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the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 23

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.

A long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel - about 14 years afar the conquest of Canaan, and 7 years after the distribution of that country among the tribes.

Verse 2

And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:

Called for all Israel. The clause which follows seems to restrict this general expression, as applicable only to the officers and representatives of the people. 'Judges are here specified in the description of the national council. But they are frequently omitted, because, being chosen from the body of the eldership, they were included in that enumeration.' The place of assembly was most probably Shiloh. The occasion of convening it was the extreme age and approaching death of the venerable leader; and the purport of this solemn address was to animate the chosen people and their posterity to a faithful and unswerving continuance in the faith and worship of the God of Israel.

Verse 3

And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you.

Ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done ... for you. The modesty and humility of Joshua are remarkably displayed at the commencement of this address. Sinking all thoughts of his personal services, he ascribed the subjugation and occupation of Canaan entirely to the favouring presence and aid of God; and in doing so, he spoke not more piously than truly. This had been promised (Deuteronomy 1:30; Deuteronomy 3:22); and the reality of the divine aid was seen in the rapid overthrow of the Canaanites, which had already led to the division of the whole land among the tribes.

Verse 4

Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 5

And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you.

The Lord your God, he shall expel them from before you ... The actual possessions which God had given were a pledge of the complete fulfillment of His promise in giving them the parts of the country still unconquered. But the accomplishment of the divine promise depended on their inviolable fidelity to God's law-on their keeping resolutely aloof from all familiar contact and intimate connections with the Canaanites, or in any way partaking of their idolatrous sins. In the event of their continuing in stedfast adherence to the cause of God, as happily distinguished, the nation at that time, His blessing would secure them a course of brilliant and easy victories (Leviticus 26:7; Deuteronomy 28:7; Deuteronomy 32:30).

Verses 6-10

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 11

Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.

Take good heed therefore ... that ye love the Lord your God. The sum of his exhortation is comprised in the love of God, which is the end or fulfillment of the law (Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 11:13; Matthew 22:37).

Verse 12

Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:

Else, if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations. By 'going back' is meant transgression of the divine law; and as marriage connections with the idolatrous Canaanites would present many and strong temptations to transgress it, these were strictly prohibited (Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:3). With his eye, as it were, upon those prohibitions, Joshua threatens them with the certain withdrawal of the divine aid in the further expulsion of the Canaanites-a threat founded on Exodus 23:33; Numbers 33:55; Deuteronomy 7:16.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/joshua-23.html. 1871-8.
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