Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 23:1

Now it came about after many days, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies on every side, and Joshua was old, advanced in years,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
The Topic Concordance - Marriage;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Joshua the son of nun;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Rest;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Pentateuch;   Holman Bible Dictionary - God;   Joshua, the Book of;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Government of the Hebrews;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A long time after that the Lord had given rest - This is supposed to have been in the last or one hundred and tenth year of the life of Joshua, about thirteen or fourteen years after the conquest of Canaan, and seven after the division of the land among the tribes.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-23.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This and the next chapter contain the last addresses of Joshua. These addresses were no doubt among the closing acts of Joshua‘s life, but were evidently given on different occasions, and are of different character and scope. In the former Joshua briefly reminds the princes of the recent benefits of God toward them and their people, declares that God had fulfilled all His promises, and exhorts to faithfulness on their side to God that so His mercies may not be withdrawn: in the latter he takes a wider range, rehearses the gracious dealings of God with the nation from its very origin, and upon these as his grounds, he claims for God their sincere and entire service. But he grants them the option of withdrawing from the covenant if they so choose; and when they elect still to abide by it, it is solemnly renewed by the free consent of the whole people. Joshua‘s reproofs and warnings are in sum and substance identical with those with which Moses closed his career (Deuteronomy 31, etc.). Compare throughout the marginal references.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-23.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

JOSHUA'S PERSONAL FAREWELL

How natural it is that this wonderful book should be concluded with the personal farewell of the great commander who had led Israel in all of the great battles that delivered the Promised Land to the children of Israel. This was the way in which Moses concluded his Five Books, and we are not surprised that Joshua elected to close his in the same manner.

"And it came to pass after many days, when Jehovah had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, and Joshua was old and well stricken in years; that Joshua called for all Israel and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and well stricken in years: and ye have seen all that Jehovah your God hath done unto all those nations because of you; for Jehovah your God, he it is that fought for you."

As a fitting prologue to what Joshua would say, these verses call attention to the displacement of the Canaanites in order for the Chosen People to possess the land. Appropriately, Joshua reminded them that it had not been the Israelites who had won all of those battles; it was the work of God. "He it is that fought for you!" How easy it is for men, or nations, to forget the special blessings of God which entered into their success and prosperity. The later history of Israel proved that they needed this exhortation.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-23.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it came to pass a long time after,.... Or "after many days"F15מימים רבים "post dies multos", Pagninus, Masius, Tigurine version; "exactis maltis diebus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. , that is, years:

that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about; the greatest part of the land of Canaan was subdued, the whole divided by lot to the tribes of Israel, and they quietly settled in the respective portions assigned them, the Canaanites that remained giving them no disturbance, in which state of rest and peace they had now been for some years; and this may be reasonably supposed to be the last year of the life of Joshua, see Joshua 23:14.

that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age; and became feeble and decrepit, and greatly declined; for though he was ten years younger than Moses when he died, yet not so vigorous, strong, and robust as he, but was pressed and bore down with the infirmities of age.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-23.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Joshua 23:1, Joshua 23:2. Joshua‘s exhortation before his death.

a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies — about fourteen years after the conquest of Canaan, and seven after the distribution of that country among the tribes.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-23.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

Exhortation to the Tribes of Israel to Remain Faithful to their Calling. - Joshua 23:1, Joshua 23:2. The introduction to the discourse which follows is attached in its first part to Joshua 22:3-4, and thus also to Joshua 21:43-44, whilst in the second part it points back to Joshua 13:1. The Lord had given the people rest from all their enemies round about, after the land had been subdued and divided by lot (Joshua 21:43-44). Joshua was already an old man at the termination of the war (Joshua 13:1); but since then he had advanced still further in age, so that he may have noticed the signs of the near approach of death. He therefore called together the representatives of the people, either to Timnath-serah where he dwelt (Joshua 19:50), or to Shiloh to the tabernacle, the central sanctuary of the whole nation, as the most suitable place for his purpose. “ All Israel ” is still further defined by the apposition, “ its elders, and its heads, and its judges, and its officers .” This is not to be understood, however, as referring to four different classes of rulers; but the term elders is the general term used to denote all the representatives of the people, who were divided into heads, judges, and officers. And the heads, again, were those who stood at the head of the tribes, families, and fathers' houses, and out of whose number the most suitable persons were chosen as judges and officers (Deuteronomy 1:15; see my Bibl. Arch. ii.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/joshua-23.html. 1854-1889.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

In this chapter we are drawing towards the close of Joshua's ministry. Like all the other servants of the Lord, his work being finished, his death succeeds. He is represented here as convening the Lord's heritage together, to make his farewell discourse to them. This chapter hath the leading heads of his sermon; and it should seem by what follows in the next chapter, that this is closed before that he ends his discourse.

