Joshua — ‘You Shall Bring This People Into the Land’

Sept. 1 is the feast day of this formidable Old Testament hero.

René-Antoine Houasse (1645-1710), “Joshua Battles the Amalekites”
René-Antoine Houasse (1645-1710), “Joshua Battles the Amalekites” (photo: Public Domain)

Then Moses summoned Joshua and in the presence of all Israel said to him, “Be strong and steadfast, for you shall bring this people into the land which the LORD swore to their ancestors he would give them; it is you who will give them possession of it.” —Deuteronomy 31:7

Joshua was a formidable leader of the Old Testament days who linked the time of Moses to the time of the Judges. Joshua’s first recorded accomplishment took place while Moses was leading the Israelites away from Egypt and a tribe of desert people called Amalekites instigated a battle. It was Joshua who organized troops and victoriously overcame the fierce Amalekites as Moses watched from a nearby hill with raised arms.

Another St. Joshua event tells of the arrival of the Israelites at the border of their new promised homeland and Moses choosing Joshua along with eleven others to scout out the territory. After this scouting expedition, only Joshua and another named Caleb felt confident that God would pave their way for a successful conquest. The other 10 scouts had terrible fears of the people already living in the area and convinced the nation to wait.

This lack of trust prompted God to require the Hebrew people roam the desert for forty years, and of the men, only Joshua, Caleb and those who had been under the age of 20 survived the 40-year ordeal.

As the group approached the end of their time in the desert, Moses turned his leadership role over to Joshua, who then began the takeover of Canaan. Joshua carefully heeded all of God’s directions and began the invasion with the city of Jericho. The Israelites marched around the city walls with priests blowing horns once a day for six days. On the seventh day, more marching along with shouting was added to the routine, and the walls of Jericho miraculously crumbled. 

Joshua then proceeded to take over towns, cities and districts — ultimately taking hold of the Promised Land. He then divvied up the land among the 12 tribes and granted certain settlement privileges to the Levites in various cities throughout.

Once the land was largely claimed and settled, the aging Joshua appealed to the people to keep their hearts focused on God. Soon after, Joshua died at the age of 110.


Nine Days of Bible Journaling with St. Joshua

Sept. 1 is the memorial of this formidable warrior-leader saint. The passages below can help you to spend a spiritually rich novena of days with this Old Testament hero. Let each passage bring you into St. Joshua’s life; see what new insights you glean, pray to St. Joshua for guidance, and keep a notebook of thoughts, reflections and favorite verses. If you have a leadership position — formally or informally — consider asking St. Joshua to pray for you!

  • Day 1) Exodus 17:8–16
  • Day 2) Numbers 13:1–8, 16–21, 28–33
  • Day 3) Numbers 14:5–10
  • Day 4) Numbers 14:29–34, 38
  • Day 5) Deuteronomy 31:7–8, 14–15, 23
  • Day 6) Joshua 2:1–24
  • Day 7) Joshua 6:6–25
  • Day 8) Joshua 11:23
  • Day 9) Joshua 24:23–24, 29–30