Joshua (/ˈdʒɒʃuə/) or Jehoshua (Hebrew: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ
Yehōšuʿa)[a] is the central figure in the
Hebrew Bible's Book of
Joshua. According to the books of Exodus, Numbers and Joshua, he was
Moses' assistant and became the leader of the
Israelite tribes after
the death of Moses. His name was Hoshe'a (הוֹשֵׁעַ) the son
of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, but
Moses called him
13:16), the name by which he is commonly known. The name is shortened
to Yeshua in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:17). According to the Bible he was
Egypt prior to the Exodus.
According to the
Joshua was one of the twelve spies of
Israel sent by
Moses to explore the land of Canaan. In Numbers
13:1–16, and after the death of Moses, he led the
in the conquest of Canaan, and allocated the land to the tribes.
According to Biblical chronology,
Joshua lived some time in the late
Bronze Age. According to
Joshua died at the age of 110.
Joshua also holds a position of respect among Muslims. According to
Islamic tradition, he was, along with Caleb, one of the two believing
Moses had sent to spy the land of Canaan. All Muslims
Joshua as the leader of the Israelites, following the death
of Moses. Some Muslims also believe
Joshua to be the "attendant" of
Moses mentioned in the Quran, before
Khidr and Joshua
plays a significant role in
Islamic literature with significant
narration in the Hadith, therefore he is a point of study in
comparative religion, see
Joshua in Islam.
2 Biblical narrative
2.1 The Exodus
2.2 Conquest of Canaan
4.1 In rabbinical literature
4.2 In Christianity
4.3 In Islam
5 In art and literature
7 Yom HaAliyah
9 See also
12 External links
The English name "Joshua" is a rendering of the
"Yehoshua", meaning "
Yahweh is salvation". The vocalization of
the second name component may be read as Hoshea—the name used in the
Moses added the divine name (Numbers 13:16).
"Jesus" is the English derivative of the Greek transliteration of
"Yehoshua" via Latin. In the Septuagint, all instances of the word
"Yehoshua" are rendered as "Ἰησοῦς" (Iēsoūs), the closest
Greek pronunciation of the Aramaic: ישוע Yeshua, Nehemiah
8:17). Thus, in modern Greek,
Joshua is called "
Jesus son of
Naue" (τοῦ Ναυή) to differentiate him from Jesus. This is also
true in the
Slavic languages following the
Eastern Orthodox tradition
(e.g. "Иисус Навин", Iisús Navín, in Bulgarian, Serbian
See also: History of ancient
Israel and Judah
"The Children of
Israel Crossing the Jordan" by Benjamin West, 1800
Joshua was a major figure in the events of the Exodus. He was charged
Moses with selecting and commanding a militia group for their first
battle after exiting Egypt, against the
17:8-16), in which they were victorious.
He later accompanied
Moses when he ascended biblical
Mount Sinai to
commune with God, visualize God's plan for the Israelite
tabernacle and receive the Ten Commandments.
Joshua was with Moses
when he descended from the mountain, heard the Israelites'
celebrations around the Golden Calf, and broke the tablets bearing
the words of the commandments. Similarly, in the narrative which
Moses being able to speak with
God in his tent of meeting
outside the camp,
Joshua is seen as custodian of the tent ('tabernacle
of meeting') when
Moses returned to the
Moses returned to the mountain to re-create the tablets
recording the Ten Commandments,
Joshua was not present, as the
biblical text states 'no man shall come up with you'.
Joshua was identified as one of the twelve spies sent by Moses
to explore and report on the land of
Canaan (Numbers 13:16-17), and
only he and
Caleb gave an encouraging report, a reward for which would
be that only these two of their entire generation would enter the
promised land (Numbers 14:22-24).
Joshua to succeed
leader of the
Israelites along with giving him a blessing of
invincibility during his lifetime (
Joshua 1:5). The first part
of the book of
Joshua covers the period when he led the conquest of
Conquest of Canaan
Main article: Book of Joshua
Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still upon Gibeon by John Martin
Jordan River, the waters parted, as they had for
Moses at the
Red Sea. The first battle after the crossing of the
Jordan was the
Battle of Jericho.
Joshua led the destruction of Jericho, then moved
on to Ai, a small neighboring city to the west. However, they were
defeated with thirty-six
Israelite deaths. The defeat was attributed
to Achan taking an "accursed thing" from Jericho; and was followed by
Achan and his family and animals being stoned to death to restore
Joshua then went to defeat Ai.
