Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 24:26

And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord .
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Backsliders;   Covenant;   Pillar;   Shechem;   Thompson Chain Reference - Oaks;   Trees;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Oak-Tree, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Oak;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Canon;   Joshua, book of;   Shechem;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Sanctuary;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Law of Moses;   Oak;   Pillar;   Stone;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bible;   Canon of Scripture;   Grove;   Joshua, the Book of;   Moreh;   Oak;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book(s);   Covenant;   Diviner's Oak;   Ebal;   Joshua;   Joshua, the Book of;   Moreh;   Temple of Jerusalem;   Terebinth;   Writing;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - God;   Hexateuch;   Jacob;   Moreh,;   Oak;   Shechem;   Stone;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Oak;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Shiloh;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Witness;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Oak;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bible, the;   Images;   Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Meonenim, Oak of;   Moses;   Oak;   Palestine;   Plain of the Pillar;   Sacrifice;   Shechem;   Teach;   Terebinth;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Elohist;   Groves and Sacred Trees;   Oak and Terebinth;   Pillar;   Shechem;   Stone and Stone-Worship;   Teraphim;   Torah;   Tree-Worship;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Consult the marginal references.

That was by the sanctuary of the Lord - i. e. the spot where Abraham and Jacob had sacrificed and worshipped, and which might well be regarded by their posterity as a holy place or sanctuary. Perhaps the very altar of Abraham and Jacob was still remaining.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-24.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Joshua wrote these words,.... Which had passed between him and the people:

in the book of the law of God; written by Moses, and which he ordered to be put in the side of the ark, and that being now present, the book could be easily taken out, and these words inserted in it, Deuteronomy 31:26,

and took a great stone: on which also might be inscribed the same words:

and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord; or "in it"F1במקדש "in sanctuario", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Vatasblus, Junius & Tremellius. ; that is, in the field or place where the ark was, which made it sacred, and upon which account the place was called a sanctuary, or an holy place; for there is no need to say that the tabernacle or sanctuary itself was brought hither, only the ark; and much less can it be thought that an oak should be in it; though it was not improbable, that had it been thither brought, it might have been placed under, or by an oak, as we render it; and it is a tradition of the Jews, which both Jarchi and Kimchi make mention of, that this was the same oak under which Jacob hid the strange gods of his family in Shechem, Genesis 35:4; Mr. MedeF2Discourse 18. p. 66. is of opinion that neither ark nor tabernacle were here, but that by "sanctuary" is meant a "proseucha", or place for prayer; such an one as in later times was near Shechem, as EpiphaniusF3Contr. Haeres. l. 3. tom. 2. Haeres. 80. relates, built by the Samaritans in imitation of the Jews; but it is a question whether there were any such places so early as the times of Joshua, nor is it clear that such are ever called sanctuaries.

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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 24:26". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-24.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God — registered the engagements of that solemn covenant in the book of sacred history.

took a great stone — according to the usage of ancient times to erect stone pillars as monuments of public transactions.

set it up there under an oak — or terebinth, in all likelihood, the same as that at the root of which Jacob buried the idols and charms found in his family.

that was by the sanctuary of the Lord — either the spot where the ark had stood, or else the place around, so called from that religious meeting, as Jacob named Beth-el the house of God.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-24.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

These words — That is, this covenant or agreement of the people with the Lord.

In the book — That is, in the volume which was kept in the ark, Deuteronomy 31:9,26, whence it was taken and put into this book of Joshua: this he did for the perpetual remembrance of this great and solemn action, to lay the greater obligation upon the people to be true to their engagement; and as a witness for God, against the people, if afterward he punished them for their defection from God, to whom they had so solemnly and freely obliged themselves.

Set it up — As a witness and monument of this great transaction, according to the custom of those ancient times. Possibly this agreement was written upon this stone, as was then usual.

By the sanctuary — That is, near the place where the ark and tabernacle then were; for tho' they were forbidden to plant a grove of trees near unto the altar, as the Gentiles did, yet they might for a time set up an altar, or the ark, near a great tree which had been planted there before.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-24.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 24:26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that [was] by the sanctuary of the LORD.

