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A Worthy Successor

After the death of Moses, the responsibility of leading the tribes of Israel into the land that was promised to their ancestors fell upon Joshua, of the tribe of Ephraim. Like his predecessor, Joshua possessed all the qualities of a leader, general, and teacher, required for the arduous undertaking of conquering the Land of Canaan and settling the Jews there. We may imagine with what fear Joshua viewed his task. Had not his teacher Moses forfeited the fruits of his leadership at the very threshold of the Promised Land? What could Joshua expect? What did the future hold for him, a man of eighty-two, who was going to start on such a vigorous campaign? All these fears, however, were soon allayed. For had not G‑d told him: "No man shall be able to stand up before thee all the days of thy life"? Joshua knew that as long as he adhered to the Torah and its teachings, he would be successful.

One month after Moses' death, the Jews prepared themselves for the invasion of Canaan. Announcing his intention to conquer the land promised by G‑d to the children of Israel, Joshua sent an ultimatum to the inhabitants, offering them three choices: to leave the land, surrender and declare peace, or stand up and fight. The native tribe of the Girgoshites accepted the first condition. However, thirty-one kings chose to fight.

The Two Spies

Joshua then sent two spies, Pinehas and Caleb, to obtain first-hand information as to how the Canaanites were receiving the news of the impending invasion. The men went and came to the inn of Rahab, in the wall of the city of Jericho. When the news of their arrival reached the king, he at once sent messengers to Rahab, and bade her give up the strangers; but Rahab had hidden them on the roof of her house, and when the king's messengers came, she told them that the men had left her at dusk, and had departed from the city, she did not know whither. "Follow after them quickly," she urged with eagerness, "for you shall surely overtake them." Away sped the messengers to the fords near the Jordan. Rahab then went up to the men on the roof and entreated them in these words: "I know that the L-rd has given you the land, and that your terror has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land tremble before you. For we have heard how the L-rd dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts melted; nor did there remain any courage in any man on account of you; for the L-rd your G‑d, He is G‑d in heaven above and on the earth beneath. Now, therefore, I pray you, swear to me by the L-rd, since I have shown you kindness, that you will also show kindness to my father's house, and give me a true token; and that you will save my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death."

The men pledged themselves faithfully to remember Rahab and her household. Then Rahab let them down by a rope from the window, over the wall of the city, and bade them hide in the mountains for three days. The men, before leaving her, asked her to tie a scarlet thread in her window, so that the conquerors should know and save her whole family, lest any member of it should unwittingly be injured. Rahab promised to do so, and the men cautiously departed. When they returned to Joshua, it was with the joyful and confident intelligence, "Truly, the L-rd has delivered into our hands all the land, for all the inhabitants of the land tremble before us."

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Alice Heckel Satsuma January 25, 2017

Joshua's Two Spies Is this Caleb the same Caleb that spied out the land with Joshua for Moses? Reply

Magana sammy Kenya June 11, 2017
in response to Alice Heckel:

He is the same caleb Reply

Rolando Bartolome Chesapeake March 25, 2015

I was interested to know that Joshua married Rahab. Is there any chance that Rachab who was related to Boaz was also Rahab? I've contended that they're not. Reply

Gene Noel Peoria November 20, 2012

Names not found? What citing do you refer to when providing the names of the two spies: Pinehas and Caleb Reply

Anonymous Maale Levona, Israel June 18, 2011

My attempt to answer Re; 'Jews' At one point, Israel was split into two countries. The land of the 10 northern tribes was called "Israel" (although their kings were mostly from the tribe of Judah!). Jerusalem and the 2 southern tribes were called "Judea" (by the Romans; "Yehuda" in Hebrew), after the larger, ruling tribe.

Israel was conquered first and dispersed. Judea was left. In it were Benjaminites, Judeans, Levites, Kohanim and whomever of the other ten tribes happened to live there. From that time until today, they were all called "Judeans", which you are right is the source of the word "Jew". Similarly, non-Jewish citizens of modern Israel are called Israelis even though they are not from any of the tribes of Israel.

Today, some Jews know of which tribe, and sometimes clan, they are from records passed down through their families, especially the Kohanim and Leviim. But most do not, so are known as Israel. Whether Kohan, Levy or Israel, all are called by some form of the generic term "Jew". Reply

Chani Benjaminson, September 18, 2008

Re: Jews Not quite... The Jewish nation was originally known as Bnei Yisrael - the Children of Israel – as they were all descendants of Jacob (Israel). When ten of the twelve tribes were exiled, most of the Bnei Yisrael were ruled by the Kingdom of Yehuda, Judah -- hence we became known as the Jewish people and that is the most commonly used appellation nowadays.

See also: What is the Meaning of the Name "Jew"?
And click here for more information on the Ten Tribes. Reply

Jerry Illinois, USA September 18, 2008

Jew, Hebrew and Israelities To Whom It may Concern:
You keep using the word Jews which is misleading because Jews only came from the tribe of Judah. The rest of 11 tribes are not Jewish but Hebrew and Israelites. When did the children of 11 tribes other than the tribe of Judah call themselves Jews? All Jews are Israelities but not all Israelities are Jews. Why do you keep using the word Jews even before Judah was born. Please clarify.
Thank you.... Reply

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