Israelites faced an alliance of five
Amorite kings from Jerusalem,
Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. At Gibeon,
cause the sun and moon to stand still, so that he could finish the
battle in daylight. This event is most notable because "There has been
no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a
man, for the Lord fought for Israel." (
God also fought
Israelites in this battle, for he hurled huge hailstones from
the sky which killed more Canaanites than those which the Israelites
slaughtered. From there on,
Joshua was able to lead the
several victories, securing much of the land of Canaan. He presided
Israelite gatherings at
Gilgal and Shiloh which allocated
land to the tribes of
Joshua 14:1-5 and 18:1-10), and the
Israelites rewarded him with the Ephraimite city of
Timnath-serah, where he settled (
Joshua's Tomb in Kifl Haris, April 2007
Joshua's Tomb in Jordan
When he was "old and well advanced in years",
Joshua convened the
elders and chiefs of the
Israelites and exhorted them to have no
fellowship with the native population, because it could lead them to
be unfaithful to God. At a general assembly of the clans at
Shechem, he took leave of the people, admonishing them to be loyal to
their God, who had been so mightily manifested in the midst of them.
As a witness of their promise to serve God,
Joshua set up a great
stone under an oak by the sanctuary of God. Soon afterward he died, at
the age of 110, and was buried at Timnath-heres, in the hill country
of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
The Exodus § Historicity, and History of ancient
Israel and Judah
The prevailing scholarly view is that
Joshua is not a factual account
of historical events. The apparent setting of
Joshua is the 13th
century BCE, a time of widespread city-destruction, but with a few
exceptions (Hazor, Lachish) the destroyed cities are not the ones the
Bible associates with Joshua, and the ones it does associate with him
show little or no sign of even being occupied at the time.
There is a consensus that the
Joshua traditions in the Pentateuch are
secondary additions. The spy story of Numbers 13–14; Deut. 1:34–7,
in an earlier form only mentioned Caleb. E. Meyer and G. Hoelscher
deny Joshua's existence as a historical reality and conclude that he
is the legendary hero of a Josephite clan.
Carolyn Pressler, in her 2002 commentary for the Westminster Bible
Companion series, suggests that readers of the
Book of Joshua
Book of Joshua should
give priority to its theological message ("what passages teach about
God") and be aware of what these would have meant to audiences in the
7th and 6th centuries BCE. Richard Nelson explains, "The needs of
the centralised monarchy favoured a single story of origins combining
old traditions of an exodus from Egypt, belief in a national god as
'divine warrior,' and explanations for ruined cities, social
stratification and ethnic groups, and contemporary tribes."
Authorship of the biblical
Joshua narrative is ascribed to Joshua
Bava Batra 15a (Talmud) and early church fathers, but in
Martin Noth published an argument that behind
Joshua and other
books was a unified "Deuteronomistic history", composed in the early
part of the
Babylonian captivity (6th century BCE). Most scholars
today believe in some such composite, containing the epic history of
the premonarchical period.
Internal evidence of the book of Joshua, and the repeated use of the
phrase 'to this day' suggests that the events that it recounts took
place some time before they were recorded.
The first record of the name
Israel occurs in the
erected for Egyptian Pharaoh
Merneptah c. 1209 BCE, "
Israel is laid
waste and his seed is not." William Dever sees this "Israel" in
the central highlands as a cultural and probably political entity,
well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible
challenge to their hegemony, but an ethnic group rather than an
The number of villages in the highlands increased to more than 300 by
the end of Iron Age I (more and larger in the north), with the
settled population rising from 20,000 in the twelfth century to 40,000
in the eleventh. The villagers probably shared the highlands with
other communities such as pastoral nomads, but only villagers left
sufficient remains to determine their settlement patterns.
Archaeologists and historians see more continuity than discontinuity
between these highland settlements and the preceding Late Bronze Age
Canaanite culture. Certain features, such as ceramic repertoire
and agrarian settlement plans, have been said to be distinctives of
highland sites, and collar-rimmed jars and four-roomed houses have
been said to be intrinsically "Israelite", but have also been said to
belong to a commonly shared culture throughout Iron I Canaan.
While some archaeologists interpret the absence of pig bones from the
highland sites as an indicator of ethnicity, this is not
certain. Villages had populations of up to 300 or 400,
which lived by farming and herding and were largely
self-sufficient; economic interchange was prevalent.
According to Ann E. Killebrew, "Most scholars today accept that the
majority of the conquest narratives in the book of
Joshua are devoid
of historical reality".
