Come in, and receive God’s promises!

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Joshua

www.easyenglish.info

Brian Rowlands

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Maps to help you to study this book are on the Internet at www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/joshua-map.htm .

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

 

About this book

1 Lessons from the Book of Joshua

The Book of Joshua has many lessons for us. It teaches us to accept the good things that God provides for us.

The *Israelites had been slaves in Egypt. God had set them free with the help of Moses. At first, they did not trust that God had done the right thing. Most of them died in the desert because they did not believe. Only Joshua and Caleb believed. ‘The *Israelites had walked about in the desert for 40 years. But all the men had died who were old enough to fight at the beginning of their journey. This happened because they had not obeyed the *Lord’ (Joshua 5:6).

Joshua and Caleb reached the *promised land with those who had been born in the desert. The journey had taken about 40 years. Now they were ready to enter the land.

Moses had said, ‘God brought us out of Egypt. He will bring us in and give us the land’ (Deuteronomy 6:23). The Book of Joshua is all about this. God brought the *Israelites out of Egypt to take them into the *promised land. The *Israelites did not know completely the goodness of God until they entered the *promised land.

When we read the Book of Joshua for the first time, it appears to be all about unpleasant wars. The *promised land already had its own inhabitants. God said that they were evil people because

·     they *worshipped false gods (Deuteronomy 20:18);

·     they *sacrificed their children to their gods (Deuteronomy 12:31);

·     they practised magic (Deuteronomy 18:9-11).

The inhabitants did not want the *Israelites to live in the *promised land. So, the inhabitants would oppose the *Israelites. The *Israelites would have to kill the inhabitants before they could enjoy the promises of God.

In the Book of Joshua, God is saying to his people, ‘Come in! Come in to the *promised land. Come in to all that is best for you.’ ‘I brought you out to bring you in.’

The Book of Joshua is like a lesson for us today. The book shows us what God wants to do for all Christians. Many Christians are like the *Israelites who died in the desert. God has saved them from judgement. But they do not realise all the good things that God has for them. They let other things get in the way of these *blessings.

It is important to read the Book of Joshua with this in mind. It is not just a history book! The Book of Joshua has important lessons for all Christians. And the Book of Joshua shows us what God wants to do for us here and now. God brought us out to bring us in.

‘The *Lord has kept every one of the promises that he gave to you. You know that deep in yourselves. He has not failed to keep one of them. The *Lord has kept every good promise’ (Joshua 23:14, 15).

2 About Joshua

Joshua was a helper to Moses. We read a lot about Joshua in the Books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Here are just three examples.

·     Joshua led the army against the *Amalekites. While Joshua was fighting, Moses lifted his hands up in prayer to God (Exodus 17:8-16). Joshua knew the value of prayer.

·     Joshua went with Moses up Sinai mountain when God gave the *Israelites instructions about the *ark (Exodus 24:13 - 25:8). Joshua had actually been with God.

·     Joshua was one of 12 men that Moses sent in secret to look at the *promised land. Only Joshua and Caleb brought good news back (Numbers 13). Joshua had *faith that God would provide.

Joshua’s name in the Hebrew language means The *Lord is my *Saviour. (The Hebrew language is the language of the *Old Testament.) The name Jesus in the Greek language means the same. (The Greek language is the language of the *New Testament.) God used Joshua to save the *Israelites. Jesus is our *Saviour.

Think about this: God was preparing Joshua to be the leader of the *Israelites. Joshua was ready for the job that was ahead of him. We should allow God to prepare us and to use us in his work.

3 What the book is all about

1. Prepare for God’s *blessing 1:1 - 5:12

            God prepares the leader 1:1-9

            Joshua prepares the people 1:10-18

            Joshua sends two men to look over the land 2:1-24

            The people cross the river Jordan 3:1-5:1

            *Circumcision and *Passover 5:1-12

2. Take God’s *blessing 5:13 - 12:24

            The first *victory - Jericho 5:13-6:27

            Defeat then *victory at Ai 7:1-8:29

            Joshua reads God’s law to the people 8:30-35

            The *Israelites become friends with their enemies from Gibeon 9:1-27

            The *Israelites defeat the Amorites 10:1-28

            The *Israelites defeat the towns in the south of the country 10:29-43

            The *Israelites defeat the towns in the north of the country 11:1-23

            A list of all the kings that the *Israelites defeated 12:1-24

3. The extent of the *blessing 13:1 - 21:45

            The land that *Israel had not yet taken 13:1-7

            The land that Moses gave to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh 13:8-33

            Joshua divides the rest of the land 14:1-19:51

            *Cities of *refuge 20:1-9

            Towns for the *Levites 21:1-45

4. Accept God’s *blessing 22:1 - 24:33

            The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh return home 22:1-34

            Joshua says ‘Goodbye’ to his leaders 23:1-16

            Joshua says ‘Goodbye’ to the people 24:1-13

            The people promise to serve God 24:14-27

            The death of Joshua 24:28-33

4 Key verse

Joshua 1:8

You must continue to speak about the words of God’s law. Think about what it says, all the time. Then you will be careful to obey it. Then you will help yourselves to do well, and to win.

1. Prepare for God’s *blessing

God prepares the leader – Joshua 1:1-9

Chapter 1

v1 Moses, the man who had served the *Lord, had died. Then the *Lord spoke to Joshua, son of Nun, who had helped Moses. v2 ‘Moses, my servant, is dead. Now you and all these people must get ready to cross the river Jordan. You, the *Israelites, will go into the land that I intend to give you’, the *Lord said. v3 ‘I have given to you every part of the ground that you walk upon. I promised Moses that I would do this. v4 You will have all the land between the southern desert and the northern mountains of Lebanon. It will be from the river Euphrates, to the Great Sea in the west. You will have all the land of the Hittite people. v5 No one can stop you from taking this land as long as you live. As I was with Moses, I will always be with you. I will never leave you alone. v6 Be strong and do not be afraid. You will lead these people to take the land. That is the land that I promised to give to their *ancestors. v7 Be strong and do not be afraid. Be careful to do all the things that Moses told you. Remember to do everything that he told you to do. Then everything will be well with you. You will win, everywhere that you go. v8 You must continue to speak about the words of God’s law. Think about what it says, all the time. Then you will be careful to obey it. Then you will help yourselves to do well, and to win. v9 Remember that I have told you to do this. So be strong and do not be afraid. Do not be weak but be brave. I, the *Lord your God, will be with you, everywhere that you go.’

Verses 1, 2 Moses had died. Moses had to die before Joshua and the *Israelites could go into the *promised land. (God had told Moses that Moses would not enter the *promised land. This was because he had not obeyed God. See Numbers 20:1-13.) The *Israelites had to enter the *promised land to know completely the goodness of God. Many Christians are like this. Paul wrote, ‘You must not live as you used to live. You must leave behind your old character. It made you live that bad life. The bad things that you did were hurting you. You must have a new mind. You must put on the new character that is like God’s *holy character. You must only do the things that are good and *holy’ (Ephesians 4:22-24).

The death of Moses is like a picture that shows new opportunities. Until now, Joshua had only been a helper. He was the assistant to Moses. Now he had new responsibilities. It was important that he accepted these responsibilities. God’s work could not continue until Joshua accepted his new responsibilities. God could not bless his people until Joshua led them into the *promised land. God brought them out to bring them in.

So it is with us. We must not expect other people to do all the work. God calls each one of us to work for him.

Verses 1-9 God gave Joshua three things to do.

·     To lead the people into the *promised land – verse 2. God had promised this country to Abraham (Genesis 12:1; 15:7). Jesus was born in this country.

·     To defeat the enemies that lived in the country – verse 5.

·     To believe that God would do good things for the *Israelites - verses 3, 7, 9.

God also gave Joshua a promise for each of these instructions.

·     ‘You, the *Israelites, will go into the land that I intend to give you’ – verse 2.

·     ‘No one can stop you from taking this land as long as you live’ – verse 5.

·     ‘You will win, everywhere that you go’ – verse 7.

Verses 5, 9 God had been with Moses. Now God promised Joshua that he would be with Joshua also. Before Joshua set out to attack Jericho, God appeared to Joshua to encourage him. We, too, can know that the same God is with us (Matthew 28:20). He is with us as we work for him.

Verse 6 Before Joshua could lead his people, he, too, had to put his *faith into action. He had to be strong and not be afraid. God had to work by him, not just for him. He could not do nothing and watch God do it all.

God has given to us all the good things that we need (see Ephesians 1:3). We must step out with *faith and claim these *blessings. We cannot stand still. The *Israelites could not receive the *blessings of God until they moved forward. We will not enjoy the *blessings of God if we are lazy. We cannot simply do nothing.

Verses 7-8 Joshua only had the first five books of the Bible as God’s law. Moses had written these. They were a guide for the people. It was important to remember them and to repeat them (see Deuteronomy 6:1-9). Joshua could also remember things that Moses had said.

We have the word of God, the Bible. It is our guide for life. We must make it our regular habit to read it. We must obey it.

Joshua prepares the people – Joshua 1:10-18

v10 So Joshua spoke to the leaders of the people. v11 ‘Go through all the places where the people live’, he said. ‘Tell them to get food ready for a journey. In three days or less, you will cross the river Jordan. Then you will begin to take the land for yourselves. This is the land that the *Lord, your God, is giving to you’, Joshua said.

v12 Moses had given land east of the Jordan to the *tribes of Reuben, Gad and the *half-tribe of Manasseh. Then Joshua spoke to these *tribes. v13 ‘Remember what Moses told you’, he said. ‘The *Lord your God is giving you a rest. He has given you this land. v14 Your wives, children and animals can stay in this land that Moses gave to you, east of the Jordan. However, your fighting men must cross the river, with their arms. They must go in front of their *Israelite relatives. You must help them v15 until the *Lord gives rest to them. This will be like the rest that he has given to you. When all the other *tribes are safe in the *promised land, you may return to your land. It is the land that Moses gave to you east of the Jordan.’

v16 ‘We will do whatever you tell us. In addition, we will go everywhere that you send us’, they answered Joshua. v17 ‘As we always obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. The *Lord your God was with Moses. We only ask that the *Lord will be with you too. v18 Someone might not agree with your word. He might not obey it. We will make certain that he dies. But be very strong and be brave. Do not be afraid.’

Verse 10, 11 Joshua was a man with *faith. The *promised land was on the west side of Jordan. The *Israelites were still on the east side. He told his people that they should get ready to cross the river Jordan. They had to get food ready. That was all! He did not tell them to make some boats! He did not tell them how they would cross the river. He had *faith to realise that God would take care of everything.

Very often, we want to know all the answers before we trust God to do anything for us. But we should have *faith. We should trust God.

Verses 12-15 The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and the *half-tribe of Manasseh liked the land east of the river Jordan. It was good for their animals. They asked if they could make their home there. Moses had agreed, but first they had to help the rest of the people to fight for their land.

They did not make their home in the *promised land. They failed to have a share in all that God wanted them to have there. The land at the east of the Jordan was only part of what God wanted his people to receive.

This is like Christians who do not get completely involved in Christian things. They do not go to church very often. They do not meet with other Christians. They do not help in their local church. So they do not get all that God wants them to have.

Verse 12 The *tribe of Joseph became two tribes. These tribes came from Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Verses 16-18 The leaders of the people encouraged Joshua in three ways.

·     They would obey him – verse 16, 17.

·     They would pray for him – verse 17.

·     They would support him – verse 18.

We must encourage our Christian leaders in the same way. If we want God to bless us, we must encourage other people. We must pray for our leaders. We must obey them.

Joshua sends two men to look over the land – Joshua 2:1-24

Chapter 2

v1 Then Joshua sent out two men from Shittim. He sent them in secret to see what the land was like. ‘Go’, he said, ‘Look at all the country. Look well at the city called Jericho.’ When they came to the city, they went into the house of Rahab. Rahab was a *prostitute.

Verse 1 shows us how clever Joshua was as a soldier. It also shows us his trust in God. The best way to attack *Canaan was from the south. But the *Canaanites protected that road well. Joshua chose to enter the *promised land at Jericho from the east. He could then attack the towns and cities in the north and in the south.

He still had two big problems.

·     The *Israelites had to cross the river Jordan.

·     They had to destroy Jericho city.

Joshua believed that God would help them. But he also had his task to do. His trust in God was not enough! He had to show his trust in God by his actions. He sent two men in secret to see what the land was like. He told them to look at all the country. He told them to look well at the city called Jericho. He wanted to know about the people in Jericho. He needed to know what they thought. He needed to know if they were powerful. He needed to know if they were afraid.

We, too, must put our trust in God. He has promised many things. But we must not just depend on God to give things to us. We must put our trust into action.

Rahab had been a *prostitute. She may have still been a *prostitute when the two men visited her. Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 suggest that she was. We do not know when Rahab stopped being a *prostitute. She is an example of how God can change a person.

Rahab was probably the only person in Jericho who trusted the God of the *Israelites. God brought the two men to her house. If they had gone to any other house, the people there probably would have told the king.

v2 People spoke to the king of Jericho. ‘Look! Some of the *Israelites have come here tonight to see what our land is like’, they said.

v3 So the king of Jericho sent a message to Rahab. ‘Bring out the men who are staying in your house. They have come to see what all our land is like!’ he said.

v4 But the woman had hidden the two men. ‘Yes, some men did come to me. I did not know where they had come from’, she said. v5 ‘When it was getting near the time to close the gate of the city, they left. I do not know where they went. If you go after them quickly, you may catch them.’ v6 (But she had taken them up to the roof. She had hidden them under some plants that she was drying there.) v7 So the king’s men went out to find the two *Israelites. They went towards the place where people could cross the river Jordan. As soon as they had gone out, people shut the gate.

Verses 4-7 Rahab trusted the God of *Israel. She put her life in danger. She even lied to protect the two men that Joshua had sent. But we should not lie, even when things get difficult. The Bible says that it is wrong to lie (Proverbs 12:22).

Think about this. What would you do if you were in a similar situation?

v8 Rahab went up to the roof. She spoke to the men as they prepared to sleep. v9 ‘I know that the *Lord God has given this land to you’, she said to them. ‘I know that we are all very afraid of you. Everyone who lives in this part of the world is very afraid. v10 We heard how you came out of Egypt. And the *Lord dried up the Red Sea for you. And we heard what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites. They lived east of the Jordan, and you destroyed them completely. v11 When we heard all this, we felt very weak. We were very afraid. This is because the *Lord, your God, is God. He rules the heaven above and the earth beneath.’

Verses 9-11 Several years before this event, the *Israelites were afraid of the *Canaanites. They had received punishment because of their lack of *faith (Numbers 14). This punishment lasted 40 years. But during that time, people in *Canaan were afraid of the *Israelites. The *Israelites should not have worried.

If we trust in God, we should not worry. We should have confidence. God knows what is best. We often punish ourselves because of our lack of *faith.

Notice what Rahab believed about God:

·     He is the only God - ‘the *Lord, your God, is God’ (verse 11).

·     He is a personal God. That is, God cares about people - ‘your God’ (verse 11).

·     He is an active God - he gave the land to the *Israelites (verse 9); he dried up the Red Sea (verse 10).

·     He is a powerful God - ‘the *Lord, your God, is God. He rules the heaven (the place where God lives) above and the earth beneath (verse 11).

When Rahab grew up, she did not believe in the one real God. She used to believe in false gods. But now she had a new belief. She was ready to talk about it!

v12 Rahab continued, ‘Now, please make me a promise. I have been kind to you. So, say that you will be kind to my family. As you believe in God, make your promise true. Give me something to show that you will keep your promise. v13 Show me that you will save the lives of my family. Save my mother, father, brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them. Please do not let anyone kill us.’

v14 ‘We will save your life if you save ours. Do not tell the king about us. When the *Lord gives this land to us we will keep our promise. We will be kind to you’, the men said to her.

v15 So Rahab put a *rope out of the window. (The house where she lived was part of the city wall.) The men climbed down the *rope. v16 ‘Go to the hills’, she told them. ‘The men who are looking for you will not find you there. Hide there for three days until they return here. Then you can go back to your people.’

v17 ‘We will keep the promise that we have given to you’, the men said to her. v18 ‘This is what you must do. Tie this red string in the window that we go out through. Do this when we come to take your city. Get your father, mother, brothers and sisters and all your family into your house. v19 If anyone goes out into the street, he may die. That will be his own bad mistake. And you will know that we kept our promise. But if anyone in the house with you dies, then we should suffer punishment. v20 It would be different if you told anyone about this. Then we would not have to keep the promise that we have given to you.’ v21 Rahab agreed with the men, and sent them away. When they had gone, she tied the red string in her window.

Verses 12, 13 Rahab showed her courage. She trusted God and the *Israelites. She would need to tell her family about the two men who had visited her. That might be dangerous. Her family also had to have *faith in her.

Think about this. Do you tell other people about your *faith in God? Can they trust you?

Verses 14-21 The two men made a *covenant with Rahab. A *covenant is an agreement or promise between two people. Rahab promised not to tell anyone. The two men promised to protect her.

When people made a *covenant, they often used something physical. For example, the rainbow is a sign of God’s promise not to flood the whole earth again (Genesis 9:12-13). Bread and wine are a sign of the new *covenant that God has made with his people (Luke 22:19-20).

The men told Rahab to hang a red string in her window. This was the sign that the *Israelites would not kill her or her family.

Red is the colour of blood. The red string reminds us of the blood that was put on the doors at the first *Passover (see Exodus 12). God told the *Israelites to kill a young sheep. Then they had to put its blood by their doors. God killed the oldest sons in every family in Egypt. This was a terrible punishment for the people in Egypt. But God protected the sons of the *Israelites, because of the blood.

The red string also reminds us of the blood of Jesus. The *Israelites saved Rahab because she put the red string in her window. Jesus saved us from God’s punishment for our *sins when he died for us (Hebrews 9:14).

v22 The two *Israelites went into the hills and they hid there. The king’s men looked everywhere for them for three days. They did not find them, so they returned to Jericho. v23 Then the two men came down from the hills and they crossed the river Jordan. They went to Joshua. They told him everything that had happened. v24 ‘We are sure that the *Lord has given the whole country to us. All the people there are very afraid of us’, they said.

Verses 22-24 The two men returned to Joshua. They were sure that God would give the land of *Canaan to them. They were sure that God would bless the *Israelites as they entered the land.

We, too, can be sure that God will bless us. The only thing that will stop us will be our own lack of *faith.

More about Rahab

The *New Testament mentions Rahab three times.

·     Matthew 1:5 Rahab was an *ancestor of Jesus. This is unusual. Rahab was not an *Israelite. Rahab was not a very good woman. God chose her because of her *faith. It does not matter how bad we are. God can still use us.

·     Hebrews 11:31 In Hebrews 11, there is a long list of people from the *Old Testament who had *faith in God. This list mentions Rahab.

·     James 2:25 Rahab receives honour because of what she did. ‘*Faith without action is dead’ (James 2:26).

The people cross the river Jordan – Joshua 3:1-5:1

Chapter 3

v1 Early in the morning, Joshua and all the *Israelites left the city of Shittim. They put their tents by the river Jordan. Then they waited to cross the river. v2 Three days later, their leaders went to every tent. v3 ‘You will see the priests as they carry the *ark of God’s promise’, they said to the people. ‘Then you must follow them. v4 They will show you the way to go because you have never been here before. But stay about 1000 metres behind the *ark. Do not go near it.’

Verses 1-4 So far, we have looked at the *faith of Joshua and Rahab. We now read about the *faith of groups of people. Joshua believed that God would help the *Israelites to cross over the river Jordan. Rahab believed that God would give the land to the *Israelites. Now the *Israelites had to show their own *faith in God.

