This book, the first book of Prophets, follows immediately after the end of the Torah proper. Moses is dead, and Joshua picks up the mantle of leadership. “Moses my servant has died, and now arise cross this Jordan, you and all this nation, to the land which I give the children of Israel (Joshua 1:2).” God promises Joshua that they will have the same kind of relationship as He had with Moses, to be by his side and support him. This reassurance must have been very welcome, because I truly can’t imagine any larger shoes to fill. “Be strong and have courage; for you will cause this nation to inherit the land that I have sworn to their ancestors to give to them (Joshua 1:6).” God repeats this admonition, to be strong and courageous, many times, which can indicate that Joshua was hesitant to be those things at first. He had to grow into the role of leader, something that many people find challenging.
Joshua issues his first command. “Go through the midst of the camp and command the nation, saying: Prepare provision for yourselves, for in another three days you will cross this Jordan to come and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit (Joshua 1:11).” The people obey Joshua in his first moments as a leader, demonstrating their loyalty to him. His journey as a leader will be chronicled throughout the book, and it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up.