By way of an INTRODUCTION.



  It is not so much what you study: the question is, With whom you study.’  Such was the counsel given by Ralph Waldo Emerson to his daughter when she was leaving home to attend a famous school.  In this he rightly estimated the value of the personal element in the make up of the teacher.  Never man spake like this Man,” was the testimony given regarding Him who “taught with authority.”  Was it not that the uniqueness of His teaching came largely from the strength and beauty of the personality of the Teacher?  His teaching was Himself.  He was “the Word made flesh” – truth personified


I have a motto printed on a card hanging in my room which reads thus:- God First.  ‘In the beginning of the year, God.  In the beginning of every Christian activity, God.  In the beginning of each day, God.’  It is a constant and helpful reminder to me of the proper order of things, of the importance of remembering the highest things first, of the necessity of putting eternal [and millennial*] virtues before everything else.”


[* God is the only channel through which the pastor’s influence and helpfulness must reach the pupils in His school; and if God’s responsibility truths and conditional promises are being neglected or dammed up, He will either replace the teacher, block his work, or cause an overflow of divine truth to emerge that will swamp the school.  God’s grace and truth will create a divine atmosphere in the school, and its acceptance or rejection will determine whether each individual member will be “hot” with spirituality, obedience and devotion, or “cold” with indifference and worldliness, (Rev. 3:15): and let us not forget the Man Christ Jesus - (our Saviour and Lord) - who sees all, knows all, is everywhere present; and who will pass judgment and determine the position of each saved soul in the age to come.] 


God holds His pastors, elders, and deacons responsible for His Church’s organisation, discipline, growth and for the character of teaching done.   In short, it is in their hands to make or mar the school, to make it ‘a soul-saving or a soul-harrowing institution’.  A position like that needs to be filled with great care. 


While we are saying so much about teacher training and pastoral leadership, let us not forget about the “Prizeto be won (1 Cor. 9: 24), and the “Crownwhich can be lost (Rev. 2: 11); and the MAN who is now seated in a heavenly position - the Righteous Judge - of who will decide who the recipients of “the recompense of the inheritance” (Col. 3: 24, 25), will be on thatDay”, (2 Peter 3: 8.).]






Lesson 1.


Joshua: Israel’s New Leader.





Golden Text


Joshua 1: 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.”



Bible Readings



Monday - Joshua 1: 1-11.


Tuesday – Joshua 1: 12-18.


Wednesday – Numbers 27: 15-23.


Thursday – Deuteronomy 17: 14-20.


Friday – Joshua 8: 30-35.


Saturday, Proverbs 3: 1-10.


Sunday (Lord’s day) – 1 John 2: 1-8.






B.C. 1451, according to our Bible margin, directly after the last lesson, forty years after the Exodus.






The plain of the Jordan, on the east side, at the foot of the Moabite mountains, opposite Jerico.






Moses had been laid to rest, but the purposes of God will not fail of their accomplishment.  No man is indispensable.  Hence we can read on without a break from Deuteronomy into Joshua.  The story goes from the lonely [unmarked] grave to the bustling camp and the new leader.  Moses, my servant, is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people.”


It is worth while to pause here for a moment and inquire who and what manner of man this was who took the place of the great leader, and henceforth filled so large a place in the history of the chosen people.






In tracing their pedigree the Jews usually counted back to the son of Jacob who was the head of their tribe.  To Joshua it must have been no small gratification to know that he was sprung from so good and so great a man as Joseph; and then from Ephraim.  Joseph’s son, whom the dying Jacob so expressly placed before the other as heir of the richer blessing (1 Chronicles 7: 20-27).  From Numbers 1: 10 and 2: 18 we learn that Elishama was the captain or head of the tribe.  He was the man of the tribe who was, according to the Divine direction, to stand with Moses (2: 18), and he is called the captain of the sons of Ephraim.  In Numbers 2: 19 it is stated that the great tribe of Ephraim consisted of no fewer than forty thousand and five hundred.  At the head of this vast multitude Elishama would march with Nun, his son, and Joshua, his grandson, at his side.  To this tribe on the march in all likelihood would be entrusted the bones of Joseph (Exodus 13: 19), which were never lost sight of in their wanderings until they were solemnly deposited in the last resting-place at Shechem (Joshua 24: 32).


The coffin containing the embalmed body of his great ancestor would naturally be regarded as something supremely sacred by the youthful Joshua, and it can hardly have failed to fire his enthusiasm for righteousness, and to create within his ardent soul the determination that he would follow in the footsteps of a servant of God so eminent and so honoured.  The patriarch’s bones journeying, according to directions given by himself, with the host was a powerful stimulus to faith in the future of the people.  In Hebrews 11: 22 it is set down as proof of the patriarch’s own faith.  Could the life be better spent than in the service of a people to whom so great a destiny was assured?  Under such conditions, then, the early days of Joshua were spent; and we shall be better able to understand the man’s lofty patriotism, invincible faith, and absolute devotion to the service of God and his fellows when we have some knowledge of the circumstances which went to the making of him.


It is evident that Moses, who must, from his large experience, have been a very good judge of character, detected some special qualities in Joshua – a disposition more congenial to his own than that of either the father or the grandfather.  In no other way can we account for the extraordinary mark of confidence which he received from Moses when, from all the thousands of Israel, he was the man chosen to repel the attack of the Amalakites (Exodus 17: 8-16).  This victory brought Joshua into prominence; hence from this time onward we find him acting as the comrade and personal attendant of Moses, and the man who is chosen when duties of a specially delicate or onerous [i.e., burdensome] character lie to hand.  For example, he is selected to accompany the lawgiver to Sinai when the cloud covered the mount and the glory of God abode thereon (Exodus 24: 13-15).  To another memorable service we find him called some time after this.  He is appointed one of the twelve spies who were sent forward to explore the country, and, with the exception of Caleb, he was the only man whose faith and courage did not fail.


For some eight-and-thirty years we hear nothing more of Joshua.  Like Moses, he had an interesting youth, then a long burial in the wilderness, and then he emerges from his obscurity and does a great work, second only to that of Moses himself.”  The next mention of him after this long eclipse is immediately before the death of Moses.  God virtually appoints him then to be Moses’ successor, and commands both of them to present themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation (Deuteronomy 31: 14).  Moses then calls him to office and gives him a charge (verse 23).  We should like to know how these eight-and-thirty years were spent; what fresh influences he came under, what doughty deeds he performed, what further preparation he received for his [latter] life’s work.  But here, as in the case of other eminent servants of God, knowledge is denied us.  Joshua was one of the great military heroes of the faith; and in singleness of purpose, self-sacrificing devotion to duty, and lofty patriotism, he is not excelled by the very greatest.


Joshua died at the age of one hundred and ten years (Judges 2: 8; Joshua 24: 29).  It is said that he was 27 years in Canaan.  Then he would be 43 at the time of the Exodus, or 37 years younger than Moses, and 83 when he led the people across the river and began the conquest.


The Book of Joshua consists mainly of two parts – one historical, the other geographical.  There are twenty-four chapters in the book, of which the first twelve make up the history of Israel from the death of Moses, and continue it through the conquest of Western Palestine; while the next nine record the division of the land among the tribes.  An appendix gives Joshua’s speech to Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh, his dismissal of them to Eastern Palestine (22: 1-9); the controversy about the altar of Ed. (22: 10-34); the last days of Joshua and his death (24: 29-31); the burial of Joseph’s body (24: 32); and the death of Eleazer, son of Aaron (24: 33).


