The Book of Joshua - Introduction
This book, the story of the conquest of Canaan, follows on the wanderings in the wilderness. Modern criticism considers Joshua to be part of a unique and extensive history, a writing that carried on the account of the wilderness period in Deuteronomy and that included Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings; the entirety is known as the “Deuteronomic history.” Joshua begins with the crossing of the Jordan river and the destruction of Jericho (chs. 1–6 ). The conquest of the south through battles and alliances is next described (chs. 7–10 ). A final battle at Hazor in the north completes the conquest (ch. 11 ). After a short summary of Joshua's triumphs (ch. 12 ), the account deals with the division of the land among the tribes (chs. 13–22 ). The final two chapters present Joshua's farewell discourse, the covenant ceremony at Shechem, and the death of Joshua (chs. 23–24 ). God is pictured as closely involved in the events as a God of Battles, whose power is clearly manifested in the conquest.
Comparison with the Book of Judges indicates that the story of the conquest in Joshua is very much idealized and that the conquest was, in fact, quite complicated and much less decisive and less complete (see 13.1–6 and 17.12–18 ) than the book repeatedly suggests.