Joshua is the central character in the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Joshua. Based on the passages of the Books of Exodus, Numbers and Joshua, he became the leader of the Israelites, following the death of Moses. He is also known as one of the twelve spies of Israel who was sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan. After Moses’ death, Joshua led the Israelite tribes and secured much of the Canaan. He allocated the land to the tribes. He is placed on the Bible Timeline Poster during the life of Moses and the time of the Judges.
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The Jordan River
The Jordan River stretches 251 kilometers in West Asia flowing to the Dead Sea. Now, this river serves as the eastern border of the State of Israel. Waters from this river are an important resource to the dry lands in the surrounding area. It is also the source of conflict in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians which began with 1951 Syrian border clashes. In Christian tradition, this is the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. It is also the scene of several miracles such as the Israelites crossing it under Joshua.
Joshua crosses Jordan
After the death of Moses, God commands Joshua to lead the Israelites to take possession of the Promised Land. The people swear their allegiance to Joshua. To investigate the territory, he sends two spies across the river. The spies enter Jericho and were helped by a prostitute named Rahab, who hid them in her home and lied to the city officials regarding the spies’ presence. She tells the spies that the Canaanites are afraid of Israel and its miraculous successes. Rahab professed her belief in the God of Israelites and asked for protection for her family when the Israelites destroy Jericho. The spies pledge to preserve Rahab and then return to Joshua, informing him of the weakened condition of Israel’s enemies.
As Israelites cross the Jordan River, they were led by a team of priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant. Priests enter the water and the flow of the river stops. Israelites then cross the river on dry land. After arriving on the other side, Israelites celebrate the miracle with an altar of twelve stones from the river bed. This represents the twelve tribes of Israel. Since then, the people begin to make use of the new land. Also, the Israelite men perform the ritual of circumcision in preparation for battle.
Conquest of Canaan
After crossing the Jordan River, Joshua led the Battle of Jericho and became victorious. They then moved on to Ai, which is a small neighboring city to the west. They were defeated in Ai resulting in thirty-six Israelite deaths. The said defeat was attributed to Achan, who took an “accursed thing” from Jericho. To restore God’s favor, Achan and his family and animals were being stoned to death. After that, Joshua then went to defeat Ai.
Meanwhile, the Israelites also allied with Amorite kings from Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. While at Gibeon, Joshua asked God to cause the sun and moon to stand still to finish the battle in daylight. God fought for the Israelites in this battle, as He hurled huge hailstones from the sky that killed more Canaanites than those which the Israelites slaughtered. From then on, Joshua led the Israelites to several victories while securing much of the land of Canaan.
Joshua in the Bible
God commanded Joshua, after the death of Moses, to lead the Israelites to the promised land.
Joshua 2:1. Joshua was commanding two men to spy on the Promised Land and even Jericho.
Joshua 2:24. The two spies came back to Joshua and told him of the weakened position of their enemies.
Joshua 3:1. Joshua leaves Shittim and came to Jordan.
Joshua 3:6. Joshua commands the priests to take up the Ark of the Covenant and pass over before the people.
Joshua 3:7. The miracle on Jordan River, allowing the Israelites to cross it.
Joshua 4:4. Israelites crossed the Jordan River.
Joshua 4:8. Israelites commemorate the miracle with an altar of twelve stones from the river bed, representing the twelve tribes of Israel.
Joshua 4:14. God magnified Joshua in all of Israel.
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