Summary of Joshua

Summary of Joshua

Chapter by Chapter:

Joshua 1-2: Be of Good Courage/Spies to Jericho

Joshua 3-4: Dry Ground=River Jordan/Twelve Stones
Joshua 5-6: Israel Keeps the Commandments/Jericho is Destroyed
Joshua 7-8: Disobedience to the Lord/Words of the Law of Moses
Joshua 9-10: Joshua Makes Servants/Stones from Heaven
Joshua 11-12: Joshua and Israel Conquer/Cities Conquered
Joshua 13-14: Inheritance: Reuben, Gad and Manasseh/Land Divided
Joshua 15-16: Judah Gives Inheritance/Children of Joseph
Joshua 17-18: Manasseh/Ephraim=Inheritance/Tabernacle of the Congregation
Joshua 19-20: Inheritances by Lot/Cities of Refuge for Manslaughter
Joshua 21-22:  48 Cities & Suburbs/Altar to the Lord God
Joshua 23-24: Keep the Commandments and Love God/Serve the Lord God


Following the death of Moses, God calls Joshua as the new leader of his people. Joshua leads the Israelites across the Jordan River to take hold of the Promised Land. God tells his people that he will be with them, as long as they follow the commandments that he has given them.

Joshua sends 2 spies across the river to investigate the lands, the men enter into the city of Jericho where they are hidden from guards by a prostitute by the name of Rahab. Rahab after lying to authorities about the presence of two spies in her home, tells the spies that her and her family believe that God is with Israel. She asks them to spare her and her family when they come to destroy Jericho.  Because of her kindness the spies agree and return to Joshua to report.

Joshua commands the people to cross the Jordan River, and as they do the water stops and they walk across the river on dry ground. They mark this moment by 12 stones from the river bed (the twelve stones of course to represent the 12 tribes of Israel). After crossing the river, the people are able to produce food from their crops and because of this the manna from heaven stops. The men prepare for war by performing the ritual of circumcision.

Joshua and his men surround the city of Jericho for seven days, each day they play trumpets and carry the Ark of the Covenant around the city. On the seventh day he commands the army to attack and the walls of the city fall. He commands Israel to kill everyone, except Rahab and her family. They are forbidden from stealing any religious items from the city as spoils.

Joshua’s fame spreads throughout the land, but is then humiliated when they fail to take the next city, Ai. God tells them that they failed, because of the disobedience of an Israelite by the name of Achan, who had disobeyed the commandment to not take any religious items as spoil in the city of Jericho. The Israelite people stone Achan for his sin and they attempt again to take the city of Ai, this time they are successful and they erect an altar to God, to remember their commitment to God’s law.

Because of the success of the Israelites, the local Giebeonites, fearful of death come disguised as travelers and request peace with Israel. Joshua makes a treaty with them, without consulting God or knowing that they were actual inhabitants of the lands they were to be conquering. The local kings (5 of them) upset over the peace treaty between the Israelites and the Gibeonites, attack Gibeon. The Israelites come to the aid of the Gibeonites and destroy the other 5 armies. Joshua helps by commanding God to make the sun stand still, God listens.

The Israelites continue on fighting and conquering the lands, slowly dividing them up among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joshua makes a farewell speech, urging the Israelites to follow God’s laws, not to worship false gods or idols and to refrain from intermarriage with the natives. Joshua dies.

Joshua 23-24

Joshua 23-24

Chapter 23: Keep the Commandments and Love God

Joshua speaks to Israel and encourages them to be courageous in keeping the commandments of God. He advises that the Israelites keep the commandments and LOVE God. He commands them not marry the remnants of the Canaanites, for if they do they will be brought down and destroyed for the evil that they have committed. If Israel serves other gods they will be cursed and destroyed.

We must follow the laws of Moses: Verse 6. But do we have to follow them today? I would say no. But can we learn a lot from the laws? Yes. Many things like eating of pork and other animals are not an issue today. But the general laws of doing good in the sight of God is something we must hold to.

Chapter 24: Serve the Lord God

Joshua gathers Israel and recalls how the Lord has blessed and led Israel throughout the years. Joshua and all the people make a covenant to choose serve the Lord only and no other gods. Joshua and Eleazer die. Joshua dies at the age of 110 (verse 29). The bones of Joseph are taken from Egypt and buried in Shechem.

