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The Authorship of the Book of Joshua.- “Now," or " Then,” but the Hebrew conjunction is The sentence in chap. xxiv. 26 is the only direct the same throughout, a simple “And."). No one writes statement in the Bible relating to the authorship of this * And ” as the first word of a distinct and separate book. * Joshua wrote these words in the book of the work. Such a commencement implies that what follows law of God.” Do “ these words " refer merely to the is intended as a continuation of what is already transaction immediately preceding, viz., the covenant begun. made with Israel at Shechem, or have they any wider Thus it appears that all the historical books of the application? In order to discuss this question fairly, it Old Testament to the end of 2 Kings, are written as a is necessary to consider parallel passages, and thus to continuation of the work of Moses. Joshua, Samuel, open in some measure the larger question of the author- and the rest wrote their portions “in the book of the ship of all the historical books. The signature of Moses law of God," and as it were upon the blank pages which at the close of the Book of Deuteronomy is as distinct Moses had not filled. and explicit as that of any ancient author. “Thucy- A new beginning is made in 1 Chronicles—“Adam dides of Athens wrote the history of the war between Seth, Enos ”—and this work is a compendium of the the Athenians and the Peloponnesians, how they warred history of God's people from Adam to Cyrus. The end with one another.” So he opens his narrative, and no of 2 Chronicles is repeated at the commencement of Ezra. one disputes the fact. Not less distinct is the asser- Nehemiah begins in a somewhat peculiar way: “The tion in Deut. xxxi. 9: “Moses wrote this law, and words of Nehemiah, the son of Hachaliah. And it came delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which to pass.” Manifestly the first sentence is a title and sig. bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all nature in one. The real beginning is “And.” Esther also the elders of Israel.” Again (v. 24), “When Moses begins with “ And.” This, the last portion of the Old had made an end of writing the words of this law in a Testament history, also contains the significant clause, book, until they were finished, Moses commanded the “ And it was written in the book," which appears to be Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, a reference to the sacred volume (Esther ix. 32). saying, Take this book of the law,” &c. The chapter Thus the signature of Joshua in chap. xxiv. 26 is seen that follows (xxxii.) is also said to have been written to be one of four sentences in Old Testament history, by Moses (xxxi. 22): "Moses wrote this song the same referring to the authorship of the Bible. There is
But chaps. xxxiii. and xxxiv., the latter con. another series of passages in the Chronicles alluding to taining the record of Moses' death, are manifestly not the sacred literature of the kingdom of Judah, from covered by Moses' signature. The next signature that David to Zedekiah, and giving the succession of prowe meet with is that of Joshua (xxiv. 26 ): Joshua phetic writers. But the books in this series have wrote these words in the book of the law of God." distinct titles, and were not in all cases entirely incorThe following verses contain the account of Joshua's porated into the book. This is manifest from their death, and events subsequent to it. These verses are titles, which can hardly be names of portions of Old not covered by Joshua's signature, and are not the Testament history. The well-known formula, “The work of his hand.
rest of the acts of so-and-so," more literally a “ remain. The next note of authorship which we meet with in der” (Anglicè, "remains”) of so-and-so, does not refer the Old Testament is found in 1 Sam. x. 25 : “Samuel to Scripture at all, except in one or two instances. How told the people the manner [i.e., the constitution] of the far, then, can the Old Testament be said to give any kingdom, and wrote it in the (not a] book, and laid it distinct account of the authorship of the historical up before the Lord.” From the very first mention of the books ? We see that, with one or two exceptions, Bible, it appears as “the book.” Exod. xvii. 14: “The nothing is asserted which could fix with certainty the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in authorship of a given portion to a particular man. the book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua.” Moses has certainly signed his name at Deut. xxxii.
The signature of Samuel does not stand, like those of And it is no less certain (despite the critics) that the Moses and Joshua, at the end of a specified portion of Pentateuch is an organic whole. The inference, then, history. And this leads us in the next place to observe that the Pentateuch up to the end of Deut. xxxii. that the historical books of the Old Testament are not is the work of Moses is unquestionably so strong presented as separate works, but rather as chapters in that we seem justified in accepting it as what is regarded as a single book from the very first.
