Click charts to enlarge Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
CLOSE OF JOSHUA'S LIFE
|Josh 1:1-5:15||Josh 6:1-12:24||Joshua 13:1-21:45||Josh 22:1-24:33|
|ca. 1 Month||ca 7 Years||ca. 18 Years|
Joshua 24:1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
- Joshua: This must have been a different assembly from that mentioned in the preceding chapter, though probably held not long after the former.
- Shechem: As it is immediately added, that "they presented themselves before God," which is supposed to mean at the tabernacle; some are of opinion that Joshua caused it to be conveyed from Shiloh to Shechem on this occasion, to give the greater solemnity to his last meeting with the people. The Vatican and Alexandrian copies of the Septuagint, however, read [Selo,] both here and in verse 25; which many suppose to have been the original reading. Dr. Shuckford supposes that the covenant was made at Shechem, and that the people went to Shiloh to confirm it. But the most probable opinion seems to be that of Dr. Kennicott, that when all the tribes were assembled as Shechem, Joshua called the chiefs to him on that mount, which had before been consecrated by the law, and by the altar which he had erected. Ge 12:6 33:18,19 35:4 Jdg 9:1-3 1Ki 12:1
- called: Jos 23:2 Ex 18:25,26
- presented: 1Sa 10:19 Ac 10:33
Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 1-14. We must never think our work for God done, till our life is done. If he lengthen out our days beyond what we expected, like those of Joshua, it is because he has some further service for us to do. He who aims at the same mind which was in Christ Jesus, will glory in bearing the last testimony to his Saviour's goodness, and in telling to all around, the obligations with which the unmerited goodness of God has bound him. The assembly came together in a solemn religious manner. Joshua spake to them in God's name, and as from him. His sermon consists of doctrine and application. The doctrinal part is a history of the great things God had done for his people, and for their fathers before them. The application of this history of God's mercies to them, is an exhortation to fear and serve God, in gratitude for his favour, and that it might be continued.
Joshua 24:2 Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.
- Your fathers: Ge 11:26,31 12:1 31:53 De 26:5 Isa 51:2 Eze 16:3
- served other gods: In the case of Abraham this was probably the case, till he was called to the knowledge of God, when above 70 years old. Jos 24:15 Ge 31:19,30,32,53 35:4
Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.
- I took: Ge 12:1-4 Ne 9:7,8 Ac 7:2,3
- gave: Ge 21:2,3 Ps 127:3
Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac
- unto Isaac: Ge 25:24-26
- unto Esau: Ge 32:3 36:8 De 2:5
- Jacob: Ge 46:1-7 Ps 105:23 Ac 7:15
To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau, and to Esau I gave Mount Seir to possess it; but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt
Believer's Study Bible - Note the contrast between Esau's apparent blessing and Jacob's apparent lack of blessing. Experience and the course of history often seem to conflict with God's purposes.
- sent: Ex 3:10 4:12,13 Ps 105:26
- plagued: Ex 7:1-12:51 Ps 78:43-51 105:27-36 135:8,9 136:10
Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt by what I did in its midst; and afterward I brought you out
- I brought: Ex 12:37,51 Mic 6:4
- Egyptians: Ex 14:1-15:27 Ne 9:11 Ps 77:15-20 78:13 136:13-15 Isa 63:12,13 Ac 7:36 Heb 11:29
'I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and Egypt pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea.
Joshua 24:7 'But when they cried out to the LORD, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time.
- And when: Ex 14:10
- he put: Ex 14:20
- brought: Ex 14:27,28
- your eyes: Ex 14:31 De 4:34 29:2
- ye dwelt: Jos 5:6 Nu 14:33,34 Ne 9:12-21 Ps 95:9,10 Ac 13:17,18 Heb 3:17
But when they cried out to the LORD, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time.
Joshua 24:8 'Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan, and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land when I destroyed them before you.
- Jos 13:10 Nu 21:21-35 De 2:32-37 3:1-7 Ne 9:22 Ps 135:10,11 Ps 136:17-22
Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan, and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land when I destroyed them before you
- Nu 22:5,6-21 De 23:4,5 Jdg 11:25 Mic 6:5
Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel, and he sent and summoned Balaam the son of Beor to curse you
- Nu 22:11,12,18-20,35 23:3-12,15-26 24:5-10 Isa 54:17
But I was not willing to listen to Balaam. So he had to bless you, and I delivered you from his hand
Joshua 24:11 'You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho; and the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Thus I gave them into your hand.
