been made with them. More of the enemy forces perished as a result of a miraculous hailstorm than died in the actual warfare. Jehovah even listened to Joshua’s voice in lengthening the daylight hours for the battle.—Josh. 9:3–10:14.
Joshua followed up this God-given victory by capturing Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron and Debir, thus breaking the power of the Canaanites in the southern part of the land. Next the northern Canaanite kings, under the leadership of Jabin the king of Hazor, assembled their forces at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel. Though faced with horses and chariots, Joshua was divinely encouraged not to give way to fear. Again Jehovah granted victory to the Israelites. As instructed, Joshua hamstrung the horses and burned the chariots of the enemy. Hazor itself was consigned to the fire. (Josh. 10:16–11:23) Thus, within a period of about six years (compare Numbers 10:11; 13:2, 6; 14:34-38; Joshua 14:6-10), Joshua defeated thirty-one kings and subjugated large sections of the Promised Land.—Josh. 12:7-24.
Now came the time for distributing the land to the individual tribes. This was done initially from Gilgal, under the supervision of Joshua, High Priest Eleazar and ten other divinely appointed representatives. (Josh. 13:7; 14:1, 2, 6; Num. 34:17-29) After the tabernacle was located at Shiloh the apportioning of the land by lot continued from there. (Josh. 18:1, 8-10) Joshua himself received the city of Timnath-serah in the mountainous region of Ephraim.—Josh. 19:49, 50.
FINAL ADMONITION TO ISRAELITES, AND DEATH
Toward the end of his life Joshua assembled Israel’s older men, heads, judges and officers, admonishing them to serve Jehovah in faithfulness and warning them of the consequences of disobedience. (Josh. 23:1-16) He also called together the entire congregation of Israel, reviewed Jehovah’s past dealings with their forefathers and the nation, and then appealed to them to serve Jehovah. Said Joshua: “Now if it is bad in your eyes to serve Jehovah, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve, whether the gods that your forefathers who were on the other side of the River served or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But as for me and my household, we shall serve Jehovah.” (Josh. 24:1-15) Thereafter the Israelites renewed their covenant to obey Jehovah.—Josh. 24:16-28.
At the age of 110 years Joshua died and was buried at Timnath-serah. The good effect of his unswerving loyalty to Jehovah is evident from the fact that “Israel continued to serve Jehovah all the days of Joshua and all the days of the older men who extended their days after Joshua.”—Josh. 24:29-31; Judg. 2:7-9; see CHRONOLOGY, page 336, for details on the time period that may have been involved.
3. Chief of Jerusalem in the time of King Josiah. It appears that high places used for false worship were located near Joshua’s residence, but Josiah had these pulled down.—2 Ki. 23:8.
4. Son of Jehozadak; the first high priest to serve the repatriated Israelites following their return from Babylonian exile. (Hag. 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2-4; Zech. 3:1-9; 6:11) In the Bible books of Ezra and Nehemiah he is called Jeshua.—See JESHUA No. 4.
JOSHUA, BOOK OF
This Bible book provides a vital link in the history of the Israelites by showing how God’s promises to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were fulfilled. Probably covering a period of more than twenty years (1473-c. 1450 B.C.E.), it tells of the conquest of Canaan, followed by the distribution of the land to the Israelites, and concludes with Joshua’s discourses encouraging faithfulness to Jehovah.
The fact that the book contains ancient names for cities (Josh. 14:15; 15:15) and detailed instructions and then relates how these were carried out indicates that it is a contemporary record. (For examples see Joshua 1:11-18; 2:14-22; 3:2–4:24; 6:22, 23.) In fact, the writer identifies himself as living at the same time as Rahab of Jericho and therefore as an eyewitness.—Josh. 6:25.
In the estimation of some, however, the book of Joshua is not true history. This view is primarily based on the assumption that, since the miracles mentioned in the book are foreign to recent human experience, they could not have happened. It therefore calls into question God’s ability to perform miracles, if not also his existence, as well as the writer’s integrity. For the writer to have embellished his account with fiction while presenting himself as an eyewitness would have made him guilty of deliberate deceit. Surely it is illogical to conclude that a book that honors God as the Fulfiller of his word (Josh. 21:43-45), encourages faithfulness to him (Josh. 23:6-16; 24:14, 15, 19, 20, 23) and openly acknowledges Israel’s failures was produced by a false witness.—Josh. 7:1-5; 18:3.
No one can deny that the Israelite nation came into existence and occupied the land described in the book of Joshua. Likewise, there is no valid basis for challenging the truthfulness of that book’s account concerning the way in which the Israelites gained possession of Canaan. Neither the psalmists (Ps. 44:1-3; 78:54, 55; 105:42-45; 135:10-12; 136:17-22), Nehemiah (9:22-25), the first Christian martyr Stephen (Acts 7:45), the disciple James (Jas. 2:25) nor the learned apostle Paul (Acts 13:19; Heb. 4:8; 11:30, 31) doubted its authenticity. And 1 Kings 16:34 records the fulfillment of Joshua’s prophetic curse uttered about five hundred years earlier at the time of Jericho’s destruction.—Josh. 6:26.
Some scholars, although acknowledging the book to have been written in or near the time of Joshua, reject the traditional Jewish view that Joshua himself wrote it. Their main objection is that some of the events recorded in the book of Joshua also appear in the book of Judges, which commences with the words, “And after the death of Joshua.” (Judg. 1:1) Nevertheless, this opening statement is not necessarily a time indicator for all the events found in the Judges account. The book is not arranged in strict chronological order, for it mentions an event that definitely is placed before Joshua’s death. (Judg. 2:6-9) Therefore, some things, such as the capture of Hebron by Caleb (Josh. 15:13, 14; Judg. 1:9, 10), Debir by Othniel (Josh. 15:15-19; Judg. 1:11-15) and Leshem or Laish (Dan) by the Danites (Josh. 19:47, 48; Judg. 18:27-29) could likewise have taken place before Joshua’s death. Even the action of the Danites in setting up an idolatrous image at Laish could reasonably fit Joshua’s time. (Judg. 18:30, 31) In his concluding exhortation, Joshua told the Israelites: “Remove the gods that your forefathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt, and serve Jehovah.” (Josh. 24:14) Had idolatry not existed, this statement would have had little meaning.
Logically, then, with the exception of the concluding portion that reports his death, the book may be attributed to Joshua. As Moses had recorded the happenings of his lifetime, so it would have been fitting for Joshua to do likewise. The book itself reports: “Then Joshua wrote these words in the book of God’s law.”—Josh. 24:26.
Some have felt that the book is contradictory in making it appear that the land was completely