Joshua: Victorious Livingin God's Promises

Finishing the Task (Joshua 13:1-33)

– Transferring the Vision –

In Joshua 13 Joshua is guided by the Lord on how to finish up his ministry in the best way possible. The Bible study questions on this page will help you think through the passage and apply some of its principles to your lives. This is part '6/6' of the Life Commentary series on Joshua 13:1-33 entitled 'Finishing the Task' which describes how Joshua transferred the kingdom to the next generation. A full index is at the bottom.
Finishing the Task (Intro) | Pass the Vision (13:1) | Shows the Need (13:2-5) |
Lives by Faith (13:6) | Distributes Responsibility (13:7-33)
Bible Study on Joshua 13:1-33

Bible Study Questions

True success depends not only how well we have carried out our own specific duties but also on how we have inspired others with God's greater work that He is doing and by so doing equip them to take part in it. No man can neglect any part of God's work. We are called to be involved.

Please note that this section also introduces the following chapters (14-19). They are a continuation of the distributing of the land that was started in chapter 13. Plan your Bible studies accordingly. Chapter 14 can be easily separated, but the others can be joined in with this one simply by giving the last point, Distributing the Land, a longer verse description.

A. Passes on the Vision (Joshua 13:1)

Now Joshua was old and advanced in years when the LORD said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed  (Joshua 13:1).

  1. When did God speak this message of 13:1 to Joshua?
  2. How does verse 1 summarize this message? 
  3. Why do you think God said this to Joshua?
  4. Do leaders easily transfer over their responsibilities when older? What difficulties might they have?
  5. Did King Solomon prepare for a transfer of leadership before he died (1 Kings 11:41-12:21)? What happened as a result?
  6. What did Jesus say about the work God had appointed him ( John 19:30)?
  7. It is probably helpful to think about the work that we are called to do in two ways. The first way describes the specific work God has appointed us to do. This is what Jesus referred to in John 19:30. The second kind of work is what God does through us as we encourage and equip others.  In this case, God’s greater vision was to possess the whole land. Joshua couldn’t personally do it but he could inspire, equip and pass on the responsibility to do it to others. How might that apply to us in the New Testament times? What is God’s greater vision for this age?

B. Seeing the Need (Joshua 13:2-5)

This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and all those of the Geshurites; from the Shihor which is east of Egypt, even as far as the border of Ekron to the north (it is counted as Canaanite); the five lords of the Philistines: the Gazite, the Ashdodite, the Ashkelonite, the Gittite, the Ekronite; and the Avvite to the south, all the land of the Canaanite, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians, as far as Aphek, to the border of the Amorite; and the land of the Gebalite, and all of Lebanon, toward the east, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. (Joshua 13:2-5).

  1. Who is speaking in these verses?
  2. What is he describing? Get an Old Testament map of the conquest and identify a few places mentioned in verses 2-5. (see map in section D).
  3. What does Joshua 11:23 state that Joshua did?
  4. Take a quick look at Joshua 12. What is recorded there?
  5. If Joshua did such a good job, why do you think God was so concerned with these small sections of land.?
  6. Do you think this is a parallel to how God responds to us when we tolerate a little sin in our lives?  Please explain.
  7. How might this apply to the worldwide mission program as found in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)? Summarize what God wants done.  What parts are left to be done?  (Check out

C. Lives by Faith (Joshua 13:6)

All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon as far as Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians, I will drive them out from before the sons of Israel; only allot it to Israel for an inheritance as I have commanded you (Joshua 13:6).

  1. What is God’s promise here in Joshua 13:6?
  2. What is the condition that God puts upon this promise (13:6)?
  3. Why is this so important? Discuss. What would happen if it was not done?
  4. How is this similar to what Jesus did with His disciples before and after His resurrection?
  5. “A great leader always equips and trains those around him to carry on the work after he is gone.” Do you agree or not? Why?
  6. How do we train leaders in our own congregation? Can you name a few ways we can practically train a leader?

D. Distributes the Responsibility (Joshua 13:7-33)

So Moses gave an inheritance to the tribe of the sons of Reuben according to their families. And their territory was from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, with the city which is in the middle of the valley and all the plain by Medeba; Heshbon, and all its cities which are on the plain: Dibon and Bamoth-baal and Beth-baal-meon, and Jahaz and Kedemoth and Mephaath, and Kiriathaim and Sibmah and Zereth-shahar on the hill of the valley, and Beth-peor and the slopes of Pisgah and Beth-jeshimoth, even all the cities of the plain and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses struck with the chiefs of Midian, Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the princes of Sihon, who lived in the land. The sons of Israel also killed Balaam the son of Beor, the diviner, with the sword among the rest of their slain. And the border of the sons of Reuben was the Jordan. This was the inheritance of the sons of Reuben according to their families, the cities and their villages. (Joshua 13:15-23).

  1. What does God tell Joshua specifically to do in 13:7?
  2. What does the Lord describe in 13:14-23. How does He do this?
  3. Scan through 13:8-33. What does this describe?
  4. Read 14:1. What does the passage starting in chapter 14 discuss?
  5. Again, we see God specifically shaping Joshua’s leading of the people. Why is allotting the land to the different tribes so important? There are several answers to this question. We might similarly ask, “What would go wrong if Joshua did not do this?”
  6. Did you ever recognize a leader who was unwilling to train others? Why might they neglect this important task of leadership? What do they have to profit if they do this?

Application questions:

Is our vision the same as the Lord’s?

• What does He want for our personal lives?

• Do we have a passion for His missions?

• How does God’s Word shape our theology?

• What areas is He wanting us to ‘clean up’?

What do we do to implement that vision?

• Can you trust God for grace to do it?

• Do we pass His vision on to others?

Finishing the Task (Joshua 13:1-33)

Reaching Beyond Mediocrity (Joshua 10:1-43)
– The Day the Sun Stood in the Sky –
Skepticism and Higher Bible Criticism
Joshua 10:12-14 Interpretations of the 'Sun stood in the sky.'
Joshua 10:12-14 Purpose of Recording the Miracle
Joshua 10:1-11: A. Joshua's Sincere Obedience
Joshua 10:12-43: B. Joshua's Quest for God's Best
Joshua 10:1-43: Bible Study Questions
Mobilizing God's People (Joshua 1:10-18)
Joshua 1:10-18: Introduction to Moblizing God's People
Joshua 1:10-11: A. Communicates God’s Will
Joshua 1:12-15: B. Demands Total Participation
Joshua 1:16-18: C. Responds With A Clear Commitment
Joshua 1:10-18: Bible Study Questions
Finishing the Task (Joshua 13:1-33)
Joshua 13: Introduction: 3 Unexplainables
Joshua 13:1 Passes on the Vision
Joshua 13:2-5 Knows the Need
Joshua 13:6 Lives by Faith
Joshua 13:7-33 Distributes the Responsibility
Joshua 13:1-33 Bible Study Questions
Victory over Strongholds (Joshua 6:1-27)
Joshua 6:1-27 The Lesson from Jericho
Joshua 6:1 Our Need for God's Power
Joshua 6:2-5 Our Discovery of God's Solutions
Joshua 6:6-27 Our Participation in God's Victory
Joshua 6:1-27 Summary: You can win too!
Joshua 6:1-27_Bible_Study_Questions
Effectively Dealing with Defeat & Despair (Joshua 7:1-15)
Joshua 7:1-15: Learning about Defeat and Failures
Joshua 7:1-5: Falling into Failure
Joshua 7:6-10: Staying in Disgrace
Joshua 7:11-15: Road to Recovery
Joshua 7:1-15: Bible Study Questions

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Rev. Paul J. Bucknell