In Numbers Chapter 13, Moses appears to rename Hoshea the son of Nun as Joshua the son of Nun:
from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun; (ESV)
These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua. (ESV)
It would seem from here that until the incident with the scouts that is discussed in this chapter, Joshua's name was still Hoshea. Yet earlier in Exodus and Numbers we already find him referred to as Joshua son of Nun:
Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. (ESV)
And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, "My lord Moses, stop them." (ESV)
(There are several other places where he is called Joshua as well, but since it doesn't say "the son of Nun" in those cases one might argue that there was another Joshua. E.g. Exodus 17:9, Exodus 24:13, Exodus 32:17.)
Both of these incidents appear to have occurred prior to the incident with the scouts. So how do we reconcile the names?
- Could it be that the incident with the scouts actually took place prior to the other two incidents, despite its appearing later in the text?
- Could it be that he is referred to as Joshua all along because that was his final name, even though it wasn't given to him until the incident with the scouts?
- Could this simply be a contradiction between two books (or between chapters in Numbers)?
- Some other possibility?