The book forms the necessary supplement to the completion of the Pentateuch.  In Genesis 12: 7, etc., God had promised the land to Abraham* and his descendants; and this book records the fulfilment of the promises [in part* and] gives an account of the entrance and settlement in the land.


[* Note. When comparing Acts 7: 7b with Acts 7: 4, 5: “God removed him (‘our father Abraham’) into this land, and he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: and he promised that he would give it to him in possession, and to his seed after him…”.  Here we discover that the earthly ‘inheritance’ promised to Abraham in the land of Canaan (see, Gen. 13: 14, 15; 15: 18), can only be fully realized and enjoyed after Abraham’s resurrection, and during the Millennial Kingdom of Messiah Jesus upon this earth. See 2 Tim. Ch. 2. cf. Heb. 10: 39; 11: 39, 40, R.V.. 


The loss of the that inheritance - for wilful sin and disobedience (Heb. 10: 26-30) - is stated by the LORD Himself to disobedient and redeemed family members:- “but in very deed, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord: because all those men which have seen my glory, and my signs, which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have tempted me these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that despised me see it…” (Num. 14: 21-23, R.V.)  See also Gal. 5: 19-21; Eph. 5: 5.]



Lesson Analysis.



TOPIC. – Conditions essential to a useful life.



1. DIVINE DIRECTIONverses 1-9.



(a) Difficulties in the way – verse 2.


(b) Ample provision promised – verses 3 & 4.


(c) Victory assured – verse 5.


(d) Courage needed –6 & 7.


(e) Meditation enjoinedverse 8.



2. OBEDIENCEverses 10 & 11, involving


(a) Foresight – verse 11.


(b) Faith - verse 11.



Lesson:- Revised Version.



Joshua 1: 1 Now it came to pass after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, 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, to you have I given it, as I spake 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 border.  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 good courage: for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I sware unto their fathers to give them.  7 Only be strong and very courageous, to 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 have good success 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 good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.


10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 Pass through the midst of the camp, and commanded the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye are to pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.



Lesson Notes.



Verse 1.  Mosesthe servant of the Lord.  This is the most noble title which any man can receive.  It originally implies the position of a slave, whether born in the house or bought with money (Leviticus 25: 39; Genesis 9: 25).  It is applied to David, the prophets, the Messiah, etc., and very frequently to Moses.  His position as the household servant of the Most High, His steward and representative, ruling over the family, renders the application of the title to him specially appropriate.


Joshua the son of Nun.  Joshua’s name was originally Hoshea, and meant simply salvation, or deliverance; but it was changed, either when he entered into Moses’ service, or when about to fight the Amalakites, into Jehoshua.  Je” stands for Jehovah; hence the name means, “Jehovah is salvation,” or “Jehovah will save.”  In the form of Joshua it is the same as Jesus – Acts 7: 45, and Hebrews 4: 8.  It was a common name in latter times, as Colossians 4: 11, Acts 13: 6 will serve to show.


Moses’ Minister.  This word is principally used of service in the house of God.  Thus it is used by Aaron and his sons (Exodus 28: 43), and of Samuel (1 Samuel 2: 11).  Joshua was the intimate attendant of Moses.


Verse 2.  Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan.  The same Jordan signifies “descender,” from a verb which means to descend, and fitly describes the rapidity with which the current runs.  From 3: 15 we learn that the river was in flood.  To lead a large crowd over a swollen river, with the possibility of an enemy waiting on the other side, was a perilous undertaking.


Verse 3.  Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon.  These words are a quotation, almost word for word, from Deuteronomy 11: 24.  It was God’s purpose that the whole land should belong to the children of Israel.  But we find here, as elsewhere in Scripture, man’s sin frustrating or marring the purpose of God.  From the book of Judges we learn that not only were the Canaanites not driven completely out, but the children of Israel made marriages with them, worshipped their gods, and practised their abominations.  Jerusalem remained in the hands of the Jebusites until the time of David, while the Philistines retained possession of their portion of Palestine until it was reduced under the power of Cyrus.


Verse 4.  From the wilderness and this Lebanon.  This verse gives the limits of the Promised Land.  They were practically the boundaries under David and Solomon, and they might have been such from the beginning if the people had fulfilled the conditions and taken possession.


The wilderness.  This means the desert of Arabia, where the children of Israel wandered so long [until the disobedient, accountable generation (who forfeited their inheritance in the Promised Land) were all buried.]*


[* Compare Psalm 95: 7-11 and 1 Corinthians 10: 1-11, with Hebrews 4: 11 and Num. 14: 20-23.]


Lebanon, the northern boundary.


The Great River, the river Euphrates, was the eastern boundary.


The Great Sea, the Mediterranean, was the western boundary.  It was the greatest sea known to the Jews [at that time].  See map of Canaan in the patriarchal ages.


Verse 6.  There shall not any man be able to stand before theeas I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.  This is the ground of Joshua’s confidence.  He was a smaller man than Moses, but the God who gave Moses so much success is still the same, and is his God also.


Verse 8.  The book of the law.  The law which God had given them, and which was embodied in a written document when the book of Joshua was written.  How much of the Pentateuch was included in the book we do not know, but that some part of it was is beyond dispute.


Thou shalt meditate therein.  The word for meditate is the one used in Psalm 1: 2, and suggests a deep, dull mode of utterance, hovering, as it were, between within and without; the quiet soliloquy of one who is searching and meditating.


Verse 10.  Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people.  Different ideas have been entertained as to the duties of these officers.  Probably their business originally was to keep records, and it is likely that they exercised some kind of judical functions as well.


Verse 11.  Prepare you victuals; literally, game; the term being applied to meat obtained by hunting.  Thus it is supplied to Esau’s venison in Genesis 27.  Here it means food of any kind, but especially animal food.  It is evident that the miraculous supply of manna was soon to cease.



Lesson Suggestions



(1) No person is indispensable.  We sometimes think that when the greatest leader falls the work will come to a standstill; that another big enough to take his place will not be found.  When we reason in this way we leave God out of our calculations.  The tools are changed, and in the changing of them there may be some interruption of the work; but the Master-hand is still the same, and He will take care that there be no loss.  “Moses, my servant, is dead.”  What then?  Abandon the enterprise?  No.  Now therefore arise and go over this Jordan, thou and all this people.”  In Westminster Abbey is a small tablet containing the medallion portraits of the Wesleys combined together, and underneath is the inscription, “God buries the worker, but carries on the work.”  When we feel disposed to magnify our own little selves and to place a corresponding value on our work, it would be well for us to take this truth home to our hearts.  Others will be found to step in and take our place, and the work will be going on when we are quite forgotten.


(2) God graduates the burden to the strength of the bearer.  Joshua was a much smaller man than Moses.  Moses was the teacher, Joshua the pupil.  Moses was the hero, Joshua the hero-worshipper.  But Moses’ work was not expected from Joshua.  A wind-swept sea at midnight, with the fearful sound of a marching host fast appearing, was not too much for Moses; a river in flood between harvest fields was enough for Joshua.  It was no doubt a difficult task to lead the multitude across the river, but it was a small affair when compared with the crossing of the Red Sea.  God suits the task to individual capacity; He calls to no duties beyond our powers.


