Joshua 1

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1 Now it came to pass after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Josue the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, and said to him:

2 Moses my servant is dead: arise, and pass over this Jordan, thou and thy people with thee, into the land which I will give to the children of Israel.

3 I will deliver to you every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, as I have said to Moses.

4 From the desert and from Libanus unto the great river Euphrates, all the land of the Hethites unto the great sea toward the going; down of the sun, shall be your border.

5 No man shall be able to resist you all the days of thy life: as I have been with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will not leave thee, nor forsake thee.

6 Take courage, and be strong: for thou shalt divide by lot to this people the land, for which I swore to their fathers, that I would deliver it to them.

7 Take courage therefore, and be very valiant: that thou mayst observe and do all the law, which Moses my servant hath commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayst understand all things which thou dost.

8 Let not the book of this law depart from thy mouth: but thou shalt meditate on it day and night, that thou mayst observe and do all things that are written in it: then shalt thou direct thy way, and understand it.

9 Behold I command thee, take courage, end be strong. Fear not and be not dismayed: because the Lord thy God is with thee in all things whatsoever thou shalt go to.

10 And Josue commanded the princes of the people, saying: Pass through the midst of the camp, and command the people, and say:

11 Prepare you victuals: for after the third day you shall pass over the Jordan and shall go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God will give you.

12 And he said to the Rubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasses:

13 Remember the word, which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying: the Lord your God hath given you rest, and all this land.

14 Your wives, and children, and cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan: but pass you over armed before your brethren, all of you that are strong of hand, and fight for them,

15 Until the Lord give rest to your brethren as he hath given you, and they also possess the land which the Lord your God will give them: and so you shall return into the land of your possession, and you shall dwell in it, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan, toward the rising of the sun.

16 And they made answer to Josue, and said: All that thou hast commanded us we will do; and whithersoever thou shalt send us, we will go.

17 As we obeyed Moses in all things, so will we obey thee also: only be the Lord thy God with thee, as he was with Moses.

18 He that shall gainsay thy mouth, and not obey all thy words, that thou shalt command him, let him die: only take thou courage, and do manfully.


Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 1      

Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff and Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua Chapter 1: God Commissions Joshua

The book of Joshua is all about entering, conquering, and settling in a new land. The Israelites are to go into and live in the land which God had promised to give them, and where their forebears had dwelt many centuries before.

This chapter kicks off the story. Joshua has taken on the leadership of the Children of Israel, and he is commissioned to lead the people across the river Jordan and to take the land.

The inner meaning of this story is not a political one but, because it is in the Bible, it’s a personal or spiritual one. The land of Canaan represents our own personal life (see Apocalypse Explained 569[5]). We have some high ideals and good intentions, which are represented by the people of Israel, and we have some of the common human failings - being self-centred, critical, greedy, judgmental (you name it!). These traits are represented in the Book of Joshua by the several tribes of Canaan who have taken up residence there while Israel was in Egypt. Their tribal names have meanings like ‘low-lying’, and ‘mud-dwellers’. Conquering them symbolizes our need – with God’s help – to overcome our low-life human shortcomings and instead be led by God’s truths (Arcana Caelestia 4816).

Joshua is commissioned by God to lead the people (Arcana Caelestia 8595). Moses has died, and now Joshua is in charge. In commissioning him, God describes several things that we also need to relate to personally. First, we are told we need to cross the river Jordan to go into the land. A river is a very definite boundary and this tells us that there is a sharp distinction between our old life and our new life, without shades of grey.

Next Joshua is told that every place your foot treads upon shall be yours. This brings out our need to use God’s truths practically by living and doing them rather than intellectually just thinking about them, because our ‘foot’ is the lowest point of our body which directly touches the ground (see Heaven and Hell 97). The ground we walk on is life itself.

Then, the borders of the land of Canaan are described by namem and these give us ideas about our need to be challenged (wilderness), to think well (Lebanon), to do good (Hittites), and much more (the Great Sea). Then God says that if we make our decision to live God’s truths, nothing will be able to stand in our way.

After this come the famous words ‘Be strong and very courageous’ (Arcana Caelestia 6343). These come several times in chapter 1, to encourage us and to hold us in the strength of God’s power. We are also told not to turn to the right hand or the left, meaning that we are to obey God and do what is right without deviating. After a great start we can so easily slow down and turn away.

The Book of the Law shall not depart from our mouth but we must meditate on it day and night and keep it in our mouth, in our mind, our heart and our actions and our intentions.

Joshua then gives orders to the leaders to get the people ready to go. This means, for us, that our realisation that we must follow God and conquer our life needs to trickle down from our mind into every part of us in the smallest detail of this and this and even that. And to always be ready.

The last part of chapter 1 is about some of Israel’s tribes – Reubenites, Gadites and half of Manasseh. Earlier on, these tribes made the decision that they would rather settle on the east side of the river Jordan where there were good pastures. Moses had told them ‘Yes’ but now Joshua says that before they do, all the men must go with everybody into Canaan and fight and only then return over the Jordan to be with their wives and children and flocks.

This is telling us that there is place in our lives for external pleasures and possessions, but only when we have owned and lived the things of God first (Arcana Caelestia 870).

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