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Jos 24:1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
Ver. 1. And Joshua gathered all the tribes to Shechem. ] The chief city of Ephraim, near to old Joshua, who called this parliament thither, and not far from mount Gerizim and mount Ebal, where the people had lately renewed their covenant, which they were now to do again; and the identity of the place might be some advantage: whence it is that they that give rules of direction concerning prayer, do advise us, amongst other helps, to accustom ourselves to the same place.
And they presented themselves before God, ] i.e., Before the ark brought hither for the purpose.
Jos 24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, [even] Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
Ver. 2. And Joshua said unto all the people. ] Besides what he had said to them in the former chapter; so solicitous was he of the public welfare after his decease also. Cicero saith that this was his chiefest care: we are sure it was good Joshua’s.
Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood, ] i.e., Of the river Euphrates, that ancient river. And this was the ancient manner of speaking to the people, by giving them a historical narrative of what God had done for them and their forefathers, that mercy might enforce to duty; since divine blessings are binders, and men’s offences are increased by their obligations. See the like method made use of by those admirable preachers, David, Psa 78:1-72 Stephen, Act 7:2-53 and Paul. Act 13:17-41
And they served other gods. ] Even Abraham as well as the rest, a till God gave him a call out of his own country, till he had "called him to his foot," Isa 41:2 that is, to follow him and his direction, to obey him without solicitation.
a Some of the Rabbis say that Terah got his living by making and selling of images.
Jos 24:3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
Ver. 3. And gave him Isaac. ] Effaetae fidei filium, the heir of the covenant, and therein more happy than his brother Ishmael, with all those twelve princes which he begot. Gen 17:20-21
Jos 24:4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
Ver. 4. But Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. ] Where they were held under hard servitude, while Esau and his posterity flourished in mount Seir, having the fat of the earth’s good store, that they might fry the better in hell.
Jos 24:5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
Ver. 5. And I brought you out. ] As brands out of the fire; as many of you here present as were then under twenty years of age: and a great mercy it was to be pulled out of such a superstitious place. Gregory Nazianzen reporteth of Athens, that it was the most plagueful place in the world for superstition, even another Egypt. And he acknowledgeth it a great mercy that God did deliver him and Basil from those infections.
Jos 24:6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
Ver. 6. Unto the Red Sea. ] Yea, into the Red Sea God made them a fair way till they were in the midst, and then overcovered them. Jos 24:7
Jos 24:7 And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
Ver. 7. And ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season. ] Where ye had pluviam escatilem et petram aquatilem, as Tertullian phraseth it: never was prince so served in his greatest pomp as ye were all that while.
Jos 24:8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
Ver. 8. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites. ] Whose iniquity was now grown full, Gen 15:16 and come up to a just measure of merit of extraordinary vengeance from above. The bottle of wickedness, when once filled with those bitter waters, will surely sink to the bottom.
Jos 24:9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:
Ver. 9. Then Balak … arose and warred against Israel.] He did not actually war against them. Jdg 11:25 Sed fieri dicitur quod tentatur aut intenditur, saith Ribera upon Amos 9:5 . He did not, because he durst not. Howbeit, because he intended, if he could have compassed it, to fight with Israel, and prepared for that purpose, it is spoken of as a done thing. So Haman is said to have "laid his hands upon the Jews," because he attempted it; Est 8:7 and the Jews to have stoned Christ, because they could have found in their hearts to have done it. Joh 10:31-33
“Qui, quid non potuit, non facit, ille facit.”
Jos 24:10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
Ver. 10. Therefore he blessed you still ] Though full sore against his mind, as loath to lose so fair a preferment; till at length he resolved to curse, whatever came of it, and therefore went not, as at other times, to his altar, but "set his face toward the wilderness." Num 24:1-2 "Howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing," said that good Nehemiah. Neh 13:2
Jos 24:11 And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.
