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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 1

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Joshua 1:1 . The Lord spake to Joshua. Messiah, the Angel of the covenant, called him anew, and encouraged him to enter on the conquest of the promised land. All gentile mythology is built on this foundation, that “God at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.” Hebrews 1:1.

Joshua 1:2 . Arise, and go over Jordan. Christian, be alive like Joshua, whenever the Lord shall address this word to you.

Joshua 1:4 . Lebanon. לבן Liban, white. This mountain being nine thousand feet high was covered with snow nine months in the year. The southern point of the promised land was the small river Sichor, about fifty miles south-west of Gaza; the eastern boundary was the range of mount Gilead. Numbers 34:2. Deuteronomy 1:7. Joshua 3:15. The northern was the entering of Hamath in the pass of Lebanon.

Joshua 1:6 . Be strong. Christian princes, on their ascension to the throne, should always be addressed in this manner by some venerable minister, with regard to their duties to God and their country. Sovereigns in their high duties need divine counsel, and the best of ministers.

Joshua 1:11 . Prepare you victuals, of the spoils already gathered from the conquered countries. The manna required preparation when kept. Besides, the land of Bashan abounded with cattle and corn.


We have just seen Israel mourning for Moses, which was highly proper from natural affection, and the consideration of all the great things which God had done for the people by his ministry. The grand pillar of Israel was taken away, but the church still stood, for God was her rock and her support. Joshua succeeded in all the duties of Moses, and in the accomplishment of all the divine pleasure.

The Lord was graciously pleased to qualify him for government and command. He instructed him in his duty, and inspired him with courage by exhortations adequate to the conquest, and with wisdom requisite for the government of the people. No prince, no minister can acquit himself in the duties of his high station, without the guidance and care of providence. Man elevated to power, and embarrassed with a multitude of objects, is not always able distinctly to trace his duty. He is limited in his foresight, and all beyond is vague conjecture. He infers the future from the past, but providence, fertile in resources, takes unexpected turns, leaving speculation far behind. Hence the rulers of nations, though they watch appearances, and act according to the most recent changes of affairs, need nevertheless in all things, direction from Him to whom futurity is without a veil. A single false step may involve themselves and their country in misery or ruin. Hence the divine counsel and blessing should more especially be sought for commandants and kings, when they enter on the important duties of their station.

The diligence of Joshua in public affairs, the wisdom and accuracy of his arrangements, the precision of his orders, and the boldness with which he executed all his designs, soon convinced the Israelites that the Lord had graciously filled the place of Moses with a qualified prince. How great a blessing is the gift of such a magistrate to a nation! He applies himself to the public weal, he rules his affairs with discretion, and is the best gift of God to his country.

The people congratulated Joshua on his accession to the offices of supreme judge, and captain-general of all Israel. They revered him as God’s vicegerent; they avowed allegiance to him as formerly unto Moses, denouncing death, at the same time, against the man or the faction who should dare to oppose his power. The hands of a sovereign and his ministers, engaged in the great act of defending their country, should not be fettered with faction, but supported by the prayers and congratulations of the whole state. This is pleasing to God, who has appointed civil government for the paternal protection and defence of all the people.

Jesus Christ, who like Joshua, has undertaken to heal the breaches of a broken law, to vanquish our foes, and give the promised inheritance to a victorious people, should in like manner receive the homage and congratulations of all the earth. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish quickly when his wrath is but a little kindled.” He is wicked who delays allegiance; and he shall surely die who opposes the Lord’s anointed.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 1". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/joshua-1.html. 1835.
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