Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
2. Joshua’s Parting with the People. His Death and that of Eleazar
CHAPTERS 23, 24
a. The First Parting Address
α. Promise that Jehovah will still fight for his people, and help them to the complete possession of the land
1And it came to pass, a long time [many days]1 after that the Lord [Jehovah] had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed
2old and stricken in age. And2 Joshua called for3 [omit: for] all Israel, and [omit: and] for their elders, and for their heads, and for their officers [overseers], and said unto them, I am old and [omit: and] stricken in age [far gone in years]: 3And ye have seen all that the Lord [Jehovah] your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord [Jehovah] your God is he that hath fought 4for you. Behold [See], I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance [as a possession] for your tribes; from [the] Jordan, with [and] all the nations that I have cut off, even unto [and] the great sea westward 5[toward the going down of the sun]. And the Lord [Jehovah] your God, he shall expel them from before you,4 and drive them from out of your sight;4 and ye shall possess their land, as the Lord [Jehovah] your God hath promised [spoken] unto you. 6Be ye therefore very courageous [And be ye, or, ye shall be, very strong] to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or [and] to the left; 7That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among [with] you; neither make mention of the name5 of their gods, nor cause to swear by them [it], neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: 8But cleave unto the Lord [Jehovah] your God, as ye have 9done unto this day. For [And] the Lord [Jehovah] hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for [and] you, no man hath been able to stand [hath stood] before you unto this day. 10One man of you shall chase [chaseth] a thousand: for the Lord [Jehovah] your God, he it is that fighteth for 11you, as he hath promised [spoken] unto you. Take [And take] good heed therefore [omit: therefore] unto yourselves [your souls], that ye love the Lord [Jehovah] your God.
β. Warning against Apostasy from God
12Else [For] if ye do in any wise go back [return], and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even [omit: even] these that remain among [with] you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you [and come among them, and they among you]:6 13Know for a certainty that the Lord [Jehovah] your God will no more drive out any of [omit: any of] these nations from before you: but [and] they shall be snares [a snare] and traps [a trap] unto you, and scourges [a scourge] in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land [ground אֲדָמָה] which the Lord [Jehovah] your God hath given you.
14And behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth; and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing [word] hath failed of all the good things [words] which the Lord [Jehovah] your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and [omit: and] not one thing [word] hath failed 15thereof. Therefore [And] it shall come to pass, that as all good things are [every good word is] come upon you, which the Lord [Jehovah] your God promised [spoke to] you; so shall the Lord [Jehovah] bring upon you all evil things [every evil word], until he have destroyed you from off this good land [ground] which the Lord 16[Jehovah] your God hath given you. When ye have transgressed [transgress] the covenant of the Lord [Jehovah] your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served [go and serve] other gods, and bowed [bow] yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord [Jehovah] be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.
b. The Second Parting Address. Renewal of the Covenant. Conclusion
a. The Second Parting Address
. 1And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for [omit: for7] the elders of Israel, and for their heads and for their judges, and for their officers [overseers]; and they presented themselves before God. 2And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah] God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood [river] in old time, even [omit: even] Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor; and they served other gods. 3And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood [river], and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess 5it; but [and] Jacob and his children [sons] went down into Egypt. I sent [And I sent] Moses also [omit: also] and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. 6And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red Sea. 7And when they cried unto the Lord [Jehovah], he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen [saw] what I have done [did] in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season [many days]. 8And I brought you into the land of the Amorites [Amorite], which [who] dwelt on the other side [of the] Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess [or, and ye possessed] their land; and I destroyed 9them from before you. Then [And] Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred [fought8] against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: 10But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore [and] he blessed you still:9 so [and] I delivered you out of his hand. 11And ye went over [the] Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites,10 and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I delivered [gave] them into your hand. 12And I sent the hornet before you, which [and it] drave them out from before you, even the [omit: even the] two kings of the Amorites: but [omit: but] not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. 13And I have given you a land for [or, in] which ye did not labor, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the14[omit: the] vineyards and olive-yards [trees] which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore [And now] fear the Lord [Jehovah], and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood15[river], and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord [Jehovah]. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord [Jehovah], choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood [river] or the gods of the Amorites [Amorite] in whose land ye dwell: but as for me [and I] and my house, we [omit: we] will serve the Lord [Jehovah].
β. The Renewal of the Covenant
16And the people answered and said, God forbid [Far be it from us] that we should forsake the Lord [Jehovah], to serve other gods; 17For the Lord [Jehovah] our God, he it is that brought us up, and our fathers, out of the land of Egypt, from [out of] the house of bondage [lit. of bondmen], and which [who] did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people [peoples] through whom we passed: 18And the Lord [Jehovah] drave out from before us all the people [peoples], even [and] the Amorites [Amorite] which [who] dwelt in the land: therefore [omit: therefore] will we also [we also will] serve the Lord [Jehovah]; for he is our God.
19And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord [Jehovah]: for he is an holy God: he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions, nor20[and] your sins. If [when] ye forsake the Lord [Jehovah], and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
21And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord [Jehovah].
22And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord [Jehovah], to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.23Now therefore [And now], said he, put away the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord [Jehovah] God of Israel. 24And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord [Jehovah] our God will we serve, and [to] his voice will we obey [hearken].
25So [And so] Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. 26And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an [the] oak that was by [in] the sanctuary of the Lord [Jehovah]. 27And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness [for witness לְצֵדָה] unto [against Joshua 24:22] us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord [Jehovah] which he spake [hath spoken] unto [with] us: it shall be therefore [, and shall be] a witness unto 28[against] you, lest ye deny your God. So [And] Joshua let the people depart, every man [one] unto his inheritance [possession].
γ. Death of Joshua and Eleazar. The Bones of Joseph
29And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun the servant of the Lord [Jehovah] died, being an hundred and ten years old. 30And they buried him in the border of his inheritance [possession] in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of [of mount] Gaash. 31And Israel served the Lord [Jehovah] all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that over-lived [lit. prolonged days after] Joshua, and which [who] had known [knew] all the works of the Lord [Jehovah] that he had done for Israel.
