« הקודםהמשך »
so kind a benefactor, to forsake a friend, who has always been so generous and faithful to us ; especially as our dependence on him is constant and necessary ; we cannot do without him. And his threatenings are as sure as his promises. The punishment of disobedient children will be dreadful in proportion to the goodness of God to them, and the mercy he hath bestowed on them and their parents, and the promises of eternal happiness he hath given them on their obedience. Let all the grace of God's promises and the terror of his threatenings, join to engage us to cleave to him all our days. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, seeing he is faithful who hath promised.
4. Let us frequently consider death as the way of all the earth, as the way in which we must go. This Joshua takes notice of, to excite his own solicitude about the honour of God and the welfare of his people, and to excite their care and attention. It is ap. pointed to all men once to die; there is no discharge in that war ; we are all going to our long home. Joshua, as great and good a man as he was, must go this way. Let us seriously think of this ; and each say to ourselves, "When a few years are come, perhaps a few days, I must go the way of all the earth, the way whence I shall not return.' Let this rouse our inactive spirits, quicken our languid zeal, and animate our endeavours to do good. We see our neighbours and acquaintance continually going this way, and we must soon follow. How suitable and important is Solomon's advice, Eccles. ix. 10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might ; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Joshua had warned Israel in the last chapter, when he thought
himself near death : he was now probably a little recruited, and in this chapter makes another attempt to fix them for God and
religion, and takes a solemn farewell of them : he begins with an - account of the great things God had done for them. 1 A ND Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem,
n whither the ark was probably removed, because it was near to Joshua's abode, 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. Here the cove
nant was first made with Abraham, and with the people at 2 Ebal and Gerizim, near to which Shechem lay. And Joshua
said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel ; language which shows that he spoke under a divine impulse ; not only as a ruler, but as a prophet ; Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood, in Mesopotamia, beyond Euphrates, in old time, [even] Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor : and they served other gods ; 80 that they had no
reason to be proud of their ancestors ; all done for them was 3 from the free grace of God. And I took your father Abraham
from the other side of the flood, apprehended him by my grace, and snatched him out of that idolatrous and wicked place, and took him into acquaintance and covenant with myself ; and I led
him throughout all the land of Canaan, to Shechem, and then 4 to Bethel, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And
I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau : and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it, that I might leave Canaan entire for
Jacob ; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. 5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt; according
to that which I did among them : and afterward I brought 6 you out. And I brought your fathers out of Egypt : and ye
came unto the sea ; and the Egyptians pursued after your 7 fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea. And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and cove ered them ; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt : and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season ; many of those were now living, who, when under twenty years of age,
came out of Egypt : but their fathers fell in the wildernesa. 3 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which
dwelt on the other side Jordan ; and they fought with you :
and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their 9 land ; and I destroyed them from before you. Then Balak
the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred againgt Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse
you ; he intended to make war, and, in order thereto, would 10 first have them cursed : But I would not hearken unto Ba.
laam ; therefore he blessed you still : so I delivered you out 11 of his hand. And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jeri
cho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amo rites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites,
and the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites ; and I 12 delivered them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before
you ; which terrified and stung them before they were attacked • by you ; and during the engagement these terrible creatures
sunk their spirits, and made them an easy prey to you ; which drave them out from before you, (even] the two kings of the
Amorites ; [but] not with thy sword, nor with thy bow, it 13 was all owing to my power. 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 oliveyards which yo · planted not do ye eat ; you had a good land, and all desirable plenty, without your own labour.
14 Now therefore fear the LORD, give him the inward reverence
and homage of your souls, and serve him in sincerity and truth; worship no other god, and him only in the appointed way ; and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt ; and serve ye the LORD ; banish all inclinations to idolatry out of your hearts, and cast away the idols if any remain, which you had in the wilderness. As a prophet perhaps he saw some idols concealed among them,
or an inclination turning that way; he therefore enters into a 15 treaty with them. 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 [were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell ; not as if it were indifferent, but to convince them of the folly of a bad choice, and that they might be more free and willing in their right choice ; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD ; though all of you should forsake God, though I should stand alone, I and my house will serve him. This bold and noble declaration from such a venerable leader, in these af.
fecting circumstances, so deeply impressed their minds, that they 16 would not give him leave to proceed ; And the people, with
great ardour, answered and said, God forbid that we should
forsake the Lord, to serve other gods ; this would be the 17 greatest madness ; we abhor the thought of apostacy. 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 : And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land : (therefore] will we also serve the LORD : for he [is] our God; we acknowledge the force of all these arguments ; we will follow the example of our leader ; and have so many incon.
