Index: Joshua

Joshua is a historical narrative that likely originated with separate oral units of history that were combined into a written volume. For issues related to the historicity of the Conquest, see here [Off Site]. On the matter of the destruction of the Canaanites, see here[Off Site]. For some general claims of error between Joshua and Judges, see here.

Joshua 1:3-4
Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. One Skeptic objects that Israelite territory never extended to the distances given - which I daresay is not the point, for obviously, the Israelites went on to fail to take the land offered to them. (For more on why, see here.
Joshua 2:4-6
Why is Rahab praised for lying?
Joshua 6
The Authenticity of the Jericho Account
Joshua 6:3-4
Why did 600,000 Israelites walk around Jericho?
Joshua 6:3-4
How did 600,000 Israelites walk around Jericho?
Joshua 7:1, 24
Did all Israel sin? Also, was Achan son of Carmi or Zerah (7:24)? "Son" means any male descendant. 7:1 lists Zerah as one of Achan's ancestors. For more on this episode as well, see here.
Joshua 8:28
Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap forever, even a desolation to this day... One Skeptic claims that this "prophecy" is false, because "people live in Ai now and have lived in that city ever since the prophecy was made." This is simply incorrect. First of all, this verse is not a prophecy at all, but a description of the condition of Ai at the date that this was written - we can't say when that was, of course, but even so it is not a prophecy at all. That said: Ai is typically identified with et-Tell. There was a brief period of occupation there in the early Iron Age, which suggests that Joshua 8:28 was written before that time. But recently, David Livingston has suggested that Ai could actually be at a different site, one that remains to be excavated. (Bimson, Redating the Exodus and Conquest, 201-214)

Joshua 10:7-15
"Why isn't there more documentation of the spectacular stopping of the sun and moon?" [Off Site] -- part of a larger essay; also discusses the nature of the event, and addresses the "urban myth" that this event has been proven by scientists
Joshua 10:13
Refers to Book of Jashar, an alleged "lost book" of the Bible.

Joshua 10:40-43, 11:6-15
Did God fail on his promise of land?
Joshua 11:6
The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots." Is this an example of unjustified cruelty to animals? It actually represents a common practical measure of the ANE to prevent your enemy from rising back up against you - in turn leading to the loss of further human life, which we presume critics outside of PETA ascribe more value to than to the life of a horse. (hose who object saying that they could have kept the horses need to consider the limited food supply available for humans and horses alike.
Joshua 13:2-3
Is the mention of the Philistines an anachronism? This foundational article deals with the general problem of alleged Biblical anachronisms and links to an answer to the issue of this verse.
Joshua 14:2
Does this passage endorse gambling?
Joshua 15:21-32, 19:40-41
It is objected that the cities total 36, not 29. This is liable to be the result of copyist error, of a specific type called an "accretion error." On this, see S. Talmon, "The Town Lists of Simeon", Israeli Exploration Journal, 1965, pp. 235-41. Also, Solomon Tulbure cites 15:33 against 19:40-1 as giving Zoreah and Eshataol to Dan rather than Judah. But 19:40-41 says only that the coast or border of Dan's inheritance came to these cities, not that they possessed the cities.
Joshua 15:33-36
The passage says 14 villages; there are 15 listed. It is not difficult to suggest a copyist error, with either a name being split apart into two (very common in list transmissions) or a five being mistaken for a four (a four in Hebrew is an overhanging hook ; a five is the same hook, plus a vertical stroke.
Joshua 19:2ff
Fourteen cities are listed, but thirteen is the number of cities said to be in the list. It is not difficult to suggest a copyist error, with either a name being split apart into two (very common in list transmissions) or a three being mistaken for a four.
Joshua 21:23-24
Did these cities go to Ephraim or Dan?