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Who wrote the book of Joshua? Who was the author of Joshua?

author of Joshua

There is no explicit mention of authorship in the book of Joshua, but tradition suggests that Joshua either wrote the entire book or supervised a significant portion of the text. Several factors support Joshua as the primary author of this book, including the use of insider information and the mention of details only an eyewitness could know. For instance, Joshua 5:1 describes the crossing of the Jordan River using the pronoun we, implying firsthand testimony. The inclusion of ancient Canaanite names further indicates an early date of writing, supporting Joshua as the likely author.

Joshua was Moses’ loyal assistant, and, alongside Caleb, he stood faithful to God when other the Israelites rebelled in Numbers 13 and 14. Joshua took over as the leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death, and he was charged with the conquest of Canaan. Details of this conquest are recorded in the book of Joshua, a continuation of the events contained in the Pentateuch. The book of Joshua holds enduring relevance for Christians, emphasizing God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises, His judgment of transgressions, and His victory achieved in unconventional, miraculous ways.

There is some evidence of later additions by Joshua’s contemporaries, such as details about Joshua’s death (Joshua 24:29) and events that occurred after that. Such posthumous additions to a completed work are not unusual. We see much the same thing in Deuteronomy 34, which details the death of Moses, the author of Deuteronomy.

Some scholars, critical of the book of Joshua, seek to undermine its historical value and date it to a time distant from the recorded events. However, there is plenty of internal evidence that Joshua was written by someone contemporary with the historical events described in the book. Notably, Joshua 6:25 references Rahab, saying that “she lives among the Israelites to this day.” Obviously, whoever wrote Joshua was familiar with Rahab and lived at the time of the fall of Jericho.

In Joshua 24, Joshua assembles the people of Israel and speaks at length to them. First, Joshua reviews the entire history of the people, starting with Abraham, moving through Moses and the exodus, and ending with God’s faithfulness shown in their conquest of Canaan. He then calls them to covenant with the Lord, issuing his famous proclamation, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). The people promise to serve the Lord (verses 18, 21, and 24), and Joshua seals the covenant with them. Finally, “Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God” (verse 26). It’s certainly possible that what Joshua wrote was later identified as the book of Joshua.

If Joshua did not write the book that bears his name, then it was most likely written by a scribe under his supervision.

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Who wrote the book of Joshua? Who was the author of Joshua?
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This page last updated: February 28, 2024