Joshua 23

Joshua Says Good-by to the Leaders

1 A long time had passed. The LORD had given Israel peace and rest from all of their enemies who were around them. By that time Joshua was very old.
2 So he sent for all of the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel. He said to them, "I'm very old.
3 You yourselves have seen everything the LORD your God has done. You have seen what he's done to all of those nations because of you. The LORD your God fought for you.
4 "Remember how I've given you all of the land of the nations that remain here. I've given each of your tribes a share of it. It's the land of the nations I won the battle over. It's between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in the west
5 The LORD your God himself will drive those nations out of your way. He will push them out to make room for you. You will take over their land, just as the LORD your God promised you.
6 "Be very strong. Be careful to obey everything that is written in the Scroll of the Law of Moses. Don't turn away from it to the right or the left.
7 "Don't have anything to do with the nations that remain among you. Don't use the names of their gods for any reason at all. Don't take oaths and make promises in their names. You must not serve them. You must not bow down to them.
8 You must remain true to the LORD your God, just as you have done until now.
9 "The LORD has driven out great and powerful nations to make room for you. To this very day no one has been able to fight against you and win.
10 One of you can chase a thousand away. That's because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised he would.
11 So be very careful to love the LORD your God.
12 "But suppose you turn away from him. You mix with the people who are left alive in the nations that remain among you. Later, you and they get married to each other. And you do other kinds of things with them.
13 Then you can be sure of what the LORD your God will do. He won't drive out those nations to make room for you anymore. Instead, they will become traps and snares for you. They will be like whips on your backs. They will be like thorns in your eyes. All of that will continue until you are destroyed. It will continue until you are removed from this good land. It's the land the LORD your God has given you.
14 "Now I'm about to die, just as everyone else on earth does. The LORD your God has kept all of the good promises he gave you. Every one of them has come true. Not one has failed to come true. And you know that with all your heart and soul
15 "Every good promise of the LORD your God has come true. So you know that the LORD will bring on you all of the evil things he has warned you about. He'll do it until he has destroyed you. He'll do it until he has removed you from this good land. It's the land he has given you.
16 "Suppose you break the covenant the LORD your God made with you. He commanded you to obey it. But suppose you go and serve other gods. And you bow down to them. Then the LORD's anger will burn against you. You will quickly be destroyed. You will be removed from the 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


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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