Joshua and the Conquest of Canaan

The record contained in The Book of Joshua details the Israelite transition from a nomadic lifestyle to a settled agricultural and city-based economy in the Land of Promise.

The Land of Promise

A major part of the promises to Abraham, relate to Israel inheriting a land of promise, as discussed in Part 3 of the Bible Narrative. The Law of Moses, was built upon a predetermined concept of Israel as 12 tribes, dwelling as a settled people in a given inheritance, and the intended destiny on exit from Egypt was a Land of Promise.

Noah’s statement with respect to his grandson Canaan, is given in Genesis 9:25-26: Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. The land to be inherited is defined to Abraham.

Genesis 17:8 I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Genesis 15:18-21 Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

God is presented as the owner of the land, who gives it as an inheritance to Israel upon the condition, that they keep His law and serve Him. This is illustrated by the following examples:- Deuteronomy 11:10-12 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs: But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

Ezekiel 20:6 In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:

Psalms 132:13-14 the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. Removal of the Canaanite nations is presented as a national duty, with annihilation of the Canaanites being God’s judgment against their idolatrous practices, including child sacrifice, e.g.:- Genesis 15:16 in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

Deuteronomy 9:4 Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.

Numbers 33:55-56 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall Exodus you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.

Exodus 23:31-33 I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

Deuteronomy 7:1-5 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

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