The book of Joshua is the first of the Jewish books called "the Former Prophets." It is named for its principle character Joshua, son of Nun. The narrative begins with the affirmation of the commission given to Joshua by Moses soon before the death of the Lawgiver, and continues to the death of Joshua at the age of 110. The campaign to conquer Canaan takes nearly 40 years, for God had told the people that the land could not be abandoned suddenly.
Since this book includes Joshua's death (24:29-30), it is clear that it was not written entirely by him. However, as an eyewitness account, most of the book could very well be by Joshua himself. Certain place names and even later events are inserted as well, indicating that the text has been augmented somewhat by later writers. As in the Books ascribed to Moses, this one could have been by the pen of a scribe under close supervision.
I. The Conquest of the land 1:1 - 12:24
- A. Preparation for the conquest 1:1 - 5:12
- B. Program of conquest 5:13 - 12:24
II. The division of the land 13:1 - 19:51
- A. The apportioning of Trans-Jordan 13:1-33
- B. The apportioning of Canaan 12:1 - 19:51
III The directions for the land 20:1 - 24:33
- A. The command concerning the cities of refuge 20:1-9
- B. The command concerning the Levitical Cities 21:1-45
- C. The compromise with the eastern tribes 22:1-34
- D. The commander's farewell 23:1 - 24:33