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Joshua 1:1--3:17

The Lord Commissions Joshua

1:1 After Moses the Lord’s servant died, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead. Get ready! 1  Cross the Jordan River! 2  Lead these people into the land which I am ready to hand over to them. 3  1:3 I am handing over to you every place you set foot, as I promised Moses. 4  1:4 Your territory will extend from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north. It will extend all the way to the great River Euphrates in the east (including all of Syria) 5  and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea 6  in the west. 7  1:5 No one will be able to resist you 8  all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone. 1:6 Be strong and brave! You must lead these people in the conquest of this land that I solemnly promised their ancestors I would hand over to them. 9  1:7 Make sure you are 10  very strong and brave! Carefully obey 11  all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep! 12  Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful 13  in all you do. 14  1:8 This law scroll must not leave your lips! 15  You must memorize it 16  day and night so you can carefully obey 17  all that is written in it. Then you will prosper 18  and be successful. 19  1:9 I repeat, 20  be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, 21  for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do.” 22 

Joshua Prepares for the Invasion

1:10 Joshua instructed 23  the leaders of the people: 1:11 “Go through the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your supplies, for within three days you will cross the Jordan River and begin the conquest of the land the Lord your God is ready to hand over to you.’” 24 

1:12 Joshua told the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh: 1:13 “Remember what Moses the Lord’s servant commanded you. 25  The Lord your God is giving you a place to settle and is handing this land over to you. 26  1:14 Your wives, children and cattle may stay in the land that Moses assigned to you east of the Jordan River. But all you warriors must cross over armed for battle ahead of your brothers. 27  You must help them 1:15 until the Lord gives your brothers a place like yours to settle and they conquer the land the Lord your God is ready to hand over to them. Then you may go back to your allotted land and occupy the land Moses the Lord’s servant assigned you east of the Jordan.” 28 

1:16 They told Joshua, “We will do everything you say. We will go wherever you send us. 1:17 Just as we obeyed 29  Moses, so we will obey you. But 30  may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses! 1:18 Any man who rebels against what you say and does not obey all your commands will be executed. 31  But 32  be strong and brave!”

Joshua Sends Spies into the Land

2:1 Joshua son of Nun sent two spies out from Shittim secretly and instructed them: 33  “Find out what you can about the land, especially Jericho.” 34  They stopped at the house of a prostitute named Rahab and spent the night there. 35  2:2 The king of Jericho received this report: “Note well! 36  Israelite men have come here tonight 37  to spy on the land.” 2:3 So the king of Jericho sent this order to Rahab: 38  “Turn over 39  the men who came to you 40  – the ones who came to your house 41  – for they have come to spy on the whole land!” 2:4 But the woman hid the two men 42  and replied, “Yes, these men were clients of mine, 43  but I didn’t know where they came from. 2:5 When it was time to shut the city gate for the night, the men left. 44  I don’t know where they were heading. Chase after them quickly, for you have time to catch them!” 2:6 (Now she had taken them up to the roof and had hidden them in the stalks of flax she had spread out 45  on the roof.) 2:7 Meanwhile 46  the king’s men tried to find them on the road to the Jordan River 47  near the fords. 48  The city gate was shut as soon as they set out in pursuit of them. 49 

2:8 Now before the spies 50  went to sleep, Rahab 51  went up 52  to the roof. 2:9 She said to the men, “I know the Lord is handing this land over to you. 53  We are absolutely terrified of you, 54  and all who live in the land are cringing before 55  you. 56  2:10 For we heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt and how you annihilated the two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og, on the other side of the Jordan. 57  2:11 When we heard the news we lost our courage and no one could even breathe for fear of you. 58  For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below! 2:12 So now, promise me this with an oath sworn in the Lord’s name. 59  Because I have shown allegiance to you, show allegiance to my family. 60  Give me a solemn pledge 61  2:13 that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them, and rescue us 62  from death.” 2:14 The men said to her, “If you 63  die, may we die too! 64  If you do not report what we’ve been up to, 65  then, when the Lord hands the land over to us, we will show unswerving allegiance 66  to you.” 67 

