Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 23:14

"Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Death;   Fear of God;   God;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Death of Saints, the;   Promises of God, the;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Fulfilled;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Death;   Holman Bible Dictionary - God;   Joshua, the Book of;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Ways;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;  
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for March 19;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The way of all the earth - I am about to die; I am going into the grave.

Not one thing hath failed, etc. - God had so remarkably and literally fulfilled his promises, that not one of his enemies could state that even the smallest of them had not had its most literal accomplishment: this all Israel could testify.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Joshua 23:14

And behold this day I am going the way of all the earth.

Death common to all

Death is so dim-sighted and so blundering-footed that he staggers across Axminster tapestry as though it were a bare floor, and sees no difference between the fluttering rags of a tatterdemalion and a conqueror’s gonfalon. Side by side we must all come down. No first class, second class, or third class in death or the grave. Death goes into the house at Gad’s Hill, and he says, “I want that novelist.” Death goes into Windsor Castle, and he says, “I want Victoria’s consort.” Death goes into Ford’s Theatre, at Washington, and says, “I want that President.” Death goes on the Zulu battlefield, and says, “I want that French Prince Imperial.” Death goes into the marble palace at Madrid, and says “Give me Queen Mercedes.” Death goes into the almshouse, and says, “Give me that pauper.” Death comes to the Tay Bridge, and says, “Discharge into my cold bosom all those passengers.” (T. De Witt Talmage.)

Premonitions of death

The first symptom of approaching death with some, is the strong presentiment that they are about to die. Oganan, the mathematician, while in apparent health, rejected pupils from the feeling that he was on the eve of resting from his labours; and he expired soon after of an apoplectic stroke. Fletcher, the divine, had a dream which shadowed out his impending dissolution, and believing it to be the merciful warning of Heaven, he sent for a sculptor and ordered his tomb. “Begin your work forthwith,” he said at parting; “there is no time to lose.” And unless the artist had obeyed the admonition, death would have proved the quicker workman of the two. Mozart wrote his Requiem under the conviction that the monument he was raising to his genius would, by the power of association, prove a universal monument to his remains. When life was fleeting very fast, he called for the score, and musing over it, said, “Did I not tell you truly that it was for myself that I composed this death chant?”

Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord . . . spake.

Joshua’s dying testimony to the faithfulness of God

I. Death is a way. It leads the believer from the means and streams of religious ordinances to the fountain-head of living waters; from the society of earthly, and at best imperfect connections, to the company of triumphant saints, &c.

II. Death is a way that all must go. Some journeys may be deferred and postponed a week, a month, a year, and perhaps be wholly declined. But this cannot be put off or avoided.

III. Death is a way which we may soon be required to take. (Isaac Bachus, D. D.)

Joshua’s last confession

With Joshua as with Simeon, at eventide it was light, the hues of a golden sunset coloured with the tints of the rainbow, which St. John beheld before the throne. The words that I have read to you contain a retrospect and a prospect. He looks behind for them; he looks forward for himself.

1. We, too, have a retrospect like his, and we too have a prospect. Let us look back at life, each from our own standing-point, each colouring with the hues of his own experience the common outline. Begin at the beginning, and look back at childhood. I do not think childhood the happiest time of life, and therefore I will not say it is. And yet in the spring of our life, though it had its biting winds and its cold nights, lest our characters should bud too fast and in an atmosphere too genial we should grow unequally and develop too rapidly, there were gleams of bright sunshine, showers dropping with fruitfulness, in which our minds expanded and our souls grew. Some of us it may be were brought to the feet of Jesus, to hear His Word. As children we knew the Holy Scriptures, and our infant lips were tutored in prayer. But manhood is the time of man’s glory, when we partake of the full joys of home life, when opinions mature and cultivation grows, and experience mellows, and noble duties open out before us, and grow into the full liberty of the sons of God, and by faith we overcome the wicked one. Oh, how full manhood may be of pure and generous happiness, if lived unto God, if we will but look up to Him as a reconciled Father, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost follow the Lamb whithersoever He went on earth! Sorrow there must be, but there is strength to bear it; losses, but there is time to redeem them; sin, but the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin; imperfectness, but then we are complete in Him. And then, as to old age, in one view of it that is the best of all. The aged man, if he is a Christian, is nearly at home. His activities may be diminished, but his wisdom is augmented. If not strong in action, he is great in counsel. He looks back over a past of unbroken, unvarying love, and his song is, “Surely, goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Oh, I pray you, wherever in life you be, whatever in life you have, gather up your mercies and count them; see how the Lord’s faithfulness has given you every one of the good things that He has promised to His people. Where you wandered, it was through your own wilfulness, and He brought you back. When you fell He lifted you up. When you wept your tears came to you with a message from God. You may indeed be forgetting Him; that I know not, but this I do know, that He has been love to you, trying to embrace you with the arms of His mercy, willing to draw you with the cords of love.

2. There is also a prospect. “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth.” “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment.” My brethren, this way is a universal way, and a sorrowful way, and a cloudy way. (Bp. Thorold.)