32And the bones of Joseph, which the children [sons] of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground [portion of the field] which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver [kesita]; and it became the inheritance of [they were for a possession to] the children [sons] of Joseph.
33And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to [in Gibeah of] Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
These two closing chapters of the book are intimately related, containing the two farewell addresses of Joshua to the people, an account of the renewal of the covenant in connection with the latter of those addresses, and the report of the death of Joshua and Eleazar. They give information also concerning the last transactions of Joshua, and the closing circumstances of his life so full of activity, and so significant with reference to the establishment of the religious character of the people of Israel.
Particularly to be considered here, from the first, is the relation between the two farewell addresses in respect to differences and agreement of their subject-matter; and manifestly, the first presents to the Israelites what Jehovah mil do for them to bring them into full possession of the land, while the second in powerful words calls to mind in detail what Jehovah, since the time of the patriarchs, has already done for them. Admonitions to fidelity towards Jehovah, warnings against backsliding from him, are found in both addresses (Joshua 23:6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16; 24:14, 15), and are repeated, at the renewal of the covenant, in a lively dialogue between Joshua and the people (Joshua 24:19, 20, 27).
a. Ch. 23. The First Farewell Discourse. This, after the introduction, Joshua 23:1, 2, falls into two sections, Joshua 23:3–11 and 12–16. α. In the first section Joshua announces that Jehovah will continue to fight for his people, and help them to the entire possession of their land; β. in the second he warns them vehemently against apostasy from him, lest, instead of help, the judgment of God, consisting in their expulsion from Canaan, shall come upon them.
Joshua 23:1, 2. Introduction, recalling Joshua 13:1, as well as Joshua 21:42. Where Joshua held this discourse, is not said; perhaps at his residence in Timnath-serah (Joshua 19:50), perhaps, and this is more probable, at Shiloh. He first begins by reminding them that he is become old, but that they have seen all that Jehovah has done to all these nations before them, for he has fought for them. Of his own merits toward Israel the modest hero boasts not a word. He only remarks (Joshua 23:4) that he has divided by lot for them the remaining nations also, from the Jordan, and all the nations which I have cut off, and the great sea toward the going down of the sun. The sense is, In the country lying between the Jordan on the east and the great sea on the west, have I distributed to you by lot as well the still remaining peoples, therefore to be driven out (comp. Joshua 17:15), as those already destroyed (comp. Joshua 11:12), that you may possess their land.
Joshua 23:5. These nations, viz., the גּוֹיִם הַנּשְׁאֽרִיּם, will Jehovah himself expel, thrust out (יֶהדָּפם, comp. Deut. 6:19; 9:14, likewise used of the expulsion of the Canaanites) before them, and drive them off (יְהוֹרִישׁ), and they (the Israelites) shall possess the land (Joshua 1:15) as Jehovah has spoken (Joshua 13:6; Ex. 23:23 ff.). That will Jehovah do, as is afterward repeated in Joshua 23:10. But they must, as Joshua admonishes, Joshua 23:8, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, etc., comp. Joshua 1:7.
Joshua 23:7, 8. Especially they are warned against all intercourse with those nations, and above all, against participation in their idolatry. “On בְּשֵם הִזְכִּר, to mention any one by his name, i.e., to make him the object of a call and proclamation, comp. Is. 48:1; Ps. 20:8; קָרָא בּשֵׁם, Is. 12:4; 41:25” (Knobel). Keil appositely remarks further, that, “to mention the names of the gods (Ex. 23:13), to swear by them, to serve them (by offerings), and to bow down to them (call upon them in prayer), are the four expressions of divine worship,” see Deut. 6:13; 10:20.
Joshua 23:9. A fresh reminiscence of God’s help, who has driven out before them great and strong nations, cf. Joshua 23:3. And you—no man hath stood before you unto this day. Meaning: and you were so powerful through his assistance that you conquered everything before you, comp. Joshua 21:44.
Joshua 23:10. To be understood neither with the LXX., who render יִרדָּף־אֶלֶף by ἔδιωξε χιλίονς, of the past, nor with the Vulg., which translates persequetur, of the future, but rather of the present; one man of you chaseth a thousand, for Jehovah your God, he it is who fighteth for you ashe hath spoken to you. So De Wette rightly translates, for it must be the actual present state of the people, and their actual present relation to Jehovah, in which the sure guarantee of their future complete extirpation of the Canaanites will consist. Deut. 32:30; Num. 26:8, should be compared.
Joshua 23:11. A repeated admonition to love Jehovah their God. There follows β, in Joshua 23:12–16, the warning against apostasy from God, which is closely connected by כִּי with the last words of the admonition.
Joshua 23:12, 13. For if ye do in any wise turn back (תּשׁוּבוּ), and cleaveוּדְבַקְתֶּםto the remnant of these nations, these that remain with you, and make marriages with them (contrary to the prohibition, Ex. 34:16; יְהתְחִתַּנתֶּם, from חָתַו, prop. to cut off, then = חָתַדּ, to determine, make fast; to betroth, as in old Lat. festa for bridegroom [חָחָו] or the father of the bride [חֹתֵו], Ex. 18:1 ff.; Judg. 19:4 ff. Hithpael: to intermarry, to contract affinities by marriage, and that either by taking another’s daughter, or giving him one’s own, with בְּ as here (Deut. 7:3; 1 Sam. 18:22, 23, 26, 27; Ezra 9:14. Gesen.), and ye come among them and they among you, know for a certainty (יָדוֹעַ תֵּדְעוּ) that Jehovah your God will no more drive out these nations from before you, and they will be for you a trap (לְפַח, in the same tragic sense as in Ps. 69:23 and Is. 8:15, where also פַּח is connected with מוֹקֵשׁ, as likewise in the N. T., Luke 21:35, παγίς), and a snare and a scourge (לְש̈טֶט, commonly שׁוֹט, e.g.,Prov. 26:3; 1 K. 12:11) in your sides, and thorns (צְנִינִים, Num. 33:55, from צָבַי, in the signif. to be interwoven, entangled) in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good ground (הָאֲדָמָה) which Jehovah your God hath given you. The declaration of Joshua is much more severe than that of Moses, Num. 33:55, which speaks only of שִׂכִּים (thorns), parallel to צְנִינִים. But here Joshua threatens that the Canaanites shall be to them a trap and snare for their feet; a scourge—in their sides; thorns—in their eyes, so that they shall be endangered by them and plagued on every side of the body, as it were. Keil: Joshua multiplies the figures to picture the inconvenience and distress which will arise from their intercourse with the Canaanites, because, knowing the fickleness of the people, and the pride of the human heart, he foresaw that the falling away from God, which Moses had in his day predicted, will only too soon take place; as indeed it did, according to Judg. 2:3 ff., in the next generation. The words עַדְ־אֲבָדְכֶם וגו, repeat the threat of Moses, Deut. 11:17; comp. Joshua 28:21 ff.”
