Biblical People

Biblical People: Joshua (1)

Joshua son of Nun serves Moses, first as an aide and later as his protégé, before he eventually succeeds him. Joshua is first known as Hoshea, but Moses gives him the name of Joshua. Though there’s much to examine in Joshua’s life, let’s focus on a few significant moments. 

The young apprentice witnesses his mentor’s example and is often present when Moses interacts with God. What an amazing experience this must have been. It shouldn’t surprise us that Moses selects Joshua as one of the twelve men chosen to spy out the land in preparation for conquering it. 

What seems strange is Joshua’s silence when Caleb gives his recommendation to go at once to take the land. Caleb seems to stand alone against the other spies who cower in fear.

Joshua, however, later joins Caleb to counter the majority report as the pair try to convince the people to move forward in faith, under God’s power. They continue their efforts, until the people threaten to kill them.

About forty years later, when Moses dies, Joshua succeeds him. He successfully leads the people to conquer the promised land.

Though an entire generation has died in the desert because of their grumbling and lack of faith, Joshua and Caleb are still alive. Joshua rewards Caleb’s faithfulness by assigning him a portion of the land the people conquered.

Joshua dies at 110 years old. Although Moses wisely appointed Joshua as his successor, Joshua fails to follow his mentor’s example.

He dies without having groomed anyone to replace him.

When we fail to speak up when we should, what can we do to correct our error? What are we doing to ensure that what we have started can continue when we’re gone?

[Read Joshua’s story in Exodus 17:9–14 and Numbers 13–14, as well as the entire book of Joshua. Discover more in Numbers 11:28; 27:18–23; Deuteronomy 3:21–28; and Deuteronomy 31.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at