Joshua intimating his own departure, and the favour of God toward Israel

I. The circumstances in which joshua here represents himself as placed. Time has gathered death’s memorials on that form; and warned, perhaps, by some communication from the world invisible, or feeling, it may be, in the pain, the weakness, or the gathering wrinkles, that his closing hour is near, he thus addresses the multitude around: “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth.” What was dying Joshua but just the representative of dying man? and what is Joshua dead but an instance, from the midst of ten thousand times ten thousand of the human form, erect and strong, and animated once, consigned to mournful silence, and the human spirit vanished from the scenes of enterprise and life, where it thought so loftily or toiled so zealously of old? And if we commit ourselves to the pages of recorded history, and find them full throughout with the alternations of life and death, or mark the common course of society and providence around us, how many an illustration may be found of what to us is specially momentous in the idea afforded by the words, “the way of all the earth” I

II. The appeal which joshua makes to the people he addresses.

1. Joshua’s appeal may suggest the idea of a pious and active old age. To earlier years and robuster vigour may belong the more stirring and laborious forms of Christian enterprise and zeal; but age has the same principles of duty to regard, and the same animating motives to cherish in the heart. In the apparent proximity of death it has a consideration in some degree peculiar, to urge it on to zealous and devoted services for God; and, oh! how powerfully ought that consideration and many a motive else to animate the minds of those who, “old and stricken in age,” are ready, like Joshua, to say, “I am going the way of all the earth”! If you have given your more vigorous years to sin, why should you delay with contrite and devout heart to give the close of your continuance here to Christ, and piety, and God? And if you have, in some degree, like Joshua, given your earlier life to the cause of righteousness, oh I have you not found, in your experience of its dignity, anti blessedness, and worth, a motive strong to keep you steadfast to the end?

2. Not only is the appeal of Joshua in the text representative of a pious and zealous old age, but it expresses an important fact presented by the providence of God: “Ye know,” says he, “in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed,” &c. Of all men Christian believers perhaps will be the readiest to perceive, and the most willing to acknowledge, the absolute faithfulness and the gracious liberality of God; and how can they but know that, sad as the outward condition of God’s chosen may sometimes be, and sadder still as may be the general aspect of the earth, to neither can the Almighty’s pledge be broken, to neither can His promise fail? (Alex. S. Patterson.)

A man dying

I. A man dying in philosophic calmness: “I am going the way of all the earth.”

1. It is not a strange road. All that have ever been, have gone through it; and all that ever will be, must.

2. It is not an avoidable road. To complain is useless.

II. A man dying fully satisfied with god: “Not one thing hath failed,” &c.

1. That God had promised “good things.”

2. That all the “good things” promised had come.

III. A man dying with spiritual interest in survivors: “Ye know,” &c. He wished his contemporaries and survivors to cherish confidence in God when he was gone. (Homilist.)

The solicitude and testimony of a dying man

I. The solicitude of a noble veteran. Joshua was solicitous that the Israelites

II. The testimony of an aged pilgrim: “And behold this,” &c. We learn here

III. The calmness of a dying saint. What a peaceful, glowing sunset! (W. Fry.)

Joshua’s retrospect

There are certain occasions in life when it is irresistibly natural to look back. After climbing a difficult ascent, or concluding a tedious negotiation, or even winding up a long and troublesome letter, we like to take a final view of the whole. Joshua had now arrived at the culminating point of his mission.

I. The largeness of God’s promises. To bring Israel out of the prison-land of Egypt, through the death-land of the wilderness, into triumphant possession of the fortress-land of Canaan, was what God undertook. If some great leader had undertaken, some years back, to emancipate the negroes of the Southern States of America, to conduct them over the broad Atlantic, and make them owners and masters of military and imperial France, he would scarcely have promised any more, allowing for the difference of the times. All God’s promises are “exceeding great and precious.”

II. The steadiness of God’s purposes. Just when the promise appeared utterly forgotten, its final fulfilment was being planned. Just when the good seed appeared altogether perished, the labourers who were to gather in the harvest were being engaged. The rest of the history to which Joshua looked back furnished other instances of like kind.

III. The completeness of God’s work. God had wrought all that He had promised. I apply the subject to the earnest expectations of the humble believer in Christ. You too are looking forward to the end of your wanderings, to the enjoyment of absolute rest, to perfection of spiritual condition, to the subjugation of every enemy, in a word, to complete conformity to your Lord. Be assured that the time is approaching when you shall look back in triumph upon all. (Homilist.)

