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the God of Israel, to turn away this day from follow-
ing the Lord, in that ye have builded you an altar,
that ye might rebel this day against the Lord?

17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from
■which we are not cleansed until this day, although
there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord,

18 But that ye must turn away this day from fol-
lowing the Lord? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to-day
against the Lord, that to-morrow he will be wroth
with the whole congregation of Israel.

19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession
he unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the pos-
session of the Lord, wherein the Lord's tabernacle

assembly of the two tribes and a half at some cen-
tral spot, like Ramoth-Gilead.

Ver. 16. They accuse the two tribes and a half
of rebellion, and give the altar as proof.

Ver. 17. The iniquity of Peor^ i.e., the iniquity
in joining the Avorshippers of Baal-peor (Num.
XXV. 3).

F7'om which we are not cleansed. They must al-
lude to moral traces of that fearful lapse still crop-
ping out among the people, after seven years.

Plague. The plague which slew twenty-four
thousand Israelites because of that sin. (See Num.
XXV.) Some were spared, it seems, who still main-
tained a tainted life.

Ver. 18. " If one member suffer, all the members
suffer with it " (1 Cor. xii. 26). This was the rule
in the old church, as in the new.

Ver. 19. This verse contains a clear allusion to
the selfish act of the two tribes and a half in secur-
ing the east side of Jordan. It was not in the land

N



210 COMMENTABY ON

dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not
against the Lord, nor rebel against us, in building
you an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God.

20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a tres-
pass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the
congregation of Israel? and that man perished not
alone in his iniquity.

21 ^ Then the children of Reuben, and the chil-
dren of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered,
and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel,

22 The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of goda,
he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebel-
lion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us
not this day,)

of the possession of Jehovah^ and hence there is still
an opportunity for the two tribes and a half to give
up the trans-Jordanic country and settle in the land
originally designed for them, the promised land,
the land of Canaan. (See on chap. i. 2, and i. 13.)
This altar-building was a new instance of the evils
resulting from a wrong course at the start.

Ver. 20. Achan's sin and its effect upon many
is a second illustration of the fearful danger of sin-
ning against God's commands to Israel. The thirty-
six who perished before Ai lost their lives through
Achan's sin.

Ver. 21. Heads of the thousands of Israel, i.e.,
"heads of the house of their fathers among the
thousands of Israel," as in ver. 14. An abbreviated
form.

Vee. 22. Tlie Lord God of gods. Rather, " God,
the great God, Jehovah." This repetition of " El,
Elohim, Jehovah," shows the great earnestness of
the denial.

iSave us not this day. A direct cry to God, in-



JOSHUA, CHAP. xxn. 211

23 That we have Inilt us an altar to turn from foU
lowing the Lord, or if to offer thereon burut-offerino-,
or meat-offering, or if to offer peace-offerings thereon,
let the Lord himself require it;

24 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this
thmg, saying, In time to come your children might
speak imto our children, saying, What have ve to°do
with the Lord God of Israel?

25 For the Lord hatli made Jordan a border be-
tween us and you, ye children of Reuben and children
of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord. So shall your
children make our children cease from fearino" the
Lord. °

26 Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build
us an altar, not for burnt-offering, nor for sacrifice:

27 But that it may be a witness between us, and you,
and our generations after us, that we might do the
service of the Lord before him with our burnt-offer-
ings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace-
offerings ; that your children may not say to our children
in time to come. Ye have no part in the Lord.

28 Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they
should so say to us or to our generations in time to
come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of
the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for
burnt-offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness
between us and you.

29 God forbid that we should rebel against the
Lord, and turn this day from following the Lord, to
build an altar for burnt-offerings, for meat-offerings,
or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the Lord our G^od
that is before his tabernacle.

terjected in the midst of their speech to Joshua,
showing their emotion. They exclaim to God'
" Be no longer our Saviour, if we are guilty of
rebellion in this."

Ver. 24. For fear of this thing. Rather, "from
anxiety [same word as that translated 'heaviness'
in Prov. xii. 25], from a cause."

Ver. 27. That we might do the service of the Lord
before him^ i.e., at Shiloh.

Ver. 28. Pattern. Rather, "copy."



212 COMMENTARY ON

30 ^ And \\hen Phinehas the priest, and the princes
of the congregation, and heads of the thousands of
Israel which were with him, heard the words that the
children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and
the children of Manasseh spake, it pleased them.

ol And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said
unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of
Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we
perceive that the Lord is among us, because ye have
not committed this trespass against the Lord: now ye
have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of
the Lord.

32 ^ And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,
and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben,
and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead,
unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and
Ijrought them word again.

33 And the thing pleased the children of Israel ;
and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not
intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the
land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.

