Joshua 1

The Conquest of the Promised Land[a]

Chapter 1

Assurance of Divine Aid. 1 After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua, the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, saying, 2 [b]“Moses my servant is dead. Rise, therefore, and cross over this Jordan, you and all of this people, to the land that I am giving to them, the people of Israel. 3 Every place that you set your feet down, I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the Desert of Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all of the land of the Hittites, and as far as the great sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to withstand you, all the days of your life. I will treat you just as I treated Moses, for I will never forsake nor abandon you. 6 So be strong and take courage, for you will lead these people to inherit the land that I promised to their forefathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and take courage. Be careful to observe the entire law that my servant Moses gave to you. Do not turn away from it to the right or to the left, so that you might prosper wherever you go. 8 Do not let this book of the law be absent from your mouth; meditate upon it day and night, so that you might carefully observe everything that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful. 9 I have given you a command. Be strong and brave, do not be afraid nor dismayed. I, the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go.”

10 The Tribes beyond the Jordan. So Joshua gave a command to the leaders of the people saying, 11 “Pass through the camp and give orders to the people saying, ‘Prepare three days’ worth of provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are going to cross over this Jordan in order to take possession of the land that the Lord, your God, has given to you as an inheritance.’ ” 12 Joshua then said to the Reubenites and the Gadites and to half of the tribe of Manasseh,[c] 13 “Remem-ber what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord, your God, has given you a place of rest,[d] he is giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock are to remain on the land that Moses gave you on the far side of the Jordan, but all of your brave warriors will pass over armed, marching before your brethren to help them. 15 You shall remain there until the Lord gives rest to your brethren as well, and they too take possession of the land that the Lord, your God, has given them. Then you will come back to the land of your inheritance and take possession of it, the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave you on the east of the Jordan, in the direction of the sunrise.” 16 They answered Joshua saying, “We will do whatever you command us to do, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses in everything. May the Lord, your God, be with you just as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your commands and does not obey whatever you command them to do will be put to death. Only be strong and brave.”


  1. Joshua 1:1 These ancient traditions are brought together in a magnificent comprehensive picture that plays down, without completely suppressing, the difficulties of the guerilla war and of the slow penetration of the tribes as they advance in a loose fashion. The editor does not intend to write a detailed diary of these events; he shows God at work clearing the country for his people who are wholly taken up with fighting. In the miraculous crossing of the Jordan and capture of Jericho and in later wonders during the conquest, Israel will always see the most obvious signs of God’s saving intervention.
    It is to be noted, however, that the extermination (the anathema) of Canaanite populations was far from being total; some groups were brought into subjection, others assimilated. Moreover, Israel understands the anathema to be connected with its vocation to the faithful service of the one God: amid the attractions of paganism they must remain vigilant for their independence and keep their faith and worship free of any contamination. According to the authors of this book, fidelity and infidelity always bring in their wake successes and failures in the course of the conquest and throughout history. From this outlook we ought to derive a reminder not to let our faith be contaminated by the new idols of our age.
  2. Joshua 1:2 The opening section establishes Joshua as a capable leader and successor to Moses in conquering the new land of Canaan. The Lord prepares Joshua for victory by demanding obedience to God’s law.
  3. Joshua 1:12 These are the three tribes that had occupied the territories east of the Jordan after the defeat of Sihon and Og, kings in the Transjordan area (see Num 32).
  4. Joshua 1:13 A place of rest: these would be welcome words for a people who relied on God’s promise made to their ancestors.

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