Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 23:6

Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Company;   Fellowship;   Government;   Obedience;   Perfection;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible, the;   Courage;   Courage-Fear;   Keep;   Law;   The Topic Concordance - Bowing;   Courage;   Idolatry;   Marriage;   Obedience;   Service;   Speech/communication;   Strength;   Turning;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Alliance and Society with the Enemies of God;  
Dictionaries:
Fausset Bible Dictionary - Joshua;   Pentateuch;   Holman Bible Dictionary - God;   Joshua, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Torah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do, etc. - It requires no small courage to keep a sound creed in the midst of scoffers, and not less to maintain a godly practice among the profane and profligate.

That is written in the book - By the word of God alone his followers are bound. Nothing is to be received as an article of faith which God has not spoken.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-23.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Joshua 23:6

Be ye therefore very courageous.

On Christian courage

In the first place, in your relation with your fellow-creatures, in your intercourse with the world, it requires much courage and resolution to be sturdily upright and just. When your interest, your feelings, your wants, nay, even your future independence, are on one side, and the plain dictates of duty and religion on the other, then it is that you must “be very courageous”; and not turn aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left. Here is the trial: to prefer the praise of God and the approval of the conscience, with loss, with disgrace or derision, and even poverty for life, to the mean and dishonest acquirement of every worldly good. Courage is requisite even in doing good. Our good actions may cost us much trouble and even expense, much opposition, much vexation, and much misrepresentation; for our good may not only be evil spoken of, but it may be to ourselves a positive evil in a worldly and temporal point of view. On some occasions we may have to encounter the resistance of the indolent and the selfish; the thwarting malignity of envy, that will never either co-operate or commend; the sneers of the niggardly, who revenge an extorted charity by slandering the man that shamed them to it; and the unkind constructions of the worldly, who never attribute disinterested motives to a prominence in well-doing. On other occasions, we may be induced to benefit others, even against their will; to succour the worthless and ungrateful; to weary ourselves in long, and perhaps for the time fruitless, attempts to soften the obstinate, persuade the wilful, reform the profligate. In all these cases we want also a bold and patient decision of character. Again, it requires courage to forgive injuries and endure wrongs, as well as, on the other hand, to ask for forgiveness and to make reparation. Yet the Christian must do both when necessary. Courage is required, again, in maintaining truth and sincerity. I do not mean by this merely avoiding flagrant falsehood and equivocation; but acquiring habits of open and frank avowal of our minds, except where we may give needless pain or offence. No deference to rank or circumstances, no indolent aversion to differ from others, no ill-timed timidity, or desire to ingratiate, must prevent our bold and determined reprobation of what is decidedly wrong, however glossed by fine language or supported by sophistry and cunning. Courage is very necessary also in setting a good example. We are “neither to love the praise of men more than the praise of God,” nor to “follow a multitude to do evil.” The real Christian may want resolution to maintain a Christian example; he may shrink from singularity; he may fear a laugh, an obnoxious name, or misrepresentation; he may think it too precise and severe to protest and strive against received customs and opinions, though plainly at variance with the Word of God; or, lastly, he may distrust his own steadfastness and perseverance. Yet all he wants is courage--courage, not to go about setting the whole world right, not to put on a garb of austerity and intolerance that does not belong to him or his religion; not to declare war against practices and amusements which sweeten the busy occupations of life and are decidedly innocent; but to be “steadfast and immovable” in the plain, straightforward course of Christian duties of every kind. Again, courage is most requisite in striving against all the inward corruption of our fallen nature. In the first place, the Christian has to contend with wicked thoughts and tendencies, or inclinations. When allowed to grow to maturity they become headstrong passions, lusts, and appetites, whose power is generally in proportion to the time they have been indulged. At that fearful period, the courage required is, as it were, that of plucking out an eye, or cutting off a limb! for habit has by that time made the indulgence quite necessary to the sinner’s happiness, and even comfortable existence. Courage is again necessary, under this head, in getting the better of our natural selfishness. Pride and vanity and pretension are also vices that need no common courage and resolution to master them. They are, however, most unchristian tempers, and must be subdued. But, lastly, it is in perfecting holiness in the heart--by purity, vigilance, discipline, and perseverance-that the Christian warrior has most need of courage and resolution. His enemies are so strong and numerous, and the fort he holds so easily surprised and taken, that he has need of “the whole armour of God,” that he may “have victory, and triumph against the devil, the world, and the flesh.” (A. B. Evans, D. D.)

To keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses.--

The supreme excellence of Holy Scripture

I. The book commended: “All that is written in the book of the law of Moses.”

1. Observe it was to the written law alone that Joshua directed them.

2. From that day to this the will of God has been made known to us in writing.

3. The evidence of the Divine authority of the New Testament is of the same description.

4. Oh, let the written Word of God, infallible truth, be elevated far, far above the writings of men, however excellent.

II. The exhortation respecting it: “Be ye therefore very courageous,” &c.

1. “Keep it”--treasure it up in your hearts; lodge it in your memories; inscribe it on the tablet of your mind.

2. “Do it.” We are not to keep the Holy Scripture as a curiosity in a cabinet; not to hide or bury it, but to practise it. If the Scriptures do not exercise a practical influence over us, they will only increase our condemnation.