testable proofs that Jehovah is our God, that we will never for 19 sake him. And Joshua made a remarkable reply, and said unto
the people, If you retain your idols, either in your houses or hearts, and mingle false worship with true, ye cannot serve the LORD,* except you are fixed and fully resolved upon it beforehand ; it is not a light matter, an hasty resolution will not do, you must count the cost ; neither can ye serve the Lord if you allow yourselves in any sinful course ; and therefore consider well what you do, for he [is] an holy God, and will never en. dure a profane people, nor be salixfied with the bare profession of religion without the practice ; and he [is] a jealous God, jealous of his honour, and will not admit of any rival ; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins ; if you continue
. Sone would read it, Cease not to serve the Lard; but our reading seems the best, ne Cannot serve the Lord.
30 in them, he will punish you even more than others. If ye for
sake the LORD, and serve strange gods, the gods of your fathers,
or of the Amorites, then he will turn and do you hurt, and con21 sume you, after that he hath done you good. And the peo
ple said unto Joshua, Nay ; but we will serve the LORD ; all that thou hast said shall not discourage us ; for we are resolved
to serve him only ; nor shall we think the worse of him because 22 ke is an holy and a jealous God. And Joshua said unto the
people, Ye [are] witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him : he strikes in with these good impressions, and adds, ye need no other witnesses buy this word, this covenant, and your own conscienccs. And they said,
[We are] witnesses, and shall be selfcondemned if we make it 23 not good. Now therefore put away, [said he,] the strange
gods which [are] among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel : since you have thus resolved and cova enanted, be as good as your words. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will
we obey. What a solemn and affecting engagement ! Happy 25 for Israel if they had always continued in the same mind. So
Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem ; he made it a standing law for them and their posterity, that they should serde
God only. 26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of
God, in the original copy of the law that was laid up by the ark, to be a witness for God, if they forsook him, and to lay a greater obligation upon all the people ; and he took a great stone, for a memorial of this solemn covenant, and set it up there under
an oak, that (was] by the sanctuary of the LORD, that is, the 27 tabernacle, which was now brought thither, (ch. xviii. 1.) And
Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us : for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us ; it shall bring to your minds what is now done, as well as if it had heard, and could relate it to you
again : it shall therefore be a witness unto you, lest ye deny 28 your God, forsake his pure worship, and fail to idolatry. So
Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance ; he dismissed the assembly, and took his final leave of
Israel. 29 And it came to pass after these things, that Jashua the son
of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, [being] an hundred and ten years old, seventeen years after he came into Ca
naan : leaving a most honourable character, that he had served 30 the Lord faithfully, as Moses his predecessor had done. And
they buried him in the border of his inheritance in TimnathVOL. II.
serah,* which [is] in mount Ephraim, on the north side of 31 the hill of Gaash. 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. There was no public idolatry in their days ; the elders were men of piety, zcal and resolution ; and so far all
things went well. 32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel
brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, near two hundred years after he had given commandment concerning his
bones ; (and it is probable the bones of the other patriarchs were • buried here) in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the
sons of Hamor the father of Shechem, for an hundred pieces, or lambs, of silver : and it became the inheritance of
the children of Joseph. See Acts vii. 16. 33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died ; and they buried him
in a hill (that pertaineth to] Phinchas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim, by an extraordinary gift, that he might be near Joshua and the tabernacle, where he was to be resident, though others think he had it by right of his wife. These last five verses were probably added by Samuel, or some other inspired historian ; all the rest tvas written by Joshua himself.
1. VTT HILE we live let us do what we can for the honour
VV of God and the advancement of religion : Joshua did 80. We should not desire a dismission from serving God and our generation, if he continues our capacity. The rising generation requires all our exhortations, care, and watchfulness. The words of aged, dying saints often make peculiar impressions ; therefore, living and dying, let them bear their testimony to the truth and importance of religion, and labour to fix good impressions on those who are to come after them ; that as one generation of serious christians passeth away, another may come.
2. It becomes us frequently to reflect on the appearances of God for us and our fathers ; to remember what we have seen, what we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us ; this will have a happy tendency to engage us to love and serve God, In this view the bistorical part of the Old Testament, and this book of Joshua especially, is of great service to promote faith in Go:l and obedience to him. Let us remember and own the land of God in these things; they were done in some good mneasure for us ; let us therefore consider them as engagements to serve him in sincerity and truth.
.. Timnath signifies the image of the sun. The Jews suppose the imge of the sun was on his tomb, as a l'mbrance of that great miracle, the sun standing stiil; this was usual among the wicients; a saware was placed on the tomb of Archimedes.