2:15 Then Rahab 68  let them down by a rope 69  through the window. (Her 70  house was built as part of the city wall; she lived in the wall.) 71  2:16 She told them, “Head 72  to the hill country, so the ones chasing you don’t find you. 73  Hide from them there for three days, long enough for those chasing you 74  to return. Then you can be on your way.” 2:17 The men said to her, “We are not bound by this oath you made us swear unless the following conditions are met: 75  2:18 When we invade the land 76 , tie this red rope 77  in the window through which you let us down, and gather together in your house your father, mother, brothers, and all who live in your father’s house. 78  2:19 Anyone who leaves your house will be responsible for his own death – we are innocent in that case! 79  But if anyone with you in the house is harmed, we will be responsible. 80  2:20 If you should report what we’ve been up to, 81  we are not bound by this oath you made us swear.” 2:21 She said, “I agree to these conditions.” 82  She sent them on their way 83  and then tied the red rope in the window. 2:22 They went 84  to the hill country and stayed there for three days, long enough for those chasing them 85  to return. Their pursuers 86  looked all along the way but did not find them. 87  2:23 Then the two men returned – they came down from the hills, crossed the river, 88  came to Joshua son of Nun, and reported to him all they had discovered. 2:24 They told Joshua, “Surely the Lord is handing over all the land to us! 89  All who live in the land are cringing before us!” 90 

Israel Crosses the Jordan

3:1 Bright and early the next morning Joshua and the Israelites left Shittim and came to the Jordan. 91  They camped there before crossing the river. 92  3:2 After three days the leaders went through the camp 3:3 and commanded the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God 93  being carried by the Levitical priests, you must leave here 94  and walk 95  behind it. 3:4 But stay about three thousand feet behind it. 96  Keep your distance 97  so you can see 98  which way you should go, for you have not traveled this way before.”

3:5 Joshua told the people, “Ritually consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform miraculous deeds among you.” 3:6 Joshua told the priests, “Pick up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they picked up the ark of the covenant and went ahead of the people.

3:7 The Lord told Joshua, “This very day I will begin to honor you before all Israel 99  so they will know that I am with you just as I was with Moses. 3:8 Instruct the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, ‘When you reach the bank of the Jordan River, 100  wade into the water.’” 101 

3:9 Joshua told the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God!” 3:10 Joshua continued, 102  “This is how you will know the living God is among you and that he will truly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites. 3:11 Look! The ark of the covenant of the Ruler 103  of the whole earth is ready to enter the Jordan ahead of you. 3:12 Now select for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one per tribe. 3:13 When the feet 104  of the priests carrying the ark of the Lord, the Ruler 105  of the whole earth, touch 106  the water of the Jordan, the water coming downstream toward you will stop flowing and pile up.” 107 

3:14 So when the people left their tents to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went 108  ahead of them. 3:15 When the ones carrying the ark reached the Jordan and the feet of the priests carrying the ark touched the surface 109  of the water – (the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest time) 110 3:16 the water coming downstream toward them stopped flowing. 111  It piled up far upstream 112  at Adam (the city near Zarethan); there was no water at all flowing to the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea). 113  The people crossed the river opposite Jericho. 114  3:17 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan. All Israel crossed over on dry ground until the entire nation was on the other side. 115 

1 tn Heb “Get up!”

2 tn Heb “this Jordan”; the word “River” has been supplied in the translation for clarity (likewise in v. 11).

3 tc Heb “Cross over this Jordan, you and all these people, to the land that I am giving to them, to the children of Israel.” The final phrase, “to the children of Israel,” is probably a later scribal addition specifying the identity of “these people/them.”

4 tn Heb “Every place on which the sole of your foot walks, to you I have given it, as I said to Moses.” The second person pronouns in vv. 3-4 are plural, indicating that all the people are addressed here. The verbal form נְתַתִּיו (nÿtattiv, “I have given it”) is probably a perfect of certitude, emphasizing the certainty of the action. Another option is to translate, “I have already assigned it.” In this case the verb would probably refer to the Lord’s decree to Abraham that he would give this land to his descendants.

5 tn Heb “all the land of the Hittites.” The expression “the land of the Hittites” does not refer to Anatolia (modern Turkey), where the ancient Hittite kingdom of the second millennium b.c. was located, but rather to Syria, the “Hatti land” mentioned in inscriptions of the first millennium b.c. (see HALOT 1:363). The phrase is omitted in the LXX and may be a scribal addition.

6 tn Heb “the Great Sea,” the typical designation for the Mediterranean Sea.

7 tn Heb “From the wilderness and this Lebanon even to the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, even to the great sea [at] the place where the sun sets, your territory will be.”

8 tn Heb “A man will not stand before you.” The second person pronouns in this verse are singular, indicating Joshua is the addressee.

9 tn Heb “For you will cause these people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give to them.” The pronoun “them” at the end of the verse refers to either the people or to the fathers.

10 tn Or “Only be.”

11 tn Heb “so you can be careful to do.” The use of the infinitive לִשְׁמֹר (lishmor, “to keep”) after the imperatives suggests that strength and bravery will be necessary for obedience. Another option is to take the form לִשְׁמֹר as a vocative lamed (ל) with imperative (see Isa 38:20 for an example of this construction), which could be translated, “Indeed, be careful!”

