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have suggested to him the composition of a record of the
fulfilment of the Divine Promises through his leadership; (6) No one was better qualified by his position to describe
events, in which he had taken so distinguished a part, and
to collect the documents contained in the Book ; (c) No one would have been more anxious to treasure up
in writing his own last addresses and solemn warnings to the
people; (d) No one else could have recorded with such accuracy the
account of the commands he receịved from the Most High, and of his own interviews with his Mysterious Visitant,
“ the Prince of the Host of Jehovah?” 7. But while the Book appears to have been compiled by one, who lived in the time of the events recorded, and was, indeed, an eye-witness of them, there are scattered up and down it a number of historical allusions, which clearly point to a date beyond the death of Joshua. Amongst these may be enumerated, (a) The capture of Hebron by Caleb and of Debir by Oth
niels; (6) The remark that "the Jebusites dwelt with the children
of Judah at Jerusalem4;" (c) The capture of Laish by the warriors of the tribe of Dan5. (d) The account of Joshua's death.
8. While, then, there is evidence that much of the materials may have been collected and furnished by Joshua himself, we
1 Josh. xxiii., xxiv. 2 Josh. i. 1, iii. 7, iv. 1, 2, v. 2, 9, 13, vi. 2, vii. 10, viii. 1, X. 8, xi. 6, xiii. 1, 2, XX. 1, xxiv. 2.
3 Comp. Josh. xv. 13—20 with Judg. i. 10— 15. • Comp. Josh. xv. 63 with Judg. i. 8. 5 Comp. Josh. xix. 47 with Judg. xviii. 7. It is true that, if we consulted only the Book of Joshua, we might suppose these conquests to have been completed before Joshua's death, as he lived for several years after he had dismissed the people to their possessions, but when we refer to the parallel passages, it is clear they were not completed till after his death. See Keil's Commentary, Introd. p. 46.
Josh. xxiv. 29–33. All these incidents, it will be noticed, may very well have taken place within twenty or twenty-five years after Joshua's death.
shall not in all probability be far wrong in conjecturing that the Book was composed partly from personal observation and inquiry, partly out of authentic documents already in existence, by one of “the elders who overlived Joshua?," and within a few years after his death.
9. For what object was it written? Resuming, as it does, the history of the Chosen People at the death of Moses, it was not intended to be a mere biography or a mere collection of authentic documents. It serves as a link between what precedes and what follows?, and is designed to shew the faithfulness of Jehovah to His Word of Promise, and to illustrate the operations of His grace and mercy, whereby He placed the people in possession of the land, which He had promised as an inheritance to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob3.
10. In respect to style, the Book of Joshua is less archaic than the Pentateuch, but more so than the Books of Kings and Chronicles. In reading it, it is well to bear in mind the extreme antiquity of the documents on which it rests.
We need not, therefore, expect to find in it marks of the finished composition which belong to a later age. The style is plain and inartificial. The narrative follows the course of thought and feeling on the part of the writer, rather than any formal method of arrangement, and sometimes, when the conclusion of any record is deemed of special importance, it is apparently anticipated by the writer, and afterwards restated, though not always in the same identical terms.
Josh. xxiv. 31. - Just as the Acts of the Apostles is the link between the Gospels and the Epistles of the New Testament.
3 “The design of the writer,” observes Keil, “was not merely to display the great deeds of Joshua, nor even to trace the history of the theocracy under him, and thus continue the narrative contained in the Pentateuch from the death of Moses to that of Joshua ; but to furnish historical evidence that Joshua, by the help of God, faithfully performed the work to which the Lord had called him ; and by the side of that to shew how, in fulfilling the promises which He gave to the patriarchs, God drove out the Canaanites before Israel, and gave their land to the twelve tribes of Jacob for a permanent inheritance.”_Keil's Commentary, Introd. p. 2.
THE LIFE OF JOSHUA.
1. It is a natural transition from the Book of Joshua to the life and career of the great hero from whom it derives its name. His life falls into three divisions :
(a) His life in Egypt;
(c) His life in Canaan.
3. His original name was Oshea or Hosheas, "salvation." This, as we shall see, was afterwards changed to Jehoshua or Joshua, “the salvation of Jehovah4." Modified, like many other Hebrew names in their passage through the Greek language, “Joshua” took the form sometimes of "Jason,” but more frequently of IHEOYE, JESUS, “which has now become indelibly impressed on history as the greatest of all names.”
