is to be made of this history; we may see in it, (1.) Much of God and his providence; his power in the kingdom of nature; his justice in punishing the Canaanites when the measure of their iniquity was full; his faithfulness to his covenant with the patriarchs; and his kindness to his people Israel, notwithstanding their provocations. We may see him as the Lord of Hosts determining the issues of war, and as the Director of the lot, determining the bounds of men's habitations. (2.) Much of Christ and his grace. Though Joshua is not expressly mentioned in the New Testament as a type of Christ, yet all agree that he was a very eminent one. He bore our Saviour's name, as did also another type of him, Joshua the High Priest, Zech. 6. 11, 12. The LXX. giving the name of Joshua a Greek termination, call him all along, Ἰησὺζ, Jesus, and so he is called. Acts 7. 45. and Heb. 4. 8. Justin Martyr, one of the first writers of the Christian Church, (Dialog, cum Tryphih. p. mihi 300) makes that promise, Exod. 23. 20, Mine angel shall bring thee into the place I have prepared, to point at Joshua; and these words. My name is in him, to refer to this, that his name should be the same with that of the Messiah; it signifies, He shall save. Joshua saves God's people from the Canaanites; our Lord Jesus saves them from their sins. Christ, as Joshua, is the Captain of our Salvation, a Leader and Commander of the people, to tread Satan under their feet, and to put them in possession of the heavenly Canaan, and to give them rest, which (it is said, Heb. 4. 8.) Joshua did not.
The book begins with the history, not of Joshua's life, (many remarkable passages of that we had before in the books of Moses,) but of his reign and government. In this chapter, I. God appoints him in the stead of Moses, gives him an ample commission, full instructions, and great encouragements, v. 1..9. II. He accepts the government, and addresses himself immediately to the business of it, giving orders to the officers of the people in general, v. 10, 11. And particularly to the two tribes and a half, v. 12..15. III. The people agree to it, and take an oath of fealty to him, v. 16..18. A reign which thus began with God, could not but be honourable to the prince, and comfortable to the subject. The last words of Moses are still verified, Happy art thou, Israel! who is like unto thee, O people? Deut. 33. 29.
1.NOW after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, 2. Moses my servant is dead, now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6. Be strong and of a good courage; for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. 7. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. 8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Honour is here put upon Joshua, and great power lodged in his hand, by Him that is the Fountain of honour and power, and by whom kings reign; instructions are given him by infinite wisdom, and encouragements by the God of all consolation. God had before spoken to Moses concerning him. Numb. 27. 18. But now he speaks to him, v. 1. probably, as he spake to Moses, Lev. 1. 1, out of the tabernacle of the congregation, where Joshua had with Moses presented himself, Deut. 31. 14. to learn the way of attending there. Though Eleazar had the breastplate of judgment, which Joshua was directed to consult as there was occasion, Numb. 27. 21. yet, for his great encouragement, God here speaks to him immediately, some think, in a dream or vision, (as Job 33. 15.) for though God has tied us to instituted ordinances, in them to attend him, yet he has not tied himself to them, but that he may, without them, make himself known to his people, and speak to their hearts otherwise than by their ears.
Concerning Joshua's call to the government, observe here,
1. The time when it was given him, After the death of Moses. As soon as ever Moses was dead, Joshua took upon him the administration, by virtue of his solemn ordination in Moses's life-time; an interregnum, though but for a few days, might have been of ill consequence; but, it is probable, that God did not speak to him to go forward toward Canaan, till after the thirty days of mourning for Moses were ended; not, as the Jews say, because the sadness of his spirit during those days unfitted him for communion with God; (he sorrowed not as one that had no hope;) but by this solemn pause, and a month's adjournment of the public councils, even now when time was so very precious to them), God would put an honour upon the memory of Moses, and give time to the people not only to lament their loss of him, but to repent of their miscarriages toward him during the forty years of his government.