Author: The Book of Joshua does not explicitly name its  author. More than likely Joshua the son of Nun, the successor of Moses as leader  over Israel, penned much of this book. The latter part of the book was written  by at least one other person after the death of Joshua. It is also possible that  several sections were edited / compiled following Joshua’s  death.

Date of Writing: The Book of Joshua was likely  written between 1400 and 1370 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The Book of Joshua provides an overview of the military campaigns to conquer  the land area that God had promised. Following the exodus from Egypt and the  subsequent forty years of the wilderness wanderings, the newly-formed nation is  now poised to enter the Promised Land, conquer the inhabitants, and occupy the  territory. The overview that we have here gives abbreviated and selective  details of many of the battles and the manner in which the land was not only  conquered, but how it was divided into tribal areas.

Key Verses:  Joshua  1:6-9, “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to  inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very  courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not  turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever  you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it  day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then  you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and  courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God  will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua  24:14-15, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away  the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the  LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for  yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers  served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are  living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the  LORD.”

Brief Summary: The Book of Joshua continues the  story of the Israelites after the exodus from Egypt. The book chronicles the  approximately 20 years of Joshua’s leadership of the people after Moses anointed  him at the end of Deuteronomy. The twenty-four chapter divisions of the Book of  Joshua can be summarized as follows:

Chapters 1-12: Entering and  conquering the Promised Land.
Chapters 13-22: Instructions for distributing  the portions of the Promised Land.
Chapters 23-24: Joshua’s farewell  address

Foreshadowings: The story of Rahab the harlot  and her great faith in the God of the Israelites gives her a place with those  honored for their faith in Hebrews  11:31. Hers is a story of God’s grace to sinners and salvation by faith  alone. Most importantly, by God’s grace she was in the Messianic line (Matthew 1:5).

One of the ceremonial rituals of  Joshua 5 finds its perfect fulfillment in the New Testament. Verses 1-9 describe  God’s commandment that those who were born in the wilderness were to be  circumcised when they came into the Promised Land. By so doing, God “rolled away  the reproach of Egypt” from them, meaning that He cleansed them from the sins of  their former life. Colossians 2:10-12 describes believers as having been  circumcised in their hearts by Christ Himself, by whom we have put off the  sinful nature of our former lives without Christ.

God established  cities of refuge so that those who accidentally killed someone could live there  without fear of retribution. Christ is our refuge to whom we “have fled to take  hold of the hope offered to us” (Hebrews  6:18).

The Book of Joshua has an overriding theological theme of  rest. The Israelites, after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, finally  entered the rest God had prepared for them in the land of Canaan. The writer of  Hebrews uses this incident as a warning to us not to let unbelief keep us from  entering into God’s rest in Christ (Hebrews  3:7-12).

Practical Application: One of the key  verses of the Book of Joshua is 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from  your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do  everything written in it.” The Old Testament is replete with stories of how the  people “forgot” God and His Word and suffered terrible consequences. For the  Christian, the Word of God is our lifeblood. If we neglect it, our lives will  suffer accordingly. But if we take to heart the principle of verse 1:8, we will  be complete and able to be of use in God’s kingdom (2 Timothy  3:16-17), and we will find that God’s promises in Joshua 1:8-9 will be ours  as well.

Joshua is a prime example of the benefits of a worthy mentor.  For years he remained close to Moses. He watched Moses as he followed God in an  almost flawless manner. He learned to pray in a personal way from Moses. He  learned how to obey through the example of Moses. Joshua apparently also learned  from the negative example that cost Moses the joy of actually entering the  Promised Land. If you are alive, you are a mentor. Someone, somewhere, is  watching you. Some younger person or someone that you are influencing is seeing  how you live and how you react. Someone is learning from you. Someone will  follow your example. Mentoring is far more than the words that are spoken by the  mentor. His or her entire life is on display.