Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 24:33

And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him at Gibeah of Phinehas his son, which was given him in the hill country of Ephraim.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Burial;   Eleazar (Eleazer);   Phinehas;   Thompson Chain Reference - Eleazar;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Burial;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gibeah;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Eleazar;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Judges, the Book of;   Phinehas;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Eleazar;   Ephraim, Mount;   Gibeah;   High Priest;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Aaron;   Eleazar;   Gibeath;   Phinehas;   Shechem;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gibeah ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Eleazar;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Josh'ua, Book of;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Eleazar;   Ezekiel;   Gibeath (1);   Hill;   Joshua, Book of;   Phinehas;   Shechem;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - High Priest;   Joshua, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And Eleazar - died - Probably about the same time as Joshua, or soon after; though some think he outlived him six years. Thus, nearly all the persons who had witnessed the miracles of God in the wilderness were gathered to their fathers; and their descendants left in possession of the great inheritance, with the Law of God in their hands, and the bright example of their illustrious ancestors before their eyes. It must be added that they possessed every advantage necessary to make them a great, a wise, and a holy people. How they used, or rather how they abused, these advantages, their subsequent history, given in the sacred books, amply testifies.

A hill that pertained to Phinehas his son - This grant was probably made to Phinehas as a token of the respect of the whole nation, for his zeal, courage, and usefulness: for the priests had properly no inheritance. At the end of this verse the Septuagint add: - "In that day the children of Israel, taking up the ark of the covenant of God, carried it about with them, and Phinehas succeeded to the high priest's office in the place of his father until his death; and he was buried in Gabaath, which belonged to himself. "Then the children of Israel went every man to his own place, and to his own city. "And the children of Israel worshipped Astarte and Ashtaroth, and the gods of the surrounding nations, and the Lord delivered them into the hands of Eglon king of Moab, and he tyrannized over them for eighteen years."

The last six verses in this chapter were, doubtless, not written by Joshua; for no man can give an account of his own death and burial. Eleazar, Phinehas, or Samuel, might have added them, to bring down the narration so as to connect it with their own times; and thus preserve the thread of the history unbroken. This is a common case; many men write histories of their own lives, which, in the last circumstances, are finished by others, and who has ever thought of impeaching the authenticity of the preceding part, because the subsequent was the work of a different hand? Hirtius's supplement has never invalidated the authenticity of the Commentaries of Caesar, nor the work of Quintus Smyrnaeus, that of the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer; nor the 13th book of Aeneid, by Mapheus Viggius, the authenticity of the preceding twelve, as the genuine work of Virgil. We should be thankful that an adequate and faithful hand has supplied those circumstances which the original author could not write, and without which the work would have been incomplete. Mr. Saurin has an excellent dissertation on this grand federal act formed by Joshua and the people of Israel on this very solemn occasion, of the substance of which the reader will not be displeased to find the following very short outline, which may be easily filled up by any whose business it is to instruct the public; for such a circumstance may with great propriety be brought before a Christian congregation at any time: -

"Seven things are to be considered in this renewal of the covenant.

    I. The dignity of the mediator.

    II. The freedom of those who contracted.

    III. The necessity of the choice.

    IV. The extent of the conditions.

    V. The peril of the engagement.

    VI. The solemnity of the acceptance.

    VII. The nearness of the consequence.

"I. The dignity of the mediator. - Take a view of his names, Hosea and Jehoshua. God will save: he will save. The first is like a promise; the second, the fulfillment of that promise. God will save some time or other: - this is the very person by whom he will accomplish his promise. Take a view of Joshua's life: his faith, courage, constancy, heroism, and success. A remarkable type of Christ. See Hebrews 4:8.
    "II. The freedom of those who contracted. - Take away the gods which your fathers served beyond the flood; and in Egypt, etc., Joshua 24:14, etc. Joshua exhibits to the Israelites all the religions which were then known:

1. That of the Chaldeans, which consisted in the adoration of fire.

2. That of the Egyptians, which consisted in the worship of the ox Apis, cats, dogs, and serpents; which had been preceded by the worship even of vegetables, such as the onion, etc.

3. That of the people of Canaan, the principal objects of which were Astarte, (Venus), and Baal Peor, (Priapus). Make remarks on the liberty of choice which every man has, and which God, in matters of religion, applies to, and calls into action.

    "III. The necessity of the choice. - To be without religion, is to be without happiness here, and without any title to the kingdom of God. To have a false religion, is the broad road to perdition; and to have the true religion, and live agreeably to it, is the high road to heaven. Life is precarious - death is at the door - the Judge calls - much is to be done, and perhaps little time to do it in! Eternity depends on the present moment. Choose - choose speedily - determinately, etc.

