Jos 23:1, 2. Joshua's
Exhortation before His Death.
1. a long time after that the Lord had given rest
unto Israel from all their enemies—about fourteen years after
the conquest of Canaan, and seven after the distribution of that
country among the tribes.
2. Joshua called for all Israel—The
clause which follows seems to restrict this general expression as
applicable only to the officers and representatives of the people. The
place of assembly was most probably Shiloh. The occasion of convening
it was the extreme age and approaching death of the venerable leader;
and the purport of this solemn address was to animate the chosen people
and their posterity to a faithful and unswerving continuance in the
faith and worship of the God of Israel.
By Former Benefits.
3. ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath
done unto all these nations because of you—The modesty and
humility of Joshua are remarkably displayed at the commencement of this
address. Dismissing all thoughts of his personal services, he ascribed
the subjugation and occupation of Canaan entirely to the favoring
presence and aid of God; and in doing so, he spoke not more piously
than truly. This had been promised (De 1:30; 3:22); and the reality of the divine aid was
seen in the rapid overthrow of the Canaanites, which had already led to
the division of the whole land among the tribes [Jos 23:4].
Jos 23:5-11. By
5-11. the Lord your God, he shall expel them from
before you, as the Lord your God hath promised you,
&c.—The actual possessions which God had given were a pledge
of the complete fulfilment of His promise in giving them the parts of
the country still unconquered. But the accomplishment of the divine
promise depended on their inviolable fidelity to God's law—on
their keeping resolutely aloof from all familiar intercourse and
intimate connections with the Canaanites, or in any way partaking of
their idolatrous sins. In the event of their continuing in steadfast
adherence to the cause of God, as happily distinguished the nation at
that time, His blessing would secure them a course of brilliant and
easy victories (Le 26:7; De 28:7; 32:30).
11. Take good heed, therefore, that ye love the
Lord your God—The sum of his exhortation is comprised in the
love of God, which is the end or fulfilment of the law (De 6:5;
11:13; Mt 22:37).
By Threatenings in Case of
12, 13. Else if ye do in any wise go back, and
cleave unto the remnant of these nations—As marriage
connections with the idolatrous Canaanites would present many and
strong temptations to transgress it, these were strictly prohibited
(Ex 34:12-16; De 7:3). With his eye, as it were, upon those
prohibitions, Joshua threatens them with the certain withdrawal of the
divine aid in the further expulsion of the Canaanites (a threat founded
Ex 23:33; Nu 33:55; De 7:16).