Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 24:25

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Backsliders;   Covenant;   Decision;   Government;   Pillar;   Shechem;   Stones;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Shechem;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Joshua, book of;   Shechem;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Pillars;   Shechem (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book(s);   Covenant;   Ebal;   Joshua;   Joshua, the Book of;   Temple of Jerusalem;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Covenant;   Jacob;   Shechem;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Shechem ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Shiloh;   Smith Bible Dictionary - She'chem;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Beyond;   Joshua, Book of;   Ordinance;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Covenant;   Shechem;   Teraphim;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Joshua made a covenant - Literally, Joshua cut the covenant, alluding to the sacrifice offered on the occasion.

And set then a statute and an ordinance - He made a solemn and public act of the whole, which was signed and witnessed by himself and the people, in the presence of Jehovah; and having done so, he wrote the words of the covenant in the book of the law of God, probably in some part of the skin constituting the great roll, on which the laws of God were written, and of which there were some blank columns to spare. Having done this, he took a great stone and set it up under an oak - that this might be עד ed or witness that, at such a time and place, this covenant was made, the terms of which might be found written in the book of the law, which was laid up beside the ark. See Deuteronomy 31:26.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-24.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Made a covenant with the people - i. e. he solemnly ratified and renewed the covenant of Sinai, as Moses had done before him Deuteronomy 29:1. As no new or different covenant was made, no sacrifices were necessary.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-24.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Joshua 24:25

Joshua made a covenant.

The covenant of Joshua

“That day” was a very notable day in the annals of the children of Israel; its transactions might well be recorded in the volume of the book and engraven on the monumental stone. All the favours which God had promised to their fathers while yet they languished in bondage in Egypt had been now fulfilled; the promised land was theirs. God had given them rest in all their borders. In the meantime their captain, who had so often led them to victory, waxed helpless and old; he felt that there gathered around him the mists and crept over him the shadow of the coming change. He summoned the tribes of Israel, therefore, to meet him in Shechem; and they muster largely, for they feel it to be a great day, and suspect they are about to listen to their leader’s parting charge. He recounts God’s providential dealings with them, and seeks by the memory of the past to inspire their vows of fidelity and allegiance. The warrior heart is still in the old man eloquent, but he wars not now against advancing hosts, but against rebellious minds. There is yet fire in his battle-cry, but it summons to self-conquest. There is glory yet upon his brow, but it is not the lustre of his former achievements, but the radiance of the nearing heaven already gathering to crown its hero. He has often led the people to victory; he will confirm them in piety now, that he may but briefly precede them into the recompense of the reward. He knew full well that their only danger sprang from themselves, that there was no danger to them, if they were but obedient and faithful, from the shock even of an embattled world; and with earnest love to God, and with deep knowledge of the human heart, he delivers his final and his impressive appeal. He warns them to count the cost, in order that there may be a more solemn and decided consecration of themselves to God. Then, receiving their reiterated vows, he makes a covenant with them, and stamps it with a sacramental and with an authoritative value, and sets it up for a statute and for an ordinance in Shechem. This seems to have been the last public act of his life, and then, weary for the rest of which Canaan was but the significant shadow, he went serenely into heaven. First, as to the nature of this covenant. I need not remind you that the Israelites were the chosen people of God--chosen to be the recipients of His bounty--chosen to be the witnesses of His unity--chosen to enter solemn protests against the abominable idolatries of the nations around. For the fulfilment of these ends Jehovah had interposed for His Israel in many signal deliverances and blessings. They were not a people, and tie had given them a great name; lie had broken for them the yoke of the oppressor; He had made them heir to an inheritance which they knew not, neither did their fathers know; He made the ocean a pavement for them, the heavens a storehouse, and the rock a fountain of waters; He had successively overthrown all their enemies in their sight, and by many a convincing illustration had stamped the seal of faithfulness upon every promise He had made. And yet they had very frequently rebelled. When trials came they turned recreant from faith and hope; when they were summoned to hazardous duty they shrank, like cowards, from its discharge; and they even formed unholy leagues with the people whom they were sent to overthrow, and adopted their idolatries with an enthusiasm the more reckless because of its perversion from a purer faith and worship. There was need, therefore, that they should be reminded of their duty, and that they should be urged, by all the solemnity of statute and of ordinance, to give themselves afresh unto God. Are not their circumstances yours? The burden of the summons which Joshua made unto the people was that they should serve the Lord. This was also the essence of the covenant, that they should serve the Lord. And, allowing for the differences of mission and local circumstances, there is an identity in the covenant which I want to make with you to-day. I just mention two points. In the first place, then, Joshua could not have served the Lord if he had neglected the Divinely-appointed institution of sacrifice. Although the Mosaic and the Christian economy differ in many things, they are alike in this, that the foundation of each of them is a recognition of sin. The only other part of the covenant which it is necessary for me to bring before you is that Joshua could not have served the Lord, nor any Israelite in the camp, if he had not strictly obeyed the ten commandments of the law. The great principles of morality are the same in every age, and these precepts of the former time, with a new spirit put into them by the exposition of Jesus on the mount, are binding on our consciences to-day. In entire union with Christ I have obtained power to obey--that is the first thing. We cannot obey until we have got a new heart put into us; we have no strength in human nature’s old heart to obey the commandments of God; but having by our union with Christ obtained power to obey, that obedience should be sincerely and heartily rendered. A sincere seeker after the will of God will not choose among the commandments, will not obey them just so far as they chime in with corrupt desire and contravene no darling and yet vicious inclination of the soul; he will seek to obey them in the universality of their behests, in the breadth and grandeur of their deep design. I do not think it necessary to go further. If these points of the covenant are granted me, that is all I ask. Come to Christ, and keep His law, and you will be Christians fit for earth, and Christians fit for heaven. I cannot at large mention the arguments by which this covenant was commended. I rather, therefore, prefer to confine my thoughts to the faculty to which the minister makes his appeal. Joshua evidently regarded every man among the Israelites around him as invested with the royal attribute of personal freedom. Beneath each kindling eye and swarthy brow he sees an active reason and a manly soul. He speaks not to those who are of necessity impelled--who are circumscribed by a despotism of surroundings--from whose shackles there is no liberation; he speaks to men, to freemen, to freemen with power to choose the right--with power to prefer the wrong: “Choose you this day.” You can choose your service. Oh! I would remind you of the many blessings which God has heaped upon you from the beginning--how your life has sparkled in the light of His loving-kindness. It was He who kindled for you all the endearments of affection and lit up all the joyfulness of home; it was He that warded off peril and environed you with the restraints that have preserved you from the grosser vices and inspired you with the impulse of every good desire. His Son died to redeem you, and fives to intercede that the benefits of His redemption may be yours. His Spirit fans the faint impression and kindles the holy desire, and takes of the precious things of Christ--those precious, those holy motives, and inspiring hopes--and shows them unto you. There is not a temporal mercy, there is not an intellectual enjoyment, there is not a spiritual mercy, for which you are not indebted to Him. And even now He comes, not forcing you to love Him, but inviting, entreating, imploring, adjuring, “My son, My daughter, give Me thy heart.” (W. M. Punshon, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Joshua 24:25". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/joshua-24.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day,.... Proposing to them what was most eligible, and their duty to do, and they agreeing to it, this formally constituted a covenant, of which they selves were both parties and witnesses:

