Joshua 12 Commentary

Joshua 12 Commentary

Chapter 11 closed with the following statement, “So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.” Now chapter 12 gives us details of the land.

Each defeated king is representing a portion of land. The scripture takes the trouble of telling us the extent of land that each defeated king occupied. To the modern ear these details may be boring but they are not needless. Why is this land so important?

When the LORD created man, he put him on a piece of land we call the Garden of Eden. As we all know sin forced man out of the Garden of perfection. The Bible has one main actor in the LORD. He is working constantly through difficulties of unfaithfulness in order to return man to the original piece of land. The conquest of Canaan under the command of the Commander of the armies of the LORD gives us a visual and shadow understanding of this effort.

Chapters 11 and 12 can therefore be celebrated as key moments in the storyline of the Bible. The LORD has achieved His purposes.

The perfection of the LORD is such that there is no need for another boardroom decision on anything. The two chapters are a shadow mention of the same Garden that the Bible started with. The Bible closes with the Book of Revelation talking about the same Garden in its original perfection. Of course, in between is another most important Garden of suffering famously called Gethsemane.

In the immediate context this land is flowing with milk and honey. Milk represents commerce and industry while honey is nature’s special gift to Israel. The word is PROSPERITY. For Israel, this land is the ground that the LORD commanded Adam to work to expand and unlock prosperity. It is everything for Israel. Chapter 12 feels like school is ended.

The conquest of Canaan is therefore an unimaginably important event in the history of the peoples of God. The saint remembers these words: “… I am going there to prepare a place for you?” The promise remains and the conquest is salvation.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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