Ver. 26. And Joshua wrote these words.] This whole book, or the most part of it, {see Joshua 1:1} and particularly the Acts of this present Parliament.

Under an oak.] Which was therehence called The Oak or Plain of the Pillar. [ 9:6]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-24.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 26. And Joshua wrote these words in the book, &c.— To perpetuate the memory of this renewal of the covenant; to convince the Israelites of the reverence due to that obligation which they had assembled to enforce; and to leave such an immortal testimony as might witness against them for the Lord, in case they forsook his holy religion; Joshua caused a particular account of all that had passed to be written down, and added to the book of the law which Moses had ordered to be kept in the side of the ark. Deuteronomy 31:26. Possibly, he caused a copy of it to he transcribed at the same time into the book of the law which was to remain in the hands of the princes of Israel for the use of the tribes, ch. Joshua 17:18. To this monument Joshua added a second, to eternize the remembrance of the covenant renewed. He set up a great stone under an oak; and in all probability ordered an inscription to be engraven thereon, referring to the august solemnity, the memory of which he was desirous to perpetuate. People, from the earliest ages of the world, used to rear stones for the like purpose in the case of important events. We find an instance of it in the history of Jacob, Genesis 28:18 and another in the history of Joshua himself, ch. Joshua 6:3; Joshua 6:20-21. But what sanctuary of the Lord was this, placed by, or under an oak? The learned Mede answers, it certainly could not be the tabernacle, by reason of the laws specified so particularly Deuteronomy 16:21-22 and which are too positive for Joshua to have thought of controverting them by placing the tabernacle near an oak, and by setting up by it a pillar or monument of stone. The question then is, to know whether these laws (calculated to divert the Israelites from the delusions of the Gentiles, who thought that the Deity dwelt in forests, and who consequently reverenced the places where the ark had a settled residence) concerned also those places in which the ark was but occasionally deposited, and for a very little while? Be this as it may, our able critic concludes from these laws, that the sanctuary here mentioned was nothing more than an oratory or house of prayer, erected in this place by the Ephraimites; and he apprehends, that they had chosen this spot in preference to any other, as the place of their devotions, because there the Lord had appeared to Abraham, and promised to give the land of Canaan to his posterity. Our author goes on to say, that there were from all antiquity, besides the tabernacle, and, in later time, the temple, two sorts of buildings consecrated to religious worship; namely, synagogues in cities, and oratories in the fields; that the former were regular buildings, covered like houses at the top; but that the others were mere inclosures, commonly formed by trees, or under their shade. But for more on this subject we refer to Mede, b. 1: dis. 18 observing, that, in the original, this is one of those transpositions familiar to the Hebrew language, and probably should be translated thus: And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, which was in the sanctuary of the Lord: and he took a great stone and set it up there under an oak; for an instance of such transposition, see Genesis 13:10 where, instead of translating, and Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered, &c.—as thou comest unto Zoar; it should evidently be translated, and Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, as thou comest unto Zoar, that it was well watered, &c. See Kennicott's Dissert. vol. 2:

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". 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

These words, i.e. this covenant or agreement of the people with the Lord. In the book of the law of God, i. e. in that volume which was kept in the ark, Deuteronomy 31:9,26, whence it was taken and put into this book of Joshua. This he did, partly, for the perpetual remembrance of this great and solemn action; partly, to lay the greater obligation upon the people to be true to their engagement; and partly, as a witness for God, and against the people, if afterwards he severely punished them for their detection from God, to whom they had so solemnly and freely obliged themselves.

Set it up there, as a witness and monument of this great transaction, according to the custom of those ancient times, as Genesis 28:18 31:45 35:14 Exodus 24:4 Deuteronomy 27:2 Joshua 4:3 8:32. Possibly this agreement was written upon this stone, as was then usual.