The question of the date and degrees of conquest and/or assimilation
of the indigenous population is uncertain, as academics and
archaeologists differ in their interpretation of the archaeological
and other evidence.
Joshua and the
Israelite people, Karolingischer Buchmaler, c. 840
In rabbinical literature
In rabbinic literature
Joshua is regarded as a faithful, humble,
deserving, wise man. Biblical verses illustrative of these qualities
and of their reward are applied to him. "He that waits on his master
shall be honored" (
Pro. xxvii. 18) is construed as a reference to
Midrash Numbers Rabbah
Midrash Numbers Rabbah xii.), as is also the first part of the
same verse, "Whoso keepes the fig-tree shall eat the fruit thereof"
(Midrash Yalk., Josh. 2; Numbers Rabbah xii. 21). That "honor shall
uphold the humble in spirit" (
Pro. xxix. 23) is proved by Joshua's
victory over Amalek (
Midrash Numbers Rabbah
Midrash Numbers Rabbah xiii). Not the sons of
Moses himself had expected—but
Joshua was appointed
successor to the son of Amram (
Midrash Numbers Rabbah
Midrash Numbers Rabbah xii).
Joshua reproved that
Othniel (Yalḳ., Num. 776).
Most modern Bibles translate Hebrews 4:8–10 to identify
Jesus as a
better Joshua, as
Israel into the rest of Canaan, but Jesus
leads the people of
God into "God's rest". Among the early Church
Joshua is considered a type of
Joshua is not mentioned by name in the Qur’ān, but his name appears
in other Islamic literature. In the
Qur'anic account of the conquest
Caleb are referenced, but not named, as two
"Allah-fearing men", on whom
God "had bestowed His grace".
They said: "O Moses! In this land are a people of exceeding strength:
Never shall we enter it until they leave it: if (once) they leave,
then shall we enter."
(But) among (their) Allah-fearing men were two on whom Allah had
bestowed His grace. They said: "Assault them at the (proper) Gate:
when once ye are in, victory will be yours; but on Allah put your
trust if ye have faith."
— Qur'an, sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayah 22–23
Joshua was regarded by some classical scholars as the
prophetic successor to
Tabari relates in his
History of the Prophets and Kings that
Joshua was one of the twelve
Muslim scholars believe that the two believing spies
referred to in the
Joshua and Caleb.
exceptional among the
Israelites for being one of the few faithful
followers of Allah.
Joshua is further mentioned in Islamic literature, and significant
events from his
Muslim narratives include the crossing of the Jordan
river and the conquest of Bait al-Maqdis. But
also preserves traditions of
Joshua not found in the
Joshua is credited with being present at Moses's death and literature
records that Moses's garments were with
Joshua at the time of his
Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim,
Joshua is mentioned
as Yusha' bin Nun and is the attendant to
Moses during his meeting
Joshua is believed by some Muslims to be buried on
Joshua's Hill in
Beykoz district of Istanbul. Alternative traditional sites for
the Prophet's tomb are situated in
Israel (the Shia shrine at Al-Nabi
Jordan (An-Nabi Yusha’ bin Noon, a Sunni shrine near the
city of Al-Salt) and
Iraq (the Nabi Yusha' shrine of
In art and literature
In the literary tradition of medieval Europe,
Joshua is known as one
of the Nine Worthies.
The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy Joshua's spirit appears to Dante in the Heaven of
Mars, where he is grouped with the other "warriors of the faith."
Georg Frideric Handel
Georg Frideric Handel composed the oratorio "Joshua"
in 1747. Composer
Franz Waxman composed an oratorio "Joshua" in 1959.
The annual commemoration of Joshua's yahrtzeit (the anniversary of his
death) is marked on the 26th of
Nisan on the
Thousands make the pilgrimage to the
Tomb of Joshua
Tomb of Joshua in
Kifl Haris on
the preceding night.
Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) (Hebrew: יום העלייה) is an
Israeli national holiday celebrated annually on the tenth of the
Hebrew month of
Nisan to commemorate
Joshua having led the Israelites
Jordan River into the Land of
Israel while carrying the Ark
of the Covenant.
Legend has it that Mormon pioneers in the United States first referred
to the yucca brevifolia agave plant as the
Joshua tree because its
branches reminded them of
Joshua stretching his arms upward in
supplication, guiding the travelers westward.
^ Aramaic: ישוע Yēšuʿa; Syriac: ܝܫܘܥ Yešua; Greek:
Ἰησοῦς, Arabic: يوشع بن نون Yušaʿ ibn Nūn;
^ (in Greek) "Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰησοῦς ὁ Δίκαιος".
