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Joshua 24:25-33

25. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

25. Percussit itaque Josue foedus cum populo in die illa: et prosposuit ei praeceptum et judicium in Sechem. 206206     The Septuagint says, “In Shiloh, before the tabernacle of the God of Israel;” and some expositors, induced by this and other considerations, labor, though with little plausibility, to show that the whole transaction here recorded took place at Shiloh, and that the name of Shechem is not here given to the town of that name, but to a district so large, that even Shiloh was included in it. — Ed.

26. 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.

26. Scripsit Josue verba ista in libro Legis Dei: tulit quoque lapidem magnum, statuitque eum ibi subter quercum, quae erat in sanctuario Jehovae.

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

27. Dixitque Josue ad universum populum, En lapis iste erit nobis in testimonium: ipse enim audivit omnia verba Jehovae quae loquutus est nobiscum, eritque contra vos in testimonium, ne forte mentiamini contra Deum vestrum.

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

28. Remisitque Josue populum, quemlibet in haereditatem suam.

29. And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.

29. His autem gestis, mortuus est Josue filius Nun servus Jehovae centum et decem annorum. 207207     The Septuagint here transposes Joshua 24:29 and 31, and to the end of Joshua 24:29, thus made its Joshua 24:31, appends the singular statement that they deposited, within the tomb which they erected for him there, the stone knives with which he circumcised the children of Israel at Gilgal, when he brought them out of Egypt, as the Lord commanded them; and there they are at this day. — Ed.

30. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.

30. Sepelieruntque eum in termino haereditatis ejus in Thimnatserah, quae est in monte Ephraim ad aquilonem montis Gaas.

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

31. Servivitque Israel Jehovae cunctis diebus Josue, cunctisque diebus eniorum qui diu vixerunt post Josue, quinque noverunt omne opus Jehovae quod fecerat ipsi Israel.

32. And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

32. Ossa autem Joseph quae detulerant filii Israel ex Aegypto, sepelierunt in Sechem, in parte agri quam acquisierat Jacob a filiis Hamor patris Sechem centum nummis, et fuerunt filiis Joseph in possessione sua.

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.

33. Porro Eleazar filius Aharon mortuus est, et sepelierunt eum in Gibeath Phinees filii ejus, qui datus fuit illi in monte Ephraim.


25. So Joshua made a covenant, etc This passage demonstrates the end for which the meeting had been called, namely, to bind the people more completely and more solemnly to God, by the renewal of the covenant. Therefore, in this agreement, Joshua acted as if he had been appointed on the part of God to receive in his name the homage and obedience promised by the people. It is accordingly added, exegetically, in the second clause, that he set before them precept and judgment. For the meaning is corrupted and wrested by some expositors, who explain it is referring to some new speech of Joshua, whereas it ought properly to be understood of the Law of Moses, as if it had been said that Joshua made no other paction than that they should remain steadfast in observing the Law, and that no other heads of the covenant were brought forward; they were only confirmed in that doctrine which they had formerly embraced and professed. In the same way, Malachi, to keep them under the yoke of God, demands nothing more than that they should remember the Law of Moses. (Malachi 4:4)

26. And Joshua wrote these words, etc Understand that authentic volume which was kept near the ark of the covenant, as if it contained public records deposited for perpetual remembrance. And there is no doubt that when the Law was read, the promulgation of this covenant was also added. But as it often happens, that that which is written remains concealed in unopened books, 208208     The French adds, “Et on le laisse la dormir;” “And it is left to sleep there.” — Ed. another aid is given to the memory, one which should always be exposed to the eye, namely, the stone under the ark, near the sanctuary. Not that the perpetual station of the ark was there, but because it had been placed there, in order that they might appear in the presence of God. Therefore, as often as they came into his presence, the testimony or memorial of the covenant which had been struck was in their view, that they might be the better kept in the faith.

Joshua’s expression, that the stone heard the words, is indeed hyperbolical, but is not inapt to express the efficacy and power of the divine word, as if it had been said that it pierces inanimate rocks and stones; so that if men are deaf, their condemnation is echoed in all the elements. To lie is here used, as it frequently is elsewhere, for acting cunningly and deceitfully, for frustrating and violating a promise that has been given. Who would not suppose that a covenant so well established would be firm and sacred to posterity for many ages? But all that Joshua gained by his very great anxiety was to secure its rigorous observance for a few years.

29. And it came to pass after these things, etc The honor of sepulture was a mark of reverence, which of itself bore testimony to the affectionate regard of the people. But neither this reverence nor affection was deeply rooted. The title by which Joshua is distinguished after his death, when he is called the servant of the Lord, took away all excuse from those miserable and abandoned men who shortly after spurned the Lord, who had worked wonders among them. Accordingly, attention is indirectly drawn to their inconstancy, when it is said that they served the Lord while Joshua survived, and till the more aged had died out. For there is a tacit antithesis, implying lapse and alienation, when they were suddenly seized with a forgetfulness of the Divine favors. It is not strange, therefore, if, in the present day also, when God furnishes any of his servants with distinguished and excellent gifts, their authority protects and preserves the order and state of the Church; but when they are dead, sad havoc instantly commences, and hidden impiety breaks forth with unbridled license. 209209     When these words were penned, the venerable writer, though it could scarcely be said of him that he was, like Joshua, “old and stricken in age,” was, however, like him, visibly “going the way of all the earth.” In such circumstances, can we doubt, that these words contain a presentiment of the fearful decline which, after his own death, was to take place in the Church of Geneva? — Ed.

32. And the bones of Joseph, etc The time when the bones of Joseph were buried is not mentioned; but it is easy to infer that the Israelites had performed this duty after they obtained a peaceful habitation in the city of Shechem. For although he had not designated a particular place for a sepulchre, they thought it a mark of respect to deposit his bones in the field which Jacob had purchased. It may be, however, that this is expressed as a censure on the sluggishness of the people, to which it was owing, that Joseph could not be buried with Abraham, that locality being still in the power of the enemy. Stephen (Acts 7) mentions the bones of the twelve patriarchs, and it is not impossible that the other tribes, from feelings of emulation, gathered together the ashes of their progenitors. It is there said that the field was purchased by Abraham; but obviously an error in the name has crept in. With regard to sepulture, we must hold in general, that the very frequent mention of it in Scripture is owing to its being a symbol of the future Resurrection.


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