The last words of Joshua

You can hardly overdraw the character of the patriarch warrior who is about to surrender his command. He is one of the rare men of either economy of whom inspiration, always faithful, has preserved no record of blemish. And if you ask wherein lay the main charm of his character, we find it in the fact that he himself is so much concealed behind the grandeur of his own exploits. That is the highest order of excellence--to be self-concealed by the glory of events whereof we are the authors. “I have sent for you,” said a great man of modern days, from his death-bed to a youth who stood beside him, “that you may see how a Christian can die.” Let us see how a “servant of the Lord” can die who only saw the day of Christ from a distance. We might dwell, for a warrant in favour of repetition, on the fact that Joshua spends his last breath in telling something to the children of Israel which he himself admits they know already “in all their hearts and in all their souls.” Old-fashioned doctrines never look so new, never so precious, as when seen from the edge of the grave. But what absorbs the interest of this spectacle is not so much the triteness of the discussion as the motive Chat moved to its delivery. If Joshua does not say, he implies, that because the chills of death are at the very moment creeping round his heart and the tongue will not serve him much longer, on that very account he stirs them up to remembrance that “the Lord has not been slack concerning His promise.” Oh, surely, this is something new in the treatment of an old doctrine! The last faculties of the mind before it ceases to act and move amongst the living, turned upon the character and the honour of the great God, and that not so much towards the man himself, but towards the other men addressed. That a human being should be so able to forget himself, if not in the very struggles, in the nearest prospect, of mortality, as to busy himself entirely with the credit and the character of his Creator, that he should gather around him the thousands who will survive him, for nothing but to wring from them the acknowledgment that God is true--oh! you may fairly enough conclude that the speaker is not far off the world where God will be all in all. There is no test of a man’s chief good like death. The miser will ask for his old strong-box to be placed beside him on the bed that he may see the last of the deity he has worshipped whilst he lived. The husband will turn his latest, fondest look, amongst all bystanders, towards the one sad face that belongs to her who has weathered with him so many a storm, and proved her love through evil and through good report. The statesman wanders in his last delirium on the future of the country, the helm of whose affairs he is quitting for ever. The scholar, too, seems reluctant to die till that one great work, the study of years, has received its finishing touch; and the mechanician, or the chemist, or the astronomer, is startled by the grim summons from the busy calculation, or the tiresome experiment, or the sweeping survey of the stars. And if each of these were to leave a witness from the death-bed, that witness would turn for a topic to the favourite and the darling of the life that is leaving him. Joshua does the same. “What will they think of my God when I am gathered to the grave? I know Him, but do they? They do; but will they remember what they know? Will they serve my God as if they recollected that He has never failed them? It is not certain hearts that know forget: souls that have learned love their own lessons. Therefore will I make this work, the honour of Jehovah, at least as perfect as I can make it by hallowing in its behalf the faltering of the dying lip and the clouding of the dying brain.” “I must,” says the dying hero, “spend the last sands in the glass in putting the glory of the Divine administration beyond all reach of reproach. Are my warriors and myself at one upon the doctrine that the whole of an inheritance promised is as good, to faith, as the whole of it conferred? Are we going to part agreed that Palestine is already as truly the property of the sons of Abraham as Timnath-Serah, in Mount Ephraim, belongs to me?” And so the good man could not rest in his grave till he had exchanged with his brethren in arms a new vow of allegiance to Him who has not, even in our day, with absolutely literal truth, accomplished the fulness of what is here taken as done. Here is faith for you The captain of the army will not die till he has overleapt centuries by a faith of his own, and carried all his squadrons with him in the leap. One of our great warriors ordered his ships into action with the shout of “Victory, or Westminster Abbey!” But what should we have thought had the cry been “Victory and Westminster Abbey!” Joshua foresaw that his own death, and the death of whole generations of soldiers, would make no difference to the conquest of Canaan. Millenniums are shorter than moments to “him that believeth.” This then was Joshua’s judgment of the right business for a dying day. Beautiful ministry for last moments, to strengthen bystanders in their trust upon God’s word. It was to Israel almost as if a spectre spoke. You contract heavy responsibilities--you who stand, from time to time, in the chambers of dying believers. Next to hearing voices from heaven comes the hearing of voices from those who are just stepping from earth. Books are nothing to the last whispers-even the last smiles--of warriors laying down their swords, and of pilgrims sinking into rest. I pray that we may all die leaving some witness to the faithfulness of Christ. (H. Christopherson.)

