Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 23:2

that Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and their heads and their judges and their officers, and said to them, "I am old, advanced in years.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Government;   Thompson Chain Reference - Elders;   Leaders;   Religious;   The Topic Concordance - Marriage;  
Dictionaries:
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 - Writing;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Elder;   Judges, Book of;   Police Laws;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Joshua called for all Israel - There are four degrees of civil distinction mentioned here:

  1. זקנים zekenim, the elders or senate, the Princes of the tribes.
  • ראשים rashim or rashey aboth, the Chiefs or Heads of families.
  • שפטים shophetim, the Judges who interpreted and decided according to the law.
  • שטרים shoterim, the Officers, serjeants, etc., who executed the decisions of the judges.
  • Whether this assembly was held at Timnath-serah, where Joshua lived, or at Shiloh, where the ark was, or at Shechem, as in Joshua 24:1, we cannot tell. Some think that the meaning here, and that mentioned in Joshua 24:1, were the same, and if so, Shechem was the place of assembling; but it is more likely that the two chapters treat of two distinct assemblies, whether held at the same place or not.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-23.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    All Israel, and for their elders - Omit “and,” which is not in the Hebrew. The meaning is that Joshua summoned to him all Israel as represented by its elders, etc. Deuteronomy 1:15. This gathering probably took place at the tabernacle at Shiloh.

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-23.html. 1870.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And Joshua called for all Israel,.... Summoned them together, whether at Timnathserah, his own city, he being old and infirm, and not able to go elsewhere; or whether at Shechem, where it is plain they were afterwards convened, Joshua 24:1, or whether rather at Shiloh, where the tabernacle was, is not certain; and by "all Israel" cannot be meant the whole body of the people, unless it can be thought to be at one of the feasts, when all the males in Israel appeared before the Lord; though this seems to be not a stated convocation, but occasionally made, and to be understood of the representatives of the people called together, as explained in the following clause:

    and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; the first and is supplied, and another word or words may be supplied, as "even", or "that is", or the like, and so explanative of all Israel, namely, "their elders", both in age and office, especially the latter, the seventy elders, or who composed what in later times was called the great sanhedrim; and the "heads" of their tribes, the chief princes of every tribe; and their "judges" in their several cities, who heard and tried causes, and administered justice and judgment to the people; and their "officers", who attended on them to execute the judgment they pronounced:

    and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age; which he observes as a reason of his calling them together to give them some advice and instructions before his death, and in order to command greater reverence of him, and respect to him, and to excite attention to what he had to say to them.

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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 23:2". "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 called for all Israel — The clause which follows seems to restrict this general expression as applicable only to the officers and representatives of the people. The place of assembly was most probably Shiloh. The occasion of convening it was the extreme age and approaching death of the venerable leader; and the purport of this solemn address was to animate the chosen people and their posterity to a faithful and unswerving continuance in the faith and worship of the God of Israel.

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    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-23.html. 1871-8.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    This preface to his discourse, is just what it should be, to call up their attention. I said (says Elihu) days should speak, and multitude of years teach wisdom. Job 32:7. Who suitable to speak of God's love, as the man who hath long experienced it!

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-23.html. 1828.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

    Joshua called — Either to his own city, or rather to Shiloh, the usual place of such assemblies, where his words being uttered before the Lord, were likely to have the more effect upon them.

    All Israel — Not all the people in their own persons, but in their representatives, by their elders, heads, judges and officers. Probably he took the opportunity, of one of the three great feasts. You will not have me long to preach to you; therefore observe what I say, and lay it up for the time to come.

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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-23.html. 1765.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Joshua 23:2 And Joshua called for all Israel, [and] for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old [and] stricken in age:

    Ver. 2. I am old and stricken in age.] Audite senem iuvenes, quem iuvenem senes audierunt, said old Augustus to his mutineers, and settled them.

    Tanta fuit quondam capitis reverentia cani,

    Inque sou precio ruga senilis erat. ”

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    Bibliographical Information
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-23.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Ver. 2. Joshua called for all Israel, &c.— That is, he convoked them by their chief men, whose different quality is here specified: the elders, they who composed the great council of the nation, afterwards called the Sanhedrin; the heads of tribes and families; the judges, or city magistrates; and the officers, who executed the sentences pronounced by those magistrates. And, without doubt, all such Israelites as were desirous of assisting at this respectable assembly of the representatives of the nation, had liberty so to do.

    And said unto them, I am old, &c.— "Being now grown old amongst you, at the head of your armies, and the helm of the state; nothing remains for me, before my death, but to set before your view, all that the Lord hath done for you, and what you ought to do for him. Receive then this advice of an old man, which his age and experience, far more than his rank, should render dear and valuable to you."

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". 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 called; either to his own city, or rather to Shiloh, the usual place of such assemblies, where his words being uttered before the Lord, were likely to have the more effect upon them.

    For all Israel; not all the people in their own persons, who could not either come thither, or hear him there; but in their representatives, by their elders, heads, judges, and officers, which are here added for the restriction and explication of that general expression. And for, or, even for, &c.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". 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

    2.And for their elders — The and is not in the Hebrew. It should be for the elders, the representatives of Israel. This restriction is sometimes not expressed but implied. Hence Bishop Colenso’s numerical impossibilities exist nowhere but in his own imagination. All Israel could not stand before the narrow front of the tabernacle, nor could they listen to the feeble words of an infirm old man in any other way than representatively. Probably this assembly was at Timnath-serah, the residence of Joshua; possibly at Shiloh. We have no data for determining the place. As death approaches, the national founder feels a special solicitude for his people. The farewell words of such men have great weight with succeeding generations. The Farewell Address of George Washington to the American people has exerted an incalculable influence upon the nation.

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-23.html. 1874-1909.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    called. Probably at Shiloh.

    and. Note the Figure of speech Palysyndeton. App-6.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "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 Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:

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

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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "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

    (2) Joshua called for all Israel (i.e., first). . . for their elders . . . heads . . . judges, and . . . officers.—The first “and” in the English Version of this verse should be omitted.

    And said unto them . . .—The address which follows should be contrasted with that in Joshua 24. The first is suited to men of education, authority, and position in Israel, and concerns the duty of the rulers; the second contains one plain lesson for all the people, and makes no demand upon their intellect, nor does it require any position of influence or authority to carry out the instructions which it gives.

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-23.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:
    all Israel
    24:1; Deuteronomy 31:28; 1 Chronicles 28:1; Acts 20:17-35
    and for their elders
    Or, "even for their elders," etc.; for it is probably that Joshua gave the following charge only to the elders, judges, etc., to communicate to the people.
    Reciprocal: Numbers 25:4 - all the heads;  Joshua 8:33 - all Israel;  Joshua 13:1 - Joshua;  1 Kings 1:1 - and stricken in years;  1 Kings 8:1 - assembled;  1 Chronicles 23:2 - he gathered

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    Bibliographical Information
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 23:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-23.html.