Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Joshua: Authorship

Author: Joshua (Joshua 24:26), later edited and completed by Samuel.

The Jewish Talmud says that Joshua wrote all but the last five verses of the book of Joshua which were written by high priest Phineas. The editor of Joshua’s war memoirs was possibly Samuel the prophet.[i]

Joshua (Yeshua) means “YHWH is Salvation.” (Greek form: Jesus (Hebrews 4:8). The Lord spent many years preparing Joshua (1462 - 1372 BC) for leadership. He was born a slave in Egypt, the son of Nun (means “prosperity, durable”) of the tribe of Ephraim. At age 40, he joined the Exodus and became an assistant for Moses (Exodus 24:13; 33:11; Numbers 11:28; Joshua 1:1).

Moses changed his name from Hoshea, meaning simply “salvation” (Numbers 13:8, 16; Deuteronomy 32:44), to Joshua. Joshua preferred to stay in God’s Presence more than anything else as a young man (Exodus 33:11).

At Kadesh-barnea under Moses, Joshua was selected as one of the spies to scout out the Promised Land for invasion. He and Caleb were almost stoned to death for believing God and encouraging Israel to advance into the Promised Land (Numbers 14:6-10). As a result, God punished that generation by causing them to die in the Wilderness. Only Joshua and Caleb of the Exodus generation lived to enter the Promised Land.

At age 80, Joshua was commissioned as the successor to Moses (Deuteronomy 31:23; 34:9). By the time he led the Israelites into the Promised Land, he had already become a great general (Exodus 17:9-16). Israel had a new generation of warriors, and a new commander.

While mentored by Moses who spoke as a friend with YHWH (Exodus 33:11), Joshua was responsible for all military operations for Israel – a two million member horde of Oriental barbarians who believed their God lived with them in a box in his own tent.

Joshua was a professional soldier who knew how to fight, but he submitted to the Lord's direction. As the supreme commander of Israel, he was pre-eminent as a strategist, using campaign planning, military discipline, covert intelligence, but above all prayer and trust in the Captain of the Lord of Hosts (Joshua 5:13-15).

Joshua was a man of prayer, courage, dependence upon God, faith, leadership, enthusiasm, and fidelity. Joshua, as one of the great generals of all Israeli history, is a type of Christ foreshadowing the One who will bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10).


[i] Baba Bathra 15a.