Ver. 11. And the men of Jericho fought against you. ] Non pugnarunt, sed clausis portis propugnarunt et restiterunt, saith Vatablus. They shut up their gates and fortified themselves against you; and when their town was taken, it is probable they sold their lives at as dear a rate as they could.
Jos 24:12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, [even] the two kings of the Amorites; [but] not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
Ver. 12. And I sent the hornet before you. ] Crabrones, sive muscam venenatam: Metaphorice de terrore illis incusso, saith Piscator; It is to be metaphorically taken for stinging terrors, struck into the hearts of these Canaanites. But why not literally rather?
But not with thy sword. ] But with my hornets.
Jos 24:13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
Ver. 13. And cities which ye built not. ] For Hazor only was burnt, Jos 11:13 and the rest inhabited by them.
Jos 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
Ver. 14. And put away the gods. ] Deastros illos, which some of them secretly worshipped, as they did likewise in the wilderness. Amo 5:25-26 Act 7:42-43 So in Josiah’s days, Baal had privily his "Chemarims," or chimney chaplains, yea, those that "worshipped the host of heaven upon the housetops," &c. Zep 1:4-5
Jos 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Ver. 15. Choose you this day whom ye will serve. ] He leaveth them not to their own free choice to do either, but to make proof of their voluntary and professed subjection to the true religion, which would further engage them to constancy in their covenant.
But as for me and my house. ] Joshua was not of the mind of most householders in these days, who make no other use of their servants than they do of their beasts; while they may have their bodies to do their service, they care not if their souls serve the devil: these forget that they must answer for those souls, and give an account of their blood.
Jos 24:16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
Ver. 16. God forbid that we should forsake the Lord. ] And yet they did thus, not long after Joshua’s death. It is ordinary with the many headed multitude to turn with the stream, to tack about to every wind, to be of the same religion with others their superiors, to keep on the sunny side, wheresoever it be. Thus at Rome in Dioclesian’s time they were Pagans; in Constantine’s, Christians; in Constantius’s, Arians; in Julian’s, Apostates; in Jovinian’s, Christians again; and all this within less than the age of a man. It is therefore "a good thing that the heart be established with grace," Heb 13:9 that men may "cleave to God with full purpose," Act 11:23 being "steadfast and unmovable." 1Co 15:58
Jos 24:17 For the LORD our God, he [it is] that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
Ver. 17. He it is that brought us up. ] Beneficium postulat officium; Mercy requireth duty: deliverance commandeth obedience. But many miscreants, as if God had hired them to be wicked, abuse all his benefits to his dishonour.
Jos 24:18 And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: [therefore] will we also serve the LORD; for he [is] our God.
Ver. 18. We will also serve the Lord; for he is our God. ] To make the Lord to be our God, it is required, saith a reverend man, that with highest estimations, most vigorous affections, and utmost endeavours we bestow ourselves upon him: so shall we be in a condition to "serve him acceptably." Heb 12:28
Jos 24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he [is] an holy God; he [is] a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
Ver. 19. Ye cannot serve the Lord. ] You that are yet unregenerate, and that would fain make a mixture of religions, cannot serve the Lord; for he must be served like himself, that is, truly, that there be no halting; and totally, that there be no halving; he will not take up with a seeming or slubbering service. "Offer it now to thy prince; will he be pleased with thee or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts." Mal 1:8
For he is a holy God. ] And requireth to be sanctified in all those that draw near unto him; it will be worse with them else. Lev 10:3 Neither profaneness nor formal profession will he endure; but least of all idolatry.
For he is a jealous God. ] And will not be yoked with idols, neither will he give his glory, which is as his wife, to another. If any cast but a leering look toward it, he shall smart and smoke for so doing.
He will not forgive your transgressions, ] sc., Unless you forego them: or if he do forgive them, yet he may take vengeance, temporal vengeance, of their inventions; Psa 99:8 and for that matter their repentance may come too late. Deu 1:37 2Sa 12:16 All this Joshua speaketh, not to weaken but to waken their diligence in God’s service.