(3) There is a great difference between [a conditional] promise and possession.  A thing promised is not therefore possessed [without its accompanying obedience to “to observe to do”.]  The whole land was [initially] promised to [all of] the people [when they left Egypt], and [after 40 years in the desert] they were commanded to conquer it; but they became faithless and failed.  See Lesson Notes, verse 3.  The whole land was theirs, but in reality they had only so much of it as they drove the inhabitants out of and took actual possession of.  An unlimited inheritance is set before us [to-day] in the promises of God’s Word; but it is only ours in so far as we have taken possession of it by faith.  The redemption which is in Christ [Jesus] will benefit only when personally appropriated.  We must make the - [Millennial kingdom – the antitype of the] Promised Land - a possessed land.


(4) We ought to make the law of God - [See The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7)] - our constant companion.  Joshua was commanded to meditate on the “book of the law” day and night.  We should make earnest efforts to acquire a [correct interpretation and] knowledge of God’s Word.  Let us be sure that no other possession will prove so valuable.  They are best guided whom God guides, and God guides those who love and follow the teaching of His Word.


(5) God’s promises do not free us from the necessity of using foresight and discretion.  The people could count on the supply of every need, nevertheless Joshua commanded them to look ahead and prepare victuals [spiritual food, i.e., a mature knowledge of God’s Word] for the journey.  They could do this, and therefore they were expected to do.  God helps those who help themselves.”



Lesson Questions.



1. Who was the successor of Moses?  2. Why was Moses not allowed to lead the people into the promised land?  3. From what great patriarch was Joshua sprung?  4. To what tribe did he belong?  5. Name his father and grandfather.  6. What precious relic may we believe accompanied the tribe of Ephraim on the journey?  7. Of what does the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews regard Joshua’s commandment concerning his bones as an evidence?  8. In what great battle was Joshua leader?  9. Name some special marks of favour which he received after this?  10. Of what other great man does Joshua remind us?  11. How many chapters are in the book of Joshua, and how may the book be divided?  12. What age was Joshua at the Exodus, when he led the people into the promised land, and when he died?  13. Name the boundaries of the promised land?  14. What does the name Joshua mean?



*       *       *       *       *       *       *



Lesson 2


Israel Enters the Land of Promise.


Joshua 3: 5-17.



Read Joshua 2-4.  Commit verse 17.









Psalm 107: 7. – “And he led them also by a straight way,

that they might go up to a city of habitation.”



Bible Readings.



Monday -                                                         Joshua 3: 5-17.


Tuesday, -                                                        Joshua 4: 1-11.


Wednesday, -                                                   Joshua 4: 12-24.


Thursday, -                                                      2 Kings 2: 1-14.


Friday, -                                                           Psalm 114.


Saturday [the Sabbath], -                                 Psalm 78: 1-8.


Sunday, - [the first day of the new week]        Isaiah 43: 1-13.






The Jordan was crossed early in April.  It was the anniversary of the day on which, forty years before, the Israelites had been directed to take up the lambs for the first Passover in Egypt.






At Abel Shittim, near the fords of the Jordan, on the east bank, opposite Jericho, at the foot of the Moabite mountains.






After Joshua had been duly installed as leader in succession to Moses, he commanded the people, through the officers, to make provision for passing over the river “within three days.”  He then turned his attention to the conquest which the crossing would involve; and, realising that it would require the services of every available man, he proceeded to address the two and a half tribes – the Rubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh (chapter 1: 12-18).


From Numbers 32 we learn that when on the march, under Moses, the lands of Sihon and Og were reached, these tribes made the request that they might be allowed to settle there and not cross the Jordan with their brethren, owing to the suitableness of these lands for their abundant flocks and herds.  Their request was granted on condition that they would cross with their brethren and help in the war; this being successfully ended, they could return and settle in the lands of their choice.  Happily they were honourable men; Joshua had only to remind them of the arrangement.  Not only did they express their readiness to keep the word they had given, but they declared that the man who would not yield obedience to Joshua should be put to death.


These faithful people furnish a perpetual lesson for all who, having made a promise under pressure are tempted to recede from it when the pressure has been withdrawn.  Fidelity to engagements is a noble quality, just as laxity in regard to them is a miserable sin.  In the 15th. Psalm we have a portrait of the man who is to abide in God’s tabernacle and dwell in His holy place; and, among other things, we are told that he “sweareth to his hurt and changeth not.”


According to chapter 4: 13 there were only about forty thousand men belonging to the two and a half tribes who crossed the Jordan to take part in the war; whereas, according to Numbers 26: 7, 18, 34, there were over one hundred and ten thousand (110,580) in these tribes who were able to carry arms.  Hence over seventy thousand must have remained behind to protect the women and children, flocks and herds.


Knowing well that the promise of God does not preclude the necessity for human effort, Joshua, now proceeds to do what was possible on his part to secure the success of the enterprise.  He had been a spy himself, hence it was natural that he should think of this method of finding out the kind of the country, now that they were on the eve of making the entrance into it, which they should have made forty years before.  The experiences of the two courageous men who were chosen for this dangerous mission, and their dealings with Rahab the harlot, are fully set forth in chapter 2.


When the reassuring report (2: 23, 24) has been received, Joshua proceeds to complete the arrangements for crossing the river at once; and it is with the crossing of the river that to-day’s lesson deals.



Lesson Plan.



(1) Commandment receivedverses 7, 8.


(2) Commandment rehearsedverses 9-13.


(3) Obedience renderedverses 14, 15.


(4) Promise verifiedverse 16.


(5) Possession attainedverse 17.



Lesson:- Revised Version.



Joshua 3: 5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to-morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.  6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of this covenant, and pass over before the people.  And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.  7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.  8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the waters of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.


9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.  10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Hivite, and the Perizzite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Jebusite.  11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.  12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, for every tribe a man.  13 And it shall come to pass, when the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off, even the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand in one heap.  14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, the priests that bear the ark of the covenant being before the people; 15 and when they that bear the ark were come into Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brink of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all its banks all the time of harvest,) 16 that the waters which came down from above stood, and rose up in one heap, a great way off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan: and those that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.  17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all Israel passed over on dry ground, until all the nation were passed clean over Jordan.



Lesson Notes



Verses 5, 6  PREPARATION.



Verse 5.  Sanctify yourselves.  The form of the verb used here is frequently employed to donate ceremonial purification (Exod. 19: 22; 1 Chron. 15: 12-14; 2 Chron. 5: 11).  We may conclude, however, that the sanctification enjoined on this occasion was not of this outward kind, because for the performance of the elaborate ceremonies prescribed there would not have been sufficient time.  Rather, we think, it consisted of spiritual purification, i.e, in turning the heart to God, in faith and trust in His promise and in willing obedience to His commandments.


Wonders, or rather Miracles.  The verb from which the word comes means to remove, separate, distinguish.  The people might expect to see things on the morrow different from the ordinary course of God’s providence.


Verse 6.  And Joshua spake unto the priests.  This shows that the occasion was an extraordinary one.  On ordinary occasions this was the duty of the Kohathites (Num. 4: 15).


