6. The book has three parts. I. The history of the land of Canaan occupied and conquered by Joshua as general (Joshua 1-12). II. The division of the land of Canaan (Joshua 13-22). III. Joshua’s sermons shortly before his death (Joshua 23, 24). A Synoptic Table, and the Interpreters of the book, ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Hebrew.
The threefold division of the book is suggested by the very history, both of the occupation, and the distribution, of the land of Canaan, and of Joshua’s dying sermon and death. Therefore, we resolve upon three parts, the first of which comprehends the history of the land of Canaan, occupied and subdued under the Leadership of Joshua, Joshua 1-12. The second, the division of the land, Joshua 13-22. The third, the Sermons of Joshua shortly before his death, Joshua 23, 24.
I. The history of the land of Canaan occupied and conquered by Joshua as general, Chapters 1-12. See:
1. The preparation for the immediate occupation of the land of Canaan, chapters 1-5. See:
a. The confirmation of Joshua in the generalship (verses 1-9), who, with the government eagerly undertaken, immediately commands the people to gird themselves for the crossing of Jordan, with the tribes located on the other side of Jordan taken along for support (verses 10-18): chapter 1.
b. The mission of the spies, who, having been received by Rahab (verses 1-7), informed of the city, and sent away on a certain condition (verses 8-21), returned to the camp (verses 22-24): chapter 2.
c. The advance of Joshua with the army from Shittim toward Jordan (verses 1-13), when, with the Levites preceding with the ark, the Jordan partly stood still, partly flowed away, until the troops were led across on dry ground (verses 14-17): chapter 3.
d. The piety of Joshua, setting up a monument of the miracle, in the Jordan itself (verses 1-9), and, after the completion of the passage through Jordan (verses 10-19), at Gilgal, erecting twelve stones chosen out of Jordan (verses 20-24): chapter 4.
e. The panicky terror of the Canaanites on account of the coming of the army (verse 1); the circumcision of the people in Gilgal (verses 2-8); the celebration of the Passover, enjoying new bread, with the manna ceasing (verses 9-12); and finally the Angel, the captain of the army of Jehovah, appearing to Joshua near Jericho (verses 13-15): chapter 5.
2. The victories of Joshua and the subjugation of the land of Canaan, chapters 6-12). See:
a. The occupation of the city of Jericho, fortified with extremely great walls (verses 1-5), the walls and towers of which, with the ark having circled seven times, with the Priests going before it and the trumpets sounding, fell, with the citizens and beasts devoted to destruction (verses 6-27): chapter 6.
b. The occupation of the city of Ai, where
α. The Israelites first suffer a slaughter on account of Herem, or the sacrilege of Achan retaining for himself things devoted (verses 1-15), who also is deservedly punished and put to confusion (verses 16-27): chapter 7.
β. The city by ambush they capture, lay waste, and burn with fire (verses 1-29), with Joshua next erecting an altar to the Lord on mount Ebal (verses 30, 31), and with a copy of the Mosaic law written on stones, with the people standing near the ark oppositely, proclaiming blessings from mount Gerizim, and curses from mount Ebal (verses 32-35): chapter 8.
c. A covenant of the Canaanite Kings entered upon against Joshua (verses 1, 2), the surrender of the Gibeonites, a mighty nation, on the other hand (verses 3-17), who, although making use of deception, are received in good faith, on account of the intervening oath of the Israelites (verses 18-27): chapter 9.
d. The war of the Canaanites Kings against the Gibeonites, undertaken on account of their surrender, with Joshua rushing to the aid of the besieged, smiting many thousands of men to the point of extermination (verses 1-11), also with the sun standing still, lest nightfall should interrupt the victory (verses 12-16), with the five Kings captured and killed (verses 17-27), and with the cities of Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir added campaign to the government of Joshua, and with their Kings killed (verses 28-43): chapter 10.
e. The war of Jabin, King of Hazor, and his confederates, against Joshua, who are overthrown by the same general (verses 1-9), with their cities seized, and some burned, but all spoiled and their inhabitants devoted to destruction (verses 10-20); next, the Anakim are destroyed, and rest is acquired for the land, with the wars ended (verses 21-23): chapter 11.
f. The account of the Kings destroyed, and of the Kings occupied, on the far side of Jordan (verses 1-6), and on the near side of Jordan, with Moses and Joshua as generals (verses 7-24): chapter 12.
