1:1 Joshua the son of Nun. The name “Joshua” was actually found on a tablet from ancient Egypt, dating from about this same period. This may not have been the Biblical Joshua, but it does show that this name was used at that period of history.
1:4 unto the great river. The promised land was from the southern desert to the great Lebanon mountains on the north, and from the mighty Euphrates River on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west. This had been promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18), but because of disobedience the children of Israel never took all of it except for a brief time under King David (I Chronicles 18:3). The ultimate fulfillment must be in the future.
1:4 land of the Hittites. There are numerous references to the Hittites in the Bible, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century that their existence was confirmed archaeologically. Their ancestor, Heth, was a prominent son of Canaan. Canaan, grandson of Noah, settled originally with his many sons in the region which later became known as the land of Canaan (Genesis 10:15-19). The eldest son, Sidon, evidently dwelled in the area later known as Phoenicia, giving his own name to the city of Sidon, whereas Heth, the second son, settled with his brothers farther south. There a community of Hittites at the site later known as Hebron had dealings with Abraham (Genesis 23:10) about 1900 B.C. They apparently became more and more prominent in relation to the other Canaanite tribes as time went on, so that by Joshua’s time Canaan was occasionally even called “the land of the Hittites.” Even before this, “the families of the Canaanites spread abroad” (Genesis 10:18), and some of the Hittites spread north into Anatolia, establishing the great Hittite empire in what is now modern Turkey.
1:8 book of the law. This familiar charge to Joshua indicates that the Law had been written before Joshua took command, not hundreds of years later, as alleged by liberal critics. Furthermore, the people were commanded to obey all of it. These statements from God constitute an unequivocal claim to plenary, verbal inspiration of this portion of the Scriptures.
2:1 two men. Contrast Joshua’s two spies with the twelve sent out by Moses (Numbers 13:3-16), only two of which proved faithful.
2:1 harlot’s. Although the Hebrew word and its Greek equivalent generally are translated by “harlot,” a number of authorities maintain that it can also mean “innkeeper,” which would seem to fit the context better.