God told Moses to have one man, a leader, from each tribe of Israel to spy the land of Canaan. There were 12 tribes, so there were 12 men sent to search the land of Canaan. Moses told them to go south, into the mountains.
They were to see what the people living there were like. How many were there? How was the land, is it good or bad? Are there forests? Are the cities like camps or they like strongholds? He told them to 'be of good courage' (be brave) and bring back some of the fruit from the land. It was the season for ripe grapes.
They searched the land and returned after 40 days. They told the people that the land flowed with ‘milk & honey’ and they showed the people the grapes they had brought from the Valley of Eshcol. The branch was one grape cluster and was so big, they had to put it on a pole and carry it between 2 men! They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. They also told them that the people there were strong and the cities were very large and protected.
Caleb quieted the people and told them “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it”. But the other men that had spied the land, said that the “people are a lot stronger than us. We can’t win against them! They are tall like giants and we are like grasshoppers!”
The people complained and said “We should have just stayed in Egypt to die!” They didn’t have enough faith, still, in God and His power! But Joshua and Caleb, 2 of the men that searched the land of Canaan, tore their clothes and spoke to everyone. They told the people that it was very good land, and if the Lord is happy with them, then He would give the land to them! It is a land that 'flows with milk & honey'! But, don't fight the Lord, and don't fear the people in Canaan. The Lord is with us! Do not fear them! The people were so upset, they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb!
God told them because of their lack of faith, all the people that were 20 years and older would die in the wilderness. Only Caleb and Joshua and the younger people would enter into the Promised Land. Because some of the spies didn’t believe God would protect them, and they had searched the land for 40 days, God would make the people wander in the wilderness for 40 years (1 year for each 1 day). Joshua and Caleb were the only spies that had faith in God. The other 10 died from a plague. Numbers 14:37 (The mummies are soldiers from Dollar Tree and are the same guys I used for the Ark of the Covenant. My nieces helped me wrap them in a paper towel, we were discussing what I wanted and I wanted white, but didn't have enough fabric on hand. Mattie said "How about toilet paper", and I said "Good idea, but we'll use paper towels"! I want to remove it and use the guys for something else. So, we wrapped them up tight, used masking tape on the back and used the string to finish the effect. I wanted to show the kids that 12 were sent by God, but only two really believed that God would keep protecting them, providing for them, watching over them, etc.)
God told them because of their lack of faith, all the people that were 20 years and older would die in the wilderness. Only Caleb and Joshua and the younger people would enter into the Promised Land. Numbers 14:29-30 Because some of the spies didn’t believe God would protect them, and they had searched the land for 40 days, God would make the people wander in the wilderness for 40 years (1 year for each 1 day). Numbers 14:34 Joshua and Caleb were the only spies that had faith in God. The other 10 died from a plague.
Joshua was the new leader of God’s people. He knew that he must lead the Israelites into the land that God had promised them. They were tired of wandering around in the desert. They were ready to build homes and have farms. The new land was beautiful and good. It was the perfect place to live. Joshua knew that because he had been there as a spy forty years ago. The new land was on the other side of the Jordan River. There were people living in the land but they did not believe in God. God wanted His people to have the land.
Joshua chose two men to go and explore the land. They were to sneak into the large city of Jericho and see how strong the enemy was. The men pretended to be ordinary travellers. Once inside Jericho they looked for a place to stay. The two spies found their way to the house of a woman named Rahab. She had been a bad woman in the city but she had heard about the Israelite people and she decided to let the spies stay with her.
Rahab knew that the King of Jericho would want to hurt the spies so she decided to hide them. Where could she hide them? She remembered that she had put stalks of flax on her roof. They were spread out to dry. That would be the perfect hiding place! She told the spies to go onto the roof and hide under the flax stalks. No one would see them there. The king had been hearing all about the Israelites. He knew they might attack his city.
He told everyone to watch out for strangers. He knew the Israelites might send spies. And he was right! Someone told him that the spies were staying at Rehab’s house. The king sent soldiers to find them. When they reached Rehab’s house they banged on the front door shouting, “The king demands that you bring out the two men that are staying here. We know they are spies.”
It was a good thing that Rahab had hidden the spies. She hurried downstairs to open the door for the king’s men. She said, “Yes, two men were here but they have just left. If you hurry you should catch them.” “They’ll have gone toward the river,” shouted a soldier and they set off in pursuit.
The Israelite spies lay very still in their hiding place. Soon Rahab returned. The two men asked her why she had risked her life to protect two foreign enemies.
“I will tell you why,” she said. “I know the Lord has promised you this land and most of my people are afraid of your people. We have heard how God divided the sea for you and brought you throughout the wilderness.
“When you attack this city promise me that you will save my life and the life of my family.” The men agreed. “If you tell no one about our visit we will see that you and your family are not harmed.”