Under an oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord, i.e. near to the place where the ark and tabernacle then were; for though they were forbidden to plant a grove of trees near unto the altar, Deuteronomy 16:21, as the Gentiles did, yet they might for a time set up an altar, or the ark, near a great tree which had been planted there before.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-24.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and he took a great stone and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of YHWH.’

The book of the Law of God is probably the same as the book of the Law and the book of the law of Moses (Joshua 8:31; Joshua 8:34 compare Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 31:9; Deuteronomy 31:24). It would thus include at least Exodus 20-24 and the basic Deuteronomy. It was kept beside the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle (Deuteronomy 31:26). It is significant that Joshua recorded this solemn covenant in that book. He saw his covenant as part of the law of God. It demonstrates that it was the custom to record such covenants in writing, and we can compare how the main part of Genesis is made up of covenants set in their historical background, suggesting that they too had been so recorded.

“And he took a great stone.” Stones or pillars were regularly set up as memorials of covenants (compare Exodus 24:4; Genesis 28:18) and as a witness to the covenant. It is possible that he wrote the words of the covenant on the stone (compare Joshua 8:32; Deuteronomy 27:2-3).

“Set it up there under an oak that was in (or ‘by”) the sanctuary of YHWH.’ Oaks were seen as having special significance. They were favourite trees under which to sit, presumably for shelter from the sun (1 Kings 13:14) or to bury the dead (Genesis 35:8; 1 Chronicles 10:12), possibly because they were landmarks (1 Samuel 10:3). Abram received a revelation under the oak of Moreh at Shechem (Genesis 12:6-7). Jacob buried the foreign gods of his household under an oak connected with Shechem (Genesis 35:4). But this oak was by (or even possibly ‘in’) the sanctuary of God. It is doubtful if it was Abram’s oak or Jacob’s oak or even the oak of Meonenim (‘the diviner’s oak’ - Judges 9:37), for the sanctuary of God was probably that established on Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30). It was simply a mark of where the stone was placed (it was not called on as a witness or referred to in any special way. It was only a marker).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "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 24:26. Joshua wrote these words — Namely, this covenant, or agreement of the people with the Lord. In the book of the law of God — That is, in the volume which was kept in the ark, (Deuteronomy 31:9; Deuteronomy 31:26,) whence it was taken and put into this book of Joshua; this he did for the perpetual remembrance of this great and solemn action, to lay the greater obligation upon the people to be true to their engagement; and as a witness for God against the people, if afterward he punished them for their defection from him, to whom they had so solemnly and freely obliged themselves. Set it up — As a witness and monument of this great transaction, according to the custom of those ancient times. Possibly this agreement was written upon this stone, as was then usual; under an oak that was by the sanctuary — That is, near the place where the ark and tabernacle then were; for though they were forbidden to plant a grove of trees near unto the altar, as the Gentiles did, yet they might for a time set up an altar, or place the ark, near a great tree which had been planted there before.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-24.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Lord, particularly what related to the ratification of the covenant, which was the last public act of this great man. He placed it in its proper order in the continuation of the sacred history, which Moses had commenced. (Haydock) --- Stone unpolished, except where there was an inscription, relating what had taken place. (Menochius) --- This monument of religion was not forbidden, Deuteronomy xvi. 22. (Calmet) --- Oak. Hebrew alla, is translated a turpentine tree, Genesis xxxv. 4., (Haydock) and by the Septuagint here. But most people translate the oak. (Chaldean; Aquila; &c.) Under it Jacob buried the idols of Laban, and Abimelech was chosen king; (Judges ix. 6,) as Abraham had entertained the angels under the same tree, Genesis xviii. 1., (Calmet) and had sat under it when he first came into Sichem, Genesis xii. 6. On which supposition it must have subsisted about 500 years. (Menochius) --- It was even shewn some ages after Christ. But it is hardly credible that the same tree should have continued for such a length of time. --- Sanctuary, or tent, where the ark was placed on this occasion under the oak. (Calmet; Bonfrere) --- Some think it was at Silo. (Menochius; ver. 1.) --- Kennicott denies that the ark was present, and supposes that they offered sacrifices upon the very altar which Josue had erected on Garizim, between 20 and 30 years before; and that this mountain is here called the sanctuary or "holy place." Upon it the oak might very well grow, and Josue might "with great propriety take some large stone, and set it up for a witness, making at the same time this striking remark, that this stone had heard all the words of the Lord, or had been present when his law was inscribed and read to the people at their former solemn convention." Hence he infers against Collins, "that the Jews had thoughts of worshipping, and did worship at Gerizim long before the separation of Israel from Juda;" and it was probably for fear of the Israelites returning to a sense of their duty, by the sight of these monuments of the old religion, that Jeroboam refrained from setting up his golden calves in the vicinity. (Diss. ii. p. 119.) (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-24.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