34 And the children of Reuben and the children of
Gad called the altar Ed : for it shall be a witness be-
tween us that the Lord is God.

Ver. 30. It pleased them. Lit., " it was good
in their eyes." It did not please them that they
had built the altar, but that they had not intended
an}^ rebellion or transgression.

Ver. 31. Phinehas argues from this happy escape
from expected evil, and from the proof that the two
tribes and a half were loyal to God, to the presence
of God among them, a connection of argument
most true and most worthy of note.

Ver. 34. Ed. This word, which means " witness,"
occurs only once in the Hebrew. The verse should
read, "called the altar, 'This is a witness be-
tween us that Jehovah is God.' " This whole long
name was given to the altar. In Hebrew it is
"Edhu benothenu ki yehowah ha-elohim."



JOSHUA, CHAP. XXTTT. 213



CHAPTER XXIII.

Xn. Joshua's Two Farewell Addresses. (Chap,
xxiii. to xxiv.)

1 And it came to pass, a long time after that the
Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their ene-
mies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken
in age.

Ver. 1. A long time after — Joshua waxed old
and stricken in age. The latter expression is used
at chap. xiii. 1, in reference to the time prior to
the distribution of the land, and when Joshua was
probablj^ eighty-seven years old. (See note on 1. c.)
The former expression, however, leads us forward
to some period near Joshua's death, perhaps twenty
years after the distribution, and when Joshua was
one hundred and seven years old. He may have
been anticipating his departure as very near, and
felt constrained to use his great influence to warn
the nation, before he should leave them for ever.
He finds no fault, which fact shows that the early
days of the Hebrew commonwealth were pure and
faithful days, but he saw that the large number of
Canaanites still resident in the land would be (un-
less special care were taken) a source of sin and
ruin to the chosen people. Agains-t this danger
he desires to guard them. Probably no man ever



214 COMMENTAEY ON"

2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their
elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and
for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and
stricken in age:

3 And ye have seen all that the Lord your God
hath done unto all these nations because of you; for
the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you.

Bpoke with more moral power to a nation than did
Joshua. His influence must have been greater
even than that of Moses, as he had completed the
work of settling the people as a compact common-
wealth, and they felt every day the beneficent
results of his grand leadership. With deep rever-
ence and affection they must have hung upon his
words, — words that must have had much to do with
the comparative purity of the nation for the first
centuries of its existence. Joshua's honest, unself-
ish, godly, and heroic character added to the lustre
of his deeds and his influence over all Israel.

Ver. 2. All Israel^ that is, their elders^ heads,
judges^ officers^ as representatives of the entire
nation. (See chap. i. 10, and viii. 33.) This seems
to be the order of gradation (ascending series) in
the executive powers of the tribes, elders, however,
being the generic name for all. This solemn as-
sembly was probably held at Shiloh, as the govern-
mental centre of the nation. Perhaps Joshua took
advantage of a national assembly of representatives,
and called its members together to hear his fare-
well words to the people.

Ver. 3. Because of you. Lit., " From before
you." Note here and in ver. 10 the emphasis



JOSHUA, CHAP. xxin. 215

4 Behold, T have divided unto you by lot these na-
tions that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes,
from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut olf,
even unto the great sea westward.

5 And the Lord your God, he shall expel them
from before you, and drive them from out of your
sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LoitD
your God hath promised unto you.

G Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do
all that is written in the book of the law of Closes, that
ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the
left;

7 That ye come not among these nations, these that
remain among you; neither make mention of the name
of their gods, nor cause to swear 6// thein, neither serve
them, nor bow yourselves unto them:

8 But cleave' unto the Lord your God, as ye have
done unto this day.

which Joshua lays upon God's fighting for them.
The whole matter of destroying the Canaanites was
God's, not theirs.

Ver, 4. With all the nations that I have cut off.
Rather, " even all the nations that I have cut off."
These nations that remained had been cnt off; that
is, they had ceased to have any proper nationality,
and were represented only by scattered communi-
ties.

Ver. 5. Drive them from out of your sight.
Rather, '' dispossess them from before you."

Ver. 6, 7. Compare chap. i. 7, for the order of
thought.

Serving the gods is sacrificing to them ; lowing
is praying.

Ver. 8. As ye have done unto this day, A noble
testimony for the nation.



216 COMlVrENTAKY ON

9 For the Lord hath driven out from before you
great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath
been able to stand before you unto this day.

10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the
Lor>D your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he
hath promised you.

11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that
ye love the Lord your God.

12 Else if ye do in any vrise go back, and cleave
unto the remnant of these nations, ecen these that
remain among you, and shall make marriages with
them, and go in unto them, and they to you:

13 Know for a certainty that the Lord your God
will no more drive out a7iy o/ these nations from before
you: but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and
scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until
ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your
God hath given you.

