So Joshua let the people depart, every man to his inheritance.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)So Joshua let the people depart . . .—This passage is recited in Judges 2:6-9.
That was by the sanctuary of the Lord - i. e. the spot where Abraham and Jacob had sacrificed and worshipped, and which might well be regarded by their posterity as a holy place or sanctuary. Perhaps the very altar of Abraham and Jacob was still remaining.
took a great stone—according to the usage of ancient times to erect stone pillars as monuments of public transactions.
set it up there under an oak—or terebinth, in all likelihood, the same as that at the root of which Jacob buried the idols and charms found in his family.
that was by the sanctuary of the Lord—either the spot where the ark had stood, or else the place around, so called from that religious meeting, as Jacob named Beth-el the house of God.So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. let the people depart] On the breaking up of this august assembly every man returned to the lot of his inheritance in the newly acquired and goodly Land of Promise. For the section to Joshua 24:31 comp. Jdg 2:6-10. “Nothing can be conceived more impressive or more sublime than the circumstances of this last public interview of the aged Leader with the people whom he had put in possession of the goodly land of Canaan, and who had so often followed him in his victorious path. In the midst of the elders, the chiefs, and magistrates of Israel; surrounded by a respectful people, formerly bondsmen of Pharaoh, but now in possession of a rich and beautiful country, and the sole survivors of an untoward generation, their illustrious and venerable commander—the oldest man in all their nation—spoke to them as to his sons. And of what did he speak? He was a soldier, and his career had been essentially military; but he spoke to them, not of conquest—the sound of the trumpet and the gleam of the sword cannot be recognised in his address—but of the holiness and the obedience which become the people chosen of God. It is such a discourse as a patriarch might have given upon his deathbed, or a prophet might have uttered from the valley of vision.”—Kitto’s Bible Illustrations, ii. 314.Genesis 35:4, and 1 Samuel 7:4. Even if the people had carried idols about with them in the desert, as the prophet Amos stated to his contemporaries (Amos 5:26; cf. Acts 7:43), the grosser forms of idolatry had disappeared from Israel with the dying out of the generation that was condemned at Kadesh. The new generation, which had been received afresh into covenant with the Lord by the circumcision at Gilgal, and had set up this covenant at Ebal, and was now assembled around Joshua, the dying servant of God, to renew the covenant once more, had no idols of wood, stone, or metal, but only the "figments of false gods," as Calvin calls them, the idols of the heart, which it was to put away, that it might give its heart entirely to the Lord, who is not content with divided affections, but requires the whole heart (Deuteronomy 6:5-6).
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