Whether Moses was the first writer of the Taking them as they stand in our English Bible, they whole, or compiled portions of it out of documents form two volumes : the first including all from Genesis already existing, is a matter which we here leave to be to the end of 2 Kings; the second from Chronicles to discussed in its proper place, only observing that the Esther, inclusive. Every book in each of these volumes relative length and connection of the several portions of is connected with its predecessor by the copulative con- Genesis show that the book cannot be a mere comjunction "And."* (In our English Bible it is sometimes pilation. The Book of Nehemiah is introduced, as we
have seen, by a title and a signature. But the only * The Book of Deuteronomy, like that of Nehemiah, has its first title prefixed to the “ And.” But this is no exception.
other historical book which has been presented to us (See Notes on Deut. i. 1.)
with a signature is the book before us, viz., Jeshua,
Is the signature intended to fix with absolute certainty the books which bear their name. Is it possible to go a the authorship of the entire book in its present shape step further and ascertain (from the Bible itself, as
One very simple consideration suffices to answer this distinct from critical speculations about it) whether question provisionally, and brings us a step further on additions were made not only at the end, but also in the the road. The Book of Joshua, in its present shape, body of the text ? One such addition seems to have records Joshua's death; and the Book of Deuteronomy been made in the text of Joshua, viz., the mention of the records the death of Moses. Thus these books, as de. Danite colony at Laish, chap. xix. 47. For the settlelivered to us, show traces of the hand of an editor, no ment of this colony is distinctly and inextricably con. less than an author. Some prophet's hand must have nected with the establishment of idolatry (Judges xviii. penned the closing record of the Book of Deuteronomy, 30, 31), and it is expressly stated that the people served before proceeding to write the story of Joshua's con. the Lord all the days of Joshna. The men who remonquest in the Book of the Law of God. Another hand, strated with the two and a half tribes after the fashion after Joshua laid down the pen, must have traced the described in Josh. xxii. would never have tolerated story of his death, and before proceeding to the con. what is described in the story of Laish. It does not nected narrative of the Judges, must have collected (in seem possible to ascribe Josh. xix. 47 to the hand of part from Joshua itself) the particulars which form the Joshua himself. It stands quite naturally at the end of very careful and thoughtful introduction to that book, the list of Danite cities, an addition to the inheritance contained in chaps. i., ii., iii. 1-6.
assigned to Dan by Joshua, a town which the tribe acIn the Book of Joshua, no less than in the Pentateuch quired for itself. as it now stands, we recognise the hand of an author But if we admit a single addition to the text of Joshua and of an editor. Where does the work of the one end, by the hand of a later editor, is it possible to limit the and the work of the other begin? The discussion of operation of the principle thus conceded ? this question might easily introduce the whole subject It is necessary to look this question fairly in the face. of the modern literary criticism of the Old Testament. It seems to have been too often supposed, on the one And there are men bold enough to account for every side, that if anything were allowed to stand part of a verse in Old Testament history, and acute enough to book of the Old Testament, which did not come from imagine, describe, and distinguish any number of editors the original hand, the authority of the Bible would be and authors that their view of the requirements of the impaired. And, on the other hand, modern literary text may seem to demand.