And they took up the Ark of the covenant.  The symbol of God’s presence and His covenant promise, as well as their covenant of obedience.  There was no longer the pillar of fire to guide them – that was a wilderness symbol of God’s presence, now superseded by a more permanent symbol – the Ark.  Both symbols represented the same great truth – the gracious presence and guidance of God – and both called the people to the same duty and privileges, and to the same assurance of absolute safety so long as they followed the Lord.” (Blaikie.)


Went before the people.  There was to be a space of 2,000 cubits, or nearly three-quarters of a mile, between the Ark and the people (Jos. 3: 4); so that all might see the sacred symbol, which would not have been possible if it had been closely surrounded by the crowd.



Verses 7, 8.  GOD’S COMMAND.



Verse 7.  To-day will I begin to magnify thee.  This miraculous guidance of the people through the Jordan was only the beginning of the whole series of miracles by which the Lord put His people in possession of the Promised Land, and glorified Joshua in the sight of Israel.  Just as Moses was accredited in the sight of the people, as the servant of the Lord in whom they could trust, by the miraculous division of the Red Sea (Exod. 14: 31), so Joshua was accredited as the leader of Israel, whom the Almighty God acknowledged as He had His servant Moses, by a similar miracle, the division of the waters of the Jordan.”  Moses divided the waters of the Red Sea with his rod; Joshua was to do the same to the Jordan with the Ark of the covenant.” (Delitzsch.)






Verse 10.  The living God.  By the following announcement the people will learn that there is a living God in the midst of them.  They have not with them some idol of wood or stone, but the living God, who shows by His acts that their faith in Him is not vain.  The phrase is very commonly applied to God in the Old Testament.


The Canaanites.  The descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham (Gen. 9: 18).


The Hitites.  They were the descendants of Heth (Gen. 10: 15).


The Hivites.  The name of this tribe is not found in the first enumeration of the nations of Canaan (Gen. 15: 19-21); but we find the name in the list of Canaan’s descendants in Gen. 10: 17; 1 Chron. 1: 15.  Shechem, the prince of the city of that name, was Hivite.


The Perizzites.  The word Perizzite signifies countrymen, as distinguished from the dwellers in houses.”  It is generally thought that the reason why their name is omitted in Gen. 10 and 1 Chron. 1 may be that they were of no particular tribe, but were a collection of men from every tribe engaged in agriculture.


The Girgashites.  They are mentioned in Joshua 24: 11; Gen. 15: 21; Deuter. 7: 1.  They were no doubt a small tribe inhabiting, it has been supposed, the country of Geresa, or Gerasa (Matt. 8: 28), upon the lake of Gennesaret.


The Amorites.  These were the most powerful of the Canaanitish peoples (see Amos 2: 9).  They not only inhabited the mountains (Num. 13: 29; Joshua 11: 3), but crossed over Jordan and wrested the country out of the hands of the Moabites (Num. 21: 13, 24-26), and dwelt there until dispossessed by Moses.


The Jebusites.  The highlands round about Jerusalem formed their stronghold.  These they retained until David dislodged them (2 Sam. 5: 6-8).


Verse 11  The Lord of all the earth.  This description of Jehovah as “Lord of all the earth” is repeated in  verse 13, and it is no doubt for strengthening the confidence of the people in the Omnipotence of the Lord.  He was about to prove Himself “Lord of all the earth” by the mighty miracles He would perform for the establishment of the Israelites in the land of promise.


Verse 12.  Take you twelve men.  If a modern writer was describing the event, he would say that the nation received the democratic constitution.  Every tribe was allowed a share, for every tribe was commanded to send a man, and the selection rested with the people.  The twelve picked men were to take each man a stone, presumably as big as he could carry, and the stones were to be placed on the spot where the host lodged the first night after reaching the Promised Land.  The heap of stones was to stand as a memorial of the miraculous deliverance.  It would necessarily be a rough, un-pretentious, un-ornamental structure, unlike the proud temples and great pyramids of Egypt; but it would serve the purpose for which it was designed, viz., to recall the goodness [and faithfulness] of God.


Verse 13.  The waters of the Jordan shall be cut off.  So as to disappear at the place where the priests stand with the Ark of the Covenant.  This took place through the waters standing still as a heap, or being heaped up, at some distance above the standing place.






Verse 15.  For Jordan overfloweth all its banks at the time of harvest.  The rise of the river still takes place at the time of harvest, in April and at the beginning of May.  This would be the barley harvest, which comes in Palestine six or seven weeks before the wheat harvest.  The overflow is caused by the melting of the snow on Hermon.  It is only by swimming that it can be crossed at this season of the year, and even that cannot be accomplished without great danger, as it is ten or twelve feet deep in the neighbourhood of Jericho, and the current is very strong..  It may possibly be in this way that the spies crossed and re-crossed the river a few days before.  This, however, would be quite impossible for the people of Israel with their wives and children.  The Lord of the whole earth must make a road by a miracle of His Omnipotence.


Salt Sea.  It is called the Dead Sea from the immobility of its waters, as well as from the apparent absence of all life within them.”



Lesson Suggestions



(1) We should put away everything which tends to obscure our vision of God.  There was to be a clear space between the people and the Ark.  The reason of this, as we have seen, was that all the people might be able easily to see the Ark and to follow its guidance.  How much misery should we escape, how free should we be from the pains of remorse, if we only kept God steadily before us and directed our steps according to His leading.  Far better to wait, though we may seem to be doing nothing, until we are sure that we know and are following the will of God, than to rush along some way from which we may have the humiliation of turning back; or, worse still, not be able to turn back.  If we do not learn to suppress our own wills and follow God’s, however great the self-denial, then blunders, miseries, remorse, despair, will be the only fruit our lives will yield.  If we allow unclean thoughts to harbour in our minds and sinful conduct to become our delight, we shall no more see God than the blind man sees the sun.  We cannot too early receive the assurance that the Ark-guided life is the best and happiest kind of life; the only life worth living.  I will guide thee with mine eye.’  What is the use of the glance of an eye if the man for whom it was intended is half a mile off, and staring about him at everything else except the eye that would guide.  God might look guidance at us for a week, and we should never know that He was doing it; we have so many other things to look after.” (Maclaren.)


(2) If we would see and experience the wonders of God’s grace we must cultivate the pure heart and the expectant disposition.  The Lord was to do wonders on the morrow, and the people were commanded to sanctify themselves. When Joseph was summoned and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon, he shaved himself and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.  The poorest subject in the realm would wear his best and try to look his best in the presence of the sovereign.  And can we believe that our approach to God will bring us any benefit if we rush into His presence without expectation and with evil thoughts occupying our minds?  But indeed when in this condition we do not enter the presence of the Eternal at all; we only drag our unwilling bodies to the place where He has promised to meet with His people.  That is the real explanation of how people can attend church Sabbath after Sabbath [i.e., Sunday after Sunday – always remember the ‘Sabbath’ is Saturday] and not feel that they are getting any real good.  They do not expect anything; and they never think of making a serious effort to cast out all evil thoughts from their minds.  The same is true of our study of God’s Word.  We should expect to hear God’s voice.  Let us be sure that we shall not see God’s wonderful works if we do not sanctify ourselves.  Matt. 5: 8; Ps. 5: 5.