14 xlnd behold, this day I am going the way of all
the earth; and ye know in all your hearts and in all
your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the
good things which the Lord your God spake concern-
ing 3'ou; all are come to pass unto you, and not one
thuig hath failed thereof.

Vek. 9. But as for you. Rather, " and as for

you."

Vee. 11. Tliat ye love the Lord your God. It
is remarkable that with such repeated appeals to
set the affections on God, the Jewish system is
asserted to be a mere formal ritualism.

Ver. 14. This begins a repetition of a part of
what he has already said, but in it he emjohasizes
the dangers of abandoning Jehovah.

All the earth, i.e., all the inhabitants of the
earth.

Hearts — souls (hterally, hearts — breaths'), an
idiom for thoroughness of conviction.



JOSHUA, CHAP. xxin. 217

15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good
things are come upon j'ou, \Yhich the Loud your God
promised you; so shall the Loud bring upon you all
evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this
good land which the Lord your God hath given you.

16 AVhen ye have transgressed the covenant of the
Lord your God, uhich he commanded you, and have
gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to
them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled
against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the
good land which he hath given unto you.

Ver. 15. So shall the Lord bring upon you all
evil things^ i.e., in case of your failure to cleave to
him (as is expressed in the next verse).

Ver. 16. The repetition of good laiid in verses
13, 15, and 16 reminds us of the fact that Palestine,
when under the favoring care of God, must have
been one of the most fertile lands on earth. Its
varied climate (as between the mountains and low
plains) gave it variety of production, its hills ad-
mitting a thorough system of terracing, enabled a
very complete occupation of the land for agricultu-
ral purposes, and choice exposures could be found
for such vegetation as needed more or less influ-
ence of the sun, while fountains broke forth on
every side and supplied abundantly the land with
moisture.



10



218 COMMENTARY ON



CHAPTER XXIV.

1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to
Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for
their heads and for their judges, and for their officers;
and they presented themselves before God.

This chapter brings before us another represen-
tative assembh^ at Shechem this time, and not at
Shiloh, in which Joshua renews the covenant be-
tween the people and God, as he had done nearly
thirty years before in the same place. (See chap,
viii. 30-o5.) The former address of Joshua seems
to have been delivered in the belief that he was
soon to leave this world, and was prompted by his
ardent desire for the purity of the people, who
■would (he knew) be sorely tempted away from
God by the idolatrous population among them.
This address, however, and the assembly at wdrich
it was delivered, were appointed by divine direction,
as we see by the phrase, " before God," in ver. 1, and
the formula, " thus saith Jehovah, God of Israel,"
in ver. 2. The former occasion was (so to speak)
a private conference of Joshua with Israel. This
occasion was an official conference, in which Joshua
acted as the divine legate.

Ver. 1. Shechem^ the place made a sanctuary by
Abraham on entering the land (Gen. xii. 6, 7),
and again by Jacob (Gen. xxxiii. 20), and still



JOSH0A, CHAP. XXIV. 219

2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith
the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the
other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the
father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and
they served other gods.

o And I took your father Abraham from the other
side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land
of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him
Isaac.

4 And I gave unto Isaac, Jacob and Esau: and I
gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob
and his children went down into Egypt.

5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and 1 plagued Egj'pt,
according to that which [ did among them: and after-
ward I brought you out.

6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye
came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after
your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Ked
sea.

7 And when they cried unto the Lord, he put
darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought

again made the scene of the renewal of the cove-
nant, when the nation Israel entered upon posses-
sion of the land (chap. viii. 30-35). As the very
centre of the land, alt^o, it was a fitting spot for the
solemn ceremony to be enacted.

Elders — heads — judges — officers, (See on
chap, xxiii. 2.)

Before God. Not before the tabernacle which
was at Shiloh. That would have been "before
Jehovah." But at the command of God, to wor-
ship him and take part in a religions act.

Yer. 2. The flood. Lit., "the river," z.e,, the
Euphrates.

Ver. 3. Throughout all the laiid of Canaan^ in
order to survey the land promised to his posterity
(See Gen. xii.)



220 COMMENTARY ON

the sea upon them, ai)d covered them; and yonr eyes
have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in
the wilderness a long season.

8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites,
•uhich dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought

. with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye
might possess their land; and I destroyed them from
before you.

9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab,
arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called
Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:

10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore
he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his
hand.

11 And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jeri-
cho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the
Amorites, and the Pcrizzites, and the Canaanites, and
the Ilittites, and the Girgashites, the Ilivites, and the
Jebusites, and I delivered them into your hand.

12 And I sent the hornet before you, wdiich drave
them out from before you, even the two kmgs of the
Amorites: but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.