^ a b "Righteous
Joshua the son of Nun (Navi)". ocafs.oca.org.
Retrieved 8 January 2018.
^ Michael D. Coogan, A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament, pages
166–167, Oxford University Press, 2009
^ a b Quran 5:22–23
Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament Francis Brown,
with S.R. Driver and C.A. Briggs, based on the lexicon of William
Gesenius. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 221 & 446
^ "Fausset's Bible Dictionary - Bible Dictionary - StudyLight.org".
Retrieved 8 January 2018.
^ Joshua, New Bible Dictionary, second edition. 1987. Douglas JD,
Hillyer N, eds., Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, USA
^ cf Numbers 13:16 LXX καὶ ἐπωνόμασεν Μωυσῆς
τὸν Αὐσῆ υἱὸν Ναυῆ Ἰησοῦν (and Moses
named Hosea, son of Naue, Jesus)
^ "Online Greek OT (Septuagint/LXX) UTF8 Bible. Zechariah Chapter
3:1-10". bibledatabase.net. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
^ Exodus 24:13
^ Exodus 32:17
^ Exodus 33:11
^ Exodus 34:3
Joshua Chapter 1". sacred-texts.com. Retrieved October 2014.
Check date values in: access-date= (help)
Joshua Chapter 1 : Honour is here put upon Joshua, and great
power lodged in his hand, by him that is ... him the administration,
by virtue of his solemn ordination in Moses's life-time. ..... and it
will entitle them to the best blessings:
God shall give them the
desire of ... be done, how invincible soever the difficulties may seem
that lie in the way.
Joshua 23:7-8, 23:12-13
^ a b McConville (2010), p.4
^ Miller&Hayes, pp. 71–2.
^ Yohanan Aharoni, S.
David Sperling. Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed.
Volume 11. p. 442.
^ Pressler, pp.5–6
^ Nelson, p.5
^ Dever, William, "What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did
They Know It?" (Eerdmans, 2001) 2001, p. 100.
^ Raymond B. Dillard; Tremper Longman (1994). An Introduction to the
Old Testament. Zondervan. p. 109.
^ Stager in Coogan 1998, p. 91.
^ Dever 2003, p. 206.
^ McNutt 1999, p. 47.
^ a b McNutt 1999, p. 70.
^ McNutt 1999, p. 69.
^ Bright 2000, p. 472.
^ Killebrew 2005, p. 13.
^ Miller 1986, p. 72.
^ Killebrew 2005, p. 176.
^ Bright 2000, p. 473.
^ Miller 2005, p. 98.
^ McNutt 1999, p. 72.
^ Miller 2005, p. 99.
^ Ann E. Killebrew (2005). Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An
Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, and Early
Israel, 1300–1100 B.C.E. Society of Biblical Lit. p. 186.
^ Miller 1977, 87–93; Van Seters 1983, 322–37; Schoors 1987,
77-92; Na'aman 1994b, 218-30, 249-50
^ Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. (30 August 2009). Joshua. Zondervan.
p. 203. ISBN 978-0-310-59062-0. The current scholarly
consensus follows the conclusion of Kenyon: Except for a small,
short-lived settlement (c. 1400 B.C.),
Jericho was completely
uninhabited c. 1550–1100 B.C.
^ Dever, William G. (1990) . "2. The
Israelite Settlement in
Canaan. New Archeological Models". Recent Archeological Discoveries
and Biblical Research. Washington state: University of Washington
Press. p. 47. ISBN 0-295-97261-0. Retrieved 2013-01-07. (Of
course, for some, that only made the Biblical story more miraculous
Joshua destroyed a city that wasn't even there!)
^ "Introduction to the Old Testament, chapter on Joshua, by T. Longman
and R. Dillard, Zondervan Books (2006)
^ Nichols, Aidan (2007). Lovely, Like Jerusalem: The Fulfillment of
the Old Testament in Christ and the Church. Ignatius Press.
p. 195. ISBN 9781586171681.
^ Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and
Commentary, Note. 726 to verse 23: "Among those who returned after
spying out the land were two men who had faith and courage. They were
Joshua and Caleb.
Joshua afterwards succeeded
Moses in the leadership
after 40 years. These two men pleaded for an immediate entry through
the proper Gate, which I understand to mean, "after taking all due
precautions and making all due preparations." Cf. 2:189 and n. 203.