3. Observe the universality of the injunction, “All that is written in the book.” There is to be no reservation nor exception--no selection of favourite doctrines or of agreeable duties, but “all that is written” is to be read, believed, obeyed I

4. There must be no deviation from the narrow way--“that ye turn not aside therefrom, to the right hand or to the left.” This is the chart--be careful to steer by it! This is your map, your guide, your lamp; beware of the smallest deviation! (Isaiah 30:21).

5. “Be ye Very courageous to keep and to do all this!” He had said in the previous verse that God would drive out their enemies before them; and now he says, “Be ye very courageous”--but not to fight with sword and spear, but with spiritual weapons--moral courage: be bold for God--much courage is needed: for want of it Peter denied his Lord. “Be not ashamed of Christ”--“confess Him before men.”

III. The consequences of obedience or disobedience to this exhortation may be learned from scripture and experience. Wherever God’s written Word was known and read and honoured, religion has flourished; and where that Word has been neglected, religion has decayed. (Dean Close.)

Turn . . . not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left.--

Obedience

1. What motive has the Christian to obedience? Looking to be saved only through the righteousness of another, what is there to induce him to walk righteously before God Himself?

2. But what kind of obedience is necessary, or rather what do we learn from our text, will obedience require or call for?

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Joshua 23:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/joshua-23.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses,.... To observe which required spiritual strength, fortitude of mind, a holy courage, a firm and fixed resolution, and particularly to destroy the Canaanites required in that book, and to abstain from all communion and fellowship with them:

that ye turn not aside therefrom, to the right hand or the left; See Gill on Joshua 1:7.

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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.
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 23:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-23.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

Very courageous — For it will require great courage and resolution to execute all the commands of Moses, and particularly, that of expelling and destroying the residue of the Canaanites.

The right hand or the left — That is, in one kind or other, by adding to the law, or diminishing from it.

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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 23:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-23.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom [to] the right hand or [to] the left;

Ver. 6. Be ye therefore very courageous.] Get good store of spiritual mettle, which is got by prayer, and maketh a man invincible. Of cowards they were wont to say in Rome, that there was nothing Roman in them: of many amongst us it may be said, There is nothing Christian in them.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-23.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Be ye therefore very courageous; for it will require great courage and resolution to execute all the commands of Moses, and particularly that of expelling and destroying the residue of the Canaanites.

To the right hand or to the left, i.e. in one kind or other, by adding to the law, or diminishing from it, as Moses speaks.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". 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

6.Very courageous — This is the same exhortation that God gave to Joshua at the death of Moses. See Joshua 1:7, notes.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-23.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that you turn not aside from it, to the right hand or to the left.”

Here was the condition, obedience to the law of Moses. It was to be strictly followed. They must be strong and have courage so that they do not deviate from it one way or another (see Joshua 1:7 and Deuteronomy 1:6-8. Joshua was steeped in Moses’ teaching in Deuteronomy).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-23.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 23:6. Be ye therefore very courageous — For it would require great courage and resolution to execute all the commands of Moses, and particularly that of expelling and destroying the residue of the Canaanites. The right hand or the left — That is, in one kind or other, by adding to the law, or diminishing from it. Which was the condition upon which God promised to continue them in the possession of the land. By this it is evident that the book of the law of Moses was extant in those days, and that the people read it.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-23.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the Book of the Law. See note on Exodus 17:14, and App-47.

that ye turn not. Compare Deuteronomy 5:32; Deuteronomy 28:14.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-23.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses.—As Joshua was the servant of the law himself, so must his successors be. No higher position was attainable than this. It has been the same with the successors of the greater Joshua. With them, and with those who follow them, nothing can ever supersede the authority of the written word.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
very
1:7-9; Jeremiah 9:3; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:10-19; Hebrews 12:4; Revelation 21:8
that ye
Deuteronomy 5:32; 12:32; 17:20; 28:14; Proverbs 4:26,27
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 17:11 - to the right;  1 Samuel 12:20 - turn not;  2 Samuel 2:19 - turned;  2 Chronicles 34:2 - declined;  Psalm 101:3 - them;  Isaiah 30:21 - when ye turn to the right

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-23.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.Be you therefore very courageous, etc He now shows them the mode of conquering, — not to indulge gross security, as too often happens, as a substitute for genuine confidence. He affirms that God will be propitious to them, and promises that whatever they attempt will turn out prosperously, provided they are steadfast in obeying the Law. However confidently hypocrites may contemn and deride God, they would wish, however, to have him astricted to them; nay, they often, with no small pomposity, boast of his promises. But true faith, while it reclines upon God, keeps those who possess it in his fear. In short, those who would find God must seek him sincerely, and if we desire to be regarded by him, we must beware of turning our backs upon him. The expression, Be you very courageous, as has elsewhere been said, denotes serious study, because in the great weakness of our nature no man will set about the thorough observance of the Law, if he does not exert himself above his strength. Attention ought also to be paid to the definition of true obedience which is here repeated from Moses, (Deuteronomy 5:32) and said to consist in not turning either to the right hand or the left.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-23.html. 1840-57.