- And ye: Jos 3:14-17 4:10-12,23 Ps 114:3,5
- the men: Jos 6:1-27 10:1-11:23 Ne 9:24,25 Ps 78:54,55 105:44 Ac 7:45 13:19
You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho; and the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Thus I gave them into your hand
- I sent: Ex 23:28 De 7:20
- not: Ps 44:3-6
'Then I sent the hornet before you and it drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you, but not by your sword or your bow.
- And I: Jos 21:45
- cities: Jos 11:13 De 6:10-12 8:7 Pr 13:22
I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant
- fear: De 10:12 1Sa 12:24 Job 1:1 28:28 Ps 111:10 130:4 Ho 3:5 Ac 9:31
- serve: Jos 24:23 Ge 17:1 20:5,6 De 18:13 2Ki 20:3 Ps 119:1,80 Lu 8:15 Joh 4:23,24 2Co 1:12 Eph 6:24 Php 1:10
- put: From this exhortation of Joshua, we not only learn that the Israelites still retained some relics of idolatry, but to what gods they were attached. 1. Those whom their fathers worshipped on the other side of the food, or the river Euphrates, i.e., the gods of the Chaldeans, fire, light, the sun, etc. 2. Those of the Egyptians, Apis, Anubis, serpents, vegetables, etc. 3. Those of the Amorites, Moabites, Canaanites, etc., Baal-peor, Astarte, etc. How astonishing is it, that after all that God had done for them, and all the miracles they had seen, there should still be found among them both idols and idolaters! Jos 24:2,23 Ge 35:2 Ex 20:3,4 Lev 17:7 Ezr 9:11 Eze 20:18 Am 5:25,26
- in Egypt: Eze 20:7,8 23:3
Believer's Study Bible - This passage consists of four statements by Joshua (v14, 15, 19, 20, 22a, 23), beginning and ending with a demand for commitment to Yahweh, and includes four responses by Israel (v16-18, 21, 22b, 24). "Now therefore" indicates that the commitment Joshua is demanding is the logical result of what God has done (cf. Ro12:1). The commitment will be to "serve" (7 times in v14, 15; and 18 times in ch24) the Lord only.
fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
Joshua 24:15 "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
- choose: Ru 1:15,16 1Ki 18:21 Eze 20:39 Joh 6:67
- whether the gods: Jos 24:14
- or the gods: Ex 23:24,32,33 34:15 De 13:7 29:18 Jdg 6:10
- as for me: Ge 18:19 Ps 101:2 119:106,111,112 Joh 6:68 Ac 11:23
If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD
Believer's Study Bible - Joshua was not inviting, but demanding that Israel serve the Lord. The choice he laid before them only existed if they refused his demand. The issue was whether to obey or to choose. If they refused to obey the Lord, they had to choose which pagan god to serve. Our contemporary pluralistic society presents us with a confusing display of values, goals, and life-styles. It is not a godless society, but a society full of gods pleading for our attention. The issue is whether to obey our mighty and loving Creator, or to be lost in a hellbound madhouse of confusion.
Henry Morris - choose you this day. This is the same choice confronting each person in every age. One can choose to serve the true God of creation and redemption (now revealed in Jesus Christ), or the pagan nature-gods of the world system (evolutionary pantheism), or attempt to serve both (as Terah and Nahor had done). But the true God "is a jealous God" (Joshua 24:19). He will not share His glory with another. Joshua's exhortation is still needed: "Put away...the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel" (Joshua 24:23).
Morris - gods which your fathers served. Abraham's father Terah had indeed served the gods of the Chaldeans when he was in Ur, on the other side of the "flood" (meaning the great river Euphrates). Pantheism and polytheism did become widespread soon after Nimrod introduced it at Babel. At Ur, the principal deity was the moon god, but there were also shrines to many other gods.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 15-28. It is essential that the service of God's people be performed with a willing mind. For LOVE is the only genuine principle whence all acceptable service of God can spring. The Father seeks only such to worship him, as worship him in spirit and in truth. The carnal mind of man is enmity against God, therefore, is not capable of such spiritual worship. Hence the necessity of being born again. But numbers rest in mere forms, as tasks imposed upon them. Joshua puts them to their choice; but not as if it were indifferent whether they served God or not. Choose you whom ye will serve, now the matter is laid plainly before you. He resolves to do this, whatever others did. Those that are bound for heaven, must be willing to swim against the stream. They must not do as the most do, but as the best do. And no one can behave himself as he ought in any station, who does not deeply consider his religious duties in family relations. The Israelites agree with Joshua, being influenced by the example of a man who had been so great a blessing to them; We also will serve the Lord. See how much good great men do, by their influence, if zealous in religion. Joshua brings them to express full purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord. They must come off from all confidence in their own sufficiency, else their purposes would be in vain. The service of God being made their deliberate choice, Joshua binds them to it by a solemn covenant. He set up a monument of it. In this affecting manner Joshua took his last leave of them; if they perished, their blood would be upon their own heads. Though the house of God, the Lord's table, and even the walls and trees before which we have uttered our solemn purposes of serving him, would bear witness against us if we deny him, yet we may trust in him, that he will put his fear into our hearts, that we shall not depart from him. God alone can give grace, yet he blesses our endeavours to engage men to his service.
