Study questions, maps, charts, key words, history, background, outlines, and links to help you study the Old Testament book of Joshua.
“The importance of Joshua for Christians lies chiefly in that it a) shows God’s faithfulness to his covenant; b) records the development of his purpose for the nation; c) gives reasons for a failure, already foreshadowed, to carry out the divine plan; d) provides analogies for discipleship, since the spiritual issues of faith, obedience and purity were clearly at stake in the invasion (New Bible Dictionary, p. 624).”
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- Setting: 1250-1240 BC
- Purpose: To fulfill the program set out in Deuteronomy by establishing Israel in the promised land.
- Themes: Fulfillment of the Lord’s promises about the land; YHWH as faithful; divine control over events; YHWH as holy warrior; unity of “all Israel”.
- 1:1-13:7 – Conquest of the land
- 12:8-22:34 – Division of the land and settlement
- 23-24 – Covenant renewal
- Calling of Joshua (1:1-9)
- Entry into the land (3:14-17 & 4:23-24)
- Spiritual preparations (4-5)
- Jericho, Sin of Achan & Ai (6-8)
- Summaries of Conquests (10:40-43; 11:16-23)
- Hints of future trouble (15:63; 16:10; 17:12-13)
- Summary of division & settlement in the land (21:43-45)
- Joshua’s exhortation (23)
- Tribes renew the covenant (24)
Genre: Understanding Narrative
Background & Outlines
- Outline of Joshua
- Chart: Bible History at a glance
- Blue Letter Bible: Old Testament Timeline
- Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament
- What was the Canaanite religion?
- Bible Atlas: Valley of Jericho
- Bible Altas: Jericho
- Bible Atlas: Plains of Moab (opposite Jericho)
- Bible Atlas: Philistia
- Ray C Stedman: Overview of the Book
- John MacArthur: Author, Date, Background
- Audio file: Overview of Joshua by Dale Ralph Davis
- ESV Introduction to Joshua
- ESV The Global Message of Joshua
- NIV: Introduction to Joshua
- Biblehub: Timeline of Joshua
- Hebrew Calendar
- Joshua-Job quotes in the NT
Maps from Bible-History.com
- The Conquest of Canaan
- The City of Jericho
- The City of Sidon
- The Twelve Tribes
- Map of Palestine During Joshua’s Time
- Map of the 7 Nations of Canaan
Maps from Studylight.org
- Ancient Near East from 1200-100 BCE
- The Conquest of Canaan
- The Sea Peoples
- The Levant from 1200-1000 BCE
- The Conquest by Joshua
- Joshua’s Central and Southern Campaigns
- Joshua’s Northern Campaign
- The Limits of Israelite Settlement
- Israel in Canaan from Joshua to Samuel to Saul
- The Tribal Allotments of Israel
- The Division of the Land Among the Tribes
- Levitical Cities and Cities of Refuge (1)
- The Levitical Cities (2)
- Nations of Canaan
- The Tribes of Israel
- Twelve tribes in Canaan Joshua to Saul 1400-1100BC
- Book of Joshua OT Map at Time of Conquest (enlarged)
- Joshua, Conquest of Canaan, Central & Southern Campaigns
- Joshua, Conquest of Canaan, Northern Campaign
- Hazor – Joshua 11:1
- Megiddo – Joshua 12:21
- Jezreel, Jezreel Valley – Joshua 15:56
- En Gedi– Joshua 15:62
- Gibeon – Joshua 18:25, 21:17
- Hazor – Joshua 11:1, 10, 13
- Lord (172v); God (62v); Joshua (151v); Israel (140v).