I am including the actual text from chapter 24, only because I think it serves as a great summary of what the Lord has done for Israel since the beginning. Verses 1-13;

                “And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea. And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand. And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.” (Joshua 24:1-13)

                Joshua asks the Israelites “…choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua warns that if “…ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, they he will turn and do you hurt… after that he hath done you good” (Joshua 24:20). I find this to be very true, if we chose to disobey God’s commandments and serve other gods (which can be putting material things before him) then we will be hurt. We can take a look at the world today and see that people are suffering everywhere… why? Because they are not following the commandments of God. Don’t have sexual relations outside of marriage… and then when people do that and get diseases and have unwanted pregnancies they look to God and say “there is no God” or that “How could God cause such horrible things to happen?”

You want to know the answer? He doesn’t cause bad things to happen, he always warns us, but if we don’t listen… WE ARE THE ONES LETTING BAD THINGS HAPPEN!! God hates to see us suffer, but like in the end of the verse “…he hath done you good.” (Joshua 24:20). Why has he done you good, by hurting you? Because you have to learn. Just like a parent telling their child to not touch the stove, but after the constant pursuit to touch the stove, the parent gives up and lets the child do what they want. The result? A crying child. God sees us the same way. Honestly we are all a bunch of crying babies in his eyes, and if we want something bad enough, eventually he won’t intervene, in fact he gave us agency to choose for ourselves. Remember Adam and Eve? He let Adam make his own decision. We too can make our own decision, as long as we are prepared to face the consequences of our decisions.

Joshua 21-22

Joshua 21-22

Chapter 21: 48 Cities & Suburbs

The Levites receive 48 cities with the suburbs of each city. The Lord fulfills all of the promises that he made with Israel and he gives them rest.

Chapter 22: Altar to the Lord God

The Israelites are now at peace and Joshua calls the tribes who live on the other side of the river Jordan to go home, because the fighting is over. He thanks them for their work and for following the commandments of God.

Joshua sends them home with a warning to “…love the Lord your God, and… walk in his ways… keep his commandments, and… cleave unto him, and… serve him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5) Almost immediately after crossing over the river to go home, they start to build an altar. When the other Israelites here about this they get upset, because the Israelites are to be worshipping at one altar at the tabernacle and are not to be building their own altars. They even start to prepare to go to war against the tribes who are building this altar. However, Phinehas, the priest decides to call them all down and goes to reason with the tribes who are building this altar.

Phinehas explains that they are breaking the faith from God, by building this altar. Essentially building it without permission. They were thinking that they were building it to another god. But the other tribes explain that they are building it as witness and a way to remember to keep the commandments. It is not an altar to burn incense, but an altar to witness unto the Lord, that he is God and that all men should follow his commandments. When the rest of the tribes hear about this, they are pleased and take it as sign from God, that they are all united.

Joshua 19-20

Joshua 19-20

Chapter 19: Inheritances by Lot

Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Dan receive their inheritances by lot.

This chapter outlines all of the land that each tribe received.

Chapter 20: Cities of Refuge for Manslaughter

Six cities of refuge are appointed for those who commit manslaughter. If a man kills another man by mistake or accident may flee to one of the appointed cities of refuge, so that the opposing party does not come looking for him to make revenge.

Joshua 17-18

Joshua 17-18

Chapter 17: Manasseh/Ephraim=Inheritance

Manasseh and Ephraim both receive their inheritance. Ephraim to drive out the Canaanites from the hill country.

Chapter 18: Tabernacle of the Congregation

The Tabernacle of congregation is set up at Shiloh. Benjamin receives inheritance by lot.

Joshua 15-16

Joshua 15-16

Chapter 15: Judah Gives Inheritance

Judah gives inheritance in Canaan. Jebusites dwell with Judah at Jerusalem. This chapter goes into the detail of the land given to the tribe of Judah, except the land of Hebron which was only given to Caleb.

Joshua 15:13-19 – outlines a story about Caleb when he was conquering the land, he came to Kiriath Sepher and promised his daughter’s (Acsah) hand in marriage to anyone who could attack and capture it. Othniel was able to do it and he received Caleb’s daughter’s hand in marriage. Othniel or Acsah later asked Caleb for more land (an additional field) where they could have additional springs of water, so Caleb gave it to them.

