The Book of Joshua

Leading the Israelites into the Promised land.

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Allocation of Land

From Chapters 13 to 22, the Book of Joshua provides a detailed account of how the land will be divided up among the tribes. Nearly all the tribes are settled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, with a few glaring exceptions: Gad, Reuven and half of the tribe of Menashe, chose to settle on the eastern banks of the Jordan. This traces back to a story in Numbers where these tribes ask to settle the trans-Jordanian area. Moses agreed to this on the condition that these tribes would complete the conquest of the land before being allowed to return and settle it. Now with the capture of Canaan complete, the promise is fulfilled.

Joshua's Life & Death

The book of Joshua contains many similarities to the story of Moses:
-          Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt. Joshua leads them into Canaan.
-          Moses leads Israelites miraculously across Red Sea. Joshua leads them miraculously across the Jordan River.
-          Moses sends out spies into Canaan. Joshua sends out two spies to Jericho.
-          Moses allocates land on the east side of the Jordan. Joshua allocates land on the west side of the Jordan.
-          And finally, Moses gives a prolonged address before dying, as does Joshua. This farewell address at the end of the book brings the parallelism between the two leaders full circle.
 
Joshua died when he was 110 years old. Only one other patriarchal figure lived exactly to 110--Joseph. And the Book of Joshua connects these two leaders in the final lines of the book. After Joshua has already passed away, we find this: "The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shehem" (24:32).
 
 Joseph was responsible for bringing the Israelites down to Egypt. But Joshua has led the people back to the Land of Canaan, officially ending the exile and opening a new chapter in Israelite history in which the people inherit their homeland.

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Elana Roth

Elana Roth is a graduate of Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she earned degrees in English Literature and Bible. She currently works as a literary agent in New York City.