Joshua 1:3
Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread on, that have I given to you, as I said to Moses.
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(3) Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.—The conquest of Canaan was the special duty assigned to Joshua by the word of Moses. (Hence the order for the extermination of Amalek was written for Joshua [Exodus 17:14] as the representative conqueror, though he did not actually carry it out.) But the conquest of Canaan, as effected by Joshua, must be carefully defined. It was a limited conquest. He took a certain number of strongholds throughout the country, and utterly crushed the armies that were opposed to him in the field. He established the people of Israel in the position that he had won. (See Joshua 12:9-24 for an outline of the position.) He then divided to the tribes of Israel the whole territory, conquered and unconquered alike (see Joshua 13:1-7). The Philistines and Sidonians (or Phoenicians) are examples of two great nations not conquered by Joshua, but assigned to Israel for an inheritance. Thus it appears that what Israel would conquer, the sole of his foot must tread. The conquest which Joshua began for the people, must be carried out in detail by the several tribes themselves. For a further discussion of the relation of Joshua’s conquest to the whole history of Israel, see Note on Joshua 13:2.

Joshua 1:3-4. Every place — That is, within the following bounds. This Lebanon — Emphatically, as being the most eminent mountain in Syria, and the northern border of the land: or this which is within thy view. Hittites — Of the Canaanites, who, elsewhere, are called Amorites, (Genesis 15:16,) and here Hittites, the Hittites being the most considerable and formidable of them all. The greater sea — The midland sea, great in itself, and especially compared with those lesser collections of waters, which the Jews called seas. “But the Israelites never possessed all this land.” To which it may be answered, 1st, That was from their own sloth and cowardice, and disobedience to God, and breach of those conditions upon which this promise was suspended: 2d, Though their possessions extended not to Euphrates, yet their dominions did, and all those lands were tributary to them in David’s and Solomon’s time.1:1-4 Joshua had attended upon Moses. He who was called to honour, had been long used to business. Our Lord Jesus took upon him the form of a servant. Joshua was trained up under command. Those are fittest to rule, who have learned to obey. The removal of useful men should quicken survivors to be the more diligent in doing good. Arise, go over Jordan. At this place and at this time the banks were overflowed. Joshua had no bridge or boats, and yet he must believe that God, having ordered the people over, would open a way.Now ... - Hebrew: "and, ..." The statement following is thus connected with some previous one, which is assumed to be known to the reader. So Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, etc., are by the same means linked on to the books preceding them. The connection here is the closer, since the Book of Deuteronomy concludes, and the book of Joshua opens, by referring to the death of Moses.

Moses, the servant of the Lord - On the epithet, see the marginal reference "b."

Moses' minister - It is impossible altogether to pass by the typical application of this verse. Moses, representing the law, is dead; Joshua, or, as that name is written in Greek, Jesus, is now bidden by God to do what Moses could not - lead the people into the promised land. Joshua was "Moses' minister," just as Christ was "made under the Law;" but it was Joshua, not Moses, who worked out the accomplishment of the blessings which the Law promised. On the name Joshua, see Exodus 17:9 note, and Numbers 13:16.

Saying - No doubt directly, by an immediate revelation, but not as God spake to Moses, "mouth to mouth" Numbers 12:8. Though upon Joshua's appointment to be Moses' successor (Numbers 27:18 ff), it had been directed that "counsel should be asked" for him through the medium of Eleazar "after the judgment of Urim," yet this was evidently a resource provided to meet cases of doubt and difficulty. Here there was no such case; but the appointed leader, knowing well the purpose of God, needed to be stirred up to instant execution of it; and the people too might require the encouragement of a renewed divine command to set out at once upon the great enterprise before them (compare Joshua 1:13).