Joshua 23:1

There is somewhat very interesting in the close of life, of the more immediate servants of the Lord. The dying frames of faithful ministers are of singular use to be recorded for the comfort and encouragement of living members of Christ's mystical body. Hence it should seem, that the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to have his servants held forth to view in the church in their last hours. The representation here made of Joshua, is truly engaging. We are not told of the precise time when it was, but only it is in general said, to have been a long time after Joshua ' s victories were ended. Probably as Joshua died at the age of one hundred and ten years (see Joshua 24:29.) it was just before his death.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-23.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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 — About fourteen years after it.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-23.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Ed

i.e. a witness; so Joshua 24:27.

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Joshua 23:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/joshua-23.html. 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

A BRAVE SOLDIER

‘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.’

Joshua 23:1

At the death of Moses a sudden gleam of heaven, as it were, came over the elder Church. The law seemed for a while suspended as regards its threats and punishments; all was privilege on the one side, all was obedience on the other. Joshua led the people forward, conquering and to conquer; he led them into rest and prosperity. His history is made up of two parts: triumph and peace. Such a blessed season never returned to the Church of Israel till that Church was made glorious by the coming of the Sun of Righteousness, and was brought forth out of the shadows and dreariness of the law into the fulness of grace and truth.

I. First, as is very obvious, Joshua is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ as regards his name, for Joshua is in Hebrew what Jesus is in Greek.

II. Joshua is a type of Christ in an act of grace which he exercised, and that to his enemy Rahab.—Why have we at once a sinful woman spared and admitted into covenant on her faith, nay privileged in the event to become the ancestress of our Lord, except that in Joshua the reign of the Saviour is typified, and that the pardon of a sinner is its most appropriate attendant?

III. As Joshua answers to our Lord in his name and in his clemency, so, too, does he in his mode of appointment.—Moses chose Joshua, who had no claim or title to be chosen; he consecrated him, not in a legal, but in a Gospel, way; he prefigured in him the ministers of Christ and soldiers of His Church. Joshua was chosen, not by the will of men, but by the will of God.

IV. In a special way God’s choice ended in Joshua.—He did not receive it by inheritance, nor are heirs mentioned to whom he left it. He who divided the land by lot, who gave to each his portion to enjoy, is allotted in the sacred history neither wife, nor children, nor choice possession. In this he was the type of the Lord Himself, who, ‘though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.’

V. We read of no lamentation of friends, no special honours being paid to Joshua, at his death.—He was buried neither by his sons nor by the assembled people, as if to teach us to raise up our hearts to Him for whom no mourning was to be made, for He was the living among the dead; and though for a while He laid Himself down in the grave, He did it that, there lying, He might quicken the dead by His touch, that so first He and then they all might rise again and live for ever.

VI. Joshua did not accomplish all the work that was to be done, but left a remnant to those who came after him.—And so in like manner Christ has done the whole work of redemption for us, and yet it is no contradiction to say that something remains for us to do: we have to take the redemption offered to us, and that taking involves a work. He has suffered and conquered, and those who become partakers in Him undergo in their own persons the shadow and likeness of that great victory. We advance by yielding; we rise by falling; we conquer by suffering; we persuade by silence; we become rich by bountifulness; we gain comfort through mourning; we earn glory by penitence and prayer.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Joshua was essentially the soldier, and as such was just the man raised up by God for his age. His obedience to God was a soldier-like obedience. Such was his energy, his power to inspire others, his very piety. Teachers will find the best illustrations, for the character and work of Joshua, in such generals as Havelock or Gordon. What is remarkable in him is that he was wholly free from personal ambition, or any thought of self-aggrandisement. “His whole heart was in the highest degree patriotic, under a system which required patriotism to take the form of religious obedience.” Note Joshua’s power of decision, and promptitude. “He was a valiant without temerity, and active without precipitation.” “His piety was gentle, his faith was impregnable, and his confidence in God unshaken.”’

(2) ‘After forty years of wandering, seven years of war, and eighteen years of peace, Joshua, now 110 years old, stands as straight and as firm as an oak tree, and never stammers or mumbles his message. Talk about growing old and useless! Some men grow old like bread; they get stale. Others grow old like wine, richer and stronger.’