    "IV. The extent of the conditions. - Fear the Lord, and serve him in truth and righteousness. Fear the Lord. Consider his being, his power, holiness, justice, etc. This is the gate to religion. Religion itself consists of two parts.

I. Truth.

1. In opposition to the detestable idolatry of the forementioned nations.

2. In reference to that revelation which God gave of himself.

3. In reference to that solid peace and comfort which false religions may promise, but cannot give; and which the true religion communicates to all who properly embrace it.

II. Uprightness or integrity, in opposition to those abominable vices by which themselves and the neighboring nations had been defiled.

1. The major part of men have one religion for youth, another for old age. But he who serves God in integrity, serves him with all his heart in every part of life.

2. Most men have a religion of times, places, and circumstances. This is a defective religion. Integrity takes in every time, every place, and every circumstance; God's law being ever kept before the eyes, and his love in the heart, dictating purity and perfection to every thought, word, and work.

3. Many content themselves with abstaining from vice, and think themselves sure of the kingdom of God because they do not sin as others. But he who serves God in integrity, not only abstains from the act and the appearance of evil, but steadily performs every moral good.

4. Many think that if they practice some kind of virtues, to which they feel less of a natural repugnance, they bid fair for the kingdom; but this is opposite to uprightness. The religion of God equally forbids every species of vice, and recommends every kind of virtue.

    "V. The peril of the engagement. - This covenant had in it the nature of an oath; for so much the phrase before the Lord implies: therefore those who entered into this covenant bound themselves by oath unto the Lord, to be steady and faithful in it. But it may be asked, 'As human nature is very corrupt, and exceedingly fickle, is there not the greatest danger of breaking such a covenant; and is it not better not to make it, than to run the risk of breaking it, and exposing one's self to superadded punishment on that account?' Answer: He who makes such a covenant in God's strength, will have that strength to enable him to prove faithful to it. Besides, if the soul do not feel itself under the most solemn obligation to live to God, it will live to the world and the flesh. Nor is such a covenant as this more solemn and strict than that which we have often made; first in our baptism, and often afterwards in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, etc. Joshua allows there is a great danger in making this covenant. Ye cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy, strong, and jealous God, etc. But this only supposes that nothing could be done right but by his Spirit, and in his strength. The energy of the Holy Spirit is equal to every requisition of God's holy law, as far as it regards the moral conduct of a believer in Christ.

    "VI. The solemnity of the acceptance. - Notwithstanding Joshua faithfully laid down the dreadful evils which those might expect who should abandon the Lord; yet they entered solemnly into the covenant. God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, but we will serve the Lord. They seemed to think that not to covenant in this case was to reject.

    "VII. The nearness of the consequence. - There were false gods among them, and these must be immediately put away. As ye have taken the Lord for your God, then put away the strange gods which are among you, Joshua 24:23. The moment the covenant is made, that same moment the conditions of it come into force. He who makes this covenant with God should immediately break off from every evil design, companion, word, and work. Finally, Joshua erected two monuments of this solemn transaction:

1. He caused the word to be written in the book of the law, Joshua 24:26.

2. He erected a stone under an oak, Joshua 24:27; that these two things might be witnesses against them if they broke the covenant which they then made, etc."

There is the same indispensable necessity for every one who professes Christianity, to enter into a covenant with God through Christ. He who is not determined to be on God's side, will be found on the side of the world, the devil, and the flesh. And he who does not turn from all his iniquities, cannot make such a covenant. And he who does not make it now, may probably never have another opportunity. Reader, death is at the door, and eternity is at hand. These are truths which are everywhere proclaimed - everywhere professedly believed - everywhere acknowledged to be important and perhaps nowhere laid to heart as they should be. And yet all grant that they are born to die!

On the character and conduct of Joshua, much has already been said in the notes; and particularly in the preface to this book. A few particulars may be added.

It does not appear that Joshua was ever married, or that he had any children. That he was high in the estimation of God, we learn from his being chosen to succeed Moses in the government of the people. He was the person alone, of all the host of Israel, who was deemed every way qualified to go out before the congregation, and go in: to lead them out, and bring them in; and be the shepherd of the people, because the Spirit of God was in him. See Numbers 27:17, etc. He is called the servant of God, as was Moses; and was, of all men of that generation, next in eminence to that great legislator.

Like his great master, he neither provided for himself nor his relatives; though he had it constantly in his power so to do. He was the head and leader of the people; the chief and foremost in all fatigues and dangers; without whose piety, prudence, wisdom, and military skill, the whole tribes of Israel, humanly speaking, must have been ruined. And yet this conqueror of the nations did not reserve to him self a goodly inheritance, a noble city, nor any part of the spoils of those he had vanquished. His countrymen, it is true, gave him an inheritance among them, Joshua 19:50. This, we might suppose, was in consideration of his eminent services, and this, we might naturally expect, was the best inheritance in the land! No! they gave him Timnath-serah, in the barren mountains of Ephraim, and even this he asked Joshua 19:50. But was not this the best city in the land? No - it was even No city; evidently no more than the ruins of one that had stood in that place; and hence it is said, he builded the city and dwelt therein - he, with some persons of his own tribe, revived the stones out of the rubbish, and made it habitable.

