The book of Joshua is the first book in the Historical Books section of the Bible. After Deuteronomy, the children of Israel were prepared to cross over the other side of the river Jordan and enter into the promised land. Joshua himself is a type of the risen Christ leading the people to victory after battling in warfare.
The book of Joshua has an interesting counterpart in the New Testament, which is the epistle to the Ephesians. In that epistle, Paul the apostle points out that there is spiritual warfare (chapter 6) and we as believers in Christ need to have our armours on all the time. However, unlike with Joshua and the nation, our enemies are not people, and they are never people. The enemies are principalities and powers under the leadership of Satan the devil, that are against the Word of God, and that would seek to deviate us from following the Lord and obeying His Word. We must never think of people as enemies, because the Lord Jesus Christ died for them and they need a Saviour. We are only against the world system that sets itself up against God and His Word, e.g. “if you want the top position at the office, do what you have to, even if it means stepping on the other person who works with you.” This is an example of the world system of magnifying ourselves and not caring for the other people around us, which leads to not magnifying God Himself.
The book of Joshua can be divided into three parts:
Section 1 presents chapters 1-12, detailing the nation entering into Canaan and the conquest of Canaan. Chapters 1-5 bring out the passage of the river Jordan. This is important, because at the Red Sea, we see a type of salvation, Christ dying for us, but at the crossing of the Jordan (the river of death), we see a type of our dying and being raised with Christ in baptism (Romans 6 for example).
Section 2 has chapters 13-22 in view, which describes the distribution, or the division of the land of Canaan to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Section 3 has chapters 23 and 24, which present a summary of what God did with the nation, His blessings for them, and also presents Joshua’s final words and the end of his life.
I will attempt to provide some chapter titles and a very brief description of each chapter in the book of Joshua for meditation purposes.
Chapter 1 – Joshua, the new leader. Entrance into the land and the commandment from God.
Chapter 2 – Rahab and the spies. The faith of Rahab and the means for her deliverance.
Chapter 3 – Passage of the Jordan (picture of death).
Chapter 4 – The twelve memorial stones at Gilgal (speaks of self-judgement).
Chapter 5 – Gilgal: circumcision, Canaan’s food (the corn of the land), and the captain of the army of the Lord.
Chapter 6 – The fall of Jericho and saving Rahab.
Chapter 7 – Defeated by Ai; Achan’s sin and the consequences.
Chapter 8 – Recovery: Ai taken. The altar on Mount Ebal. Results of discipline.
Chapter 9 – The snare of Gibeon. The people did not inquire of the Lord about the Gibeonites.
Chapter 10 – Victory of Gibeon over the kings in the south.
Chapter 11 – Victory over the kings of the north; Hazor; the Anakim.
Chapter 12 – The kings defeated on both sides of the Jordan.
Chapter 13 – Division of the land; the two and half tribes.
Chapter 14 – Caleb and his dedication.
Chapter 15 – The portion of Judah.
Chapters 16 and 17 – Portions of Ephraim and Manasseh.
Chapter 18 – The tabernacle at Shiloh; portion of Benjamin.
Chapter 19 – Portion of Simeon, Zebulon, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Dan.
Chapter 20 – The six cities of refuge.
Chapter 21 – The 48 cities for the Levites.
Chapter 22 – The two and half tribes build an altar at Ed.
Chapter 23 – Joshua’s exhortation to the elders, heads and judges. Chapter 24 – Joshua’s final words to the people. Here there is grace in contrast to the law.