It’s Biblical! This week: Joshua

It’s Biblical! This week: Joshua

Everything you ever wanted to know 
about your favourite Torah characters, 
and the ones you’ve never heard of…

Joshua was born in Egypt. His father Nun was descended from the tribe of Ephraim. He’s first mentioned as the ‘lad’ who was Moshe’s devoted aide de camp.

Next he appeared in the counter-attack against Amalek – a battle that ended indecisively. He was at the base of Mount Sinai when Moshe received the Ten Commandments from God and during the incident of the Golden Calf.

One of few Biblical figures to be blessed with a change of name, he became Yehoshua from Hoshea, just before the spies began their 40-day mission.

His role as 1 of only 2 of the 12 Spies who returned from Canaan with a favorable report enabled him to survive the ensuing 40 years wandering in the desert; ultimately he became Moshe’s successor.

As newly-appointed leader of the Jewish people, Joshua was described as ‘the Moon in relation to Moshe’s Sun.’ It was assumed he would be a mere reflection of Moshe’s greatness.

Yet, he instigated mass circumcision on the eve of entering Canaan, as well as celebrating the first Pesach Seder since the Exodus.

In his own merit the waters of the Jordan River split, he was visited by an Angel, brought down the walls of Jericho and petitioned the Almighty to stop the sun from setting during his battle with the Amorites at Gibeon (Joshua 10:13).

His ultimate achievement was conquering the land of Canaan from the resident nations who had fallen out of favor with God, and dividing it among the 9-and-a-half tribes of Israel.

Completing his long years of service, Joshua’s final days ended peacefully in his ancestral home near Shiloh, aged 110.

Aide de camp, scout, military commander and administrator general, Joshua’s life teaches that Implementation is as important as vision.

His enduring legacy is that integrity and rigor, consistency and self-discipline, high moral character and most importantly humility, are the bedrock for becoming a successful national leader.

Rabbi Jeff Berger serves the Rambam Sephardi Synagogue in Elstree/ Borehamwood and can be contacted at


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