Joshua’s farewell charge

Notice, first, that in parting he says nothing of himself. He recalls to their minds only the source of all the power that was theirs in the past, and all the power that could be theirs in the future. His one thought in leaving them is to remind them of the character of God. That should ever be the thought of the pastor who is parting with his people--that he should say nothing of himself, or what he has done, or what, known only to himself and God perhaps, he has utterly failed to do, but that he should be exceeding anxious and exceeding jealous as to the character of God. The question which he seems to ask himself as he is about to leave them is not, “What will the people think about me when I am gone from them?” but, “What will this people think about God? Will they serve Him as if they really believed in their heart and in their soul that God can never tail them? Will they feel that they may, and that they must, because of all that they know of God in the past, trust Him absolutely and utterly for the future?” It is just possible he imagined that they might not, and so his endeavour is in parting to make this great truth of the absolute fidelity of God, which must be the foundation of all true religion, as strong in them as it could be. It is easy to say, of course, that God is true and faithful; but is there a man or woman here to-day who believes that every premise that God, in His written Word, or in revelation to their inmost and deepest spiritual nature, has made is actually fulfilled? What a changed world it would be if every baptized man and woman believed in their heart and soul, as a child believes the assurance of his father, that not one promise of God has ever failed! Joshua called them to witness that day that not one single promise that God had made them had failed; and yet there were the tribes that He had promised to drive out still occupying many places in the land; there was the Star unrisen yet that had been promised to come out of Jacob; there was the sceptre as yet unwielded by Israel; there were many things, if you read the history literally, that God had promised, and that, as far as mere human eye could see, were not accomplished; nay, the approach of their fulfilment was not discernible. And, nevertheless, he called on these men, who longed for these things, to whom these things had been promised and had not yet come, he calls them to bear witness that day that not one promise of the Lord their God had failed them. To his heart of faith and to his eye of faith, because God hath promised them, they were come to pass already; and he could not part from his people without endeavouring to make them as deeply persuaded of that truth as he was himself. And that, amid all the flux of time, that, amid all the great social, political, and economic changes that have swept over the world, that is the one foundation-truth still for nations and for men. In our national life it is the truth we mostly need. In our national life forces are being developed to-day into activity, of which none can at present forecast the issue. Beneath the smooth surface of our modern life fires are seething which reveal themselves now and again, as it were, in tongues of lurid flame that leap through the thin film of our civilisation. Now amid all this how can we look with anything like manly confidence to the remote, or even to the immediate, future? We must sink, as it seems to me, into despair, if we can only think of the schemes of rival politicians, or the impotence of social nostrums, or if we can only hear, as words of hope, the flabby platitudes of the feeble philanthropist. Our confidence and our hope must be based upon faith in the faithfulness of God, in Him as the eternal I Am, who sitteth above the water-floods, be the earth never so unquiet. Our cardinal faith must be that the Lord, who was God in all history, is God in history still, that He holds in His hands to-day all the strength and all the weakness of the nation and of man. He is not the God of the dead but of the living; and, if we will learn the lesson which He wilt be teaching us somehow, by prosperity or by disaster, even now, as we look around us on all the portents of the time, we may do so in the absolute confidence and in the faith and hope which we ought to possess as we say: “No one good thing which the Lord our God hath promised has ever failed us.” (Canon T. T. Shore.)

What made Joshua the man he was

Joshua, when he spoke those words, was one of God’s grand old friends. He and Caleb were the oldest men in that company. He tells them his experience of life. It is worth while to ask what made old Joshua the man he was. It was his character. If I met a man on the Manchester Exchange, and he told me he was building a new mill, fitting it up with the newest machinery, and that he would shortly turn out the finest yarn in the country, well, I would say to him: “You’ve got your work cut out, bur we shall see.” So I walk round that way, and look at the new mill, with its fine machinery; see the manager--one who knows his business--and I say, “That’s all right.” Then I walk down to the mill gate to see what kind of raw material comes in. If the raw material is inferior, then the fine mill, with its machines, all goes for nothing--it won’t do. The yarn won’t wear. Now, make a man up of poor material, and he’ll not wear. What character has a man; what is he made of? That is a great question. There are two things about Joshua’s character to be noticed.

I. Joshua became the man he was because he kept company with one older and better than himself. He was Moses’ servant. Watching Moses and hearing his words moulded Joshua’s character. My advice to young people is to keep company with folks older and better than yourselves. Why does God let people live to a long age, if not to give the younger generation their experience? Don’t leave home in a hurry. If father and mother are people that pray, don’t hurry to leave them. It is the same with old books: those used to be bound in sheepskin; nothing to look at outside, but all inside. Nowadays they put it all outside, and the bookbinder does what the author should have done. It is a responsibility which older people should consider, that they ought to live so as to attract the young. This is one of the wants of the age. Live so that your young people may say when they go out into life, “I leave my best friends behind.” I never had such a fine compliment paid me before as I had from my boy the other day. It was in class, and when I came to my son Charlie, he said: “Well, father, I am only getting my eyes opened to see what a privilege mine has been to live with such people as you and mother are.” I wouldn’t give that away for £20,000.

II. Joshua became the man he was because he had the courage of his convictions. There were twelve of them sent to spy Canaan, tea of them said, “It’s no use. The country is good enough, but it is full of giants.” “Yes, we shall go up,” said Joshua and Caleb. Joshua was willing to be out-voted. It was ten to two, but the ten had their coffins made before the two. Have the courage to vote for the right. One man and God makes a strong party. Joshua’s experience was that God had been as good as His word. There are no crises but what God can surmount them. Go and ask George Muller. A man thought that he would give a thankoffering for his life being spared to fifty years. He intended to give £50, and he thought he would send the Bristol Orphanage £10. He was so haunted by this thought that he could not wait for his birthday, but got an envelope and despatched a cheque for £10. He got the usual receipt, and there was no more of it until the yearly report of the Orphanage appeared. He thought he would just turn up the date and see if his money were there. There at the very date he saw George Muller’s words, “No money and no bread to-day, but cheque has arrived for £10.” Friends, believe in a prayer-hearing God. Don’t be afraid to leave your case in His hands if you are doing right. Some of these days you will have to say with Joshua, “I go the way of all the earth.” You will have to give up going to business and to lie in bed. Everything is growing dim, and the loved voices seem miles away. Will some of those loved ones, writing to the son in Australia, have to say, “Father’s last words were these: ‘Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord spake’”? (T. Champness.)

