The Book of Joshua

Leading the Israelites into the Promised land.


The Book of Joshua is the first book in Nevi’im (Prophets), the second section of the Tanakh. It is considered part of the Deuteronomic history that begins in Deuteronomy and ends with the second Book of Kings. These books tell the story of the Israelites from the wandering in the desert to the establishment of a monarchy in the Land of Israel.

The Six Books of Moses?

The Deuteronomic history is known for its emphasis on living in obedience to God and fulfilling the covenant. As God declares to Joshua in the opening chapter: “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses…Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left so that you may be successful wherever you go” (1:3-7).
 bible quiz
By following God’s will the people will receive all the blessings of the land.

Joshua Bin Nun

The title character of the Book of Joshua is the son of Nun (Yehoshua Bin Nun), who figures heavily in the Torah as the protégé of Moses. Joshua appears early on as Moses’ sentry at the base of Mount Sinai during the Golden calf incident (Exodus 32). He also has an important role as one of the 12 spies sent into the land of Canaan, and one of only two who came back with positive reports about the land (Numbers 13).
Finally, after Moses strikes the rock and loses his right to enter the Land of Israel (Numbers 20), Joshua is designated the next leader of the Israelites. And it is under Joshua’s leadership that they enter the land of Canaan.
The overall story arc of the Book of Joshua involves the Israelites’ conquest and settlement of Canaan. The book as a whole can be broken down into three sections: The history of the conquest, the allocation of the land, and Joshua’s farewell speech.
Aside from its clean chronological order, the book also follows a geographical logic, from the east to west crossing into Canaan, to the circular conquest of the native tribes. First the Israelites conquer the nations in the center, then the south, and finally the northern and peripheral nations.

Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Elana Roth is a graduate of Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she earned degrees in English Literature and Bible. She currently works as a literary agent in New York City.

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy