The book of Joshua is named after Joshua (Hoshea) the son of Nun, who was the successor of Moses. Joshua was born in Egypt prior to the Exodus. The book of Joshua gives us the account of how the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan from the east, passing through the river Jordan. The Israelites crossed the Jordan river as the waters miraculously opened for them by the power of God. It also relates how the pagan people groups that made up the Canaanites of the land were conquered, and how their land was divided among the tribes of Israel. The people had been wandering the desert for forty years, the generation who rebelled against God and refused to enter the Promised Land had all died out. In addition, Aaron and Miriam the brother and sister of Moses had also died, and lastly Moses himself has died. However, prior to his death, Moses had passed the mantle of leadership to Joshua.
Joshua was chosen by God to lead the people as the successor to Moses, and God was with Joshua like He was with Moses. However, the Bible tells us it was only with Moses, "that God spoke face to face." Joshua is leading the next generation into the land of Canaan as they crossed the Jordan river. This was a significant moment, because when the previous generation rebelled against God, one of their claims was that God was trying to kill their children in the desert. As part of their discipline, God allowed only their children to be the ones who would enter and conquer the Promised Land.
Prior to entering the Promised Land the kingdoms of Sihon and Og were crushed, these were part of the remnant of the giants. As the people crossed the Jordan river, its then that they truly started to become the nation of Israel. Once crossing the Jordan river the city states of Ai and Jericho crumble, and Joshua leads the people to victory over the southern coalition of city states as well as the northern coalition of city states. At the time of Joshua's death a great deal of Canaan has been conquered and Israel really stands as the dominate power in Canaan. However, there are some western fortifications and some people groups in the mountain regions that have not been taken. These groups loom as a threat to Israel's future. Joshua divides the land, then admonishes the people to continue to follow the Lord and to complete the conquest as the Lord commanded. However, shortly after the death of Joshua and the death of those leaders who supported Joshua, the people fail to heed Joshua's warnings and they abandon the conquest of Canaan.
Achan sins against the Lord. Because of Achan the city of Ai defeats Israel. Joshua prays to the Lord. Achan, his family and his possessions are stoned by all of Israel. The siege of Ai by Israel. Israel defeats Ai. The king of Ai is hanged. Joshua builds an altar to the Lord. The Ten Commandments are written on the stones of the altar. The Law is read once again to the people.
7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel. 7:2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, "Go up and spy out the country." So the men went up and spied out Ai. 7:3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, "Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few." 7:4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. 7:5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water. 7:6 Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7:7 And Joshua said, "Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all-to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan 7:8 "O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? 7:9 "For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?" 7:10 So the Lord said to Joshua: "Get up Why do you lie thus on your face? 7:11 "Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 7:12 "Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you. 7:13 "Get up, sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: "There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you." 7:14 'In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes shall come according to families; and the family which the Lord takes shall come by households; and the household which the Lord takes shall come man by man. 7:15 'Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.' " 7:16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 7:17 He brought the clan of Judah, and he took the family of the Zarhites; and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 7:18 Then he brought his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 7:19 Now Joshua said to Achan, "My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me." 7:20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, "Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 7:21 "When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it." 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 7:23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. 7:24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. 7:25 And Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day." So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. 7:26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.
8:1 Now the Lord said to Joshua: "Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. 8:2 "And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves. Lay an ambush for the city behind it." 8:3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai; and Joshua chose thirty thousand mighty men of valor and sent them away by night. 8:4 And he commanded them, saying: "Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready. 8:5 "Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city; and it will come about, when they come out against us as at the first, that we shall flee before them. 8:6 "For they will come out after us till we have drawn them from the city, for they will say, 'They are fleeing before us as at the first.' Therefore we will flee before them. 8:7 "Then you shall rise from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand. 8:8 "And it will be, when you have taken the city, that you shall set the city on fire. According to the commandment of the Lord you shall do. See, I have commanded you."