3, 4. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon that have I given you—meaning, of course, not universal dominion, but only the territory comprised within the boundaries here specified (see on [170]De 19:8). Every place, to wit, within the following bounds. Every place that the sole of your feet shall tread upon,.... That is, in the land of Canaan:

that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses: See Gill on Deuteronomy 11:24; though the Jews extend this to all without the land subdued by them, and even to all the countries they now tread on, and are exiles in; but the limits of what the Lord gave them are fixed in Joshua 1:4.

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
3. as I said unto Moses] Comp. Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 14:9.Verse 3. - Every place that the sole of your foot doth tread upon. These words are a quotation, almost word for word, from Deuteronomy 11:24, but the original promise is to be found in Genesis 12:1-7, with which we may compare Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:8. Comp. also Joshua 14:9; Exodus 23:30, 31, etc. It was God's purpose that the whole land should belong to the children of Israel; a purpose which, as usual in Hebrew prophecy, is signified by the use of the perfect tense here. The conquest was intended to be complete. Not a foot's breadth was to rest in the hands of its former owners. But here, as elsewhere in Holy Writ, we may mark the way in which man's sin and want of faith has marred the purposes of God. In the Book of Judges we read that the Canaanites were not only not driven out, but that the children of Israel made marriages with them, worshipped their gods, and practised their abominations. Jerusalem remained in the hands of the Jebusites until the time of David, while the Philistines remained in possession of their portion of Palestine until it was reduced under the power of the king of Babylon. We may observe that, according to all the ordinary laws of criticism, this citation of Deuteronomy is a proof that that Book existed when the Book of Joshua was written. For the cumbrous scheme of Elohists, Jehovists, Deuteronomists, and the like, by which this natural conclusion is overruled, see Introduction. Have I given it. The preterite here denotes God's purpose (cf. Genesis 1:29). Joshua now took Moses' place as the leader of the people, filled with the spirit of wisdom (practical wisdom, manifesting itself in action), because Moses had ordained him to his office by the laying on of hands (Numbers 27:18). And the people obeyed him; but he was not like Moses. "There arose no more a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face," i.e., so far as the miracles and signs were concerned which Moses did, by virtue of his divine mission, upon Pharaoh, his servants, and his land, and the terrible acts which he performed before the eyes of Israel (Deuteronomy 34:11 and Deuteronomy 34:12; vid., Deuteronomy 26:8, and Deuteronomy 4:34). "Whom Jehovah knew:" not who knew Him, the Lord. "To know," like γινώσκειν in 1 Corinthians 8:3, relates to the divine knowledge, which not only involves a careful observance (Deuteronomy 2:7), but is also a manifestation of Himself to man, a penetration of man with the spiritual power of God. Because he was thus known by the Lord, Moses was able to perform signs and wonders, and mighty, terrible acts, such as no other performed either before or after him. In this respect Joshua stood far below Moses, and no prophet arose in Israel like unto Moses. - This remark concerning Moses does not presuppose that a long series of prophets had already risen up since the time of Moses. When Joshua had defeated the Canaanites, and conquered their land with the powerful help of the Lord, which was still manifested in signs and wonders, and had divided it among the children of Israel, and when the tribes had settled down in their inheritance, so that the different portions of the land began to be called by the names of Naphtali, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Judah, as is the case in Deuteronomy 34:2; the conviction might already have become established in Israel, that no other prophet would arise like Moses, to whom the Lord had manifested Himself with such signs and wonders before the Egyptians and the eyes of Israel. The position occupied by Joshua in relation to this his predecessor, as the continuer of his work, would necessarily awaken and confirm this conviction, in connection with what the Lord had said as to the superiority of Moses to all the prophets (Numbers 12:6.). Moses was the founder and mediator of the old covenant. As long as this covenant was to last, no prophet could arise in Israel like unto Moses. There is but One who is worthy of greater honour than Moses, namely, the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, who is placed as the Son over all the house of God, in which Moses was found faithful as a servant (compare Hebrews 3:2-6 with Numbers 12:7), Jesus Christ, the founder and mediator of the new and everlasting covenant.
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