and set statute and an ordinance in Shechem; either made this covenant to have the nature of a statute and ordinance binding upon them, or repeated and renewed the laws of Moses, both moral and ceremonial, which had been delivered at Mount Sinai, and now, upon this repetition in Shechem, might be called a statute and ordinance there.

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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
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-24.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

So Joshua l made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

(l) By joining God and the people together: also he repeated the promises and threatenings out of the Law.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-24.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

It is worthy observation, that twice in the life, both of Moses and of Joshua, the renewal of this covenant was made. See Ex 24; De 29 and Jos 8 and now, Reader, it is always profitable, though not to lay again the foundation from dead works, yet to look over the past solemn transactions between God and the soul.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-24.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

A statute — He set or established that covenant with them, that is, the people, for a statute or an ordinance, to bind themselves and their posterity unto God for ever.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-24.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Ver. 25. And set there a statute and an ordinance.] Capita faederis ex Deuteronomio praelegit, saith one; he read them the Articles of the Covenant out of Deuteronomy.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-24.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 25. So Joshua made a covenant with the people, &c.— The Israelites having a third time repeated that they were resolved only to serve the Lord, and being thereby bound more strictly than ever to obey him, Joshua, in order to bind, in the most indissoluble manner, those ties whereon their happiness depended, proposes to them a solemn renewal of the covenant which they had made first by the ministry of Moses, and afterwards by his own; in consequence of which, the Israelites rigorously swore to worship only the Lord, and to obey only his laws; while on his part, by the mouth of Joshua, God promises to continue the constant protector and benefactor of their nation. Most interpreters are of opinion, from the latter clause, that Joshua read to the Israelites the conditions and laws of the covenant, to which they assented. But it may also signify, that he gave to whatever had been concluded upon, all the force of a perpetual law, and an irrevocable ordinance, which was afterwards called the covenant of Shechem; inasmuch as there the Israelites had renewed their profession of an inviolable attachment to the Lord.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-24.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Either,

1. He set, or propounded, or declared unto them the statute and ordinance, i.e. the sum of the statutes and ordinances of God, which their covenant obliged them to Or,

2. He set or established it, to wit, that covenant, with them, i.e. the people for a statute or an ordinance, to bind themselves and their posterity unto God for ever, as a statute and ordinance of God doth.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-24.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

THE GREAT STONE OF WITNESS, Joshua 24:25-28.

