Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 24:27

Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Backsliders;   Covenant;   Pillar;   Shechem;   Thompson Chain Reference - Memorials;   Remembrance-Forgetfulness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Joshua;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Shechem;   Witness;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Denial;   Word;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Stone;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ed;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Covenant;   Deny;   Ebal;   Joshua;   Joshua, the Book of;   Temple of Jerusalem;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Covenant;   Pillar;   Shechem;   Witness;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Quotations;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Witness;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Deny;   Joshua, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Shechem;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

This stone - hath heard all the words - That is, the stone itself, from its permanency, shall be in all succeeding ages as competent and as substantial a witness as one who had been present at the transaction, and heard all the words which on both sides were spoken on the occasion.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-24.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Joshua said unto all the people,.... The chief of them now gathered together, and who represented the whole body:

behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; of the covenant now made, and the agreement entered into, as the heap of stones were between Jacob and Laban, Genesis 31:45,

for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us; this is said by a figure called "prosopopaeia", frequent in Scripture, by which inanimate creatures are represented as hearing, seeing, and speaking, and may signify, that should the Israelites break this covenant, and disobey the commands of the Lord they had promised to keep, they would be as stupid and senseless as this stone, or more so, which would rise in judgment against them. NachmanidesF4Apud Masium in loc. a Jewish commentator, interprets this stone of the Messiah, the same as in Genesis 49:24,

it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God; for a memorial and testimony to prevent them from going into atheism, a denying of the true God, or into apostasy from him, and into idolatry and false worship. The Targum of which is,"behold, this stone shall be to us as the two tables of stone of the covenant, for we made it for a testimony; for the words which are written upon it are the sum of all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us, and it shall be unto you for a memorial, and for a testimony, lest ye lie before the Lord.'

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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 24:27". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-24.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it m hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

(m) So that man's deception should not go unpunished, the dumb creatures will cry for vengeance.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-24.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

It hath heard — It shall be as sure a witness against you, as if it had heard. This is a common figure, whereby the sense of hearing is often ascribed to the heavens and the earth, and other senseless creatures.

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Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-24.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 24:27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

Ver. 27. Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us.] It shall represent your covenant to your consciences, and convince you of singular perfidy, in case you falsify. We read in Livy that a certain governor of the people called Aequi, bade the Roman ambassadors tell their tale to the oak that stood next them, saying that he had somewhat else to do than to give them audience. To whom they replied, Et haec sacrata quercus audiat faedus a vobis violatum, Then let this holy oak hear and bear witness that ye have broken your covenant.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-24.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 27. For it hath heard all the words, &c.— "If ever you so far forget yourselves, as to act as if you had not this day chosen the Lord for your God, this stone shall convince you of falsehood, and shall witness as strongly against you, as if it had heard all that I have been saying to you, and all that you have replied in answer; and had assumed a voice to contradict you to your face." How strongly figurative soever this discourse may appear, it is not too much so for the taste of the orientals, with whom it is common to give sentiments to the most insensible creatures, and, as it were, to animate all nature by their expressions. See for instance, Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 32:1. Psalms 19:1. Isaiah 1:2. Jeremiah 22:29. Luke 19:40.

Note; (1.) If the service of God be not our deliberate choice, from conviction of its blessedness, and experience of its comfort, a constrained profession will last but a short time. (2.) Those who count the denial of their corrupt affections hard, and the restraints of religion burthensome, have already rejected the Lord from being their God. (3.) A good and great example is very influential. (4.) They who resolve to serve God themselves, cannot but labour that all who are under their care may do so too. (5.) They, who are faithful to God, fear not to be singular, though all others are ashamed of his religion, or live a dishonour to it; their houses shall be the temples for daily prayer and praise, and their ways unconformed to the wicked world around them. (6.) We can never hesitate whose service to prefer, God or the world, Christ or Belial, if our minds are freed from the delusions of Satan, and the bias of corrupt affections.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". 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

It hath heard; it shall be as sure a witness against you as if it had heard. This is a common figure, called prosopopaie, whereby the sense of hearing is oft ascribed to the heavens and the earth, and other senseless creatures, as Deuteronomy 32:1 Isaiah 1:2 Jeremiah 2:12.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". 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 said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of YHWH which he spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.” ’