(3) We cannot tell how great things God will do for us and through us if we only consecrate our lives to His service.  Joshua was to see great things that day, but these things were only the beginning of all that God would accomplish through him.  This day will I begin to magnify thee.  When Moses reached the end of his life and reflected on all God’s goodness, he cried – “O Lord God, thou hast begun.”  Joshua had hearkened to all that God had said; in every detail he had obeyed, and now he has the promise of favours great as the God who gave the promise.  We cannot all be Joshuas, but we can all devote ourselves to God’s service as he did, and then rest assured that God willmagnifyus.  We cannot tell how great in point of usefulness our lives here may be, and we cannot conceive what awaits us beyond.  We never see more than the beginning.


(4) If we trust and obey, God will remove obstacles from our path; will enable us to accomplish the seemingly impossible.  He assured them He would drive out the Canaanites, the Hittites, etc.  Then He commanded the people to march into the river when it was in flood.  They obeyed, and He saw to the making of the passage.  We need not be afraid to face the seemingly impossible when we know that we have the living God behind us.  The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”  Luke 18: 27.  All things are possible to him that believeth.”  Mark 9: 23.



Lesson Questions



1. Name the two and a half tribes who did not settle beyond Jordan.  2. Explain why this was.  3. What space was to be between the people and the Ark, and why?  4. What lesson may we learn from this?  5. What were the people commanded to do in the way of preparing for to-morrow’s wonders?  6. What were the priests commanded to do when they came to the brink of the river?  7. What led the people over the river?  8. How many tribes were there, and what was the man from each tribe commanded to do?  9. For what purpose did they carry the stones?  10. What made the river so difficult to cross at this time?  11. Over against what city did the people enter the land?  12. Of whom may the Ark be regarded as a type?  13. How did it typify Him?



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Lesson 3.


The Capture of Jerico


Joshua 6: 8-20


Read Joshua 5-8.  Commit verse 20.






Golden Text.



Hebrews 11: 30. – “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down,

after they had been compassed about for seven days.”



Bible Readings.



Monday, -             Joshua 5: 10-15.


Tuesday, -             Joshua 6: 1-8.


Wednesday, -        Joshua 6: 9-20.


Thursday, -            2 Chronicles 20: 14-24.


Friday, -                 Deuteronomy 7: 1-11.


Saturday, -             2 Corinthians 10: 1-6.


Sunday, -               Isaiah 25.



TIME.- B.C. 1451, according to the margin of our Bible.



PLACE.- Gilgal and Jericho in the plain on the west side of Jordan.



CONNECTION.After crossing the river, the people encamped at Gilgal, on the eastern border of the territory of Jericho.  There Joshua set up the twelve stones which they had taken with them out of the Jordan, and explained to the people at the same time the importance of this memorial to their descendants and the design of the miracle which had been wrought by God (chapter 4: 20-24).  The memorial erected, proof of their faith that their descendants would possess the land, Joshua now proceeds with the arrangements for the conquering the country and destroying the inhabitants thereof.  God had promised all necessary aid on condition that the law given my Moses was faithfully observed (1: 7).  It was therefore necessary that he should now impose upon himself and the people as an inviolable obligation the fulfilling of all the precepts of the law, many of which could not be carried out during the journey through the wilderness.


The most immediate duty which devolved upon him in this respect was to perform the rite of circumcision upon the generation that had been born in the wilderness, and had grown up without circumcision, so that the whole congregation might be able to keep the Passover, which was to be celebrated in a few days, in the manner prescribed by the law (see chapter 5: 2-9).  This act of circumcision was regarded as the removal of a reproach which had long rested on the people.  This we are not to regard as the miseries of the Egyptian bondage, or the still further miseries the people had suffered during the journey, but the reproach involved in the thoughts and sayings of the Egyptians, that Jehovah had brought the people out of Egypt to destroy them in the wilderness (see Exodus 32: 12; Numbers 14: 13-16; Deuteronomy 9: 28).  But now since the rite which declared them to be God’s covenant people had been renewed, the heathen could no longer fling this taunt at them; they called the place at which the rite was observed Gilgal, because the reproach of Egypt was rolled away – the verb from which Gilgal comes meaning to roll (chapter 5: 9).  Circumcision was the necessary preparation for the Passover, since no uncircumcised person could partake of that feast.  And after circumcision the Passover comes (5: 10-14) – the first, no doubt, since they left Sinai (Numbers 9: 1, etc.).  Confirmed and fortified in the covenant with the Lord through the observance of the Passover, Joshua determined to proceed at once with the work entrusted to him, viz., the conquest of the land of Canaan.  No doubt the thought of the magnitude of the work was causing him sore anxiety, for Jericho was surrounded with strong walls, and had its gates shut before the children of Israel.  But, as is always the case in the experience of God’s [obedient] servants, relief came when the burden was pressing most heavily.  When he was “by Jericho,” no doubt in deep meditation concerning its capture, the Angel of the Lord appeared and imparted the needed encouragement (chapter 5: 13-15).


The instructions for the possession round the city are now given, and promptly obeyed.  First came the armed men: then seven white-robed priests blowing upon their rams’ horn trumpets; then the Ark, the symbol and token of God’s presence; and then the reward.  Low the Ark is the centre; and it is not only Israel that is marching round the city, but rather it is God who is encircling the walls.” (Maclaren.)



Lesson Analysis.



TOPIC.- Faith’s Triumph – Hebrews 11: 30.






(a) A seemingly hopeless task imposed.


(b) A seemingly futile method prescribed.


(c) A severe act of self-denial demanded.






(a) Way cleared.


(b) City taken.



Lesson:-  Revised Version.



Joshua 6: 8 And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken unto the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord passed on, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them.  9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew the trumpets, and the rearward went after the ark, the priests blowing with the trumpets as they went.  10 And Joshua commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor let your voice be heard, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then ye shall shout.  11 So he caused the ark of the Lord to compass the city, going about it once; and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.


12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.  13 And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; and the rearward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests blowing with the trumpets as they went.  14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.  15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early at the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times; only on that day they compassed the city seven times.  16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.  17 And the city shall be devoted, even it and all that is therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.  18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the devoted thing, lest when ye have devoted it, ye take of the devoted thing; so should ye make the camp of Israel accursed, and trouble it.  19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iroin, are holy unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.  20 So the people shouted, and the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 



Lesson Notes



Verse 8. The seven priests before the Lord.  Before the Lord, instead of before the Ark of the Lord.  This makes it quite clear that the meaning of the Ark was derived entirely from the fact that it was the medium through which Jehovah communicated His gracious presence to His [redeemed] people.  They were going before the Ark; in reality they were going before the Lord Himself.


Verse 10.  Ye shall not shout.  Very impressive would be the grim silence of it all.  Tramp, tramp, tramp, round and round, six days on end, without a word spoken they marched, and went back to the camp, and subsided into inactivity for another four-and-twenty hours, until they ‘turned out’ for the procession once more.”