Joshua 23:14. Joshua, as in Joshua 23:3, calls to mind his approaching end: I am going the way of all the earth,i.e., on the way to death, which a man goes and returns not, into the land of darkness and the shadow of death (Job 10:21; 1 K. 2:2). This way all the earth, the whole world must take. The lesson which he connects with these words teaches them to perceive that, as was said Joshua 21:45, God has fulfilled to them all his promises, in which Joshua thinks particularly of the conquest of Canaan.
Joshua 23:15, 16. Reiterated warning against backsliding (comp. Joshua 23:13). As God has fulfilled the good words concerning them, so will Jehovah bring (יָבִיא) upon them also every evil word (Lev. 26:14–33; Deut. 28:15–68; 29:14–28; 30:1, 15; comp. Josh. 8:34, 35), until he destroys them (עַד־הַשְׁמִידוֹ, as Deut. 7:34; 28:48, Keil). Nay, if they transgress the covenant of Jehovah, to serve other gods and worship them, then his anger will burn against them, and they will quickly (מְחרָה) perish out of the good land, which he has given them. The second part of Joshua 23:16 occurs word for word in Deut. 11:17, the first in part.
b. Ch. 24. The Second Farewell. Renewal of the Covenant. Conclusion. a. Joshua 24:1–15. The discourse, the general character of which has been described, falls, after the exordium, into two divisions; Joshua 24:2–13 a recapitulation of what God, since the time of the patriarchs, has done for his people; Joshua 24:14–16, a demand to abstain entirely from idolatry, and to cleave to Jehovah, whom Joshua, at all events, and his family, will serve.
Joshua 24:1. The assembly gathered not in Shiloh but in Shechem, where the solemn transaction related Joshua 8:30–35, had taken place. On this account particularly, to recall that transaction, were the people summoned thither. A second reason is found by Hengstenberg (Beiträge, iii. p. 14 ff.) and Keil, in the fact that Jacob had dwelt here after his return from Mesopotamia, here purified his house of strange gods and buried their images under the oak at Shechem (Gen. 33:19; 35:2, 4). An opinion intrinsically probable, but neither in the context of our chapter nor elsewhere in the book is it mentioned. The ש̈טְרִים, as Joshua 1:10; 3:2; 8:33; 23:2.
And they presented themselves before God [יִתְיַצְּבוּ לגְנֵי חַאַ׳, as in Job 1:6; 2:1, צל יי התיצבו]. Joshua had, Joshua 8:31, raised an altar on Mount Ebal, on which at that time, before the building of the tabernacle, sacrifices were offered. Of offerings there is no mention here.
Joshua 24:2. God of Israel; significant, so Joshua 24:23. In this verse, as in Joshua 24:3, 4, Joshua, in the name of Jehovah, holds up to the people what He has done for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the first proof of his divine grace. The fathers dwelt of old (מֵעוֹלָם) beyond the stream, i.e., the Euphrates, namely, in Ur in Chaldea, and then in Haran (Gen. 11:28, 31).
Terah (תֶּרַח, LXX.: Θάῤῤα, from תָּרַח, in Chald. to delay, comp. also Num. 33:27) the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor, and served other gods. And I took your father Abraham. … Isaac. The gods which Terah reverenced were, as appears from Gen. 31:19, 34, Teraphim, Penates (see Winer, Realw. s. v. Theraphim, [Smith’s Dict. of Bible, art. “Teraphim.”] It is worthy of notice that it is not said distinctly of Abraham that he served other gods, on which account we agree with Knobel, who says: “Whether, according to our author, Abraham also was originally an idolater, is rather to be denied than affirmed, comp. Gen. 31:53.” Dangerous even for him certainly were the idolatrous surroundings, wherefore God took him (לקה) and caused him to wander through Canaan. According to a tradition preserved in the Targum Jonathan (Keil, Com. üb. Jos. 169, Anm. 1), and which recurs in the latter Rabbins, Abraham had to suffer persecution on account of his aversion to idolatry, and to forsake his native country; while an Arabic story (Hottinger, Hist. or. 50 ap. Winer, Realw. s. v. Abraham) makes him wander as far as Mecca, and there lay the first foundation of the Caaba. According to this, therefore, it must be assumed that he was a Sabæan.
Of Abraham’s life nothing further is mentioned, Joshua 24:3, than that Jehovah caused him to wander through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed and gave him Isaac.
Joshua 24:4. To Isaac gave Jehovah Jacob, and Esau, who received Mount Seir (Gen. 26:6 ff.) for a possession. Jacob alone was to have Canaan for himself and his posterity, of which, however, nothing further is here said. Rather, there is added only the remark, which leads to Joshua 24:5, that Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt, as is told Gen. 46:1 ff.
Joshua 24:5–7. The second proof of the Divine favor: Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt, the chief incidents of which are succinctly enumerated, namely, (1) the sending of Moses and Aaron and the infliction of the plagues upon Egypt (Ex 3:4); (2) the destruction of the Egyptians in the Red Sea (Ex.14 ).
