Vernon McGee Thru The Bible: 06 - JOSHUA

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Vernon McGee Thru The Bible: 06 - JOSHUA

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WRITER: Joshua (Jos_24:26), successor to Moses (Deu_31:23)

The Talmud says that Joshua wrote all but the last 5 verses and that those were written by Phineas.

Joshua means “Jehovah is salvation” — the same word in the New Testament is Jesus (as in Heb_4:8).

Joshua was a great general, born a slave in Egypt.

40 years old at time of Exodus (one of spies),

80 years old when he received his commission,

110 years old at his death.

He was a man of prayer, courage, dependence upon God, faith, leadership, enthusiasm, and fidelity. He is a type of Christ in name and work. As someone has commented:

Joshua shows that a man of average ability may become a leader in the church. He received his call not in flaming letters across the sky, but from an old man, who knew God and knew Joshua, and saw that he was fitted by God to be a leader.


Completes redemption out of Egypt. Salvation is not only a redemp tion from hell, but it is a redemption to heaven. Who [Jesus] was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. (Rom_4:25)


Up to this point Jehovah had spoken by dreams, visions, or by angelic ministry. Now a new method is introduced. The Law of Moses is the written voice of Jehovah (Jos_1:8).


Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. (Jos_1:3)

Joshua compares to Ephesians in the New Testament:

• It is prophetic of Israel and typical of the church.

• Read Israel’s free title to the land (Jer_23:8; Eze_37:21).

• Conflict and conquest go with possession.

KEY WORD: Possession

Israel’s ownership was unconditional (Gen_12:7; Gen_15:18-21; Gen_17:8).

Israel’s possession was conditional (Deu_29:9Deu_30:20).

Key word is not “victory” — God gets the victory. Israel gets deliverance and possession.

Jos_1:4 — Extent of Promised Land

Jos_13:1 — They did not possess it all.

Jos_11:16 — Joshua had conquered the land and it was available.

Jos_11:23 — Each tribe was given an allotment but had to

drive out the enemy. There was to be a gradual

occupation of the land by each tribe.

The Christian today is given title to spiritual blessings (Eph_1:3;

Rom_5:1-11; Rom_8:37; 1Co_1:30; Gal_5:22-23).

The Christian’s practical possession and experience depends upon conflict and conquest (Eph_6:10-20; Gal_5:25; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; 1Co_9:25-27; Heb_4:11). These are never attained through the energy of the flesh, but through the power of the Holy Spirit working in the yielded life of the believer (Romans 7, 8).


There are several incidents in the Book of Joshua which need separate comments. We shall consider them briefly and in order.

Chapter 1 — God encourages Joshua and introduces and initiates the nation into a new way of life. The wilderness journey is over. They are no longer nomads of the desert, but dwellers in the land. Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh have possessions on the wrong side of Jordan (compare Col_3:1-4).

Chapter 2 — Spies are sent in, not to see if they could enter the land, but to explore the best way. The report of these spies is in Jos_2:24. God turns aside to save the harlot Rahab. She believed God (Jos_2:10-13; cf. Heb_11:31). The mayor of Jericho could have been saved had he, too, believed God. None needed to have perished. Chapters 3, 4 — (See author’s message, “Have You Crossed Over Jordan?”) The ark — not the rod of Moses — goes before and divides the Jordan River. The ark goes before, carried by priests. Likewise, Christ goes before us through death, but goes with us through this life. Jordan is typical of Christ’s death, not ours.

Chapter 5 — Circumcision was neglected in the wilderness. God was teaching them that the old nature is no good and the new nature has no power (Rom_7:18).

The manna ceases and the children of Israel eat the old corn in the new land. Manna is for babes in Christ and represents the days of His flesh. We feed on the living Christ today (2Co_5:16-17).

Jesus is the captain of our salvation (2Co_5:13-15; Heb_2:10; 12:1-2).

Chapter 6 — There may be some disagreement between John Garstang and Kathleen Kenyon about the walls in the tell at ancient Jericho, but the faith of the believer does not rest upon the shovel of the archaeologist (Heb_11:30). Jericho represents the world to the believer. It is strong and formidable and foreboding — the conquest depends upon faith (1Jo_5:4).

Hebrews 11 reveals how faith worked in all ages in the lives of God’s choicest servants as they met the world head-on and overcame by faith.

Chapters 7, 8 — (See author’s message, “Ai and I.”) Defeat and victory at Ai represent the flesh in the believer. The sin of Achan was sin in the camp.

Steps in sins of the flesh (Jos_7:21):

I saw — physical

I coveted — mental

I took — volitional.

No deliverance is experienced until sin is dealt with in the life of a believer (Eph_4:17-32; 1Jo_1:9).

Chapter 9 — This begins the campaign in the south. Having driven a wedge into the heart of the land and divided it, now Joshua can go against each section piecemeal. Joshua has been compared to Alexander the Great and Hannibal as a great general. Divide and conquer was the strategy used by Joshua.

He was deceived by the Gibeonites into making a treaty with them that was contrary to the express command of God (Deu_7:1-2). The Gibeonites represent the devil with all his cunning and clever ness. We are no match for him (Eph_6:11, Eph_6:16; Rev_12:9).

Chapter 10 — Joshua conquers 5 kings of the Amorites (5) as he continues the campaign in the south. He completes the campaign in the south by the destruction of Makkedah, Lachish, Libnah, Eglon, Hebron and Debir (Jos_10:29-40).

This chapter contains the account of the long day of Joshua. “Did Joshua make the sun stand still?” is a question that is asked by skeptic and saint alike. Following are some proposed explanations of the long day of Joshua:

(1) It is the practice of some to avoid giving any interpretation. They ignore it entirely as if it were not worthy of comment.