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

an = the.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "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

And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God - registered the engagements of that solemn covenant in the book of sacred history.

Took a great stone - according to the usage of ancient times to erect stone pillars as monuments of public transactions.

Set it up ... under an oak - Hebrew, the oak, or terebinth; in all likelihood the same as that where Abraham had worshipped (Genesis 12:6), and at the root of which Jacob buried the idols and charms found in his family (Genesis 35:4 : cf. Joshua 12:4, Allon-moreh, oak of Moreh or Shechem).

That was by the sanctuary of the Lord - either the spot where the ark had stood, or else the place around, so called from Joshua's religious meeting, as Jacob named Beth-el, the house of God. It is probable that this monolith lies buried on the spot where it was reared, and that the purpose of its erection was to perpetuate the knowledge of the law; that the Decalogue, with this view, was engraven upon it in deep and lasting characters. Could that be found and read, what important information might it afford. Accordingly search for it is specified among the objects enumerated in the prospectus issued by the Council of the Palestine Exploration Society.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "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

(26) And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God.—Primarily “these words” appear to refer to the transaction just recorded. But it must be observed that this is also the second signature among the sacred writers of the Old Testament. The first is that of Moses, in Deuteronomy 31:9 : “Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests,” &c. The next signature after Joshua’s is that of Samuel (1 Samuel 10:25): “Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in the [not a] book, and laid it up before the Lord.” We have here a clue to the authorship of the Old Testament, and to the view of the writers who succeeded Moses in what they did. They did not look upon themselves as writers of distinct books, but as authorised to add their part to the book already written, to write what was assigned to them “in the book of the law of God.” The unity of Holy Scripture is thus seen to have been an essential feature of the Bible from the very first.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-24.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.
Joshua
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 31:24-26
took
Judges 9:6
set it
4:3-9,20-24; Genesis 28:18-22
under
Genesis 35:4,8; Judges 9:6
Reciprocal: Joshua 22:10 - built;  Joshua 24:25 - in Shechem;  1 Samuel 7:12 - took a stone;  Isaiah 19:20 - for a

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-24.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

26.And Joshua wrote these words, etc Understand that authentic volume which was kept near the ark of the covenant, as if it contained public records deposited for perpetual remembrance. And there is no doubt that when the Law was read, the promulgation of this covenant was also added. But as it often happens, that that which is written remains concealed in unopened books, (208) another aid is given to the memory, one which should always be exposed to the eye, namely, the stone under the ark, near the sanctuary. Not that the perpetual station of the ark was there, but because it had been placed there, in order that they might appear in the presence of God. Therefore, as often as they came into his presence, the testimony or memorial of the covenant which had been struck was in their view, that they might be the better kept in the faith.

Joshua’s expression, that the stone heard the words, is indeed hyperbolical, but is not inapt to express the efficacy and power of the divine word, as if it had been said that it pierces inanimate rocks and stones; so that if men are deaf, their condemnation is echoed in all the elements. To lie is here used, as it frequently is elsewhere, for acting cunningly and deceitfully, for frustrating and violating a promise that has been given. Who would not suppose that a covenant so well established would be firm and sacred to posterity for many ages? But all that Joshua gained by his very great anxiety was to secure its rigorous observance for a few years.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:26". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-24.html. 1840-57.