The leaders of the people had *faith in God. They knew that God would lead them. The people had to follow the *ark of God’s promise. This was a sign that God was leading the way. The people could show their *faith in God if they followed the *ark.

About the *ark

The *ark is also called

·     the *ark of the *Lord,

·     the *ark of God,

·     the *ark of God’s promise,

·     the *ark of promise of the *Lord of all the earth,

·     the *ark of the *Covenant (or agreement).

In Exodus chapters 25-27, God gave Moses instructions to build a *Tent of Meeting. This is where God would meet with his people. The *Tent of Meeting was a large tent with a large area of land round it. A cloth fence surrounded this.

There were two rooms in the tent. The *ark was inside the inner room. The *ark was a wooden box with gold all over the outside and inside. Only the *high priest could see it. He could only see it on one day in the year.

When the *Israelites moved to another place, they carried the *ark on poles. A cloth covered the *ark so that no one could see it. The *ark was a very *holy object.

The leaders told the *Israelites not to go too close to the *ark. It was too *holy. And they were *sinful.

Hebrews 4:16 says that we can have confidence to approach God. Jesus died to make this possible. We do not have to stay at a distance.

v5 Joshua told the people to make themselves *holy and ready for the *Lord. ‘Tomorrow the *Lord will do great things that will surprise you completely’, he said.

v6 ‘Take up the *ark, and go in front of the people’, Joshua said to the priests. So, they picked it up, and they went on before the people.

v7 And the *Lord spoke to Joshua. ‘Today I will begin to show the *Israelites that you are important’, he said. ‘I was with Moses. And they will know that I am with you too.’

Verse 5 The people had to make themselves *holy and ready for the *Lord. They would have to wash themselves and all their clothes. They might also offer a *sacrifice to God. This was to show that they were sorry for their *sins. They wanted God to forgive them. God was intending to do something great for them. They had to be ready.

God wants people to be *holy and ready for him. We cannot work for God if we are *sinful.

Verse 6 The *ark went ahead of the people. This was to show that God was leading the way.

Verse 7 God had chosen Joshua to replace Moses. God needed to show the people that he had chosen Joshua. God would show the people how important Joshua was. The people would see the *miracle that God performed by Joshua.

v8 The *Lord continued, ‘The priests that are carrying the *ark will reach the edge of the river Jordan. Tell them, "Go and stand in the river".’

v9 Joshua said to the *Israelites, ‘Come here and listen to the words of the *Lord your God. v10 Your God is alive. He will show you that he is with you. He will show you how powerful he is. He will certainly remove these nations from this land: the *Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.

v11 See the *ark of the *Lord of all the earth go into the Jordan in front of you. v12 Now choose 12 men. Choose one from each *tribe of *Israel. v13 The priests are carrying the *ark of promise of the *Lord of all the earth. As soon as they step into the water of the river, the *Lord will stop the water. The water will not come towards them. Instead, the water will rise up like a wall.’

v14 So the priests that were carrying the *ark went in front of the people towards the river. v15 There was a lot of water coming down the river at that time of the year. But as soon as the priests went into the river, v16 the water stopped coming. It stopped a long way up the river. The water stopped at a town called Adam near Zarethan. The water that was going down to the Salt Sea stopped completely. So, the people crossed the river near Jericho. v17 While the people walked across on dry ground, the priests stood still in the middle of the Jordan. The priests were carrying the *ark. They stood there until all the people had crossed.

Verses 8, 13 The priests had to show their *faith. They had to stand in the river. It was possible to cross the river Jordan in some places. Earlier Joshua had sent two men in secret to see what the land was like. They crossed the river easily. Now it was different. There was a lot of water in the river at this time (verse 15). They did not know what would happen. They had to trust that God would do something special.

There are times when we have to step out with *faith. We may not know what will happen.

Verse 9 Joshua told the *Israelites that God was giving the instructions. Joshua did not want the honour for himself. Joshua could not do this *miracle by his own power. God was telling them what to do.

Verse 10 God was alive. He was not like the gods of the *Canaanites. They could not do anything to help. God would help the *Israelites to possess the land.

Our God is still alive today. Jesus is alive. He will help us in our daily lives. He will help us to do good things.

The *Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites all lived in the land of *Canaan. They were the enemies of *Israel. They were evil people. The *Israelites had to defeat them.

We have enemies in our lives. These are more *spiritual than physical enemies. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul tells us about this. He writes, ‘We are not fighting against men and women but against the rulers and authorities of the dark world. They are the powerful leaders of the evil *spirits who live in the sky.’

Moses had told the *Israelites, ‘The people are strong and tall. God will go ahead of you. He will kill them. God will kill them because they are so evil. It is not because you are good. It is because they are bad.’ (See Deuteronomy 9:2-4.)

We do not deserve all the good things that God does for us. God helps us to overcome the bad things in our lives. This is because he hates evil things.

Verses 11-13 Joshua told the people what would happen. He did not say, ‘Let us see what happens!’ He knew what God had decided to do. Joshua trusted God. He expected the people to show the same *faith.

Verse 14-16 The *miracle happened! Joshua was right about every event that happened. There have been other occasions when this particular river has become dry. But these other occasions were not *miracles. Usually an earthquake (when the earth shakes) has caused this river to become dry.

On this occasion, a *miracle happened:

·     The *miracle happened when a lot of water was coming down the river (verse 15).

·     The *miracle happened just when the priests walked into the river (verses 15-16).

·     The *miracle stopped as soon as the priests came out of the river (Joshua 4:18).

·     The people in *Canaan also knew that it was a *miracle (Joshua 5:1).

God made everything. He can use anything for his purposes. Here are three examples.

·     God used a strong east wind to divide the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21).

·     God sent *hail stones to kill the enemies of *Israel (Joshua 10:11).

·     God made the sun stand still to help *Israel (Joshua 10:13, 14).

Verse 17 This was another act of *faith. The priests did not go across the river as quickly as possible. They waited in the middle. They waited until everybody had gone across. This was further proof that it was a *miracle.

Chapter 4

v1 When all the *Israelites had crossed the Jordan, the *Lord spoke to Joshua. v2 ‘Choose 12 men from the people. Choose one from each *tribe’, he said. v3 ‘Tell them to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan. Take them from where the priests are standing. Carry the stones over with you. Put them down where you stay tonight.’

v4 So Joshua called the 12 men that he had chosen. There was one from each *Israelite *tribe. v5 He said to them, ‘Go back into the river where of the *ark of the *Lord is. Each of you must pick up a stone and put it on his shoulder. There will be one stone for each of the *tribes of *Israel. v6 This will be like a special sign for you. In future years, your children will ask you, "What do these stones mean?" v7 Then you will tell them that the waters of the river Jordan stopped. That was while the *ark of God’s promise went across the river. These stones will help the *Israelites to remember this always.’

v8 So the 12 men obeyed Joshua. They took 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan, as the *Lord had told Joshua. There was one stone for each *tribe of *Israel. They carried the stones to the place where the people had put their tents. And they put the stones down. v9 Joshua set up the 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan, where the priests with the *ark had stood. (The stones are still there.) v10 The priests stood in the middle of the Jordan. Then the people did everything as the *Lord had told Joshua. The *Lord had spoken to Joshua as he had spoken to Moses.

The people crossed the river quickly. v11 As soon as everybody was on the other side, the priests took the *ark to the other side, too. The people saw them.

Verses 2, 4, 8 Joshua chose 12 men. He chose one from each of the *tribes of *Israel. They acted for all the *Israelites. It was as if all of them were helping.

We are all doing God’s work. Sometimes our leaders do things for us. We must recognise this. We must appreciate the work that they do for us.

Verses 3, 5-9 The men took 12 stones from the middle of the river Jordan. Joshua built a *monument with the stones. It would always remind the *Israelites about what God had done for them. The *Passover reminds *Israelites that God rescued them from *slavery in Egypt. They remember this every year (Exodus 12:26, 27). The *Passover reminded the *Israelites that they had come out of Egypt. The pile of stones reminded them that they had come into the *promised land. We need to remind ourselves about what God has done for us. We do this when we take *Communion (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).

Some people think that there were two *monuments that the *Israelites built. We cannot be sure about this. If there were two *monuments, they built the second one in the middle of the river Jordan. This was to show that the old life was finished. The journey through the desert had ended. They had entered the *promised land. The past was behind them.

We must leave the past behind us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that if anyone is in Christ Jesus they are a new person. Their old lives have ended. And their new lives have begun.

v12 The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and the *half-tribe of Manasseh led the people. They were ready to fight, as Moses had told them. v13 About 40 000 men who were ready to fight crossed to the flat land near Jericho.

Verses 12, 13 The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and the *half-tribe of Manasseh already had their own land (see Joshua 1:12, 13). They crossed the river to help the other *Israelites.

v14 This is what the *Lord did that day. It made all the people think that Joshua was a great man. They gave him honour all his life, as they had given honour to Moses.

v15 Then the *Lord spoke again to Joshua. v16 ‘Tell the priests that are carrying the *ark to come up out of the Jordan.’

v17 So Joshua said to the priests, ‘Come up out of the Jordan.’ v18 And the priests came up out of the river. They were carrying the *ark of the *Lord. As soon as their feet touched the dry ground, the waters of the Jordan began to return. There was much water and it moved fast.

v19 The people went from the Jordan and put their tents at Gilgal. It was the 10th day of the first month. Gilgal was a city on the east side of Jericho. v20 At Gilgal, Joshua put the 12 stones that they had taken out of the Jordan. v21 He said to the *Israelites, ‘Your children will ask, in later years, "What do these stones mean?" v22 Then you must tell them, "*Israel went across the river Jordan on dry ground." v23 The *Lord your God made the river dry up as he made the Red Sea dry up. He dried the Sea. Then the people could cross it when they left Egypt. v24 He did this to show all the nations in the world how powerful he was. He did it so that you would always *fear the *Lord, your God”.’

Verse 14 Moses had helped the *Israelites to escape from Egypt. The *Israelites had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground (Exodus 14). The *Israelites thought that Moses was a great man. Now Joshua had done something similar. The *Israelites crossed the river Jordan on dry ground. The *Israelites now thought that Joshua was a great man.

Verse 15-18 God completed the *miracle. The river started to flow again. This happened when the priests walked out of the dry river.

Verses 19-24 Moses gave instructions about the pile of stones. He said, ‘Your children will ask about them. Tell them about God and what he did for us.’

It is always good to ask questions. We should encourage people to ask us questions. This may give us the opportunity to tell people about what God has done for us.

*Circumcision and *Passover – Joshua 5:1-12

Chapter 5

v1 All the *Amorite kings west of the Jordan, and all the *Canaanite kings heard what the *Lord had done. They heard that he had dried up the Jordan. And the *Lord had kept it dry until all the *Israelites had crossed to the other side. Then the kings became very afraid, and they felt too weak to fight against the *Israelites.

Verse 1 The *Israelites were now in the *promised land. The people in *Canaan were afraid. They were afraid because God was doing things for the *Israelites. They were afraid about what God would do to them. This was a good time for the *Israelites to attack. But God had other plans! The *Israelites were not yet ready. They had further things to do.

v2 The *Lord spoke to Joshua at that time. ‘Make knives out of stone and *circumcise the men’, he said. v3 So Joshua made the knives and *circumcised the men at Gibeath Haaraloth.

v4 Here is the reason. All the men who came out of Egypt were dead. All the men who were old enough to fight died in the desert. v5 The *Israelites had *circumcised all the men who came out of Egypt. But they had not *circumcised those who were born during their journey from Egypt.

v6 The *Israelites had walked about in the desert for 40 years. But all the men had died who were old enough to fight at the beginning of their journey. This happened because they had not obeyed the *Lord. The *Lord had made a promise. He had promised to give the land to the *Israelites. (And the land was good, with plentiful milk and honey.) But the *Lord said that these men would certainly not see it. v7 So, Joshua *circumcised the sons of the men who had died.

v8 He *circumcised all of them. Then they stayed there until they were well again. v9 The *Lord said to Joshua, ‘You are no longer slaves to the people in Egypt. So, today I am removing your shame.’

So, they called the place Gilgal, and it still has that name. (Gilgal means ‘remove’.)

Verse 2 In Genesis 17:9-14, God told Abraham to *circumcise his son Isaac. Afterwards, every *Israelite had to *circumcise their sons when they were 8 days old. This was to show that they were God’s own people.

Verses 4-6 The *Israelites did not *circumcise their sons when they were wandering in the desert.

There are several possible reasons why they did not do it.

·     They could not do it in the desert. They did not have suitable tools.

·     They did not want to do it in the desert. It would take a long time to recover.

·     They knew that they themselves would not enter the *promised land. So there was no reason to do it.

·     They knew that God’s promises were not for them. They had not obeyed God. They were no longer God’s people.

Verse 7 Joshua *circumcised those who entered the *promised land. This was to show a new relationship with God.

Romans 2:28-29 tells us that *circumcision does not make a person a *Jew. His heart has to be right as well.

In Colossians 2:11-12 Paul wrote that we should die to *sin. This is a form of *spiritual *circumcision. Paul suggests that *baptism is a type of *circumcision. Our *baptism means that we bury our *sin. We leave behind our *sinful character.

v10 When the *Israelites were at Gilgal, near Jericho, they kept the *Passover *feast. It was the evening of the 14th day of the month. v11 The next day they ate food grown in *Canaan for the first time. They ate dry seed and flat bread. v12 The *manna stopped on the day when they ate this meal. So, they did not have any more *manna. After that time they only ate food that grew in *Canaan.

Verse 10 The *Passover reminded the *Israelites that God rescued them from *slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:26, 27). The *Passover reminded the *Israelites that they had come out of Egypt. God told them to remember this every year. They would have a special *feast. This is called ‘keeping’ the *Passover.

The *Israelites kept the first *feast of the *Passover when they were at Sinai mountain (see Numbers 9:1-5). They probably did not keep the *Passover in the desert.

·    Moses told the *Israelites to keep the *feast of *Passover when they entered the *promised land (Exodus 12:24-27).

·   God was angry with the *Israelites who left Egypt. So, God told them that they would never enter the *promised land (Numbers 14:26-30). Instead, 40 years later, Joshua led their children into the *promised land.

God intended that the *Israelites should go straight from Egypt to the *promised land. They did not believe that God could do this! They wandered in the desert for 40 years. God fed them in the desert with *manna. They should have been eating milk and honey. They had to eat something that was not as nice. They missed the goodness of God for 40 years.

2. Take God’s *blessing

The first *victory - Jericho – Joshua 5:13-6:27

v13 While Joshua was near Jericho, a man appeared to him. The man was standing in front of Joshua and had a sword in his hand. Joshua approached him. ‘Are you an *Israelite soldier? Or are you an enemy?’ he asked. v14 ‘I am neither’, he answered. ‘I am here as the captain of the *Lord’s army.’ Joshua fell on the ground to *worship. Joshua said, ‘I am your servant. *Lord, what can I do for you?’ v15 The captain of the *Lord’s army said, ‘Take your shoes off. You are standing on *holy ground.’ And Joshua took his shoes off.

Verse 13 Many people think that the man with a sword in his hand was Jesus. People think that there are several mentions of Jesus in the *Old Testament. Here are three.

·   Genesis 32:24-31 God (Jesus) fought with Jacob.

·   Judges 6:11-16 God (Jesus) visited Gideon.

·  Daniel 3:19-30 The King of Babylon punished three *Jews. He put them into a very hot fire. The king saw God (Jesus) with the three men. Then, God rescued the three men. The fire could not hurt them.

Most of these events happened when people needed help. God helps us when we need him most.

Other people do not think that these passages are about Jesus. Instead, they think that God sent an angel to help his people. An angel is a *messenger that God sends from heaven. There are many angels. They are God’s servants in heaven.

Verse 14 God controlled the army of the *Israelites. Joshua accepted this.

Verse 15 God also told Moses to take his shoes off at the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6). The place was *holy because God was there.

Chapter 6

v1 The people in Jericho kept their gates shut. They watched to be sure that the *Israelites did not get in. No one could go in or out of the city. v2 ‘I will give Jericho to you’, the *Lord said to Joshua. ‘I will give its king and all its brave soldiers to you. v3 You and all your soldiers must march round the city once each day, for 6 days. v4 7 priests will walk in front of the *ark. They will carry *trumpets as they walk. On the 7th day, you and your soldiers must march round the city 7 times. At the same time the priests will cause their *trumpets to sound. v5 Then they will make one long loud noise. As soon as you hear this, all the men must shout loudly. The city walls will fall down. Then the whole army will go straight into the city.’

Verses 1, 2 The people in Jericho were afraid of the *Israelites. They knew how powerful God was. They did all that they could do to protect themselves. God told Joshua that the *Israelites would defeat Jericho. God was captain of the army. He would win the battle for them.

Joshua and the *Israelites trusted God. They knew that God was on their side.

God is on our side. He is our captain. He will fight our battles for us. We must trust him. Romans 8:31 says that if God is for us, nobody can defeat us.

Verse 3 God told the *Israelites to walk round Jericho for 7 days. There are several possible reasons for this.

·     To test the *faith of the *Israelites.

·     To test if Joshua and the *Israelites would obey God.

·     To prove that God had to be in control.

Verse 4 It was not usual for the *Israelites to take the *ark into battle. This was the first battle in the *promised land. The *Israelites needed to know that God was with them. They needed to see something to help them.

God has promised to be with us at all times (Matthew 28:20). We do not need to see anything. We know that God keeps his promises.

v6 Joshua called the priests. ‘Take the *ark of God’s promise, and make 7 other priests walk in front of it. They must carry *trumpets’, he said to them. v7 He told the people to march round the city. A group of fighting men should march in front of the *ark.

v8 Joshua finished speaking to the people. Then the 7 priests that were carrying the 7 *trumpets went ahead. They were making their *trumpets sound as they went. And the priests that were carrying the *ark followed them. v9 Some strong fighting men went in front of the priests that were making the *trumpets sound. Another group of soldiers followed the *ark. The priests were making the *trumpets sound all this time. v10 But Joshua had said to the people, ‘Do not shout or make a noise. Do not say a word until I tell you to shout. I will tell you to shout one day, then shout!’ v11 Joshua made them carry the *ark round the city once. Then they returned to their tents, and they slept there that night.

Verses 6, 7 It seems that only Joshua knew all the plans. The priests and the people did not know that it would take 7 days.

Verses 6-8 The number 7 appears several times in this story. In the Bible, the number 7 usually means that some thing is complete or perfect. In this story, the number 7 shows us that God was giving the instructions. God is perfect. His plans are perfect. His plans were perfect for Joshua and the *Israelites. God’s plans are perfect for us - see Jeremiah 29:11.

Verses 9-11 See Notes on Joshua 6:4 (above).

v12 Joshua got up early the next morning, and the priests took up the *ark of the *Lord. v13 The 7 priests that were carrying the *trumpets marched in front of the *ark. They were making the *trumpets sound. Some soldiers went in front of the priests that were making the *trumpets sound. Other soldiers followed the *ark. The priests made the *trumpets sound all the time. v14 This is how they marched round the city on the second day. They did this once and then they returned to their tents. They did this for 6 days.

v15 On the 7th day they got up at dawn and they marched round the city in the same way. But this day, they did it 7 times. v16 The 7th time, the priests made a long, loud noise on the *trumpets. Joshua told the people, ‘Shout, because the *Lord has given the city to you. v17 The city and all that is in it belongs to the *Lord. All the people must die. Only Rahab and the people with her in her house will live. This is because she hid our two men. v18 Keep away from the things that belong to God. If you take any of them, you will die. You would make trouble for the *Israelites, and you could cause the *Lord to kill them, too. v19 Every metal object in the city belongs to the *Lord. The gold, iron and silver belong to him. You must store them with his valuable things.’

v20 When the *trumpets made their loud sound, all the people shouted loudly. When they did this, the walls fell down. Every man went up into the city. And they took the city. v21 They gave the city to the *Lord. So they killed every living thing in it. They killed men and women, young people and old people, cows, sheep and other animals.

