Joshua in the Bible – Article for Jewish News – 16 November 2017

Joshua – London Jewish News – 16 November 2017

Joshua was born in Egypt, his father Nun, 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 Mt Sinai – when Moshe received the Ten Commandments from G-d 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 Cana’an with a favorable report enabled him to survive the ensuing 40 years wandering in the desert; ultimately becoming 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’d be a mere reflection of Moshe’s greatness. Yet, he instigated mass circumcision on the eve of entering Cana’an, as well as celebrating the 1st Pesah 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 Cana’an from the resident nations who’d fallen out of favor with G-d, and dividing it among the 9 ½ 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 & rigor, consistency & self-discipline, high moral character and most important 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