Reading Joshua can be, frankly, a jarring experience. Serious, troubling questions about God’s attitude toward his created peoples arise, questions with no easy answer. But the book of Joshua presents itself, warts (and wars!) and all, and asks readers to let it tell its story from its point of view and out of its ancient context. It asks them to give it the benefit of the doubt and permit it to speak to them.
This commentary aims to give its voice a clear hearing—to translate its ancient cultural form in such a way that it freely speaks about the life of faith today. Basically, the book of Joshua tells how biblical Israel navigated a major historical transition early in its national life. The book shows that guiding these changes is Israel’s God, Yahweh, through his chosen servant, Joshua. The introductory sections to follow set the scene for entering the book of Joshua and the ancient world about which it reports. Joshua helps readers learn how the message of Joshua can have the same powerful impact today that it did when it was first written.
“The third theme offers Joshua reassurance that Yahweh will support Joshua just as wholeheartedly as he did Moses (vv. 5, 17; cf. 3:7).” (Page 75)
“The third lesson for insiders is that God not only welcomes outsiders but also uses them to encourage his people.” (Page 140)
“A fourth theme stresses that the adventure about to unfold involves Israel as a unified people.” (Page 75)
“This leads to the second lesson for insiders: We must confess our reluctance to welcome outsiders, especially those with problematic pasts or presents.” (Page 139)
“The requirement for ritual purity signals that this river crossing is a solemn religious ritual, not an ordinary military invasion.” (Page 151)
Scripture references are linked directly to Greek and Hebrew texts, along with the English Bible translations of your choice. For any word in any language, you can double-click on that word and your digital library will automatically search your lexicons for a match. That gives you unprecedented access to linguistic data, along with all the tools you need for exegesis and interpretation.
Nicholas van Oudtshoorn