(Background Reading: Joshua 5:13-15; 6-24)

Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

Joshua 6—The city of Jericho destroyed.

Joshua 7—The defeat at Ai; the sin of Achan.

Joshua 8—The victory at Ai; Joshua builds an altar, writes the Ten Commandments thereon, and reads the entire law to the people.

Joshua 9—The Gibeonites obtain a league by deception; are made Israel’s servants.

Joshua 10—The Israelites defend the Gibeonites in an attack from five kings; God aids them by sending hailstones from heaven and making the sun and moon stand still at Joshua’s word.

Joshua 11—The land of Canaan subdued.

Joshua 12—The two kings destroyed by Moses and the thirty-one kings smitten by Joshua listed.

Joshua 13—The land not conquered listed; the two and one-half tribe disbursement.

Joshua 14-21—Nine and one-half tribes receive their inheritance by lot; Caleb asks for Hebron; further distribution of the land.

Joshua 22—Dispute between the children of Reuben, Gad, the half tribe of Mannasseh and the other tribes settled peacefully.

Joshua 23-24—The last days, words, and death of Joshua.

Joshua 23:14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.

Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.

32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

MEMORY VERSE: For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant. And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people; That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD. —Psalm 105:42-45

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Directed by the captain of the host of the Lord, Joshua conquered Canaan and divided the land among the tribes of Israel, burying Joseph’s bones in Shechem as he had requested; thus he led Israel in the worship of the true God until his death.


Joshua was ready. He had heard God say, “Be strong and of a good courage.” He sent spies to check out the city of Jericho, made a promise to secure Rahab and her family, and gave traveling orders to the camp of Israel. The people followed the priests bearing the ark safely across the Jordan River by a miracle from God. The memorial was erected and the new generation was circumcised. Now they were poised to take the city of Jericho.

God knew Joshua needed another special heavenly visit; in mercy He appeared and brought the mighty man to his knees in humble worship. Now he was really ready!

God gave Joshua strange orders for taking the city, which he followed in strict obedience. The men of war, headed by seven priests bearing the ark and holding trumpets (rams’ horns), were to compass the city, once each day for six days. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, then blow with the trumpets. At the sound of the trumpets, all the people were to shout, and the wall of the city would “fall down flat.”

An article in Answers in Genesis describes this wall: “The mound, or ‘tell’ of Jericho was surrounded by a great earthen rampart, or embankment, with a stone retaining wall at its base. The retaining wall was some four to five meters (12–15 feet) high. On top of that was a mudbrick wall two meters (six feet) thick and about six to eight meters (20–26 feet) high. At the crest of the embankment was a similar mudbrick wall whose base was roughly 14 meters (46 feet) above the ground level outside the retaining wall” (Bryant Wood, The Walls of Jericho, answersingenesis.org). Other amazing finds (John Garstang, 1929-1936) include grain bins that were full, food in abundance, and bread in ovens ready to bake, which were covered over by fallen debris. Burnt and charred remains were evident everywhere.

Joshua was sure they could go on and defeat Ai. He didn’t even send all of his army. When they came back in a surprise defeat, Joshua fell on his face. God told him to get up and search among the people by lot to find out the traitor in the camp who had done a grievous sin and hidden it. The drawing of lots pointed out Achan. He then confessed he had disobeyed Joshua and had taken from Jericho the things Joshua had cursed—gold, silver and heathen clothing—and had buried them beneath his tent. Achan and his whole family were stoned in a place they named “The valley of Achor.” Years later, in a prophecy of the Messiah, God said he would give his adulterous people the valley of Achor for a “door of hope” (Hosea 2:15).

Joshua went on and defeated Ai, erecting a stone altar there, upon which he inscribed the words of the “law of Moses,” probably the Ten Commandments. He then read all the words of the law to the men, women, children, and strangers in their midst.

Hearing all that God had done for Israel made the inhabitants of the land band together to fight it out with him, but one country decided to trick Joshua into a peace treaty. The scriptures point out that the elders and Joshua “asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.” A lesson can be learned here, that the young man who “departed not out of the tabernacle,” the man who knew his master Moses had always fallen on his face before the Lord, the man who could not face the Jordan until he had divine help, failed this one time to seek the Lord, and it cost him and the nation of Israel dearly. When they discovered the true identity of the Gibeonites, that they were close neighbors instead of travelers from a far-off country as they had claimed, they kept their treaty to not destroy them; instead, they made them cut wood and haul water for the Israelites.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. How did the “man” with the sword answer Joshua?
  2. Describe the method for defeating Jericho.
  3. How did God send help to the battle with the five kings?
  4. What did Joshua write on the altar at Ai?
  5. What did Joshua fail to do in dealing with the Gibeonites?
  6. What did the Israelites do to fulfill the Joseph’s command?
  7. How old was Joshua when he died?


A closer look at the life of Joshua has been especially inspiring in this study. Except for his failure to ask God’s counsel concerning the Gibeonites, it was a perfect career. Obviously, the reason for his astounding success, and the success of the great man before him, was the all-important detail of always falling on his face before the Lord.

If we could take only one thing away from the entire study, it would be that very detail. We cannot do ANYTHING without the Lord. These were only normal men; they had no greatness of their own, and neither do we. But with God, all things are possible. “By faith, Moses!” “By faith, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho!” And, by faith, Polycarp, and Wycliffe, Luther, Wesley, Warner—and you and me.

The other important thing that stands out in all the lessons is the longsuffering of God and the merciful opportunity He gives individuals to stop the wicked way they are choosing, turn around, and go the other way. How many times have we read where God said, “Tomorrow.” At any time during the night between the deed and the death, the people could have chosen LIFE.

Our series ends with that choice. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” As an individual, as a family, and as a nation, God help us to choose LIFE.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


Many have the erroneous belief that their worship is merely personal. Who they worship (whether the one true God or other gods) or how they worship (whether devotedly or causally) affects only them and that it’s no one else’s business. But though our spiritual relationship is a personal one, there is a societal component to it as well.

Achan’s casual worship led to his disobedience; as a result, his choice not only affected him but his family, the congregation of Israel, and for a moment, it affected Ai’s perception of God. Everyone involved was affected.

On September 11, 2001, a day of infamy, 19 men in the “worship” of their god, changed the course of history. Their names have been forgotten but the profound impact that their “worship” has had on the world still lingers and is ever fresh in our minds. We are reminded of it each time we go to an airport or each time we hear of a terrorist attack on innocent civilians.

They got it wrong. We must get it right. They worshipped a false god. And the worship of any false god is not just an innocent nor individual act; it is a subtle but vicious attack against the one true God. This in turn, produces a ripple effect that is felt throughout the world.

Our true worship of the one true God is not just about us and how we choose to live. We are the salt of the earth! We are the light of the world! We are to conspicuously affect everyone around us. Our reputations should proceed us. Our spiritual enemies should tremble as we approach, and the world should see the light of Christ from the mountain of holiness. The one true God still seeks for true worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

—Bro. Darrell Johnson