Jos 24:20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
Ver. 20. And consume you, after that he hath done you good. ] Ingentia beneficia, flagitia, supplicia. From apostates God will take away his own and be gone, Hos 2:9 he will curse their blessings, Mal 2:2 blast their hopes, make them know the worth of his benefits by the want of them, making them cry out, as Jeremiah 4:13 , "Woe to us! for we are spoiled."
Jos 24:21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.
Ver. 21. Nay; but we will serve the Lord. ] Only and wholly, for subject and object. This was well resolved, if as well practised. These here were ready to enter into covenant, and so to bind their deceitful hearts to a good abearance, which else would be ready to slip collar.
Jos 24:22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye [are] witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, [We are] witnesses.
Ver. 22. Ye are witnesses against yourselves. ] In case ye falsify ye shall be self-condemned, and cut of your own mouths God shall judge you: meanwhile conscience shall do its office upon you, as an index, iudex, vindex, accuser, judge, and executioner.
Jos 24:23 Now therefore put away, [said he], the strange gods which [are] among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.
Ver. 23. Now therefore. ] Set forthwith upon the work of reformation which you have covenanted.
Put away the strange. ] Out of doors with those Balaam’s blocks, those mawmets and monuments of idolatry, those images of jealousy which provoke to jealousy: Eze 8:3 throw also all your sinful lusts out of service, and serve the Lord. See Joshua 24:14 .
Jos 24:24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
Ver. 24. The Lord our God will we serve. ] They bind themselves again to keep touch with God by an unalterable resolution. Vows rightly made and renewed are of singular use to keep the heart within the bounds of obedience, and to make men constant, firm, and peremptory in well doing.
Jos 24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
Ver. 25. And set there a statute and an ordinance. ] Capita faederis ex Deuteronomio praelegit, saith one; he read them the Articles of the Covenant out of Deuteronomy.
Jos 24:26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that [was] by the sanctuary of the LORD.
Ver. 26. And Joshua wrote these words. ] This whole book, or the most part of it, see Jos 1:1 and particularly the Acts of this present Parliament.
Under an oak. ] Which was therehence called The Oak or Plain of the Pillar. Jdg 9:6
Jos 24:27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
Ver. 27. Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us. ] It shall represent your covenant to your consciences, and convince you of singular perfidy, in case you falsify. We read in Livy that a certain governor of the people called Aequi, bade the Roman ambassadors tell their tale to the oak that stood next them, saying that he had somewhat else to do than to give them audience. To whom they replied, Et haec sacrata quercus audiat faedus a vobis violatum, Then let this holy oak hear and bear witness that ye have broken your covenant.
Jos 24:28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.
Ver. 28. So Joshua let the people depart. ] With their hearts full of joy at the covenant. "For they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire," as 2 Chronicles 15:15 .
Jos 24:29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, [being] an hundred and ten years old.
Ver. 29. Joshua … the servant of the Lord, died.] This was the crown of all his commendation, and a greater title to be engraven on his tomb, than his was, who arrogantly and foolishly styled himself Kοσμοκρατωρ , Monarch of the World. This was Sesostris, king of Egypt, who reigned there in the days of Samson.
Jos 24:30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which [is] in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
Ver. 30. In Timnathserah. ] See Trapp on " Jos 19:50 "
Jos 24:31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.
Ver. 31. See Trapp on " Jos 23:8 "
Jos 24:32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
Ver. 32. Buried they in Shechem. ] Where his monument was to be seen in Jerome’s time, as he testifieth in his questions upon Genesis.
Jos 24:33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill [that pertained to] Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
Ver. 33. In a hill that pertained to Phinehas. ] Or, In Gibeathpineas, the name of a city, bearing his name.
Which was given him. ] By the synagogue, saith Vatablus, in an extraordinary way; that, being the high priest, he might be near to Joshua, and not far from the tabernacles where his business lay.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16