This solemn, silent procession could not fail to deepen the feeling of awe with which the inhabitants of the city already regarded this strange people (see chapter 2: 9-11, 24).  The history of the Exodus and the strange doings of the great lawgiver, as agent of the Eternal, were known to them.  The miraculous passage of the river clearly showed that his supernatural qualifications had descended to his successor.  And now this awful silent march, with the army equipped for battle, but not attempting to engage in it, could only be the prelude to some interposition from on high; the foreshadowing of some unheard of calamity which should befall the city.


Verse 13.  The rearward.  Literally, the gathering together, and then the body of troops which collects the stragglers, the rear-guard.


Verse 15.  And it came to pass on the seventh dayat the dawning of the day.  On the seventh day the men commenced very early, that they might go round the city seven times.  We may incidentally note here that, compared with modern cities, Jericho must have been small.  Only round a small city could such an army as Joshua’s have marched seven times in one day, and have taken possession the same day.


Verse 16.  At the seventh time when the priests blew with the trumpets.  The first time we read of a trumpet-blast is at Sinai, when the Lord announced His descent upon the mount to the people assembled at the foot by a loud and long-continued trumpet-blast, as well as by other fearful signs.  (Exodus 19: 16, 19; 20: 18).  After this we find the blowing of trumpets prescribed as a part of the Israelitish worship in connection with the observance of the seventh new moon’s day (Leviticus 23: 24), and at the proclamation of the Great Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25: 9).  The trumpet-blast at Sinai announced the coming of Jehovah to complete His covenant and establish His kingdom upon the earth.  In connection with the round of feasts the blowing was intended to bring the people into remembrance year by year before the Lord that He might come to them and grant them the Sabbath rest of His Kingdom; while at the end of every seven years the purpose was to announce on the great day of atonement the coming of the year of grace and freedom which would bring the people of God deliverance from bondage, return to their own possessions, and afford them a foretaste of the glorious liberty to which the children of God would attain at the return of the Lord to perfect His kingdom.  But it clearly follows that when the Lord comes [to establish His millennial kingdom] on the earth, He comes also to overthrow and destroy the worldly powers which stand in opposition.


The revelation of grace and mercy to His [redeemed] children always goes side by side with the revelation of justice and judgment towards [1] the [disobedient and unrepentant within His redeemed family, (Joshua 7: 20, 25, 26, cf. 1 Cor. 10; 6, 11; Heb. 10: 26-30; Rev. 2: 23;] and [2] the ungodly who are his foes.  If therefore the blast of the trumpet announced the gracious arrival of God to enter into fellowship with His own, it no less announced the commencement of judgment to the ingodly world.  This shows us clearly enough the meaning of the trumpet-blast at Jericho.  It was an announcement, both to Israelites and Canaanites of the appearance of the Lord for the judgment of Jericho. The fall of Jericho becomes a symbol and type of the overthrow of every worldly power before the Lord, when He comes to lead His people into Canaan and [to] establish His [millennial] kingdom upon earth.  On down through the prophets the blowing of trumpets is used as a symbol of the manifestation of the Lord in great judgments; while at the lastthe trumpet shall sound.” And then the dead shall be raised, the living changed, the world judged, death and Satan cast into the lake of fire, and the tabernacle of God erected among men for all eternity (1 Corinthians 15: 51, etc,; 1 Thessalonians 4: 16, 17; Revelation [chapters] 20 and 21.)


There is much significance in the frequency with which the number seven is repeated throughout the narrative.  The march was to be continued seven days, the seven times on the seventh day.  The number seven is a symbol in Scripture of the work [and also the coming millennialrest” (see, Psalm 95: 11. cf.  Num. 14: 21-23; Heb. 4: 8, 9, 11)] of God and of the perfection produced, or eventually to be secured, by Him. The walls of the town which was the key of Canaan falling, after they had been marched around seven days and seven times on the seventh day, was intended to become a type of the final destruction of the power of this world [age] which exalts itself against God.  It would also teach the faithful that they need not expect the final overthrow at once, but only after long-continued conflict – [for some “that are left unto the coming of the Lord;” who were “Left” because they did notprevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass” – i.e., the Great Tribulation persecutions under antichrist, (1 Thessalonians 4: 15, 17;  Luke 21: 34-36)]; while the enemies of the Kingdom might learn from the same that, however long their power might sustain itself in opposition to the Kingdom of God, it would at last be destroyed in a moment.


Verse 17.  The city shall be devoted.  Authorised version, accursed.  The word in the original is derived from a word which means to shut up.  Hence it meant a net.  Hence it comes to mean, under a ban, devoted generally to utter destruction under the pressure of a vow to God (Numbers 21: 2).  Because the Lord had given Jericho into the hands of the Israelites, they were to set it apart unto Him, as a holy thing which was not to be touched by man.  The inhabitants of an idolatrous town laid under the ban were to be put to death, together with their cattle, and all the property in the town was to be burned (see Leviticus 27: 29; Deuteronomy 13: 15; 1 Kings 20: 42).  The sin of [King] Saul (1 Samuel 15) was the sparing of anything whatever in the city which had been laid under the ban – a ban which Saul was expected to execute (1 Samuel 15: 3).


The only exemptions here were Rahab, the harlot, and her people.  Of property, the gold, silver, and vessels of brass and iron.


For Rahab see chapter 2.  Of her repentance and reformation we have abundant evidence.  According to Matthew 1: 5, she married Salmon, prince of the imperial tribe of Judah, the great-grandfather of David, and ancestor of the Messiah.  In the golden roll of Hebrews 11 she is the only woman who shares with Sarah the honour of a place among the heroes of the faith.  She is also mentioned by James (James 2: 25).



Lesson Suggestions



(1.) In the conduct of the siege of Jericho we may learn a great lesson in the art of self-control.


(a) In verse 9 we read that “the armed men went before the priests.”  Had the men been without arms there would have been no difficulty.  There is no temptation to use what we have not got; but we have the weapons and to march along as though we had them not – to refrain from using them – is what tests us all.  Yet to teach us to do that is surely the purpose for which all the disciplines of life are intended.  To know, for example, that I have the power to inflict an injury on the enemy which I should like to inflict, and for which opportunity offers, and yet to conquer natural inclination and keep myself from it is what puts me to the test.  It is hard not to use for the purpose of self-gratification the power possessed, but it cannot always be done.  It was hard for the armed men to march round the city and make no use of their arms.


(b) In verse 10 the same lesson is taught.  Silence is there enjoined.  Ye shall not shout nor let your voice be heard, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth.”  That seems very easy.  But it is not easy to keep silent, especially at times of excitement.  On the difficulty of controlling the tongue, see James, chapter 3; Psalm 39: 1.  Not even to make a remark in the way of criticising the methods adopted by the leader must have been a great trial to these men.  We must learn self-control on this point.  How mush happier a place the world would be to-day if only people could hold their tongue!  How much misery is created everywhere by ill-considered words – words that never should have been spoken.


(c)We have further enforcement of the same truth in verses 18, 19.  It was no easy matter for these men to see gold and silver in great abundance around them, and yet to know that they were not to take any of it.  But that is what we must all learn to do.  There are many things we should like to have, which we might have, and there are many things we should like to do, which we might do; yet we must learn to look on the course which promises sinful pleasures, and refuse to budge in its direction, and on many an object we should like to have, and refuse to put forth a finger to take it.


The art of self-control is the hardest of all arts to master, but only in proportion as we master it do we resemble Jesus, “Who pleased not Himself.”