Verses 12-14 The *Israelites had to learn to be patient. They had to learn to trust God. They probably wondered why they had to walk round the city for seven days. God was not in a hurry. God is never in a hurry. The *Israelites had to learn this.

There are times when we must be patient with God. He does not always answer our prayers quickly. Sometimes we have to wait a long time.

Verse 15 There may be many reasons why the *Israelites had to walk round the city 13 times:

·     They learned to be patient.

·     God increased their *faith.

·     The *Israelites frightened the people in Jericho.

The *Israelites did not argue with the instructions that God had given. God sometimes tells us to do strange things. We might not know why. God always knows best! God always asks us to do things that will be good for us or for other people. We should not doubt the instructions that God has given to us.

Verse 16 ‘The *Lord has given the city to you.’ God has already given the *victory! All the *Israelites had to do was to obey God.

God has given us *victory over our enemies. Our greatest enemy is *sin. When Jesus died, he defeated *sin. We have *victory because Jesus died for us.

Verses 18-19 In Deuteronomy 20:10-14 God gave to the *Israelites some rules about war. They could keep the valuable things from towns and cities that they defeated. But at Jericho God said that all the valuable things belonged to him.

This was their first *victory. God likes to receive the first of everything. In Deuteronomy 26:1-2, God gave the *Israelites some rules about the harvest. They had to give the first fruit of each harvest to God. This may be the reason why God wanted all the valuable things from Jericho.

God wants the best from each one of us. He wants us to give to him the first of everything. This includes our money, our time and our work.

Verses 17 and 21 Some people ask, ‘Why did God demand the death of innocent people?’ Deuteronomy 20:18 tells us the answer. The people who lived in *Canaan were very bad people. They might teach the *Israelites to do bad things. They did bad things when they *worshipped their gods. They might teach the *Israelites to *sin. The people who lived in *Canaan were not innocent. They were guilty of very bad things that made God unhappy. God had given them time to change. But they refused to do the right things. So God had to punish them.

God wants us all to confess our *sins to him. Jesus died so that God would forgive us. But, if we do not invite God into our lives, God will be our judge. Then, God will punish us too, for our *sins.

Verse 20 Hebrews 11:30 says, ‘By *faith the walls of Jericho fell.’ Joshua had *faith. He believed that God would do something great.

The people had *faith. They walked round the city. They did not know why. They believed that something would happen. Something did happen! The walls fell down!

·     Think about this. How strong is our *faith? Do we do what God asks us? Do we see what God has done for us?

Verse 21 The *Israelites gave everything in the city to God. God had told them to do this (Joshua 6:19).

v22 Joshua spoke to the two men that Rahab had hidden. ‘Go into her house. Bring her out with all who are with her’, he said. ‘This is what you promised to her.’ v23 So the young men went and brought out Rahab and her whole family. They brought out her father, mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They gave them a place outside the *Israelite camp.

v24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it. They put the gold, silver, iron and metal things into the *Lord’s store of valuable things. v25 But Joshua saved Rahab and her family and all who belonged to her. Joshua had sent two men to find out about the city. And Rahab had hidden those men. Rahab still lives among the *Israelites.

v26 At that time, Joshua made this serious promise. ‘The *Lord will punish the man who builds this city again’, he said. ‘When he starts to build, his oldest son will die. His youngest son will die when he puts up its gates.’

v27 So the *Lord was with Joshua, and people everywhere heard all about him.

Verses 22, 23 God had rescued Rahab and her family. They lived outside the camp of the *Israelites. This was because they were not *Israelites. Later, they lived with the *Israelites (see Joshua 6:25). This suggests that they had become *Israelites. They believed in the God of the *Israelites. They accepted all the rules that the *Israelites had.

In Acts 10:35, we read that ‘God accepts people from every nation. He accepts people who *fear him and do what is right.’

Verse 26 The serious promise that Joshua made came true 500 years later. We read about it in 1 Kings 16:34. A man called Hiel started to build Jericho. When he started, his oldest son died. When he completed it, his youngest son died.

Jericho

People who study history thought a lot about Jericho. They have found many ancient things near Jericho city. But we are not sure whether they have found anything from the time of Joshua. About 1930, Mr John Garstang found a city like the one that Joshua destroyed. Its walls had fallen down. And a fire had destroyed everything. About 1950, Miss Kathlene Kenyon went to Jericho. She did not agree that Mr Garstang had found the city in the Book of Joshua. But she thought that she had found some things from that city. Perhaps nobody will be able to find anything from the city of Jericho that Joshua defeated. We must remember that nobody built anything in the area for 500 years after Joshua. So, perhaps there was nothing left.

Verse 27 The Book of Joshua tells us many times that God was with Joshua. Joshua needed God to help him.

We need God in everything that we do.

God had promised Joshua that all the *Israelites would give him honour. God kept his promise. God always keeps his promises!

Defeat then *victory at Ai – Joshua 7:1-8:29

Chapter 7

v1 The *Israelites did not do as God had told them by Joshua. Achan was the son of Carmi. (Carmi was the son of Zimri. Zimri was the son of Zerah. He belonged to the *tribe of Judah.) Achan did not obey God. He took some of the things that belonged to God. So God was very angry with the *Israelites.

Verse 1 This verse is a link between the previous chapter and chapter 7. Achan had kept some of the valuable things that he found in Jericho. God had told the *Israelites that they must not do this. Achan’s action would have a big effect on the events that followed. The *sin of one man brought trouble to all *Israel.

We must be careful. The *sin of one Christian can affect a whole church.

v2 Now Joshua had sent men from Jericho to Ai. This is a city near to Beth Aven, and east of Bethel. He said to them, ‘Go up and look at the land near there secretly.’ So the men went to see what they could find out.

v3 The men came and spoke to Joshua. ‘There are not many men there. Do not make all the people tired. 2000 or 3000 men should be enough to take the city.’ v4 So about 3000 men went up to Ai. But the men in Ai made them run away. v5 And the men from Ai killed about 36 of the *Israelites. They chased the *Israelites from the gate of the city to the place where they cut building stones. They killed the *Israelites as they ran over the hill. When the *Israelites heard this, they were very afraid. They felt very weak.

Verse 2 As usual, Joshua planned the next attack with care. As usual, he sent men to look at the small town, Ai.

Verse 3 Ai was a small town. About 12 000 people lived there. It should not take many *Israelites to defeat this small town.

Verse 4, 5 Only 3000 men attacked Ai. *Israel suffered defeat. The men from Ai killed 36 *Israelites. The *Israelites were afraid. Earlier, the people of *Canaan were afraid. Now they made *Israel to feel afraid.

v6 Joshua tore his clothes. He lay down in front of the *ark of the *Lord. His face was down to the ground. He stayed there until evening. The leaders of *Israel did the same, and they put dirt on their heads. v7 ‘*Lord, ruler of all, We do not know why you brought this group of people over the Jordan’, said Joshua. ‘You certainly did not want the Amorites to kill us. We might have been happy if we had stayed on the other side of the Jordan! v8 *Lord, I do not know what to say now that the enemies of *Israel have won the fight. v9 The *Canaanites and other people who live here will hear about this. They will come round us and they will kill us all. Nobody will give honour to your great name.’

Verse 6 Joshua and the leaders of the people showed how unhappy they were. They tore their clothes and they put dirt on their heads. This was the usual way to show how sad you were. Joshua and the leaders of the people lay down in front of the *ark. This was to show God that they were sorry.

People could not usually see the *ark. It was too *holy. It was usually behind a curtain in the *Tent of Meeting. Only the *high priest could see it. Joshua was not a priest. People ask how he could see it.

There are a few possible answers to this question. Here are two possible answers:

·     Perhaps the *Israelites carried the *ark to Ai. (They carried the *ark round Jericho.) They had not put the *ark back into the *Tent of Meeting.

·     Or maybe Joshua was outside the *Tent of Meeting. But he knew that he was in front of the *ark.

Verses 7-9 Joshua started to blame God for the defeat. God had brought the *Israelites out of Egypt. But God had allowed the Amorites to defeat them.

Joshua was worried about the effects of the defeat. Other people would hear about it. Other people might defeat them. People would not think that God is great and good.

Joshua did not know why they had suffered defeat.

v10 The *Lord said to Joshua, ‘Stand up! You should not be lying on the ground. v11 *Israel has *sinned. They have not kept their promise. They did not do what I told them to do. I said that they must destroy everything that was not gold, silver or metal. They have taken some of these things. They took them. Then they said that they had not taken anything. They have hidden them with their own things. v12 That is why the *Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They run away from their enemies now. The *Israelites have *sinned and their enemies can kill them. You must destroy everything that I told you to destroy. If you do not do this, then I will not continue to be with you.’

Verse 10-12 God told Joshua the real reason for the defeat at Ai. Someone had taken some of the valuable things that he found in Jericho. It was important for the *Israelites to obey God. God could not give them good things if they did not obey him.

Christians, too, must obey God. We have God’s instructions in the Bible. If we do not obey them, then God will not give us good things either.

v13 The *Lord continued, ‘Get up! Tell the people to make themselves *clean. Prepare for tomorrow, when you will meet with me! I, the *Lord God of *Israel say this, "*Israel, you have kept some of the things that I told you to destroy. You will not win the fight against your enemies until you have destroyed these things!" v14 So tell the people that in the morning they will come in front of me, one *tribe at a time. I will choose one *tribe to come in front. The groups of that *tribe will come in front of me, one by one. The group that I will choose will come in front of me, family by family. I will choose a family. Then the men of that family will come in front of me, one by one. v15 I will choose the man who has taken the things. Then you will burn him with the things that he has taken. You must burn him and all that he has and all his family. He has caused great trouble to *Israel. He made them ashamed, because he did not obey me.’

Verses 13-15 God must punish *sin! God told Joshua how he would punish this *sin. He would punish the person who had taken some of the valuable things. The *Israelites must kill the person who had taken some of the valuable things. God would show them who the person was.

Today we do not kill people who have *sinned. But we must warn them – see Titus 3:10. We must show them that they must change. When a Christian *sins, it can affect other Christians.

v16 Early the next morning, Joshua made the *tribes come in front of the *Lord, *tribe by *tribe.

·           The *Lord chose the *tribe of Judah. v17 Groups of the *tribe of Judah came in front of the *Lord.

·           The *Lord chose the group of Zerah. Families Zerah came in front of the *Lord.

·           The *Lord chose the family of Zimri. v18 Joshua made each man of the family of Zimri come in front of him.

·           The *Lord chose Achan. He was the son of Carmi, who was the son of Zimri. Zimri was the son of Zerah, of the *tribe of Judah.

v19 Then Joshua spoke to Achan. ‘My son’, he said, ‘Respect the *Lord, the God of *Israel! Tell me what you have done. Do not hide it from me.’ v20 Achan replied, ‘It is true! I have *sinned against the *Lord, the God of *Israel. This is what I have done. v21 I found a beautiful coat from Babylon. I also found about two kilos of silver and a gold bar that weighed half a kilo. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are in the ground under my tent. And the silver is there under the other things.’ v22 So Joshua sent people with a message. They ran to the tent. They found the things that Achan had hidden. The silver was under them. v23 They took the things from the tent and brought them to Joshua and the other *Israelites. Then they put them all in front of the *Lord.

v24 Then Joshua and all the people took Achan, the son of Zerah, to the valley of Achor. (‘Achor’ means trouble.) They took the coat, the gold and the silver with them. With him, they took his sons, daughters, cows, sheep and other animals and all that he had. v25 Joshua said, ‘You should not have caused so much trouble. The *Lord will cause trouble to you today!’ Then all the *Israelites threw big stones at him until he died. They killed his family and his animals with him. They also burnt his family and all that he had. v26 They put many big stones over him, that are still there. That is why the place is still called the valley of Achor. Then the *Lord’s anger ended.

Verses 16-18 We do not know how God showed that he had chosen Achan. God already knew that Achan had stolen some of the valuable things in Jericho. Now, God showed this to the rest of *Israel. We do not know how he did this.

There were many ways that God spoke to people in the *Old Testament:

·     by God’s *spirit servants and *messengers, called angels – for example, Genesis 32:1

·     by dreams – for example, Daniel 2

·     by the special objects called Urim and Thummim which the *high priests wore – for example, 1 Samuel 30:7-8

·     by throwing *lots – for example, 1 Samuel 14:41-42.

Verses 19-23 Joshua gave Achan the opportunity to confess his *sin. Achan confessed that he had done a wrong thing.

It is important that we confess our *sins to God. God will forgive us. Jesus died to pay the punishment for our *sins.

The people brought out the evidence of Achan’s *sin. They brought out the things that he had stolen. This was proof that Achan was guilty.

Verses 24-26 Achan suffered punishment for his *sin. The punishment was severe. It was a warning to the *Israelites. They must obey God.

The people punished Achan’s family. His family must have done wrong things as well (see Deuteronomy 24:16).

Verse 26 ‘The *Lord’s anger ended.’ God had punished Achan. God had dealt with the *sin. *Israel could now expect God to bless them.

Chapter 8

v1 Then the *Lord spoke again. ‘Do not be afraid. Do not think that you are weak’, he said to Joshua. ‘Take the whole army with you and go to attack Ai. I will give the king, all his people, the city and its land to you. v2 You must destroy the city and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. But this time you may take their good things and all their animals for yourselves. Hide some of your men behind the city.’ v3 So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose 30 000 of the best fighting men and sent them out by night. v4 ‘Listen carefully’, he said. ‘You must go and hide behind the city. Stay near to it. Be sure to stay awake! v5 I will march towards the city with all the other soldiers. The men will come out of the city to fight us, as they did before. Then we will run away. v6 They will run after us, until we have gone from the city. They will say, "They are running away from us, as they did before". So, when we run from them, v7 you must get out from your hiding place. You will take the city. The *Lord your God will give it to you. v8 When you have taken the city, start to burn it. Do what the *Lord has told you to do. Be sure to obey my words.’

v9 Then Joshua sent the men off. They went to wait and to hide at the west of Ai, between Bethel and Ai. But Joshua stayed with the people that night.

Verse 1 When Joshua attacked Ai the first time, the *Lord had not told him to do so (Joshua 7:2). Now that the *Israelites had punished Achan, God gave instructions to Joshua. God told Joshua to take the whole army. God would give Ai to the *Israelites.

Verse 2 God told the *Israelites that they could keep the valuable things from Ai. Achan should have waited. He could have taken any valuable things from Ai.

We must not go ahead of God. We must wait for his instructions. We must obey God. God’s instructions are in the Bible. We cannot expect God to bless us if we do not obey him. We cannot expect God to bless us if we do not listen to him. Achan and *Israel learnt this lesson the hard way.

Verses 2-9 God gave to Joshua the plans to defeat Ai. The people of Ai would think that the *Israelites were trying to defeat them again. They did not know that men were hiding behind the city. It was a very clever idea. God knows best. The people obeyed God and Joshua.

v10 Early the next morning, Joshua took all the men together to march towards Ai. He and the leaders of *Israel went in front. v11 The whole army marched up to the city and they stopped in front of it. They put their tents north of Ai. They left a valley between them and the city. v12 Joshua had hidden about 5000 men to the west of the city, between Bethel and Ai. v13 All the soldiers took their places, and they were ready to fight. Some were north of the city, by their tents. And other soldiers were hiding at the west of the city. That night, Joshua went into the valley.

v14 When the king of Ai saw Joshua’s men, the king and his men hurried out of the city. It was early in the morning. They wanted to meet *Israel at the same place as before. And they wanted to fight *Israel there. But the king of Ai did not know that *Israelite soldiers were hiding behind the city. v15 Joshua and his army let the men of Ai chase them, and they ran towards the desert. v16 The king told all the men of Ai to run after them. So they ran after the *Israelites and away from their city. v17 Not one man remained in Ai or Bethel. They all ran after the *Israelite soldiers.

Verses 10-13 It would appear that there were three groups of *Israelites. 30 000 soldiers were hiding behind Ai. 5000 soldiers were near Bethel. They were there in case the people in Bethel came out of their city. They might want to help the people of Ai. The rest of the *Israelites were with Joshua.

Verses 14-17 The king of Ai thought that he could defeat *Israel again. His soldiers came out of the city. Joshua and the *Israelites ran away as they did before. The king of Ai did not know that Joshua had made other plans!

The men of Bethel joined in the attack. Joshua had already prepared for that possibility (verse 12).

v18 Then the *Lord spoke to Joshua. The *Lord said, ‘Hold out the throwing stick that is in your hand. Point it towards Ai. I will give the city to you.’ So Joshua held out his throwing stick towards Ai. v19 The men who were hiding behind the city came out at once. They quickly ran into the city. They took it and they immediately made it burn. v20 The men of Ai looked back and saw smoke rise over the city. But they could not run away. The *Israelites who had been running away had turned to fight them. v21 Joshua and his army had seen that the *Israelites had taken the city. The men that he had hidden had taken it. Joshua’s army saw the smoke from the burning city. So they turned round and began to fight the men of Ai. v22 The *Israelites in the city then came down to join the fight. The men of *Israel were all round the men of Ai. They killed all the men of Ai. Nobody could run away. v23 The only person that they did not kill was the king of Ai. They took him to Joshua.

v24 The *Israelites killed all the men in the fields. And the *Israelites killed the men who had followed them into the desert. Then the *Israelites went back to Ai and killed everyone there. v25 All the men and women of Ai died on that day. 12 000 people died. v26 Joshua had continued to point his throwing stick at Ai until his army had killed every person. v27 But the *Israelites took the good things and the animals for themselves, as the *Lord had told Joshua. v28 Joshua burnt the city and he broke it down. It is still like that today. v29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree and left his body there until evening. At sunset, Joshua told his men to cut the body down from the tree. Then they threw it in front of the city’s gate. They covered it with many stones. These stones are still there today.

Verse 18 Joshua waited for further instructions. God told him what to do next. God told him to hold up his throwing stick. He pointed it towards Ai. He held it up until the *Israelites had completely destroyed Ai (see verse 26). This reminds us of Moses (Exodus 17:8-16). He held his hands up in prayer when the *Israelites defeated the *Amalekites. Joshua was the captain of the army then.

Verses 19-22, 24-28 All the men of *Israel performed their tasks. Some ran away from the enemy so that the men of Ai would come out of the city. Some hid behind the city. They attacked the city when the men came out. Some protected the *Israelites from an attack from Bethel. All played their part.

All Christians have things to do. We cannot leave our work for other people to do. God has given gifts to all of us. We must use them for God.

Verses 23, 29 The *Israelites took the king of Ai to Joshua. The king of Ai had no people left. He was no longer a king. Joshua killed the king to complete the *victory. The *Israelites covered the body of the king with many stones

Earlier, they had covered Achan’s body with stones. This reminded them of their defeat. The *Israelites covered the body of the king with many stones. This reminded them of their *victory.

God changed defeat into *victory. This is what God wants to do for us. When we disappoint God by our *sins, we suffer defeat. God will forgive us if we confess our *sins to him. He will help us. He will give *victory to us.