Joshua believed there was a God; he loved him, acted under his influence, and endeavored to the utmost of his power to promote the glory of his Maker, and the welfare of man: and he expected his recompense in another world.

Like Him of whom he was an illustrious type, he led a painful and laborious life, devoting himself entirely to the service of God and the public good. How unlike was Joshua to those men who, for certain services, get elevated to the highest honors: but, not content with the recompense thus awarded them by their country, use their new influence for the farther aggrandizement of themselves and dependents, at the expense, and often to the ruin of their country!

Joshua retires only from labor when there is no more work to be done, and no more dangers to be encountered. He was the first in the field, and the last out of it; and never attempted to take rest till all the tribes of Israel had got their possessions, and were settled in their inheritances! Of him it might be truly said as of Caesar, he continued to work, nil actum reputans, si quid superesset agendum: for "he considered nothing done, while any thing remained undone."

Behold this man retiring from office and from life without any kind of emolument! the greatest man of all the tribes of Israel; the most patriotic, and the most serviceable; and yet the worst provided for! Statesmen! naval and military commanders! look Joshua in the face; read his history; and learn from It what true Patriotism means. That man alone who truly fears and loves God, credits his revelation, and is made a partaker of his Spirit, is capable of performing disinterested services to his country and to mankind!

Masoretic Notes on Joshua

The number of verses in the Book of Joshua is 656, (should be 658, see on Joshua 21:36; (note), etc.), of which the symbol is found in the word ותרן vetharon, (and shall sing), Isaiah 35:6.

Its middle verse is Joshua 13:26.

Its Masoretic sections are 14; the symbol of which is found in the word יד yad, (the hand), Ezekiel 37:1. See the note at the end of Genesis.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

(Eleazar‘s burial-place is placed by Conder not at Tibneh but in the village of ‹Awertah.)


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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Eleazar the son of Aaron died,.... Very probably in a short time after Joshua; and, according to the Samaritan ChronicleF9Apud Hottinger. p. 524. , he died as Joshua did, gathered the chief men of the children of Israel a little before his death, and enjoined them strict obedience to the commands of God, and took his leave of them, and then stripped himself of his holy garments, and clothed Phinehas his son with them; what his age was is not said:

and they buried him in a hill that pertaineth to Phinehas his son; or in the hill of Phinehas; which was so called from him, and might have the name given it by his father, who might possess it before him, and what adjoined to it. The Jews in the above treatise sayF11Cippi Hebraici, ut supra. (p. 32.) , that at Avarta was a school of Phinehas in a temple of the Gentiles; that Eleazar was buried upon the hill, and Joshua below the village among the olives, and on this hill is saidF12See Weemse's Christ. Synagog, l. 1. c. 6. sect. 5. p. 157. to be a school or village of Phinehas:

which was given him in Mount Ephraim; either to Eleazar, that he might be near to Shiloh, where the tabernacle then was, as the cities given to the priests and Levites were chiefly in those tribes that lay nearest to Jerusalem; though the Jews say, as Jarchi and Kimchi relate, that Phinehas might come into the possession of that place through his wife, or it might fall to him as being a devoted field; but it is most likely it was given to his father by the children of Ephraim, for the reason before observed. The Talmudists say, that Joshua wrote his own book, which is very probable; yet the last five verses, Joshua 24:29, must be written by another hand, even as the last eight verses in Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy 34:5, were written by him, as they also say; and therefore this is no more an objection to his being the writer of this book, than the addition of eight verses by him to Deuteronomy is to Moses being the writer of that; and the same TalmudistsF13T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. & 15. 1. also observe, that Joshua 24:29, "Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died", &c. were written by Eleazar, and Joshua 24:33, "and Eleazar, the son of Aaron, died", &c. by Phinehas, which is not improbable.

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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 24:33". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Eleazar the son of Aaron died, and they buried him in … mount Ephraim — The sepulchre is at the modern village Awertah, which, according to Jewish travelers, contains the graves also of Ithamar, the brother of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar [Van De Velde].

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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 24:33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Very honourable testimony is given also of Eleazar in his death and funeral, which, as the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to record, we may safely conclude, that precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15. It is worthy remark, that Moses the great lawgiver, and Aaron the high priest, died in one year. And it should seem, that Joshua ' s death and Eleazar ' s were nearly together. How striking the observation of the Apostle: They truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue, by reason of death. But Jesus in his unchangeable priesthood continueth forever. Dearest Lord! how sweet the thought, though our fathers die, and the prophets live not forever, thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. Hebrews 7:22, etc.


