« PreviousContinue »
JOSHUA, the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, was first called Oshea or Hoshea,
yuin, Num. xiii. 16, which signifies saved, a saviour, or salvation ; but afterwards Moses, guided no doubt by a prophetic spirit, changed his name into youn: Yehoshua or Joshua, which signifies he shall save, or the salvation of Jehovah ; referring, no doubt, to his being God's instrument in saving the people from the hands of their enemies, and leading them from victory to victory over the different Canaanitish nations, till he put them in possession of the promised land. On the change and meaning of the name, see the note on Num. xiii. 16. By the Septuagint he is called Indous Navn, Jesus Naue, or Jesus son of Nave: and in the New Testament he is expressly called Ingous, Jesus; see Acts vii. 45; Heb. iv. 8. Joshua was denominated the servant of Moses, as he seems to have acted sometimes as his secretary, sometimes as his aid-du-camp, and sometimes as the general of the army. He was early appointed to be the successor of Moses, see Exod. xvii. 14; and under the instruction of this great master he was fully qualified for the important office.
He was a great and pious man, and God honoured him in a most extraordinary manner, as the sequel of the history amply proves. From the preceding books it appears that he became attached to Moses shortly after the exodus from Egypt; that he was held by him in the highest esteem; had the command of the army confided to him in the war with the Amalekites; and accompanied his master to the Mount, when he went up to receive the Law from God. These were the highest honours he could possibly receive during the life-time of Moses.
Commentators and critics are divided in opinion whether the book that goes under his name was actually compiled by him.
It is argued by those who deny Joshua to be the author, that there are both names and transactions in it which did not exist till considerably after Joshua's time. The account we have, chap. iv. 9, of the twelve stones set up by Joshua in the midst of Jordan remaining to the present day, seems to prove that the book, at least this verse, was not written till after Joshua's time; the same may be said of the account of Ai, that Joshua made it a heap for ever, even a desolation to the present day, chap. viii. 28, which is a proof, however, that the book was not written after the time of the kings, as Ai subsisted after the return from the captivity; see Ezra ii. 28: The men of Beth-el and Ai, two hundred twenty and three. It is supposed also, that the relation of the marriage of Achsah, daughter of Caleb, with Othniel the son of Kenaz, necessarily belongs to the time of the Judges; Josh. xv. 16-19: as also the account of the capture of Leshem by the Danites; chap. xix. 47, compared with Judges xviii. 7, 29.
“What is related, chap. xv. 63, concerning the Jebusites dwelling with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day, must certainly have been written before the time of David ; for he took the strong hold of Zion, and expelled the Jebusites; see 2 Sam. v. 7–9. Also, what is said chap. xvi. 10, They drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer, but they dwelt among the Ephraimites unto this day, must have been written before the time of Solomon ; for in his time Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had taken Gezer, burnt it with fire, slain the Canaanites that dwelt in it, and given it a present to his daughter, the
PREFACE TO JOSHUA.
wife of Solomon, 1 Kings ix. 16. The country of Cabul, mentioned chap. xix. 27, had not this name till the time of Solomon, as appears from 1 Kings ix. 13; and the city called Joktheel, chap. xv. 38, had not this name till the reign of Joash, as appears from 2 Kings xiv. 7, it having been previously called Selah. The like may be said of Tyre, chap. xix. 29; and of Galilee, chap. xx. 7, and xxi. 32."
These are the principal objections which are made against the book as being the work of Joshua. Some of these difficulties might be so removed as to render it still probable that Joshua was the author of the whole book, as some think to be intimated chap. xxiv. 26 ; And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of the Lord; (but this probably refers to nothing more than the words of the covenant which was then made, and which is included in ver. 2–24 ;) but there are other difficulties that cannot be removed on the above supposition, and therefore it has been generally supposed that the book was written by some inspired person after the time of Joshua ; and positively before many kings had reigned in Israel. The book has been attributed to Samuel, though some give this honour to Ezra.