Joshua reads God’s law to the people

v30 Then Joshua built an *altar on Ebal mountain, to the *Lord, the God of Israel. v31 Joshua made it as Moses had told the *Israelites. Moses, the *Lord’s servant, had written this in a book. This book, the *Law of Moses, told the *Israelites how they should make it. ‘You must make the *altar from stones that you have not cut with iron tools.’ They burned animals on it to *worship the *Lord. And they burned other animals, as ‘*fellowship *offerings’ to the *Lord. v32 The *Israelites watched Joshua as he made a copy of the *Law of Moses on the stones. This was the *Law that Moses had written. v33 All the *Israelites stood by the two sides of the *ark, with their faces towards the priests who carried it. The leaders, officers and judges were there, and the foreign people were with them, too. Half the people stood with their backs to Gerizim mountain. The other half stood with their backs to Ebal mountain. This is how the *Lord’s servant, Moses had told them to stand (Deuteronomy 11:29). ‘Stand like this when I am asking the *Lord to give you his *blessing’, he had said. v34 Then Joshua read the whole *Law aloud to them. He read the *blessings and the *curses from the book of the *Law. Moses had told him how to bless the *Israelites. v35 Joshua read every word to the *Israelites. Moses had told him what to read. Joshua read it to all the people, including the women, children and the foreign people who lived with them.

Verses 30-35 The *Lord had punished the *Israelites because they did not obey him at Ai. They were very careful to do exactly what God had told them after that.

At Ebal mountain, Joshua did 3 things:

·     He built an *altar. He then burned two kinds of *sacrifice on the *altar.

·     He made a copy of the Law of Moses on stones.

·     He read the *blessings and the *curses from the book of the law.

Verse 31 Joshua made the *altar with stones that workmen had not cut. (See Deuteronomy 27:1-8.) The stones were exactly as God had made them. Nobody else had made them. Joshua could not make them any better.

Jesus died to pay the punishment for our *sins. We cannot work for this.

Joshua burned two kinds of *sacrifice on the *altar:

·           burnt *offerings (see Leviticus 1:1-17). A person gave a burnt *offering to God to show that he had given himself completely to God. Here the *Israelites gave burnt *offerings to God. This was to show that they had given themselves completely to God.

·           *fellowship *offerings (see Leviticus 2:1-16). A person might feel that something separated him from God. So he brought a *fellowship *offering to God. This gave him peace with God. Here the *Israelites gave *fellowship *offerings to God. It was a way to say thank you to God. It was also a way to say that they wanted to have *fellowship with God.

The *Israelites had offended God at Ai. Now they had made things right.

These *offerings are like a picture of the death of Jesus.

Because of the death of Jesus

·           we can give ourselves completely to God (the burnt *offering);

·           we can have *fellowship with God (the *fellowship *offering).

The Law of Moses could be

·     the Books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, or

·     the ten *commandments.

Joshua probably wrote down the ten *commandments. He wrote them on stones. They would last for ever. The people could not forget them.

Christians have the Bible. This is the word of God for us. We must read it often.

Verse 33 The *Israelites stood by the two sides of the *ark. This was a sign that God was there.

Verses 34 See Deuteronomy 27:15-26; 28:15-68 for the curses that Joshua read. After Joshua read each curse, the people said, ‘Amen’. They said, ‘Amen’ to show that they agreed.

Verse 35 See Deuteronomy 28:1-14 for the *blessings that Joshua read.

The *Israelites become friends with their enemies from Gibeon – Joshua 9:1-27

Chapter 9

v1 The kings who lived west of the Jordan heard about these things. They lived in the hills and everywhere near the Great Sea, as far as Lebanon. (They were the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, *Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.) When they heard about these things, they joined together. v2 They joined together to fight Joshua and *Israel.

v3 The people from Gibeon were called Gibeonites. They heard about what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai. v4 So they had a clever idea. Some Gibeonites put old bags of food on their donkeys (small horses). They took old *wineskins, which they mended. v5 They wore old shoes (which they had mended) on their feet. And they wore old clothes. The bread that they took for food was stale. In fact, the bread was going bad. v6 Then they went to Joshua, who was camping at Gilgal. They spoke to him and to the men of *Israel. ‘We have come from a country that is a long way away’, they said. ‘Please let us make a promise with you not to fight each other.’

v7 But the men of *Israel answered the Gibeonites (who were Hivites), ‘Perhaps you live close to us. In that case we cannot make a promise not to kill you.’

v8 ‘We want to serve you’, they said to Joshua.

‘Who are you? Where do you come from?’ Joshua asked.

v9 They answered, ‘Your servants have come from a country a very long way away. We heard about your great God. We heard all about the things that he did in Egypt. v10 And we heard what he did to the two kings of the Amorites. Those kings ruled cities east of the Jordan. They were Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan. They ruled in Ashtaroth. v11 Our leaders and the people in our land told us that we should come to see you. Our leaders said, "Take food and wine for your journey. Go to meet the *Israelites, and speak to them. Say that we want to serve them. Ask them not to kill us". v12 Our bread was warm when we put it in our bags. We packed this bread on the day that we left home to come to you. But you can see how bad and stale it has become. v13 And these *wineskins were new. You can see how old they are now. And our clothes and shoes wore out on our long journey.’

v14 The men of *Israel looked at the food and other things, but they did not ask the *Lord for help. v15 Then Joshua agreed that they would not kill the people from Gibeon. The leaders of *Israel also said that they would keep Joshua’s promise.

Verses 1-4 Here we have two different attitudes to the *Israelites.

·     The kings who lived west of Jordan were afraid. They planned to fight *Israel. We read about this in chapter 10.

·     The people from Gibeon were afraid. But they planned to make friends with the *Israelites.

Verses 3-13 The people from Gibeon had a very clever plan. They pretended that they had come from a long distance away. They had come only about 25 miles (40 kilometres)! The Gibeonites told several lies.

·     They had come from a land that was a long way away (verse 6).

·     The bread was warm when they left home (verse 12).

·     The *wineskins were new when they left home.

The *Israelites believed them.

God had told the *Israelites not to make agreements with the inhabitants of *Canaan (Deuteronomy 7). If the people from Gibeon had come from another country, then the *Israelites could make a peace agreement with them. But they had come only 25 miles (40 kilometres). The *Israelites believed the story that the Gibeonites told them. The story was not true.

If the group of Gibeonites were genuine

·    they would bring enough supplies for the return journey

·    they would have brought gifts for the *Israelites

·    they would throw away any stale bread

·    their servants would make them new bread

·    they would bring good clothes for their meeting with the *Israelites.

Verse 14 Joshua believed the Gibeonites. He did not think about any problems. He did not ask the *Lord if their story was true. Joshua made a big mistake. This was a very big decision. The *Israelites agreed with Joshua’s decision.

We must be careful. We must always pray to God about important decisions. We should not make important decisions unless we ask God first.

James 1:5 says, ‘If you do not have wisdom, you should ask God for it.’ Proverbs 4:11 says that God will guide us to make wise decisions.

v16 So Joshua and the *Israelites made a promise to the Gibeonites. Three days later, the *Israelites learned that the Gibeonites lived near to them. v17 The *Israelites left their camp to go to the cities of Gibeon. Three days later, they came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. v18 The *Israelites did not attack them, because of the promise that their leaders had made. They had said to the *Lord God of *Israel that they would not kill the Gibeonites.

All the *Israelites were angry with their leaders. v19 The leaders said to them, ‘We have promised the *Lord, the God of *Israel, and now we cannot hurt them. v20 But this is what we will do. We will let them live. Then God will not punish us because we did not keep our promise. v21 Let them live. They will cut wood and carry water for us’, they said. This is how the leaders kept their promise to the Gibeonites.

v22 Joshua told the Gibeonites to come to him. ‘Why did you tell me those lies? You said that you lived a long way from us. But you really live near to us’, he said. v23 ‘Now we will punish you. You will always be our servants. You will cut wood and carry water for our God’s people.’

v24 They answered Joshua, ‘The *Lord your God had told Moses to give you the whole land. We had heard that clearly. He told you to kill all the people who lived there in front of you. So, we were afraid that you would kill us. That is why we did as we did. v25 You must decide what to do with us. Do what you think is right and good.’

v26 So Joshua did not let the *Israelites kill the Gibeonites, and the *Israelites let them live. v27 They made the Gibeonites cut wood and fetch water for them. And they would do this for the *altar of the *Lord, at the place that the *Lord would tell them. They are doing this still.

Verse 16 It was not long before the *Israelites learnt the truth. The Gibeonites lived so close that the *Israelites soon learnt the truth.

Verses 17-19 The *Israelites set out to talk to the Gibeonites. The *Israelites wanted to fight the Gibeonites because of what they had done. The leaders said that the *Israelites must keep their promise. They had made the promise to God.

We should keep the promises that we make to God. It is a very serious matter if we do not keep them.

Verses 20-27 Joshua had no choice. He let the Gibeonites live.

In Deuteronomy 20:17, God told the *Israelites not to make peace with the Hivites. The Gibeonites were Hivites. God wanted the *Israelites to kill the Hivites. This was because the Hivites were very evil. God was punishing the Hivites for their *sins. So, the Gibeonites deserved to die. But God allowed the *Israelites to make a peace agreement with them. God saved the Gibeonites.

God did not save the Gibeonites because they lied. Lies are wrong. But God knew that the Gibeonites really wanted to serve God. In fact, they were desperate to serve God. They did not want God to punish them. They would do anything if God would save them. God knew their true thoughts.

Other people in the *Old Testament also lied because they wanted to serve God:

·     In Joshua 2:4, Rahab lied. Like the Gibeonites, she lied because she was desperate to serve God (Joshua 2:9-11). And, like the Gibeonites, God saved her.

·     In Genesis 27:19, Jacob lied. Jacob lied because he wanted his father to bless him. If Jacob’s father blessed Jacob, then God would also bless Jacob. Jacob was wrong to lie. But God still met with Jacob, because God knew Jacob’s intentions. Really, Jacob wanted to serve God (Genesis 28:13-15).

These people lied because they did not know the right way to serve God. But God blessed them because they really wanted to serve God.

The Gibeonites became servants of the *Israelites. There is a group of people in the *Old Testament called *temple servants (1 Chronicles 9:2; Ezra 2:43, 58; Nehemiah 3:26). They were almost certainly Gibeonites. Much later, these *temple servants went into *exile to Babylon with the *Israelites. When the *Israelites returned, the *temple servants came with them. The Gibeonites stayed loyal to the *Israelites.

God used the mistake that Joshua made. The Gibeonites enjoyed all the good things that God gave to the *Israelites.

God can use our mistakes. It is never too late to ask God to help us.

Think about this. Joshua made an agreement with the wrong people. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, ‘Do not try to work with people who are not friends of God. You cannot do it. Right things and wrong things cannot work together. Light and darkness cannot work together.’

The *Israelites defeat the Amorites – Joshua 10:1-28

Chapter 10

v1 The king of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek, heard what Joshua had done to the people of Ai and Jericho and their kings. He heard that Joshua had killed them. He also heard that *Israel had promised not to kill the people from Gibeon. They lived near to the *Israelites. v2 The king and his people were very afraid, because Gibeon was an important city. It was like a king’s city and bigger than Ai. All its men fought well. v3 So Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, asked some other kings to join him to attack Gibeon. They were called:

·           Hoham. He was the king of Hebron.

·           Piram. He was the king of Jarmuth.

·           Japhia. He was the king of Lachish.

·           Debir. He was the king of Eglon.

v4 Adoni-Zedek said to them, ‘Gibeon has promised not to fight Joshua and the *Israelites. Please help me to attack Gibeon.’

v5 Then the 5 kings of the Amorites joined together. They were the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. They took their soldiers near to Gibeon, and they attacked it.

Verse 1 This may be the first mention of Jerusalem in the Bible. However, Salem in Genesis 14:18 might be the same city. Jerusalem became a very important city. King David made it his capital city. Jesus died on a cross outside Jerusalem.

Verses 1-5 When you make an agreement with the enemy you can expect trouble. The Gibeonites realised that they were in trouble. The trouble was not from their former enemies. Their enemies had been the *Israelites. But now the Gibeonites’ former friends were attacking them. Now their neighbours were attacking them. They did not know what to do.

v6 Then the Gibeonites sent a message to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal. ‘Do not leave us alone. Come quickly and save us. All the Amorite kings from the hills have joined to attack us. We need your help’, they said.

v7 So Joshua marched with his whole army up from Gilgal. He included all his best fighting men. v8 The *Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them. I will make sure that you win the fight. I will not let anyone stand against you.’

v9 They marched all night from Gilgal, and Joshua surprised his enemies. v10 The *Lord made the enemies confused when they saw *Israel. *Israel won a great fight at Gibeon. *Israel pursued their enemies on the road to Beth Horon. *Israel continued to kill them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. v11 The *Lord attacked them as they ran from Beth Horon to Azekah. He caused large *hail stones to fall on them from the sky. The *Lord killed more men with the *hail stones than the *Israelites killed in the fight.

v12 On that day, Joshua stood in front of *Israel and spoke to the *Lord. On that same day, the *Lord gave them power over the Amorites. Joshua spoke to the *Lord and said,

                      ‘Sun stand still over Gibeon.

                      Moon stand over the valley of Aijalon.’

v13                So the sun stood still.

                      And the moon stood still

                      until *Israel had punished its enemies.

These words are in the book of Jashar. ‘The sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and it did not go down for about a whole day. v14 The *Lord has never listened to a man like this before or since that day. So, we are sure that the *Lord was fighting for *Israel! v15 Then Joshua and all the *Israelites went back to the camp at Gilgal.’

Verses 6, 7 The Gibeonites asked for help from the *Israelites. The *Israelites were the only ones that could help them. Joshua had made a promise to the Gibeonites. He could not disappoint them now.

Think about this. Whom do we go to when we need help? The Gibeonites went to Joshua. The name Joshua means ‘The *Lord is my *Saviour.’ We have a *Saviour. We can always go to him when we need help.

Verse 8 When the Gibeonites first came to Joshua he did not ask God about them (Joshua 9:14). Now that the Gibeonites had asked Joshua for help, God spoke to Joshua. He told him not to be afraid. God had already won the battle for him!

God has won the battle for us. He sent Jesus to die for us. He suffered the punishment for our *sins. This was a great *victory!

Verses 9-13 God did three things to help Joshua.

·     He made the enemies confused.

·     He sent *hail stones to kill the enemy.

·     The sun stood still until the *Israelites had defeated the enemy. Joshua asked God to do this.

Verse 14 This is a wonderful statement about Joshua! God listened to his prayer. Joshua had *faith that God would answer his prayer.

God will always listen to our prayers. We should pray to God often. Like Joshua, we too should have *faith in God.

v16 Now the 5 kings had run away. They had hidden in a cave at Makkedah. v17 Joshua heard that they were hiding there. v18 He said to his men, ‘Cover the front of the cave with big stones. And put some men there to guard them. v19 But do not stop. Continue to run after your enemies. Attack them from behind, and do not let them reach their cities. Remember that the *Lord, your God has promised to give power to you over them.’

v20 So Joshua and the *Israelites killed them. Nearly all the enemies died. But the few who were alive reached their strong cities. v21 The whole army returned to the camp at Makkedah where Joshua was. All the people in the land were too afraid to say anything bad about the *Israelites.

v22 Then Joshua said, ‘Take away the stones from the cave. Bring the 5 kings out to me.’ v23 So they brought out the kings. These kings were the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. v24 They brought the kings to Joshua, and he told the men of *Israel to come to him. ‘Put your feet on the necks of the kings’, he said to the officers who had come with him. They did as he told them to do.

v25 Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Be very strong and brave. This is what the *Lord will do to all your enemies.’ v26 Then Joshua killed the kings. The *Israelites hung the dead kings on 5 trees until the evening.

v27 At sunset, Joshua told his men to take the kings down from the trees. ‘Throw them into the cave where they were hiding’, he said. They put big stones over the front of the cave, and the stones are still there.

v28 That day Joshua attacked Makkedah and he took it, with its king. He killed everyone in it. He did not leave anyone alive. He killed the king of Makkedah, just as he had killed the king of Jericho.

Verses 16-21 Joshua did not have time to deal with the 5 kings. They were hiding in a cave. Joshua put some big stones in front of the cave. The 5 kings could not escape. Joshua came back to them later. He had other things to do. He had to kill his enemies.

Verses 22-27 Joshua told the *Israelites to put their feet on the necks of the 5 kings. (He made the kings lie down first.) This seems a strange thing to do! It was not strange in those days. In 2 Samuel 22:41 we read, ‘You have also given me the necks of my enemies.’ When the *Israelites put their feet on the necks of the 5 kings it showed complete *victory. The 5 kings knew that the *Israelites had completely defeated them. Joshua killed the 5 kings. He hung their bodies on 5 trees. This showed the *Israelites that they had defeated their enemy.

Verse 28 Joshua continued to kill his enemies.

The *Israelites defeat the towns in the south of the country – Joshua 10:29-43

v29 After this, Joshua and his army went on from Makkedah to Libnah, and they attacked it. v30 The *Lord gave them power over that city and its king. Joshua destroyed the city and he killed everyone in it. He did not leave anyone alive. He killed the king of Libnah, just as he had killed the king of Jericho.

v31 After this, Joshua and all the *Israelites went on from Libnah to Lachish. They attacked it from all sides. v32 The *Lord gave them power over Lachish. And Joshua took the city on the second day. They left no one alive, as they had done at Libnah. They killed everyone in the city. v33 King Horam of Gezer came to help Lachish. But Joshua fought and killed him and his army. He killed them all.

v34 Then Joshua and his army went from Lachish to Eglon. They went round it and they attacked it. v35 They took it on the same day. They killed everyone in that city, as they had at Lachish.

v36 After this, Joshua and his army went up from Eglon to Hebron. They attacked v37 and took it. They killed the king, all the people there, and the people in the towns near to it. Joshua destroyed the whole city, as he had done to Eglon. He did not leave anyone alive.

v38 Then Joshua and his army went back to Debir and they attacked it. v39 He attacked it and he took it with all the towns near to it. They killed everyone there. Joshua did to Debir and its king what he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.

v40 So Joshua took the whole land. He took the hill country, the hills of the east and the west and the dry country in the south. He took them with their kings. He killed all the people who lived there. He did not leave anyone alive. The *Lord God of *Israel had told him to do this. v41 Joshua had fought from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza. This included all of Goshen as far as Gibeon in the north. v42 Joshua won this long list of battles. He defeated all these kings and their cities. He won the war because the *Lord, the God of *Israel, was fighting for *Israel. v43 After this, Joshua and his army went back to the camp at Gilgal.

Verses 29-40 Joshua had defeated his nearest enemies. Now he attacked the enemies who were further away. At first, he attacked the cities in the south of the country. Notice how often we read about the *Lord.

·     The *Lord gave them power – verse 29.

·     The *Lord gave them power – verse 32.

·     The *Lord God of *Israel told them – verse 40.

·     He won because the *Lord, the God of *Israel was with them – verse 42.

When God asks us to do something, he always helps us.

We do not know how long it took to defeat the towns and cities in the south.