- land (84v) -Strong’s H776 in Jos 1:2; Jos 1:4; Jos 1:6; Jos 1:11; Jos 1:13; Jos 1:14; Jos 1:15; Jos 2:1; Jos 2:2; Jos 2:3; Jos 2:9; Jos 2:14; Jos 2:18; Jos 2:24; Jos 5:6; Jos 5:11; Jos 5:12; Jos 6:22; Jos 6:27; Jos 7:2; Jos 7:9; Jos 8:1; Jos 9:7; Jos 9:16; Jos 9:22; Jos 9:24; Jos 10:1; Jos 10:40; Jos 11:3; Jos 11:16; Jos 11:22; Jos 11:23; Jos 12:1; Jos 12:7; Jos 13:1; Jos 13:2; Jos 13:4; Jos 13:5; Jos 13:7; Jos 13:21; Jos 13:25; Jos 14:1; Jos 14:4; Jos 14:5; Jos 14:7; Jos 14:9; Jos 14:15; Jos 15:19; Jos 17:5; Jos 17:6; Jos 17:8; Jos 17:12; Jos 17:15; Jos 17:16; Jos 18:1; Jos 18:3; Jos 18:4; Jos 18:6; Jos 18:8; Jos 18:9; Jos 18:10; Jos 19:49; Jos 19:51; Jos 21:2; Jos 21:43; Jos 22:4; Jos 22:9; Jos 22:10; Jos 22:11; Jos 22:13; Jos 22:15; Jos 22:19; Jos 22:32; Jos 22:33; Jos 23:5; Jos 23:13; Jos 23:15; Jos 23:16; Jos 24:3; Jos 24:8; Jos 24:13; Jos 24:15; Jos 24:17; Jos 24:18.
- commanded (31v) – Strong’s H6680 in Jos 1:7; Jos 1:9; Jos 1:10; Jos 1:13; Jos 1:16; Jos 3:3; Jos 4:8; Jos 4:10; Jos 4:17; Jos 6:10; Jos 7:11; Jos 8:4; Jos 8:8; Jos 8:27; Jos 8:31; Jos 8:35; Jos 9:24; Jos 10:40; Jos 11:12; Jos 11:15; Jos 11:20; Jos 13:6; Jos 14:2; Jos 14:5; Jos 17:4; Jos 18:8; Jos 21:2; Jos 21:8; Jos 22:2; Jos 22:5; Jos 23:16; command (13v; same word) – Jos 1:11; Jos 1:18; Jos 3:8; Jos 4:3; Jos 4:16; Jos 8:29; Jos 8:33; Jos 10:27; Jos 15:13; Jos 17:4; Jos 19:50; Jos 21:3; Jos 22:9.
- ark of the Lord / ark of the covenant (25v) – Jos 3:3; Jos 3:6; Jos 3:8; Jos 3:11; Jos 3:13; Jos 3:14; Jos 3:15; Jos 3:17; Jos 4:5; Jos 4:7; Jos 4:9; Jos 4:10; Jos 4:11; Jos 4:16; Jos 4:18; Jos 6:4; Jos 6:6; Jos 6:7; Jos 6:8; Jos 6:9; Jos 6:11; Jos 6:12; Jos 6:13; Jos 7:6; Jos 8:33.
- covenant (21v) – Strong’s H1285 in Jos 3:3; Jos 3:6; Jos 3:8; Jos 3:11; Jos 3:14; Jos 3:17; Jos 4:7; Jos 4:9; Jos 4:18; Jos 6:6; Jos 6:8; Jos 7:11; Jos 7:15; Jos 8:33; Jos 9:6; Jos 9:7; Jos 9:11; Jos 9:15; Jos 9:16; Jos 23:16; Jos 24:25.
- inheritance (48v) – Strong’s H5159 in Jos 11:23; Jos 13:6; Jos 13:7; Jos 13:8; Jos 13:14; Jos 13:15; Jos 13:23; Jos 13:24; Jos 13:28; Jos 13:29; Jos 13:32; Jos 13:33; Jos 14:1; Jos 14:2; Jos 14:3; Jos 14:9; Jos 14:13; Jos 14:14; Jos 15:20; Jos 16:4; Jos 16:5; Jos 16:8; Jos 16:9; Jos 17:4; Jos 17:6; Jos 17:14; Jos 18:2; Jos 18:4; Jos 18:7; Jos 18:20; Jos 18:28; Jos 19:1; Jos 19:2; Jos 19:8; Jos 19:9; Jos 19:10; Jos 19:16; Jos 19:23; Jos 19:31; Jos 19:39; Jos 19:41; Jos 19:48; Jos 19:49; Jos 21:3; Jos 23:4; Jos 24:28; Jos 24:30; Jos 24:32.