Ver. 11. The Amorites^ &c. There seems to be
an apposition here with " the men (or possessors)
of Jericho." Jericho, as an important frontier city,
may have had in it representatives of all the seven
nations of Canaan for defence against Israel. No-
tice that the Girgashites appear here at Jericho,
who afterward disappear. (See note on chap.
ix. 1.)

Ver. 12. This verse seems to be ou-t of place.
It should be betw^een the eighth and ninth verses,
as it refers to the action against Sihon and Og.
The homoeoteleuton will account for the error in
transcription.

Hornet. (See Ex. xxiii. 28, and Deut. vii. 20.)
A figurative expression for the tribulation God



JOSHUA, CHAP. XXIV. 221

13 And I have given you a land for which ye did
not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell
in them; of the vineyards and olive-yards which ye
planted not do ye jeat.

14 ^ Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him
in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which
your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and
in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

caused among the people of Canaan in preparation,
for Israel's entrance into the land. Some of this
tribulation consisted of their fear of the advancing
Israelites (see chap. ii. 9-11), and perhaps some
consisted of inter-tribal wars and local pestilences.

Vek. 14. The marvellous history so clearly and
succinctly recounted was the natural preface for
the exhortation which here begins.

Flood. (See on ver. 2.)

Put aivay the gods. This seems to imply that
Israel was beginning to think less evil of the idola-
try around them. Perhaps some of the idols of
the subdued Canaanites had been preserved as
spoil, or had been received as curiosities or orna-
ments, and God Avould nip the mischief in the bud.
They should put away these objects altogether, for
they would tempt them to regard idolatry as a
small evil, and so prepare the way for their own
idolatrous habits. As, however, the gods they were
to put away were the gods which their fathers
served on the other side of the Euphrates and in
Egypt, it is more probable that they had kept some
of the old teraphim (see Gen. xxxi. 34) of Syria
and idolatrous trinkets of Egypt as heirlooms among
their families. (Comp. Amos v. 26.)



222 COMMENTARY ON

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord,
choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the
gods which your fathers served that icere on the other
side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose
land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord.

16 And the people answered, and said, God forbid
that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;

17 For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us
up, and our fathers, out of the land of Egypt, from the
house of bondage, and which did those great signs in
our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we
went, and among all the people through whom we
passed:

18 And the Lord drave out from before us all the
people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land:
therefore wdll we also serve the Lord; for he is our
God.

19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot
serve the Lord: for he is an holy God: he is a jealous
God; he will not forgive your transgressions, nor your
sins.

20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods,
then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you,
after that he hath done you good.

21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we
will serve the Lord.

Ver. 15. Choose you this day whom ye will ser^ve,
A most forcible irony. Would they take the gods
of Mesopotamia, or the gods of Canaan ? — which ?
The former their fathers had abandoned, the lat-
ter had not preserved their worshippers. As for
Joshua, he Avould serve Jehovah.

Ver. 18. The people adopt both premise and
conclusion from Joshua.

Ver. 19-21. Joshua strengthens the action of
the people, by showing God's holy jealousy against
all apostasy.



JOSHUA, CHAP. XXIV. 223

22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are wit-
nesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the
Loud, to serve him. And they said, We are wit-
nesses.

23 Now therefore put away (said he) the strange
gods which are among you, and incline your heart
unto the Lord God of Israel.

21 And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord
our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.

25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that
day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in She-
chem,

20 T[ 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. 22-24. A final clinching of the solemn
contract of the people. The third blow (as it
were), to make all fast.

Ver. 25. So Joshua ynade a coveyiant. Lit., " and
Joshua cut a covenant." After the oral promises
reiterated once and again, the ceremonies of a
formal covenant are performed.

Statute and ordinance. A hendiadj^s for " a
solemn sentence written or inscribed," probably
cut into the great stone that was set up. (See
next verse.)

Ver. 26. Joshua added this record to the Pen-
tateuch.

Under an oak that was hy the sanctuary of the
Lord. Rather, " under the oak that was in the
sanctuary of Jehovah." That is, under the oak
grove (or terebinth grove), where Abraham and
Jacob had built their altars (see on ver. 1), and



224 COMMENTAEY OK

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

28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto
his inheritance.

29 *|[ And it came to pass after these things, that
Joshua the son of Nun the servant of the Loud died,
heing an hundred and ten years old.

3U And they buried him in the border of his inheri-
tance in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim,
on the north side of the hill of Gaash.

31 And Israel served the Loud all the days of Joshua,
and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua,
and which had known all the works of the Loud that
he had done for Israel.

32 % And the bones of Joseph, which the children


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Online LibraryHoward CrosbyExpository notes on the book of Joshua → online text (page 13 of 15)