The *Israelites defeat the towns in the north of the country – Joshua 11:1-23

Chapter 11

v1 Jabin, king of Hazor, heard what had happened. So, he sent *messengers to Jobab, king of Madon. He also sent *messengers to the kings of Shimron and Acshaph. v2 And he sent *messengers to other kings. Some lived in the northern mountains and some lived in the Arabah. The Arabah was south of Kinnereth. Other kings lived in the west. They lived in the little hills and in Naphoth Dor. v3 *Messengers also went to the *Canaanites who lived in both the east and the west. They went to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hills. And Jabin sent *messengers to the Hivites. The Hivites lived near Hermon near Mizpah. v4 All these kings came with their soldiers and many horses and *chariots. It was a huge army. There were so many soldiers that nobody could count them. v5 The kings all joined together. Their army camped by the river Merom. They wanted to fight against *Israel.

v6 ‘Do not be afraid of them’, the *Lord said to Joshua. ‘I will give all of them to you. You will kill them all by this time tomorrow. You must make their horses *lame, and you must burn the *chariots.’

v7 So Joshua and all his army went to fight the kings by the river Merom. The *Israelites attacked their enemies suddenly. v8 The *Lord helped the *Israelites to win the fight. The *Israelites ran after the kings as far as Sidon, Misrephoth Maim and Mizpah valley. They went east until they had killed all their enemies. v9 Joshua did to them as the *Lord had said. Joshua made the horses *lame and he burned the *chariots.

v10 Then Joshua went back and he took Hazor. He killed its king. (Hazor had been the most important *kingdom over all the *kingdoms who were against *Israel.) v11 The *Israelites killed everyone who lived there. They killed everything that was alive in the city. They burned the city and they destroyed it.

v12 Joshua took all these cities and he killed all their kings. He destroyed them all, as God’s servant Moses had told him to do. v13 But *Israel did not burn all the cities that their enemies had built on small hills, except Hazor. Joshua did burn this one. v14 The *Israelites took all the animals and good things from the cities, but they killed all the people. They did not allow anyone to live. v15 The *Lord had told Moses what to do. Then Moses had told Joshua what the *Lord had said. Joshua did what Moses told him to do. Joshua did not forget anything. He did everything that the *Lord had told Moses to do.

Verses 1-5 Again, some kings in *Canaan became afraid of the *Israelites. These kings lived in the north of the country.

Verse 6 The *Lord made a promise to Joshua. The *Lord would defeat all those people.

Verses 7-10. Joshua did as God told him to do. God helped Joshua again to defeat his enemies.

v16 So Joshua took all these places. He took the hills, the dry country in the south, all Goshen and the little hills in the west. He took the Arabah and the mountains and hills in *Israel. v17 These places were between Halak mountain (which was near Seir) and Baal Gad. Baal Gad was in the valley of Lebanon, below Hermon mountain. He took all their kings and killed them all. v18 Joshua was fighting these kings for a long time. v19 No cities made a peace agreement with the *Israelites, except for the Hivites from Gibeon. So, Joshua took all the other cities in battle. v20 The *Lord himself made the people angry, so that they would fight *Israel. This was so that the *Lord could kill them all. He did not let them live. He did not show kindness to them. So, the *Israelites did those things that the *Lord had told Moses to do.

v21 Joshua went at that time to fight the Anakites from the hills. They came from Hebron, Debir and Anab and all the hills in Judah and *Israel. Joshua killed them all. And he destroyed all their towns. v22 He killed all the Anakites in *Israel, except for a few in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod. v23 So Joshua took the whole country, as the *Lord had told Moses to do. The *Lord gave the country to *Israel to live in. And Joshua gave the land to the *tribes of *Israel. Each *tribe received the land that the *Lord had chosen. And the families in each *tribe would always continue to own this land.

Then the country was at peace.

Verses 16-23 This is an account of all that God had done for Joshua.

It is a good thing for us to make a list. The list should include all the good things that God has done for us. This will help us to thank God. It will help us to *worship God. We can thank God for all the good things that he has done for us. We can *worship him because he is so good to us.

Verse 18 ‘A long time’ was about 7 years.

Verse 20 ‘The *Lord himself made the people angry.’ God did this because he wanted to punish the *Canaanites. The *Canaanites were very evil. God used the *Israelites to punish the *Canaanites. See Exodus 11:10 and Exodus 14:8. In these passages in Exodus, God made the king of Egypt angry. God did this because he wanted to punish the people in Egypt.

Verse 23 God promised to give this land to the family of Abraham (Genesis 17:8). The *Israelites belonged to the family of Abraham. God always keeps his promises. God gave each *Israelite family its own land.

‘Then the country was at peace.’ God’s law told the *Israelites that they should not work every day. They would rest each Saturday (Exodus 20:8). Today, Christians rest on Sunday. And they *worship God on Sunday (Acts 20:7). God also told the *Israelites that they should not plant crops every year. On the 7th year, the ground would rest (Leviticus 25:4). In the same way, the *Israelites had fought for 7 years. Now, God allowed them to rest. At last, there was peace.

A list of all the kings that the *Israelites defeated – Joshua 12:1-24

Chapter 12

The kings that Moses defeated

v1 *Israel killed the kings in the list below. *Israel killed them and *Israel took their land. This land was east of the Jordan, between the Arnon valley and Hermon mountain. All of it was on the east side of the Arabah.

v2 Sihon, king of the Amorites, was king of Heshbon. He ruled

·           from Aroer to the Jabbok river. Aroer was by the middle of the Arnon valley. This is near the land of the Ammonites. It included half of Gilead,

·           v3 the east of the Arabah from the sea of Kinnereth to the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea),

·           as far as Beth Jeshimoth and to where Pisgah mountain begins.

v4 Og, king of Bashan, was one of the last Rephaites. He ruled

·           in Ashtaroth and Edrei,

·           v5 Hermon mountain, Salecah and all of Bashan as far as Geshur and Maacah,

·           the half of Gilead to the edge of Sihon’s *kingdom of Heshbon.

v6 Moses, the servant of the *Lord, and the *Israelites defeated these kings. Moses gave their land to the *tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the *tribe of Manasseh to live in.

The kings that Joshua defeated

v7 Joshua and the *Israelites killed the kings in the list below. These kings ruled on the west side of the Jordan.

These kings ruled the land from Baal Gad in the Lebanon valley to Halak mountain. Halak mountain is near Seir. (Joshua gave to each *tribe a special part of the land.) v8 This was in the hills and in the western little hills.

Also, these kings had ruled the Arabah, the sides of the mountains, and the desert and the Negev.

*Israel ruled all the land that had belonged to the Hittites, Amorites, *Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

v9 The *Israelites took the land of the kings of

·           Jericho, Ai (near Bethel),

·           v10 Jerusalem, Hebron,

·           v11 Jarmuth, Lachish,

·           v12 Eglon, Gezer,

·           v13 Debir, Geder,

·           v14 Hormah, Arad,

·           v15 Libnah, Adullam,

·           v16 Makkedah, Bethel.

·           v17 Tappuah, Hepher,

·           v18 Aphek, Lasharon,

·           v19 Madon, Hazor,

·           v20 Shimron Meron, Acshaph.

·           v21 Taanach, Megiddo,

·           v22 Kedesh, Jokneam in Carmel,

·           v23 Dor (in Naphoth Dor), Goyim in Gilgal,

·           v24 Tirzah.

They took all the land of these 31 kings.

Verses 1-24 This is a list of 33 kings that *Israel defeated.

Verse 2-8 Moses defeated the first two kings, Sihon and Og. The *Old Testament mentions them several times.

Verses 9-16 Joshua defeated these 16 kings in the south of the country.

Verses 17-24 Joshua defeated these 15 kings in the north of the country.

3. The extent of the *blessing

The land that *Israel had not yet taken – Joshua 13:1-7

Chapter 13

v1 Joshua was very old and he had lived for many years. The *Lord said to him, ‘You are old. There is still a lot of land that you have not taken. This is the land that *Israel still has to take. v2 There is all the land of the Philistines and Geshurites v3 and of the Avvim on the south. (The *Canaanites had the land from the Shihor river east of Egypt and as far north as Ekron’s land. The Philistines lived in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron.) v4 You must take all the land of the *Canaanites and Mearah, (which belonged to the people from Sidon). This is the land as far as Aphek, next to the land of the Amorites. v5 You have to take the land of the Gebalites and all of Lebanon to the east. That is from Baal Gad below Hermon mountain to Lebo Hamath.’

v6 The *Lord said to Joshua, ‘I, myself will deliver the land called Sidon to the *Israelites. The people in Sidon will leave the mountains of Lebanon as far as Misrephoth Maim. So, give this land to *Israel, as I have told you to do. v7 Each of the 9 *tribes, and half of the *tribe of Manasseh shall have its own part.’

Verse 1 We cannot be sure how old Joshua was. Caleb was 85 (see Joshua 14:10). Joshua was probably older.

Joshua 11:23 says ‘Then the country was at peace.’ Joshua 12:1 says, ‘There is still a lot of land that you have not taken.’ These two verses do not appear to agree. But there is an explanation.

Joshua had taken all the main towns and cities. He had defeated all the kings. But the *Israelites did not possess all the land. They still needed to take the rest of the land. They did not need to fight for it. God would do it for them (see verse 6). The *Israelites had to trust God.

This is like the Christian life. Jesus has defeated the enemy for us. He did this when he took the punishment for our *sins on the cross. God still has other good things for us. He wants to give them to us. ‘God promises all these things to us, my dear friends. So we must keep ourselves morally good. We must keep away from things that make our bodies or our thoughts morally bad. Let us show our love for God. Let us always live in a *clean way’ (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Verses 2-7 This is a list of the lands that *Israel had not yet taken.

Verse 7 Only half of the *tribe of Manasseh made their home on the east side of Jordan. They lived near the *tribes of Reuben and Gad. See Notes on Joshua 1:12-15 above.

The other half of the *tribe of Manasseh stayed with the rest of *Israel’s people.

The land that Moses gave to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh – Joshua 13:8-33

v8 Moses had already given land to the Reubenites, Gadites and the other half of Manasseh. This land was east of the Jordan, as Moses, the servant of God, had said.

v9 It was from Aroer, which was next to the Arnon valley. And it was from the town that was in that valley.

It included

·           all the flat land of Medeba to Dibon,

·           v10 all the towns of Sihon, king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon. It went to the edge of the land of the Amorites,

·           v11 the land of Gilead, and the land of the people from Geshur and Maacah,

·           all of Hermon mountain and Bashan as far as Salecah. v12 (That was the *kingdom of Og in Bashan.)

Og had ruled Ashtaroth and Edrei. He was one of the last of the Rephaim. Moses had won a fight with them and he had taken their land. v13 But the *Israelites did not send away the people from Geshur and Maacah. And so these people still live there among the *Israelites.

Verses 8-13 This is a description of the land east of the river Jordan. It was the land that the *tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh lived in. It was good land for cows and sheep. These *tribes looked after cows, sheep and goats. They needed this good land.

Verse 13 These *Israelites did not defeat all the people in the land. Neither did some other of the *tribes. This caused them a lot of trouble later.

Christians must defeat all their enemies. Christians have many different kinds of enemies. Enemies are often not people. Sometimes our enemies are the wrong things that we do. We must stop doing them. God will bless us when we stop.

v14 Moses had given no land to the *tribe of Levi. This was because God had made a promise to them. He had said that the other *tribes must give them the burnt *sacrifices for the *Lord God of *Israel. This was the part for the *Levites.

Verse 14 Chapter 21 tells us more about the *Levites.

v15 This is the part of the land that Moses gave to the families of the Reubenites.

v16 It was the land from Aroer, which was next to the Arnon valley. And it was from the town that was in that valley.

v17 And he gave them

·           all of the flat land past Medeba in Heshbon,

·           It included Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon,

·           v18 Jahaz and Kedemoth. And it included Mephaath,

·           v19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah and Zereth Shahar, (Zereth was on a hill in the middle of the valley),

·           v20 Beth Peor, and the sides of Pisgah mountain and Beth Jeshimoth town,

·           v21 all the towns on the flat land,

·           all the land of Sihon, king of the Amorites. Sihon had ruled from Hebron. But Moses had won the fight with him, and with the Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba. These kings had lived in that place, and they ruled with Sihon. v22 The *Israelites killed many soldiers in that battle. And they also killed Balaam, son of Beor, who used magic.

v23 The end of the land of the Reubenites was by the river Jordan.

Moses gave these towns and their villages to the *tribe of Reuben to live in. Each family received its own land.

Verses 15-23 Moses gave this land to the *tribe of Reuben. It was in the south of the country, east of the river Jordan.

Verse 22 You can read more about Balaam in Numbers chapters 22-24. Balaam wanted to *curse *Israel. But God would not allow Balaam to *curse *Israel. So, Balaam had to bless *Israel. This verse tells us that Balaam did not continue to serve God. Instead, Balaam used *spirit magic. The Bible says that this is evil (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

v24 This is the land that Moses gave to the *tribe of Gad. Each family received its own land.

v25 He gave to them

·           the land of Jazer, the towns of Gilead and half the land of the Ammonites. v26 This was from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim. It was from Mahanaim to the land of Debir,

·           v27 and he gave to them the towns in the valley: Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth and Zaphon,

·           the rest of the land of Sihon, king of Heshbon. (This was on the east of the Jordan, to the end of the sea of Kinnereth.)

v28 Moses gave these towns and villages to the *tribe of Gad to live in. Each family received its own land.

Verses 24-28 Moses gave this land to the *tribe of Gad. It was in the middle of the country east of the river Jordan.

v29 This is the land that Moses gave to half the *tribe of Manasseh. That is, half the families of the sons of Manasseh. Each family received its own land.

v30 He gave them

·           the land from Mahanaim,

·           the land of Bashan,

·           all the land ruled by Og, king of Bashan,

·           all the 60 towns of Jair in Bashan,

·           v31 half of Gilead, Ashtaroth and Edrei. (These were the cities that belonged to Og in Bashan.)

This was for half the sons of Makir, son of Manasseh. Each family received its own land.

v32 Moses gave land to these *tribes across the Jordan. It was the flat land of Moab, east of Jericho.

Verses 29-32 Moses gave this land to half of the *tribe of Manasseh. It was in the north of the country east of the river Jordan.

v33 Moses gave no land to the *tribe of Levi. The *Lord, the God of *Israel, was their part. This is what he had promised to do for them.

Verse 33 Chapter 21 tells us more about the *Levites.

Joshua divides the rest of the land – Joshua 14:1-19:51

Chapter 14

v1 Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of the families of *Israel divided the land. They chose different parts of the land for each *tribe. This is how they did it. v2 They used *lots to decide how God wanted them to divide the land. Each of the 9 and a half *tribes that remained would receive their land. This is what the *Lord had told Moses to do. v3 Moses had already given land east of the river Jordan to the two and a half *tribes. But he had not given any land to the *Levites. v4 (The *tribe of Joseph was now two *tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim.) The leaders gave the *Levites towns to live in, with enough land near them to feed their animals. v5 The leaders of the *Israelites gave a part of the land to each *tribe. This is what the *Lord had told Moses to do.

Verse 1 God, by Moses, had told the *Israelites how to divide the land (Numbers 34:1-18).

Verse 2 God told Moses which leaders should divide the land (Numbers 34:19-29).

See Notes on 7:16-18 above. We cannot be sure how the leaders used *lots. We do not need to know. It was God’s way to show the people.

Verse 3 The two and a half *tribes - see Notes on 1:12-15 above.

Verse 4 The *tribe of Joseph was divided between his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Chapter 21 tells us more about the *Levites.

v6 Some of the men of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb, son of Jephunneh, spoke to Joshua. He said, ‘You know what God said to Moses, the man of God, at Kadesh Barnea. You know what he said about you and me. v7 I was 40 years old when he sent me from there to explore the land. And I brought a report to him that was true. I was sure that we could take the land. v8 The other men who went with us made the people afraid. But I did only what the *Lord wanted us to do. v9 So Moses made a promise to me on that day. Moses said, "The land, where you walked, will always belong to you and to your children. This is because you have done everything that the *Lord told you to do.” ’

v10 Caleb said to Joshua, ‘The *Lord has kept me alive for 45 years since Moses said this. *Israel was walking through the desert during this time. Now I am 85 years old. v11 I am as strong now as on the day that Moses sent me out. I can fight as well now as I could then. v12 Now then, give to me this hill country that the *Lord promised to me. You heard that the Anakites were there then. And you heard that their cities were large and strong. But the *Lord will help me to push them out. The *Lord said that he would do that.’

v13 Then Joshua asked the *Lord to do good things for Caleb, son of Jephunneh. And he gave Hebron to him as his part of the land. v14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb, son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite since that day. He had done everything that the *Lord had told him to do. So Joshua gave the land to him. v15 (Hebron had been called ‘Kiriath Arba’ because Arba was the most important man among the Anakites.)

After this, the land was at peace.

Verses 6-9 You can read this story in Numbers 13:26-33 and Deuteronomy 1:34-36. Caleb was one of 12 men that Moses sent in secret to look at the *promised land. Only Joshua and Caleb brought good news back (Numbers 13). Caleb had *faith that God would provide. Moses made a promise to Caleb. Caleb would possess some of the *promised land for himself.

Verses 10-12 Caleb had waited 45 years to receive his land. He did not ask for an easy task. He asked for mountains to climb and Anakites to defeat. (Anakites were giant men.)

Verse 13-15 Joshua gave Caleb the land near Hebron. (See Joshua 21:11-12.) Hebron is in the mountains. And Hebron was the place where the Anakites lived. So, the *Israelites had to defeat the Anakites – see Joshua 11:21.

Sometimes we have to wait a long time before God answers our prayers. But we are never too old to work for God.

Chapter 15

v1 Joshua gave land to the *tribe of Judah. And he divided it between the various families. This land was between Edom and the Desert of Zin. The desert was at the south of the land.

v2 Judah’s land began at the south end of the Salt Sea. v3 It crossed the south side of Scorpion valley, to Zin. Joshua also gave land to them south of Kadesh Barnea, as far as Hebron. The edge of their land continued past Addar. Then it went round to Karka v4 and to Azmon. The dry valley of Egypt that leads to the sea was the south edge of Judah.

v5 The east edge of Judah was the Salt Sea. It went as far as the mouth of the river Jordan.

The north edge of Judah was from the mouth of the Jordan v6 to Beth Hoglah. Then it went north of Beth Arabah to the stone of Bohan. (Bohan was the son of Reuben.)

v7 The edge of Judah’s land went from Achor valley to Debir. Then it went north to Gilgal. Gilgal is opposite the path of Adummim on the south side of the valley.

The edge of Judah then went past the water *springs of En Shemesh to En Rogel. v8 From there it went through Hinnom valley. And it went to the south side of a hill. This hill was near the Jebusite city called Jerusalem.

The edge of Judah continued to the top of the hill on the west side of the Hinnom valley. This was at the north end of the valley of Rephaim. v9 From there it went to the Nephtoah *springs. And then it went on to the cities near Ephron mountain. It went towards Baalah (also called Kiriath Jearim). v10 From there it went round Baalah towards the hills of Edom. It went north of Jearim mountain (that is Kesalon) down to Beth Shemesh, and on past Timnah.

v11 The edge of Judah went out to the hills north of Ekron, then towards Shikkeron. It went past Baalah mountain to Jabneel. The land of Judah ended at the sea. v12 The sea was the west edge of Judah’s land.

The families of the *tribe of Judah lived inside this land.

Verses 1-12 Joshua gave this land to the *tribe of Judah. Judah was the largest *tribe. It was also the most important one. Genesis 49:10 tells us that the king would come from Judah. This refers to Jesus, although Moses wrote the Book of Genesis long before Jesus. Jesus belonged to the *tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14).

