Joshua 23

1 Now after a long time, when the Lord had given Israel rest from wars on every side, and Joshua was old and full of years,
2 Joshua sent for all Israel, for their responsible men and their chiefs and their judges and their overseers, and said to them, I am old, and full of years:
3 You have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you; for it is the Lord your God who has been fighting for you.
4 Now I have given to you, as the heritage of your tribes, all these nations which are still in the land, together with those cut off by me, from Jordan as far as the Great Sea on the west
5 The Lord your God will send them away by force, driving them out before you; and you are to take their land for your heritage, as the Lord your God said to you.
6 So be very strong to keep and do whatever is recorded in the book of the law of Moses, not turning away from it to the right or to the left;
7 Have nothing to do with these nations who still are living among you; let not their gods be named by you or used in your oaths; do not be their servants or give them worship:
8 But be true to the Lord your God as you have been till this day.
9 For the Lord has sent out from before you nations great and strong: and they have all given way before you till this day.
10 One man of you is able to put to flight a thousand; for it is the Lord your God who is fighting for you, as he has said to you.
11 So keep watch on yourselves, and see that you have love for the Lord your God.
12 For if you go back, joining yourselves to the rest of these nations who are still among you, getting married to them and living with them and they with you:
13 Then you may be certain that the Lord your God will not go on driving these nations out from before you; but they will become a danger and a cause of sin to you, a whip for your sides and thorns in your eyes, till you are cut off from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.
14 Now I am about to go the way of all the earth: and you have seen and are certain, all of you, in your hearts and souls, that in all the good things which the Lord said about you, he has kept faith with you; everything has come true for you
15 And you will see that, as all the good things which the Lord your God undertook to do for you, have come to you, so the Lord will send down on you all the evil things till he has made your destruction complete, and you are cut off from the good land which the Lord your God has given you.
16 If the agreement of the Lord your God, which was given to you by his orders, is broken, and you become the servants of other gods and give them worship, then the wrath of the Lord will be burning against you, and you will quickly be cut off from the good land which he has given you.

Joshua 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

Joshua's exhortation before his death. (1-10) Joshua warns the people of idolatry. (11-16)

Verses 1-10 Joshua was old and dying, let them observe what he said now. He put them in mind of the great things God had done for them in his days. He exhorted them to be very courageous. Keep with care, do with diligence, and regard with sincerity what is written. Also, very cautiously to endeavour that the heathen idolatry may be forgotten, so that it may never be revived. It is sad that among Christians the names of the heathen gods are so commonly used, and made so familiar as they are. Joshua exhorts them to be very constant. There might be many things amiss among them, but they had not forsaken the Lord their God; the way to make people better, is to make the best of them.

Verses 11-16 Would we cleave to the Lord, we must always stand upon our guard, for many a soul is lost through carelessness. Love the Lord your God, and you will not leave him. Has God been thus true to you? Be not you false to him. He is faithful that has promised, ( Hebrews 10:23 ) . The experience of every Christian witnesses the same truth. Conflicts may have been severe and long, trials great and many; but at the last he will acknowledge that goodness and mercy followed him all the days of his life. Joshua states the fatal consequences of going back; know for a certainty it will be your ruin. The first step would be, friendship with idolaters; the next would be, marrying with them; the end of that would be, serving their gods. Thus the way of sin is down-hill, and those who have fellowship with sinners, cannot avoid having fellowship with sin. He describes the destruction he warns them of. The goodness of the heavenly Canaan, and the free and sure grant God has made of it, will add to the misery of those who shall for ever be shut out from it. Nothing will make them see how wretched they are, so much, as to see how happy they might have been. Let us watch and pray against temptation. Let us trust in God's faithfulness, love, and power; let us plead his promises, and cleave to his commandments, then we shall be happy in life, in death, and for ever.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JOSHUA 23

Joshua being old, convenes the states of Israel a little before his death, Jos 23:1,2; and in his address to them observes what God had done for them, and would do, Jos 23:3-5; and exhorts them to keep the commandments of God, and cleave to him, and not to mix with the Gentiles, and join with them in idolatrous practices, and then it would be well with them, Jos 23:6-11; but otherwise should they join with them, and depart from the Lord, who had so faithfully and punctually performed every good thing he had promised them, they might expect all evils and calamities, utter ruin and destruction, to befall them, Jos 23:12-16.

Joshua 23 Commentaries