Moses was a substantial author and Joshua was a substantial author, but over time it was updated and revised in some sense, just like we do, but under inspiration. Just like we do now with Bibles. We update and revise them. The language, maybe even place names or titles. The outline is right here on the board for you. It's a really cool outline. One, because you can get all 24 chapters in four sections. The other is, because, let's say its structure is beautiful.

III. Outline of Joshua (19:42):

Now, this is not my outline by the way, this is a colleague of mine, Daniel Timmer, in The Biblical Theological Introduction of the Old Testament, this is a chapter on Joshua, this is where I got it from, he used to work with me and Jackson, and now he's at Puritan in Grand Rapids, puts this forth. So there's four sections, so preparation to occupy the land. The guys go to get circumcised, they're going to have Passover, and all that kind of stuff. Then there's the occupation of the land, where they engage in holy war. We're going to talk about holy war. Then there's the allocation of the land. Then there's convocation, that is the covenant renewal. But this is more alliterative; preparation, occupation, allocation, and convocation.

A. Entering the land – crossing over (20:27):

But the reason that they're labeled this way is because of the verbs that are predominant, the verbs that predominate in that area. Okay, so here the verb, “to cross over”, dominates. Here, the verb, “to take”, dominates. Here, the verb, “to divide”, dominates. Here the verb, “to worship or serve”, dominates. And the reason that's pretty cool, and that's the reason I wrote out in Hebrew here, is so that you can see that the verbs are carefully selected and sound a lot alike.

So the first and the last one, do you see how the first two letters are the same, and the last letter looks almost the same, one's just more of a bent angle and this is a right angle. So it's avar and avab, so they share and they have the cool thing. And this is [inaudible 00:21:11], they share all the same root letters, but they're just in different order. So that's why I say it's simple and beautiful. This is what I love about the beauty of narrative in the Hebrew language and poetry, it's just that there's always something to be wondered by or wondered about when you see this stuff.  I really appreciate that. It really does give a good, prepare to occupy, occupy, divide it up, worship.

In the preparation, Joshua takes command of the people. Then Rahab and the spies cross the Jordan River, a second Exodus event, putting up 12 memorial stones, they serve as witnesses, and then you get to circumcise the new generation. So what's interesting is one of the things that, you're supposed to circumcise on the eighth day, and one of the things that we see is that previous generation that died in the wilderness was so unfaithful, they weren't circumcising their kids. It almost got Moses killed in the beginning of his life, something about circumcision. That's a crazy story, but anyway. So it's just another instance where it's tastic condemnation of that previous generation.

B. Occupying the land – take (22:20):

In terms of occupation, you have the appearance of the commander of the Lord's army right at the beginning of it. The appearance of the commander of Lord's army in chapter 5:13-15, do you remember that? That's where Joshua was in Jericho or by Jericho, and all of a sudden he sees this great warrior with his sword drawn out and he goes, "Who are you for, us or the enemy? And he says, "Neither, I'm the commander of the Lord's army." And he says, "Take off your shoes or your sandals because this is holy ground." Now what you've got to realize about that is, that's his call and commission in a very short thing. Remember when Moses saw the burning Bush, "Take off your shoes for this is holy ground." The two events are connected. When Moses was called and commissioned, it was a burning bush that wasn't consumed where words came out of it. It was a symbol of Sinai later. There's going to be a burning mountain with fire on top and it's not consumed and words are going to be coming out of it. That's the thing. That's matching.

So with Joshua, he does not have a ministry of words, he has a ministry of swords. So he's going to be the warrior guy. Moses is the man of peace, Joshua is the man of war, and it's going to play out. So this warrior is the angel of the Lord here kind of thing. It's the pre-incarnate Christ, I would argue, at this point, and he's going to be leading the army. That's why they can march around the city for seven days, and it falls down. It's because it's not that army that's fighting, it's the invisible army that's fighting.

You see that in  2 Kings Six, I mentioned this before with Elijah in Dothan, where he's being surrounded by the army, the enemy army, his servant is freaking out, and Elijah prays for him. Then they peel back reality and he sees all the hills filled with fiery chariots, horses, and warriors. Then he realizes, "Okay, there's another army on our side." So, that's what's happening here, it's a similar token. Yahweh is always the warrior and fighter of Israel, and we're going to see that over and over in the book of Judges. That's why he tells Gideon, "You can only go to war with 300 people against thousands and thousands and thousands and tens of thousands, because I'm going to get them, not you." He wants to make it clear. We could talk about that all day.

