Joshua 23

1 And it came to pass many days after the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
2 And Joshua called for all Israel and for their elders and for their princes and for their judges and for their officers and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age;
3 and ye have seen all that the LORD your God has done with all these Gentiles in your presence; for the LORD your God has fought for you.
4 Behold, I have divided unto you as inheritance unto your tribes all these Gentiles, those that remain as well as those that are destroyed, from the Jordan unto the great sea towards the going down of the sun.
5 And the LORD your God, shall expel them from before you and drive them from out of your presence; and ye shall possess their lands, as the LORD your God has promised unto you.
6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses without turning aside to the right hand or to the left
7 that ye not enter in among these Gentiles that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them,
8 but cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.
9 For the LORD has driven out from before you great and strong Gentiles; and until now no one has been able to stand before your face.
10 One man of you has chased a thousand; for the LORD your God, he himself has fought for you, as he has promised you.
11 Therefore take heed for your souls that ye love the LORD your God.
12 Because if ye do in any wise go back and cleave unto the remnant of these Gentiles that remain among you and shall make marriages with them and go in unto them and they to you,
13 know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no longer drive out any of these Gentiles from before you, but they shall be snares and traps unto you and scourges in your sides and thorns in your eyes until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you.
14 And, 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 word has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing has failed thereof.
15 Therefore it shall come to pass that as all the good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you, so shall the LORD bring upon you all the evil things until he has destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you
16 when ye shall transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, going in and serving other gods and bowing yourselves to them. And the anger of the LORD shall be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he has given unto 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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010