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Threatenings and Promises.
Joshua's Charge to the People.
(12) Else if ye do in any a E 3:33. Num. this good land which the LORD your wise go back, and cleave unto the
God hath given you. (16) When ye have remnant of these nations, even these
transgressed the covenant of the LORD that remain among you, and shall
your God, which he commanded you, make marriages with them, and go in
and have gone and served other gods, unto them, and they to you : (13) know
and bowed yourselves to them; then for a certainty that the LORD your God
shall the anger of the Lord be kindled will no more drive out any of these
against you, and ye shall perish quickly nations from before you; but they
from off the good land which he hath shall be snares and traps unto you, 6 ch. 21. 45. given unto you. and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off
CHAPTER XXIV.-(1) And Joshua this good land which the LORD your
gathered all the tribes of Israel to SheGod hath given you.
chem, and called for the elders of Israel, (14) And, behold, this day I am going
and for their heads, and for their judges, the way of all the earth: and ye know
and for their officers; and they prein all your hearts and in all your souls,
sented themselves before God. that not one thing hath failed of all
(2) And Joshua said unto all the people, the good things which the LORD your
Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, God spake concerning you; all are come
Your fathers dwelt on the other side to pass unto you, and not one thing hath
of the flood in old time, even Terah, the failed thereof. (15) Therefore it shall
father of Abraham, and the father of come to pass, that as all good things
Nachor: and they served other gods. are come upon you, which the LORD
(3) And I took your father Abraham from your God promised you; so shall the
the other side of the flood, and led him LORD bring upon you all evil things,
throughout all the land of Canaan, and until he have destroyed you from off a Gen. 21. 2. multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
c Gen. 11. 31 ;
Judith 5, 6, 7.
1 (12, 13) If ye ... make marriages with them
XXIV. the Lord your God will no more drive out. The common-sense of this warning is manifest.
(6) Joshua's LAST CHARGE TO THE PEOPLE. The God of Israel cannot treat as His enemies (1, 2) Joshua gathered all the tribes .,.-At those whom Israel has united with itself, unless He the former address the rulers alone appear to have been also makes war on Israel. It was a long time before present; on this occasion all Israel was gathered. And Israel learned the lesson how to live in the world what is spoken is addressed to the people in the hearing without being of the world. It was not learnt until of the rulers. In the speech that now follows Joshua after the Babylonish captivity, and when learnt, it briefly recapitulates the national history; he had not soon developed into a Pharisaical exclusiveness, which thought this necessary for the rulers. To them he had produced the very opposite effect to that which the law said, “ Ye know ;” but “the people” embraced many was intended to have.
persons of but little thought and education, whom it (14) Ye know that not one thing hath was necessary to inform and remind and instruct, even failed.-These words, as well as the similar statement as to the leading events of their national history. in chap. xxi. 43—45, show that though the conquest of The simple lesson which Joshua's words are in. Canaan by Joshua was in one way a limited conquest, yet tended to enforce is the duty of serving Jehovah, and it fully satisfied the hopes of Israel for the time : i.e., serving Him alone. It is the first great lesson of the that they understood the Divine promises in that sense old covenant. “I am Jehovah, thy God; thou shalt in which we see them to have been actually fulfilled. have no other gods beside Me." The ark of this (15) As all good things are come upon you covenant had brought them over Jordan into the
so shall ... all evil things.-Comp. Deut. promised land. viii. 19, 20, and xxx. 17, 18, and xxviii. throughout.
(2) Your fathers dwelt on the other side of The above exhortations are upon matters that lie the flood. The flood, i.e., the river — probably within the province of the ruler. The law must be Euphrates, though it may be Jordan, or both. Flood forgotten if the magistrates will not enforce it. in our English Bible has been used for river in several Marriages and treaties
and public worship are matters places : e.g., Job. xxii. 16, “whose foundation was under the control of the law. What the rulers will not overflown with a flood,” i.e., a river; Psalm lxvi. 6, tolerate, the people will find it hard to maintain. “He turned the sea into dry land: they went through
(16) The resemblance between this verse and an the flood (the river, i.e., Jordan) on foot ;” Matt. vii. exhortation in Deuteronomy should be noticed, chap. 25, 27, “ The rain descended, and the floods (i.e., the xi. 16, 17, “ Take heed to yourselves, lest . . yo turn rivers) came." aside and serve other grds and worship them; and then They served other gods.-They, i.e., Terah, the Lord's wrath be kindled against you : :
Abraham, and Nachor. perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord (3) The flood-r.e., the river, as in verse 2; and so giveth you."
also in verse 15.
He Recounts God's Benefits
before the Tribes.
a Gen. 25. 26.
c Gen. 46. 6.
d Ex. 3. 10.
e Ex. 12. 37.