(2) Some treat the language as poetic (Jos_10:12). This is to adopt a non-literal interpretation that dismisses the miraculous from the incident entirely. Those who hold to this view generally refer to Judges 5:20 “…the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.” We refuse to dismiss this as poetic. We do not have enough information to state dogmatically that these are poetic statements and not matters of fact. It reminds us of the old bromide that poetic language is sometimes prosaic lying.

(3) Some call this a miracle of refraction. The emphasis is placed on verse 13.

(4) Some adopt the position that God stopped the entire solar system (v. 12). They make Joshua’s day 23 hours and 20 minutes. The other 40 minutes are found in 2Ki_20:8-11.

(5) Some adopt the position that God blacked out the sun rather than continued its shining. The Berkeley Version translates it, “O sun, wait in Gibeon,” the ASV, “be silent.” Maunder in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia takes this position. Joshua had made a forced march all night (about 40 miles), attacked the enemy from the rear — came suddenly upon them. It was July — about 105º to 120º in the shade, and there was no shade. Joshua did not want more sun — he wanted less sun.

(6) The best explanation, it seems, is a combination of numbers 4 and 5. Joshua needed more light and less heat. God covered the sun with a storm of hailstones (v. 11). God slowed down the earth (v. 12). “Upon Gibeon” indicates that the sun was directly over — bisecting Gibeon — and the moon was going down “in the valley of Aijalon.” This is a miracle!

Chapter 11 — This contains the campaign in the north and the conclusion of Joshua’s leadership in war (Jos_11:23).

Chapter 12 — Log of Joshua’s campaigns.

Chapter 13 — Not all the land was occupied and possessed (Joshua 13:l).

Chapter 14 — Hebron given to Caleb, born a slave, companion of Joshua. These two men were the only spies who brought back a favorable report (Num_14:6-9).

Caleb found the fountain of youth (Jos_14:11). He had:

(1) Faith to forget the past

(2) Faith to face facts

(3) Faith to face the future

Chapter 15 — Judah’s land in the Promised Land.

Chapter 16 — Ephraim’s land in the Promised Land.

Chapter 17 — Manasseh’s land in the Promised Land.

Chapters 18, 19 — Tabernacle located at Shiloh. Other tribes’ lands in the Promised Land.

Chapter 20 — Cities of Refuge.

Chapter 21 — Cities for Levites.

Chapter 22 — Joshua dismisses the 2 1/2 tribes, and they return to the east side of Jordan.

They build an altar “to see” (Jos_22:10). The altar was condemned, as there was only one altar, and it was for sacrifice.

Chapter 23 — Last message of Joshua to the leaders of the nation.

Chapter 24 — Last message of Joshua to all the tribes of Israel at Shechem (note Jos_24:15). Jos_24:29-31 record the death of Joshua.

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I. The land entered, Chapters 1 — 12

A. Commission and command of Joshua, 1

B. Contact of spies with Rahab, 2

C. Crossing the Jordan River, 3

D. Construction of two memorials, 4

E. Conditioned for conquest, 5

F. Center of land attacked, 6 — 8

1. Conquest of Jericho, 6

2. Conquest of Ai, 7, 8

G. Campaign in the south, 9, 10

1. Compact with the Gibeonites, 9

2. Conquer 5 kings of Amorites (miracle of sun), 10

H. Campaign in the north, (conclusion of Joshua’s leadership in war), 11

I. Conquered kings listed, 12

II. The land divided, Chapters 13 — 22

A. Command of Joshua is terminated; confirmation of land to the 2 1/2 tribes, 13

B. Caleb given Hebron, 14

C. Consignment of land to the tribes of Israel, 15 — 19

D. Cities of refuge, 20

E. Cities for Levites, 21

F. Command to the 2 1/2 tribes to return home; construction of altar as a witness, 22

III. The last message of Joshua, Chapters 23, 24

A. Call to leaders of Israel for courage and certainty, 23

B. Call to all tribes of Israel for consecration and consideration of covenant with God; death of Joshua, 24


Davis, John J. Conquest and Crisis — Studies in Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.

Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1969.

Enns, Paul P. Joshua. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing

House, 1981.

Epp, Theodore H. Joshua — Victorious by Faith. Lincoln, Nebraska: Back

to the Bible Broadcast, 1968. (Devotional.)

Gaebelein, Arno, C. The Annotated Bible, Vol. 2. Neptune, New Jersey:

Loizeaux Brothers, 1917.

Grant, F. W. Numerical Bible, Vol. 2. Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux

Brothers, 1891.

Gray, James M. Synthetic Bible Studies. Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming

H. Revell Co., 1906.

Ironside, H. A. Addresses on the Book of Joshua. Neptune, New Jersey:

Loizeaux Brothers, 1950.

Jamieson, Robert; Fausset, A. R.; and Brown, D. Commentary on the Bible,

3 Vols. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1945.

Jensen, Irving L. Joshua, A Self-Study Guide. Chicago, Illinois: Moody

Press, 1968.

Jensen, Irving L. Joshua, Rest — Land Won. Chicago, Illinois: Moody

Press, 1966.

Mackintosh, C. H. The Mackintosh Treasury: Miscellaneous Writings.

Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, n.d.

Meyer, F. B. Joshua and the Land of Promise. Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: Christian Literature Crusade, n.d. ( A rich devotional study.)

Pink, Arthur W. Gleanings in Joshua. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1964.

Redpath, Alan. Victorious Christian Living. Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming

Revell Co., 1955. (Devotional studies in Joshua.)

Unger, Merrill F. Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1. Chicago,

Illinois: Moody Press, 1981.