Joshua 1

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1 And it cometh to pass after the death of Moses, servant of Jehovah, that Jehovah speaketh unto Joshua son of Nun, minister of Moses, saying,

2 `Moses my servant is dead, and now, rise, pass over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.

3 `Every place on which the sole of your foot treadeth, to you I have given it, as I have spoken unto Moses.

4 From this wilderness and Lebanon, and unto the great river, the river Phrath, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great Sea -- the going in of the sun -- is your border.

5 `No man doth station himself before thee all days of thy life; as I have been with Moses, I am with thee, I do not fail thee, nor forsake thee;

6 be strong and courageous, for thou -- thou dost cause this people to inherit the land which I have sworn to their fathers to give to them.

7 `Only, be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded thee; thou dost not turn aside from it right or left, so that thou dost act wisely in every [place] whither thou goest;

8 the book of this law doth not depart out of thy mouth, and thou hast meditated in it by day and by night, so that thou dost observe to do according to all that is written in it, for then thou dost cause thy way to prosper, and then thou dost act wisely.

9 `Have not I commanded thee? be strong and courageous; be not terrified nor affrighted, for with thee [is] Jehovah thy God in every [place] whither thou goest.'

10 And Joshua commandeth the authorities of the people, saying,

11 `Pass over into the midst of the camp, and command the people, saying, Prepare for yourselves provision, for within three days ye are passing over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you to possess it.'

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

13 `Remember the word which Moses, servant of Jehovah, commanded you, saying, Jehovah your God is giving rest to you, and He hath given to you this land;

14 your wives, your infants, and your substance, abide in the land which Moses hath given to you beyond the Jordan, and ye -- ye pass over by fifties, before your brethren, all the mighty ones of valour, and have helped them,

15 till that Jehovah giveth rest to your brethren as to yourselves, and they have possessed, even they, the land which Jehovah your God is giving to them; then ye have turned back to the land of your possession, and have possessed it, which Moses, servant of Jehovah, hath given to you beyond the Jordan, [at] the sun-rising.'

16 And they answer Joshua, saying, `All that thou hast commanded us we do; and unto every [place] whither thou dost send us, we go;

17 according to all that we hearkened unto Moses [in], so we hearken unto thee; surely Jehovah thy God is with thee as He hath been with Moses.

18 Any man who doth provoke thy mouth, and doth not hear thy words, in all that thou dost command him, is put to death; only, be strong and courageous.'


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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