Joshua 23

1 And it came to pass after many days after the Lord had given Israel rest from all his enemies round about, that Joshua was old and advanced in years.
2 And Joshua called together all the children of Israel, and their elders, and their chiefs, and their judges, and their officers; and said to them, I am old and advanced in years.
3 And ye have seen all that the Lord our God has done to all these nations before us; is the Lord your God who has fought for you.
4 See, that I have given to you these nations that are left to you by lots to your tribes, all the nations beginning at Jordan; and I have destroyed; and the boundaries shall be at the great sea westward.
5 And the Lord our God, he shall destroy them before us, until they utterly perish; and he shall send against them the wild beasts, until he shall have utterly destroyed them and their kings from before you; and ye shall inherit their land, as the Lord our God said to you.
6 Do ye therefore strive diligently to observe and do all things written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not to the right hand or to the left;
7 that ye go not in among these nations that are left; and the names of their gods shall not be named among you, neither shall ye serve them, neither shall ye bow down to them.
8 But ye shall cleave to the Lord our God, as ye have done until this day.
9 And the Lord shall destroy them before you, great and strong nations; and no one has stood before us until this day.
10 One of you has chased a thousand, for the Lord our God, he fought for you, as he said to us.
11 And take ye great heed to love the Lord our God.
12 For if ye shall turn aside and attach yourselves to these nations that are left with you, and make marriages with them, and become mingled with them and they with you,
13 know that the Lord will no more destroy these nations from before you; and they will be to you snares and stumbling-blocks, and nails in your heels, and darts in your eyes, until ye be destroyed from off this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.
14 But I hasten to go the way , as all that are upon the earth also : and ye know in your heart and in your soul, that not one word has fallen of all the words which the Lord our God has spoken respecting all that concerns us; there has not one of them failed.
15 And it shall come to pass, that as all the good things are come upon us which the Lord God will bring upon you all the evil things, until he shall have destroyed you from off this good land, which the Lord has given you,
16 when ye transgress the covenant of the Lord our God, which he has charged us, and go and serve other gods, and bow down to them.

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.

Footnotes 3

Chapter Summary


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 Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.