Joshua 23

1 After many days, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from their enemies all around, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years, 2 Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and for their heads, and for their judges and for their officers, and said to them, “I am old and well advanced in years. 3 You have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you; for it is the LORD your God who has fought for you. 4 Behold, I have allotted to you these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even to the great sea towards the going down of the sun. 5 The LORD your God will thrust them out from before you, and drive them from out of your sight. You shall possess their land, as the LORD your God spoke to you. 6 “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that you not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left; 7 that you not come amongst these nations, these that remain amongst you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow down yourselves to them; 8 but hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. 9 “For the LORD has driven great and strong nations out from before you. But as for you, no man has stood before you to this day. 10 One man of you shall chase a thousand; for it is the LORD your God who fights for you, as he spoke to you. 11 Take good heed therefore to yourselves, that you love the LORD your God. 12 “But if you do at all go back, and hold fast to the remnant of these nations, even these who remain amongst you, and make marriages with them, and go in to them, and they to you; 13 know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no longer drive these nations from out of your sight; but they shall be a snare and a trap to you, a scourge in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you. 14 “Behold, today I am going the way of all the earth. You know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have happened to you. Not one thing has failed of it. 15 It shall happen that as all the good things have come on you of which the LORD your God spoke to you, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you, 16 when you disobey the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down yourselves to them. Then the LORD’s anger will be kindled against you, and you will perish quickly from off the good land which he has given to you.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 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.

Verses 11–16

Would we cleave to the Lord, we must always stand upon our guard, for many a soul is lost through carelessness. Love the Lord your God, and you will not leave him. Has God been thus true to you? Be not you false to him. He is faithful that has promised, Heb 10:23. The experience of every Christian witnesses the same truth. Conflicts may have been severe and long, trials great and many; but at the last he will acknowledge that goodness and mercy followed him all the days of his life. Joshua states the fatal consequences of going back; know for a certainty it will be your ruin. The first step would be, friendship with idolaters; the next would be, marrying with them; the end of that would be, serving their gods. Thus the way of sin is down-hill, and those who have fellowship with sinners, cannot avoid having fellowship with sin. He describes the destruction he warns them of. The goodness of the heavenly Canaan, and the free and sure grant God has made of it, will add to the misery of those who shall for ever be shut out from it. Nothing will make them see how wretched they are, so much, as to see how happy they might have been. Let us watch and pray against temptation. Let us trust in God’s faithfulness, love, and power; let us plead his promises, and cleave to his commandments, then we shall be happy in life, in death, and for ever.

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