Joshua – Week 2: Joshua assumes command

Chapter 1 – Joshua assumes command (focus passage vv 2-9)

Literary context

How does this passage fit into the context of the previous book(s)? and the following book(s)?

What is the general outline of this chapter (the whole of chapter 1)?

What can you notice from verses 2-5? v2: cross the Jordan; v3: the conquest; v4: distribution of land; v5: all the days of Joshua’s life.

What would you say is the form of the next four verses (6-9)? Are there similar passages in the Bible? What can we learn from that when we compare these passages? (e.g. commission of Moses, Solomon). Important – read Deut 31.

In verses 10-15, Joshua charges Israel and especially the two tribes of Rueben, Gad and half-tribe of Manasseh. In this passage there is a key word that is repeated three times. What is it and what is the significance?

In verses 16 – 18, there is another repetition. How is this significant? Interpret this in view of the last chapter and the following book of Judges.

Historical context

Reference to Moses’ death links this book with the Pentateuch. The book of Joshua picks up where Deuteronomy left off.

Who is Joshua? Where do we first read about him in the Bible? What was his relationship with Moses? How do you think the nation of Israel perceived him?

He was Moses’ general as a young man when fighting the Amalekites (Ex 17), was the representative from Ephraim on reconnaissance trip from Kadesh and back (Num 13-14). He kept watch when Moses went to Sinai (Ex 24:13; 32:17), learned to wait on the Lord in the tent of meeting (Ex 33:11), and seemed to have been discipled by Moses (Num 11:28). He was commissioned by Moses (Num 27:15-23 – cp 34:17, Deut 3:21-22, 31 and 34:9)

What is in a name? (Hosea = Salvation; Y’Hosua – God is salvation (Num 13:16 where Moses renames him). His is the son of Nun (Joshua ben Nun), and grandson of Elishama – chief of Ephraim (1 Chron 7:27, Num 13:8)

He is also given the title “servant of the Lord” in 24:29 – a title that was often used of Moses. The Hebrew word (‘ebed) means ‘slave’, but is often used of a king’s officers, often of highest rank.

The command not to fear is significant as it is a rule in waging “Holy War”. Compare extreme Muslim fundamentalists who flew into the Twin Towers. They are taught not to be afraid …

Analysing narrative

What kind of narrative is this? (report, speech or drama)

Who are the characters? What action is there?

Why is the speaker giving this speech? Is this a public speech or is it personal? What are the implications of your answer?

What was the issue of the hour? Why was this speech so important? What did the speaker intend his hearer(s) to hear, think or do?

What is the main point of the speech? Remember that this often comes either at the beginning or the end of the speech. This is a short speech, so it is not to be interpreted according to principles for interpreting discourse.


What is the topic of the text? Is the emphasis on the commissioning of Joshua or the promise of success?

What does the passage teach about this topic?

What is the main point of the teaching (topic and what is says about topic)?

What is the redemptive focus, i.e. how does the text surpass a list of things to do, avoid or believe, and rather point to Christ?


What was the original meaning of this passage?

What is the principle? Is it a general promise, a general truth or something that was said to Joshua specifically?

How does this main point apply to me or my audience? (One has to be very specific here). How can we apply the principle in a situation today?

Verify the application to other passages in Scripture.

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