Joshua 24:5, 6. The words in Joshua 24:5, according to that which I did in the midst of them (עֲשִׂיתִי בְקרְבּוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר), occasion some difficulty. The LXX., without doubt, read בַּאֲשֶׁר, for they translate the whole verse, “freely it is true:” καί ἐπάταξα τὴν Αἴγυπτον ἐν σημείοις, οἷς ἐποίησα έν αν̓τοῖς, καὶ μετὰ ταν͂τα ἐξήγαγον. The Vulgate also, following them, offers no sure standing ground when it renders: “Et percussi Ægyptum multis signis atque portentis eduxique vos.” Knobel, appealing to the translation of the LXX., would read בַּאֲשֶׁר instead of כַּאֲשֶׁר; but even כַּאֲשֶׁר, gives not a bad sense, if we paraphrase the very curtly spoken sentence thus: “As you, according to all that which I did in the midst of them, sc. the Egyptians, perfectly well know.” Bunsen: “So as you know that I did among them.” We retain כַּאְשֶׁר, therefore, because it is the more difficult reading.
Red sea, see on Joshua 2:10.
Joshua 24:7. A poetical, noble description. The Israelites cried to Jehovah. Then he placed darkness (מַאֲפֵל, LXX.: νεφέλην καὶ γνόφον, from אָפַל, to go down [of the sun], to become dark, ἄπ. λελ. In Jer. 2:21, we meet again with the compound מַאְפַלְיָה, as a designation of the wilderness, i.e., the pillar of cloud (Ex. 13:1 ff.; 14:19 ff.) between them and the Egyptians, brought the sea upon the latter and covered them. But the eyes of the Israelites saw what Jehovah did to the Egyptians. The change between the third and the first person is to be noticed. While we find the first person in Joshua 24:5, 6, Jehovah is spoken of at the beginning of Joshua 24:7 in the third person, and then proceeds in the first. Ye dwelt in the wilderness many days. Transition to Joshua 24:8, comp. Joshua 24:5 b.
Joshua 24:8–10. The third proof of God’s favor Victory over the Amorites (Num. 21:23), and turning away of Balaam’s purposed curse from Israel (Num. 22:22–24).
Joshua 24:8. They fought with you, namely, under the command of their kings, Sihon, who was slain at Jahaz (Num. 21:23), and Og, who was slain at Edrei (Num. 21:33).
Joshua 24:9. When it is said of Balak that he, the king of the Moabites, warred against Israel, we learn from the following words, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to come and curse you, how this is meant by the author. Balak contended not with arms against the Israelites, but would have them cursed by the false prophet Balaam, the קֹסֵם (Joshua 13:22), in which the terrified king at least staked his gold (Num. 22:7), although it did not win. He lacked the courage for warfare with arms.
Joshua 24:11. The fourth proof of God’s favor: The passage of the Jordan, capture of Jericho, victory over the Canaanites. The בַּעְְלֵי יְרִיתוֹ are not, as Knobel supposes, appealing to Joshua 6:2, the king and his heroes, since the author in this case would have chosen the same expression; but, according to the example of 2 Sam. 21:12; 1 Sam. 23:11; Judg. 9:6, the citizens of Jericho.
Joshua 24:12, 13. Summary conclusion of the first division of Joshua’s speech, in which he again emphasizes the fact, that it was God who inspired the Canaanites, particularly Sihon and Og, with terror, and who has given the Israelites a rich and well cultivated land.
Joshua 24:12. And I sent the hornet (צִרְעָה) before you. (So had it been promised by God, Ex. 23:28; Deut. 7:20, and now also fulfilled, comp. Wisd. 12:8). צִרְעָה is not to be understood literally, nor of plagues generally, but with Knobel and Keil, and most of the recent authorities, in such figurative sense as to be compared with Deut. 2:25; Josh. 2:11, where it is stated that Jehovah began, on the day of the victory over Sihon, to spread among all peoples, fear and terror, trembling and quaking and anguish, on account of Israel. The swarm of hornets is a terror and consternation to those against whom it turns, to fall upon them; before it they cannot stand but hurry away in distress. Like this is the consternation which, after their first great battle, preceded the Hebrews, and, like a heaven-sent spiritual plague, fell upon the peoples so that they fainted before Israel. Elsewhere the bees appear as an image of terrible foes (Deut. 1:44; Ps. 118:12; Knobel, on Ex. 23:28). It ought also to be considered that in Ex. 23:27, the next preceding verse, terror is spoken of (לְפֽנֶידָאֶת־אֵימָתִי אַשַׁלַּח). The same conclusion follows if we compare Deut. 7:20 with Joshua 24:19, Joshua 24:21 (end), Joshua 24:23, 24.
Not by thy sword and not by thy bow. The same thought as in Ps. 44:4.
Joshua 24:13. Thus Israel has, through God’s goodness, without merit on his part, received a glorious land, a land which he has not worked with the sweat of his brow (לאֹ־יָגַעְתָּ בָהּ), i.e., made productive, cities which he has not built, vineyards and olive-trees which he has not planted, but of which he shall eat. The LXX. render זֵיתִים by ἐλαιῶνας, the Vulgate, by oliveta = olive plantations, olive-yards, as Luther and De Wette translate; rightly, no doubt, for the sense. If the Hebrew language had a special word for this, as it had in כֶרֶם for vineyard, it would certainly have made use of it here. This all happened as Jehovah had promised, Deut. 6:10.
Joshua 24:14–16. A demand to forsake idolatry entirely, and cleave to Jehovah alone, whom Joshua at least with his house will serve.
Joshua 24:14. And now fear Jehovah(cf. Ps. 2:11; 5:8; especially Prov. 1:7; Job 28:28) and serve him (עִבדוּ אֹתוֹ, LXX.; λατρεν́σατε, comp. Rom. 1:25) in sincerity and in truth (בְּתֽמִים וּבֶאָמֶת, cf. Judg. 9:16, 19, and on בְּתָמִים, in the N. T. εἰλικρίνεια, 1 Cor. 5:8; 2 Cor. 1:12; 2:17), and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt (comp. Lev. 17:7; Amos 5:26; as well as Ezek. 20:7 ff.; 23:3, 8), and serve Jehovah.
Joshua 24:15. Finally, Joshua challenges the people to decide with the utmost freedom: “if it seem evil in your eyes, if it please you not (LXX.: εἰ μὴ ἀρέσκει), he calls to them, to serve Jehovah, then choose you (for yourselves, בַּהֲרוּ לָכֶם) this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell.” He gives them the choice, therefore, between the old worship of the Penates practiced by their fathers and the Baal-worship of the inhabitants of the land, if they will not serve Jehovah. The latter will he for his part and his family do, in any case, for he adds: but I and my house will serve Jehovah.
