Joshua 1:1-9 – The Commissioning of Joshua
SummaryThe Lord commissions Joshua to lead the Israelites into the land of Canaan, which the Lord is giving to them.
The book of Joshua begins where the book of Deuteronomy ends, with the death of Moses (see Deuteronomy 34). This is just the first instance of many links between the two books, hence, the scholars' designation of the author of Joshua as the "Deuteronomist."
After the illustrious career of Moses, "the servant of the LORD" (1:1), Joshua is to take over leadership of the Israelites and lead them at last into Canaan, the land God has promised to them. This entry into the land fulfills the promises of the whole Pentateuch--promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as promises to Moses and the first generation of Israelites in the wilderness. As such, the book of Joshua records a momentous time in Israel's history.
The task of leading the people at such a time would seem daunting to anyone. Perhaps that is why Joshua is told by God three times (1:6, 7, 9) and by the people once (1:18) to "be strong and courageous."
The Lord also commands Joshua to obey the book of the law of Moses (1:7-8). The phrase "book of the law" refers to Deuteronomy, or at least some part of Deuteronomy (see Deuteronomy 31:9-13, 24-26). Joshua reads this book of the law to the people in a covenant renewal ceremony in Joshua 8:30-35 (see also 24:25-27).