In verse 15:63– tells us that men of the tribe of Judah were unable to remove the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem.

Chapter 16: Children of Joseph

Children of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh receive their inheritance some Canaanites continue to dwell among Ephraimites.

Joshua 13-14

Joshua 13-14

Chapter 13: Inheritance: Reuben, Gad and Manasseh

The Israelites are following the commandments of God and are doing well, however there is land to still be taken. Joshua at this point is “…old and stricken in years…” (Joshua 13:1). The lands are yet to be possessed, and some of the inhabitants are yet to be expelled and/or killed. The Inheritances of Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh are outlined.

The Divison of the Land east of Jordan (13:8-33)

Chapter 14: Land Divided

The Land is divided (by lot) among nine and a half tribes. Caleb, for its faithfulness receives the land of Caleb as a reward.

Joshua 14:6-15 – Caleb was part of the original spies who were sent into the Promised Land, Caleb reminds Joshua that he brought back good news, saying that with the Lord they could conquer the people, while the other spies brought back an evil report. Because of this Caleb is rewarded.

Joshua 11-12

Joshua 11-12

Chapter 11: Joshua and Israel Conquer

Joshua and the armies of the Israelites go up to Hazor, Madon, Shimron, Dor, Mizpeh and Achshaph and utterly destroy all of their inhabitants.

The Lord commands Joshua to kill everyone, and burn the cities and their chariots, and with the horses, the Lord commands Israel to “hough” the horses, or in other words; cut the hamstrings of the horses.

Chapter 12: Cities Conquered

All of the kings west of Jordan (31) are conquered and 2 more kings on the west side of Jordan. They are conquered by Israel.

The list of the Kings that were conquered; Joshua 12:9-24.

Joshua 9-10

Joshua 9-10

Chapter 9: Joshua Makes Servants

The Gibeonites, after hearing about the success of Israel and in some small part out of fear, make a league with all Israel. That they would become servants unto them. They do this, to avoid being destroyed in the future, as they know that their neighbors will be wiped off from the face of the earth.

Chapter 10: Stones from Heaven

The Gibeonites come to Joshua and tell him that they are about to be destroyed by the 5 kings of the Amorites and their people. So Joshua sends an army to help out their new “league” and they smite them heavily with the sword, and as they retreated the Lord sent a storm with a giant hail storm, with “stones” large enough to kill a man. In fact most of the armies of the 5 kings of the Amorites were killed by the stones then by the swords of the Israelites.

The Israelites catch the 5 kings in a cave and end up hanging all of them. A lost book of the Bible is mentioned in verse 13; the Book of “Jasher” – which we actually have in our possession today! I will be writing about that book much later, possibly towards the end of this year?

Anyways… the cities of the Amorites are completely destroyed with the help of the Lord and his armies!

Joshua 7-8

Joshua 7-8

Chapter 7: Disobedience to the Lord

While in Jericho some of the men of Israel disobey the rules that were outlined by God and took more spoils then they were supposed to. It doesn’t detail exactly what the men did, except that they violated the commandment set forth by the Lord. So the Lord punishes them by have the people of Ai, who were very small and outnumbered defeat the Israelites.

After the defeat, Joshua cries to the Lord and the Lord responds; “…Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face” (Joshua 7:10)… Essentially saying, why are you crying and praying for help… go and take care of the problem. Kind of like a father telling their child that they have legs (after asking them, let’s say, to get something from another room.) and telling them to get it themselves. I learn from this, that God will hear our prayers, but sometimes we just have to do things ourselves. We can pray all we want for money, but unless we look for a job and then earn it… we won’t have it!

In the end the Lord causes that the people who disobeyed to be destroyed!

Chapter 8: Words of the Law of Moses

Joshua is encourage by the Lord to return to the land of the people of Ai and go back to smite them. So Joshua commands his whole army to go and slay the whole people, just as they had done with the land of Jericho. They end up killing over 12,000 people and finally end the killing by hanging the king in the tree, and leaving him there overnight. The entire city and land was burned and left desolate.

At the entrance to the city, Joshua built an altar to the Lord and there he read from the “Book of the Law of Moses” (one of the lost books of the Bible). From there Joshua read about the blessings and the cursing’s that come from either obeying the Law of Moses and the commandments of God, or choosing to ignore them and disobey them.