The east edge of this land was at the Dead Sea (also called the Salt Sea). And the western edge was at the Mediterranean Sea (also called the Great Sea). It included all the land between.

v13 The *Lord had told Joshua to give part of Judah’s land to Caleb, Jephunneh’s son. (He belonged to the *tribe of Judah.) Joshua gave to him Hebron, the city of Arba. Arba was the father of Anak. v14 Caleb defeated the three sons of Anak at Hebron. Their names were Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. v15 From there he marched to fight the people in Debir (also called Kiriath Sepher). v16 Caleb said, ‘If a man attacks and takes Kiriath Sepher, he can marry my daughter, Acsah.’ v17 Othniel was the son of Caleb’s brother, Kenaz. He took Kiriath Sepher, so Caleb gave his daughter to him to marry.

v18 Acsah spoke to Othniel one day. He wanted her to ask her father for a field. She got off her donkey (small horse). ‘What can I do for you?’ Caleb asked her.

v19 ‘Be very kind to me’, she said. ‘You have given me land in the dry country in the south. So please give to me some *springs of water, too.’ So Caleb gave the higher and lower *springs to her.

Verses 13-19 Caleb provided for his children. His daughter asked him for a field and *springs of water. Caleb gave them to her.

It is important that we provide for our children. We give physical provisions to them. We must also provide for their *spiritual needs. We should read the Bible with them. We should pray with them. We should also pray for them.

Verse 17 Othniel was Caleb’s nephew. He became the first judge of *Israel (see Judges 3:7-11).

v20 This is the land that Joshua gave to the families of the *tribe of Judah, to live in. v21 The towns south of Judah, near the edge of Edom were:

·           Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur,

·           v22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah,

·           v23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan,

·           v24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth,

·           v25 Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor),

·           v26 Amam, Shema, Moladah,

·           v27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet,

·           v28 Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah,

·           v29 Baalah, Iim, Ezem,

·           v30 Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah,

·           v31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah,

·           v32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, Rimmon.

He gave 29 towns to them with their villages.

v33 He gave them towns in the small hills in the west:

·           Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah,

·           v34 Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam,

·           v35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah,

·           v36 Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, (or Gederothaim).

There were 14 towns and villages.

v37 He gave to them:

·           Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad,

·           v38 Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel,

·           v39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon,

·           v40 Cabbon, Lahmas, Kitlish,

·           v41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah, Makkedah.

There were 16 towns and their villages.

v42 And he gave to them:

·           Libnah, Ether, Ashan,

·           v43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib,

·           v44 Keilah, Aczib, Mareshah.

There were 9 towns with their villages.

v45 He also gave Ekron to the *tribe of Judah. He also gave to them the houses and villages near Ekron.

v46 And he gave to them all those towns west of Ekron, near Ashdod with their villages.

v47 And he gave to them Ashdod and Gaza with their houses and villages. They had the land as far as the valley of Egypt, and to the Great Sea.

v48 Joshua gave to them land in the hill country:

·           Shamir, Jattir, Socoh,

·           v49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir),

·           v50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim,

·           v51 Goshen, Holon, Giloh.

There were 11 towns and their villages.

v52 He also gave to them:

·           Arab, Dumah, Eshan,

·           v53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah,

·           v54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), Zior.

There were 9 towns and their villages.

v55 He also gave to them:

·           Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah,

·           v56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah,

·           v57 Kain, Gibeah, Timnah.

There were 10 towns and their villages.

v58 And he gave to them:

·           Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor,

·           v59 Maarath, Beth Anoth, Eltekon.

There were 6 towns and their villages.

v60 And he gave to them:

·           Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim), Rabbah.

There were two towns and their villages.

v61 Joshua gave Judah towns in the desert:

·           Beth Arabah, Middin, Secacah,

·           v62 Nibshan, the City of Salt, En Gedi.

There were 6 towns and their villages.

v63 But Judah could not push the Jebusites out of Jerusalem. So, Jebusites still live there with Judah’s people.

Verses 20-63 This is a list of all the towns that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Judah. There are 112 towns in the list. We have a list like this in the Bible because it shows to us God’s goodness. It shows to us all the good things that God gave to Judah.

There is a song that says that we should ‘count our *blessings’. The song says that we should ‘name them one by one’. Judah’s people could name their towns one by one.

Verse 63 Judah could not take control of Jerusalem. Later David took control of it. He made Jerusalem his capital city (2 Samuel 5:6-10).

Chapter 16

v1 Joshua gave some land east of Jericho to the *tribes of Joseph.

Their land started at the Jordan and went through the desert. Then it went into the hills of Bethel.

v2 The edge of their land went from Bethel (that is, Luz) to the land of the Arkites. The land of the Arkites was in Ataroth.

v3 Their land continued towards the west, to the Japhletites’ land, which was by lower Beth Horon. It ended near the sea, by Gezer.

v4 Joshua gave this land to Manasseh and Ephraim, the sons of Joseph. It was for them and their families.

v5 Joshua gave land to the families of Ephraim.

Their land started in the east at Ataroth Addar. From there, it went to Beth Horon. v6 Then it continued to the west. Michmethath was north of their land.

The edge of their land went towards the east past Taanath Shiloh. Then it went to Janoah. v7 Then it went to Ataroth and Naarah. Then it went through Jericho to the river Jordan. v8 From Tappuah, the edge of their land continued towards the west to the little river Kanah. From there, it continued to the sea.

Joshua gave all this land to the families of the *tribe of Ephraim.

v9 He also gave them some towns and villages that were in the land of Manasseh. v10 But the *tribe of Ephraim did not remove the *Canaanite people who lived in Gezer. *Canaanite people still live there, but they have to work as slaves to the Ephraimites.

Verses 1-4 Already Moses had given some land to Manasseh. This was on the east side of the river Jordan. Now Joshua gave land to the rest of the *tribes of Joseph. (The *tribe of Joseph was divided between his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. These are called the *tribes of Joseph.)

Verses 5-10 This is the land that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Ephraim.

Notice, again, that the *tribe of Ephraim did not defeat the *Canaanites. This caused them a lot of trouble later.

Christians must defeat all their enemies. God will bless us when we do defeat them. Usually our enemies are not people. (See notes on 3:10.)

Chapter 17

v1 Joshua gave part of the land west of the river Jordan to some families of the *tribe of Manasseh. Manasseh was Joseph’s oldest son. Manasseh’s oldest son was Makir, father of Gilead. The family fought very bravely, so Joshua gave them Gilead and Bashan, east of the Jordan.

v2 Joshua gave land west of the Jordan to all the other families of Manasseh. These were: Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida. They were all sons of Manasseh, and heads of their families.

v3 Zelophehad, son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Makir, son of Manasseh, had no sons. He had only daughters. Their names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. v4 They went to see Eleazar, the priest and Joshua, son of Nun and the leaders. They said, ‘The *Lord told Moses to give part of the land to us. We must have land like the sons of other families.’ So Eleazar and Joshua gave land to them, like the other families. v5 That is why they gave to Manasseh 10 parts of the land as well as Gilead and Bashan. Gilead and Bashan are on the east side of the Jordan. v6 They gave land to these women from the *tribe of Manasseh as well as to the men. They gave the land of Gilead to the rest of the families of Manasseh.

Verse 1 Already Moses had given some land to Manasseh. This was on the east side of the river Jordan. Joshua has given some land west of the river Jordan to the *tribe of Ephraim. Now Joshua gave some land to the rest of the *tribe of Manasseh.

Zelophehad, one of the leaders of Manasseh, had no sons. He had 5 daughters. If a man had sons and daughters, only the sons could own land. This was the law. The 5 daughters had spoken earlier to Moses (Numbers 27:1-11). Moses asked God what he should do. God said that they could own their father’s property. Moses told this to the 5 daughters. They asked Joshua and Eleazar the priest for the land that Moses had promised to them. Joshua gave it to them.

v7 Manasseh’s land was from Asher to Michmethath. This was east of Shechem.

It went south to include En Tappuah. v8 Manasseh had the land near Tappuah. The town called Tappuah belonged to the sons of Ephraim. v9 The edge of Manasseh’s land went down to the little river of Kanah. The cities south of the river that belonged to Ephraim were in Manasseh’s land.

The edge of Manasseh’s land was along the north side of the river to the sea. v10 Ephraim was south of the river. Manasseh was to the north. The sea was to the west of them both. Asher was north and west of them. Issachar was to the north and east. v11 Beth Shan and Ibleam and the towns that were near them belonged to Manasseh. They were in the lands of Issachar and Asher. Dor (by the sea), Endor, Taanach, Megiddo and the towns near them also belonged to Manasseh.

v12 But Manasseh’s people could not remove the people who lived in those cities. So the *Canaanite people continued to live there. v13 Some of them continued to live there, even when the *Israelites became strong. The *Israelites made the *Canaanites work for them.

Verses 7-11 This is a list of the land that Joshua gave to Manasseh at the west of the river Jordan. The land included some of the land that Joshua gave to Ephraim. Some of the cities were in the land that Joshua gave (later) to Asher and Issachar.

Sometimes God gives gifts to us that we must share with other people.

Verses 12, 13 Like the other *tribes, Manasseh did not defeat the *Canaanites. This caused them a lot of trouble later.

As we said earlier, Christians must defeat all their enemies. God will bless us when we do defeat them. See note on 16:5-10.

About Ephraim and Manasseh

Manasseh was the first-born son of Joseph. Earlier, Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph. He put his right hand on Ephraim (Genesis 48:12-20). This was to show that Ephraim would become greater than Manasseh. Often we read of similar cases in the *Old Testament. Cain was older than Abel. God accepted Abel’s present. Ishmael was older than Isaac. God chose Isaac. Esau was older than Jacob. God chose Jacob.

Isaiah 55:8 says ‘ “My thoughts are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours”, says the *Lord.’ God’s plans are often very different from our plans.

v14 The *tribes of Joseph asked Joshua, ‘Why have you given us only one part of the land to live in? The *Lord has been good to us. There are very many of us.’

v15 Joshua said to them, ‘You can take more land if the hills of Ephraim are too small for you. You can do this if there are so many of you. Cut down trees in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim.’

v16 They replied, ‘The hills are not big enough for us. But the *Canaanites in Beth Shan and its towns and in the valley of Jezreel have iron *chariots.’

v17 Joshua said to the *tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘There certainly are a lot of you. And you are very strong. I will give more than one part to you. v18 You will have the hills. They are full of trees, but you will cut them down. You will take the land from one end to the other. I know that the *Canaanites are a strong people. They have iron *chariots, but you can push the *Canaanites out.’

Verse 14 The *tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh wanted more land. They believed that they should have more land. They asked Joshua for more land.

Verse 15 Joshua gave them a very wise answer. They could cut trees down. This would give them more land.

Verses 16-18 The two *tribes said that even that was not enough. Also, the people who lived there were very strong. Joshua gave them the hills. He told the two *tribes that they could defeat the people.

Sometimes, we do not like what God says. We complain. But God knows best. We need to do some things for ourselves. Sometimes we pray that God will do something for us. We might pray that our neighbours will become Christians. But we do not speak to them about what we believe. We do not invite them to come to church.

Chapter 18

v1 All the *Israelites met together at Shiloh. There they erected the *Tent of Meeting. They now ruled all the land. v2 But Joshua still had not given to 7 *tribes a part of the land for themselves.

v3 Joshua said to them, ‘The *Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you the land. You should not wait any longer before you take it.’ v4 Choose three men from each *tribe. I will send them to look at all the land. And they shall see what it is like. They must say what they find in each part. Then they must come back to me. v5 You must make it into 7 parts. Judah must stay in its land to the south. Joseph’s people must remain in their land in the north. v6 You must write down what each of the 7 parts is like. Then I will choose which part to give to each *tribe. I will ask God for help when I do this. I will use *lots to decide. v7 The *Levites will not have any of the 7 parts of the land. This is because their part is to serve the *Lord God. And Gad, Reuben and half the *tribe of Manasseh already have land on the east side of the river Jordan. Moses, the servant of the *Lord, gave it to them.’

v8 The men that they had chosen started on their way to describe the land. ‘Go and look at the land. Write down what you find’, Joshua told them. ‘Then come back to me in Shiloh. I will use the *lots in front of the *Lord here.’ v9 So the men left and they went all through the land. They wrote in a book about each town. They wrote about each of the 7 parts of the land. Then they went back to their tents in Shiloh where Joshua was. v10 At Shiloh, Joshua stood in front of the *Lord. He used the *lots to decide which part of the land each *tribe should have.

Verse 1 See Joshua 3:1-4 above for notes on the *Tent of Meeting. Moses told the *Israelites to *worship God in one main place. He told them to put the *Tent of Meeting in this place. (The *ark of the *Lord was inside the *Tent of Meeting.)

Now, the *Israelites had settled in the land. They erected the *Tent of Meeting. This showed that God was living with his people. Shiloh was near the middle of the *promised land. No one lived very far away from the *Tent of Meeting. Everyone could go there easily.

God is never far from anyone. David said, ‘I do not know where I could go to escape from you. There is no place that I could I go to get away from you’ (Psalms 139:7). When Paul was talking to the people at Athens, he said, ‘God is not far from anyone’ (Acts 17:27). We can always pray to him, wherever we are.

The *Tent of Meeting stayed at Shiloh until David moved it to Jerusalem. Solomon built a permanent building for the *ark. This building was called the *temple.

Verses 2, 3 There were still 7 *tribes who did not have their own land. Joshua told them that God had given them the land. They had to take it for themselves.

Christians are often like this. God has given us everything that we need. We must accept what God has done for us. We must accept what God has given to us.

Verses 4-6, 8-10 This was a new idea. The people helped Joshua. They wrote down the names of the places that Joshua had not given to anyone. Joshua asked for God’s help.

Verse 7 Chapter 21 tells us more about the *Levites.

v11 The *lot showed that the first part of the land was for Benjamin. Each family received its own land. Their land was between the land that Joshua gave to the *tribes of Judah and Joseph.

v12 The north side of their land began at the river Jordan. Then it went up the hills north of Jericho. From there, it went west into the hills, to the desert of Beth Aven. v13 The edge of their land went on to the south of Luz (that is Bethel) to Ataroth Addar. That is on the hill south of Lower Beth Horon.

v14 The edge of their land went south from this hill. It went along the west side to Kiriath Baal (that is Kiriath Jearim). This town belonged to Judah’s people. This was the west edge of Benjamin’s land.

v15 The south edge went from the edge of Kiriath Jearim to the waters of Nephtoah. v16 Then it went to the edge of the hill across the Valley of Ben Hinnom. This was north of the Valley of Rephaim. It continued down the Hinnom valley south of the Jebusite city to En Rogel.

v17 Then it went north to En Shemesh. It went on to Geliloth, opposite the valley of Adummim. Then it went to the stone of Bohan, son of Reuben. v18 It continued to the north of Beth Arabah down into the Arabah. v19 Then it went north of Ben Hoglah to the north end of the Salt Sea. This was at the south end of the river Jordan. This was the south edge of Benjamin’s land.

v20 The Jordan was the west edge of their land.

These are the edges of the land that Joshua gave to the families of the *tribe of Benjamin.

Verses 11-20 Joshua gave this land to the *tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin was a small *tribe. The land that Joshua gave to them was small. It was only five miles from north to south and about 20 miles from east to west. It was between the land that Joshua gave to the *tribes of Judah and Ephraim.

Their land surrounded Jerusalem city. It was very important land.

v21 These are the cities that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Benjamin:

·           Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz,

·           v22 Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel,

·           v23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah,

·           v24 Kephar, Ammoni, Ophni and Geba.

There were 12 towns and their villages.

He also gave to them:

·           v25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth,

·           v26 Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah,

·           v27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah,

·           v28 Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath.

These were 14 towns and their villages.

Joshua gave these cities to the families of Benjamin’s *tribe, to live in.

Verses 21-27 This is a list of all the towns that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Benjamin. Their towns included Jericho, Bethel and Jerusalem. These were important towns. Jericho was the first town that the *Israelites defeated. King David made his capital in Jerusalem. They killed Jesus on a cross outside Jerusalem.

Chapter 19

v1 The second *lot showed that the next part of the land was for the *tribe of Simeon. Joshua gave some of the land to their families that he had given to Judah. v2 It included:

·           Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah,

·           v3 Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem,

·           v4 Eltolad, Bethul and Hormah,

·           v5 Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah,

·           v6 Beth Lebaoth and Sharuhen.

These were 13 towns and their villages.

v7 He also gave to them 4 more towns and their villages. These were

·           Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan. v8 This included all the villages near them as far as Baalath Beer (Ramah in the Negev).

This is the land that Joshua gave to the families of the *tribe of Simeon. v9 He took Simeon’s land from Judah’s land. Judah did not need all the land that Joshua had given to them. So the *tribe of Simeon lived inside the land that Joshua had given to Judah.

Verses 1-9 This is the land that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Simeon. Simeon was the smallest *tribe. The *tribe of Simeon occupied some of the land that Joshua had given to Judah. Simeon, the son of Jacob, was a very bad person. Before Jacob died, he *cursed Simeon (Genesis 49:5-7). Jacob said that God would scatter the *tribe of Simeon over the land. This became true by Joshua.

v10 The *lot showed that the next part of the land was for Zebulun. The edge of it went as far as Sarid. v11 Then it went west to Maralah. Then it touched Dabbesheth, and went to the valley near Jokneam. v12 From Sarid, the edge of their land went east to the land of Kisloth Tabor. Then it went to Daberath and up to Japhia. v13 It continued east to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin. It went on to Rimmon, and turned to go to Neah.

v14 The edge went north to Hannathon and it stopped at the valley of Iphtah El. v15 Twelve (12) towns and their villages were in this part of the land. The towns included Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem.

v16 Joshua gave these towns and their villages to families of the *tribe of Zebulun.

Verses 10-16 This is the land that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Zebulun. He gave Zebulun a small piece of land in the north of the country. It was near Lake Galilee. There were no important towns in Zebulun.

Verse 15 This Bethlehem is not the town where Jesus was born.

v17 The *lot showed Joshua that the next part of the land was for Issachar’s families. v18 Their land included

·           Jezreel, Kesulloth, Shunem,

·           v19 Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath,

·           v20 Rabbith, Kishion and Ebez,

·           v21 Remeth, En Gannim, En Haddah and Beth Pazzez.

v22 The edge of their land touched Tabor, Shahazumah and Beth Shemesh and it ended at the river Jordan.

Joshua gave 16 towns and their villages to them.

v23 Joshua gave these towns and their villages to the families of the *tribe of Issachar.

Verses 17-23 This is the land that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Issachar. This land was also in the north near Lake Galilee.

v24 The next *lot showed Joshua the land that he must give to Asher’s families. v25 This is the land that he gave to them:

·           Helkath, Hali, Beten, Acshaph,

·           v26 Allammelech, Amad and Mishal.

The edge of the land on the west touched Carmel and Shihor Libnath. v27 Then it went east towards Beth Dagon, to touch Zebulun and the valley of Iphtah El.

Then the edge of their land went north to Beth Emek and Neiel. It passed the left side of Cabul. v28 It went to Abdon, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, as far as Sidon.

v29 Then the edge went back towards Ramah to the strong city of Tyre. Then it turned to Hosah and ended at the sea. This was near Aczib, v30 Ummah, Aphek and Rehob.

Joshua gave to them 22 towns and their villages.

v31 Joshua gave these towns and villages to the families of Asher’s *tribe.