Abe Lincoln told the story of a blacksmith who heated a piece of iron in the forge, not knowing what he was going to make. At first he thought of shaping it into a horseshoe but changed his mind. After hammering on the iron for a while, he decided to try to make it into something else. By this time the metal was no longer malleable. Holding it up with his tongs and looking at it with disgust, the blacksmith tossed it into a vat of water. "Well," he shrugged, "at least I can make a fizzle out of it!" Joshua would have seen an important lesson in that story. He knew that a meaningful life must have a clear purpose. "Choose!" he urged his followers. If you're not going to live for God, then decide against Him. If you are going to live for God, then let your life reflect that decision. But whatever you do, decide! Joshua made it clear that he and his family had made their choice to serve the Lord (24:15). For him, life was not an amusement park but an arena where important decisions had to be made. What about you? If you don't choose to trust Christ and serve Him, all you will have to show for the living of your days will be a loud fizzle. --H W Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
By Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord's side,
Savior, we are Thine. -
If you decide not to choose,
you've already made the wrong choice.
1Sa 12:23 Ro 3:6 6:2 Heb 10:38,39
The people answered and said, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods - But were they sincere? At that moment given the gravity of the passing of Joshua & his charge they responded just as the children of Israel in [Ex19:8 24:3,7].
THOUGHT - "TEARS AT THE ALTAR" mean nothing by themselves: OBEDIENCE IN THE CRUCIBLE of everyday life IS WHERE THE METAL IS PURIFIED, REFINED AND STRENGTHENED
Joshua 24:17 for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed.
- Jos 24:5-14 Ex 19:4 De 32:11,12 Isa 46:4 63:7-14 Am 2:9,10
for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed.
- will we also: Ex 10:2 15:2 Ps 116:16 Mic 4:2 Zec 8:23 Lu 1:73-75
The LORD drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God."
- Ye cannot: Jos 24:23 Ru 1:15 Mt 6:24 Lu 14:25-33
- holy: Lev 10:3 19:2 1Sa 6:20 Ps 99:5,9 Isa 5:16 6:3-5 30:11,15 Hab 1:13
- a jealous: Ex 20:5 34:14 1Co 10:20-22
- he will not: Ex 23:21 34:7 1Sa 3:14 2Ch 36:16 Isa 27:1
Then Joshua said to the people, "You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.
- he will turn: Jos 23:12-15 1Ch 28:9 2Ch 15:2 Ezr 8:22 Isa 1:28 63:10 65:11,12 Jer 17:13 Eze 18:24 Ac 7:42 Heb 10:26,27,38
If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you."
- Ex 19:8 20:19 24:3,7 De 5:27,28 26:17 Isa 44:5
The people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the LORD
- itnesses: Ye have been sufficiently apprised of the difficulties in your way--of God's holiness, and the nature of his service--your own weakness, inconstancy, and insufficiency--your need of the Divine help, and the hope of assistance held out in the law--and the awful consequences of apostasy: and now ye make your choice. Remember then that ye are witnesses against yourselves; and your own conscience will be witness, judge, and executioner. De 26:17 Job 15:6 Lu 19:22
- ye have: Ps 119:11,173 Lu 10:42
Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen for yourselves the LORD, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses
- put away: Jos 24:14 Ge 35:2-4 Ex 20:23 Jdg 10:15,16 1Sa 7:3,4 Ho 14:2,3,8 1Co 10:19-21 2Co 6:16-18
- incline: Pr 2:2 Heb 12:28,29
Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel
- De 5:28,29
The people said to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and we will obey His voice
- made: Ex 15:25 24:3,7,8 De 5:2,3 29:1,10-15 2Ki 11:17 2Ch 15:12,15 2Ch 23:16 29:10 34:29-32 Ne 9:38 10:28,29
- in Shechem: Jos 24:1,26
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem
- Joshua: Ex 24:4 De 31:24-26
- took: Jdg 9:6
- set it: Jos 4:3-9,20-24 Ge 28:18-22
- under: Ge 35:4,8 Jdg 9:6
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.
