Book of Joshua Introduction
In A Nutshell
Hail the conquering hero! Beowulf, Alexander the Great, Xerxes, Romulans, Marcus Aurelius, Hannibal, Caesar the Ape... okay, we'll stop here. Needless to say (but you know we're going to anyway), the world is full of conquering heroes. Did you know the Bible has one, too? His name is Joshua.
Written in Hebrew during the late 7th century BCE, the Book of Joshua is the first recorded text of the Bible and kicks off what is known as the Historical Books. This doesn't mean that everything is to be taken literally (like our jokes). History was originally meant to teach a community about how to be good citizens and way less concerned with historical accuracy.
The Book of Joshua, which reads like a game of Risk, tells the tale of a man named Joshua (didn't see that one coming) and his conquest of the land of Canaan with the Israelite army. Joshua was Moses's replacement to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. The problem? People already lived there. Joshua had the unfortunate job of clearing out the wandering tribes of Canaan so the Israelites could have a home. We think of this like when you go to play in the ball pit, but it's already filled with kids so you kick them all out because it's your turn. Of course that's all hypothetical. We don't do that anymore. We're proud to say we haven't kicked a child out of a ball pit since last week.
Like Exodus, the Book of Joshua is about a nation discovering its identity and home in a foreign land, but it's also a very personal story about an ambitious patriot who sees it as his duty to sacrifice everything for his people and God. If that doesn't scream a rockin' good time, we're not sure what does. Maybe if this all took place in a ball pit.
Why Should I Care?
Look, we're going to be honest with you. This book is filled with a lot of bloody battles, human conflict, and pump your fist in the air moments. But that's not why you should care.
The Book of Joshua is your history; a story about a foreigner in a strange land with a special talent. To us, that screams freshman year of high school. And college. And work. And the retirement home. It's a tale as old a time, one of those moments where the Bible speaks to some experiences we all share, no matter where we fall on the religious spectrum.
Being the new guy is never easy. Or new girl for that matter. The Book of Joshua teaches us about family, commitment, loyalty, and faith—all things we need to survive, to make new histories. Give it a read. We dare you.