12 tn Heb “commanded you.”

13 tn Heb “be wise,” but the word can mean “be successful” by metonymy.

14 tn Heb “in all which you go.”

15 tn Heb “mouth.”

sn This law scroll must not leave your lips. The ancient practice of reading aloud to oneself as an aid to memorization is in view here.

16 tn Heb “read it in undertones,” or “recite it quietly” (see HALOT 1:237).

17 tn Heb “be careful to do.”

18 tn Heb “you will make your way prosperous.”

19 tn Heb “and be wise,” but the word can mean “be successful” by metonymy.

20 tn Heb “Have I not commanded you?” The rhetorical question emphasizes the importance of the following command by reminding the listener that it is being repeated.

21 tn Or perhaps, “don’t get discouraged!”

22 tn Heb “in all which you go.”

23 tn Or “commanded.”

24 tn Heb “to enter to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving to you to possess it.”

25 tn Heb “remember the word which Moses, the Lord’s servant, commanded you.”

sn This command can be found in Deut 3:18-20. In vv. 13-15 Joshua paraphrases the command, as the third person reference to Moses in v. 14 indicates.

26 tn Heb “is providing rest for you and is giving to you this land.”

sn “This land” refers to the trans-Jordanian lands allotted to these tribes.

27 tn Heb “But you must cross over armed for battle before your brothers, all [you] mighty men of strength.”

28 tn Heb “Then you may return to the land of your possession and possess it, that which Moses, the Lord’s servant, gave to you beyond the Jordan toward the rising of the sun.”

29 tn Heb “listened to.”

30 tn Or “Only.” Here and in v. 18 this word qualifies what precedes (see also v. 7).

31 tn Heb “any man who rebels against your mouth and does not listen to your words, to all which you command us, will be put to death.”

32 tn Or “Only.” Here and in v. 17 this word qualifies what precedes (see also v. 7).

33 tn Heb “Joshua, son of Nun, sent from Shittim two men, spies, secretly, saying.”

34 tn Heb “go, see the land, and Jericho.”

map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

35 tn Heb “they went and entered the house of a woman, a prostitute, and her name was Rahab, and they slept there.”

36 tn Or “look.”

37 tn Heb “men have come here tonight from the sons of Israel.”

38 tn Heb “and the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying.”

39 tn Heb “bring out.”

40 tn The idiom “come to” (בוֹא אֶל, bo’ ’el) probably has sexual connotations here, as it often does elsewhere when a man “comes to” a woman. If so, the phrase could be translated “your clients.” The instructions reflect Rahab’s perspective as to the identity of the men.

41 tn The words “the ones who came to your house” (Heb “who came to your house”) may be a euphemistic scribal addition designed to blur the sexual connotation of the preceding words.

42 tn Heb “The woman took the two men and hid him.” The third masculine singular pronominal suffix on “hid” has to be a scribal error (see GKC §135.p).

43 tn Heb “the men came to me.” See the note on this phrase in v. 3.

44 tn Heb “And the gate was to be shut in the darkness and the men went out.”

45 tn Heb “arranged in rows by her.”

46 tn Another way to translate vv. 6-7 would be, “While she took them up to the roof and hid them…, the king’s men tried to find them….” Both of the main clauses have the subject prior to the predicate, perhaps indicating simultaneous action. (On the grammatical point, see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 42, §235.) In this case Rahab moves the Israelite spies from the hiding place referred to in v. 4 to a safer and less accessible hiding place.

47 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for clarity.

48 tn Heb “And the men chased after them [on] the road [leading to] the Jordan to the fords.” The text is written from the perspective of the king’s men. As far as they were concerned, they were chasing the spies.

49 tn Heb “And they shut the gate after – as soon as the ones chasing after them went out.” The expressions “after” and “as soon as” may represent a conflation of alternate readings.

50 tn Heb “they.”

51 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Rahab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

52 tn The Hebrew text adds, “to them.” This is somewhat redundant in English and has not been translated.

53 tn Heb “has given the land to you.” Rahab’s statement uses the Hebrew perfect, suggesting certitude.

54 tn Heb “terror of you has fallen upon us.”

55 tn Or “melting away because of.”

56 tn Both of these statements are actually subordinated to “I know” in the Hebrew text, which reads, “I know that the Lord…and that terror of you…and that all the inhabitants….”

57 tn Heb “and what you did to the two Amorite kings who were beyond the Jordan, Sihon and Og, how you annihilated them.”

58 tn Heb “And we heard and our heart[s] melted and there remained no longer breath in a man because of you.”

59 tn Heb “Now, swear to me by the Lord.”

sn To swear an oath in the Lord’s name would make the Lord the witness and guarantor of the promise attached to the oath. If the person making the oath should go back on the promise, the Lord would judge him for breaking the contract.