(4) And I gave unto Isaac a Jacob and
the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. (13) And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
(14) Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth : and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. (15) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your
fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
(16) And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; (17) for the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed : (18) and the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land : therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.
(19) And Joshua said unto the people,
Ex. 14. 9.
h Num. 22.5; Deut.
i Ex. 23. 28; Deut.
(9) Warred against Israel.-The sending for “ house to the same service. What is known of Balaam was a distinct act of hostility. Whether Balak his family? It is a singular fact that no descendant of himself ever led an army against Israel we are not the great conqueror, no member of his household, is informed. In the war with the Midianites, Balaam named in the Bible. In the genealogies of Ephraim was slain; and there may have been Moabites allied in 1 Chron. vii., Joshua's name is the last in his own and acting with the Midianites in the war in line (ver. 27: “Non his son, Jehoshuah his son”). I Num. xxxi.
cannot but regard the silence of Scripture under this (12) The hornet. There appears no
reason for head as profoundly significant. It is one more anataking this word in any other than a literal sense. The logy between the Joshua of the Old Testament and his possibility of what is recorded here has been abun- great Antitype in the Gospel : "whose house are we, dantly illustrated by events reported in our own times. if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the
The two kings of the Amorites.-Apparently, hope firm unto the end ” (Heb. ii. 6). The house but not necessarily, Sihon and Og are intended. of Joshua embraces all the faithful servants of the There were kings of the Amorites on both sides of Lord. Jordan.
(16) God forbid that we should forsake the (14) Fear the Lord. It should be remembered Lord, to serve other gods.--The feelings of the throughout the whole of this passage that Lord stands people are naturally shocked by the bare mention of for JEHOVAH, the covenant God of Israel.
apostasy. They will not forsake Jehovah on any (15) The Amorites.-Here used generically for the account. But their answer only betrayed their want inhabitants of Canaan,
of intelligence. They missed the point of Joshua's As for me and my house, we will serve argument, as may be seen by his reply. the Lord.-For Joshua himself the service of (19) And Joshua said
Ye cannot serve Jehovah on earth was nearly over. He pledges his į the Lord : for he is
A Stone set up
as Witness of the Covenant.
a ch. 23. 15.
Ye cannot serve the LORD : for he is an
book of the law of God, and took a great holy God; he is a jealous God; he will
stone, and set it up there under an oak, not forgive your transgressions nor your
that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. sins. (20) If ye forsake the LORD, and
(27) And Joshua said unto all the people, serve strange gods, a then he will turn
Behold, this stone shall be a witness and do you hurt, and consume you, after
unto us; for it hath heard all the words that he hath done you good.
of the LORD which he spake unto us : it (21) And the people said unto Joshua,
shall be therefore a witness unto you, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. • shi10. 50; Juds. lest ye deny your God.
(28) So Joshua (22) And Joshua said unto the people,
let the people depart, every man unto Ye are witnesses against yourselves that
his inheritance. ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve
(29) And it came to pass after these him. And they said, We are witnesses.
things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the (23) Now therefore put away, said he,
servant of the LORD, died, being an hunthe strange gods which are among
dred and ten years old. (30) And they you, and incline your heart unto the
buried him in the border of his inheritLORD God of Israel. (24) And the
ance in Timnath-serah, which is in people said unto Joshua, The LORD our 1 Heb.. prolonged mount Ephraim, on the north side of God will we serve, and his voice will we
their days after the hill of Gaash. obey.
(31) And Israel served the LORD all the (25) So Joshua made a covenant with
days of Joshua, and all the days of the the people that day, and set them a
elders that loverlived Joshua, and which statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
had known all the works of the LORD, (26) And Joshua wrote these words in the
that he had done for Israel.
B. C. cir. 1426.
Jehovah will not consent to be served as one God Old Testament. The first is that of Moses, in Deut. among many: the very thing which Israel was doing xxxi. 9 :" Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the at the moment, which they meant to do, and did do, priests,” &c. The next signature after Joshua's is that with rare intervals, down to the Babylonish captivity, of Samuel (1 Sam. x. 25): "Samuel told the people, when the evil spirit of (literal) idolatry was expelled the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in the (not a] for evermore. Israel always maintained the worship book, and laid it up before the Lord.” We have hero of Jehovah (except in very evil times) as the national a clue to the authorship of the Old Testament, and Deity, but did not abstain from the recognition and to the view of the writers who succeeded Moses in partial worship of other national deities of whom they what they did. They did not look upon themselves as were afraid, and whom they thought it necessary
to writers of distinct books, but as authorised to add propitiate. Therefore Joshua's argument is perfectly their part to the book already written, to write what intelligible, and was entirely necessary for those was assigned to them “in the book of the law of times.