But of course, they said, they must put their trust in Allah for
Joshua is mentioned as a prophet in Ibn Kathir's Stories of the
^ Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings, Vol. I: 414–429,
^ Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. XI, pg. 351, Yusha ibn Nun [Joshua, son
^ Bukhari, Book 6, Volume 60, Hadiths 249, 250, 251: Prophetic
Commentary on the Qur'an (Tafseer of the
^ Bukhari, Book 1, Volume 3, Hadith 124: Knowledge
^ Muslim, Book 30, Hadith 5864: The Book Pertaining to the Excellent
Qualities of the Holy
Prophet (may Peace be upon them) and His
Companions (Kitab Al-Fada'il)
^ "ISTANBUL, Extended On Two Continents". Retrieved 8 January
^ a b Mazar Hazrat Yusha’ bin Noon, on the website of the Islamic
Supreme Council of Canada 
^ Tomb of
Prophet Yusha' (photo of the tomb; Islamic view on Prophet
^ Simons, Dorothy Lister (8 January 2018). "The Individual Human
Dramatis Personae of the "Divine Comedy"". Modern Philology. 16 (7):
371–380. Retrieved 8 January 2018 – via JSTOR.
Joshua Tree National Park", nps.gov, National Park Service,
retrieved 2013-05-27 contribution= ignored (help)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joshua.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua, Douay Rheims Bible Version with annotations By
Book of Joshua
Book of Joshua at BibleGateway
Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Easton's Bible Dictionary & Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
de Pury, Albert, Römer, Thomas, Macchi, Jean-Daniel "Israël
constructs its history: Deuteronomistic historiography in recent
research" (Sheffield Academic Press, 2000)
Garbini, G., "Myth and history in the bible" (Sheffield Academic
Graham, M.P, and McKenzie, Steven L., "The
Hebrew Bible today: an
introduction to critical issues" (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998)
Killebrew, Ann E., "Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An Archaeological
Study of Egyptians, Canaanites, and Early Israel, 1300-1100 BCE"
(Society of Biblical Literature, 2005)
Coogan, Michael D. (ed), "The Oxford History of the Biblical World
(Oxford University Press, 1998)
Oxford Bible Commentary (ed. John Barton, John Muddiman, Oxford
University Press, 2001)
The biblical world, Volume 2, John Barton, Taylor & Francis, 2004.
Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (ed. James D. G. Dunn, John William
Rogerson, Eerdmans, 2003)
Day, John, "
Yahweh and the gods and goddesses of Canaan" (Sheffield
Academic Press, 2002)
Dever, William, "What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They
Know It?" (Eerdmans, 2001)
Dever, William, "Who Were the Early
Israelites and Where Did They Come
From?" (Eerdmans, 2003, 2006)
Finkelstein, Israel; Mazar, Amihay; Schmidt, Brian B., "The Quest for
the Historical Israel" (Society of Biblical Literature, 2007)
Brettler, Marc Zvi, "How to read the Bible" (Jewish Publication
Joshua, an Introduction and Commentary, by Richard Hess, Inter-Varsity
Auzou, Georges. Le Don d'une conquête: étude du livre de Josué
(Édition de l'Orante, 1964), in series, "Connaissance de la Bible",
Bright, John (2000). A History of Israel. Westminster John Knox Press.
McNutt, Paula (1999). Reconstructing the Society of Ancient Israel.
Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22265-9.
Miller, James Maxwell; Hayes, John Haralson (1986). A History of
Israel and Judah. Westminster John Knox Press.
Miller, Robert D. (2005). Chieftains of the Highland Clans: A History
Israel in the 12th and 11th Centuries B.C. Eerdmans.
Tribe of Ephraim
Judge of Israel
Prophets in the
Noah (in rabbinic literature)
Patriarchs / Matriarchs
in the Torah
Moses (in rabbinic literature)
Eldad and Medad
Mentioned in the
Zechariah ben Jehoiada
Isaiah (in rabbinic literature)
Daniel (in rabbinic literature)
Jonah (in rabbinic literature)
Job (in rabbinic literature)
Esther (in rabbinic literature)
Italics indicate persons whose status as prophets is not universally
Extra-Quranic Prophets of Islam
In Stories of the Prophets
In Islamic tradition
Zechariah ben Jehoiada
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah
Khaled bin Sinan
In Quranic exegesis
Saduq, Masduq, and Shalum
Zechariah, son of Berechiah
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant topics
High Priest of Israel
Tribe of Judah
Tribe of Levi
Tablets of Stone
Holy of Holies
Dome of the Rock
Well of Souls
Cathedral of Chartres
Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion
The Sign and the Seal
The Sign and the Seal (1992 book)