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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 1

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-18


(vv. 1-9)

Since Moses had passed off the scene, the Lord now speaks directly to Joshua.Joshua had been prepared for leadership by his close association with Moses for many years. Never is there any indication that he aspired to this place of honor, but in God's time he was able to fit into this place because he was God's choice for it.

The Lord gave him clear, simple instructions to cross the Jordan, and all Israel with him, into the land provided them by God (v. 2). There was to be calm decision in steadily going forward, for the Lord promised that "everyplace that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you" (v. 3). They were expected to take possession of it, just as believers today are expected to take possession of the vital truths connected with their present inheritance in "heavenly places."

The borders described in verse 4 are more extended than Israel has ever yet possessed, for it included the wilderness (in the south), Lebanon (in the north) and eastward as far as the Euphrates River. Or, if looking westward, all the land of the Hittites (toward the east), and to the Great Sea (the Mediterranean) was included. InGenesis 15:18-21; Genesis 15:18-21 God's promise to Abram gave the borders from a viewpoint further south --" from the river of Egypt (the Nile) to the great river, the River Euphrates." Israel will eventually, in the millennium, possess all this property, but only when they have received their Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Then He will clear the way for them to claim their full inheritance.

How wonderful the encouragement given to Joshua then, that no one would be able to stand against him all the days of his life, for God would be with him as He was with Moses.This encouragement is intended too for all now who are "in Christ Jesus." As we depend on Him, no enemy can prevail against us, for we read concerning the Church built by Christ, "the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). Let the words of the Lord burn deeply into every believer's heart, "I will not leave you nor forsake you" (v. 5). Such a promise is a wonderful basis for faith to "be strong and of good courage" (v. 6). Yet it is not a selfish courage, for Joshua was to divide the land as an inheritance for all the children of Israel.He was to be a leader whose concern was first for the glory of God, and which therefore also involved concern for the children of Israel.

Verse 6 emphasizes Joshua's strength and courage in relationship to the people; now in verse 7 he is urged to be strong and very courageous in observing to act upon the law Moses had given.This involved his relationship to God, which was of vital importance if his relationship to the people was to be maintained in faithful integrity. He was to be consistently well balanced, not to waver in one direction or the other, in which way he would prosper. We today are not under law, but God's governing hand is still over us, and we are called to so value the grace of God that we should be willingly obedient to the truth revealed in the New Testament.

The Book of the Law was to be the meditation of Joshua day and night, in order that he might do all that was written therein (v. 8). We today need, not only the Old Testament, but the whole truth of the New Testament if we are to have spiritual prosperity and success.

It is the living God who commanded Joshua. Therefore again he is told to be strong and of good courage (v. 9). He had no reason to give way to fear or discouragement, for the Lord God was with him wherever he went. Even when we have learned the Word of God there may be still a danger of giving way to fear, so that we need constant encouragement from the Lord.


(vv. 10-18)

There was to be no rushing to cross the Jordan and yet no delay either, but calm deliberation and action. Joshua commanded the officers of the people to tell the people to prepare provisions for themselves, for in three days they would pass over Jordan (vv. 10-11).

Then Joshua addressed the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh, who had obtained possessions for themselves on the east of Jordan. They were not on this account to be exempt from warfare. Moses had made it clear to them that, though they were allowed to settle east of Jordan, and their wives, children and livestock could remain there, yet all able bodied men were to accompany the rest of Israel into Canaan to help them in conquest of the enemy (vv. 12-14). Not till all Israel were settled in peace in the land were these warriors to return to their possessions east of Jordan (v. 15). This was to be an effective testimony to the unity of Israel. We too should have such concern for the blessing of all the children of God.

Theresponse of these men is commendable, being fully agreeable to do just as Joshua commanded. They desired to be as subject to Joshua as they had been to Moses, and expressed the desire that the Lord God would be with Joshua as He was with Moses (vv. 16-17). There was general unity in this, yet they added that if any individual among them rebelled against Joshua's command, he would be put to death. Then they repeated to Joshua what God had told him, "Only be strong and of good courage." How deeply does every believer need this positive message!

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Joshua 1". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/joshua-1.html. 1897-1910.
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