Henry Morris - wrote these words. In effect, Joshua here places his own writings (our present book of Joshua) on a par with those of Moses. Moses and Joshua were the human writers, along with editorial inserts made for clarification by later scribes, but the end product in every case had been "given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16).
Ryrie - by the sanctuary of the LORD. Perhaps a reference to an old altar still standing, perhaps to an altar Joshua built on nearby Mount Ebal (8:30), or perhaps the translation should be "beneath the oak tree which was sacred to the Lord" (cf. Gen. 12:6). The important fact is that the covenant, written on the stone, could be read by all (v. 27).
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."
- A curious coincidence of circumstances is related by Livy, the Roman historian: he writes that "when three ambassadors were sent from Rome to complain of the perfidious conduct of the Aqui, the General informed them, that they might deliver their message to an oak which shaded his tent." On this one of the ambassadors turning away, said, "This venerable oak, and all the gods, shall know that you have violated the peace; they shall now hear our complaints; and may they also soon be witnesses, when we revenge with our arms the violation of divine and human rights." It is worthy of remark that Joshua merely set up a pillar under an oak,--the one, perhaps, to protect the other; while the General directed the ambassadors to address the oak, perhaps with an idolatrous feeling that they were addressing one of the gods, who would aid his cause; while the Roman ambassadors caught the feeling, and really invoked the aid of the oak and the gods.
- Jos 22:27,28,34 Ge 31:44-52 De 4:26 30:19 31:19,21,26 1Sa 7:12
- it hath: De 32:1 Isa 1:2 Hab 2:11 Lu 19:40
- deny: Job 31:23 Pr 30:9 Mt 10:33 2Ti 2:12,13 Tit 1:16 Rev 3:8
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
- Jdg 2:6
Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his inheritance.
- after these: De 34:5 Jdg 2:8 Ps 115:17 2Ti 4:7,8 Rev 14:13
- an hundred: Ge 50:22,26
It came about after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being one hundred and ten years old.
Henry Morris - after these things. The last five verses of Joshua were obviously written by an unknown scribe living after "all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua" (Joshua 24:31). This in no way brings into question the divine inspiration of the writings themselves.
Ryrie points out that (vv. 29-33) "The Book of Joshua ends with three burials. This is not a sad note, however, but a triumphant one, for these three leaders were buried in the Promised Land. Especially significant is the burial of Joseph, whose faith had led him to request it (Gen. 50:24-26; cf. Ex. 13:19).
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 29-33. Joseph died in Egypt, but gave commandment concerning his bones, that they should not rest in their grave till Israel had rest in the land of promise. Notice also the death and burial of Joshua, and of Eleazar the chief priest. The most useful men, having served their generation, according to the will of God, one after another, fall asleep and see corruption. But Jesus, having spent and ended his life on earth more effectually than either Joshua or Joseph, rose from the dead, and saw no corruption. And the redeemed of the Lord shall inherit the kingdom he prepared for them from the foundation of the world. They will say in admiration of the grace of Jesus, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
- Timnathserah: Jos 19:50 Jdg 2:9
- Gaash: 2Sa 23:30
And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, on the north of Mount Gaash.
- served: De 31:29 Jdg 2:7 2Ch 24:2,17,18 Ac 20:29 Php 2:12
- overlived Joshua: Heb. prolonged their days after Joshua, which had. De 11:2,7 31:13
Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the LORD which He had done for Israel.
Joshua 24:32 Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph's sons.
- bones: Ge 50:25 Ex 13:19 Ac 7:16 Heb 11:22
- buried: Ge 33:19 48:22
- pieces of silver: or, lambs
Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph's sons.
A reminder of Joseph's faith in God's promise to give Israel the land of Canaan:
Gen 50:25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, "God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here."26 So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Exodus 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, "God shall surely take care of you; and you shall carry my bones from here with you."
- Eleazar: Jos 14:1 Ex 6:23,25 Nu 3:32 20:26-28
- died: Job 30:23 Ps 49:10 Isa 57:1,2 Zec 1:5 Ac 13:36 Heb 7:24 Heb 9:26,27
- Phinehas: Jdg 20:28
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