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This article is about the leader of Israel. You may be looking for the book written by him.

Joshua (born Hoshea; Heb.:"salvation") was the son of Nun, of the Tribe of Ephraim.[1] He was an Israelite leader in Ephraim who was selected as successor of Moses by God.[2] He served as an aide to Moses during the 40 years of journeying through the wilderness.

He became the leader of the nation of Israel, and theocratic judge, in Canaan, the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. As an eyewitness to the conquest, he would have a hand in documenting these battles. The resulting document became the book of Joshua.


Early life[]

Joshua was born as Hoshea to his father Nun. A member of the Tribe of Ephraim, he was born in Egypt as a Hebrew slave. Times were not going well for the slaves when Nun named his son "Salvation." This reflected a hope that God might yet raise up a man to save the slaves.

After Hoshea had grown to be a young man[3], Moses had returned from his self-imposed exile in Midian to challenge the Pharaoh and his gods.[4] Joshua rejoiced with the multitude after miraculously crossing the Red Sea[5].

Moses Aide[]

Battle Against Amalek[]

As a young man in Israel, Joshua was selected by Moses to be his aide[3]. Alongside other tribal leaders and elders, Joshua was a key part of Moses' leadership over Israel.

Joshua's first recorded life event was his role in the battle with Amalek. Led by God in the form of fire and clouds, Israel was heading towards Mount Sinai. At a place called Rephidim, they camped. Here the nearby nation of Amalek approached the nomadic Israel for battle. In preparation for battle, Moses instructed Joshua to select warriors. Joshua would lead the inexperienced army of Israel in battle, while Moses, Aaron and Hur would call for divine intervention on a mountaintop.

Joshua lead the warriors he had chosen in battle against Amalek and astoundingly defeated them. As the battle went on, Moses kept his arms raised in air to serve as a reminder of God's protection and to boost morale.[6]

Afterwards, Yahweh instructed Moses to record the battle in a preexisting book. Specifically the event was to be recounted to Joshua, with a promise that Amalek would be destroyed. This shows the special position that Joshua had in Israel.[7]

Golden Calf[]

As Moses' chief aide, Joshua was on hand when the leader needed to meet with the LORD[8]. After Moses had heard the Ten Commandments and accompanying instructions, he preached to the people and wrote them down[9]. Then Moses was summoned to return to the mountaintop and into God's presence in order to receive worship regulations. Only Joshua was allowed to come with Moses on the Mountain, but he could dwell in God's presence.

For forty days, Moses and Joshua were alone and isolated from the rest of Israel, handling God's instructions on worship in the future Tabernacle. During this time, Israel took matters into their own hands and created a Golden Calf idol. When Joshua heard the ruckus from the ground, he mistakenly thought Israel was preparing for war with a battle cry. Upon investigation, Moses found that Aaron had led the people in the building of a golden calf in direct contradiction to the sermon they had heard from Moses.[10] After God had punished the worshipers of the calf, Moses had taken his tent and pitched it a distance away from the people. It was here that the LORD would meet with him. Joshua would be waiting just outside as his mentor would speak personally with God.[11]

False Prophets[]

Shortly after God started feeding the Israelites two men named Eldad and Medad began to prophesy. As usual, Joshua was aiding Moses when news of the two prophesying reach them. Upon hearing the news Joshua quickly asked Moses to stop the two as he felt that it was solely Moses's position to prophesy. Moses, in hearing this, told his young aide that he wished that all Israelites would have the same relationship with the Holy Spirit.[12]

Exploring Canaan[]

When the time came to inhabit the promised land, Joshua[1] was chosen to represent the tribe of Ephraim to scout out the land.[13] The team of twelve men spied on the land for forty days.[14] Upon their return the majority report of walled cities and giants caused the Israelites to fear and rebel.[15] With contrite hearts Joshua and Caleb, the spy out of Judah, ripped their clothes.[16] They then tried to explain to the people that God had promised them protection as they went in to claim the land.[17] Because Moses would later disobey God at a crucial point,[18] only Joshua and Caleb, from among all the adults that left Egypt, would survive to inhabit the land.[19]

Commissioned as Moses's successor[]

Near the end of his life, Moses had sinned against God, forfeiting his right to lead the people into Canaan. This necessitated the commission of a successor.[19] The LORD's choice was Joshua, Moses' trusted assistant. In a solemn ceremony with the high priest Eleazar, Moses laid his hands upon the now seasoned soldier and proclaimed before all the elders that their new leader: Joshua, son of Nun.[20]

Leader of Israel[]

After being set apart as the new leader, Joshua sent spies into the walled city of Jericho. Upon their return, the tribes prepared to cross over into Canaan, the Promised Land. Then God performed a dramatic miracle, drying up the Jordan River, which was at flood stage, to allow easy access into Canaan. Once there, at a place called Gilgal, the institutions of circumcision and the passover were observed with the children of all those who had rebelled forty years earlier.

When properly consecrated, the army was ready to conquer Jericho. However, the method was not by the strength of the army, but rather by a miracle of God. Seven days later, when the great walls fell outward, the armies stormed the city, taking no prisoners. Rahab, the prostitute who had helped the spies, was spared along with those of her family that had believed the word of the spies.

After a setback at Ai, brought on by the sin of Achan, cities became easy targets for the armies of Israel. This was largely because God was faithful to his promises. When the people wavered, the consequences were long lasting, leading to failure to take the land completely.


Before he died Joshua asked the people of Israel who they would follow, God or the heathen Canaanite gods. They answered that they would follow God. So the Israelites kept their word for many years, until the elders that served with Joshua died. Then they broke their promise and worshiped Baal, Astoreth, and many others.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Numbers 13:8
  2. Joshua 1:1-2 (Link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Numbers 11:28
  4. Exodus 7:10 (Link)
  5. Exodus 15:1-19 (Link)
  6. Exo 17:8-13 (Link)
  7. Exo 17:14 (Link)
  8. Exodus 24:13 (Link)
  9. Exodus 24:3-4 (Link)
  10. Exodus 32:15-19 (Link)
  11. Exodus 33:1-11 (Link)
  12. Numbers 11:26-29 (Link)
  13. Numbers 13:17-20 (Link)
  14. Numbers 13:25 (Link)
  15. Numbers 13:26-33; 14:2 (Link)
  16. Numbers 14:6 (Link)
  17. Numbers 14:7-9 (Link)
  18. Numbers 20:12 (Link)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Numbers 27:12-13 (Link)
  20. Numbers 27:19-23 (Link)