Joshua 23

Joshua's Farewell Address

1 Now it came about after many days, when * the LORD had given 1rest to Israel from all their enemies on every side, and Joshua was old, advanced in years,
2 that 2Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and their heads and their judges and their officers, and said to them, "I am old, advanced in years.
3 "And you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because * of you, for 3the LORD your God is He who has been fighting for you.
4 "See, 4I have apportioned to you these nations which remain as an inheritance for your tribes, with all the nations which I have cut off, from the Jordan even to the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun
5 "The LORD your God, He will thrust them out from before you and 5drive them from before you; and 6you will possess their land, just as the LORD your God promised you.
6 "7Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left,
7 so that you will not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or 8mention the name of their gods, or 9make anyone swear by them, or 10serve them, or bow down to them.
8 "But you are to cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.
9 "11For the LORD has driven out great and strong nations from before you; and as for you, 12no man has stood before you to this day.
10 "13One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is 14He who fights for you, just as He promised you.
11 "So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God.
12 "For if you ever go back and 15cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and 16intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you,
13 know with certainty that the LORD your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you; but they will be a 17snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you.
14 "Now behold, today 18I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that 19not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed
15 "It shall come about that just as all the good words which the LORD your God spoke to you have come upon you, so 20the LORD will bring upon you all the threats *, until He has destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you.
16 "21When you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you will perish quickly from off 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.

Cross References 21

  • 1. Joshua 21:44
  • 2. Joshua 24:1
  • 3. Deuteronomy 1:30
  • 4. Exodus 23:30
  • 5. Exodus 23:20
  • 6. Numbers 33:53
  • 7. Deuteronomy 5:32; Joshua 1:7
  • 8. Exodus 23:13; Psalms 16:4
  • 9. Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 10:20
  • 10. Exodus 20:5
  • 11. Exodus 23:23, 30
  • 12. Deuteronomy 7:24
  • 13. Leviticus 26:8; Deuteronomy 28:7; Deuteronomy 32:20
  • 14. Deuteronomy 3:22; Joshua 23:3
  • 15. Exodus 34:15, 16; Psalms 106:34, 35
  • 16. Deuteronomy 7:3, 4; Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 13:25
  • 17. Exodus 23:33; Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 7:16
  • 18. 1 Kings 2:2
  • 19. Joshua 21:45
  • 20. Leviticus 26:14-33; Deuteronomy 28:15
  • 21. Deuteronomy 4:25, 26

Footnotes 10

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

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