God." The unity of Holy Scripture is thus seen to (21) Nay; but we will serve the Lord.-Being have been an essential feature of the Bible from the brought to the point, no other answer was possible. If they must give up Jehovah or the idols, the idols must (38—31) So Joshua let the people depart
- This passage is recited in Judges ii. 6—9. (22, 23) Ye are witnesses
(29) Än hundred and ten years old.-The have chosen you the Lord
Now mention in verse 31 of "elders that prolonged their therefore put away
the strange days after Joshua” seems to suggest that Joshua's gods.-This was the practical conclusion to which death was comparatively an early death.* Had he Joshua desired that they should come. But we do thought and laboured more for himself and less for not read that they did anything in obedience to these Israel, he also might have prolonged his days. But, words. We read of no images being buried or burned, like his Antitype, he pleased not himself, and, like a as in the days of Jacob by David (Gen. xxxv. 4; good and faithful servant, he entered all the sooner 2 Sam. v. 21). There is only a verbal promise : into the joy of his Lord. ** The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will (31) Israel served the Lord all the days of we obey."
of the elders that over(25) Šo Joshua made a covenant-i.e., a cove- lived Joshua.-It cannot surprise us that the pernant that idolatry should not be tolerated in Israel, or sonal influence of the man and of the events of his suffered to exist. We read of similar covenants in the day was so difficult to efface. There was a primitive reign of Asa (2 Chron. xv. 12, 13), in the reign of Church in Canaan as well as in the Roman Empire. Joash, by Jehoiada (2 Chron. xxiii. 16), and of Josiah The short duration of the one seems to have an analogy (2 Chron. xxxiv. 31, 32).
in the case of the other. (26) And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God.-Primarily these
* Yet Brugsch states that the Egyptians “addressed to the words" appear to refer to the transaction just re- host of the holy gods the prayer to preserve and lengthen life, corded. But it must be observed that this is also the second signature among the sacred writers of the may be a reminiscence of the life of Joseph, which reached
Joseph's Bones Buried.
Death of Eleazar.
B.O. cir. 1420
(32) And a the bones of Joseph, which a Gen. 50. 25; Ex., and it became the inheritance of the the children of Israel brought up out of
children of Joseph. Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a
(33) And Eleazar the son of Aaron died ; parcel of ground which Jacob bought of
and they buried him in a hill that perbthe sons of Hamor the father of She
tained to Phinehas his son, which was chem for an hundred pieces of silver : 10r, lambs. given him in mount Ephraim.
6 Gen. 33. 19.
(32) The bones of Joseph, and also of his brethren, as appears by Acts vii. 16. The precedent set by Joseph is exceedingly likely to have been fol. lowed.
And it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.-It may be that this fact helped to fix the position of Ephraim and Manasseh in the centre of the country.
(33) And Eleazar the son of Aaron died.“Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun," were the Moses and Aaron of this period. It is fitting that the Book of Joshua should close with the death of Eleazar, who was Joshua's appointed counsellor; for when Joshua was given as a shepherd to Israel, in answer to the prayer of Moses, Eleazar was also given to Joshua for a counsellor (Num, xxvii. 21). At Eleazar's word he was to go out and come in,“ both he and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” It is rather singular that nothing but this has been recorded of Eleazar's personal history. Everything stated about him in his lifetime
is official. Not a word that he uttered has been preserved. A hill
given him in mount Ephraim.-The inheritance of Phinehas as a priest would lie within the tribe of Judah (chap. xxi. 13, &c.) or Benjamin. This gift to Phinehas in Mount Ephraim, near the seat of government, seems to have been a special grant to him over and above his inheritance. But inasmuch as the tabernacle itself was at Shiloh, in Mount Ephraim, it was altogether suitable and natural that some place of abode should be assigned to the priests in that neighbourhood, where they were compelled to reside.
Although Phinehas himself was si zealous for his God,” he lived to see the tribe of Benjamin nearly exterminated from Israel for repeating the sin of the Canaanites. (See Judges xx. 28.) We can hardly say that the people served Jehovah all the days of Phinehas. With Eleazar and Joshua the spirit of strict obedience to the law seems to have, in a great measure, passed away.
NOTES ON JOSHUA.
