Background of Joshua
The book of Joshua describes Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan, immediately after the forty-year period of wandering in the wilderness. The author of the book is not contemporary with the events he describes, however. At many points, the phrase “to this day” is used to describe places or practices in the author’s own time, implying that the events he describes are of some antiquity (4:9; 5:9; 7:26; 8:28-29; 9:27; 13:13; 14:14; 15:63; 16:10). Most biblical scholars date the first “edition” of the book to the late monarchical period, perhaps during the reign of King Judean king noted for his reforms of Israel's worship in the time of Jeremiah (late seventh century B.C.E.). The book reached its final form in the Babylonian exile of the sixth century B.C.E. This story of Israel’s entry into the promised land after many years of longing and waiting would have been a powerful theological affirmation of God’s faithfulness and a sign of hope to the people in exile from that same land.