Joshua: The Man who Followed Moses

June 21, 2023

Joshua was the man who led the Israelites into the Promised Land after the death of his teacher Moses. Read on to find out more about Joshua.

Who was Joshua?

Joshua was a very important person in the Bible. He was a brave and faithful leader who was chosen by God to take over for Moses after his death. While Moses was still alive, he served as Moses’ faithful servant (Exodus 33:11).

Joshua first appears in the Bible in the book of Exodus (Exodus 17:8-16). This passage recounts the battle against the Amalekites, where Joshua led the Israelite army to victory under the guidance of Moses. He was later chosen to be one of the 12 spies sent by Moses into the land of Canaan. Unlike the other ten spies, Joshua and Caleb stayed faithful to God and His promise to give the land of Israel to the Jewish people. Therefore, Joshua and Caleb were the only two individuals from the generation that left Egypt who entered the Promised Land (Numbers 26:65).

The Bible does not tell us much about Joshua’s background, but we do know that his father’s name was Nun and that his name means “The Lord saves.” According to the sages, Joshua married Rahab, the woman who helped the Israelite spies before they conquered the city of Jericho. Among their descendants were great priests and prophets, including the prophet Jeremiah and the prophetess Huldah.

Joshua is important in the Bible because he showed great courage and trust in God. He led the Israelites into the Promised Land, the land that God had promised to give them, and throughout the conquest of the land. He was a strong military leader and followed God’s commands faithfully.

Moses and Joshua’s Relationship and Leadership

What was the relationship between Moses and Joshua? Joshua had a special relationship with Moses. He was an assistant and a close friend to Moses. Moses saw Joshua’s potential and appointed him the leader of the Israelite army in the war against Amalek.

Did you know that Moses also changed Joshua’s name? Joshua’s original name was Hoshea, which means “salvation” or “he saves.” However, before sending out the 12 spies Moses changed Hoshea’s name to Joshua (Numbers 13:16). His new name included the name of God, and, as stated above, means “God is salvation” or “God saves.” This new name emphasized his connection to God and his mission to lead the people into the Promised Land. The name change also symbolized Joshua’s divine appointment and his commission to bring salvation and deliverance to the Israelites under the guidance of God. According to the sages, the name change also contained a prayer for God to save Joshua from the influence of the other spies.

Joshua’s Accomplishments

  • Faithful Spy: Joshua, initially named Hoshea, was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan (Numbers 13-14). He and Caleb were the only two spies who brought back a positive report, trusting in God’s promise to give them the land.
  • Named Successor of Moses: Moses changed Hoshea’s name to Joshua (Numbers 13:16), and before his death, Moses laid his hands on Joshua, appointing him as his successor to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31:14-23).
  • Leading Israelites Across the Jordan River: Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. God miraculously stopped the flow of the river to allow the Israelites to cross on dry ground (Joshua 3).
  • Conquest of Jericho: Joshua led the Israelites in the famous battle of Jericho, where the walls of the city fell after the Israelites marched around them for seven days and blew trumpets (Joshua 6).
  • Conquering Canaan: Joshua led the military campaigns against various kings and cities in Canaan, and eventually established control over much of the land (Joshua 10-12).
  • Distribution of the Land: After the conquest, Joshua was responsible for dividing the land among the twelve tribes of Israel, as an inheritance (Joshua 13-22).
  • Establishment of Cities of Refuge: Joshua followed the Lord’s command to establish cities of refuge, where people who had killed someone accidentally could find safety (Joshua 20).
  • Renewal of the Covenant: Near the end of his life, Joshua gathered the tribes of Israel and led them in a renewal of the covenant with God, reminding them of God’s faithfulness and urging them to serve God wholeheartedly (Joshua 24).
  • Setting an Example of Faithfulness: Throughout his life and leadership, Joshua is depicted as a model of faithfulness and obedience to God. His famous declaration, “but I and my household will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15), is often cited as an example of commitment to God.

Common questions about Joshua:

Did Joshua lead the Israelites to conquer Jericho?
Yes, Joshua led the Israelites in conquering the city of Jericho. They marched around the city for seven days. On the seventh day the walls of Jericho fell down leading to their victory.

Did Joshua divide the Promised Land among the tribes of Israel?
Yes, after the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan, Joshua helped divide the land among the twelve tribes of Israel. Each tribe received their own portion of the Promised Land.

Joshua’s story in the Bible teaches us about bravery, trust in God, and leadership. He played a vital role in the history of the Israelite people, leading them to the Promised Land. Joshua’s faithfulness and obedience to God serve as an inspiration for people of all ages, reminding us of the importance of courage and following God’s commands.

Kalman Labovitz

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By: The Israel Bible Team

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