β. Joshua 24:16–28. The Renewal of the Covenant. Struck by the words of Joshua the whole people with one consent reply, that they will not forsake Jehovah: “We also will serve Jehovah, for he is our God” (Joshua 24:16–18). Being reminded further by Joshua how hard this is, since Jehovah is a holy and a jealous God (Joshua 24:19, 20), the people persist in their former declaration (Joshua 24:21) whereupon the choice of Jehovah is, solemnly made (Joshua 24:22–24), and the covenant renewed (Joshua 24:25). All these things Joshua writes in the law-book of God (Joshua 24:26), raises a monument of stone as a witness of what has taken place (Joshua 24:27), and then dismisses the people (Joshua 24:28) each to his possession.
Joshua 24:16–18. The People’s Reply to Joshua’s Speech. Joshua 24:16. The idea of forsaking Jehovah and serving other gods, is rejected with expressions of the deepest aversion (חָלִילָהִ לָנוּ וגו) to idolatry, comp. Joshua 22:29.
Joshua 24:17. The reason: Jehovah was their God, he who had brought them up (מַצֲלֶה, for which, in Ex. 20:2, we have חוֹצֵאתִידָ) out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (עַבָדִים בֵּית, as Ex. 20:2), and had done these great signs, i.e., the wonders mentioned by Joshua (Joshua 24:8–12) before their eyes, and had kept them in all the way wherein they went, etc.
Joshua 24:18. Among the deeds of Jehovah they retail especially the expulsion of the original inhabitants of the land, and then add, in allusion to Joshua’s last word, “we also will serve Jehovah, for he is our God.”
Joshua 24:19, 20. Joshua still calls the people to notice how difficult it was to serve Jehovah, by showing that he was a holy God (הִֹים קְדשׁהים as 1 Sam. 17:26; אֱלהִֹים חַיִים, where also the adject. is in the plural; in respect to the sense, comp. Ex. 19:6; Lev. 21:6, 7, 8; 1 Pet. 2:9, as well as the numerous passages in Isaiah, where God is designated as the קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל, e.g., Joshua 5:19, 24; 12:6; 30:11, 12; 41:14, 43, etc.), a jealous God (אֵל קַנּוֹא; Ex. 20:5, אֵל קַנָּא; Nah. 1:2, אֵל קַנּוֹא, as here), who will not forgive transgressions (פֶּשַׁע) and sins, “נָשָׂא, spoken of the forgiveness of sins, is commonly construed with acc. rei; less frequently with לְrei, besides this passage in Ex. 23:21; Ps. 25:18, with slight modification of meaning—to award forgiveness to sin” (Keil).
Joshua 24:20. This jealousy of the holy God will show itself in this, that if they should forsake him and serve strange gods (אֱלחֵֹי נֵכָר, as Gen. 35:4, while in Joshua 24:16, as in Joshua 23:16, we found א׳ אֲחֵרִים) he will turn (וְשָׁב) and do them harm and consume (כִּלָּה, finish, abolish) them, after that he has done them good, i.e., without any regard to the fact that he had done them good.
Joshua 24:21. The people adhere to their resolution to serve Jehovah. On לאֹ, minime, comp. Joshua 5:14.
Joshua 24:22. Joshua calls them now to witness against themselves, that they have chosen Jehovah as their God, to serve him, i.e., they will, if they ever fall away, be obliged to admit that they once chose Jehovah, and that he now has a right also to punish them for their unfaithfulness. To this, too, they assent, replying, as with one mouth: witnesses (are we).
Joshua 24:23. Still another exhortation of Joshua, resting on that assent, to put away the strange gods (as Joshua 24:20, אֱלהֵֹי נֵכָר) which were in the midst of them, and incline their heart to Jehovah, the God of Israel (as Joshua 24:2). Keil, following the example of R. Levi ben Gerson, Augustine, and Calvin, takes בְּקִרְ בְּכֶם, figuratively = in your hearts, because the people, with all their willing ness to renounce idolatry, yet deliver to Joshua no images to be destroyed, as was done in the similar cases, Gen. 35:4; 1 Sam. 7:4. He thinks further, that although the people, as Amos represents to his generation (Am. 5:26, comp. (Acts 7:43), carried about with them idols in the wilderness, yet with the dying out of the generation condemned at Kadesh, gross idolatry would have disappeared from Israel. We may grant that so long as Joshua lived, Israel publicly served the true God, but hold it very probable that, as he might full well know, many a one in secret worshipped the idols which he now demanded that they should put away, using the same word (הָסירוּ) which Jacob had used before, and Samuel used after him. As regards the actual removal of the images, this may have followed, although we are not so informed. Finally, בְּקִרְבְּכֶם here certainly is used precisely as much in the proper sense as in Gen 35:2, בְּתֹכְכֶם, and 1 Sam. 7:8, מִתֹּכְכְם.
Joshua 24:24. For the third time (Joshua 24:16, 21) the people aver that they will serve Jehovah and hearken to his voice.
Joshua 24:25. Upon this, Joshua made a covenant with them that day, i.e., he renewed the covenant concluded on Sinai by God with Israel (Ex. 19:20), in like manner as Moses had done (Deut. 28:69) in the field of Moab. When it is said further concerning Joshua, that he set them a statute and an ordinance (or judgment) in Israel, these words are in allusion to Ex. 15:25, where, in connection with the change (not by this, Keil) of the bitter water into sweet, God himself established for Israel a statute and right. Here, it was precisely through the renewal of the covenant that statute and right for the people were established and determined,—“what in matters of religion should be with Israel law and right” (Knobel).