An elevation that explains the whole of life

The traveller who has reached the highest attainable summit of the Andes, and stands in the pure and cloudless atmosphere around them, can expatiate over a wide and almost boundless horizon; while another who remains in the valley below, amidst the haze of mist and vapour, must be satisfied with a comparatively poor and trifling view of the magnificence and beauty that surround him. It is thus with the Christian militant, in the war fare of his earthly state, and after his release to join the armies of the blessed in the rest of God. Here dimness and obscurity may in part intercept or much distort the prospect of Divine mercy, and all the rich consolations of a Saviour’s love. But when his liberated soul shall attain the felicities of heaven, he will stand upon an elevation commanding the boundless extent of Divine operation in the walk and world of providence and grace. His eye will be strengthened to behold, and his comprehension will be enlarged to understand them with knowledge, love, and wonder, increasing throughout eternity. No cloud will be seen throughout the universe of blessedness to intercept his vision. Every dispensation by which the Saviour visited and helped him, however misunderstood in the days of earthly darkness and ignorance, will then be fully explained, every difficulty solved, and every apparent contradiction harmonised for ever. (R. P. Buddicom, M. A.)

The promise of God has its season

As the herbs and flowers which sleep all winter in their roots underground, when the time of spring approacheth presently start forth of their beds, where they had lain so long unperceived, thus will the waits for the appointed time, and then comes. Every promise is dated, but with a mysterious character; and for want of skill in God’s chronology we are prone to think that God forgets us, when indeed we forget ourselves in being so bold to set God a time of our own, and in being angry that He comes not just then to us.

Confidence in God’s faithfulness

Your boy comes to you and asks you to buy him a fishing-rod, and he says, “I saw one to-day in a window, which was just what I want. Can’t I go down now and buy it?” And you say, “No, not to-day, wait a little.” A week passes, and the lad begins to say to himself, “I wonder if father has forgotten all about it?” Then you put into his hands a better rod than he has ever seen before, and the boy is overwhelmed with surprise and pleasure. And yet the main thing in all this is not that your son received what he wanted, but the gift won, through delay, has given him a new view of his father’s wisdom, and a new confidence in his affection, which makes him say, “Hereafter, when I want anything of this kind, I will leave it all to father.” And so the main thing that a man gains, when God at last answers his prayer, is not the gift, but the clearer consciousness that God is better than His gifts, that he has all in God. (R. Vincent.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Joshua 23:14". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And, Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which Jehovah your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, not one thing failed thereof. And it shall come to pass, that as all the good things are come upon you of which Jehovah your God spake unto you, so will Jehovah bring upon you all the evll things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which Jehovah your God hath given you. When ye transgress the covenant of Jehovah your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow yourselves down to them; then will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given you."

The terrible threats of these verses are based upon the words previously spoken by the Lord through Moses (Leviticus 26:14-33; Deuteronomy 28:15-68). It cannot be denied that Israel was repeatedly and effectively warned of the consequence of rebellion against Jehovah. The pity is that these warnings were totally ignored, and the plunge of Israel into idolatry was swift and compile.

Joshua, of course, foresaw the drift of Israel into open apostasy, and, therefore, he arranged a ceremony for the renewal of the covenant following this address to the leaders of Israel, a ceremony with all the qualities of the ancient suzerainty treaties prevalent in the mid-second millennium B.C. The preposterous notion that these final addresses of Joshua were the work of some seventh-century B. C. priest is RIDICULOUS. The knowledge of the exact form of these suzerainty treaties was lost for centuries, and there is no evidence whatever that the priests of Josiah's time ever heard of it. The elaborate ceremony of the suzerainty treaty closes the Book of Joshua in the following chapter.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth,.... That is, about to die; not that precise day, but in a short time, of which the daily increasing infirmities of old age gave him notice. Death is a journey from this world to another, a man's going to his long home, a path trodden by all men, and but onceF20"----Sed omnes una manet nox, Et calcanda semel via lethi". --Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 28. ; a way in which all men without exception must and do walk, and even the best as well as the greatest of men, such as Joshua; no man is exempted from death, be he ever so great or good, ever so wise and knowing, ever so holy or so useful; see 1 Kings 2:2,

and ye know in all your hearts, and in all your souls; in their consciences; it was a glaring truth, which none could deny; it had a testimony in every man's breast:

that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God hath spoken concerning you; particularly concerning the good land, and the Lord's bringing them into it, removing the old inhabitants, and settling them in their room, and putting them in possession of all temporal good things and spiritual privileges, as the word and ordinances:

all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof; see Joshua 21:45.

Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And, behold, this day I [am] f going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your g hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, [and] not one thing hath failed thereof.

(f) I die according to the course of nature.

(g) Most certainly.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.

Of all the earth — That is, of all flesh, or of all men; the way which all men go; I am about to die, as all men must. To die is, to go a journey, a journey to our long home. And Joshua himself, tho' he could so ill be spared, cannot be exempted from this common lot. He takes notice of it, that they might look on these as his dying words, and regard them accordingly.

Ye know — That is, you know assuredly; your own experience puts it out of all question.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.’

Joshua 23:14

Life is a book which can never be understood by reading one of its chapters. And those who have lived less years than Joshua have yet lived long enough to know, from actual experience and observation, that very few, when they look back upon a long course, ever regret what they once called their failures and their trials; while many regret, bitterly regret, many things which they once called their prosperity!

