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In this chapter,
- God appoints Joshua to govern in the stead of Moses,
and gives him instructions and encouragement, ver. 1 - 9.
- He enters on his office immediately, giving orders to the
officers, and to the two tribes and an half, ver. 10 - 1 5.
- The people accept him as their governor, ver. 16 - 18
1: After the death of Moses - Either immediately after it, or when
the days of mourning for Moses were expired. Joshua was appointed
and declared Moses's successor in the government before this time; and
here he receives confirmation from God therein. The servant of the
Lord - This title is given to Moses here and (Jos 1:2), as also(De 34:5), and is repeated not without cause, to reflect honour upon
him, to give authority to his laws and writings, in publishing whereof he
acted as God's servant, in his name: and that the Israelites might not
think of Moses above what was meet, remembering that he was not the Lord
himself, but only the Lord's servant; and therefore not to be too
pertinaciously followed in all his institutions when the Lord himself should
come and abolish part of the Mosaical dispensation; it being but reasonable
that he who was only a servant in God's house, should give place to him who
was the son, and heir, and Lord of it. The Lord spake - Either in a dream
or vision, or by Urim, (Nu 27:21).
Moses's minister - Who had waited upon Moses in his great employments,
and thereby been privy to his manner of government, and so prepared for it.
2: Now therefore arise - Let not the withering of the most useful
hands be the weakening of ours. When God has work to do, he will either
find or make instruments fit to carry it on. Moses the servant is
dead; but God the master is not: he lives forever. This Jordan - Which is
now near thee, which is the only obstacle in thy way to Canaan.
Which I give - That is, am now about to give thee actual possession of it,
as I formerly gave a right to it by promise.
3: Every place - That is, within the following bounds.
4: This Lebanon - Emphatically, as being the most eminent mountain in
Syria, and the northern border of the land: or this which is within
thy view. Hittites - Of the Canaanites, who elsewhere are all called
Amorites; ((Ge 15:16)) and here
Hittites, the Hittites being the most considerable and formidable of
all. The greater - The midland sea, great in itself, and especially
compared with those lesser collections of waters, which the Jews called
seas. "But the Israelites never possessed all this land."
- That was from their own sloth and cowardice, and disobedience to God,
and breach of those conditions upon which this promise was suspended:
- Though their possessions extended not to Euphrates, yet their
dominion did, and all those lands were tributary to them in David's and
5: With Moses - To assist him against all his enemies, and in all the
difficulties of governing this stiff - necked people, which Joshua might
justly fear no less than the Canaanites. Forsake thee - I will not
leave thee destitute either of inward support, or of outward assistance.
6: Be strong and of a good courage - Joshua, though a person of
great courage and resolution, whereof he had given sufficient proof, yet
needs these exhortations, partly because his work was great, and difficult,
and long, and in a great measure new; partly because he had a very mean
opinion of himself, especially if compared with Moses; and remembering
how perverse and ungovernable that people were, even under Moses, he
might very well suspect the burden of ruling them would be too heavy for his
7: Commanded thee - Remember, that though thou art the commander of
my people, yet thou art my subject, and obliged to observe all my commands.
To the right hand or to the left - That is, in any kind, or upon any
pretence; which plainly shews, that God's assistance promised to him and the
Israelites, was conditional, and might justly be withdrawn upon their
breach of the conditions. Whithersoever thou goest - That is, whatsoever
thou doest. Mens actions are often compared to ways, or steps by which they
come to the end they aim at.
8: Out of thy mouth - That is, thou shalt constantly read it, and
upon occasion discourse of it, and the sentence which shall come out of thy
mouth, shall in all things be given according to this rule.
Day and night - That is, diligently study, and upon all occasions consider
what is God's will and thy duty. The greatness of thy place and employments
shall not hinder thee from this work, because this is the only rule of all
thy private actions, and publick administrations.
9: I commanded thee - I whom thou art obliged to obey: I who can
carry thee through every thing I put thee upon: I of whose faithfulness
and almighty power thou hast had large experience?
10: The officers of the people - These who commanded under Joshua,
in their respective tribes and families, attended him for orders, which they
were to transmit to the people.
11: Prepare you victuals - For although Manna was given them to
supply their want of ordinary provisions in the wilderness; yet they were
allowed, when they had opportunity, to purchase other provisions, and did
so, (De 2:6,28). And now having been some time in the land of the
Amorites, and together with Manna used themselves to other food,
which that country plentifully supplied them with; they are warned to
furnish themselves therewith for their approaching march.
Three days - These words, though placed here, seem not to have been
delivered by Joshua 'till after the return of the spies; such
transpositions being frequent in scripture. And hence it comes, that these
three days mentioned here below, after the history of the spies, are again
repeated (Jos 3:2).
13: Commanded you - His charge to you, and your promise to him.
Rest - That is, a place of rest, as that word signifies.
14: Before their brethren - In the front of all of them; which was
but reasonable; because they had the advantage of their brethren, having
actually received their portion, which their brethren had only in hope,
because they were freed from those impediments which the rest were exposed
to, their wives, and children, and estates being safely lodged; and to
prevent their withdrawing themselves from the present service, which they
otherwise would have had temptation to do, because of the nearness of their
habitations. Armed - For by this time they were well furnished with arms,
which they had either from the Egyptians, Amalekites, or Amorites,
from whom they had taken them; or by purchase from those people by whose
borders they passed. Men of valour - All such were obliged to go over if
occasion required it, but Joshua took only some of them, because they
were sufficient for his purpose, and because some were fit to be left, both
to secure their own wives, children, and possessions, and to prevent their
enemies on that side from giving them disturbance in their enterprise upon
16: And they answered - Not the two tribes and an half only, but
the officers of all the people, in their name, concurring with the
divine appointment, by which Joshua was set over them. Thus must we
swear allegiance to our Lord Jesus, as the captain of our salvation.
17: Unto thee - The same obedience which we owed, to Moses, we
promise unto thee. With Moses - This is not a limitation of their
obedience, as if they would not obey him any longer than he was prosperous,
but an additional prayer for him. As we have hereby promised thee our
obedience, so our prayer shall be, that God would bless and prosper thee,
as he did Moses.