Joshua 24:26–28. After this had been done, Joshua wrote these things, (prop. words, אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים), i.e., all which had happened there at Shechem, the whole transaction between him and the people, in the book of the law of God. He wrote a document—a protocol, so to speak—concerning the matter, and introduced it into the book of the law. At the same time he took a great stone and set it up there under the oak which was in the sanctuary of Jehovah (בְּמִקְדַּשׁ יי). The sanctuary is not the tabernacle (Ex. 25:8; Lev. 12:4; 19:30; 20:3; 21:12; Num. 3:38; 19:20 ap. Knobel), since this, according to Joshua 18:1, stood in Shiloh, but a consecrated space, a sacred spot; and this place, indeed, within whose limits stood the oak, where the great stone was set up by Joshua (cf. Gen. 28:18; Josh. 4:20–22; 1 Sam. 7:12), had been hallowed by the altar which Abraham and Jacob had formerly built there (Gen. 12:7; 33:20). We may add with Knobel, that according to Joshua 8:30, Joshua himself had built an altar on Mount Ebal, therefore in close proximity to Shechem, which, like Gilgal (Joshua 4:20 ff.; 15:7), became a holy place.
Joshua 24:27. Joshua finally explains the significance of the stone, which is to be a witness against the people in case they deny God, since it has heard all the words of Jehovah (Joshua 24:2). In a vivid imagination the stone is regarded as a person, so to speak, which has seen and heard every thing, comp. Joshua 22:34.
Joshua 24:28 relates the dismissal of the people. Every one returns to his possession.
Joshua 24:29–33. Death of Joshua and of Eleazar. Joshua 24:29, 30. It is probable that immediately thereafter Joshua died, one hundred and ten years old, at the same age precisely as that which Joseph reached, Gen. 1:26. He was buried at Timnath-serah (Joshua 19:50). The mountain of Gaash, mentioned here as well as in Judg. 2:9; 2 Sam. 23:30; 1 Chr. 11:32, cannot be identified. Its name, גַּעַשׁ from עַגַּשׁ to push, thrust, signifies, according to Gesenius, perhaps the same as fore-thrust, forespring.
Joshua 24:31. So long as Joshua and the elders, who with him had led the people, lived, and those who had known (יָדְצוּ), i.e. experienced, all the works (כָּל־מַצֲשֵׁח יי of Jehovah, which he had done for Israel, Israel served Jehovah, as is likewise related Judg. 2:11 ff.
Joshua 24:32 contains an additional statement concerning the bones of Joseph, which suited the conclusion here, especially as the discourse in vers, 1–28 had been concerning Shechem, where they were buried, in the piece of ground which Jacob had once bought for one hundred kesita (Gen. 23:19) of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem We learn from Ex. 13:19, that the Israelites had, in conformity with a last wish of Joseph, recorded Gen. 1:25, brought these bones out of Egypt, and this circumstance is mentioned by our author in the beginning of this verse.
Joshua 24:33. After Joshua, died Eleazar also, the son of Aaron. How long afterward we cannot determine. They buried him at Gibeah-phinehas, the city of his son, which had been given to the latter on Mount Ephraim. Since it is expressly said that this Gibeah-phinehas lay on mount Ephraim, we agree with Robinson, von Raumer (p. 155), and Knobel, who regarded it as being the present Geeb in Maundrell, p. 87, or Jibia in Rob. iii. 80, 81, or Chirbet Jibia in Ritter, Erdk. 16. p. 559 f., the κώμη, villa Geba of Euseb. and Jerome. It stood five miles, i.e., two hours, north of Guphna, toward Neapolis or Shechem. Keil, however, thinks of the Levitical city Geba (Joshua 18:24), to which view the position “on Mount Ephraim” need not, in his opinion, be an objection, because this mountain, according to Judg. 4:5 and other passages, reached far into the territory of Benjamin (?).
The Hebrew original of our book closes with this notice of the death of Eleazar. The LXX. have added a supplement, combining Judg. 2:6, 11, and 3:7, 12 ff., which, however, is nowhere found in the MSS. and editions of Joshua. We give it according to the Polyglott Bible of Stier and Theile:̓Εν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ λάβοντες οἱ υἱοὶ ̔Ἰσραὴλ τὴν κιβωτὸν τοῦ θεοῦ περιεφέροσαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς καὶ Φινεὲς ἱεράτευσεν ἀντὶ Ελεάζαρ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ ἕως ἀπέθανε, καὶ κατωρύγη ἐν Γαβαὰθ τῇ ἑαυτοῦ. Οἱ δὲ ὑιοὶ Ἱσραὴλ ἀπήλθοσαν ἕκαστος εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῶν καὶ εἰς τὴν ἑαυτῶν πόλιν. Καὶ ἐσέβοντο οἱ υἱοὶ Ἰσραὴλ τὴν Αστάρτην καὶ Ἀσταρὼθ καὶ τοὺς θεοὺς τῶν ἐθνῶν τῶν κύκλῳ αὐτῶν. Καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς κὺριος εἰς χείρας Εγλὼν βασιλέως Μωαβιτῶν, καὶ κατεκυρίευσεν αὐτῶν ἔτη δέκα ὀκτῶ.
THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL
1. Joshua’s noble character, his deep insight into God’s leadings of his people, his accurate knowledge of the inconstancy of the human heart, his beautiful treatment of religious occasions, all appear in his last two addresses at parting with the people. As far as possible he keeps his own personal merit in the background. It is God who has fought for Israel (Joshua 23:3) and will still further fight for him (Joshua 23:10), the God of Israel (Joshua 24:2, 23), who from ancient times (Joshua 24:2) to the present day has wonderfully manifested himself to his people, shown them much favor, and finally given them a beautiful dwelling-place (Joshua 24:13). Of himself he says repeatedly that he is old and must go the way of all the earth (Joshua 23:2, 14), therefore a mortal man subject to the lot of all earthly existence, a man who, having fulfilled his task and distributed the land to the people (Joshua 23:4), must now retire from the theatre of his activity, but who, as long as he lives, will with his family serve Jehovah (Joshua 24:15). How nobly, on the other hand, he sketches in large features, particularly in the second discourse, the works of God; Abraham’s call (Joshua 24:2 ff.), the mission of Moses and Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt (Joshua 24:5 ff.), the conquest of the Amorites beyond the Jordan, the turning away of the curse of Balaam, the capture of Jericho, the conquest of the land (Joshua 24:8 ff.). Since he knew, however, the human heart in its fickleness, and in particular understood accurately the want of stedfastness on the part of Israel, he repeatedly admonishes them to fidelity towards God (Joshua 23:6, 7, 11; 24:14, 15), warns them likewise, and in part with words of sharp severity, against all apostasy (Joshua 23:12–16; 24:14, 20), and puts them a third time to the test whether they will really serve Jehovah (Joshua 24:15, 19, 20, 22). In this, however, appears at the same time Joshua’s excellent understanding of the treatment of religious concerns, for he will employ no constraint, but leaves entirely to their own choice the decision whether Israel will serve Jehovah or the strange gods of whom they had knowledge (Joshua 24:15, 19, 20). But then, after the people have decided for Jehovah, although Joshua has very emphatically pointed out that He is a holy and a jealous God (Joshua 24:19), who will not forgive transgressions and sins, he demands of them also so much the more pointedly that they shall put away all strange gods.
