Joshua: Biblical Antiquities 20-24
Joshua connects the formative period under Moses with the period of settlement in the land. As in the Bible, the new era of the people's presence in the land is inaugurated with a covenant ceremony. Pseudo-Philo rewrites this to stress the complete fulfillment of all God's promises that possession of the land involves, thus setting the stage for the rest of the book, where Israel repeatedly fails to live up to its side of the covenant.
LAB 20:1 introduces the Joshua cycle. Pseudo-Philo says God established a covenant with Joshua, a statement not found in the Bible. He bases his statement on passages such as Deut. 31:23, 34:9, and Josh. 1:1-9, which imply that God established a special relationship with Moses' successor, but Pseudo-Philo makes the idea of covenant explicit.
LAB 20:1 identifies Joshua as one of the spies sent into Canaan who survived. The rest of the verse summarizes the incident in LAB 15, where the people refused to enter the land because of the intimidating report brought back by all the spies except Caleb and Joshua ( LAB 15:2-3). Pseudo-Philo says, "The lot went forth upon them that they should not see the land because they had spoken badly about it, and on account of this that generation died" ( 20:1). Here it is the people's lack of appreciation for the land itself that prevents their entering it rather than their disobedience, as in 15:5-6. There is no mention of lots in connection with this event either in the Bible or in LAB 15, but in LAB 20:1 the "lot went forth" upon the people. Lots emphasize that the people fail to enter the land because of God's decree.
LAB 20:2 begins the career of Joshua with God's direct address to him, as in Joshua 1, but the words are quite different. In the Book of Joshua, God encourages Joshua to be strong and obedient. In the Biblical Antiquities, God's words are meant to overcome Joshua's reluctance to succeed Moses that is based on his hope that Moses has not really died. God assures Joshua that Moses is indeed dead. The text may be arguing against a position that Moses