(2.) When we discover what the will of God is we should go forward without rear in that course.  The means at our disposal may seem utterly inadequate, and so we may yield to despair.  But when we reason in this way we leave God out of account.  The work is His, and He is far more anxious for its success than ever we can be.  No man goes in a warring at his own charges in the service of God.  The blast of the trumpet seemed quite inadequate to the task before it, but not when you put God behind it.


(3) All that is done may seem for a long time to be labour lost.  Six days the priests carried the Ark round Jericho, and six times on the seventh day, yet not a stone was loosened from the walls.  Even the seventh perambulation seemed equally unsuccessful till the last moment, but when that moment came the whole defences of the city tumbled to the ground.  We should go on undisturbed by want of evidence of immediate success.  At times God may not seem to accomplish a day’s work in 1,000 years.  Yet in a single day He may do the work [and literally fulfil (UPON THIS EARTH) all the remaining unfulfilled prophecies] of 1,000 years.*


[* See, Isaiah 42: 1-4; 65: 19-25; Jeremiah 30: 8, 9; Zechariah 8: 3-8; Malachi 1: 11. cf.  Romans 8: 19-23; James 1: 12; 2 Timothy 2: 12; Revelation 3: 21; 20: 1-6.]



Lesson Questions.



1.What did the priests bear round Jericho?  2. Who went before the priests?  3. Who came after?  4. How many priests were there?  5. Upon what did they blow?  6. How many days did they spend going round the city?  7. How many times did they go round each day?  8. What do we mean by “devoted” or accursed?  9. Name an Old Testament king who sinned and suffered [lost his “crown”] because he did not obey in reference to the “devoted” thing?  10. What was spared in Jericho?  11. Why was Rahab spared?  12. What do we know about her afterwards?  13. What lessons may we learn from the fall of Jericho?  (See Lesson Suggestions).



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Lesson 4.

Caleb’s Faithfulness Rewarded.


Joshua 14: 6-15.


Read Joshua 14, and Joshua 7-13.  Commit verses 7, 8.






Golden Text


Matthew 25: 23 – “His Lord said unto him, Well done good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”



Bible Readings



Monday,-                   Joshua 14: 6-15.


Tuesday, -                 Numbers 13: 21-30.


Wednesday, -            2 Chronacles 32: 1-8.


Thursday, -               Romans 8: 24-31.


Friday, -                    Psalm 18: 25-35.


Saturday, -                Luke 19: 12-24.


Sunday, -                  Matthew 25: 14-30.



TIME.  About six years after the last lesson, towards the close of the first conquest of Canaan, and during its distribution among the tribes.



PLACE. – At Gilgal.  Gilgal was Joshua’s capital.  Caleb’s inheritance was at Hebron, 20 miles south of Jerusalem.



CONNECTION – Many events of great importance come in between this lesson and last Sunday’s.  Immediately after the capture of Jericho we have the story of the defeat at Ai, with an explanation of its cause, and a description of the means employed for the complete overthrow of the city (Chapter 7, 8: 1-29).  The renewed covenant (chapter 8: 30-35).  The stratagem of the Gibeonites (chapter 9).  The battle of Beth-horon (chapter 10).  The battle of Merom (chapters 11, 12).  Division of the land between the tribes (chapters 13, 14: 1-5).


The division was to be made by lot, but before the casting of lots commenced Caleb came to Joshua along with the sons of Judah, and asked for the mountains of Hebron for his possession, appealing to the fact that forty-five years before Moses had promised it to him on oath, because he had not discouraged the people and stirred them up to rebellion as the outer spies had done, but had faithfully followed the Lord.  This occurred at Galgal where the casting of lots was to take place, and the record of it is the subject of the present lesson.



Lesson Analysis.





1. HIS CHARACTER – verses 6-10.


He was (a) Trustworthy (b) Truthful (verse 7).  (c) Courageous – (verse 8).  (d) Patient – (verse 10).



2. HIS REWARD – verses 10-15.


(a) A Long Life – (verse 10).  (b) Unimpaired strength – (verse 11).  (c) Promised Possessions – (verse 13).  (d) Rest – (verse 15).



Lesson:- Revised Version.



Joshua 14: 6 Then the children drew nigh unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord spake unto Moses the man of God concerning me and concerning thee in Kadesh-barnea.  7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.  8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt; but I wholly followed the Lord my God.  9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy foot hath trodden shall be an inheritance to thee and to thy children for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God.  10 And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.  11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me; as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, and to go out and to come in.  12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakim were there, the cities great and fenced: it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out as the Lord spake.  13 And Joshua blessed him; and he gave Hebron unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.  14 Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, unto this day; because that he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel.  15 Now the name of Hebron beforetime was Kiriath-arba; which Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.  And the land had rest from war.



Lesson Notes



Verse 6.  Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite.  We are not told much about Caleb in Scripture, but enough to make it clear that he was an eminently faithful and fearless servant of God.  It is generally believed that his family did not belong originally to the chosen people, but became members of the tribe of Judah by adoption.  He is called emphatically “Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite.”  Now, it was not customary to describe Israelites in this way; only those who had come among them from other tribes are thus described.  For example, we read of “Heber the Kenite,” “Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite” (Judges 4: 11, 17), “Uriah, the Hittite,” “Hushui, the Archite,” &c.  From the description of Caleb, then, contained in this verse we may reasonably conclude that he and his family were originally outside the covenant, but had become proselytes, like Hobab, Rahab, Ruth, and Heber.


Verse 7.  Forty years old was I.  He was born when the Israelites were still in slavery in Egypt.


I brought him word again as was in my heart.  He did not attempt to bring his report into agreement with the wishes of any man, but acted according to his convictions without regard to the favour of the people.  (See Numbers 13: 30; 14: 7-9; Deuteronomy 1: 36.)


Verse 8.  Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me, &c.  The reference here is to the rest of the spies, with the exception of Joshua, to whom he was speaking


But I wholly followed the Lord my God.  Literally, “I fulfilled after.”  By this he means that he rendered a full obedience to the precepts of the Most High.


Verse 9.  And Moses swaresurely the land whereon thy foot hath trodden shall be an inheritance to thee.  This oath is not mentioned in Numbers 14: 21, 24, nor in Deuteronomy 1: 35, 36, where Moses repeats the account of the whole occurrence to the people.  The oath of Jehovah, mentioned in Numbers 14: 21, 24, cannot be the one referred to, for it only stipulates that none of the murmuring people should see the land of Canaan: only Caleb should come hither and his seed should possess it.  The oath does not relate to the possession of Hebron in particular, but in general terms to “the land” or district “whereinto he (Caleb) went.”  We must assume, therefore, that in addition to what is mentioned in Numbers 14: 24, Moses gave a special promise to Caleb, which is passed over there, with reference to the [future] possession of Hebron itself; and that Joshua, who heard it at the time, is here reminded of that promise by Caleb.


Verse 10.  Forty and five years.  The expression is a general one, and the years occupied by the conquest of Canaan, during which Israel had not yet entered into peaceful possession of the Promised Land, are reckoned as forming part of the years of wandering in the wilderness.  This makes the date of the present conversation as occurring seven years after the invasion, because the Israelites had wandered 38 years in the wilderness since God spake these words.  Than we know that the appointment of the land and its occupation by the people was a long and tedious business.  When Joshua was old and stricken in years there remained much land to be possessed (chapter 13: 1).