READER! in closing this sacred book of God, and in reviewing the many precious things contained in it, let us with increasing diligence look up for the teaching of the Holy Ghost, that beside the historical relation in it as the proof of God's faithfulness, we may spiritually discern the great tendency of the whole in pointing out the heavenly Canaan, under the typical representation of an earthly land of promise. Joshua, as the minister of God, hath indeed brought the Lord's people over Jordan, and brought them in, and divided them their inheritance, as was promised. But Joshua and all Israel found that land to be but the land of an earthly inheritance. Though they had the signs and symbols of worship, and the refreshing views of the divine presence, yet these were only suited to a transitory state. Beautiful and conclusive is the apostle ' s reasoning upon it. If Joshua (says he) had given them rest, then would the Lord not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God. And what is that rest but Jesus himself, who is the very sabbath of the soul to his people, and who hath promised to give all them that come to him, to find rest unto their souls. This (saith the prophet) is the rest wherewith ye may pause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing. Isaiah 28:12.

But before I take a farewell of Joshua, as the servant of the most high God, and the captain of the Lord's host, I would pause and contemplate some of those precious views thy person and character afford, as a type of my almighty Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ. Methinks I see in thee the faint outlines of his glorious person and character, who was, and is, indeed, the minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

In name as well as office, surely, Joshua, thou were a lively representative of our precious Jesus. He, as captain of the Lord's host, hath brought, and is still bringing, many sons unto glory, and to the division of their inheritance in the heavenly Canaan, as thou didst under his command to the possession of an earthly. It was at Jordan thy ministry commenced. And here it was also, in the very spot Jesus entered on his labours, when anointed with the Holy Ghost, and under the baptism of the Spirit without measure. Here Jehovah began to magnify the earthly Joshua in the sight of all the people. And here both the persons of the Father and of the Holy Ghost, glorified the Lord Jesus in their united testimonies to his person and office.

And as the earthly Joshua brought the people over Jordan; circumcised the house of Israel anew; led them on to sure victory and to conquest; and never left them, until the Lord had given them rest from all their enemies round about: so the heavenly, the almighty Joshua, brings all his people through every river of affliction, and all the Jordans of sin and tribulation; takes away the foreskin of their heart, that they may be no more stiffnecked, makes them more than conquerors through his grace helping them, and never gives over until he hath brought them into that everlasting rest, which remaineth for the people of God. Hail thou great, thou Almighty Joshua, thou captain of our salvation. Thou hast indeed proved thyself to thy church, to be the true Joshua, the real Saviour, for thou hast saved thy people from their sins. Thou hast led them on to sure victory, and hast arrayed them with the robes of salvation. It is thine, and thine alone, O blessed Jesus, both to purchase and bestow, both to put into the possession and secure thy people in it, even of an everlasting possession; and not, like Joshua, when the work is wrought, to leave them by reason of death: but thou ever livest to receive the grateful praise from thy people, and to see the work of Jehovah prosper in thine hand. In all that remains until thou shalt take me home to behold thy glory, do thou cause me to rest on thine arm, and to standstill and see the salvation of God. And be it my portion to live in thy faith, and to die in the assurance, that where thou art, there shall I be also to the praise of the glory of his grace, who hath made me accepted in the beloved. Amen.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

Given him — By special favour, and for his better conveniency in attending upon the ark, which then was, and for a long time was to be in Shiloh, near this place: whereas the cities which were given to the priests, were in Judah. Benjamin, and Simeon, which were remote from Shiloh, tho' near the place where the ark was to have its settled abode, namely, at Jerusalem. It is probable Eleazar died about the same time with Joshua, as Aaron did in the same year with Moses. While Joshua lived, religion was kept up, under his care and influence, but after he and his contemporaries were gone, it swiftly went to decay. How well is it for the gospel church, that Christ, our Joshua, is still with it by his Spirit, and will be always, even to the end of the world?

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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 24:33". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 24:33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill [that pertained to] Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

Ver. 33. In a hill that pertained to Phinehas.] Or, In Gibeathpineas, the name of a city, bearing his name.

Which was given him.] By the synagogue, saith Vatablus, in an extraordinary way; that, being the high priest, he might be near to Joshua, and not far from the tabernacles where his business lay.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 33. And Eleazar—died This event, probably, happened soon after the death of Joshua. The Samaritan Chronicle says, that Eleazar called together the elders and heads of the people before his death; and that after having exhorted them to piety, he stripped himself of his vestments, and put them upon Phinehas, his son and successor. We have no proof of this circumstance, but it is very probable.

