Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 23:7

so that you will not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Company;   Fellowship;   Obedience;   Thompson Chain Reference - Association-Separation;   Israel;   Separation;   Steadfastness;   Steadfastness-Instability;   The Topic Concordance - Bowing;   Idolatry;   Marriage;   Service;   Speech/communication;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Alliance and Society with the Enemies of God;   Idolatry;   Oaths;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Idol, Idolatry;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Bowing;   Heathen;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Oath;   Holman Bible Dictionary - God;   Joshua, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Attitudes;   Gods;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Names of God;   Worship, Idol-;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Come not among these nations - Have no civil or social contracts with them, (see Joshua 23:12;), as these will infallibly lead to spiritual affinities, in consequence of which ye will make honorable mention of the name of their gods, swear by them as the judges of your motives and actions, serve them in their abominable rites, and bow yourselves unto them as your creators and preservers; thus giving the whole worship of God to idols: and all this will follow from simply coming among them. He who walks in the counsel of the ungodly will soon stand in the way of sinners, and shortly sit in the seat of the scornful. Nemo repente fuit turpissimus. "No man rises to the highest stages of iniquity but by degrees." Nero himself, under the instructions of Seneca, was a promising youth.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-23.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

That ye come not among these nations, those that remain among you,.... That remained unsubdued, or that were suffered to dwell among them, being tributaries to them; with these they were not to converse freely and familiarly, nor to carry on trade and commerce with them, nor enter into any alliances or marriages with them, and not even attend any of their feasts, and especially their idolatrous ones:

neither make mention of the name of their gods; not in common conversation, and still less in any religious matters; never with any reverence of them, or in any respectable manner; but always with indignation and contempt, calling them dunghill gods, and the like, as they often are in Scripture:

nor cause to swear by them; neither swear by them themselves, nor cause others to swear by them, as Abarbinel; or a man his neighbour, as Kimchi; no, not a Gentile, as Ben Melech; so it is said in the MisnahF16Sanhedrin, c. 7. sect. 6. ,"he that vows in the name of an idol, and confirms in his name, (which Bartenora interprets, swears by his name,) transgresses a negative precept.'MaimonidesF17Hilchot & Obedeth Cochabim, c. 5. sect. 10. also says,"he that vows in the name of an idol, and swears by it, is to be beaten--he that swears by it himself, or causes a Gentile to swear by it; for it is forbidden to cause a Gentile to swear by his fear (or idol), and even to cause him to make mention of it, though not in the way of an oath, it is forbidden:"

neither serve them; by offering any sacrifice or incense to them, or by praying to them, or offering them praises on any account, or by performing any religious service in any instance or form whatever:

nor bow yourselves unto them; give them any adoration or worship, external or internal.

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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 23:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-23.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

That ye come not among these nations, these that c remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, d nor cause to swear [by them], neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:

(c) And not yet subdued.

(d) Let not the judges admit an oath which any shall swear by their idols.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-23.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:

Come not — That is, avoid all familiar converse and contracts, but especially marriages with them.

Name their gods — To wit, unnecessarily and familiarly, lest the mention of them breed discourse about them, and so by degrees bring to the approbation and worship of them.

Nor cause — Nor require nor compel the Gentiles to swear by them, as they used to do; especially in leagues and contracts. It is pity, that among Christians, the name of the Heathen God's are so commonly used, especially in poems. Let those names which have been set up in rivalship with God, be forever loathed and lost.

Nor bow — Neither give them any inward reverence, or outward adoration. Here is an observable gradation, whereby he shews what notable progress sin usually makes, and what need there is to look to the beginnings of it, forasmuch as a civil and common conversation with their persons was likely to bring them, and indeed did actually bring them, by insensible steps, to the worship of their gods. So it is no wonder, if some things not simply and in themselves evil, be forbidden by God, as here the naming of their gods is, because they are occasions and introductions to evil.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-23.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 23:7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear [by them], neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:

Ver. 7. That ye come not among these nations.] For if ye once give way to come amongst them and converse with them, you will easily and quickly be drawn to do worse; even all that is here mentioned, to make honourable mention of their gods, to swear by them, to serve them, &c. Sin is wondrous catching, and contagious, and Nemo repente fuit turpissimus.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-23.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Come not among these nations, i.e. avoid all familiar converse and contracts, but especially marriages, with them, as it is explained, Joshua 23:12, and as the Hebrew word intimates, being oft used of coming or going in to a woman.