25.A statute and an ordinance — This was the renewal of the law given on Sinai, imposing no new obligations.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-24.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.’

It must be recognised as almost certain that burnt offerings and peace offerings were slain on the altar built in the place where YHWH had recorded His name (Joshua 8:31 compare Exodus 20:24-25), in order to seal the covenant. The blood of the burnt offerings would be sprinkled on the altar, the peace offerings would provide the sacrificial meal (Exodus 24:5-6; Exodus 24:11).

The solemn covenant ceremony was now over and Joshua was satisfied that he had at least started the people on the right way for when he was gone. His duty as the appointed Servant to YHWH would soon end in death, and now he could die satisfied that the future seemed secure. As Moses had done before him he had established the sacred way in which they must walk. It was no simple covenant renewal. It was a statute and an ordinance, binding for ever (compare Exodus 15:25-26 and 1 Samuel 30:25, although the latter was not with YHWH).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-24.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 24:25. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day — Engaged them to make good this solemn profession, by renewing the covenant they had formerly entered into, both in the days of Moses and in his time, wherein they promised to worship God alone, and be obedient to him. Some think this covenant was now established by sacrifice, as it was when they came out of Egypt, (Exodus 24:4-5,) and when they came into Canaan, Joshua 8:31. But as there is no mention of an altar or any offering, so it is not likely that Joshua would offer any sacrifice but in the place which God had chosen, which was Shiloh.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-24.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Covenant. He renewed the one that had been formerly made, stipulating, on the part of God, that the people should serve Him alone, ver. 23. After which he probably read some of the most striking passages of Deuteronomy, (Calmet) particularly the Decalogue, or ten commandments, with the blessings and curses which enforced the observance of them, Deuteronomy v., and xxvii., and xxviii., and xxix., and xxx. (Haydock) --- Then the people swore that they would observe the law, the customary sacrifices were offered, and a record of the whole was subjoined by Josue to that of Moses, in order that it might be deposited in or near the ark, Deuteronomy xxxi. 26. (Calmet) --- This renewal of the covenant prefigured the law of grace. (St. Augustine, q. 30.) (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-24.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

made a covenant: i.e. by sacrifice. Compare Jeremiah 34:18, Jeremiah 34:19.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-24.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day - he induced them solemnly and voluntarily to renew the national covenant (cf. Nehemiah 10:1).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-24.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(25) So Joshua made a covenant—i.e., a covenant that idolatry should not be tolerated in Israel, or suffered to exist. We read of similar covenants in the reign of Asa (2 Chronicles 15:12-13), in the reign of Joash, by Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 23:16), and of Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:31-32).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-24.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
made
Exodus 15:25; 24:3,7,8; Deuteronomy 5:2,3; 29:1,10-15; 2 Kings 11:17; 2 Chronicles 15:12,15; 2 Chronicles 23:16; 29:10; 34:29-32; Nehemiah 9:38; 10:28,29
in Shechem
1,26
Reciprocal: Genesis 31:44 - a witness;  Genesis 35:4 - the oak;  Deuteronomy 29:12 - thou shouldest;  2 Kings 11:4 - made a covenant;  2 Kings 23:3 - made a covenant;  2 Chronicles 34:31 - made a covenant;  Isaiah 24:5 - changed

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-24.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

25.So Joshua made a covenant, etc This passage demonstrates the end for which the meeting had been called, namely, to bind the people more completely and more solemnly to God, by the renewal of the covenant. Therefore, in this agreement, Joshua acted as if he had been appointed on the part of God to receive in his name the homage and obedience promised by the people. It is accordingly added, exegetically, in the second clause, that he set before them precept and judgment. For the meaning is corrupted and wrested by some expositors, who explain it is referring to some new speech of Joshua, whereas it ought properly to be understood of the Law of Moses, as if it had been said that Joshua made no other paction than that they should remain steadfast in observing the Law, and that no other heads of the covenant were brought forward; they were only confirmed in that doctrine which they had formerly embraced and professed. In the same way, Malachi, to keep them under the yoke of God, demands nothing more than that they should remember the Law of Moses. (Malachi 4:4)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:25". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-24.html. 1840-57.