(3) ‘The final farewell of Joshua, the manifest dignity and serenity of saintly ripeness, the vigour of his exhortations, and the assurance of his faith, are worthy of devout study. This his last service is his best service. He had been faithful as a spy, as the helper of Moses, as a warrior and leader, and as a divider of the land among the tribes. But here he seeks to lead them into covenant with God, that they may through faith and obedience be enabled to keep all they had conquered.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/joshua-23.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 23:1 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.

Ver. 1. Joshua waxed old.] And so more fit to give counsel than now to act great exploits, εργα νεων, βουλαι δε γερονων. Howbeit he was willing to show that although he was old and withering, yet "the root of the matter was in him"; and like the rose, he kept his sweet savour, though he had lost his lovely colour.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-23.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Joshua 23:1

At the death of Moses a sudden gleam of heaven, as it were, came over the elder Church. The law seemed for a while suspended as regards its threats and punishments; all was privilege on the one side, all was obedience on the other. Joshua led the people forward, conquering and to conquer; he led them into rest and prosperity. His history is made up of two parts: triumph and peace. Such a blessed season never returned to the Church of Israel till that Church was made glorious by the coming of the Sun of righteousness, and was brought forth out of the shadows and dreariness of the law into the fulness of grace and truth.

I. First, as is very obvious, Joshua is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ as regards his name, for Joshua is in Hebrew what Jesus is in Greek.

II. Joshua is a type of Christ in an act of grace which he exercised, and that to his enemy Rahab. Why have we at once a sinful woman spared and admitted into covenant on her faith, nay privileged in the event to become the ancestress of our Lord, except that in Joshua the reign of the Saviour is typified, and that the pardon of a sinner is its most appropriate attendant?

III. As Joshua answers to our Lord in his name and in his clemency, so, too, does he in his mode of appointment. Moses chose Joshua, who had no claim or title to be chosen; he consecrated him, not in a legal, but in a Gospel, way; he prefigured in him the ministers of Christ and soldiers of His Church. Joshua was chosen, not by the will of men, but by the will of God.

IV. In a special way God's choice ended in Joshua. He did not receive it by inheritance, nor are heirs mentioned to whom he left it. He who divided the land by lot, who gave to each his portion to enjoy, is allotted in the sacred history neither wife, nor children, nor choice possession. In this he was the type of the Lord Himself, who, "though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich."

V. We read of no lamentation of friends, no special honours being paid to Joshua, at his death. He was buried neither by his sons nor by the assembled people, as if to teach us to raise up our hearts to Him for whom no mourning was to be made, for He was the living among the dead; and though for a while He laid Himself down in the grave, He did it that, there lying, He might quicken the dead by His touch, that so first He and then they all might rise again and live for ever.

VI. Joshua did not accomplish all the work that was to be done, but left a remnant to those who came after him. And so in like manner Christ has done the whole work of redemption for us, and yet it is no contradiction to say that something remains for us to do: we have to take the redemption offered to us, and that taking involves a work. He has suffered and conquered, and those who become partakers in Him undergo in their own persons the shadow and likeness of that great victory. We advance by yielding; we rise by falling; we conquer by suffering; we persuade by silence; we become rich by bountifulness; we gain comfort through mourning; we earn glory by penitence and prayer.

J. H. Newman, Sermons on Subjects of the Day, p. 150.




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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/joshua-23.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 1. And it came to pass a long time after, &c.— That is to say, fourteen years after the conquest of the land of Canaan, and seven after the division of the country among the tribes. See ch. Joshua 11:23, Joshua 14:10. Dr. Wells is of opinion, that the assembly here mentioned met at Shiloh before the tabernacle. Joshua is before spoken of as being old and stricken in years, chap. Joshua 13:1. He was now, probably, in the last year of his life.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-23.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

JOSHUA CHAPTER 23

Joshua being old assembles the people; declares the wonders God had wrought for them, and would work, in expelling the Canaanites, Joshua 23:1-5. Exhorts them to be courageous, to observe the law, and beware of idolatry, Joshua 23:6-8; which he enforces by former benefits, and promises, Joshua 23:9-11; by threatenings, Joshua 23:12-16.

A long time; about fourteen years after it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-23.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. A long time — About fourteen years after the conquest and seven years after the allotment of Canaan, in the one hundred and tenth year of his life, Joshua uttered this speech.

