Joshua listens to the LORD God. Joshua commands the officers. The people support Joshua.
VERSE 1. Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying,
the LORD. When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, “LORD” or “GOD” is the translation of God’s Proper Name.
spoke to Joshua. Previously the LORD God spoke to Moses. Now he speaks to Joshua.
In the Old Testament era, the LORD God spoke to people in a variety of ways:
- in dreams by night
- in visions by day
- through the high priest
- occasionally in an audible voice
Moses’ servant. Joshua had been the secretary of Moses for decades.
VERSE 2. “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go across this Jordan, you and all these people, to the land which I am giving to them, even to the children of Israel.
is dead. In the previous chapter, Moses passed away on Mount Pisgah.
After that, the nation grieved for 30 days.
Now therefore arise. Now is the time for action.
go across this Jordan. The LORD God commands Joshua to bring the Israelites across the mighty Jordan river.
This is a very powerful promise!
VERSE 4. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even to the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border.
VERSE 5. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you.
No man will be able to stand before you. By the grace of the LORD God, Joshua son of Nun will be a great hero of the faith.
He will deliver the Chosen People into the Promised Land. And he will accomplish preposterously awesome miracles.
Though the land was a gift of the LORD God to Israel, it would be won only by hard fighting.
Thirty-eight years earlier, Joshua and Caleb had explored this Promised Land as spies:
Numbers 13:2. Send men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel. Of every tribe of their fathers, you shall send a man, every one a prince among them.
Now Joshua will lead the armies of Israel to conquer that very territory.
VERSE 6. “Be strong and courageous; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.
Be strong and courageous. The requirement upon Joshua is clear. He is to accomplish deeds that, until the end of time itself, will seem impossible.
He must arm himself with great courage.
VERSE 7. Only be strong and very courageous. Be careful to observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
NIV translation. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.
Near the end of his life, Joshua will repeat those words as an exhortation to the nation:
Joshua 23:6. Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the scroll of the Torah of Moses, that you not turn away from it to the right hand or to the left;
be strong and very courageous. Joshua is to be VERY courageous.
VERSE 8. This scroll of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.
NIV translation. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything that is written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua lived by the Law of Moses. And at this moment, so did the nation.
In succeeding generations, the people of Israel refused to be guided by the Law of Moses. Instead, they did whatever they wanted:
Judges 21:25. In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes.
VERSE 9. Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
NIV translation. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
the LORD your God. The Hebrew word rendered “God” is “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” (Elohim).
is with you wherever you go. This can also be translated as “I will not drop or abandon you.”
commanded the officers. The LORD God had spoken to Joshua. Now Joshua speaks to the officers.
Joshua acts on the leading of the LORD God. Right now.
VERSE 11. “Pass through the middle of the camp, and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare food; for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God gives you to possess.’ ”
Prepare food. For decades they had lived on the manna from heaven. But soon that will cease.
within three days. This is very specific.
Joshua acts on the leading of the LORD God. Right now.
VERSE 12. Joshua spoke to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, saying,
VERSE 13. “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God gives you rest, and will give you this land.
NIV translation. Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: ‘The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.’
Remember. Though these three tribes (the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) had already received their inheritance east of the Jordan, Moses committed them to helping the other tribes conquer the Promised Land.
VERSE 14. Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall live in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan; but you shall pass over before your brothers armed, all the mighty men of valor, and shall help them
NIV translation. Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers
you shall pass over before your brothers. These three tribes (the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) will serve as shock troops.
They will take point in the invasion of Canaan. They will lead the way.
VERSE 15. until the LORD has given your brothers rest, as he has given you, and they have also possessed the land which the LORD your God gives them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and possess it, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.’ ”
NIV translation. until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.
VERSE 16. They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.
They answered Joshua. These three tribes (the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) remembered their commitment. And kept it.
VERSE 17. Just as we listened to Moses in all things, so will we listen to you. Only may the LORD your God be with you, as he was with Moses.
may the LORD your God be with you. These three tribes make a pledge of remarkable loyalty. But it is conditional.
They were 100 percent loyal to Joshua, to the extent that he showed clear evidence that he was being led by the LORD God.
This was a wise precaution. Otherwise they risk following a false prophet.
VERSE 18. Whoever rebels against your commandment, and doesn’t listen to your words in all that you command him shall himself be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”
shall himself be put to death. If a member of any of the three tribes is disloyal, they will be executed.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.