I’m trying to read through Tanach again, starting from Joshua. I am reading Hebrew with English translation, and while I may sometimes consult commentary, I am largely seeking to simply read through the Tanach and see how I respond to it ten years after the last time I finished reading through the Tanach.

Joshua Chapter 1

The first part of the first chapter of Joshua is a communication from God to Joshua in which God summarizes His covenant with the Jewish people, and indicates that Joshua will serve in Moses’ stead as the leader of the Jewish people and the messenger of God. God also emphasizes to Joshua that in order to succeed, he will have to remain faithful to the Torah, and to continue to study it and perform the commandments it contains. God tells Joshua to “be strong and resolute” and to have no fear, because God will not abandon him.

Joshua then begins to command the people. Notable is the gap in the narrative – after God speaks to Joshua, no response is recorded – unlike other prophets, including Moses, there is no act of consecration or any kind of episode in which Joshua responds to his election, either positively or negatively.

Instead, it appears that Joshua is confirmed through his continuation of Moses’ leadership. His first act of leadership is to gather the people and inform them that they will cross the Jordan in three days, and then to give specific instructions to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and (half of) Manasseh, reminding them of their pact with Moses, in which they agreed to send their send their armies across the Jordan with the rest of the Israelites, in exchange for receiving the lands east of the Jordan as their inheritance. They respond as follows:

 
טז  וַיַּעֲנוּ, אֶת-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ לֵאמֹר:  כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-צִוִּיתָנוּ נַעֲשֶׂה, וְאֶל-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁלָחֵנוּ נֵלֵךְ. 16 And they answered Joshua, saying: ‘All that thou hast commanded us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us we will go.
יז  כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-שָׁמַעְנוּ אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, כֵּן נִשְׁמַע אֵלֶיךָ:  רַק יִהְיֶה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, עִמָּךְ, כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיָה, עִם-מֹשֶׁה. 17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee; only the LORD thy God be with thee, as He was with Moses.
יח  כָּל-אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר-יַמְרֶה אֶת-פִּיךָ, וְלֹא-יִשְׁמַע אֶת-דְּבָרֶיךָ לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-תְּצַוֶּנּוּ–יוּמָת:  רַק, חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ.  {פ} 18 Whosoever he be that shall rebel against thy commandment, and shall not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death; only be strong and of good courage.’ {P}

Thus, the people echo God, accepting Joshua as Moses’ replacement, and urging him to be strong and resolute.

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