Stricken in age — Literally, as in the margin, come into days; that is, far gone in years.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-23.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Long time. Josue governed only ten years after the distribution of the land. Towards the close of his life, perceiving that the Israelites were too indolent in subduing the people of the country, and fearing lest they should by degrees begin to imitate their corrupt manners, he called a general assembly either at his own city, or at Silo, or more probably at Sichem, (as it is mentioned [in] chap. xxiv. 1, which seems to give farther particulars of this assembly) and laid before his people, in the strongest terms, the dangers to which they would be exposed, by entertaining a friendship for the enemies of God, and by abandoning him. (Calmet) --- He called together all the heads of the people. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-23.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a long time after. Eight years. See App-50.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

old and stricken in age. Aged 102. Compare Joshua 13:1. Figure of speech, Pleonasm. App-6. Hebrew. "old and advanced in (or come into) the days".

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-23.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-23.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XXIII.

JOSHUA’S LAST CHARGE.

(a) To the rulers (Joshua 23).

(b) To the people (Joshua 24 to Joshua 24:25).

(a) To THE RULERS.

(1) Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.—The same expression employed in Joshua 13:1. It is possible that we ought to translate thus: “It came to pass, a long time after the Lord had given rest . . . and (after) Joshua had grown old, advanced in days, that Joshua called . . .” Or it may be that we have here, as it were, “the two evenings” of Joshua’s life: the early evening, when his sun began to decline—the afternoon; and the late evening, just before its glorious setting in the service of Jehovah on earth, to “serve Him day and night in His temple.”

(Our Lord fed the five thousand between the two evenings—Matthew 14:15; Matthew 14:23. So Joshua gave Israel their inheritance between the two evenings of his life.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
the Lord
11:23; 21:44; 22:4; Psalms 46:9
waxed old
13:1; Genesis 25:8; Deuteronomy 31:2
stricken in age
Heb. come into days.
Reciprocal: Exodus 33:14 - rest;  Deuteronomy 25:19 - when the;  Judges 11:26 - three hundred;  2 Samuel 7:1 - the Lord;  2 Samuel 23:1 - the last;  1 Kings 1:1 - and stricken in years;  1 Chronicles 22:18 - and hath;  2 Chronicles 14:6 - the Lord;  2 Chronicles 14:7 - and he hath given;  2 Chronicles 15:15 - the Lord;  2 Chronicles 20:30 - his God;  Isaiah 63:14 - the Spirit;  Hebrews 4:8 - had

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-23.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Here we have a narrative of the solemn protestation which Joshua used towards the time of his death, that he might leave the pure worship of God surviving him. But although the peace and quiet which the Israelites obtained among the nations of Canaan is described as an excellent blessing from God, it is necessary to keep in mind what I formerly taught, that it was owing to their cowardice that they dwelt among their enemies, whom it would not have been difficult to rout and destroy. But thanks are justly rendered to God for his goodness in pardoning their ingratitude.

The pious solicitude of Joshua is here also set forth, for the imitation of all who are in authority. For as the father of a family will not be considered sufficiently provident if he thinks of his children only till the end of his own life, and does not extend his care farther, studying as much as in him lies to do them good even when he is dead; so good magistrates and rulers ought carefully to provide that the well arranged condition of affairs as they leave them, be confirmed and prolonged to a distant period. For this reason Peter writes, (2 Peter 1:15) (189) that he will endeavor after he has departed out of the world to keep the Church in remembrance of his admonitions, and able to derive benefit from them.

From its being said that he invited all Israel, and its being immediately after added that he invited their elders, and heads, and judges, and prefects, I understand the meaning to be that all were indeed permitted to come, but that the summons was addressed specially to the heads and prefects. And thus the last clause appears to me to be explanatory of the former. And, indeed, it is not at all credible that the whole people were invited; for no such meeting could possibly take place. The sense, therefore, in which the people were invited was simply this, that the elders, judges, and others were commanded to come, and might bring as many persons as were disposed to come along with them.

The speech of Joshua, as quoted, is double; but it appears to me that the historian first, as is often done, gives a brief summary of the whole speech, and then follows it out more in detail, introducing the particulars which he had omitted. (190) In the one which is first given, Joshua briefly animates the people, and exhorts them to sure confidence in the continued and unwearying grace of God. For, seeing they had experienced that God is true in all things, they could have no doubt for the future, that they might safely hope for the same success in vanquishing and destroying the enemy. The partition also by which he had distributed the remainder of the land, he set before them as an earnest or pledge of their undoubted fruition, because it was not at random but by the order of God he had marked out the seat, and fixed the boundaries of each tribe.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-23.html. 1840-57.