Neither make mention of the name of their gods, to wit, unnecessarily and familiarly, lest the mention of them breed discourse about them, and so by degrees bring a man to the approbation and worship of them. Compare Exodus 23:13 Deuteronomy 12:3 Psalms 16:4 Ephesians 5:3.

Nor cause to swear by them; nor require nor compel the Gentiles to swear by them, as they used to do; especially in leagues and contracts, which therefore the Israelites are here implicitly forbidden to make with them.

Neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them; neither give them any inward reverence, or outward adoration. Here is an observable gradation, whereby he shows what notable progress sin usually makes, and what reason there is to look to the beginnings of it, forasmuch as a civil and common conversation with their persons was likely to bring them, and indeed did actually bring them, by insensible steps, to the worship of their gods. So it is no wonder if some things not simply and in themselves evil be forbidden by God, as here the naming of their gods is, because they are occasions and introductions to evil.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". 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

7.Neither make mention — This not only forbids the admiring mention of the names of the pagan gods, but, as we believe, it commands the literal abstinence from uttering their names, as defiling the tongue. As the name of Jehovah was in Jewish estimation too holy to be pronounced, so the names of the Canaanite gods were too vile.

Nor cause to swear by them — Since swearing by them implied their existence, this also was forbidden.

[He who swears and he who administers an oath in the name of a false god virtually recognize and worship the false deity. Thus may a Christian state prostitute itself to idolatry, superstition, and even utter irreligion, by allowing in its courts of justice a careless, irreverent, or superstitious use of the oath. Better dispense with the civil oath entirely than prostitute the State to either idolatry, superstition, or atheism.] Neither serve, by external worship, nor bow yourselves, that is, enthrone them over yourselves as authorities to be revered in your hearts. Here is a fourfold prohibition of idolatry, which was rendered necessary by the uncultivated state of the Hebrews, by the strong influence of all the surrounding nations, and especially by that possessed by the idol-worshippers within their own borders whom they had failed to drive out.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-23.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

That you come not among these nations, those who remain among you, nor make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, nor serve them, nor bow yourselves down to them.”