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
- Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Joshua, Theology Of
- American Tract Society: Joshua
- Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Joshua, book of
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Joshua, Book of
- Fausset Bible Dictionary: Joshua, the Book of
- Holman Bible Dictionary: Joshua Book of
- Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Joshua
- Morrish Bible Dictionary: Joshua, Book of
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Joshua
- McClintock and Strong’s Bible Encyclopedia: Joshua, Book Of,
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Joshua, the Book of
- The Jewish Encyclopedia: Joshua, Book of
- Historical Books Timeline
- Introduction to Joshua – see map
- The Global Message of Joshua
- The Conquest of Canaan: The Northern Campaign
- The Conquest of Canaan: The Southern Campaign
- The Allotment of the Land
- Joshua 1:1–9 as a “Table of Contents”
- Joshua Fact #1: The Historical Books
- Joshua Fact #2 not available on web
- Joshua Fact #3: The Jordan River
- Joshua Fact #5: Jericho – see also The City of Jericho
- Joshua Fact #6: How did the people of Israel consecrate themselves
- Joshua Fact #8: Wineskins
- Joshua Fact #11: Mount Hermon
- Joshua Fact #12: Anakim
- Joshua Fact #14: Bethlehem
- Joshua Fact #13: Megiddo
- Joshua Fact #15: Manslayer
- Joshua Fact #16: Dividing the spoils
- Joshua Fact #17: Shechem
- Ligionier.org Top 5 Commentaries: Joshua
- Tim Challies Best Commentaries: Joshua
- #1 choice of both Challies and Mathison = Joshua- No Falling Words – Dale Ralph Davis (and I agree)
- Commentary Reviews: Joshua
- The Best Old Testament Commentaries You’ve Never Heard Of – Justin Taylor
- Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible: Joshua
- Matthew Henry: Joshua
- Albert Barnes Notes: Joshua
- Reformation Study Bible Notes: Joshua
- Geneva Study Bible: Joshua
- Adam Clarke: Joshua
- Precept Austin Commentaries & Sermons: Joshua
Alfred Edersheim on Joshua
- Joshua 1-2 The Charge To Joshua – Dispatch Of The Two Spies To Jericho – Rahab
- Joshua 3-5-12 Miraculous Parting of the Jordan, and the Passage of the Children of Israel – Gilgal and its meaning – The First Passover on the soil of Palestine
- Joshua 5:13, 6:27 The “Prince of the Host of Jehovah” appears to Joshua – The miraculous fall of Jericho before the Ark of Jehovah
- Joshua 7:1-8:29 Unsuccessful Attack upon Ai – Achan’s Sin, and Judgement – Ai attacked a second time and taken
- Joshua 8:30, 9:1-27 Solemn Dedication of the Land and of Israel on Mounts Ebal and Gerizim – The Deceit of the Gibeonites
- Joshua 10-12 The Battle of Gibeon – Conquest of the South of Canaan – The Battle of Merom – Conquest of the North of Canaan – State of the land at the close of the seven-years’ war
- Joshua 13-21 Distribution of the land – Unconquered districts – Tribes east of the Jordan – “The lot” – Tribes west of the Jordan – The inheritance of Caleb – Dissatisfaction of the sons of Joseph – The Tabernacle at Shiloh – Final division of the land
- Joshua 22-24 Return of the two and a half Tribes to their Homes – Building of an Altar by them – Embassy to them – Joshua’s Farewell Addresses – Death of Joshua – Review of his Life and Work
- The Canaanite religion was a constant temptation to Israel.
- It was basically a nature religion. They worshiped Gods who controlled nature (rain, sun, etc).
- Most gods were personified natural powers. Myths and rituals were meant to keep balance between the gods and win their favor to keep nature in order.
- It was a cosmological religion with a focus on the divine order of the cosmos and the human relationship to it.
- There were hundreds of Canaanite gods (syncretism). Principally: El (father); Baal (god of storm, rain & fertility); Asherah, Anat, & Astarte (3 female goddesses of childbirth & fertility).
