Joshua Chapter 1


The Lord appoints Joshua to succeed Moses. (Verse 1-4.)

God promises to assist Joshua. (Verse 5-9.)

Preparation to pass over Jordan. (Verse 10-15.)

The people promise to obey Joshua. (Verse 16-18.)

Almost forty years have passed since the dreadful day in which the twelve returned from the land and ten of them gave their evil report. All of that generation has died off, some at the young age of sixty.

Since God gave that generation forty years to wander until they passed away, many prophecy students have determined that a biblical generation is forty years, I however believe it is seventy.

1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,

2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

[Heb 13:5 Deut 31:6, Deut 31:8]

6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

What a promise to give to the General of an army! God will be with us if we will abide in his will. Christ will fulfill all that Israel failed to do over their generations during the tribulation period and the kingdom.

This period is mentioned by Daniel and is to come upon all the earth. Israel shall inhabit all the land promised her in the kingdom.

7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

[Ps 1:2, 63:6, 77:11-12, 119:15,23,48, 78, 143:5, 1 Tim 4:13-15]

this verse is the only time the word “success” appears in the King James Bible. Note that success is ENTIRELY dependent upon “this book of the law.” The believer’s “success” in life is inseparable from God’s word; note the three aspects mentioned in this verse – speaking it, meditating in it and obeying it. – “meditation” – to meditate means to dwell upon something in thought; to contemplate, study or revolve a subject about in the mind. All too often we make the mistake of hastily reading our Bibles through and perhaps doing the necessary studying for these lessons or some other project without taking the time to really think about what God is saying to us through this word – this is what meditation is all about!

9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

[Phil 4:6-7]

The key to prosperity for Joshua and the nation of Israel was to simply follow the law. While no man could keep the law perfectly, but Jesus Christ, the law worked as a schoolmaster to point God’s people to Christ by showing them their need for him through their inability to keep the law.

note the reason why we are not to have fear

10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,

11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.

[victuals – food]

Rahab, a Gentile woman, had to wait three days for her deliverance. Before we could be saved our Saviour had to spend three days in the heart of the earth. Rahab is saved because she blesses Israel as was a requirement for Gentiles under the law.

12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,

13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.

14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;

15 Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.

16 And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.

this should be the believer’s attitude toward whatever God commands him or her to do – is this your attitude?

17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.

18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

These two and a half tribes make a pledge that they will help their brethren fight and that they will follow Joshua in whatever he commands, even to the point of killing their fellow tribesmen who rebel because they don’t want to spend another forty years wandering in the wilderness.

God had told all the children of Israel to pass over the river, but these two and a half tribes decided to remain on the other side of the Jordan.

Although God had promised to give Israel much of the land that was East of the Jordan during the kingdom, he wanted them all to cross over at this time and occupy Canaan.

God allowed these tribes to remain on the other side, but it ended up costing them later on when Israel’s enemies came up against them. They were the first ones to be defeated and taken captive.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 1-4 – Joshua had attended upon Moses. He who was called to honour, had been long used to business. Our Lord Jesus took upon him the form of a servant. Joshua was trained up under command. Those are fittest to rule, who have learned to obey. The removal of useful men should quicken survivors to be the more diligent in doing good. Arise, go over Jordan. At this place and at this time the banks were overflowed. Joshua had no bridge or boats, and yet he must believe that God, having ordered the people over, would open a way.

Verse 5-9 – Joshua is to make the law of God his rule. He is charged to meditate therein day and night, that he might understand it. Whatever affairs of this world we have to mind, we must not neglect the one thing needful. All his orders to the people, and his judgments, must be according to the law of God. Joshua must himself be under command; no man’s dignity or dominion sets him above the law of God. He is to encourage himself with the promise and presence of God. Let not the sense of thine own infirmities dishearten thee; God is all-sufficient. I have commanded, called, and commissioned thee to do it, and will be sure to bear thee out in it. When we are in the way of duty, we have reason to be strong and very bold. Our Lord Jesus, as Joshua here, was borne up under his sufferings by a regard to the will of God, and the commandment from his Father.

Verse 10-15 – Joshua says to the people, Ye shall pass over Jordan, and shall possess the land; because God had said so to him. We honour the truth of God, when we stagger not at the promise of God. The two tribes and a half were to go over Jordan with their brethren. When God, by his providence, has given us rest, we ought to consider what service we may do to our brethren.

Verse 16-18 – The people of Israel engage to obey Joshua; All that thou commandest us to do we will readily do, without murmuring or disputing, and whithersoever thou sendest us we will go. The best we can ask of God for our magistrates, is, that they may have the presence of God; that will make them blessings to us, so that in seeking this for them, we consult our own interest. May we be enabled to enlist under the banner of the Captain of our salvation, to be obedient to his commands, and to fight the good fight of faith, with all that trust in and love his name, against all who oppose his authority; for whoever refuses to obey him must be destroyed.