 The conquest of Jericho, and the saving of Rahab the spy is next. Rahab the prostitute becomes a great woman in the line of faith and one of David's ancestors. The struggle at Ai because you have the defeat of Ai, Achan sin, victory at Ai, and renewal of the covenant. So there's this terrible thing that happens. Achan, so Jericho is under the ban, that means you've got to destroy everything and burn it all up. You can't take any of it for yourself. Achan takes some of it. So they have to wage holy war on Achan. So he and his family, Achan and his family bite the dust, and they're swallowed by the ground. The parallel to that in the New Testament, by the way, is in the book of Acts, with Ananias and Sapphira, it's the very same thing. The beginning of a new administration, a whole new ethic, they dishonor that ethic, and they drop dead. So that Achan and Ananias and Sapphira are the same kind of things going on there.

Then they make an illicit treaty with Gibeon. They're not supposed to make or enter into a covenant, but the land of Gibeon tricks them. They don't consult the Lord and it becomes a catastrophe. Then there's the conquest of the south, the conquest of the source, the north, and the list of conquest. So they conquer like this from south to north. That's going to be important, because when we get to the Elijah and Elisha narratives, Elijah's going to exit that way out of the land and get taken up, and Elisha is going to come back. It's going to be these exit type of events that they're looking at.

 C. Allocation of the land – divide (26:02):

Okay, in terms of the dividing of the land, the allocation, again, we're not going to go through much of that just because of time, but we have, it begins with the land remaining to be conquered at the beginning.  The Lord does not drive out all of the inhabitants of the land at first, the land's too big for Israel to occupy, so he keeps some in there. We'll see in the book of Judges, it's so that He can train the next generation for war and make sure that they have faith and hearts that will do the same thing. All right, so that's an intentional thing.

They begin with the east of the Jordan. So Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, then they go over to the west of the Jordan., I'll just tell you the way in which it gets allotted, and listen to it in your mind. It begins with Caleb, the first faithful spy, then it goes, Judah, Ephraim, Benjamin, Simeon, Zebulon, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Joshua. So the way in which it's bracketed by, so everyone's by tribe, but then there's also specifically the Caleb and the Joshua allotments, that bracket that highlighting their faithfulness to the covenant right there. So it's a really cool way. These lists aren't all random. If you look at them back up, there's a theological intention. Okay.

D.  Keeping of the land - worship(27:14):

Finally, there's the keeping of the land with covenant renewal. They make an alter of witness by the Jordan River. Joshua gives a farewell address. The covenant is renewed at Shechem. Then there's the death of Joshua later. I want to talk briefly about, let me see, one thing, two things. Yeah, I want to talk briefly about two things that will help us understand Joshua in a really critical for how we think about what's going on in today's world at some point.

IV. Holy War (27:40):

A. Meaning of the Hebrew word (27:40)

The first one thing I want to talk to you about is holy war, holy war. And the Hebrew word is, it's H-E-R-E-M with a little bit of like, they put a dot and it's like Herem, it's like a hard H, Herem. It means to put to the ban, and so that maybe sometimes they translate like that. It means to devote to total destruction. All right. So when a city is put to the ban, well, let's put it this way, most of the cities at Israel are conquered. They would execute the inhabitants, usually the male warriors, and then they would take their houses, take their livestock, take their belongings. And that was judgment on the Canaanites, and we'll talk about what that meant, but that was how Israel took the spoils of the land and became prosperous. That's how it would work. Some of the cities were not to be taken. You couldn't take any prisoners and you couldn't take any of the spoils. This gets Saul in trouble later for disobeying this. This is one of the reasons he gets kicked out of kingship.

So the question is, what is holy war? Why would God permit it? It is because in holy war, you kill every man, woman, child, young, old, slave, free, dog, cat, cow, you burn their house and you destroy their walls. Even in Jericho, they said, you can't even live there anymore. But at the cost of your firstborn son, would you live there and rebuild those walls? It actually happens that God rebuilds it later, and its firstborn son dies. It's said it in the Bible, I just couldn't figure it out.

So the theology of holy war is rooted in Deuteronomy seven and Deuteronomy 20. Those are the two main texts, Deuteronomy seven and Deuteronomy 20. I'll read to you a section of Deuteronomy 20, and then I'll show you a couple things about holy war that are important, okay. Deuteronomy 20:16-18 says, "But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God has given you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction. The Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, as Lord God has commanded you, that they may not teach you to do according to all of their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against Lord your God."

