Joshua 24:25
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
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(25) So Joshua made a covenant—i.e., a covenant that idolatry should not be tolerated in Israel, or suffered to exist. We read of similar covenants in the reign of Asa (2Chronicles 15:12-13), in the reign of Joash, by Jehoiada (2Chronicles 23:16), and of Josiah (2Chronicles 34:31-32).

Joshua 24:25. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day — Engaged them to make good this solemn profession, by renewing the covenant they had formerly entered into, both in the days of Moses and in his time, wherein they promised to worship God alone, and be obedient to him. Some think this covenant was now established by sacrifice, as it was when they came out of Egypt, (Exodus 24:4-5,) and when they came into Canaan, Joshua 8:31. But as there is no mention of an altar or any offering, so it is not likely that Joshua would offer any sacrifice but in the place which God had chosen, which was Shiloh.24:15-28 It is essential that the service of God's people be performed with a willing mind. For LOVE is the only genuine principle whence all acceptable service of God can spring. The Father seeks only such to worship him, as worship him in spirit and in truth. The carnal mind of man is enmity against God, therefore, is not capable of such spiritual worship. Hence the necessity of being born again. But numbers rest in mere forms, as tasks imposed upon them. Joshua puts them to their choice; but not as if it were indifferent whether they served God or not. Choose you whom ye will serve, now the matter is laid plainly before you. He resolves to do this, whatever others did. Those that are bound for heaven, must be willing to swim against the stream. They must not do as the most do, but as the best do. And no one can behave himself as he ought in any station, who does not deeply consider his religious duties in family relations. The Israelites agree with Joshua, being influenced by the example of a man who had been so great a blessing to them; We also will serve the Lord. See how much good great men do, by their influence, if zealous in religion. Joshua brings them to express full purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord. They must come off from all confidence in their own sufficiency, else their purposes would be in vain. The service of God being made their deliberate choice, Joshua binds them to it by a solemn covenant. He set up a monument of it. In this affecting manner Joshua took his last leave of them; if they perished, their blood would be upon their own heads. Though the house of God, the Lord's table, and even the walls and trees before which we have uttered our solemn purposes of serving him, would bear witness against us if we deny him, yet we may trust in him, that he will put his fear into our hearts, that we shall not depart from him. God alone can give grace, yet he blesses our endeavours to engage men to his service.Made a covenant with the people - i. e. he solemnly ratified and renewed the covenant of Sinai, as Moses had done before him Deuteronomy 29:1. As no new or different covenant was made, no sacrifices were necessary. 14-28. Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth—After having enumerated so many grounds for national gratitude, Joshua calls on them to declare, in a public and solemn manner, whether they will be faithful and obedient to the God of Israel. He avowed this to be his own unalterable resolution, and urged them, if they were sincere in making a similar avowal, "to put away the strange gods that were among them"—a requirement which seems to imply that some were suspected of a strong hankering for, or concealed practice of, the idolatry, whether in the form of Zabaism, the fire-worship of their Chaldean ancestors, or the grosser superstitions of the Canaanites. Either,

1. He set, or propounded, or declared unto them the statute and ordinance, i.e. the sum of the statutes and ordinances of God, which their covenant obliged them to Or,

2. He set or established it, to wit, that covenant, with them, i.e. the people for a statute or an ordinance, to bind themselves and their posterity unto God for ever, as a statute and ordinance of God doth. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day,.... Proposing to them what was most eligible, and their duty to do, and they agreeing to it, this formally constituted a covenant, of which they selves were both parties and witnesses:

and set statute and an ordinance in Shechem; either made this covenant to have the nature of a statute and ordinance binding upon them, or repeated and renewed the laws of Moses, both moral and ceremonial, which had been delivered at Mount Sinai, and now, upon this repetition in Shechem, might be called a statute and ordinance there.

So Joshua {l} made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

(l) By joining God and the people together: also he repeated the promises and threatenings out of the Law.

25–28. Solemn Renewal of the Covenant

25. So Joshua made a covenant] “Percussit ergo Josue in die illo fœdus,” Vulgate. “Thanne Josue smoot a boond of pees,” Wyclif. A covenant had been concluded by God on Sinai with Israel (Exodus 19:20) and solemnly ratified with

(a)  burnt-offerings and peace-offerings at the foot of the mount;

(b)  the reading of every word of the Law in the ears of the people;

(c)  the sprinkling of one half of the blood of the victims on the altars and the roll containing the covenant conditions, and the other half on the people (Exodus 24:3-8; Hebrews 9:19-20).

This covenant Moses had renewed in “the field” of Moab (Deuteronomy 29:1), with

(a)  a transcription of the blessings and curses of the Law;

(b)  a solemn delivery of it to the priests, to be placed beside the Ark in the Holy of Holies, and to be read, in the hearing of all the people, once every seven years, at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 31:9-11; Deuteronomy 31:25-26).

Joshua, who had been present at the ratification of both the previous covenants, renews it now, and doubtless with august ceremonial.

and set them a statute] “And settide forth to зe puple comaundementis and domes in Sichen,” Wyclif. Comp. Exodus 15:25. He determined and established “what in matters of religion should be with Israel law and right.”Verse 25. - So Joshua made a covenant. Literally, cut a covenant, a phrase common to the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin tongues, and derived from the custom of sacrifice, in which the victims were cut in pieces and offered to the deity invoked in ratification of the engagement. The word used for covenant, berith, is derived from another word having the same meaning. This appears more probable than the suggestion of some, that the berith is derived from the practice of ratifying an agreement by a social meal. And set them a statute and ordinance. Or, appointed them a statute and a judgment. The word translated "statute" is derived from the same root as our word hack, signifying to cut, and hence to engrave in indelible characters. The practice of engraving inscriptions, proclamations, and the like, on tablets was extremely common in the East. We have instances of it in the two tables of the law, and in the copy of the law engraven in stones on Mount Ebal. The Moabite stone is another instance. And the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian monarchs seem to have written much of their history in this way (see note on Joshua 8:32). The word rendered "ordinance" is far more frequently rendered "judgment" in our version, and seems to have the original signification of a thing set upright, as a pillar on a secure foundation. In Shechem (see note on ver. 1). But in order to place most vividly before the minds of the people to what it was that they bound themselves by this declaration, that they might not inconsiderately vow what they would not afterwards observe, Joshua adds, "Ye cannot serve Jehovah," sc., in the state of mind in which ye are at present, or "by your own resolution only, and without the assistance of divine grace, without solid and serious conversion from all idols, and without true repentance and faith" (J. H. Michaelis). For Jehovah is "a holy God," etc. Elohim, used to denote the Supreme Being (see at Genesis 2:4), is construed with the predicate in the plural. On the holiness of God, see the exposition of Exodus 19:6. On the expression "a jealous God," see Exodus 20:5; and on לפשׁע נשׂא, Exodus 23:21. The only other place in which the form קנּוא is used for קנּא is Nahum 1:2. "If ye forsake the Lord and serve strange gods, He will turn (i.e., assume a different attitude towards you) and do you hurt, after He has done you good," i.e., He will not spare you, in spite of the blessings which He has conferred upon you. חרע is used to denote the judgments threatened in the law against transgressors.
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