4. Growing up a slave in the brickfields of Egypt he must have witnessed at once the idolatries of that mystic land, and the moral and social degradation of his countrymen. He must
1 Phil. ii. 9.
3 “ The same with the name of the son of Azaziah, ruler of Ephraim (1 Chron. xxvii. 20); of the son of Elah, king of Israel (2 Kings xvii. 1); of the son of Beeri, the prophet (Hos. i. 1)." Pearson On the Creed, Art. II.
4 “If unto the name Hoseah we add one of the titles of God, which is Fah, there will result from both, by the custom of the Hebrew tongue, Jehoshua; and so not only the instrumental, but also the original cause of the Jews' deliverance will be found expressed in one word: as if Moses had said, This is the person by whom God will save this people from their enemies." Ibid.
have beheld, as he could scarcely have beheld it anywhere else, the adoration of the creature rather than the Creatori carried to its furthest point, and divine honours paid not only to the sacred black calf Mnevis, to his rival the bull Apis, to the mighty Pharaoh, the Child, the Representative of the Sun-God, but to almost everything in the heaven above, and the earth beneath, and the water under the earth. His early experience thus made him acquainted with the fascination, which the idolatries around exercised upon his countrymen, and give special force to his declaration afterwards to the heads of the ransomed nation, when located in the Land of Promise, “ Your fathers worshipped other gods in Egypt?”
5. Here too he experienced the bitterness of cruel bondage, while beneath a burning rainless sky, the sons of Jacob toiled naked and in gangs under the lash in the quarries or the brickfield, or followed the oxen over the shadeless furrows, or in long rows monotonously threshed out the corn, while the gay barges of their masters sailed up and down the canals and rivers, and the royal chariots with their outriders, and the priests and officers of state, passed unheeding along the streets:.
6. (6) Life of Joshua in the Sinaitic desert. Nearly forty years must thus have passed away. At length the hour of deliverance came. Moses returned from Midian, and Joshua witnessed the judgments of the Most High on the land of Ham", and shared in the hurried triumph of the Exodus. It is in the Sinaitic desert that he first comes before us with any prominence. Moses, who had doubtless already noticed signs of his fitness as a military leader, selected him to take the command of the people in the engagement with Amalek at Rephidim”, and “he discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” From this day forward he takes the position of “minister,” or attendant on the great Lawgiver. With him he ascends the mountain-range of Sinai at the first giving of the Tables of the Law®, and is the first after the forty days of waiting
1 Rom. i. 25.
? Josh. xxiv. 14.
for his return to accost him on his descent?. His younger ears first catch the confused sounds which roll up the mountain side from the tented plain below, and with the interpretation of the uncertain noise most natural to a soldier, he says at once to Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp3. He learns from the mouth of the Lawgiver the true explanation of the sounds, and witnesses his righteous anger, as he casts out of his hands the precious Tables, and breaks them before the eyes of the offending people
7. When we next hear of him it is on the occasion of the prophesying of Eldad and Medad, when he would have his master rebuke them, and received the well-known reply, “Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them 6." From this point we seem to lose sight of him altogether till the people were at the very gates of the Promised Land, and Moses resolved to send from KadeshBarnea twelve spies to search out the length and breadth of the territory, and ascertain its character, its products, and its inhabitants. Of the Twelve Joshua was now one, and considering the important part he was himself destined to take in the actual conquest of the country, and the service he had already rendered to the great Lawgiver, it is easy to understand why the latter now changed his name from Hoshea to 7 ehoshua, an alteration which was a God speed! to the spies on their departure?.
8. As the attendant of Moses and the most distinguished of the Twelve, Joshua undoubtedly stood at the head of those thus sent forth on their arduous mission. With them he traversed the land as far north as Rehob8 on the way to Hamath in the
1 Exod. xxxii. 17.
* See Professor Blunt's Undesigned Coincidences, p. 66; Bp Wilberforce's Heroes of Hebrew History, p. 133. 3 Exod. xxxii. 17.
4 Exod. xxxii. 19. 5 Num. xi. 26—29. 6 Num. xiii. 1-20; Deut. i. 23.
7 Kurtz On the Old Covenant, III. 284. The occurrence of the new name in Exod. xvii. 9, xxiv. 13, and Num. xi. 28, may be accounted for on the supposition of a prolepsis, of which there are many examples in the Pentateuch.
8 Num. xiii. 21.