B. Preserve the purity of Israel’s worship (29:56):

The first thing is God wants to preserve the purity of Israel's worship. He does not want them to take on the practices of those nations. One of the reasons He's destroying those nations is because of their corruption and worship, which usually involves child sacrifice and a lot of cult prostitution. The corruption of the marriage covenant and killing children, are both extremely evil.

C. Judgment on the Canaanites (30:17):

The second reason, and so, one, it was to protect Israel from corruption. The other was to execute judgment on the Canaanites. A preview of the Canaanites' sin is presented to Abraham, where he is told that the fulfillment of the promise to him would be delayed in part because, "The sin of the Amorites is not yet complete." The Amorites is a designation that just encompasses all those guys. That's in Genesis 15:16. That is, the return of Abraham's descendants finally, to inherit the land would have as a part of its mission, the punishing of the Canaanites for their sin. They are the instruments of God's judgment. Protect them from purity, the instruments of God's judgment.

The instructions to Israel, to annihilate the Canaanites, were very specific in time, intent, and geography. It was not a blanket permission to do the same to any peoples they encountered at any time or any place. They couldn't go out like to Babylon, or they couldn't go down into Egypt and do any of this. They couldn't go up north. This was only for those tribes in their land because of their wickedness. Okay, so it was limited in time, geography, and scope. It was limited to the crucial time when Israel was just establishing itself as a theocracy under God to protect God's people and worship and to punish those other people.  But this is a harsh reality for our kind of sensitivity, we don't wage war like this anymore and never should we.

 D. Suspension of common grace (31:37):

So how did this happen and what is this like? There are times in the economy of God's covenant and in the economy of common grace, in the covenant of grace, where God suspends common grace and lets the ethics of the eschaton intrude in. Meredith Kline, Intrusion Ethics, this is where I'm getting it from. We saw this already at the flood. Yeah, the flood is a suspension of common grace where no longer do the ethics of common grace abide for the wheat and the chaff together. It's that God comes and He shows us what the judgment of the end is going to look like. It's so important to understand that. Remember that happened again at Sodom and Gomorrah. God suspended common grace and brought in the eschaton, He's bringing it again.

This is the same thing. This is God suspending common grace for the Canaanites and showing us, in some sense, what a picture of what the battle's going to look like in the book of Revelation when He comes back. It'll make what Israel did to the Canaanites look like a Sunday school lesson. Does that make sense? Where he's riding with his sword, and he is got King of Kings and Lord of Lords on his thigh, and he's coming on the horse, and there's blood everywhere. All of us are riding right behind him. We are coming conquering in his train. Just like David conquered Goliath, and then the whole host of Israel went after the Philistines after that, right behind David. It's that picture, that's what I'm getting.

So this holy war or herem is not something that we can ever do on our own. It's only permitted in these things and only God really does it. It's God who's fighting these battles. Israel is just the instrument, God is the agent. So the extermination of the Canaanites involved intrusion ethics, whereby the ethical standards of common grace were suspended and the ethical standards of the eschatological judgment temporary intruded into the current period of delay. That's what we call common grace, the delay of judgment. So that's an important thing to understand.

But it's also important to understand that there are positive intrusions as well. Miracles are positive intrusions. So when Jesus shows up and He starts healing people, He's suspending common grace, and the ethics of heaven are intruding in, so that the blind receive sight. That's also a picture of heaven as well. So there's both negative intrusions and positive intrusions. That's what we're really doing when we're praying for God to help and do something humanly that's impossible, is that He would suspend common grace and bring in the ethics of heaven for just a little bit and help us here. Does that make sense? He does it sometimes, and sometimes He doesn't, because He knows. He's declared the end from the beginning, He's running the show.


Okay. That's the first thing, because it's going to come back in the book of Judges too when they're just killing everyone everywhere. If you were to make a film of Joshua in Judges and play it on the movies, it would be rated R or MA or whatever it's on, it would be not good. In fact there's this thing called, and don't go look it up, The Brick Testament, where they illustrate a lot of stories in Legos. Some of the things I wouldn't show my kids. So it's rough stuff out there, but that's the reality of that world and that's the reality of the world that's coming. It’s just that kind of violence and corruption. So that's one thing, intrusion ethics and understanding how holy war works and the rules for it. So Deuteronomy seven and 20, if you want more of that.

