Joshua 22:3
You have not left your brothers these many days to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
22:1-9 Joshua dismisses the tribes with good counsel. Those who have the commandment have it in vain, unless they do the commandment; and it will not be done aright unless we take diligent heed. In particular to love the Lord our God, as the best of beings, and the best of friends; and as far as that principle rules in the heart, there will be constant care and endeavour to walk in his ways, even those that are narrow and up-hill. In every instance to keep his commandments. At all times, and in all conditions, with purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord, and to serve him and his kingdom among men, with all our heart, and with all our soul. This good counsel is given to all; may God give us grace to take it!The events of this chap. are no doubt recorded in their proper historical order. The auxiliary forces of the trans-Jordanic tribes were not sent away immediately after the campaigns against the Canaanites were over. They set forth from Shiloh, Joshua 22:9, to which place the sanctuary had been removed Joshua 18:1 after the conquest and the settlement of the children of Judah and of Joseph in their possessions, and after the appointment of the Levitical cities. 3. Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day—for the space of seven years. These many days, i.e. for divers years together, so long as the war lasted. See Joshua 11:18 14:10. Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day,.... For the space of fourteen years, which is the commonly received notion of the Jews (f); seven years according to them the land was subduing, and seven more spent in dividing it, and then these tribes were sent for and dismissed; all this time they stayed close by their brethren, and assisted them in their wars, and never offered to return to their wives and children, until they had an order from their general:

but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God; for what both Moses and Joshua commanded them was from the mouth of the Lord; so that, in obeying them, they obeyed him.

(f) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 32.

Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the charge of the commandment] They had kept their obligations to Moses, to Joshua, and to Jehovah.Verse 3. - Many days (see note on ver. 1). The expression in the original implies more, a great many days, the usual expression for a period of considerable length. Thus the military service of these tribes must under any circumstances have been a prolonged and arduous one, and they well deserved the encomiums which Joshua here lavishes upon them. It is a remarkable and almost inexplicable fact, that while the sojourn in the wilderness is represented as one long catalogue of murmurings, not one single complaint (unless we may call the gentle expostulation of the tribe of Joseph, in ch. 17, a complaint) disturbs the peace of the tribes while Joshua led them. This remarkable consistency of the narrative throughout, so great a contrast to what precedes and what follows, and felt to be so by the writer (Joshua 24:31), is of itself no small pledge of the trustworthiness of the whole. A collector at random from various narratives, themselves to a considerable extent fictitious, could hardly have managed to cull portions which would form an harmonious whole. A writer who was inventing his details would hardly have thought of making his history so great a contrast to the rest of the history of Israel, save with the idea of exalting the character of his hero. But there is no attempt to set Joshua above Moses, or any other Jewish leader. In fact, it is an argument for the early composition of the hook that there is no reference, not even an allusion, to any later events in the history of Israel. Why there was this marked difference between Israel under Joshua, and Israel at any other time, is a question somewhat difficult to determine. Yet we may believe that it was the evidence of visible success. While the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, they felt keenly, as men accustomed to a civilised and settled life, the inconveniences of a nomad existence. By their mingled impatience and cowardice they had forfeited their claim to God's protection. Even the observance of their feasts, and still further the rite of initiation into the covenant itself, were in abeyance (see notes on Joshua 5:2-8). So uncertain, humanly speaking, was their future, that it was as difficult a task, and one the successful accomplishment of which was above unassisted human powers, for Moses to keep them together in the wilderness, as it was for Joshua to lead them to victory in the promised land. And it is one of the commonest of Christian experiences, both in the history of individuals and of the Christian Church, that times of prosperity are times of content and outward satisfaction. It is the times of adversity that try men's faith and patience. As long as the Israelitish Church was subduing kingdoms, winning splendid victories, experiencing the encouragement derivable from God's sensible presence and intervention, there was no discontent, discouragement, or wavering. But the trials of the long wandering, as well as those incident to the quiet, unostentatious discharge of duty, were fatal to their faith and patience. Can theirs be said to be a singular history? Kept the charge. The words in the original have reference to the punctual discharge of a duty entrusted to a person to fulfil. It may be rendered, "kept the observance of the commandment." This commandment, as we have before seen, was given in Numbers 32. (see also Joshua 1:12-18). They received twelve towns in all. - In Joshua 21:41 and Joshua 21:42 the list of the Levitical towns is closed with a statement of their total number, and also with the repetition of the remark that "these cities were every one with their suburbs round about them." ום עיר עיר, city city, i.e., every city, with its pasture round about it.
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