The book of Joshua in the O.T. is really the overall account of how the homeless tribes of Israel, after being delivered from slavery in Egypt and after wander¬ing around the desert areas of the Middle East for 4O years moved into Palestine, took over and divided up the land, as it had been promised to their patriarch Abraham.
You could be forgiven for thinking, after reading Joshua, that it was a series of whirlwind military victories all over, bar the shouting, in a few weeks.
When you read it alongside the book of Judges, however, you begin to see that it took decades and in many places was an incomplete invasion – that is in many places the invaders and the invaded settled down together to share the land and its resources.
Joshua took over from Moses and the story of the book divides into two parts.
Firstly the military campaign of invasion, and secondly the allocating of the land thus won to the various tribes.
The key to the book is to be found in something which the migrating tribes found almost impossible to learn – namely that God’s reason for giving them a new homeland was that they should become ‘a light to all the world, embodying the justice and truth in God’. In short, they were to become God’s model society.
They could be sure of God’s deliverance and protection if they enthroned Him at the centre of their new society, kept the agreement He’d made with them and observed the Maker’s instructions on how to build and run a nation. That was the plan. How it came to pieces can be seen not only in the book of Joshua, but in all history.
The name Joshua which means, in Hebrew, Deliv¬erer or Saviour, is the older form of the name Jesus.