And they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son A little hillock, or, according to some, a town: it may be rendered, agreeable to the Vulgate, LXX, and Jonathan, they buried him in Gibeath of Phinehas; this town, or hillock, went by the name of Phinehas, according to the custom in those times of giving the name of the eldest in a family to the possessions which belonged to it.

Which was given him in mount Ephraim. The Hebrew is doubtful. It does not immediately appear to whom this hill was given, whether to Eleazar or Phinehas: most probably it was to Eleazar; that, as being the high-priest, he might reside nearer to Shiloh, where the tabernacle was erected, and as all the cities assigned to the priests were in the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon, except one only, which lay in the tribe of Ephraim. See ch. Joshua 21:9; Joshua 21:17; Joshua 21:19. But against this there is one great objection; namely, that the priests and Levites certainly received no portion on the division of the land: and therefore the Jews, to obviate this difficulty, are of opinion, that Eleazar, or Phinehas, held this estate in right of his wife as her dowry. See Selden de Success. Heb. c. 18. Grotius is of this opinion likewise; and he produces a similar example from 1 Chronicles 2:21-23. But to this Masius replies, that heiresses could not marry out of their tribe, (Numbers 36:8.) whence he concludes, that the present inheritance had been an extraordinary gift to Eleazar out of respect to him, and to accommodate him more conveniently within reach of Joshua and the tabernacle. The chief-priest, it seems, might receive this distinction, without any infringement of the general law respecting the other ministers at the altar. See Calmet and Le Clerc. To the end of this chapter the LXX add: And the children of Israel took the ark, and carried it about among them; and Phinehas was high-priest till he died; and they buried him in his own hill: and the children of Israel went to their homes. And they fell to worshipping Astarte and Ashtaroth: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Eglon, king of Moab; and he had the mastery over them eighteen years.

REFLECTIONS.—We have the account of the death of Joshua and Eleazar, and the burying of the bones of Joseph. This is the end of all the glory of man; and the best and greatest of God's saints are not exempt from the common lot of mortality.

1. Joshua's death and burial: soon after he had finished his work, he went to receive his everlasting reward, in a better inheritance than he left at Timnath-serah. He was a hundred and ten years old, and through life had approved himself a faithful servant, of which God bears him honourable testimony: his sepulchre was in Gaash, in a field of his own; for then the public places of assembly, or the house of God, were thought unfit receptacles of the corpses even of the blessed. Pity it is, that worse customs have since obtained.

2. Eleazar quickly followed Joshua; one loss seldom comes alone.

3. As long as these worthies and their cotemporaries lived, who had seen God's wonders, religion flourished among the people; but their sad decays will shortly appear: so much are good ministers missed, and so common is it to see the most flourishing congregations moulder away when their pastors are departed. But the residue of the Spirit is with our divine Joshua; and though one people, or congregation, turn from him, he will revive his work in another, and never want a spiritual seed and a visible church upon earth.

N.B. The last five verses of this chapter are certainly written by a hand subsequent to Joshua. Perhaps Samuel, desirous of bringing down the thread of the history uninterrupted from Joshua to his own time, might think proper to make the addition, after having, in like manner, completed the Pentateuch by the order and under the direction of God. See on Deuteronomy 34:1. This, however, is no argument that Joshua did not write the present book, any more than that Moses did not write the Pentateuch, because the like account given of his death and burial, in the conclusion of it, is given by another hand.

Reflections on the Life and Character of Joshua.

The names of Joshua and Jesus are scarcely more like, than their achievements. This captain, so famous in the sacred history, was nominated to be the successor of Moses, and ordained to this high post by God's command, in the presence of all the congregation of Israel. He received the name of Joshua before, when sent to spy out the land, his former name being Oshea; and he is the first of the typical persons who was called by the very name, by which, in future ages, a greater Saviour than he was commonly known. Perhaps it was not without its meaning, that he was the servant before he was the successor of Moses; for it might signify, that our Jesus was first to become the servant of the law, before he should abolish it. But passing this, let us take a more particular retrospect of the most memorable passages of his marvellous campaign.

