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the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing haih failed thereof."] The promise of God to his people Israel was absolute, that they should inherit the land of Canaan with the blessings thereof; which promise was exactly fulfilled, and may be figurative of the absolute promises of divine grace, and the sure accomplishment of them by the Lord Jesus, and of that pleasant reflection the christian takes in viewing at a dying hour the fulfilment of all that God hath promised. Ver. 15, 16. When the children of Israel were drove out of this land, and deprived of the blessings of it by the Babylonians and Romans, it was for their idolatry and the bardness of their hearts: thus we see tbat, as God's promises, which arise from his love, are absolute, so his threat. enings are sure for disobedience to his commands.
This chapter concludes the life and reign of Joshua, in which we liave, 1. Tlie
great care and pains he took to confirm the people of Israel in the true faith and worship of God, that they might after his death persevere therein. In order to this he called another general assembly of the heads of the congregation of Israel, ver. 1. and dealt with them, (1.) By way of narrative, recounting the great things God had done for them and their fathers, ver.2-13. (2.) By way of charge to them, in consideration thereof to serve God, ver, 14. (3.) By way of treaty with them, wherein he aims to bring them, (1.) To make rcligion their deliberate choice, and they did so, with reasons for their choice, ver. 15–18. (2.) To make it their determinate choice, and to resolve to adbere to it, ver, 19–24. (4.) By way of covenant upon that treaty, ver, 25—28. 2. The conclusion of this history, with (1.) The death and burial of Joshua, ver. 29, 30. And Eleazar, ver. 33. And the mention of the burial of Joseph's bones upon that occasion, ver. 32. (2.) A general account of the state of Israel at that time, ver. 31.
VER. 1. “And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem."]-Which was about ten miles from Shiloh : and it is probable that the ark of the Lord was at this time brought to Shechem, called “the sanctuary of the Lord," ver. 26. which made the meeting the more solemn; hence we see that while Joshqa lived, his aim was to do good to Israel, and though before they had promised to serve the Lord, yet now he gathered them again, to exhort them to love and obey the Lord.
Ver. 2–13. In these words we have Joshua, as a prophet in Israel, reminding the people of the Lord's love, care, and kindness to them, and to their forefathers on the other side of the flood, that is, the other side of the river Euphrates, in Chaldea, from whence Abraham their father camc; and having brought them up from Egypt, safe through the Red Sea, through tbe wilderness, through Jordan, and given them possession in the land which he proinised, a land for which they did not labour, cities which they built not, and vineyards and oliveyards which they planted not: which is a lively figure of the greatness of divine grace to the people of God: first, the Lord's calling Abraham out of Ur of Chaldea, was an act of distinguishing grace, in bringing him from idolatry, revealing his covenant to him, and in promising that the Messiali should descend from him : likewise his bringing Israel up out of Egypt, and safe through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness, denoted bis omnipotent power and love in the salvation of his people, and his giving them land, vine. yards, and olive-yards, for which they laboured not, denotes, spiritually, that all the blessings of the gospel and eternal life are the free gift of God to his people without any merit of their's, 2 Tim. i. 9.-Ver. 14. A sense of the Lord's loving kindness lays his children under the greatest obligations to love his name, and serve him.
Ver. 15. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”]-Joshua puts Israel to their choice, whom they would serve, whetber the Lord Jehovah, the God of gods, the King of kings, that had delivered them, saved them, supplied them, and provided for them; or the gods of their ancestors, whom Terah and Abram worshipped on the side of the flood, or the idols of the Amorites where they dwelt: and, as a leader in Israel and pattern, he set before them his own choice and the strength of his love to the Lord God of Israel: “ As for him and his house they would serve the Lord.” A happy aud honourable reso. Jution, not only worthy to be followed by the master and head of every family, but it is their greatest honour and privilege in life.
