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Joshua reminds the people, assembled for that purpose,
of what God had done, and what he would do for them, ver. 1 - 5.
Exhorts them resolutely to persevere in their duty to God, ver. 6 - 8.
which he enforces by former benefits, and by promises, ver. 9 - 11.
and by threatnings, ver. 12 - 16.
1: A long time - About fourteen years after it.
2: 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.
3: Because of you - For your good, that you might gain by their
4: That remain - Not yet conquered. An inheritance - You shall
certainly subdue them, and inherit their hand, as you have done the rest,
if you be not wanting to yourselves. All the nations - That is, with the
land of those nations; the people put for their land, as we have
seen before; and as sometimes on the contrary, the land is put for the
people. The great sea - Where the Philistines, your most formidable
adversaries yet survive; but them also and their land I have given to you,
and you shall undoubtedly destroy them, if you will proceed vigorously in
6: Very courageous - For it will require great courage and resolution
to execute all the commands of Moses, and particularly, that of
expelling and destroying the residue of the Canaanites.
The right hand or the left - That is, in one kind or other, by adding to
the law, or diminishing from it.
7: Come not - That is, avoid all familiar converse and contracts, but
especially marriages with them. Name their gods - To wit, unnecessarily
and familiarly, lest the mention of them breed discourse about them, and so
by degrees bring to the approbation and worship of them. Nor cause - Nor
require nor compel the Gentiles to swear by them, as they used to do;
especially in leagues and contracts. It is pity, that among Christians, the
name of the Heathen God's are so commonly used, especially in poems. Let
those names which have been set up in rivalship with God, be forever loathed
and lost. Nor bow - Neither give them any inward reverence, or outward
adoration. Here is an observable gradation, whereby he shews what notable
progress sin usually makes, and what need there is to look to the beginnings
of it, forasmuch as a civil and common conversation with their persons was
likely to bring them, and indeed did actually bring them, by insensible
steps, to the worship of their gods. So it is no wonder, if some things not
simply and in themselves evil, be forbidden by God, as here the naming of
their gods is, because they are occasions and introductions to evil.
8: Cleave to the Lord - By constant obedience, entire affection,
faithful service and worship of him alone. To this day - To wit, since
you came in to Canaan; since which time the body of the people (for of
them he speaks, not of every particular person) had behaved themselves much
better than they did in the wilderness, and had not been guilty of any gross
and general apostacy from God, or rebellion against him.
9: No man - To wit, whom you have invaded; otherwise some of those
people did yet remain unconquered.
10: He fighteth - Impute not this therefore to your own valour, as
you will be apt to do, but to God's gracious and powerful assistance.
11: Take heed - Now it requires more watchfulness and diligence than
it did in the wilderness, because your temptations are now stronger; from
the examples and insinuations of your bad neighbours, the remainders of
this wicked people; and from your own peace and prosperity: and the pride,
security, forgetfulness of God, and luxury, which usually attend that
12: Go back - From God, and from his worship and service.
13: Traps to you - By your converse with them, you will be drawn by
degrees into their errors, and impieties, and brutish lusts. Thorns in
your eyes - When they have seduced, and thereby weakened you, then they
will molest and vex you, no less than a severe scourge doth a man's sides
which are lashed by it, or than a small thorn doth the eye when it is
got within it. Till ye perish - They shall so persecute you, and fight
against, you with such success, that you shall be forced to quit your own
land, and wander you know not whither; which must needs be very terrible
to them to think of, when they compared this present ease, and plenty and
safety, with the pains, and weariness, and hazards, and wants of their
14: Of all the earth - That is, of all flesh, or of all men; the way
which all men go; I am about to die, as all men must. To die is, to go a
journey, a journey to our long home. And Joshua himself, tho' he could
so ill be spared, cannot be exempted from this common lot. He takes notice
of it, that they might look on these as his dying words, and regard them
accordingly. Ye know - That is, you know assuredly; your own experience
puts it out of all question.
15: Evil things - The accomplishment of God's promise is a pledge
that he will also fulfil his threatnings; both of them depending upon
the same ground, the faithfulness of God.
16: It will aggravate their perdition, that the land from which they
shall perish is a good land, and a land which God himself had given them:
and which therefore he would have secured to them, if they had not thrown
themselves out of it. "Thus the goodness of the heavenly Canaan,
says Mr. Henry, and the free and sure grant God has made of it, will
aggravate the misery of those that shall forever be shut out and perish
from it. Nothing will make them see how wretched they are, so much as to
see, how happy they might have been." Might have been!
What on the supposition of absolute decrees? How happy might a person
not elected have been? And if he was elected, how could he be
wretched for ever? What art of man can reconcile these things?
Again, shall any of the elect perish for ever? or has God made to
any others, a free and sure grant of the heavenly Canaan? If not, how
can the misery of those that perish be aggravated, by a free and sure
grant which they never had any share in?