Joshua was foundational in establishing the kingdom of Israel after the death of Moses. However, many people, including myself at one time, know every little about his background. Many of us pick up the Joshua story from his report back to Moses, along with the eleven other spies. Out of the twelve spies sent into Canaan, only Joshua and Caleb left a good report. But, his story starts long before he became a spy.
Joshua’s African Blood
During Joseph’s stay in Egypt, he married Asenath (Genesis 41:45), the daughter of an Egyptian priest and had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim and Manasseh were 50% Hebrew and 50% Egyptian (African). Upon his deathbed, Jacob adopts Ephraim and Manasseh as his own sons, and gives them Reuben’s birthright (1 Chronicles 5:1-2). It is into the tribe of Ephraim that Joshua was born:
“Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun.” – Numbers 13:8
Further down, we learn that it is Moses that changes his name to Jehoshua (Joshua). This turns out to be a small, but very significant change.
“These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.” – Numbers 13:16
The name Oshea means “salvation”, but by changing it to Jehoshua, the meaning changed to “the Lord is salvation”.
When we think of the Exodus, the most used names are Moses, Aaraon, and Miriam, but the entire time, Moses was training Joshua to take his position. When Moses went up Mount Sinai to receive the 10 commandments, only Joshua was allowed to accompany him to receive the word:
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.” – Exodus 24:12 – 14