Joshua 23:1
And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
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(a) To the rulers (Joshua 23).

(b) To the people (Joshua 24 to Joshua 24:25).


(1) Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.—The same expression employed in Joshua 13:1. It is possible that we ought to translate thus: “It came to pass, a long time after the Lord had given rest . . . and (after) Joshua had grown old, advanced in days, that Joshua called . . .” Or it may be that we have here, as it were, “the two evenings” of Joshua’s life: the early evening, when his sun began to decline—the afternoon; and the late evening, just before its glorious setting in the service of Jehovah on earth, to “serve Him day and night in His temple.”

(Our Lord fed the five thousand between the two evenings—Matthew 14:15; Matthew 14:23. So Joshua gave Israel their inheritance between the two evenings of his life.)

Joshua 23:1-2. A long time after the Lord had given rest unto Israel — That is, about fourteen years after the conquest of the country, and seven after the division of it among the tribes: see Joshua 11:23; Joshua 14:10. Joshua called — Either to his own city, or rather to Shiloh, the usual place of such assemblies, where his words, being uttered before the Lord, were likely to have the more effect upon them. All Israel — Not all the people in their own persons, but in their representatives, by their elders, heads, judges, and officers. Probably he took the opportunity of one of the three great feasts. You will not have me long to preach to you; therefore observe what I say, and lay it up for the time to come.23:1-10 Joshua was old and dying, let them observe what he said now. He put them in mind of the great things God had done for them in his days. He exhorted them to be very courageous. Keep with care, do with diligence, and regard with sincerity what is written. Also, very cautiously to endeavour that the heathen idolatry may be forgotten, so that it may never be revived. It is sad that among Christians the names of the heathen gods are so commonly used, and made so familiar as they are. Joshua exhorts them to be very constant. There might be many things amiss among them, but they had not forsaken the Lord their God; the way to make people better, is to make the best of them.This and the next chapter contain the last addresses of Joshua. These addresses were no doubt among the closing acts of Joshua's life, but were evidently given on different occasions, and are of different character and scope. In the former Joshua briefly reminds the princes of the recent benefits of God toward them and their people, declares that God had fulfilled all His promises, and exhorts to faithfulness on their side to God that so His mercies may not be withdrawn: in the latter he takes a wider range, rehearses the gracious dealings of God with the nation from its very origin, and upon these as his grounds, he claims for God their sincere and entire service. But he grants them the option of withdrawing from the covenant if they so choose; and when they elect still to abide by it, it is solemnly renewed by the free consent of the whole people. Joshua's reproofs and warnings are in sum and substance identical with those with which Moses closed his career (Deuteronomy 31, etc.). Compare throughout the marginal references. CHAPTER 23

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.Joshua being old assembles the people; declares the wonders God had wrought for them, and would work, in expelling the Canaanites, Joshua 23:1-5. Exhorts them to be courageous, to observe the law, and beware of idolatry, Joshua 23:6-8; which he enforces by former benefits, and promises, Joshua 23:9-11; by threatenings, Joshua 23:12-16.

A long time; about fourteen years after it.

And it came to pass a long time after,.... Or "after many days" (o), that is, years:

that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about; the greatest part of the land of Canaan was subdued, the whole divided by lot to the tribes of Israel, and they quietly settled in the respective portions assigned them, the Canaanites that remained giving them no disturbance, in which state of rest and peace they had now been for some years; and this may be reasonably supposed to be the last year of the life of Joshua, see Joshua 23:14.

that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age; and became feeble and decrepit, and greatly declined; for though he was ten years younger than Moses when he died, yet not so vigorous, strong, and robust as he, but was pressed and bore down with the infirmities of age.

(o) "post dies multos", Pagninus, Masius, Tigurine version; "exactis maltis diebus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
Ch. Joshua 23:1-16. Joshua’s first Farewell Address

1. had given rest] Comp. Joshua 21:43-44; Joshua 22:3-4.

waxed old] Comp. Joshua 13:1, “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years.”

stricken in age] Heb. come into days; “of ful eld age,” Wyclif.Verse 1. - Waxed old and stricken in age. Literally, was old, advanced in days (see Joshua 13:1). But this refers to a more advanced age still, when the patriarch felt his powers failing him, and desired, as far as his influence went, to preserve the Israelites in the path in which they had walked since their entrance into Canaan. Calvin has some good remarks on the "pious solicitude" shown by the aged warrior for those whom he had led in time of war and guided in time of peace. He seems to have sent for the chief men in Israel to his home at Timnath-Serah, where apparently he had led a retired and peaceful life, only coming forward to direct the affairs of the nation when necessity required. His address is simple and practical. He reminds them that they will soon lose the benefit of his experience and authority, and of the work that he had done, under God's direction, in settling them in the land. Then he proceeds to urge strict obedience to the law of God, reminding them that victory is assured to them, if they will but be true to themselves and their calling as the servants of God, but that as certainly as they neglect to do so, wrath and misery will be their portion. He emphasizes his words by reminding them how amply God had fulfilled his promise, and concludes with a picture of the evil which will befall them if they rebel against God. The speakers conclude with an expression of horror at the thought of rebelling against Jehovah. ממּנּוּ לנוּ חלילה, "far be it from us away from Him (ממּנּוּ equals מיהוה, 1 Samuel 24:7; 1 Samuel 26:11; 1 Kings 21:3), to rebel against Jehovah," etc.
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