Verses 24-31 This is the land that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Asher. It is in the north west of the country, on the coast.

v32 The 6th *lot showed Joshua the land that he must give to Naphtali’s families. v33 The edge of their land went from Heleph and the big tree in Zaanannim. Then it went past Adami Nekeb and Jabneel to Lakkum. It ended at the river Jordan.

v34 Another edge went west through Aznoth Tabor to Hukkok. It touched Zebulun on its south side. It touched Asher on its west and it touched Jordan on its east side. v35 The land contained the strong cities Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath and Kinnereth. v36 And Joshua gave to them:

·           Adamah, Ramah, Hazor,

·           v37 Kedesh, Edrei, En Hazor,

·           v38 Iron, Migdal El, Horem, Beth Anath and Beth Shemesh.

He gave 19 towns and their villages to them.

v39 Joshua gave these towns and villages to the families of Naphtali.

Verses 32-39 This is the land that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Naphtali. This land is near Lake Galilee. Jesus lived most of his life in Naphtali. Nazareth, Capernaum and Tiberias are in Naphtali. Jesus did most of his *miracles in Naphtali.

v40 The next *lot showed Joshua the land to give to Dan’s families. v41 This is the land that he gave to them:

·           Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir Shemesh,

·           v42 Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah,

·           v43 Elon, Timnah and Ekron,

·           v44 Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath,

·           v45 Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon,

·           v46 Me Jarkon and Rakkon, with land in front of Joppa.

v47 (But Dan’s people could not take their land, so they went to attack Leshem. They took it and killed its people. Then they lived there themselves. They called the city Dan, which was the name of their father.)

v48 Joshua gave these towns and their villages to the families of Dan’s *tribe.

Verses 40-48 This is the land that Joshua gave to the *tribe of Dan. It was a small area. It was difficult for the *tribe of Dan to defeat the people who lived there. Later, they moved north and they occupied another area (Judges 18:1-31). People used to say that the land of *Israel was the land from Dan to Beer Sheba.

v49 After they had divided the land, the *Israelites gave to Joshua son of Nun his own land. v50 This is what the *Lord had told them to do. Joshua asked for the town Timnah Serah in the hills of Ephraim. And they gave it to him. He built the town and he went to live there.

v51 This is the list of all the lands that they gave to each *tribe. The *lots showed Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the leaders which land was for each *tribe. They did this by the *Tent of Meeting, in front of the *Lord. So they finished giving each *tribe a part of the land.

Verses 49-50 When they had divided all the land, the *Israelites gave to Joshua his own town. It was in Ephraim, the land that belonged to his own *tribe.

Verse 51 God gave to all the *Israelites land to live in. This is like a picture of what God does for us. He has given to us everything that we need. Sometimes, we do not have things because we do not ask God for them (see James 4:2). God always wants to give us what is best.

*Cities of *refuge – Joshua 20:1-9

Chapter 20

v1 Then the *Lord spoke to Joshua. v2 He said, ‘Tell the *Israelites to choose special cities. I told this to you by Moses. v3 Anyone can be safe in these cities if he has killed someone. But he will be safe only if he had not meant to kill that person. The person who killed a man or woman can escape to that city. There, that person will be safe. The brother of the dead person may not kill such a person there.

v4 The man who killed someone must go to the city. When he arrives, he must stand in the entrance of the city. There he must tell the leaders what he has done. Then they must let him go in. And they must give him a place to live and stay there. v5 The brother of the dead person may follow the man who killed his brother or sister. But the leaders of that city must not let the brother hurt that man. This is because he did not mean to kill the man. He did not want to hurt him. v6 The man who killed must stay in that city. He may have told them what is true. The judges there will decide. Then he must wait until the *high priest of that time dies. After that, he is free to return to the town that he came from.’

v7 So the *Israelites chose these cities:

·           Kedesh in Galilee, in the hills of Naphtali,

·           Shechem in the hills of Ephraim,

·           Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hills of Judah.

v8 They also chose cities east of the river Jordan:

·           Bezer in the flat desert land of Reuben,

·           Ramoth in Gilead in the *tribe of Gad,

·           Golan in Bashan in the *tribe of Manasseh.

v9 Any *Israelite or foreign person who was living in *Israel could escape to these cities. They may have killed someone, but they had not meant to kill that person. They could escape to these cities. Then the brother of the dead person could not kill them until the judges had made their decision. The judges had to decide the intentions of the man who killed.

Verses 1-3 The law of Moses was very strict. If a person killed someone on purpose, that person must die (Exodus 21:12). If a person killed someone by accident, he did not have to die. He could to go to a *city of *refuge (Exodus 21:13). Moses told the *Israelites to choose these cities (Numbers 35:1, 9-15).

Verse 3 The nearest relative could kill the guilty person.

Verses 4-6 The person who killed by accident would be safe in the city. The judges would decide if his story is true. If the story is true, the person would be safe in the city.

When the *high priest died, the person could go home as a free person. We cannot be sure why this was so. Maybe it is like a picture of Jesus. God forgives us because Jesus, our *high priest (Hebrews 4:14), died for us. (See also Hebrews 6:18.)

Verses 7, 8 There were three *cities of *refuge on either side of the river Jordan. Nobody lived very far from a *city of *refuge. Everyone could reach a *city of *refuge quickly.

*Cities of *refuge and Jesus

The *cities of *refuge are like a picture of Jesus.

·     We are all guilty. We have all *sinned (Romans 3:23).

·     We can go to Jesus as a place of *refuge (Romans 10:9; Hebrews 6:18).

·     He will forgive us (Ephesians 1:7).

·     He will keep us safe (John 3:16).

The picture is not perfect.

·     We must confess that we have *sinned (Acts 3:19).

·     We do not need to wait for the death of the *high priest. Our *high priest (Jesus) has died for us already (Hebrews 9:25-26).

·     Our *high priest became alive again. He argues our case for us before God (Hebrews 7:24-25).

The names of the *cities of *refuge are interesting.

·     Kedesh - right with God - Jesus makes us to be right with God (Romans 5:19).

·     Shechem - shoulder - Jesus cares about us, especially when we are weak. He is like a farmer who carries a young sheep on his shoulder (Isaiah 40:11).

·     Hebron - *fellowship - we have *fellowship with God and with other Christians (1 Corinthians 1:19; 1 John 1:7).

·     Bezer - a place of safety - Jesus is our place of safety (Psalm 18:2).

·     Ramoth – high places - we live in high places with God. This is like a picture of the successes that God gives to us (Habakkuk 3:19).

·     Golan - probably means *exiles - we are *exiles, that is, strangers in the world (1 Peter 2:11).

Towns for the *Levites – Joshua 21:1-45

Chapter 21

v1 The leaders of the *Levite families came to speak to Joshua. They came with the leaders of all the other *tribes. v2 They met at Shiloh in *Canaan. ‘The *Lord told Moses that you must give towns to us to live in’, the *Levites said. ‘And we must have land where we can feed our animals.’ v3 So the *Israelites did as the *Lord had told them. The *Israelites gave towns to the *Levites. And the *Israelites provided land for the animals of the *Levites. Each *tribe gave land to the *Levites.

Verses 1-3 The *Levites did not have any land of their own. There were two reasons for this.

·     Jacob had *cursed Levi. He said that God would scatter the *Levites over *Israel (Genesis 49:5-7). Later, (Exodus 32:26-29) the *Levites came to help Moses. Moses chose the *Levites to serve the *Lord.

·     The *Levites were the teachers of the Law. They needed to teach the people. They needed to live near all the people.

Each *tribe of *Israel gave some towns to the *Levites.

It is important that our Christian leaders live among us. They should be near us when we need them.

v4 The *Israelites gave towns first to the family of Kohath.

·           They gave 13 towns to them from the *tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin. They gave these to *Levites from the family of Aaron, the priest.

·           v5 They gave to the other Kohathites, towns from the *tribes of Ephraim, Dan and half of Manasseh.

·           v6 Then they gave 13 towns to the family of Gershon. The *tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and the half of Manasseh in Bashan gave these towns to them.

·           v7 They gave 12 towns to the families of Merari. The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and Zebulun gave these to them.

v8 So the *Israelites gave these towns to the families of Levi’s *tribe. The *Israelites also gave the land and fields near the towns. So, the *Israelites did as the *Lord had told Moses to do.

Verses 4-8 Levi had three sons, Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Their names became the names of the *Levite families. Aaron, Moses’ brother, was a Kohathite. Aaron’s family became the priests. The *Israelites gave to them towns of their own. They were all near Jerusalem. Later, the *Israelites built the *temple in Jerusalem. This was where the priests did their work.

The priests of Aaron’s family

v9 These are the names of the towns that the *tribes of Simeon and Judah gave. v10 They gave them to the Kohathites, of Aaron’s family, because God chose them first. v11 They gave to them:

·           Kiriath Arba (or Hebron), with land near to it, in the hills of Judah. (Arba was the father of Anak.) v12 But the fields and villages near Hebron belonged to Caleb, son of Jephunneh.

v13 So they gave the city of Hebron, a *city of *refuge to the family of Aaron. They also gave to them:

·           Libnah,

·           v14 Jattir, Eshtemoa,

·           v15 Holon, Debir,

·           v16 Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh.

These two *tribes gave 9 towns and their land and fields to them.

v17 The *tribe of Benjamin gave 4 towns and their fields to them:

·           Gibeon, Geba,

·           v18 Anathoth and Almon.

v19 They gave all these 13 towns to the priests (who were from Aaron’s family).

The *Levites of Kohath’s family

v20 The *tribe of Ephraim gave towns to the *Levites of Kohath’s family.

v21 They gave 4 towns and their fields to them:

·           Shechem, a *city of *refuge, in the hills of Ephraim, and Gezer,

·           v22 Kibzaim and Beth Horon.

v23 The *tribe of Dan gave 4 towns and their fields to them:

·           Eltekeh, Gibbethon,

·           v24 Aijalon, and Gath Rimmon.

v25 The half *tribe of west Manasseh gave two towns and their fields to them:

·           Taanach and Gath Rimmon.

v26 They gave all these 10 cities to the families of Kohath.

The *Levites of Gershon’s family

v27 The half *tribe of east Manasseh gave two cities and their fields to the *Levites. They gave these to Gershon’s family:

·           Golan in Bashan, a *city of *refuge,

·           Be Eshtarah.

v28 The *tribe of Issachar gave to them 4 cities and their fields. These were:

·           Kishion, Daberath,

·           v29 Jarmuth and En Gannim.

v30 The *tribe of Asher gave 4 towns and their fields to them. These were:

·           Mishal, Abdon,

·           v31 Helkath and Rehob.

v32 The *tribe of Naphtali gave three cities and their fields to them:

·           Kedesh in Galilee, a *city of *refuge,

·           Hammoth Dor,

·           Kartan.

v33 They gave all these 13 cities to the families of Gershon.

The *Levites of Merari’s family

v34 The other *Levites that did not have any towns were the Merarite family. The *tribe of Zebulun gave 4 towns and their fields to them:

·           Jokneam, Kartah,

·           v35 Dimnah and Nahalal.

v36 The *tribe of Reuben gave four towns and their fields to them. These were:

·           Bezer, Jahaz,

·           v37 Kedemoth and Mephaath.

v38 The *tribe of Gad gave four towns and their fields to them. These were:

·           Ramoth in Gilead, a *city of *refuge, Mahanaim,

·           v39 Heshbon and Jazer.

v40 So they gave 12 towns to these *Levites, the family of Merari.

v41 The *Levites had 48 towns in the land of *Israel. v42 Each of these towns had its own fields round it.

Verses 9-41 This is a list of all the towns that the *Israelites gave to the *Levites.

The list includes:

·     Verses 27-33 - a list of the towns that the *Israelites gave to the family of Gershon.

·     Verses 34-40 - a list of the towns that the *Israelites gave to the family of Merari.

v43 So the *Lord gave all the land to the *Israelites. He had promised it to their fathers. They took it and they lived there. v44 The *Lord gave rest to them, as he had promised. None of the people round *Israel attacked them. Not one of their enemies could defeat the *Israelites. The *Lord helped the *Israelites to win all their battles. v45 He kept all his good promises to the *Israelites. He did not forget one of his promises.

Verses 43-45 These verses are what the Book of Joshua is all about. God had given the *promised land to the *Israelites. They had taken possession of it. God had kept all his promises.

God has kept all his promises to us.

4. Accept God’s *blessing

The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh return home – Joshua 22:1-34

Chapter 22

v1 Then Joshua called together the *tribes of Reuben, Gad and the *half-tribe of Manasseh. v2 Joshua said, ‘You have done all that Moses, the servant of the *Lord, told you to do.’ He said, ‘And you have obeyed me. You have done everything that I told you to do. v3 You have helped your brothers, for a long time. You have stayed even to this day. And you have done the work that the *Lord gave you to do. v4 Now your brothers have finished fighting for their land, as the *Lord promised them. So you can go to your homes on the other side of the river Jordan. Moses, the *Lord’s servant gave that land to you. v5 But you must be very careful to obey the rules and the law that he gave you. This law says that you must love the *Lord your God. You must live in the way that pleases him. You must do everything that he tells you. And you must believe him. You must serve him with everything that you have.’

v6 Joshua then blessed them and he sent them away to their homes. Moses had given land in Bashan to half the *tribe of Manasseh. v7 (But Joshua had given land on the west side of the Jordan to the other half of the *tribe. This land was by the land of the other *Israelites.)

When Joshua sent these *tribes home, he blessed them. v8 ‘Go back to your homes with the good things that you took from your enemies’, he said. ‘Take many animals, gold and other metals and expensive clothes. You must share these things with the other *Israelites.’

v9 So the *tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the *tribe of Manasseh left the other *Israelites at Shiloh in *Canaan. They returned to Gilead, their own land. Moses had given this land to them, as the *Lord had told him to do.

Verses 1-4 See Notes on 1:10, 11 above. The two and a half *tribes had helped the rest of the *Israelites to make their home in the land. Now Joshua told them that they could go back to their own land on the east of the river Jordan.

Verse 5 Joshua gave the two and a half *tribes the following instructions and advice.

·  Love the *Lord.

·  Live in the way that pleases him.

·  Do everything that he tells you to do.

·  Believe in him.

·  Serve him with everything.

This advice is still very important for Christians today.

Verses 6-9 The two and a half *tribes could go home at last. Now they could enjoy all the good things that God had given to them. Joshua blessed them as they went home.

But they were not really living in the *promised land. Instead, they were living nearer to their enemies.

Christians must be careful. We should meet with other Christians. This is called *fellowship.

v10 The two and a half *tribes came to Geliloth. This was near the river Jordan, in *Canaan. They built a big *altar there, by the river Jordan. v11 The other *Israelites heard that they had built an *altar at the edge of *Canaan, at Geliloth. So these *Israelites became angry. It was on the side of the Jordan that belonged to the *Israelites. v12 So, the *Israelites all came together at Shiloh to fight the two and a half *tribes.

v13 Then the *Israelites sent Phinehas, son of Eleazar the priest, to the land of Gilead. He visited the *tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the *half-tribe of Manasseh. v14 The *Israelites sent 10 leaders with him. One man came from each one of the *tribes of *Israel. Each man was the leader of his own family group.

v15 They spoke to the *tribes of Reuben, Gad and the *half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead. v16 They said, ‘You have not obeyed the *Lord God of *Israel. All the *Israelites are saying this. You should not have built this *altar. The *Lord said that you must not do this. You are turning away from him. v17 The *sin at Peor was bad. We still feel bad about it and God sent a terrible illness to punish us. v18 Now you seem to be doing another thing that is wrong.’

The leaders said, ‘You might do something that is wrong today. The *Lord will be angry with all the *Israelites tomorrow. v19 If your land here is not *holy, come back to the *Lord’s land. And we will give you some of it. The *Lord’s tent is there. Do not turn against the *Lord or against us. Do not build an *altar for yourselves that is not for the *Lord our God. v20 Achan, son of Zerah, took things that belonged to God. And then God became angry with all the *Israelites. Achan was not the only one that died.’

Verse 10-14 The two and a half *tribes built an *altar at Geliloth. It was near to Jericho. They wanted to show that they still *worshipped the *Lord. They wanted to show that they still belonged to *Israel. The *altar was on the west side of the river Jordan.

The other *tribes were not happy for several reasons:

·  They thought that the two and a half *tribes might be turning away from God.

·  The two and a half *tribes might *worship false gods.

·  God only wanted one place for *worship. (See Deuteronomy 12:1-7.)

·  The two and a half *tribes had built the *altar on the other *tribes’ land.

So, the other *Israelites became angry. They wanted to fight the two and a half *tribes. Anger is dangerous. Anger causes arguments. And arguments can even cause wars. It is easy to do foolish things when we are angry (Proverbs 14:17).

Paul taught that church leaders should not become angry quickly (Titus 1:7). In fact, this is good advice for everybody else, too.

But *Israel’s leaders made a wise decision. They did not go to war immediately. Instead, they sent Phinehas. They chose well. Phinehas was a holy man, whom everybody respected. And Phinehas was a hero. He had rescued *Israel before (Numbers 25). And now, he would rescue *Israel again.

Phinehas went with 10 other men to talk to the two and a half *tribes. The 10 men were leaders of their *tribes.

Verses 15-20 They tried to tell the two and a half *tribes that they had done something wrong.

Verses 17, 20 Phinehas reminded the *tribes about their history.

·  The *Israelites *worshipped false gods at Peor (Numbers 25). They *worshipped the gods of the Amorites. God punished *Israel. (Phinehas was a witness of these events. 24 000 *Israelites died when they suffered God’s punishment. But Phinehas himself stopped this punishment. So, God made a *covenant with Phinehas that his family would always be priests. See Numbers 25:6-13.)

·  Achan stole what belonged to God (Joshua 7). God punished Achan and his family. God was angry with *Israel.

The *Israelites thought that God would be angry. They thought that God might punish them.

Verse 19 The *Israelites thought the land would not be *holy if its inhabitants *worshipped false gods.

v21 Reuben, Gad and the half *tribe of Manasseh answered the leaders of *Israel. v22 They said, ‘God, the *Lord, is the great one. God, the *Lord, is the great one! He knows the truth! So let all *Israel know! Punish us today if we have done anything against the *Lord. We have not done anything that he told us not to do. v23 We did not build our own *altar to burn animals or food. We did not build it to give gifts to God. If we did anything wrong, we want the *Lord to punish us himself.’

v24 They also said, ‘No! We had a very different idea. We were afraid that in later times, your children might speak to ours. They might say, "You have no connection with the *Lord, the God of *Israel. v25 The *Lord put the Jordan between us and your *tribes, Reuben and Gad. You do not belong to the *Lord!" So your children might stop our children from *worshipping the *Lord.

v26 That is why we said, "Let us build an *altar. It will not be an *altar where we burn *sacrifices. And it will not be an *altar where we give things to God. v27 But it will help us and you to remember to *worship the *Lord at his tent. It will help our children and your children. We will burn our *sacrifices at the *Lord’s tent. And we will give him our gifts there. Then, in later years, your children will not tell our children that they do not belong to the *Lord".

v28 We said, "If they say this to us, we will answer them. We will tell them to look at the *altar. It is a copy of the *Lord’s *altar. We will not burn *sacrifices or give gifts to the *Lord on this *altar. Our fathers built it. They wanted us to remember that we are all part of *Israel. That is why they built it."

v29 We never wanted to turn away from the *Lord. We wanted to do the things that please him. We would never burn anything at an *altar that was not the *altar of the *Lord our God. His *altar stands in front of his tent.’

Verses 21-26 The two and a half *tribes gave the reason for the *altar.

The *altar would not be used for *sacrifice. The *altar would remind them that they belonged to *Israel. They could tell this to their children.

