Joshua is about keeping promises.
Even promises made to prostitutes. Even promises made to conniving Gibeonites. For better or worse, richer or poorer, a promise is sacred.
After a lifetime as a desert nomad, Joshua, with no military training, is told to take his ragtag army, cross the Jordan, and overthrow the fortified cities of Canaan. “I will give you every place where you set your foot,” God promised. “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life” (Joshua 1:3,5, NIV)
Author Roy Adams brings Joshua to life. He explores the underlying historical, geographical, and psychological subtexts, providing a strategic understanding of Israel’s military campaign. He grapples with the divine command to slaughter every man, women, child, and animal. Can ethnic cleansing be reconciled with the sixth commandment? The author makes an important contribution to understanding violence in the Old Testament at a time when our society is preoccupied with questions of terrorism and jihad.
Adams provides evidence of the utter depravity of the Canaanites from their own literature. He explains the covenant form with the help of ancient Near Eastern suzerainty treaties. He tackles the ethics of Rahab’s deception, along with historical issues, such as the long day. How did the Jordan stop flowing in flood stage? Why were parts of the land left unconquered? Did God, in the end, keep His promise?
The story of Joshua reminds us that “the Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV). This book will bless all who face impregnable walls or raging rivers; all who have experienced an embarrassing Ai defeat after a Jericho victory; all who wait on the verge of the Promised Land, seeking a city whose builder and maker is God.