The Book of Joshua begins:

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.

What's the point in verse two "Moses my servant is dead"? Wasn't this already stated in verse 1 & 2? Isn't it already obvious that at the end of Deuteronomy, that Moses was dead?

  • The second part of your question assumes that the book of Yehusoa is adjacent to Deuteronomy, but remember that the bible was only put together at around the end of the second temple, and until then the books were apart.
    – yechezkel
    May 19, 2015 at 21:33
  • What @yechezkel said. A somewhat better question IMO would be why God told Joshua that fact.
    – msh210
    May 20, 2015 at 5:24
  • Obvious to whom ? To Joshua, or to the reader ? Moses went to die alone, and no one accompanied him, so as to report back. Also, the same question could be asked of 2 Samuel 1:1, and others in the same vein.
    – user18041
    Sep 22, 2020 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


According to the commentator Rashi, the mention in verse one is a simple restatement of fact creating a bridge between texts ("And it was after the death of Moses: This is connected to the order of the Torah which ends with Moses’ passing, and this follows it") while the second is a reference to a deeper comment made by God:

" If he were alive, I would prefer him. The Rabbis interpret this passage as a reference, not to Moses the leader, but to Moses the Lawgiver, concerning the 3,000 laws that were forgotten during the period of mourning for Moses. Joshua came and asked the Lord to repeat these laws to him. Said to him the Holy One, Blessed be He: Moses My servant has died, and the Torah is called by his name, implying to you that it is impossible [to convey them to you.] Go out and occupy them with martial activities."

From http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15785#showrashi=true

So the first was fact, and the second was part of a deeper narrative.

  • This then seems to say that the Torah is a living document, no? At least from the narrative perspective; yes there was the words that were given to Moses, but the words that were given to Moses are contained within the 5 books, and afterwards they are given to Joshua; and the words given to Joshua are contained within that book. It would stand to reason then that each author of the various books are given various levels of inspiration, and are assigned various tasks; so while its nice to say that Moses' revelation contained something special, so did Joshua's, every other prophets, and everyone May 19, 2015 at 13:48
  • else who sincerely contemplates on these matters. May 19, 2015 at 13:48

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