Verse 27-29 They would still go to the *Tent of Meeting. They would still *worship God. They would still be a part of *Israel.

v30 Phinehas the priest and the leaders (the men from each *tribe of *Israel) heard this. They were pleased with what Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had told them. v31 They said to them, ‘You have not done anything that would not please the *Lord. So today we know that the *Lord is with us. Now he will not be angry with us.’

v32 Then Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest and the leaders went back to *Canaan. They told the *Israelites what had happened when they had met the men of Reuben and Gad. v33 They were happy to hear about it, and they gave thanks to God. They did not talk about war with them any more. They would not destroy the land where the two and a half *tribes lived.

v34 The people from Reuben and Gad gave a name to the *altar. They called it ‘Remember, all of us, that the *Lord is God.’

Verses 30-34 Phinehas and the 10 men accepted what the two and a half *tribes had told them. *Israel was at peace again.

Joshua says ‘Goodbye’ to his leaders – Joshua 23:1-16

Chapter 23

v1 After many years passed, Joshua was very old. The *Lord had given peace to the *Israelites. Their enemies who lived near them did not attack them any more. v2 Then, Joshua called all the people to him with their leaders, judges and officers. He said to them, ‘I am now very old. v3 You, yourselves, saw what the *Lord did to your enemies, to help you. It was the *Lord who fought them for you. v4 Remember how I have given to each of your *tribes a special part of the land. All the land belongs to you, although some other people still live there. I fought for this land and I took it from the nations near you. I led you in your battles between the river Jordan and the Great Sea in the west. v5 The *Lord himself will remove your enemies from the land. He will defeat them in front of you, and you will live in their land. He promised that he would do this.

v6 Be very strong. Do everything that Moses told you to do in his Book of the Law. Obey his rules. Do not turn away from them even slightly. v7 Do not become friends of the nations that are near you. Do not pray to their gods. Do not use the names of their gods when you make a promise. You must not serve their gods or *worship their gods. v8 But you must always obey the *Lord your God, as you have done until now.

v9 The *Lord has removed strong and powerful nations in front of you. Nobody has been strong enough to stand against you. v10 One *Israelite can defeat 1000 men. This is because the *Lord your God fought for you. This is what he promised to do. v11 You must be very careful to love the *Lord your God.’

v12 Joshua said to all the people, ‘Perhaps you will turn away to join with other nations that remain among you. Perhaps you will marry their people, or you will mix with them. v13 Then you can be sure that the *Lord your God will not continue to defeat them for you. Instead, they will hurt you and they will kill you. They will hit your backs. And they will make your eyes blind. Then you will lose this good land that the *Lord your God has given to you.

v14 Now I am going to die, as all men do. The *Lord has kept every one of the promises that he gave to you. You know that deep in yourselves. He has not failed to keep one of his promises. v15 The *Lord has kept every good promise. But he will also keep his promise to cause trouble and to kill you. He will send you away from this good land that he has given to you. v16 He will do this if you do not obey his rules. If you do not obey him, he will be very angry with you. You must not serve other gods and you must not *worship them. If you do these terrible things, then the *Lord will be angry. You will soon die. And your families will have to leave this good land.

Verse 1 We do not know how much time had passed since the two and a half *tribes went home. It could have been many years. The *Israelites lived in peace. Their enemies did not continue to fight them.

Verses 2-5, 14, 15 Joshua reminded the people about several things.

·  You have seen that God is working for you.

·  You have seen that God is fighting for you.

·  God has given you land to live in.

·  God will continue to work for you.

·  God has kept all his promises.

·  God will keep all his promises.

Christians should remember this. God is on our side. He is working for us. He will keep all his promises.

Verses 6-10 Joshua also gave several instructions to the people.

·  Be strong.

·  Obey God’s instructions.

·  Do not become friends with God’s enemies.

·  Do not *worship false gods.

·  Love God.

These are instructions for Christians today.

Verse 7 We need to become friends with people who are not Christians. We want them to become Christians. But we must not let this friendship be too close. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul wrote, ‘Do not try to work with people who are not friends of God. You cannot do it. Right things and wrong things cannot work together. Light and darkness cannot work together.’ We must be careful. We must not become too friendly. We must not do the wrong things that they do. We must not let them have a bad effect on us by the things that they do.

Verses 12-14 Joshua warned the people:

·  Perhaps you will become friends with your enemies (that is, the other people who lived in the land).

·  Perhaps you will marry some of them.

·  They will hurt you.

·  God will not be happy.

·  God will not give you any more good things.

Christians must be careful, too. God will not forget us if we do evil things. But our evil deeds will spoil our *fellowship with God. And they will cause us many troubles. We should always be loyal to God.

Chapter 24

Joshua says ‘Goodbye’ to the people – Joshua 24:1-27

v1 Joshua called all the *tribes together at Shechem. He made all the important men stand. They stood there, in front of God. These men were the leaders, officers and judges.

v2 Joshua spoke to the people. He said, ‘This is what the *Lord, the God of *Israel says, "A long time ago, the *ancestors of *Israel’s people lived across the river Euphrates, and they *worshipped other gods. Your *ancestors included Terah and his sons, Abraham and Nahor. v3 But I took Abraham from that land and I brought him through all *Canaan. I gave many sons and daughters to him. I gave him Isaac, v4 and I gave to Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau. I gave the hill country of Seir (Edom) to Esau, but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.

v5 Afterwards, I sent Moses and Aaron to the *Israelites in Egypt. I punished Egypt’s people. And I freed your people. v6 When I brought the *Israelites out of Egypt, they reached the Red Sea. The Egyptians followed them with men on horses and in *chariots as far as the Sea. v7 But the *Israelites cried to me, the *Lord, for help. I made it dark between them and the Egyptians. And I sent the water that drowned the Egyptians. The *Israelites saw with their own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then the *Israelites lived in the desert for a long time.

v8 Then I brought you, the *Israelite nation, to the land of the Amorites, east of the river Jordan. They fought you, but I helped you to win the fight. I killed them in front of you, and you took their land. v9 Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab, got ready to fight you. Then he asked Balaam, son of Beor, to *curse you. He wanted me to hurt you. v10 But I would not listen to Balaam. So Balaam blessed you. He blessed you many times. And I saved you from the king of Moab.

v11 Then you went across the Jordan and you came to Jericho. You fought with the people in Jericho and with the Amorites, Perizzites, *Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites. I helped you to win all those fights. v12 I made them very afraid of you so that they ran away from you. And so did the two kings of the Amorites. You did not do this on your own. v13 So I gave you a land that you had not worked for. I gave you houses that you did not build. You live in the houses. You eat fruit from plants and trees that you did not plant.” ‘

Verse 1 Joshua spoke to all the people at Shechem. Shechem was an important place. When Abraham arrived in *Canaan, he came to Shechem (Genesis 12:7). There God said to him, ‘I will give this land to your people.’ Now the people owned the land.

Verses 2-13 Now Joshua reminded the people. He told them about Abraham and other people. He told them what God had done. This is what God said.

·     I took Abraham.

·     I gave many sons and daughters to him.

·     I gave Isaac to him.

·     I gave two sons to Isaac.

·     I gave the hill country to Esau.

·     I sent Moses and Aaron.

·     I brought your fathers out of Egypt.

·     I brought you to the land of the Amorites.

·     I helped you to win the fight.

·     I killed them in front of you.

·     I would not listen to Balaam (see Numbers chapters 23 and 24).

·     I saved you from the king of Moab.

·     I helped you to win all those fights.

·     I made them very afraid of you.

·     I gave you a land that you had not worked for.

·     I gave you houses that you did not build.

Think about this: Write down all the good things that God has done for you. God wants to do even more for us.

The people promise to serve God 24:14-27

v14 Joshua said, ‘Now you must give honour to the *Lord, and serve him. You always must do only what he says. Throw away the gods that your families used to *worship across the Euphrates and in Egypt. *Worship the *Lord. v15 But if you do not want to serve the *Lord, then choose other gods. Choose the gods that your families served across the river. Or choose the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. But I and my family, we will serve the *Lord.’

v16 The people answered Joshua, ‘We would never leave the *Lord to serve other gods! v17 We and our fathers were slaves in Egypt. But the *Lord our God brought us out from there. We saw the great things that he did there. He kept us safe on our whole journey. He saved us from other nations. v18 He went in front of us. He removed the Amorites and the other people who lived in the land. So we, too, will serve the *Lord, because he is our God.’

v19 Joshua answered them, ‘But perhaps you are not able to serve the *Lord. He is a *holy God. He will not forget if you turn away from him. He will not forgive your *sins. v20 If you leave him and serve other gods, he will punish you. He will kill you, after he has been good to you.’

v21 ‘No!’ the people said. ‘We will serve the *Lord.’

v22 Joshua said, ‘You yourselves have chosen to serve the *Lord. Be sure that you keep your promise.’

They replied, ‘We ourselves are witnesses that we have promised to serve the *Lord.’

v23 ‘Now then’, Joshua said, ‘throw away the false gods, the gods of other peoples, which you still keep. And give yourselves completely to the *Lord, the God of *Israel.’

v24 The people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the *Lord our God and we will obey him.’

v25 Joshua and the people made these important promises on that day. There at Shechem, he made a list of their rules and laws. v26 And Joshua wrote these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a big stone. And he placed the stone under the large tree that was by the *Lord’s *holy place.

v27 ‘See this stone!’ he said to all the people. ‘It will help you to remember the promise that you have made. It will make you feel bad if you do not obey your God.’

In this passage, Joshua and the *Israelites made a *covenant with God.

Verses 14, 15 Joshua again told the people what they must do.

·  Give honour to the *Lord.

·  Serve him.

·  Only do what he says.

·  Do not *worship the false gods that your fathers used to *worship.

Joshua then told the people that they had a choice to make. They could serve God. God brought them out of Egypt. God had saved them. They could serve him.

Or they could serve other gods. They could serve the gods that their fathers had *worshipped in the desert. They could serve the gods of *Canaan. They had a choice.

Joshua showed them what they should do. He and his family would serve only the *Lord.

We, too have a choice. Although we are Christians, we still have a choice. We can serve God, or we can serve other gods. We can serve the gods of ambition. We can serve the gods of sport. We can serve the gods of entertainment. We can serve the gods of our career. All these false gods can stop us from *worshipping the real God. All these false gods can stop us from serving the real God.

Verses 16-18 The people promised to serve the *Lord. Of course, it was the *Lord who brought them out of Egypt. It was the *Lord who freed them from *slavery.

We must serve and *worship God. He freed us from our *sin. He sent Jesus to die for us. This is why we must *worship him.

Verses 19-22 Joshua told the people that it will be hard. God is *holy. God cannot look at *sin. The people might *sin. They might *worship other gods. God will punish them. They must be sure that they want to serve the *Lord.

God does not forgive everybody. He does not forgive people who hate his ways. He does not forgive people who are too proud to confess their *sins. He does not forgive people when they do not care about God’s ways. God only forgives humble people who invite Jesus into their lives.

Sometimes, it is not easy to be a Christian. We need the help of God. He is *holy. He expects only the best from his people. But God will forgive us when we do wrong. Jesus died to pay the punishment for our *sin. So, God will forgive us when we ask him.

Verses 23-27 The people promised to serve and to obey God. Joshua wrote this in a book. He set up a large stone. This was to remind the people about their promise.

Joshua had built 7 *monuments to remind the people:

·   in the river Jordan – Joshua 4:10,

·   at Gilgal – Joshua 4:20-24,

·   over Achan’s body – Joshua 7:26,

·   at Ai – Joshua 8:29,

·   at Ebal mountain – Joshua 8:30-33,

·   at a cave – Joshua 10:27,

·   at Shechem – Joshua 24:26, 27.

The death of Joshua – Joshua 24:28-33

v28 Then Joshua sent the people away. Everyone went back to his own part of the land.

v29 After this, Joshua died, at the age of 110 years. v30 The *Israelites buried him in his own land, at Timnah Serah. This was in the hills of Ephraim, north of Gaash mountain.

v31 The *Israelites served the *Lord while Joshua was alive. The other leaders of *Israel had seen all that the *Lord had done for *Israel. The *Israelites continued to serve the *Lord as long as these leaders were alive.

v32 The *Israelites had brought the body of Joseph from Egypt. They buried it at Shechem. This was the land that Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. Jacob paid them 100 pieces of silver. This land belonged to the families of Joseph’s children.

v33 Eleazar, son of Aaron, died and people buried him at Gibeah. This was the town in the hills of Ephraim that belonged to his son Phinehas.

Verses 28-33 The *Israelites buried three important people:

·     Joshua - verse 29. The *Israelites buried his body in Ephraim, in his own land.

·     Joseph - verse 32. The *Israelites had brought the bones of Joseph from Egypt (Genesis 50:22-26). They buried them at Shechem. Joseph knew that one day the *Israelites would return to the *promised land.

·     Eleazar, the priest - verse 33. He had been a slave in Egypt. He did not die in the desert. He was less than 20 years old when he left Egypt. All the adults who left Egypt died in the desert, except Joshua and Caleb.

The Book of Joshua ends sadly. Joshua died. Eleazar died.

Joshua had been a great leader. He had *faith. He knew that God would keep all his promises. We do not read much about his death. His death was not important. What he did while he was alive was important.

We must think about what Joshua did. Joshua died, but the God of Joshua is alive. God is urging us all to be like Joshua.

‘Be strong and do not be afraid. Be careful to do all the things that Moses told you. Remember to do everything that he told you to do. Then everything will be well with you. You will win, everywhere you go. You must continue to speak about the words of God’s law. Think about what it says, all the time. Then you will be careful to obey it. Then you will help yourselves to do well, and you will win. Remember that I have told you to do this. So be strong and do not be afraid. Do not be weak but be brave. I, the *Lord your God, will be with you, everywhere that you go.’ (Joshua 1:7-9)

Word List

altar ~ a table on which to burn animals or other gifts to God.

Amalekites ~ a group of people who were enemies of *Israel.

Amorite ~ one of a group of people who had lived in *Canaan.

ancestor ~ people years ago that your parents came from.

ark ~ the ark of the *Lord, the ark of God or the ark of God’s promise; the Bible also calls it the ark of the *Covenant (or agreement). It was a wooden box with gold all over the outside and inside. The *Israelites kept the ark in the house of the *Lord and only the *high priest could see it. It is also called the ark of promise of the *Lord of all the earth.

baptism, baptise ~ to put a person into water, or to put water on a person. At baptism, we show that Christ has made us *clean. At baptism, we show to everyone that we belong to Christ.

blessings ~ the good things that God does for us.

Canaan ~ another name for the *promised land.

Canaanites ~ the people who used to live in *Canaan, the *promised land.

chariot ~ a kind of vehicle that soldiers use to fight. Horses pull it.

circumcise, circumcision ~ to cut off the skin from the end of the sex part of a man or boy.

city of refuge ~ if a person killed someone by accident he would be safe in a city of *refuge.

clean ~ when people do good things and think good thoughts.

commandment ~ a command that God gave; the ten important commands or rules that God gave to Moses on Sinai mountain.

Communion ~ when Christians eat bread and drink wine to remember Jesus.

covenant ~ an agreement between two people; or, an agreement between God and a person or people; or, an agreement between groups of people.

curse ~ to use bad words; or, to say bad words against someone else; or, to ask God to do something bad to a person.

exile ~ away from your own country.

faith ~ trust, trust in God, belief.

fear ~ to be afraid of someone; or, to respect someone.

feast ~ a large meal to remember an event or a person; a ceremony.

fellowship ~ when we are very good friends with someone.

hail ~ ice in rain. Rain can freeze, so that it falls like stones.

half-tribe ~ the *tribe of Joseph became two *tribes. The names of these two *tribes were the names of Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. The *tribe of Manasseh divided into two. The two halves of Manasseh are called half-tribes.

high priest ~ the most important priest.

holy ~ description of God, God’s character; set apart, perfect, wonderful; completely good, with nothing bad in it. People can be holy if they belong to God. And, they should refuse to do evil things.

Israel ~ all the people born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children; the people that God chose; or, the land that the *Israelites lived in.

Israelites ~ people from *Israel. They are also called Hebrews and *Jews.

Jew ~ a person who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children. It is also a name for one of the *Israelites.

kingdom ~ a country that a king rules.

lame ~ cannot walk easily.

Law ~ the rules that God gave to Moses for the *Jews.

Levite ~ a person from the *tribe of Levi. God chose them to work for him. They taught God’s law.

Lord ~ a name for God in the Bible. The original language of the *Old Testament is called Hebrew. In the Hebrew language, there are two words that we translate as ‘Lord’. The Hebrew word ‘ADONAI’ means that God rules. God is our master. The Hebrew word ‘YHWH’ means that God never changes. God is always God.

lot, lots ~ a method to choose something by chance, or with God’s help.

manna ~ food that God sent from the sky to the *Israelites. He sent it while they were in the desert. It is a word in the Hebrew language. It means ‘What is it?’ This is because the *Jews did not know what God had sent them.

messenger ~ a person that has something to tell other people; a person who brings messages.

monument ~ a pile of stones; a place where people remember important events.

miracle ~ a wonderful work that God does by his power.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus.

offering ~ a gift for God from the priest and people.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.

Passover ~ an important *holy day for the *Jews. They eat a special meal on this day every year. This helps them to remember that God freed them from *slavery in Egypt. This happened at the time of Moses.

promised land ~ the land that God promised to give to Abraham and his family.

prostitute ~ a woman that a man pays for sex.

refuge ~ a place where someone can hide and be safe.

rope ~ a strong material that people use to tie things together; a thick piece of string.

sacrifice ~ a gift to God to ask him to forgive *sins. The *Israelites would often give an animal or bird to God when they asked God to forgive their *sins. Jesus gave himself to die as a *sacrifice for our *sins.

saviour ~ the one who rescues people from evil things. A name for Jesus.

sinful ~ evil and wrong; when people do things against God or other people; when we do not obey the commands of God; when we do not do what God wants us to do.

sin ~ when we do not obey the rule of God; when we do not do what God wants us to do.

slave, slavery ~ a slave is someone who belongs to someone else. A slave must work hard for his master and obey him.

spirit ~ part of a living person that we cannot see. Our spirit can speak to God and God can speak to our spirit. There are good spirits, like God’s Holy Spirit and his servants, called ‘angels’. And there are bad spirits like the devil and his servants.

spiritual ~ something that belongs to the *spirit rather than to physical things. Or, a *holy thing.

spring ~ where water comes out of the ground. Often, a spring is the place where a river begins.

temple ~ a special building where people *worship God. The *Israelites would later build their own temple in Jerusalem. At the time of the Book of Joshua, they used the *Tent of Meeting instead.

Tent of Meeting ~ a special tent where God met with his people.

tribe ~ the whole family of one of Jacob’s 12 sons.

trumpet ~ an instrument that makes loud music. A pipe with a wide end. People hold it in their mouths, then blow, to make music. In the *Old Testament, they usually made trumpets from the horns of animals. (A horn has the same shape as a pointed stick. Some animals have horns on their heads. Animals use the horns to fight other animals.)

victory ~ success in war or in a struggle.

wineskins ~ a wineskin is like a bottle. People used to store wine in wineskins. People made wineskins from animal skins.

worship ~ to love and to praise God more than anyone else. But some people worship false gods, instead of the real God.

Book List

Warren W. Wiersbe ~ Be strong ~ Chariot Victor, Colorado Springs

Charles Price ~ Discovering Joshua ~ Crossway Books, Leicester

Matthew Henry ~ Joshua ~ Marshall Pickering, London

Bibles ~ NIV, GNB, CEV, REB, NRSV, The Message

 

© 1997-2005 Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

April 2005

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