It is only with promised things that we have to do. It is ‘the good things which the Lord our God spake concerning us.’ Faith hath its province only within the promise. If you go out of a promise you may have a general hope, but it is not faith. Has any one distinctly promised thing not come to you? Have you ever yet earnestly prayed for any spiritual blessing, then waited for it, and that blessing has not come? And once more—if it hath not come, it may be only because its time has not yet arrived. It may be on the road now—for God promises what, not when.

Let us now look at some proofs of God’s exceeding faithfulness.

I. National blessings.—Our national blessings are very great. After all our doubts and fears ‘our land has yielded her increase.’ Bread is cheap. Wages are high. Work is abundant. A spirit of peace and contentment prevails.

II. Blessings in the Church.—In the midst of our distractions our Church has great tokens for good. We have not separated one from another: and our Church is whole. Every section of it is instinct with life and energy. The number of churches has grown with unprecedented rapidity over the land. All the means of grace are multiplied. The clergy are much more earnest; the communicants have greatly increased, and are increasing. Foreign missions were never so well supplied, either with money or with men. The great duty and privilege of intercession for missions has been recognised. And perhaps, above all the signs of good, such a spirit of evangelisation for the conversion of souls at home has been poured upon the Church as perhaps has had no parallel in the Church’s history.

III. Individual blessings.—One characteristic I am sure there has been in the history of God’s dealings with every one of us: we have been always in a system of beautiful balance: the joys and the sorrows, the encouragements and the disappointments, the trials and the strength, the need and the supply have been in a strange equipoise. The whole government of God has been compensatory. We all have our dark passages—our mysteries, our gnawing grief—known only to ourselves; and the heavy discipline of a Father’s hand. We could not quote Joshua’s words if we had not. All those to whom those words were spoken had experienced, most painfully, the trials of life. They had wandered in a desert for forty years. But the Presence had never left them; the manna and the water never ceased.

As life goes on, things which were matters of faith, in earlier years, are matters of fact and experience in later life; and we ought to be bolder and more trusting every year we live, if it were only for this—because theories have become realities; and we have proved what we once could only take upon trust—the faithfulness of God: so that this is our argument: ‘Thou hast been our succour; leave us not, neither forsake us, O God of our salvation.’

—Rev. James Vaughan.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 23:14 And, behold, this day I [am] going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, [and] not one thing hath failed thereof.

Ver. 14. And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth.] I am a dying man: and the words of dying men are held to be living oracles: let therefore these last words of mine sink into your souls, and stick by you when I shall go hence and be no more seen. [2 Peter 1:13]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



Joshua 23:14. Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.

IT has been common in all ages to pay peculiar attention to the words of dying men: and the more eminent their characters were, the more regard has been shewn to their last instructions or advice. The person speaking in the text, was, in some points of view, distinguished even above Moses himself: for though Moses was the appointed instrument of bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, he was forced to leave them to the care of Joshua, who alone was commissioned to settle them in Canaan; and who was therefore a more illustrious type of Jesus, whose name he bore, and whose character he prefigured. The dying words of such a person, when speaking under the dictates of inspiration, may well be considered as calling for more than ordinary attention: especially when the scope of them was to vindicate the honour of God, and they were delivered in a way of solemn appeal to the whole nation of the Jews. But they have yet a further claim to our regard, because, though primarily applicable to those to whom they were immediately addressed, they are equally applicable to the Lord’s people, in every place, and every age.

To illustrate them in this view, we shall,

I. Notice some of those good things which the Lord our God has spoken concerning us—

In order to mark, what we are principally to insist upon, the faithfulness of God in performing his promises, we will specify some that were made,

1. To the Church at large—

[God promised to the Church the gift of his dear Son [Note: Genesis 3:15; Genesis 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:18; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 53:6; Daniel 9:24; Jeremiah 23:6.] — — — the abiding presence of his Spirit [Note: Proverbs 1:23; Isaiah 32:15; Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 15:26.John 16:14; John 16:8; Zechariah 12:10; Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:22.] — — — and a final triumph over all our enemies [Note: Isaiah 27:2; Isaiah 33:20; Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 31:35-37; Matthew 16:18.] — — —]

2. To individual members in particular—

[Though the names of individuals are not specified, their characters are delineated, and that too in such a way, that all who study the sacred oracles may read, as it were, their names in them. There are distinct promises made to the humble [Note: Isaiah 66:2; James 4:6; Isaiah 57:15.] — — — the weak [Note: Isaiah 42:3-4; Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 41:14-15; Isaiah 41:17-18; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Amos 9:9.] — — — the tempted [Note: 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18.] — — — the backslidden [Note: Jeremiah 3:14; Jeremiah 3:22; Hosea 14:4.] — — — and especially to them that trust in God [Note: Isaiah 26:3; Psalms 125:1; Jeremiah 17:7-8.] — — — In that class is every rank and order of true Christians comprehended, “Verily it shall be well with the righteous [Note: Isaiah 3:10.].”

These are “great,” “exceeding great and precious, promises [Note: 2 Peter 1:4.];” and the persons who correspond with the different characters, are at full liberty to apply them to themselves.]