60 tn Heb “with the house of my father.”

61 tn Heb “true sign,” that is, “an inviolable token or pledge.”

62 tn Or “our lives.”

63 tn The second person pronoun is masculine plural, indicating that Rahab’s entire family is in view.

64 tn Heb “Our lives in return for you to die.” If the lives of Rahab’s family are not spared, then the spies will pay for the broken vow with their own lives.

65 tn Heb “If you do not report this matter of ours.”

66 tn Heb “allegiance and faithfulness.” These virtual synonyms are joined in the translation as “unswerving allegiance” to emphasize the degree of promised loyalty.

67 tn The second person pronoun is feminine singular, referring specifically to Rahab.

68 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Rahab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

69 tc The phrase “by a rope” is omitted in the LXX. It may be a later clarifying addition. If original, the omission in the LXX is likely due to an error of homoioarcton. A scribe’s or translator’s eye could have jumped from the initial ב (bet) in the phrase בַּחֶבֶל (bakhevel, “with a rope”) to the initial ב on the immediately following בְּעַד (bÿad, “through”) and accidentally omitted the intervening letters.

70 tn Heb “For her house.”

71 tc These explanatory statements are omitted in the LXX and probably represent a later scribal addition.

72 tn Heb “Go.”

73 tn Heb “so that the pursuers might not meet you.”

74 tn Heb “the pursuers.” The object (“you”) is not in the Hebrew text but is implied.

75 tn Heb “We are free from this oath of yours which you made us swear.” The words “unless the following conditions are met” are not in the Hebrew text, but are added for clarification.

76 tn Heb “Look! We are about to enter the land.”

77 tn Heb “the cord of this red thread.”

78 tn Heb “and your father and your mother and your brothers and all the house of your father gather to yourself to the house.”

79 tn Heb “Anyone who goes out from the doors of your house to the outside, his blood is on his head. We are innocent.”

80 tn Heb “But anyone who is with you in the house, his blood is on our head if a hand should be on him.”

81 tn Heb “and if you report this matter of ours.”

82 tn Heb “According to your words, so it [will be].”

83 tn Heb “she sent them away and they went.”

84 tn Heb “they went and came.”

85 tn Heb “the pursuers.” The object (“them”) is added for clarification.

86 tn Heb “the ones chasing them.” This has been rendered as “their pursuers” in the translation to avoid redundancy with the preceding clause.

87 tn Heb “The pursuers looked in all the way and did not find [them].”

88 tn The words “the river,” though not in the Hebrew text, are added for clarification.

89 tn Heb “Surely the Lord has given into our hand all the land.” The report by the spies uses the Hebrew perfect, suggesting certitude.

90 tn Heb “are melting away because of us.”

91 tn Heb “And Joshua arose early in the morning and he and the Israelites left Shittim and came to the Jordan.”

92 tn The words “the river,” though not in the Hebrew text, have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

93 sn The ark of the covenant refers to the wooden chest that symbolized God’s presence among his covenant people.

94 tn Heb “set out from your place.”

95 tn Or “march.”

96 tn Heb “But there should be a distance between you and it, about two thousand cubits in measurement.”

sn The precise distance is uncertain, but the measurement designated אַמָּה (’ammah, “cubit”) was probably equivalent to approximately eighteen inches (one and one-half feet, or 45 cm) in length.

97 tn Heb “do not approach it.”

98 tn Heb “know.”

99 tn Or more literally, “to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel.”

100 tn Heb “the edge of the waters of the Jordan.” The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied for clarity.

101 tn Heb “stand in the Jordan.” Here the repetition of the word “Jordan” would be redundant according to contemporary English style, so it was not included in the translation.

102 tn Heb “said.”

103 tn Or “Lord”; or “Master.”

104 tn Heb “the soles of the feet.”

105 tn Or “Lord”; or “Master.”

106 tn Or “rest in.”

107 tn Heb “the waters of the Jordan, the waters descending from above, will be cut off so that they will stand in one pile.”

108 tn The verb, though not in the Hebrew, is added for clarification.

109 tn Heb “dipped into the edge.”

110 tn Heb “and the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest.”

sn The lengthy description of the priests’ arrival at the Jordan and the parenthetical reminder that the Jordan was at flood stage delay the climax of the story and add to its dramatic buildup.

111 tn Heb “the waters descending from above stood still.”

112 tn Heb “they stood in one pile very far away.”

113 tn Heb “the [waters] descending toward the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) were completely cut off.”

sn The Salt Sea is an ancient name for the Dead Sea.

114 map For the location of Jericho see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

115 tn Heb “and all Israel was crossing over on dry ground until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.”

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