THE DEFEAT OF THE FIVE KINGS AT. GIBEON (Chap. x. 10–12). It was not until I had an opportunity of verifying the and his course was then arrested. He was not per. course of the combatants on the large Ordnance Map mitted to go down, or to pass over to the western side with the sheets fitted together that I was able to form of the heavens, until the enemies of Israel had disa clear and connected notion of the proceedings of that appeared. We may add that the sun's position in the memorable day. It appears to me that the scene east over Gibeon was the very best for Israel, and the described is this :
worst possible for the Amorites. The pursuit being When the five kings of the Amorites besieged westward, whenever the flying Amorites attempted Gibeon, the Gibeonites sent a hasty appeal to Joshua to turn and rally, the level or slant rays of the sun were for help. Joshua replied by a night march from full in their faces, and they could not see to fight, while Gilgal, which brought the host of Israel to Gibeon their pursuers had the best possible view of them. at early dawn. The Amorite army was surprised, and Presently, in the descent of Beth-horon (not “the going speedily took to flight. Being attacked from the east, down to Beth-horon,” as in the English Version; but they naturally fled westward, and took the road to either in the steep descent from the upper to the lower Beth-horon. An ancient road from Gibeon (El-Jîb) town, or more probably in the long descent from the still passes both the Beth-horons, first the upper lower Beth-horon to Azekah, on the borders of Philistia), (Beit'ur El-Foka), then the lower (Beit'ur Et-Tahta). a storm of hail burst upon them, and followed them to They are about two miles apart. The road then turns the plain.
They were more that died with hailstones southward (the Beth-horons lie slightly to the north- than they whom Israel slew with the sword.” At length, west of Gibeon), and leads to the border of Philistia. after a flight of some five-and-twenty miles, the kings Beth-horon the upper is 2,022 feet above the sea; found shelter in the cave at Makkedah. Even Beth-horon the nether 1,310 feet above the sea; the then the pursuit was not ended. Under the shadow points about Gibeon varying from 2,300 to 2,500 feet of the clouds that had obscured the heavens, while in height. But the road from Gibeon to Beth-horon the sun made his way westward, the Israelites appears at first to ascend slightly, and then to descend. still hunted down their beaten foes, until the remnant From Beth-horon the upper there is a steep descent of found shelter in the fortresses. Then, in the afternoon, nearly 600 feet in the first half mile, and from Beth. Joshua and his warriors returned to Makkedah, and horon the nether a continuous slope towards Philistia. unearthed the five kings to die. Even for the trained Ajalon (Yalo), about five miles south-west of Beth- soldiers of the wilderness, that day's work must have horon the nether, is only 940 feet above the Mediter. been a severe trial. The night march from Gilgal
Azekah is not identified, but was probably to Gibeon, and the pursnit to Makkedah, cover forty somewhere near Amwâs. Makkedah is thought by miles of country, measured in a direct line. The time Conder to be El-Mughâr, in Philistia, the only place in is some thirty-six hours, allowing for the miraculous the district where there are caves. Ajalon and Gibeon prolongation of the day. But the whole story is are about nine miles apart in a straight line, due east consistent; and Makkedah was an admirable startingand west of each other, and El-Mughâr (Makkedah) | point for the attack upon the fortresses which followed, is about eighteen miles from Beth-horon the nether. and which occupied the Israelitish army during the These are the geographical data. Now as to what remainder of the campaign. occurred.
In Dean Stanley's account of the battle, the sun When Joshua and his army were in pursuit of the is made to stand still at noon-in the middle of the Amorites from Gibeon towards the west, the sun was day. But the mid-day sun does not appear to be rising behind them. They presently saw-what we so upon” any place in particular; the morning and often see in the early morning--the moon in front evening suns do. Gibeon and Ajalon are only about of them on the west, just setting in the valley of nine miles apart. To see the sun upon Gibeon and Ajalon, and the sun behind them over Gibeon on the the moon upon Ajalon it must be early morning, east. It was the height of summer (as appears by the and one must be between the two places. Five miles date of the passage of Jordan, and the commencement from Gibeon would soon be accomplished. If the of the war, chaps. v., vi.), and in a little while the heat battle began at daybreak, a single hour after sunrise would prevent or greatly retard further operations. A would be sufficient to bring the pursuers and pursued sudden inspiration now seized Joshna, and he requested to the required spot. The midst of heaven” that the cool morning hours—the best time for (Hebrew, the one half of the heaven) does not seem battle-might be prolonged. Let the sun remain in to mean the meridian, but the one hemisphere as the east, and the moon in the west, until the discom. opposed to the other. fiture of the Amorite army was complete. “So the sun Again, Dean Stanley makes the hail come up from stood still in the one-half of the heavens”-in the the westward. But the narrative says, “ As they were eastern hemisphere-—"and hasted not to go down in the going down of Beth-horon, the Lord cast down about a whole day.” It may be observed that the book great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah.” which mentions the sun oftener than any other in the All down the slope the hail followed them, for some Old Testament describes his course thus: “The sun seven or eight miles. It is much more natural for a ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his storm of hail to come from the hills towards the plain place where he arose” (Eccles. i. 5). Between his than vice versa. Do not the hail and snow in Pales. rising and setting nothing else is named. So the sun tine more generally come from the north and east arose on Joshua and on Joshua's enemies. He arose, than from the sea ? 47