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The History Of Joshua, Hero Of Israel

By Teri Farley
The history of Joshua is well known to Christians and to Jews, who share the books known as the Old Testament or the Torah. This hero of the Exodus is also featured in Muslim literature. He was the successor to Moses who led the Israelite nation across the Jordan into the ‘promised land, which Moses had been forbidden to enter.

Under the name Hoshea, the young son of Nun was one of twelve men sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan, which the Lord was giving to the Israelites. We know that he was a leader of the tribe of Ephraim, because this is recorded in the Book of Numbers. We are also told that Moses gave him the name of Joshua.

Moses sent them into the hill country across the river with instructions to see how strong the inhabitants were. He wanted to know if there were many people, if the towns were fortified, and if the land was barren or fertile. He asked the explorers to return with fruit if they could.

After forty days, the twelve returned, bringing grapes, figs, and pomegranates with them. They described a land flowing with milk and honey – in other words, very rich – but inhabited by strong men (even some giants) living in walled towns. Although Caleb of the tribe of Judah and Hoshea believed the Lord would enable Israel to gain possession of the land, the rest of the spies and the community were too afraid to go.

Because the people refused to proceed by faith, God decreed that they would wander in the desert until all the adult men had died. God sustained His people in the desert for forty years, giving them manna to eat and water from the rocks to drink, but only Caleb and Hoshea lived to cross the Jordan and dwell in the promised land. The people’s murmuring and complaining exasperated Moses, who disobeyed God at Meribah and thereby also lost the right to go across the Jordan.

This exclusion of Moses opened the way for Joshua. The Bible tells us that after Moses laid hands on him and prayed, the younger man was filled with wisdom and received God’s promise that he would succeed in all his battles. After Moses left the people to climb Mount Nebo and look across into the land he could not enter, God gave Joshua three days to get ready to cross the Jordan River.

When the priests carrying the Ark of the covenant reached the river’s edge, the flow stopped. This miracle allowed the people to cross over on dry land – just as their fathers had done at the Red Sea when Moses led them out of Egypt. The people were filled with reverence and gave their new leader their allegiance.

The history of Joshua is a favorite Bible story, showing how God goes ahead of His people to win the victory. The story teaches that obedience to God is the best policy. Under this man’s leadership, the nation of Israel occupied their new home and the land had peace while he lived.

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