Profiles of the Prophets: Joshua

Moses's successor, who was ordained under his hand, was Joshua, the son of Nun. Joshua was commanded "Only be thou strong" and "observe to do according to all the law." (Josh.1:7.)

Joshua was the military leader who led the children of Israel into the promised land and followed the pattern of Moses' obedience to Jehovah. Joshua was with Moses during the exodus and commanded Israel's armies when the children of Israel defeated Amalak. Joshua prevailed when Moses' hands were held high and faltered when Moses' hands were lowered. (Exo. 17:9-13.) He also accompanied Moses on Mount Sinai. When Moses sent 12 spies into Canaan, Joshua was among them, and only he and Caleb did not rebel against Moses. (Nu. 14:6-9.)The Lord showed Israel that He was with Joshua when the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River, and it became dry. (Josh. 3:17.) This miracle was noticed by the kings of the Canaanites and "their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more." (Josh. 5:1.)

Jericho was the first city in Canaan that Joshua faced. He was instructed by the Lord to circle the city for seven days and on the seventh day, when the priests would blow their horns, the people would shout and the walls would fall. Jericho fell according to the Lord's word and Joshua was commanded to utterly destroy its inhabitants. Everything within was declared "accursed" and the people were commanded not become contaminated by taking anything for themselves. (Josh. 6.)

However, one man stole a garment, silver coins and a wedge of gold (Josh. 7:1, 21.) So at the next battle, when the Isralite army went against the city of Ai, it was repulsed. At the news of this, Joshua rent his clothes, threw himself upon the earth and covered himself in dust. When the Lord told him that Israel had been defeated because of one man's disobedience, Joshua had the man and his family stoned and "the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger." (Josh. 7:6-9, 26.)

Ai was subsequently taken by Joshua by strategem. He lured the army of Ai from the city with his army. Then another Israelite army that had been in hiding entered and burned the city.

After this battle, Joshua fought and defeated the Amorites. As the Amorites fled "the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them." (Josh. 10:11.) Then Joshua commanded the sun and the moon to stand still "and hasted not to go down about a whole day." (Josh 10:13.)

Joshua continued his conquests. He conquered the whole land "and he utterly destroyed them." (Josh. 11:12.) After the children of Israel possessed the land, he divided it for "an inheritance unto Israel" giving land to each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and "then the land rested from war." (Josh. 11:23.)

After dividing up the land to the tribes, Joshua gathered the heads of all the tribes and exhorted them to be obedient to the laws they had received through Moses. Joshua promised them that if they were obedient, the Lord would deliver them from their enemies. After reciting to them the history of the deliverance of their people, he said:

"Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Josh. 24:15.)

Like Moses, Joshua made a covenant with the people to serve the Lord. He set up a great stone as a monument and as a reminder of that covenant. Joshua died at age 110, leaving behind an obedient people.

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