The first thing that presents itself to our view is, his passing the Jordan, which was miraculously driven back, to afford a safe passage to the chosen people. In this river God was pleased, for the first time, to magnify his servant Joshua in the sight of all the tribes of Israel; and in this river it pleased God to give the first and most public testimony to Jesus Christ, when the heavens seemed to open at his baptism, and the Holy Ghost descended in the likeness of a dove, and a voice from the excellent glory proclaimed his high character. But the chief thing to be observed here is, the resemblance between the passage of Israel over Jordan into the promised land, under the conduct of Joshua, and the passage of all the redeemed, through death, into the heavenly inheritance. Long had they traversed the vast and howling wilderness, the haunt of ravenous beasts and poisonous serpents, where their hearts, many a time, were like to faint for thirst and hunger; but now the land flowing with milk and honey receives them, and their wanderings in the pathless desart are for ever ended. Though Jordan overflows his banks, their march is not obstructed. O powerful presence of JEHOVAH! "The sea saw it, and fled, and Jordan was driven back." Psalms 114:3. And now that they have taken their farewel of the dreary wilderness, we hear no more of the miraculous cloud which conducted them, nor of the manna which fed them forty years. Such is the safety of all true Israelites, when marching to their promised rest, under the conduct of the Captain of their salvation. Death is the Jordan through which they pass from the wilderness of this world into the blissful regions of immortality. But when they pass through these waters, they shall not overflow them; for he who dries up the waters of the sea by his rebuke, will be graciously present with them, till they gain the safe shore of Immanuel's land. Then shall the ordinances be discontinued, and the Bible superseded, which are so necessary in their wandering state to support their lives, and guide their paths; as the cloud vanished, and the manna ceased to fall, when the fine wheat of Canaan supplied the Israelites with food, according to the promise. It is not Moses, but Joshua, who leads through Jordan. Jesus; thou art the only conqueror of death. What will they do when they come to the swellings of Jordan, who are not under thy auspicious conduct? Thanks be to God, who giveth us this victory over death, not through Moses, or the law, but through Jesus Christ our Lord!

From the banks of Jordan, let us now come to the walls of Jericho, the accursed city. Never was town or garrison besieged in such a manner before or since. No mounts are raised; no battering rams are applied to the walls; no attempts are made to sap the foundations; but, by the direction of the Lord of hosts, the army marches in silent parade round the walls. Their martial music is not the sound of their silver trumpets, but of rams-horns blown by their priests. Ridiculous, weak, and foolish, as this new method of assault might seem to the unbelieving sinners of Jericho, they soon found that the weakness of God is stronger than men, and that the most contemptible means, when God ordains them, shall gain their end, in spite of all opposition. "What ailed thee, O sea, that thou fleddest? Jordan, that thou wast driven back?" Psalms 114:5 and ye walls of Jericho, that ye fell flat to the ground, when compassed seven days? It was not owing to the sword of Israel, nor even to the sound of the trumpets; but to the power of Israel's God accompanying this feeble means, prescribed for the trial of their faith and proof of their obedience. For, O the power of faith! had their walls threatened the clouds, and been harder than adamant, firmer than brass, down must they tumble on the evening of the seventh day. Thus are the strong holds of sin, and every high thing that exalts itself against the New Testament Joshua, cast down by the mighty weapons of the Christian warfare, which are not carnal. The feeble voice of the gospel, when faithfully preached, though not with a silver sound, or with excellency of speech, shall be mighty, through God, to triumph over all opposition: so it was in the days of the apostles; so it has been in every distant age; and so it shall be till the victory is complete. Thus, Babylon, shall thy proud towers be levelled with the ground, though seemingly fearless of assault. "For the day of the Lord shall be on every high wall, and on every one that is proud and lifted up." Isaiah 2:12. Though the kings of the earth should give their strength to the beast, our Joshua shall prevail by the foolishness of preaching, and the sound of the gospel trumpet; and at the appointed time the strong-lunged angel shall cry, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen." Revelation 14:18.

The saving of Rahab and her household is the next remarkable occurrence. Who would have expected to find, in this city of destruction, even a strong believer, whose faith should be celebrated by one apostle, and her works by another, and who should also have the honour to make one of the illustrious line from whence the Messiah should arise? But so it was. Though once a notorious sinner, and called Rahab the harlot to this day, yet she was a believer of the promise that God made to Israel, and proved by her works that her faith was genuine; for, protecting the messengers of Joshua at the hazard of her life, she preferred the interests of the Church of God to those of her country, which she very well knew could not be saved. Though we can by no means justify the dissimulation by which she saved the spies from the pursuivants of the king of Jericho, yet, as God has forgiven her for being once a harlot and a liar, so must we also forgive those blame-able parts of her conduct, of which she has long since truly repented. Well does Joshua answer his name, in saving not the race of Israel only, but Rahab, though a cursed Canaanite, with all her household, though sinners of the Gentiles. Was it not a dark prelude of Jesus Christ, our better Joshua, of his saving the Gentile world from the wrath to come, as well as the preserved of Jacob? Might it not portend, that publicans and harlots, and such notorious sinners, should be received among the first into his heavenly kingdom? and that the harlot Gentiles, who formerly were serving divers lusts, and living in the most abominable idolatries, should be incorporated into the holy society of the church, and espoused as a chaste bride to Jesus Christ, as Rahab became a proselyte to the Jewish religion, and the wife of Naasson an illustrious prince in the chief of their tribes? Perhaps the scarlet thread, which, at the direction of the spies, she hung forth out of her window, as a discriminating signal, by which all under her roof were exempted from the dismal desolation; perhaps, I say, this might be an intimation, though a very obscure one, that the shedding of Christ's red blood should prove the means of salvation to the Gentile world, and of making peace between the Jews and them, who were formerly at variance, and harboured mutual hatred. Red was the colour of salvation to Israel in Egypt, when the sprinkling their doors with blood protected them from the destroying angel's word; and red is the colour of salvation to Rahab in Canaan, when the hanging a scarlet thread over her windows was her security from the destroying sword of Israel. Happy they who have the blood of Christ upon them, not for destruction, (as the Jews who murdered him, and imprecated this dreadful vengeance on themselves, and their posterity,) but for salvation, as all have who believe. Rahab's safety was confirmed by the oath of men; but their's by the oath of God, for whom it is impossible to lie. Destruction approaches not those doors, death enters not those windows where the blood of Christ is found.

