Joshua 23

1 The Lord gave Israel peace from their enemies around them. Many years passed, and Joshua grew very old.
2 He called a meeting of all the older leaders, heads of families, judges, and officers of Israel. He said, "I am now very old.
3 You have seen what the Lord has done to our enemies to help us. The Lord your God fought for you.
4 Remember that your people have been given their land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the land I promised to give you
5 The Lord your God will force out the people living there. The Lord will push them out ahead of you. And you will own the land, as he has promised you.
6 "Be strong. You must be careful to obey everything commanded in the Book of the Teachings of Moses. Do exactly as it says.
7 Don't become friends with the people living among us who are not Israelites. Don't say the names of their gods or make anyone swear by them. Don't serve or worship them.
8 You must continue to follow the Lord your God, as you have done in the past.
9 "The Lord has forced many great and powerful nations to leave ahead of you. No nation has been able to defeat you.
10 With his help, one Israelite could defeat a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, as he promised to do.
11 So you must be careful to love the Lord your God.
12 "If you turn away from the way of the Lord and become friends with these people who are not part of Israel and marry them,
13 the Lord your God will not help you defeat your enemies. They will be like traps for you, like whips on your back and thorns in your eyes, and none of you will be left in this good land the Lord your God has given you.
14 "It's almost time for me to die. You know and fully believe that the Lord has done great things for you. You know that he has not failed to keep any of his promises
15 Every good promise that the Lord your God made has come true, and in the same way, his other promises will come true. He promised that evil will come to you and that he will destroy you from this good land that he gave you.
16 This will happen if you don't keep your agreement with the Lord your God. If you go and serve other gods and worship them, the Lord will become very angry with you. Then none of you will be left in this good land 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