2. In respect to this putting away of strange gods, we take the liberty of adding Gerlach’s remark on Joshua 24:23, which still more definitely supports our explanation of the passage. “It is remarkable,” he says, “that, after Achan’s trespass in the matter of things devoted, and after the Israelites had not long before been ready to avenge so signally the supposed crime of their transjordanic brethren in erecting a rival altar, idolatry could still have been secretly practiced among them. In this, however, we must fairly consider how hard it was for the thought of the one, almighty, omnipresent God to find lodgment in the mind of the heathen-spirited people, how, with this faith they stood alone among the nations of the whole contemporary world, how they, therefore, were continually overcome anew and taken captive by the spirit of the world and of the age, and incessantly turned away to other helpers from the divinely appointed means of grace which seemed not to satisfy their carnal desires; how, in particular, they still afterwards worshipped partly the true God under images, partly the divining house-gods (teraphim) in secret; and how the judgment of God might indeed seize upon and hold up one example (Achan, ch. vii.), without, therefore, at a later period, in like manner, extirpating the sin. That in the wilderness the people in secret worshipped idols Amos declares (Joshua 5:25; comp. Acts 7:43), that there were household gods even in David’s house, is shown by 1 Sam. 19:13, 16. No apostasy from the true God followed from that, but a partial and ever renewed corruption of his service through superstition.” Analogous examples are found in Grimm’s Mythology, from the history of our German people.
3. Similar representations of the benefits of God to his people may be read in many passages of the Psalms, partly abridged, partly in more full accounts. Thus Ps. 44:1–4; 68:8 ff.; 78; 80:9 ff.; 81:11; 99:6, 7; 90; 106; 135:8 ff.; 136:10, 11, 19. Touching the deliverance from Egypt the tenderly winning representation of Hosea (Joshua 11:1 ff. [and of Jeremiah, Joshua 2:1 ff.]) may be compared.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Joshua’s first farewell discourse considered in the two sections above given, for comfort and admonition (Joshua 23:1–15).—As the Lord once brought Israel into rest, so will He also bring us to rest, for “there remaineth a rest for the people of God” (Joshua 23:1).—Joshua, in his humility and modesty, set before us as a pattern, that we should in all things give God alone the honor, while we know and feel ourselves to be weak and dying men.—The Lord has fought also for you. (1) The Lord has fought; (2) the Lord has fought for you (Joshua 23:3; sermon for victory).—Depart neither to the right hand nor to the left from the commands of God; a text suitable for confirmation addresses.—God gives victory only when the combatants most diligently keep their souls and love him.—Bad men will be, as the heathen were for the Israelites, a trap and a snare and a scourge in the sides, and thorns in the eyes for those who live in intercourse with them.
Joshua 23:14, a very beautiful text for a farewell sermon for a preacher who is obliged to lay down his office from advanced age, also for a funeral discourse when a father, for instance, to whose family God has shown much kindness, is deceased.
Joshua 23:15, 16. Suitable for a sermon on a day of fasting and prayer. (1) Think to-day of all the good which you have received, according to what God has spoken to you; but (2) be warned against the transgression of his covenant, lest his judgment come upon you.
Joshua’s last congress at Shechem. (1) His discourse (Joshua 24:1–15); (2) the answer of the people (Joshua 24:16–18); (3) the final decision and renewal of the covenant (Joshua 24:19–25).—Joshua’s second farewell discourse treated by itself, and that as a review of the history of Israel from the days of the patriarchs to his own, in its most important incidents as above stated (Joshua 24:1–15).—Of the terror of God upon nations doomed to destruction (Joshua 24:12).—Not by thy sword nor by thy bow!—God’s surpassing benefits proved by what He bestowed upon Israel.—Earnest exhortation to give up all the idolatry still remaining among them.—In matters of religious conviction the decision must be altogether free; all constraint is to be condemned. That Joshua teaches once for all.—I and my house will serve the Lord!—A text of inexhaustible richness for weddings; yet rightly employed only when the individual dispositions correspond,—a thing which in occasional services should never be wanting. That Frederick William IV., king of Prussia, at the opening of the United Diet in 1847, declared this word of Joshua to be his own maxim, is well known.—Such deep horror of all idolatry becomes us also, as it once became Israel. Only our aversion must be more permanent than it was with that people.—We also will serve Jehovah, for He is our God.—God a holy, and a jealous God.—How the thought that God is holy, pure from all evil, and jealous, zealously intent on his proper glory, should restrain us from all evil, and especially from all idolatry.—When does God not spare (forgive)? (1) When transgression and sin is wilfully committed, and when (2) forgiveness would, as He foresees, lead to no amendment.—When we forsake the Lord He forsakes us also, and turns away from us although He may have done us ever so much good.