This was the negative side. They must avoid contact and fraternisation with these nations, they must totally reject them and have nothing to do with their gods (Deuteronomy 4:15; Deuteronomy 4:19), neither naming them (Exodus 23:13), nor swearing by them, nor bowing down to them (Deuteronomy 5:9). It was here that they would later fail, for they would allow the Canaanites to remain, then they would be tempted by what they were told these gods could do for them. And when things went wrong, and rain was sparse, and YHWH seemed far away, it would be easy to make use of local knowledge, and of the gods of the land, looking to them to do for them what YHWH seemed to have failed to do.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "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 23:7. That ye come not among those nations — That ye avoid all familiar converse and contracts, but especially marriage, with them. Neither mention the name of their gods — To wit, unnecessarily and familiarly, lest the mention of them should lead to discourse about them, and so by degrees bring them to the approbation and worship of them. Nor cause to swear by them — Not to require or even admit a Gentile to swear by his god, as was usual, especially in leagues and contracts; for this would have been to suppose that these imaginary deities were conscious of men’s thoughts, and had power to punish those who were guilty of perjury. And the forbidding this was also to secure them against making leagues and covenants with the Gentiles, which they would not have considered as binding without an oath. It is to be lamented that, among Christians, the names of the heathen gods are so commonly used, especially in poems. Let those names, which have been set up in rivalship with God, be for ever loathed and lost. Nor bow — Neither give them any inward reverence, nor outward adoration. Here is an observable gradation, whereby he shows the progress which sin usually makes, and what need there is to look to the beginnings of it; forasmuch as a civil and common conversation with their persons was likely to bring them, and indeed did actually bring them, by insensible steps, to the worship of their gods. It is no wonder, therefore, if some things, not simply and in themselves evil, be forbidden by God, as here the naming of false gods is, because they are occasions and introductions to evil.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-23.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Come in, an expression which may denote any familiarity, or marriage. (Menochius) --- Hebrew is in the form of a prohibition, "Come not among (have no connections with) these nations....Neither mention their gods, nor swear (or cause to swear by them.") The psalmist (Psalm xv. 4,) says, speaking either of idols, (Haydock) or of sinners, Nor will I be mindful of their names by my lips. Osee (ii. 16,) says, She shall call me no more Baali, ("my lord," a term applied by wives to their husbands) on account of its reminding one of the idol Baal. Hence David calls Jerobaal, or Gedeon, Jeroboschot, 2 Kings xi. 21. St. Paul would not have Christians so much as to name the sins of impurity, Ephesians v. 3. The more religious Jews will not even mention an idol, or an unclean animal; and they beg pardon before they speak of a heretic. (Drusius) --- Some understand that the worship of idols is meant by naming them, as those who invoke the name of Jesus Christ, were his disciples, Acts ix. 14., 1 Timothy ii. 19., and Exodus xx. 24. To swear by idols is always sinful, (Exodus xxiii. 13,) while it is an act of religion to swear on proper occasions, by the name of God. Theophrastus (ap. Josephus, contra Apion i.) observes, that the laws of the Tyrians prohibit the using of foreign oaths, such as that of the Corban, which was peculiar to the Jews. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-23.html. 1859.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) Come not among these nations—i.e., do not mix with them; literally, do not go in unto them. (See on Joshua 13:2-7, for the rules to be observed in dealing with the nations.) It must always be remembered that, in proposing the extermination of the seven nations, Jehovah reserved to Himself the ordering of the details of the conquest and extermination. When the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee, thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them.” He did not propose to deliver them all to Israel at once, for reasons set forth in Judges 2, 3. Meantime, it was a trial of Israel’s faith and obedience to live among idolaters without making any peace with them, or lending any countenance to their idolatry.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:
That ye come
Have no civil or social contacts with them, as these will infallibly lead to spiritual affinities, in consequence of which, ye will make honourable "mention of the name of their gods," "swear by them" "and serve" them in their abominable rites; and "bow yourselves unto them," as your creators and preservers. All this will follow by simply coming among them. He who walks in the counsel of the ungodly, will soon stand in the way of sinners, and sit in the seat of scorners.
12; Exodus 23:33; Deuteronomy 7:2,3; Proverbs 4:14; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Ephesians 5:11
neither
Exodus 23:13; Numbers 32:38; Psalms 16:4; Hosea 2:17
to swear
Jeremiah 5:7; Zephaniah 1:5
Reciprocal: Genesis 35:2 - strange;  Exodus 20:5 - bow down;  Numbers 25:2 - bowed;  Numbers 33:52 - General2 Kings 17:35 - charged them;  Isaiah 26:13 - by thee;  Jeremiah 12:16 - as they;  Zechariah 13:2 - I will cut

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-23.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

7.That you come not among these nations, etc He distinctly admonishes them that it will be impossible rightly to discharge their duty if they be not carefully on their guard against all sources of corruption. This it was very necessary to enforce upon them. For they were surrounded on all sides by the snares of Satan, and we know how great their proneness to superstition was, or rather how headlong their eagerness for it. First, then, he warns them that intimate intercourse with the nations may involve them in fellowship in crime; for the term mingling used in this passage is equivalent to what is termed by St. Paul, being yoked. (2 Corinthians 6:14) In short, he first removes the incitements or allurements to idolatry, and then declares his detestation of idolatry itself. It is to be observed, however, that he does not expressly mention either bending of the knee, or sacrifices, or other rites, but designates all perverse modes of worship by the terms naming them and swearing by them. Whence we infer that God is defrauded of his honor when ever any particle, however small, of all the things which he claims for himself is transferred to idols. He accordingly concludes that they are to adhere to God alone; in other words, they are to be bound to him out and out.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 23:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-23.html. 1840-57.