critics feel at liberty to assign any portion of the Old But our task is much more modest. We shall be Testament to any period whatever, according to their satisfied with pointing out, for the present—(1) that the own (momentary) view of the text. Old Testament itself does recognise the existence of Between these two extremes, it must be surely possiblo these two human agencies in its formation; in the to find a middle alternative. Why should we not suppresent instance, by giving us the signature of Joshua pose that the prophetic editors of the earlier books acted near the close of his work, and by adding the account of as any faithful and conscientious man among ourselves his death afterwards in the same book, before making a would act ? To add any subsequent particulars whicl. fresh beginning. And (2) that the general reply of could give completeness to the narrative, insert a note the sacred writers to those who would inquire par- which would clear up an obscure phrase, or a later name ticularly as to who is responsible for every separate which would identify an ancient city; to mark* divisions, statement in the pages of Old Testament history, is to parting the Book of Joshua from Deuteronomy on ono the same effect as that of the three Hebrew heroes to side and Judges on the other-all this might be done Nebuchadnezzar, “ We are not careful to answer thee in
without in any way interfering with the substance of this matter.” But the reason of this apparent indiffer- the book, or effacing the individuality of the author. enco must not be misunderstood. Partly it arises from More than this it is not reasonable to ascribe to the the existence of a long succession of prophetic authors, prophetic editor. With these exceptions, there is from Moses to Malachi, who were authorised to declare nothing in the Book of Joshua which may not have been to the Jewish nation the will of Jehovah, and through the work of Joshua himself. whom, in every question demanding revelation, it was The conclusion to which we come presents us with: possible to appeal to the authority of Israel's God. this phenomenon. The writing of Joshua in the Oldi Not until that“ goodly fellowship of the prophets ” had Testament very possibly ranges from the beginning of passed away, did it become absolutely necessary to Deut. xxxiii. to a certain point in Josh. xxiv., say verse separate that which had received the stamp of Divine 26. The Book of Joshua has different limits. The moral authority, from what was mere human composition. is, that the sacred writers were not careful to tell us
But were the prophets authorised to alter as well as to exactly who the authors of the separate portions of tho edit the works of their predecessors ? A sentence from Old Testament were. The reason would seem to be Deuteronomy and a sentence from Joshua, placed side this--that the books, in their quality of Scripture, do by side, will indicate the kind of understanding there not rest solely, or principally, upon the authority of was between them. “Ye shall not add unto the word
the individual authors, but upon the collective authority which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from of the prophets, and of Him whose servants they were. it” (Deut. iv. 2). Yet “ Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God.” Clearly Joshua, who The Style of the Book of Joshua is very obeyed the Book of the Law more strictly than any of his much what we should expect from the place it occupies successors, was not the man to alter anything that Moses and its claim to be a continuation of the narrative of the had enacted. Yet it never seems to have occurred to
Exodus. Moses wrote the journeyings of the Children of him that he was transgressing the orders of Moses by adding his own contribution to the Book of the Law of * It is not generally known to readers of the English Bible God.
that the divisions between 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and
1 and 2 Chronicles, which are found even in Hebrew Bibles, The view of the Bible itself as to the province of the are the work of Christian hands. “The Christians divided prophetical editor is not inconsistent with additions to
Samuel and Kings into two books respectively.” “ They also
divided Chronicles into two books.' (Elias Levita in “Exposithe work of a Moses or a Joshua, even under the title of tion of the Massorah." Dr. Ginsburg. 1867. p. 29.)
Israel “ according to their goings ont ” (Num. xxxiii. 2). Christ is unquestionable. But, since all sound typical Joshua wrote, in the book begun by Moses, the story of interpretation must rest upon strict historical analogy, their “coming in.” In the narrative of Joshua there it becomes necessary to define precisely those relations is much that reminds us of the latter part of the Book of Joshua to God's people, and to the work of their sal. of Numbers; while the hortatory portions recall the vation, which will bear comparison with the work of manner of the Book of Deuteronomy, though falling so Him for whom the name of Joshua was designed. far short of it as to be perfectly distinct. It would be interesting to know how far Joshua had himself been Joshua then may be regarded as a type of Christemployed by Moses in the capacity of a scribe or (1) In relation to Moses. secretary. In one passage (Josh. xv. 4), if the Hebrew
(2) In relation to the written Word of God. may be trusted (the LXX. differs slightly), the very lan- (3) In relation to Israel, and in the details of the guage of the lawgiver seems to have been unconsciously work that he did for Israel. adopted. But in all arguments from style to author. (4) In his own personal character. ship in the Old Testament, it is necessary to remember the very great difficulty in the way of distinguishing (1) IN RELATION TO Moses.-Moses brought Israel different iters, arising from the employment of one
out of ypt: Joshua was ordered to bring them into uniform system of vocalisation and punctuation by the the promised land. On the whole, it may be said that Massorites, who have clothed the original language of the Mosaic legislation was designed to bring Israel out the whole book.