Joshua 24:22 also may be employed as a text for discourses at confirmation [and at all receptions into the church], in which it is to be impressed upon the candidates that their “yes” will testify against them if they prove unfaithful to the Lord.—In what must the true and sincere conversion (repentance) of an entire people consist? (1) In their putting away their strange, often very secretly worshipped gods; (2) in the inclination of their hearts to the Lord God of Israel.—The God of Israel (Joshua 24:2, 23).—The repeated profession of the people that they will serve the Lord, regarded (1) in reference to its import, (2) to the responsibility which the people thus took upon them.—It is easily said: I will serve the Lord and obey his voice; but actually to keep the promise when the world allures to its altars, is quite another thing.—Israel’s resolution to serve the Lord was wholly voluntary. So should it be also with us. There should be no compulsion.—Men may well hearken to God’s voice, for (1) it always warns against the evil, (2) always admonishes to the good.—O! how peaceful is it in the heart when we really serve the Lord our God in sincerity, and hear nothing in preference to his friendly voice, that we may joyfully obey it.—The renewal of the covenant at Shechem; to be treated in such a way that (1) Joshua, (2) the people, (3) the matter of the covenant (law and rights of God), (4) the place where it was accomplished—keeping in view the historical recollections so richly associated with Shechem, (5) the memorial of the covenant, shall all receive due attention.—Joshua’s death, the end of a faithful servant of the Lord who had proved himself such (1) already in Moses’ time (Num. 13; 27:15–23); (2) in the conquest and partition of the land, in which (a) his trust in God, (b) his bravery, (c) his unselfishness (Joshua 17:14–18; 19:49, 50) are to be signalized; (3) even to the end (comp. Joshua 23:1–11; 24:1–15).
Joshua 24:29, 30. How beneficially the good example of a pious and true leader may influence a whole people, illustrated by the case of Joshua, Eleazar, Phinehas, and the other elders of Israel.—The burial of Joseph’s bones, an act of grateful respect, and the conscientious fulfillment of a dying wish.—Eleazar’s death the end of a priest after God’s heart (Ex. 6:23, 25; 28:1; Lev. 8:24; Num. 3:32; 20:26; 27:18 ff.; 34:17; Josh. 14:1).
STARKE: Peace and rest is also a favor from God, therefore we may well pray: Graciously grant us peace, etc., and, From war and bloodshed preserve us, merciful Lord God, etc. —Although God alone, in all things which happen, deserves the honor, and He it is also who is and remains the one who effects all good, yet we must not leave anything wanting in our own fidelity.—A Christian must not walk in his own way, but order all his conduct by God’s word.—Soul lost, all lost! Therefore watch, make haste and save thy soul!—God demands not merely an outward but an inward obedience to his law.—By our might nothing is done, by God’s might everything.—To serve the true God is the highest propriety and our duty; O that all might recognize it as such and serve God from the heart!—The service which one renders to God must be unconstrained.
CRAMER: Faith is an assured confidence and excludes doubt (Heb. 11:1; Jas. 1:6) even where one cannot see (John 20:29).—The promises of the law are conditioned on obedience (Deut. 28:1).—There is, however, none other who could fight for us, etc., Ps. 53:6; 79:10 (Joshua 23:10).—With the froward God is froward.—Death knows no difference in person, age, sex, condition, or country.—By repeating and meditating on the great deeds of God we should strengthen ourselves in faith, and press on towards obedience to his commands (Ps. 44:2; 85:2; 105:5; 106:6).
OSIANDER: Whoever desires to live in accordance with the prescribed word of God, so as to add nothing thereto and take nothing therefrom, he is on the right road and walks most safely.—It is not enough to have made a good beginning, but he who perseveres to the end shall be saved, Matt. 24:13.—To God must we ascribe the victory, and not to our own might and strength.—The church of God is never without hypocrites and apostates.—God can put up with no mixed religion; with him it is “all mine or let it alone altogether,” Matt. 4:10.
BIBL. TUB.: The precious covenant which we have made with God we should have constantly before our eyes.
[MATT. HENRY; on Joshua 23:1, 2: When we see death hastening toward us, that should quicken us to do the work of life with all our might.—On Joshua 24:1: We must never think our work for God done, till our life is done; and if He lengthen out our days beyond what we thought, we must conclude it is because He has some further service for us to do.—Ibid. Joshua 23:15: When we cannot bring as many as we would to the service of God, we must bring as many as we can, and extend our endeavors to the utmost sphere of our activity; if we cannot reform the land, let us put away iniquity far from our own tabernacle.—Those that lead and rule in other things, should be first in the service of God, and go before in the best things.—Those that resolve to serve God, must not mind being singular in it, nor be drawn by the crowd to forsake his service.—Those that are bound for heaven, must be willing to swim against the stream, and must not do as the most do, but as the best do.—Ibid. Joshua 23:29–33: This book which began with triumphs here ends with funerals, by which all the glory of man is stained.—How well is it for the Gospel church that Christ our Joshua is still with it, by his Spirit, and will be always, even unto the end of the world!]
1[Joshua 23:1. מִיָּמִים ר׳, prop. after, or following, many days. This is taken by our version rather as modifying the following clause, “at the end of many days after,” etc., than as parallel to it (De Wette, Fay), and meaning the same thing: “after many days, after Jehovah had given,” etc. The latter is preferable.—TR.]
2[Joshua 23:2. ויִּקְרָא should introduce the apodosis to Joshua 1:1, and the translation be (Joshua 1:1), “and it came to pass … after that Jehovah. … and Joshua was old, far gone in years (Joshua 1:2), that Joshua called all Israel,” etc.—TR.]
3[Joshua 23:2. Lit. “called to,” but the “to” is superfluous in consistency with the usage generally; so that “for” should be omitted throughout this verse.—TR.]
4[Joshua 23:5. Our version rightly, although perhaps too strongly marks the variety in מִפְּנֵיכֶם and מִלִּפְנֵיכֶם, which De Wette and Fay neglect.—TR.]
5[Joshua 23:7. בְּשׁם. To indicate exactly the construction of the prep. בְּ with both verbs, is scarcely possible in English. We have to adopt some such substitute as, “and not make mention of, and not cause to swear by the name of their gods.”—TR.]
6[Joshua 23:12. The idea is that of general intercourse. The verb “come” is used for brevity’s sake, instead of saying fully: “and you go among them and they come among you.”—TR.]
7[Joshua 24:1. Omit “for” throughout this Terse as Joshua 23:2.—TR.]
8[Joshua 24:9. נִלְחָם although capable of meaning “to war,” “wage war,” is, with one exception, translated throughout our book, “to fight.”—TR.]
9[Joshua 24:10. The emphatic force of the infin. abs. here might be variously expressed: “he kept blessing you;” “he must fain bless you;” “he did nothing but bless you.” Equivalent is the intent of “he blessed you still.”
10[Joshua 24:11. These names are all singular in the Hebrew throughout the verse, and are best so read in English.
And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.