In vain did the kings of Canaan conspire to oppose the victorious Joshua after the destruction of Jericho; for at last he bids his captains set their feet upon the necks of the hostile princes, in token of full conquest. Nor was it strange that he should be able to do this, when the very heavens befriended them, by casting down prodigious hailstones to kill his flying enemies; and their most glorious luminaries, the sun and moon were obedient to his voice, and stood still in their habitation, till the vengeance written was executed upon the devoted nations. Such is that complete victory over all the enemies of God and his people, which he shall gain who goes forth conquering, and to conquer! It is the distinguished honour of all the faithful soldiers of Christ, to tread upon the devil, the world, and the lusts of the flesh. These are the dragons and the lions which they trample under their feet; these are the kings that they bind with chains; these are the nations that they shall dash in pieces, as a potter's vessel with a rod of iron. And a time is coming, when the upright shall have dominion over the wicked; for so is his will, whom not only the sun and moon, but all the numerous hosts of heaven and earth obey.

At last, the favoured nation of the Jews are brought into their promised rest, under the conduct of their valiant general. He puts them in quiet possession of that happy country which he had before spied out for them. This Moses could not do. So Jesus Christ has introduced us, not into a temporal rest, like thine, O Joshua, but into a spiritual and eternal rest, an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance, which the law could not do, having become weak through the flesh.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

By special favour, and for his better conveniency in attending upon the ark, which then was, and for a long time was to be, in Shiloh, which was near to this place; whereas the cities which were given to the priests were in Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon, which were remote from Shiloh, though near to the place where the ark was to have its settled abode, to wit, to Jerusalem.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And Eleazar, the son of Aaron, died, and they buried him in the hill of (or Gibeah of) Phinehas his son which was given to him in the hill country of Ephraim.’

Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, also died. Thus the old generation was dying out. This man too had been looked to as one of the greats. The future lay in new hands, but they would not prove capable of sustaining it.

He was buried in the inheritance of his son Phinehas, given to him in the hill country of Ephraim. This was probably in Benjamin, for that was the part of the hill country of Ephraim in which rights to dwell in cities were allotted to the priests (Joshua 21:17-18).

So the book ends with the burial of three men who had lived in Egypt but were buried in Canaan as God had promised Israel. One of them had declared long before his certainty that one day Israel would return to the land promised by God (Genesis 50:24-25). The lives of the other two had witnessed all the events described in Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua, and they had lived to see downtrodden Israel at rest in the land of promise. It was a fitting end to this triumphant book.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 24:33. They buried him in a hill which was given him — By special favour, and for his better conveniency in attending upon the ark, which then was, and for a long time was to be, in Shiloh, near this place: whereas the cities which were given to the priests were in Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon, which were remote from Shiloh, though near the place where the ark was to have its settled abode; namely, at Jerusalem. It is probable Eleazar died about the same time with Joshua, as Aaron did in the same year with Moses. While Joshua lived, religion was kept up, under his care and influence; but after he and his cotemporaries were gone, it swiftly went to decay. How well is it for the gospel church that Christ, our Joshua, is still with it by his Spirit, and will be always, even to the end of the world!

