Joshua is not merely a story of conquest but also a treasure trove of theology.
David G. Firth interprets the book of Joshua with a sensitivity to its place as Christian Scripture. Joshua is marginalized in many churches, often because its message is misunderstood. Firth reveals that, rather than simply being a story of conquest, Joshua is concerned with matters of identity and faithfulness. Joshua exhorts God’s people to live out their calling in light of God’s promises. While Israelites like Achan fall short, others—often gentiles—show surprising faith in God. Firth also probes the book’s theological themes, such as the promised land, government, rest, and promise. The book of Joshua boldly challenges the complacent in faith to be a nation committed to God.
I enthusiastically recommend this commentary because of its sensitive literary reading of the book as well as its insightful theological analysis. Joshua is often ignored or avoided these days by Christians because of its violence, but Firth helps us appreciate its importance to our theology and faith.
–Tremper Longman III, Westmont College
Accessible. Engaging. Faithful. A great addition to the study of Joshua; I’d recommend it to my seminary students, to pastors, and to interested laypeople.
–Lissa M. Wray Beal, Providence Theological Seminary, Otterburne, Canada
“By this time, we know they are a mixed people, which is part of the reason Joshua had to exhort them to be faithful and obedient to Yahweh alone and not to the gods of their ancestors (24:22–24). This then becomes the definition of the people of God: a people committed to the service of Yahweh alone, with the possibility of all such people obeying God. Ethnic Israel was the vehicle by which this happened; non-Israelites were incorporated to varying degrees into Israel. But what defined the people of God was their commitment to him.” (Page 40)
“The people of God are more appropriately defined as those who join God in his purposes (though to a lesser degree those who do not oppose God’s purposes may enjoy the blessings of being among his people). Indeed, one of the key tasks of Joshua is to challenge a facile idea of the identity of God’s people.” (Page 38)
“As a memorial they served as a continual means of helping Israel remember that they had entered the land only because of what God had done.” (Page 107)
“That is why we are told Israel had been unfaithful with the devoted things before our focus is directed to Achan” (Page 146)
“Leadership is thus not about accumulating authority but about faithfully doing what God calls one to do” (Page 78)
The Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary (EBTC) series locates each biblical book within redemptive history and illuminates its unique theological contributions. All EBTC volumes feature informed exegetical treatment of the biblical book and thorough discussion of its most important theological themes in relation to the canon—all in a style that is useful and accessible to students of Scripture and preachers of the word.
Learn more about the other titles in this series.
David G. Firth (PhD, University of Pretoria) is tutor in Old Testament at Trinity College, Bristol. He is the author of Including the Stranger (New Studies in Biblical Theology), 1 & 2 Samuel (Apollos Old Testament Commentary), and The Message of Joshua.