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Beyond Jericho

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While the Torah goes into considerable detail about the birth and early years of Moses, nothing is written about his successor, Joshua (Ye’hoshua) bin Nun. The only real information given about him in the Torah is that he was from the tribe of Ephraim and was originally named Hoshayah. According to the Midrash, a yud was added to the beginning of his name by Moses before he went to scout out the land of Israel in order to given him Divine protection from the plans of the 10 rebellious spies (Numbers 13:16).

One can deduce from the text that Joshua was around 42 years old when the Israelites left Egypt. (He led the Israelites for 28 years after they left the wilderness and was 110 when his died).

Why was Joshua chosen as Moses’ successor? One could assume it was because he had proven himself as a military leader. It was Joshua whom Moses chose to lead the Israelites in the victorious battle when they were attacked by Amalek (Exodus 17:8-14) and could thus be relied upon to successfully lead the conquest of Canaan.

He was also Moses’ most dedicated disciple. He learned the entire Torah from Moses and, more importantly, he learned how to understand the laws in the same way his teacher did. “Even in matters that he had not heard from Moses, his own reasoning corresponded with what had been told to Moses at Sinai” (Jerusalem Talmud, Pe’ah 1:1).

According to the Midrash, however, Joshua was more than a scholar and a military leader. Numbers Rabbah (21:14) reports that God said to Moses: “Joshua constantly served you and accorded you much honor. He came early to your house of assembly to arrange the benches and spread the mats. Since he served you with all his might, he is worthy of serving Israel.”

Read more about Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.

Copyright © 2010 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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