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Eleazar, the second high priest, was succeeded by his son Phinees. They were both of a very unexceptionable character. The Holy Ghost says, (Ecclesiasticus xlv. 28,) Phinees, the son of Eleazar, is the third in glory, by imitating him (his father or grandfather) in the fear of the Lord, &c. The Jews seem to have adopted the doctrine of Pythagoras, with respect to Phinees, (Haydock) as they say that he was the man of God, (3 Kings ii. 27,) who appeared to Heli, (Trad. Heb. in Reg.) and that he was consulted by Jephte, and gave him advice to fulfil his vow; that he was the same person with Elias, and with one Phinees, who returned from the captivity with Esdras, 1 Paralipomenon ix. 20. They will even have him to be an incarnate angel. (Ap. Munster, &c.) But without dwelling any longer on these fabulous accounts, (Calmet) he was surely a man of the greatest zeal and piety. (Haydock) --- In consideration of his extraordinary merit, the city of Gabaath was given to him, though it was not properly a sacerdotal city, and priests could not regularly possess any land as their inheritance. Grotius supposes that he obtained this city along with his wife, as she was an heiress of the tribe of Ephraim. But if that had been the case, must she not have married some of the same tribe? Numbers xxxvi. 8. (Calmet) --- Septuagint (Grabe) add, "In that day the children of Israel taking the ark of the covenant of God, carried it about among themselves, and Phinees was priest instead of his father, till he died, and he was buried in Gabaath, his own city. But the Israelites went each to his own place and city; and the children of Israel worshipped Astarte and Asteroth, and the gods of the surrounding nations, and the Lord delivered them into the hands of Eglon, the king of Moab, and he held them in subjection 18 years. See Judges iii. 12, 14. Why this is recorded in this place does not appear, unless it be to insinuate that the servitude under Eglon did not commence till after the death of Phinees, who had been high priest 40 years. Abisue, his son, entered upon the pontificate in the first year of the administration of Aod, 1 Paralipomenon vi. 4, 50. (Salien, in the year of the world 2641, in the year before Christ 1412.) Josue and Eleazar had reigned nearly during the same period of time, and finished their course together. They had assisted each other in keeping the people of God under due restraint. Their successors in office acted with the like zeal and concord, though they were not quite so successful. It is probable that Phinees would have the chief sway in "the aristocracy" of the ancients, which Josephus says took place between Josue and Othoniel. Their government is acknowledged by most authors, though Salien supposes that their authority, as distinct from the Sanhedrim, consisted in giving good example. Many assert that Phinees ruled the people twenty-three years. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Eleazar. He dies and is succeeded by his son Phinehas. Compare Judges 20:28. Phinehas had been acting as deputy High Priest as far back as 1444; ten or twelve years before his father died. Compare Joshua 22:13-32.

Ephraim. The Septuagint adds here: "In that day the sons of Israel took the ark of God, and carried it about among them; and Phineee exercised the priest"s office in the room of Eleazar his father, till he died, and he was buried in his own place Gabaar. But the sons of Israel departed every one to their place, and to their own city. And the sons of Israel worshipped Astarte (i.e. the Asherah; see App-42) and Astaroth, and the gods of the nations round about them; and the Lotto delivered them into the hands of Eglom king of Moab, and he ruled over them eighteen years".

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that

Eleazar ... died, and they buried him in ... mount Ephraim. The grave is at the modern village Awertah, which, according to Jewish travelers, contains the graves also of Ithamar, the brother of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar (Van de Velde).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(33) And Eleazar the son of Aaron died.—“Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun,” were the Moses and Aaron of this period. It is fitting that the Book of Joshua should close with the death of Eleazar, who was Joshua’s appointed counsellor; for when Joshua was given as a shepherd to Israel, in answer to the prayer of Moses, Eleazar was also given to Joshua for a counsellor (Numbers 27:21). At Eleazar’s word he was to go out and come in, “both he and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” It is rather singular that nothing but this has been recorded of Eleazar’s personal history. Everything stated about him in his lifetime is official. Not a word that he uttered has been preserved.

A hill. . . . given him in mount Ephraim.—The inheritance of Phinehas as a priest would lie within the tribe of Judah (Joshua 21:13, &c.) or Benjamin. This gift to Phinehas in Mount Ephraim, near the seat of government, seems to have been a special grant to him over and above his inheritance. But inasmuch as the tabernacle itself was at Shiloh, in Mount Ephraim, it was altogether suitable and natural that some place of abode should be assigned to the priests in that neighbourhood, where they were compelled to reside.

Although Phinehas himself was “zealous for his God,” he lived to see the tribe of Benjamin nearly exterminated from Israel for repeating the sin of the Canaanites. (See Judges 20:28.) We can hardly say that the people served Jehovah all the days of Phinehas. With Eleazar and Joshua the spirit of strict obedience to the law seems to have, in a great measure, passed away.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
14:1; Exodus 6:23,25; Numbers 3:32; 20:26-28
Job 30:23; Psalms 49:10; Isaiah 57:1,2; Zechariah 1:5; Acts 13:36; Hebrews 7:24; Hebrews 9:26,27
Judges 20:28 Reciprocal: Joshua 21:4 - the children;  Judges 18:13 - mount Ephraim;  Judges 19:1 - mount;  1 Chronicles 6:4 - Phinehas;  Ezra 7:5 - Eleazar

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 24:33". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".