And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem
The nine tribes and a half; not all the individuals of them, but the chief among them, their representatives, as afterwards explained, whom he gathered together a second time, being willing, as long as he was among them, to improve his time for their spiritual as well as civil good; to impress their minds with a sense of religion, and to strengthen, enlarge, and enforce the exhortations he had given them to serve the Lord; and Abarbinel thinks he gathered them together again because before they returned him no answer, and therefore he determined now to put such questions to them as would oblige them to give one, as they did, and which issued in making a covenant with them; the place where they assembled was Shechem, which some take to be Shiloh, because of what is said ( Joshua 24:25 ) ; that being as they say in the fields of Shechem; which is not likely, since Shiloh, as Jerom says F21, was ten miles from Neapolis or Shechem. This place was chosen because nearest to Joshua, who was now old and infirm, and unfit to travel; and the rather because it was the place where the Lord first appeared to Abraham, when he brought him into the land of Canaan, and where he made a promise of giving the land to his seed, and where Abraham built an altar to him, ( Genesis 12:6 Genesis 12:7 ) ; where also Jacob pitched his tent when he came from Padanaram, bought a parcel of a field, and erected an altar to the Lord, ( Genesis 33:18-20 ) ; and where Joshua also repeated the law to, and renewed the covenant with the children of Israel, quickly after their coming into the land of Canaan, for Ebal and Gerizim were near to Shechem, ( Joshua 8:30-35 ) ;
and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for
their judges, and for their officers: (See Gill on Joshua 23:2);
and they presented themselves before God;
Kimchi and Abarbinel are of opinion that the ark was fetched from the tabernacle at Shiloh, and brought hither on this occasion, which was the symbol of the divine Presence; and therefore the place becoming sacred thereby is called the sanctuary of the Lord, and certain it is that here was the book of the law of Moses, ( Joshua 24:26 ) ; which was put on the side of the ark, ( Deuteronomy 31:26 ) .
F21 De loc. Heb. fol. 94. I.