from among the nations, and separate them from all One phrase which occurs frequently in Joshua may
mankind. But it was the work of our Lord to bring be called characteristic. It appears for the first time them into a position above all nations in their relation in the narrative of chap. iv. 9, respecting the twelve to God. They have hitherto refused this position, stones set up in Jordan : "they are there unto this turning their backs upon the true Joshua, as they did day.” So it is said of Rahab (chap. vi. 25), “ she upon Moses when he first offered them deliverance. dwelleth in Israel unto this day.” The phrase itself is They must, however, be set above all nations when Christ not unknown in the Pentateuch, and is common in the comes again. But Joshua's principal relation to later historical books. But it strikes us in the Book of Moses is Joshua by its constant recurrence in connection with local monuments and memorials. It can scarcely be (2) His RELATION TO THE WRITTEN WORD OF appealed to as an argument for the date of the book or GOD.-The first mention of Joshua is in Exod. xvü. as a token of the hand of an editor. “ These many In that chapter, both he and the Book of the Law are days unto this day” is used of things lying wholly brought before us abruptly and without any introduction within Joshua's experience in chap. xxii. 3. And in for the first time. “Moses said unto Joshua, choose us St. Matt. xxviii. 15, it is impossible not to feel that out men, and go out, fight with Amalek.” “ The Lord the employment of the very same phrase is a proof said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in the book. of the early origin of the gospel. The phrase is one and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua : for I will utterly that may be used of things comparatively recent, but put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." gains in force as the years roll on. What a truly Thus the book is made for Joshua, and Joshua is apwonderful confirmation of the Scripture narrative it is, pointed to be the servant of the book. It is evident to be able to turn to an Ordnance Survey of Palestine, that the relation between the two is the principal thing and say
of names and boundaries described in the Book to be noted in that passage, not the fulfilment of the of Joshua, “ There they are unto this day !”
sentence on Amalek. In fact, Joshua did not execute
that sentence, although it was written for his sake. THE TIME OCCUPIED BY THE NARRATIVE IN It is clear that Moses knew he would be the conqueror Joshua is not long. The language of Caleb after the of Canaan from the first, because it was when he sent conquest of Canaan, at the commencement of the divi. him from Kadesh-barnea to search the land that he sion of the territory (chap. xiv. 10), shows that the gave him the name of Jehoshua (Jehovah Saviour, in. conquest was completed in five-and-forty years from stead of Oshea or Hoshea, which was his earlier name). the sending of the twelve spies from Kadesh-barnea. For this mission of Joshua and the other spies was inDeducting thirty-eight years for the remainder of the tended as a first step to the conquest of the country. Exodus, we have seven years for the great campaigns And it is in this conquest, in obedience to the law of of Joshua, not an insufficient period when we remem- Moses, that Joshua is a type of the Lord Jesus. ber what is elsewhere associated with the phrase But what is the counterpart of the conquest of “seven years' war.” Joshua died at the age of 110, Canaan in the work of our Lord ? And what is and if he was of the same age with Caleb, this would Joshua's WORK leave five-and-twenty years for the remainder of the book.
(3) IN RELATION TO ISRAEL P—The Epistle to the AMONG RECENT COMMENTARIES ON JOSHUA there
Hebrews suggests that it is the introduction of the are three which are very complete in different ways.
people of God into the rest which God gives them. Bishop Wordsworth’s is most full and interesting upon
Now the Jews as a nation have not yet entered into the the spiritual teaching of the book. Canon Espin, in
rest offered by Christ. For them, therefore, the work the Speaker's Commentary, has dealt very fully with
of Joshua is unfulfilled by Him. The accomplishment its historical bearings. And Dr. Maclear, in the
of the type in that sense is future. Joshua went into Cambridge Bible for Schools, although his materials
Canaan by himself forty years before he brought in
Israel. And the Jewish nation has hitherto refused to are collected from very various sources, and those not
follow the true Joshua into the rest of God. But the always equally reliable, is nearly perfect in his atten. tion to geographical detail.
Israel of God has followed Him, and thus in His relation
to the Church of the redeemed our Lord has fulfilled On Joshua as a Type of Christ.–That Joshua the things foreshadowed in Joshua, though not in relais set before us in the Old Testament as a type of tion to the nation of the Jews.
But what portion of the work of Christ for us answers to the conquest of Canaan by Joshua ?
Two different views of this are possible, and in fact necessary, if we look at the story in its true historical aspect. Joshua stands at the end of one dispensation and the beginning of another. In relation to the previous history of Israel, the work of Joshua is an end. In relation to their later history, it is only a beginning. It is an end of the pilgrim life which they led in Canaan and Egypt and in the wilderness, having no fixed possession, but travelling from place to place, and halting wherever they were bidden. It is the begin. ning of their life as a nation, occupying a territory of their own, and maintaining in that territory the laws of Jehovah their God.