Canaanite Religious Practices
- Fertility rites in honor of Baal and his wives (temple prostitutes both male & female)
- System of sacrifice, altars and temples
- Used “high places” for worship (raised outdoor altars)
- Burning of incense before a female deity and offering baked cakes
- Burning of incense to the storm-god, Baal
- Worshiping the sun, moon and stars as gods
- Strongly encouraged caring for parents in their old age
- Eugene D. Stockton, “Fortress temple of Shechem and Joshua’s covenant,”Australian Journal of Biblical Archaeology1.1 (1968): 24-28.
- Bryant G. Wood, “The Search for Joshua’s Ai,” Richard S. Hess, Gerald A. Klingbeil & Paul J. Ray Jr., Critical Issues in Early Israelite History. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008. Hbk. ISBN: 978-1575068046. pp.205-240
- David Merling, “The book of Joshua. part I: its evaluation by nonevidence,”Andrews University Seminary Studies39.1 (Spring 2001): 61-72.
- David Merling, “The book of Joshua. Pt II, Expectations of archaeology,”AndrewsUniversity Seminary Studies39.2 (Autumn 2001): 209-221
- John A, Beck, “Why Do Joshua’s Readers Keep Crossing the River? The Narrative-Geographical Shaping of Joshua 3-4,”Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society48.4 (Dec. 2005): 689-699
- Peter C. Craigie, “The Conquest and Early Hebrew Poetry,”Tyndale Bulletin20 (1969): 76-94.
- Richard S. Hess, “The Book of Joshua as a Land Grant,” Biblica 83 (2002): 493-506.
- David M. Howard Jr., “‘Three days’ in Joshua 1-3: Resolving a Chronological Conundrum,”Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society41.4 (Dec. 1998): 539-550
- Adrian Jeffers, “Ideal versus real history in the book of Joshua,”Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society12.3 (Summer 1969): 183-187
- J.P.U. Lilley, “The Altar in Joshua and Judges,”Tyndale Bulletin5/6 (1960): 32-33
- Jeffrey J. Niehaus, “Joshua and ancient Near Eastern warfare,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 31.1 (March 1988): 37-50
- Lewis Bayles Paton, “Israel’s conquest of Canaan,”Journal of Biblical Literature32.1 (1913): 1-53.
- Douglas Petrovich, “The Dating of Hazor’s Destruction in Joshua 11 by Way of Biblical, Archaeological, and Epigraphical Evidence,”Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society51.3 (Sept. 2008): 489-512.
- Pekka Pitkänen, “Ethnicity, Assimilation and the Israelite Settlement,”TyndaleBulletin55.2 (2004): 161-182
- Have NASA computers really proven Joshua’s ‘long day’? (Jonathan Sarfati)
- Dean R. Ulrich, “Does The Bible Sufficiently Describe The Conquest?,”TrinityJournal20:1 (Spring 1999): 53-68.
- Gordon J. Wenham, “Deuteronomic theology of the book of Joshua,”Journalof Biblical Literature90.2 (June 1971): 140-148.
**Many thanks to PreceptAustin.org for compiling this list of articles.
- Book of Joshua – Bible Survey
- Who was Joshua in the Bible?
- Has Israel’s territory ever encompassed the promise in Joshua 1:4?
- Does God’s promise to Joshua and Israel in Joshua 1:9 apply to us?
- Why did the Israelite spies visit the house of Rahab the prostitute?
- Who was Rahab in the Bible?
- What was the significance of the Jordan crossing?
- Who was the commander of the army of the LORD in Joshua 5:14?
- What should we learn from the walls of Jericho falling down?
- Why did Joshua curse Jericho in Joshua 6:26?
- Who was Achan in the Bible?
- Why did God judge the sin of Achan so severely?
- Who were the Gibeonites?
- Why did God command the extermination of the Canaanites?
- Is it true that the sun stood still?
- Why did the Israelites take the Canaanites as slaves instead of destroying them as they were instructed?
- Did the geographic positioning of the tribes fulfill Jacob’s blessing?
- Why was the altar in Joshua 22:10–34 such a big deal?
- What does the Bible say about the hornet?
- What does “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” mean in Joshua 24:15?