Verse 11.  As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me.  Nature’s law is that a vigorous and healthy and respected old age is the reward of a virtuous youth and a temperate manhood.  Caleb’s devotion to the service of God had saved him not only from the sins [which lost the future inheritance] of the murmuring Israelites, but also from their [future] penalties.*  Had he chosen the transgressor’s path in early life, he could not have enjoyed undiminished strength at the age of eighty-five.


[* NOTE ON FUTURE PENALTIES.  See Gal. 5: 7, 8 and translate end of verse 8: “…reap age-lasting live.”  See also Heb. 5: 9, where our initial and futuresalvation” is “age-lasting” and not “eternal,” as our translators have interpreted.  Hence the urgent need of regenerate believers (if they should die in the Lord) to be judged worthy to “attain to that age, and the resurrection out from the dead” (Luke 20: 35, lit Gk.).  cf. Phil 3: 11; Heb. 11: 35b, etc.).  If we fail to rise from the place of the dead “in the heart of the earth” - (See, Matt. 12: 40. cf. Matt. 16: 18; 2 Tim. 2: 17, 18; Rev. 6: 9-11, etc.) - at  the “First Resurrection” (Rev. 20: 6), it will mean our “flesh” lying under corruption for “a thousand years”: we will then reap what we sow; the millennial inheritance will be lost; and a future penalty will have to be paid by all disobedient and unrepentant disciples of Messiah/Christ. 


Keep in mind: As a disembodied soul, Christ remained in Hades for as long as His body lay In Joseph’s tomb: presumably we must wait for the time of resurrection (when soul and body are reunited) as He, our Forerunner, did.  To teach otherwise is to fall into the error of which Paul warns Timothy against, (2 Tim. 2: 18). ]


Verse 12.  Give me this mountain.  He means the neighbourhood of Hebron.  It was the highest city of Southern Palestine, being 600 feet higher than Jerusalem, and 2,600 feet above the Mediterranean.


Wherefore the Lord spake in that day.  The particular part of the district referred to in general terms in the Divine promise was defined by Moses’ declaring as by God’s authority what the promise intended.  From 11: 21 we learn that Joshua had cut off the Anakim from the mountains and from Hebron while the Israelites were otherwise engaged.  The work of finally suppressing them was carried out by Caleb.


Verse 15.  And the name of Hebron before was Kiriath-Arba.  Hebron was the original name of the city, but at the time of Joshua’s invasion it was known as Kiriath (“city of”) Arba, from a giant named Arba who had conquered it.  Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.”



Lesson Suggestions



1. We should learn to think for ourselves on religious questions.  As we have already seen the preponderance of evidence is in favour of the opinion that Caleb’s family were originally outside the covenant, but became proselytes.  They were so deeply concerned about religion that they went to the trouble of comparing their own with that of Israel, and, becoming convinced of the superiority of the latter, they had the courage to adopt it.  Their faith would, then, we believe, stand on a firmer basis than that of most Israelites – it would be fruitful of conviction rather than the accident of heredity.  If asked why they preferred the worship of Israel’s God to the worship of their ancestor’s gods they could have stated their reasons, for those reasons had already exerted a great influence on their own lives.  Faith which is the outcome of personal conviction is the only kind that will wear or permanently influence the character.  We should think it well worth while to acquaint ourselves with the principles of our own and other forms of faith so as to be able to give a reason for preferring our own to all others.  See 1 Thessalonians 5: 21; 1 Peter 3: 15.


2. We should always tell the truth no matter what the cost may be.  Caleb says, “I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.”  It was no easy matter for Caleb and Joshua to stand out against the [beliefs and conclusions of the] other ten spies.  For six weeks these men had been their close companions.  No doubt to many of them they were under obligations.  Indeed the dangers of the work in which they had been engaged would tend to foster the spirit of comradeship in quite an exceptional degree.  It was not easy then, when the time for giving the report came, for the two men to contradict the ten, and to recommend a course the opposite of theirs.  It is never easy to break away from one’s own set, but that at times we must be prepared to do if we would live to any purpose.  Many go down to destruction* simply because they cannot say no.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Paul, Luther, Knox, Carey, were all men who stood out for truth against fierce opposition, and we should follow in their steps.


[* See Heb. 10: 39, where “perdition” in the R.V. should be translated “destruction”; and compare the futuresalvation” (of 1 Peter 1: 5), with (1): “The end of the (your) faith [the] salvation of [your] souls,” (verse 9), (2) with Acts 2: 27, 31 and (3) with Matthew 16: 25-27.]


3. We should aim at constancy in God’s service.  Religion suffers greatly from the conduct of those who make strong profession when circumstances makes professing easy and pleasant, but who go back to their old ways when circumstances change.  When Constantine was laying out on a vast scale the new capital of Bosphorous he met the misgivings of those about him, and who wondered at his audacity by saying, “I am following one who is leading me.”  Caleb followed his leader under all circumstances (Proverbs 4: 12).


4. We should learn to wait with patience for the fulfilment of God’s promises.  It was now forty-five years since Caleb had received the promise.  During all these years he had gone on helping Joshua, and we have no hint that there was any friction between the two men.  Caleb knew that he would come to his own because God had given him promises, and, therefore, he could wait and work (See James 5: 7-11).


5. We should remember that there cannot be a happy and prosperous old age without a well-spent youth.  Caleb was hale and hearty at the age of eighty-five.  If we disregard the laws of nature and trample upon the laws of God in our youthful days, we may expect enfeebled constitutions and countless miseries in after life.  (See Galatians 6: 7, 8; 1 Timothy 4: 8).


6. We should, in [receiving and] choosing our sphere of service, be guided by consideration of possible usefulness rather than by consideration of gain or of ease.  The brave old Caleb was willing to face the giants – Anakim – and by God’s grace to cast them out.  If we rest on God as Caleb did, and not on self, we need not fear the giants, whether in the shape of evil desires within or [evil spirits and] enemies without.  My grace is sufficient for thee.”



Lesson Questions



1. With what other great man is Caleb always associated?  2. How many men were sent to spy out the land?  3. How did Joshua and Caleb differ from the others in the report they gave?  Refer to passages of Scripture bearing on the point.  4. Name the principal events which took place between this lesson and last Sunday’s?  5. Account for the defeat at Ai?  6. What was done to Achan and what method was adopted for capturing the city?  7. What was the stratagem of the Gibeonites and what did they become?  8. What was the name of Caleb’s father and what may we learn from the way in which he is described in verse 6?  9. By whom was he sent to spy out the land and what was his age at that time?  10. What oath did Moses swear to him because of his faithfulness?  11. What age was he at that time?  12. What was his body condition?  13. What place did he claim for his inheritance?  14. By what kind of people was it inhabited?  15. What was the state of the land after this?


From Caleb learn to be Independent, Truthful, Courageous, Unselfish, Patient.



[To-day if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts.

For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another DAY:” (Hebrews 4: 8, R.V.). cf. Psalm 95: 7-11; 1 Corinthians 10: 6, 11; 2 Peter 3: 8, 9.]



As thou goest step by step the way shall open up before thee.”