Now if we regard the Christian life as a pilgrimage, the counterpart of Israel's sojourn in Canaan, Egypt, and the wilderness, it is evident that the entrance into Canaan is the end of this life, and a passage to a better world. In this view, the comparison between the crossing of Jordan and death is sufficiently familiar.
But inasmuch as Christ gives His people rest when they begin to live in Him, and calls them to enter on a good fight of faith; and since the Christian life may be compared to the life of Israel as a nation in the promised land, we obtain a second view of the work of Joshua in relation to Christ. It answers to the estab. lishment of the believer in Christ in a position where he may fight and conquer, expelling the enemies of Christ from his own heart, or subduing them in it.
In this view, the work of Joshua is introductory and preliminary to a period of warfare, which will end in complete victory, and in the establishment of David's throne.
(2) THE CONQUEST OF CANAAN (chap. v. 13 to the end of chap. xii.).
Appearance of the Captain of the Lord's Host, with the drawn sword. The order to attack Jericho
(chaps. r. 13 to vi. 5). Jericho taken (chap. vi. 6—27). Achan's trespass discovered in the failure to take Ai
(chap. vii.). Ai taken (chap. viii. 1-29). The law set up in the heart of the country (chap.
viii. 30—35). The Gibeonites come in and make peace (chap. ix.). Gibeon attacked by the southern confederacy,
which is crushed by Joshua. The south of Pa
lestine conquered (chap. x.).
conquered (chap. xi.).
(4) In Joshua's own PERSONAL CHARACTER.The chief points seem to be zealous and faithful discharge of duty, and abnegation of self. The absence of personal ambition and vanity is clear. Deeds and 110t words make up the greater part of his history. Among the twelve spies Caleb is more prominent than Joshua. When Joshua is jealous it is for Moses' honour, not for his own. He is again and again urged to “ be strong and of good courage, as though naturally inclined to shrink from responsibility. He takes his own inheritance last, after all the tribes. His family receives no high position. None of his descendants are even named, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He appears to have grown old comparatively early, a fact which very possibly indicates the laborious character of his life. Yet he must have been a man of strong personal influence. Israel served the Lord all his days.
Analysis of the Book.–The contents of the Book of Joshua can be arranged thus :
(1) THE PASSAGE OF JORDAN (chaps. i. 1 to v. 12), including
Joshua's commission to lead Israel over Jordan, in
obedience to the law (chap. i. 1-9). Joshua's first orders to the people (chap. i. 10–18). The spies sent to Jericho, and received by Rahab
(chap. ii.). Passage of Jordan (chaps. iii. 1 to iv. 19). Encampment in Gilgal; Circumcision and Pass
over; Manna ceases (chaps. iv. 20 to v. 12).
(3) THE DIVISION OF THE TERRITORY (chaps. xiii. to xxii. inclusive).
Boundaries of the territory to be divided (chap. xiii. 1-14).
(a) On the east of Jordan. Territory of Reuben (xiii
. 15—23), Gad (24—28), half Manasseh
Manasseh (xvii, 1–12).
Benjamin (xviii. 11-28), Simeon (xix. 1-9),
Levitical cities (ehap. xxi.).
heritance, and their altar Ed (chap. xxii.). (4) Joshua's LAST CHARGE AND DEATH (chaps. xxiji., xxiv.).
(a) His charge to the rulers at Shechem (chap.
His signature (verse 26). Death (verses 29, 30).
of Eleazar (verses 31–33). It is observable that in the record of the conquest we have the capture of two cities described in detail, viz., Jericho and Ai-one in the territory of Benjamin, and one in mount Ephraim. We have also two great battles -one in the south, another in the north-each opening a campaign. It seems likely that no third campaign was needed, from the absence of any strongholds in the centre of the country, where the cities are far fewer than they are in the south and north, and along the sea-side.
It seems clear, upon the whole, that Israel entered the land of Canaan at the weakest part, where there was least possibility of resistance; that they divided their adversaries, and struck fatal blows alternately on either hand; the resistance of the Canaanites being in great measure paralysed by the unusual mode of attack.