After all, I cannot help considering the book in the main as the composition of Joshua himself. It is certain that Moses kept an accurate register of all the events that took place during his administration in the wilderness, at least from the giving of the law to the time of his death. And in that wilderness he wrote the book of Genesis, as well as the others that bear his name. Now, it is not likely that Joshua, the constant servant and companion of Moses, could see all this—be convinced, as he must be, of its utility--and not adopt the same practice; especially as at the death of Moses he came into the same office. I therefore take it for granted, that the Book of Joshua is as truly his work, as the Commentaries of Cæsar are his ; and all the real difficulties mentioned above may be rationally and satisfactorily accounted for on the ground, that in transcribing this book in after ages, especially between the times of Joshua and the Kings, some few changes were made, and a very few slight additions, which referred chiefly to the insertion of names by which cities were then known instead of those by which they had been anciently denominated. This book therefore I conceive to be not the work of Ezra, nor of Samuel, nor of any other person of those times ; nor can I allow that “it is called the Book of Joshua, because he is the chief subject of it, as the heroic poem of Virgil is called the Æneis, because of the prince whose travels and actions it relates ;" but I conceive it to be called the Book of Joshua, 1. Because Joshua wrote it. 2. Because it is the relation of his own conduct in the conquest, division, and settlement of the promised land. 3. Because it contains a multitude of particulars that only himself, or a constant eye-witness, could possibly relate. 4. Because it was evidently designed to be a continuation of the Book of Deuteronomy, and is so connected with it, in narrative, as to prove that it must have been immediately commenced on the termination of the other. 5. I might add to this, that with the exception of a few individuals, the whole of the ancient Jewish and Christian Churches have uniformly acknowledged Joshua to be its author.
The Book of Joshua is one of the most important writings in the old covenant, and should never be separated from the Pentateuch, of which it is at once both the continuation and completion. Between this Book and the five Books of Moses, there is the same analogy as between the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The PENTATEUCH contains a history of the Acts of the great Jewish legislator, and the Laws on which the Jewish Church should be established. The Book of Joshua gives an account of the establishment of that Church in the Land of Canaan, according to the oft-repeated promises and declarations of God. The GOSPELS give an account of the transactions of Jesus Christ, the great Christian legislator, and of those Laws on which his Church should be established, and by which it should be governed. The Acts of the APOSTLES gives an account of the actual establishment of that Church, according to the predictions and promises of its great founder. Thus, then, the Pentateuch bears as pointed a relation to the Gospels as the Book of Joshua does to the Acts of the Apostles. And we might, with great appearance of probability, carry this
PREFACE TO JOSHUA.
On this very
analogy yet farther, and show that the writings of several of the Prophets bear as strict a
Whoever goes immediately from the reading of the Pentateuch to the reading of the Gos-
. To see the wisdom
TABLE OF CONTENTS TO THE BOOK OF JOSHUA.
Joshua sends two spies to examine the state of the inhabitants ; they are received and concealed in the
The whole Israelitish camp pass the Jordan, opposite to Jericho. The waters of the Jordan are miracu-
PREFACE TO JOSHUA. set up in it as a memorial. The twelve stones brought out of the river are set up in Gilgal as a monument of the miraculous interposition of God; chap. iv.
At the command of God, Joshua circumcises the Israelites; they keep their first passover; and Joshua is encouraged by the appearance of an extraordinary person, who calls himself Captain of the Lord's host; chap. v.
The Israelites invest Jericho, and surround it seven days, the priests blowing with seven trumpets. On the seventh day, at the command of Joshua, the people shout, and the walls of Jericho fall down; the Israelites enter and put all to the sword, except Rahab and her family. The city is laid under a curse ; chap. vi.
Three thousand men, being sent against Ai, are repulsed, and thirty-six of them slain ; Joshua being distressed, and the people greatly discouraged, he inquires of the Lord why they fell before their enemies ? And is answered that, contrary to the express command of God, some of the people had secreted part of the spoils of Jericho, which they had been ordered wholly to destroy. An inquiry is instituted, and Achan, the son of Zerah, is discovered to have taken a rich Babylonish garment, 200 shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold. He is sentenced to be stoned. He and all his property, his asses, sheep, oxen, and tent, are destroyed in the valley of Achor, and a heap of stones raised over the place; chap. vii.