By then it was night and the city gates were shut, but Rehab’s house was built on the city wall. She brought a rope and fastened it to the window and the spies climbed down to the ground outside the city wall. “Escape to the mountains,” she advised them. “Hide there for three days until the search is over.”
Before they left, the spies said, “You must tie a piece of scarlet red cord in this window so we will know your house from a distance when we march against the city. Whoever is inside the house will be saved.” The spies were glad that Rahab saved their lives. Even though Rahab had been a bad woman in the past, now she was helping God’s people! Rahab and the spies did not know it yet but, in the future, Rahab would marry an Israelite and her descendants would follow God. In fact, hundreds of years later, one of her descendants would be Jesus Christ.
When the two spies returned to Joshua they gave their report. Joshua knew that it was now time to enter the land.
The Israelites were now in the land that the Lord had promised to them. Joshua was happy that they were in the land but he knew that his job was not over. The people in the new land did not believe in God. They did not want God’s people to live there. Joshua knew he must fight the people before the Israelites could live there. The first big city was Jericho. There were tall walls around the whole city. The walls were strong and the only way to get into the city was through the city gates. The people in Jericho would never open the gates to the Israelites!
As Joshua was thinking about how he would conquer the city of Jericho, he noticed a man standing nearby. The man had a sword drawn as if he was ready to fight. “Or you on our side or on our enemies’ side?” Joshua asked. “I am not for the enemy or for you. I am on the Lord’s side!” The man told Joshua to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground. Joshua knew that this was not just a man. This was the voice of the Lord! The Lord gave Joshua special instructions on how to win the battle of Jericho. The instructions were very unusual but Joshua listened and then he left and did exactly as the Lord commanded.
First, Joshua told all of the army to line up. Then he told the priests to pick up the ark of the covenant and carry it behind the army. Seven priests were to walk in front of the ark of the covenant with big trumpet horns. Joshua told all of the people and some more fighting men to follow last, behind the ark. So everyone lined up. First the army, then the seven priests blowing trumpets, then the priests who carried the ark of the covenant, then the people and a guard of fighting men. All of them marched one time around the city of Jericho. The army and the people did not make any sound.
The people inside the city of Jericho must have laughed at the Israelites! They probably thought the Israelites were crazy. Why were they marching around the city? They would never win any battles that way. Even though it seemed an odd thing, Joshua and the people did exactly what the Lord commanded. They marched around the city one time, every day, for six days.
On the seventh day, the Lord commanded the Israelites to march around the city seven times, not just once. The people knew that after the seventh time, when they heard the trumpets, they were supposed to shout as loud as they could. That is exactly what they did. When the priests blew the trumpets, the people shouted at the top of their voices. Guess what happened? All of the strong walls of Jericho broke into small pieces and fell down! The people must have been very excited. Now they could enter Jericho and win the battle! There were many rich things in Jericho.
There were gold and silver and other riches. Joshua told the Israelites not to keep anything for themselves. Any riches that were found would belong to the Lord. They put it into the treasury in the tabernacle of the Lord. Joshua remembered that the woman, Rahab, had protected the spies when they had come to Jericho. She had put a red cord in her window just as the spies had told her. When the Israelites saw the cord, they let Rahab and her family leave the city safely. They were the only people to escape Jericho alive.
Joshua and the Israelites had captured Jericho and Ai. The nearby Gibeonites had deceived Joshua into believing they were from a far away land and made a treaty with him. They were now wood gatherers and water carriers for the Israelites.
The leaders of the tribes in Canaan were dismayed the people of Gibeon were now allies of the Israelites
King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon. They agreed to combine their armies to attack Gibeon.
The men of Gibeon sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. ‘Come at once! Save us! Help us!’ they pleaded. ‘All the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.’
Joshua and his entire army, set out for Gibeon. ‘Don’t be afraid of them,’ the Lord told Joshua, ‘for I have given you victory over them.’
That night the Israelites took the Amorite armies by surprise and chased them as they fled.
As the Amorites retreated, the Lord sent a terrible hailstorm. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.
Joshua needed daylight to destroy their enemies. So he prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. ‘Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.’ The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and did not set as on a normal day.
During the battle the five kings escaped and hid in a cave at Makkedah
Joshua commanded, ‘Cover the opening of the cave with large rocks, and put guards at the entrance to keep the kings inside. The rest of you continue chasing the enemy and don’t give them a chance to get back to their towns. The Lord has given you victory over the
The Israelites totally wiped out the five armies except for a tiny remnant that managed to reach their fortified towns.
Then Joshua said, ‘Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me.’
Joshua told the commanders of his army, ‘Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks. Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.’ The kings were then executed.
Joshua then captured and destroyed the town of Makkedah
The Israelites went to capture the cities of Libnah then Eglon, Hebron and Debir before returning victoriously to Gilgal.