Study Guide

Book of Joshua Setting

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Who here likes geography? Well, since we can't see you, we're going to assume everyone who reads this raised their hands. Now that we have that settled, let's talk about Canaan.

The book of Joshua, ranging anywhere from 1500 to 1200 BCE, is set primarily in the Promised Land, otherwise known as Canaan. Reading Joshua is mostly like reading a geography text on Canaan. Starting at the Jordan River, the authors of Joshua take us on a sprawling journey across the region of Canaan. If you're one of the few that thinks The Lord of the Rings is only about people walking places, you're in for a doozy.

If you're not familiar, Canaan was the land originally settled in the Bible by Abraham and his family. A few generations later, the Israelites moved to Egypt where they were eventually enslaved. Their exodus out of Egypt is a journey meant to bring them back to the place of their forefathers. In the Israelites's eyes, they already owned the Promised Land—all the Canaanites were merely squatting. And Israel doesn't like squatters.

Conquering and settling in Canaan was a tremendous undertaking for the Israelites, an arduous task they accomplished with gusto. For them, Canaan isn't just a hunk of land, it's home.

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