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CHAPTER 1 May 17 
God Commissions Joshua
After the death of Moses the servant of Yahweh, Yahweh spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you, and all this people, to the land which I give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3I have given you every place that the sole of your foot will tread on, as I told Moses. 4From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even to the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border. 5No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you. 6Be strong and courageous; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7Only be strong and very courageous to observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein. Thus you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success. 9Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid, neither be dismayed: for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go. 
Preparations for Entering Canaan
10Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11Pass through the midst of the camp, and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare food; for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which Yahweh your God gives you to possess’. 12Joshua spoke to the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh saying, 13Remember the word which Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded you saying, ‘Yahweh your God will give you rest, and will give you this land. 14Your wives, your little ones and your livestock shall live in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan; but all your mighty men of valour shall pass over before your brothers, armed, and shall help them 15until Yahweh has given your brothers rest, as He has given you, and they have also possessed the land which Yahweh your God gives them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and settle it, which Moses the servant of Yahweh gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise’.16They answered Joshua saying, All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17Just as we listened to Moses in all things, so will we listen to you. Only may Yahweh your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18Whoever rebels against your commandment, and doesn’t listen to your words in all that you command him, he shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.


1:5 I will not fail you nor forsake youWe may boldly say that we will not be fearful, as Joshua was, because God has addressed to us the very words which He did to Joshua: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5,6). In this especially, Joshua is our example. When Heb. 13:13 speaks of us going forth outside the camp, perhaps there is a reference to Joshua who dwelt with Moses outside the camp (Ex. 33:11)- thus making Joshua symbolic of us all.
1:6 Joshua is repeatedly made parallel with Israel; his victories were theirs; what he achieved is counted to them. In the same way, the people of the Lord Jesus are counted as Him. Joshua was to be strong and possess the land, just as they had been told to do, using the same Hebrew words (Dt. 11:8). Indeed, Israel and Joshua are given parallel charges, to be strong and of good courage to take the land (Dt. 31:6,7). Both Israel and Joshua are given the same charge to keep the words of the covenant, that they might “prosper” (:7 cp. Dt. 29:9).  
1:7 Courageous- The language of military courage is applied here to the real battle- within the human mind, to obey God’s laws. An element of bravery is required to do what God wants, to go against the grain of our natures and against the flow of our environment.
That you may prosper- God’s servant Joshua [the same Hebrew name as the Greek name ‘Jesus’] was intended to “prosper”; but in the end it was the Lord Jesus through His death who was the servant who would ‘prosper’ [Is. 52:13, same Hebrew word]. And so, in His foreknowledge, God spoke of “another day” when His begotten Son would fulfil what Joshua could potentially have achieved, and so much more (Heb. 4:8). The lesson for us is that so much has been potentially prepared for us to achieve. Our salvation may not necessarily depend upon achieving all those things, but all the same, so much potentially is possible which we refuse to reach up to, because we are petty minimalists, like Israel, satisfied with their little farm in the valley, rather than seeking to possess the fullness of the Kingdom prepared for them. In Ps. 1:1-3, David makes several allusions to Joshua. He speaks of how the man who meditates in God’s word day and night will prosper in his ways; and he uses the very same Hebrew words as found in Josh. 1:8 in recounting God’s charge to Joshua. But David’s point is that the man who does these things will not “walk in the counsel of the ungodly”- he won't give in to peer pressure. The fact that Joshua was wrongly influenced by his peers in later life would indicate that he didn’t fully keep the charge given to him.
1:13 After the pattern of the Reubenites, we have been given the promised rest of the Kingdom here and now (1:13 cp. Heb. 4:3); but we will, like them, only take possession of that inheritance after we have ensured that our brethren have received their possession (:15). So we have a paradox: the Reubenites were given their "rest", but they would only get their “rest" once their brethren had. Those Reubenites really were symbols of us: for this passage is surely behind the reasoning of Heb. 4, where we are told that we have entered into rest, but that we must labour if we want to enter into it.
1:13-15 Joshua didn’t give the people rest (Heb. 4:8); but he said he had (Josh. 22:4). He failed to fulfil the potential spoken of here- that he would lead the people to “rest”. The Messianic Kingdom could, perhaps, have come through Joshua-Jesus; but both Joshua and Israel would not. Dt. 1:38 states clearly that Joshua would cause Israel to inherit or posses the land. Yet by the end of Joshua’s life, Israel were not inheriting the land in totality. He didn’t live up to his potential. God’s prophecy here was conditional, although no condition is actually stated at the time. God’s opening commission to Joshua was that the people were to possess the whole land promised to Abraham, right up to the Euphrates (1:4). But Joshua ended up drawing up the borders of the land far smaller than these; he didn’t even seek to subdue the territory up to the Euphrates, even though God had promised him potential success and even commanded him to do so. Joshua was to divide up the whole land promised to Abraham amongst the tribes of Israel (1:6). And yet in the extensive descriptions of Joshua dividing up the land, we don’t find him dividing up that whole territory up to the Euphrates. He seems to have lacked that vision, and fallen into the mire of minimalism, just content with a utilitarian, small scale conquest, rather than seeing the bigger picture of the potential Kingdom which God wanted to give His people. We can so easily be the same.
1:18 The repeated encouragement to be strong and of a good courage and not be fearful (:6,7,8,18; Dt. 31:23) could imply that Joshua was timid and in great need of encouragement.