Thirty thousand men attack Ai, and take it by stratagem; they put the inhabitants to the sword, to the amount of twelve thousand persons, and hang the king ; they preserve the cattle and spoil to themselves. Joshua builds an altar to the Lord, and offers sacrifices, writes the law upon the stones of it, and reads all the blessings and curses over against Mounts Gerizim and Ebal, as the Lord commanded Moses ; chap. viii.
The Gibeonites send ambassadors to the Israelites, and, pretending to be of a very distant nation, get the princes of Israel to make a league with them; the deception is discovered, and they are condemned to a state of perpetual slavery ; chap. ix.
The kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, attack the Gibeonites, because they had made a league with the Israelites. They send to Joshua for assistance. Joshua attacks those five kings, and during the battle, by an extraordinary fall of hail-stones, many are killed į and at the intercession of Joshua, the sun and moon stand still, and the day is prolonged till all the confederate Amorites are destroyed. The five kings are taken in a cave at Makkedah, brought out and hanged. The Israelites afterwards take and destroy Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, Debir, and all the country of the hills, south, vale, and springs ; chap. x.
Many Canaanite, Amorite, Hittite, Perizzite, Jebusite, and Hivite kings join together against Israel ; Joshua attacks and discomfits them at Merom. Afterwards he attacks the Anakim, and conquers the whole land; chap. xi.
A catalogue of all the kings and kingdoms that were conquered in this war; thirty-three in the whole ; two on the east side of Jordan, and thirty-one on the west ; chap. xii.
An account of the countries not yet subjugated to the Israelites. The manner in which the territories of Sihon and Og were divided among the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh; chap. xiii.
Joshua, and Eleazar the priest, begin the distribution of the land by lot; Caleb's portion ; chap. xiv.
The borders of the tribe of Judah described.) Othniel smites Kirjath-sepher, and marries Achsah, the daughter of Caleb. The cities of the tribe of Judah are enumerated ; chap. xv.
The boundaries of the children of Joseph. The Canaanites of Gezer are not expelled, but become tributary to the Ephraimites; chap. xvi.
The boundaries of the half tribe of Manasseh. The inheritance of the daughters of Zelophehad. The Canaanites are not expelled by the children of Manasseh, but serve under tribute. The children of Joseph complain that their portion is too small for them; and Joshua commands them to subdue and inhabit the mountain country of the Perizzites ; chap. xvii.
The tabernacle of God is set up at Shiloh, and the remnant of the land is farther examined and divided by lot; Benjamin's portion is described ; chap. xviii.
The lot of Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan. The Danites take the city of Leshem; and the Israelites give Joshua the city of Timnath-serah, which he rebuilds and inhabits; chap. xix.
Six cities of refuge are appointed, at the commandment of God; chap. XX.
The Levites have forty-eight cities appointed to them out of the different tribes ; they and their suburbs are described. The people enjoy rest, all the promises of God being accomplished ; chap. xxi.
Joshua dismisses the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. On their return, they build an altar of testimony on the east side of the Jordan, at which the other tribes are alarmed, fearing some idolatrous design ; and preparing to go to war with them, they first send Phinehas and ten of the princes to require an explanation ; they inquire into the business, and find that the altar was built to Jehovah, merely to prevent all idolatrous worship; and the people are satisfied ; chap. xxii.
Joshua, in his old age, exhorts the people to be faithful to their God; chap. xxiii.
He assembles all the tribes at Shechem ; recounts God's merciful dealings with them, and the deliverances he had wrought for them and their fathers; and causes them to make a solemn covenant, which he writes in the book of the law. Joshua dies aged 110 years, and shortly after Eleazar, the high priest, dies also; chap. xxiv.
N. B. In pursuance of the promise made in the General Preface, I have given in the Chronological note at the head of each transaction, in the following book, not only the Year of the World, the Year before Christ, and the Year of the Exodus from Egypt, but also the Year before the first OLYMPIAD. According to the Arundelian Marbles, and the most accurate computation, the first OLYMPIAD commenced in the 3938th year of the Julian Period ; 3228 years from the Creation ; 780 years from the foundation of the Athenian Empire; 408 years after the taking of Troy; 24 years before the building of Rome, and 776 before the Incarnation of our Lord.