II. The division of the land of Canaan, successfully occupied, with Joshua as general, Chapters 13-22. See:
1. The general division of the land, both yet to be occupied, and already occupied (verses 1-7): and the particular division of the land occupied on the other side of Jordan, between the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh (verses 8-33): chapter 13.
2. The particular division of the land on this side of Jordan. See:
a. The distributors, Eleazar and Joshua (verses 1-5); the portion of Caleb, namely, Hebron, the reward of his earlier faithfulness (verses 6-15): chapter 14.
b. The lot of the tribe of Judah (verses 1-12), in which also is the occupation of Hebron, occupied by Caleb for an inheritance, and the marriage of Achsah, his daughter, to Othniel (verses 13-19): a catalogue of the cities and towns of Judah (verses 20-62), and also the continued dwelling of the Jebusites in Jerusalem, who had not been able to be driven out (verse 63): chapter 15.
c. The lot of the children of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, in general (verses 1-4), and of Ephraim in particular (verses 5-9), with the Canaanites that were not able to be driven out mixed with the Ephraimites (verse 10): chapter 16.
d. The particular lot of the half tribe of Manasseh, in which also is assigned an inheritance for the daughters of Zelophehad (verses 1-13), and the mountains of the Perizzites and the Rephaim are committed to the sons of Joseph for occupation (verses 14-18): chapter 17.
e. After the ark of the tabernacle was brought to Shiloh (verse 1), the sending of spies to land not yet occupied (verse 2-9), and, with them returning, the lot falling to the tribe of Benjamin, to whom Jerusalem also was added (verses 10-28): chapter 18.
f. The lot of the six remaining tribes, Simeon (verses 1-9), Zebulun (verses 10-16), Issachar (verses 17-23), Asher (verses 24-31), Naphtali (verses 32-39), Dan (verses 40-48), and finally of Joshua himself, to him, asking Timnath-serah, they granted it for his own possession (verses 49-51): chapter 19.
3. The separation of certain cities from the inheritance hitherto distributed to the twelve tribes:
a. Of six for cities of refuge, with this law assigned to them, that involuntary homicides might betake themselves to them, and not die by the hand of the avenger, until they might be set before the assembly (verses 1-6), for which reason three are separated on the near side of Jordan, and three on the far side of Jordan (verses 7-9): chapter 20.
b. Of towns and suburban fields, which were assigned to the Levites, namely, the Kohathites (verses 1-26), the Gershonies (verses 27-33), and the Merarites, in the place of an inheritance, numbering forty-eight, including those six cities, having the singular and proper right of asylum (for the remaining forty-two cities of the Levites were having a certain right of asylum cities), and designated above (verses 34-42), with which accomplished the land had rest (verses 43-45): chapter 21.
4. The honorific dismissal, with much blessing bestowed, of the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites (verses 1-8), who, raising an altar near Jordan in their return, furnish an occasion for conflict, then (verses 9-29), when they rendered a sufficient explanation of their intention, for peace (verses 30-34): chapter 22.
III. Joshua’s dying sermons and death, Chapters 23, 24. See:
1. The address of Joshua, aged and near to death, to the nobles of the people and all Israel (verses 1, 2), in which he gravely admonishes them to adhere sincerely to the one true God, to stand firm in His commandments, and to abstain religiously from the rites, idolatry, and marriages of the peoples remaining in the land. But if not, he threatens the most inauspicious things (verses 3-16): chapter 23.
2. The assembly of the same and of all the Israelites people declared and gathered in Shechem, in which in a long oration he recalls the blessings of God to the people, although undeserving, as idolatrous before Abraham was called out, and extracts from the people a solemn promise faithfully to worship God alone and to remove idols (verses 1-15), with which people doing the things required (verses 16-24), with it he renews the covenant of God in Shechem, and sets up a monument of the covenant, a stone erected under an oak, and inserts this entire matter as described by himself in the book of the law of God (verses 25-28): chapter 24:1-28.
3. The death and burial of Joshua (verses 29, 30), and the burial also of Joseph’s bones (verses 31, 32), and finally the death and burial of Eleazar (verse 33): chapter 24:29-33.
 Joshua 17:15: “And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants (הַפְּרִזִּ֖י וְהָֽרְפָאִ֑ים, of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim), if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.”