Joshua (Joshua 1)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project
White water 216011 620

Joshua is Moses’ successor as leader of Israel. While he is not a king, he does in some ways foreshadow the kings who will rule over Israel in subsequent centuries. He leads the nation into battle, he executes judgment when necessary, and he attempts to hold the people to the terms of the covenant God made with the Israelites at Mt. Sinai.

To use modern terms, we could call the transition from Moses to Joshua an example of good succession planning. Moses, as led by God, has appointed in Joshua a leader who matches Moses’ own character of faithfulness to God. He is described as a man of valor and learning, strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6-7), well-informed about and obedient to God’s law (Josh. 1:8-9). More importantly, he is a spiritual man. Ultimately, the foundation of Joshua’s leadership is not his own strength, nor even Moses’ tutelage, but God’s guidance and power. God promises him “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9). More about Joshua’s preparation to succeed Moses can be found at "Succession Planning (Numbers 27:12-23)" and "The End of Moses' Work (Deuteronomy 31:1-34:12)" at

As an example to today’s leaders, Joshua’s most notable characteristic may be his willingness to keep growing in virtue throughout his life. Unlike Samson, who seems stuck in infantile willfulness, Joshua transitions from a hotheaded young man (Numbers 14:6-10) to a military commander (Joshua 6:1-21) to a national chief executive (Josh. 20) and eventually to a prophetic visionary (Josh. 24). He is more than willing to subject himself to a long period of training under Moses and to learn from those more experienced than himself (Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 3:28). He is not afraid to give orders in times of action, yet he continues to share leadership among a team including the priest Eleazar and the elders of the Twelve Tribes (e.g., Joshua 19:51). He never seems to refuse an opportunity to grow in character or to benefit from the wisdom of others.