Having taken a short view of the promises, we may proceed to,

II. Shew the faithfulness of God in fulfilling them—

There is in the minds of all who have heard the Gospel, a general conviction of the truth and faithfulness of God—

[It is seen that God has already fulfilled all that he has promised in reference to the Church at large. Besides what he did for the Jews [Note: Joshua 21:43-45.], he has sent his Son; he has poured out his Spirit; he has maintained his Church, notwithstanding all the efforts that have been used both by men and devils to destroy it. And from hence we feel a persuasion, that his word shall be fulfilled in other respects also. We do not indeed suffer our convictions to operate as they ought; yet we revolt at the idea that “God should lie [Note: Numbers 23:19.],” and we know that “he cannot deny himself [Note: 2 Timothy 2:13.]” — — —]

All who have ever sought after God at all, have had proofs of his veracity in their own experience—

[The Israelites “knew in all their hearts, and in all their souls,” that God had fulfilled his promises to them. And are there any who have ever called upon him, or trusted in him, and not found him ready to hear their prayers, and to supply their wants? If we look back to seasons of peculiar trial, shall we not find some manifestations of his mercy, sufficient to shew, that, if we have not received more from him, it has been owing to our own backwardness to ask, rather than to any unwillingness in him to give? — — —]

Nor can the whole universe produce one single instance wherein his promises have failed—

[We can make the same appeal to you, as Joshua, after sixty years’ experience, did to the Israelites. Bring forth every promise from the Bible; then search the annals of the world; and inquire of every creature in it, to find one single instance of God’s violating or forgetting a promise: and if one instance can be proved, we will consent that his word shall henceforth be called in question. Tell us then, To whom has he “been a wilderness [Note: Jeremiah 2:31.]?” What penitent, believing, and obedient soul hath he ever forsaken [Note: Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 49:14-15; Isaiah 54:7-10.]? He himself bids you “testify against him [Note: Micah 6:3.].” But we defy the whole world to impeach his veracity, or to contradict our assertion, when we say, that “all which he hath promised us is come to pass; not one thing hath failed thereof” — — — God may have delayed the accomplishment of his promises, or fulfilled them in a way that was not expected: but not one of them has ever failed.]


1. Those who have not considered the faithfulness of God—

[In spite of the general conviction of God’s truth that floats upon our minds, there is a proneness in us to indulge a thought, that his mercy will in some way or other interpose to prevent the execution of his threatenings. But the veracity of God is pledged as much for the accomplishment of his threatenings as of his promises: and of this he labours in the most earnest manner to persuade us [Note: Ezekiel 24:13-14.]. How many, alas! are now experiencing in hell what they would not believe when they were on earth! Let us learn to “tremble at God’s word.” Let us remember, that though the antediluvian scoffers said, as others now do, “Where is the promise of his coming [Note: 2 Peter 3:3-4.]?” he did come at last, though he bore with them a hundred and twenty years. And in like manner he will overwhelm us also at last with the deluge of his wrath, if we enter not into the ark before the door be shut against us — — — “We are going the way of all the earth,” whether we be old or young, rich or poor: and as death finds us, so shall we remain for ever. Stay not then till death overtake you; but join yourselves to the Lord, and to his people. “Come with us, and we will do you good; for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel [Note: Numbers 10:29.].”]

2. Those who are tempted to doubt his faithfulness—

[Let not delays lead you to harbour unbelieving fears. God sent not his Son till four thousand years after he had announced his purpose to the world: nor did he bring Israel out of Egypt till the time fixed in his promises was just expired. If a few more hours had elapsed, his promise to Abraham would have been broken: but God remembered the very day; and then inclined the rebellious Pharaoh to submit: yea, he disposed the Egyptians to “thrust his people out” from their land, on “the self-same day” that he had fixed four hundred and thirty years before [Note: Exodus 12:51.]. Tarry then the Lord’s leisure. Take the promises of God as your support, and “claim them as your heritage for ever [Note: Psalms 119:111.].” Be not hasty in concluding that God will not accomplish them [Note: 1 Samuel 27:1; Ezekiel 37:11.]; but take them with you to a throne of grace, and plead them as the saints of old were wont to do [Note: Genesis 32:12.]: then you shall find them all to be “yea, and amen, in Christ [Note: 2 Corinthians 1:20.].” “If things be marvellous in your eyes, do not imagine that they must therefore be so in the eyes of God [Note: Zechariah 8:6.];” for as “there is nothing too hard for him” to do, so there is nothing too great, or too good, for him to give to his believing people.]

3. Those who are relying on his faithfulness—

[It cannot but be a source of unspeakable comfort to observe, in how many passages the faithfulness of God is expressly pledged for the performance of his promises. Does he promise to forgive our sins [Note: 1 John 1:9.], to deliver us from temptation [Note: 1 Corinthians 10:13.], to further in us the great work of sanctification [Note: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.], and to preserve us to the end [Note: 2 Thessalonians 3:3.]? We are told in each, that he is “faithful to do it” for us. It is also delightful to reflect, that “his word is tried [Note: 2 Samuel 22:31.].” Solomon’s testimony was precisely that which is given in the text [Note: 1 Kings 8:56.]: and, the more we trust in God, the more evidence shall we have that “he keepeth covenant and mercy to a thousand generations [Note: Deuteronomy 7:9.].” But remember that his fidelity to you requires in you fidelity to him: it lays you under a tenfold obligation to “hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering [Note: Hebrews 10:23.].” See then that ye bear in mind the vows that are upon you, and that ye execute all that ye have undertaken in your baptismal covenant. Labour to be found “children that will not lie; so will He be” your faithful and almighty “Saviour [Note: Isaiah 63:8.].”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Of all the earth, i.e. of all flesh, or of all men; the way which all men go; I am about to die, as all men must, Hebrews 9:27. The same phrase is 1 Kings 2:2.

Ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, i.e. you know assuredly; your own experience puts it out of all question.

Not one thing hath failed.

Quest. How is this true, when so great a part of the promised land and people yet remain unconquered?

Answ. God promised them to destroy all their enemies, and to give them the whole land, not at once, but by degrees, by little and little, as is expressed Deuteronomy 7:22, and as was most convenient for them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.This day I am going — The expression this day is used here, as in Deuteronomy 9:1, to denote what is about to take place — shortly.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing has failed of all the good things which YHWH your God has spoken concerning you. All have come about for you. Not one thing has failed of them.”

This was not to say that he was about to die that day, but that he was aware of his age and aware that it could not long be delayed. Like all men he must die. (‘This day’ connects with ‘behold’).

He called them to admit that in their heart of hearts they knew that God had been faithful to them and had fulfilled His promises. Here they were, established in a good land and with a good future before them as long as they remained true to Him.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 23:14. I am going the way of all the earth — That is, of all flesh, or of all men; the way which all men go; I am about to die, as all men must. To die is to go a journey, a journey to our long home. And Joshua himself, though he could so ill be spared, cannot be exempted from this common lot. He takes notice of it, that they might look on these as his dying words, and regard them accordingly. Ye know — That is, you know assuredly: your own experience puts it out of all question.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

This day: shortly I must die. (Calmet) --- Metam properamus ad unam. (Horace) "We hasten to one common goal." (Haydock) --- The pagans called death, or the grave, the common place; and Plautus says, in the same sense, Quin prius me ad plures penetravi. (Calmet) "Before I penetrate the receptacle of the many." (Haydock) --- Mind. Hebrew, "you know in your hearts, and in all your souls;" you are convinced, you cannot be ignorant that God has fulfilled his engagements. (Calmet) --- The Septuagint read, "you shall know," &c. The experience of future ages will only establish this truth more fully. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

behold, this day I, &c. Punctuate "behold this day, I am, &c. "Joshua lived 8 years longer. Compare Deuteronomy 4:16.

souls. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

thing = word. Compare Joshua 2:21, Joshua 2:45.

the good things = the good words.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) Ye know . . . that not one thing hath failed.—These words, as well as the similar statement in Joshua 21:43-45, show that though the conquest of Canaan by Joshua was in one way a limited conquest, yet it fully satisfied the hopes of Israel for the time: i.e., that they understood the Divine promises in that sense in which we see them to have been actually fulfilled.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
I am going
1 Kings 2:2; Job 30:23; Ecclesiastes 9:10; 12:5; Hebrews 9:27
not one thing
21:43-45; Exodus 3:8; 23:27-30; Leviticus 26:3-13; Numbers 23:19; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 1 Samuel 3:19; 1 Kings 8:56; Luke 21:33
Reciprocal: Genesis 28:15 - until;  Genesis 48:21 - God;  Exodus 23:31 - deliver the;  Deuteronomy 26:9 - he hath;  Deuteronomy 31:14 - that thou must die;  Joshua 21:45 - General2 Samuel 7:21 - thy word's;  2 Samuel 19:37 - I may die;  1 Kings 16:34 - General1 Kings 22:38 - and the dogs;  Nehemiah 9:8 - hast performed;  Psalm 90:16 - and;  Isaiah 42:9 - the former;  Isaiah 48:3 - and I;  Jeremiah 32:42 - Like;  Jeremiah 39:16 - Behold;  Ezekiel 20:28 - when I;  Mark 13:31 - my;  2 Timothy 4:6 - and;  2 Peter 1:14 - shortly

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

14.And, behold, this day I am going, etc As it has been appointed unto all men once to die, (Hebrews 9:27) Joshua says that in regard to himself the common end of all is at hand, inasmuch as he, too, was born mortal. These expressions are evidently adapted to console the people, and prevent them from feeling immoderate grief at the bereavement when he should be taken from them. For there cannot be a doubt that his loss filled the people with the deepest regret, when they saw themselves reduced, as it were, to a mutilated trunk, by being deprived of their head. He therefore admonishes them, that since the race of life is ended by having reached the goal, they were not to ask that his condition should be different from that of the whole human race. Meanwhile he does not intimate that the form of dying is the same in all, because the believers of heavenly doctrine are distinguished from unbelievers by an incorruptible seed, not allowing them in like manner to perish, but only adverts to that which is common, namely, departure from the world after the course of life is ended. The substance of his whole address amounts to this, that as God had proved himself true by his favors and the fulfillment of his promises, so his threatening would not be empty or vain, and he would certainly avenge the profanation of his worship by their final destruction. (193)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:14". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.