Joshua 1



1 And it was, after the death of Moses, the servant of Jehovah, that Jehovah said to Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, saying,

2 Moses My servant is dead; and now arise, cross·​·over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, to the land which I give to them, to the sons of Israel.

3 Every place on which the sole of your foot shall tread, to you have I given it, as I spoke to Moses.

4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon, and to the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the great sea toward the going·​·in of the sun, shall be your border.

5 A man shall not stand·​·forth before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses, I will be with thee; I will not let·​·go of thee nor forsake thee.

6 Be·​·firm and have·​·courage, for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land, which I promised to their fathers to give to them.

7 Only be·​·firm and be· very ·courageous, to take·​·heed to do according·​·to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee; turn· not ·aside from it to the right·​·hand or to the left, so·​·that thou mayest have·​·intelligence, in all the ways in which thou goest.

8 The book of this law shall not depart out·​·of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate in it day and night, so·​·that thou mayest observe to do according·​·to all that is written in it; for then thou shalt make thy way to prosper, and then thou shalt have·​·intelligence.

9 Have I not commanded thee? Be·​·firm and have·​·courage; be not terrified, neither be· thou ·dismayed; for Jehovah thy God is with thee, in all the ways in which thou goest.

10 And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,

11 Pass· ye ·through among the camp, and command the people, saying, Prepare for yourselves provisions; for in yet three days you shall cross·​·over this Jordan, to go·​·in to possess the land, which Jehovah your God gives to you to possess it.

12 And to the Reubenite and to the Gadite, and to the half tribe of Manasseh said Joshua, saying,

13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of Jehovah commanded you, saying, Jehovah your God gives to you rest, and will give to you this land.

14 Your wives, your infants, and your livestock, shall dwell in the land which Moses gave to you across the Jordan; but you shall cross·​·over girded·​·to·​·the·​·fifth* before your brothers, all the mighty·​·men of force, and help them;

15 until Jehovah shall give to your brothers rest, as to you, and they also shall possess the land which Jehovah your God gives to them; then you shall return to the land of your possession, and you shall possess it, which Moses the servant of Jehovah gave to you across the Jordan toward the rising of the sun.

16 And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou hast commanded us we will do, and to every place that thou sendest us we will go.

17 As in all in which we hearkened to Moses, so will we hearken to thee; only Jehovah thy God be with thee, as He was with Moses.

18 Every man who shall rebel·​·against thy command* and shall not hear thy words, as to all that thou commandest him, he shall·​·be·​·put·​·to·​·death; only be·​·firm and have·​·courage.

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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Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.