V. Covenant Obedience (35:03):

The next is covenant obedience. Another major theme in Joshua is obedience to the covenant or better, keeping the covenant. There is the Deuteronomic stress upon obedience to the law and the cause and effect relationship of obedience and blessing, disobedience and punishment. There are two important covenant renewal ceremonies that are recorded in the book. These ceremonies frame Israel's occupation of the land. One in Joshua eight and one in Joshua, basically 24.

"Joshua wrote all the words of the covenant renewal in the book of the law of God," says there, "And he erected a large stone as a witness and a memorial for them. And the people committed themselves to keeping all of the law as well. Joshua understood, however, that Israel, as a nation, did not believe, have the capacity to obey." So he gives us this statement right here.

"Joshua said to the people, 'You are not able to serve the Lord for He is a holy God, He is a jealous God, He will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do harm and consume you after having done you good.' And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we want to, we'll serve the Lord.' Then Joshua said to the people, 'You're witnesses against yourselves, that you have chosen the Lord, serve Him.' They said, 'We are witnesses.' You can see your kids going out to college and saying stuffs. That's the book of Joshua. So remember that statement right there is so programmatic for the book of Judges, because Joshua is going to be proven true at the outside of the book of Judges.


VI. The Gospel Promised Beforehand (36:29):

So how is the book of Joshua, the gospel promised beforehand?  The most important theme in the book of Joshua is Israel's occupation of the land as the fulfillment of the Lord's promises to the patriarchs first made in Genesis 12. God is faithful. Two, Israel's promised land is really a type of Eden. All of this good stuff they were looking for, is helping us to look beyond it to a better promised land. For example, look at what Joshua was saying in Joshua 24:13, "The Lord says, I gave of you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell on them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant." That's what we're looking for, our inheritance. Not just the land, but the fullness of it. You can compare that one with Genesis 2:8, "And Lord God planted a garden of Eden in the east, and he put the man in there he formed in his occupation." This is the same thing. So God put Adam and Eve in the garden, He put Israel in the garden.

But we must never misunderstand or understand that the actual physical geographical region of Canaan like Eden was a shadow image, picture, or type of something greater. Both teach us and point us to the ultimate new heaven and new earth in a city where we did not build, where there's blessing that we have not earned. However, in this city, righteousness, obedience, and blessing are secured for us because someone kept a covenant on our behalf. Even Abraham understood this. Remember it was 700 years between the initial promise of the first temporary typological fulfillment of this promise to him. And you think about it later, it was 2000 years until Jesus secured it. And we're still waiting for it. So one day is like a thousand years.

Listen to this, Hebrews 11:9-19, "By faith, Abraham went to live in a land of promise in a foreign land living in tents with Isaac and Jacob heirs with him of the same promise, for he was looking forward to the city has foundations who's builder and designer is God." So we've got right there the witness of the text. So I think that's where I'll end with this one. Also, you can also say Jesus is the true and better Joshua, easy to say. Hoshea, he saves, his name. Yehoshua, Yahweh saves. The Joshua in the Old Testament is superseded by the true and better Joshua of the New Testament who saves, but also dies and is raised to show us that the real life is coming. So I think that's another good one as well to think about.

All right, I'll take a few questions at this time, if you wish.

When we see how long it took for some of the promises to be fulfilled, all the people that lived in the process were faithful, even though they didn't see it. Then all of a sudden, one day it's fulfilled, and you never know when that one day is going to be.

That's right. That's right.

You see that even with examples of individuals like Joseph who's in the prison and he's going through all this stuff, and he's in a jail cell, and by the end of the day, he's the vice ruler of Egypt.

That's exactly right.

It's great to have these examples so that it's encouragement for us to be faithful.

Yeah, he's serving all those people, but us. So he served the people of his time, but he's also serving us. About what you said, as soon as you started saying it, Ed, it made me think of the end of Hebrews 11, where it says, "And all of these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised." So from Adam and Eve, all the way down, it says, "Since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us, they should not be made perfect." So the reason for the delay is so that the fullness of God's people could enter into them, so we'll be with David, and Abraham, and Joshua, and Moses. So it's amazing.

In all of these, those committed through their faith did not receive what was promised, and the reason is, since God provided something better for us. It's amazing, and so we have that hope that we will one day be made perfect in the perfect land, and an inheritance that can't be taken away. That's the good news. It doesn't get any better. Right?