A stone for Jacob (Genesis 31:45) and a heap of stones for his brothers-in-law (Genesis 31:46) stood as a witness between Jacob and Laban, each stone seemingly representing a tribal leader. This stone therefore probably represented Israel. It had ‘heard’ all that was said and stood there as a witness to it and to Israel’s responsibility to keep the covenant. The idea that somehow stones had something to testify about (even though they never did) lies behind the words of Jesus in Luke 19:40.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". "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 24:27. It hath heard — It shall be as sure a witness against you as if it had heard. This is a common figure, whereby the sense of hearing is often ascribed to the heavens and the earth, and other senseless creatures.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-24.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

It hath heard. This is a figure of speech, by which sensation is attributed to inanimate things; and they are called upon, as it were, to bear witness in favour of the great Creator, whom they on their part constantly obey, (Challoner) which is the best manner of hearing. They rise up to our confusion. (Theodoret, q. 19.) (Worthington) --- The oriental writers delight in these strong figurative expressions, which are not confined to poetry. Jesus Christ says, that if the children were silent, the stones would cry out, Luke xix. 40. See Numbers xiii. 33., and Genesis iv. 10. (Calmet) --- Lest. Hebrew, "it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest you deny your God;" or literally, "lie unto your Elohim." (Haydock) --- The expression often means to revolt and prove faithless, Deuteronomy xxxiii. 29., &c.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-24.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Behold. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6.

it hath heard. Figure of speech Prosopopmia. App-6.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-24.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
22:27,28,34; Genesis 31:44-52; Deuteronomy 4:26; 30:19; 31:19,21,26; 1 Samuel 7:12
it hath
Deuteronomy 32:1; Isaiah 1:2; Habakkuk 2:11; Luke 19:40
deny
Job 31:23; Proverbs 30:9; Matthew 10:33; 2 Timothy 2:12,13; Titus 1:16; Revelation 3:8
Reciprocal: Genesis 21:30 - a witness;  Genesis 28:18 - set it;  Genesis 31:48 - This heap;  Genesis 49:33 - had made;  Exodus 24:4 - twelve pillars;  Joshua 4:3 - twelve stones;  Joshua 22:10 - built;  Job 31:28 - for;  Isaiah 19:20 - for a;  James 5:3 - a witness

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-24.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us."Joshua 24:27

This is more than poetry; this indeed is the greatest of realities.—We are accustomed to regard nature as a silent and unresponsive quantity, but it is never so regarded in holy Scripture.—We cannot tell the relation of nature to our own spiritual life.—There is nothing secret that shall not be revealed; there is nothing spoken in whispers that shall not be repeated in thunders. Who cannot recall the places at which certain vows were spoken, or memorable prayers were poured out of the heart? The world is full of trysting-places, altars of promise, mountains of aspiration, sanctuaries of vow and oath.—Every place at which we have kneeled will be a witness against us. Every time we have handled the Bible we have marked down a witness either in our favour or against us.—A recollection of these circumstances would hallow nature and give all life a new sensitiveness.—"God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Had not the children praised Christ, the very stones would have cried out against them, and taken up a song of gladness in his honour.—There are places which we cannot pass without great memories leaping up from them, and making us live our years over again in sudden agony, now of pain, now of rapture.—The footprints we leave behind us may be seen by others, and may be encouragements to them. It is for us to say whether those encouragements shall be found on the upward road, crowned with heaven, or on the downward road, at the end of which there is a burning pit.—A very solemn thought it is that we are never really alone.—Time and space are God"s witnesses, and the stones we accounted deaf may be alive to hear every oath and blessing uttered by our lives. It is a fearful thing to live!—What did you say at the child"s grave?—What at the wedding altar?—What was the meaning of the gift of a mother"s Bible?—Recall the spot on which a great deliverance was wrought, and remember your many tears and vows.—How desolate the condition of a man against whom dumb nature exclaims!—The very stones cry out.—Every harvest rebukes spiritual indolence.—Every star puts to shame the life of darkness.—Every flower protests against moral hideousness.—O my soul, how many have been thy vows, and how few thy fulfilments! Wilt thou always be a liar before God, and always dare the very faces of nature to put thee to shame? I will arise and redeem my vows, and ask him who is merciful evermore to give me courage to own my cowardice, and strength to repair the waste places of my life.

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 24:27". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/joshua-24.html. 1885-95.