'Ver. 17–18. “Therefore will we also serve the Lord.”] -This shews the resolution of the people, and what a happy influence divine favours have upon the mind, as it was not a matter of indifference, but of ile higbest complacency and delight in them to serve the Lord : they that have the love of God in their hearts, and would shew that they love his name, are not to do as most do, but as the best do, who are, like Joshua, examples to the flock. • Ver. 19. “And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord.”—This Joshua said, not to discou. rage them from serving the Lord, but to shew that the Lord could not be served if they retained any idols in their houses or hearts. Dr. Gill observes, that it was to lead them to see their own inability to perform service acceptable, and therefore it became them to implore grace and strength from him to assist thein in it: or that they could not serve bina perfectly, and therefore were not to consider it as their justifying righteousness, which was wbat that people were prone to do, Rom. x. 3.
• For he is an holy God; he is a jealous God.") Holiness in his nature, and no unboly or sinful person can approach to him but by a mediator. Dr. Gill observes, that the Hebrew text renders it, • The holy ones are he; which confirms the doctrine of the trinity in unity, or the idea of the three in one, being self-existent, eternal, and all-sufficient, wbcrein the glory of Jehovah, as the God of Israel, shines so infinitely and exaltedly above all idol gods.
" He will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins."]—That is, the sins of idolatry, which the Lord always punished; see the note on Exod. xxxiii. 7. The bishops' translation renders it, 'And cannot bear your iniquity and sin.'
* Ver. 20—24. " And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we servc, and his voice will we obey.") -Joshua observing the resolution and love of the people to the Lord, exhorted them to shew their love to the Lord by putting away the idols which they had among them ; pro. bably some idols or images which perhaps they had brought out of Egypt, or the idols of the Canaanites which they had kept : some think they were small household gods, such as Jacob's family had, which he took from them and hid under an oak, Gen. XXXV. 2, 4. and Joshua gives this as the reason of their love to the Lord, because by their own acknowledgment they were become the Lord's witnesses :"thus when we have through grace given up ourselves to be the Lord's, we are under the bighest obligations to shew the sincerity of our faith and love by our obedience.
Ver. 24–27. " It shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.”]-The ordinance and covenant which Joshua made with the people were to be a standThis book contains a history of the Israelites' church and commonwealth from Joshua's death to Eli: during which time it was governed by judges, wbo were persons raised up by God in an extraordinary manner to execute his judgments, in subduing, punishing, and destroying the wicked enemies of the church, and in administering justice to bis people, according to his laws, wherein they were but God's deputies, or lieutenants, employed by him in times of extremity, and were to lay down their authority when their work was done, as we see in Gideon's example. It teaches in general, that piety is the best policy, as Solomon says, Prov. xiv. 34. "The time of this history from Joshua's death to Eli is computed to be for the space of two hun. dred and ninety-nine years.
The scope and design of this book, as was observed before, is to declare the state and condition of the coinmonwealth of Israel under the government of judges;; and how Israel behaved themselves after all the great and wonderful deliverances and mercies which God had sbewed them ever since they came from Egypt, till (according to bis promise) he had given them rest in the possession of the land of Canaan : and bow God did deal with them, after they per. mitted many of the Canaanites, that accursed nation, to dwell among them, yea, to contract and marry with them, to the ensnaring and defiling of God's people with idolatry and corruptions in God's worship, and sinfulness in their lives and conversations. For which pollutions and apostacies, God made these Canaanites and other nations oft times grievous scourges to Israel, oppressing them with cruel tyranny: yet when Israel were humbled, repented, and returned to the Lord, be raised them up saviours, judges, which wonderfully delivered them : though the philistines were not totally extirpated under the judges, till ibe kingly reign of David.
This cbapter gives us a particular account wliat sort of progress the several
tribes of Israel made in the reducing of Canaan after the death of Joshua. He did (as we say) break the neck of that great work, and put it into sacli a posture, that they might easily have perfected it in due time, if they had not been wanting to theinselves; wbat they did in order hereunto, and wherein they came short, we are here told. 1. The united tribes of Judah and Simeon did bravely. (1.) God
appointed Jidah to begin, ver. 1, 2. (2.) Judah took Simeon to act in conjunction with him, ver. 3. (3.) They succeeded in their enterprises against Bezek, vcr. 4-7. Jerusalem, ver. 8. Hebrou and Debir, ver. 9-15. Horma, Gaza, and other places, ver. 17, 18, 19. (4.) Yet where there were chariots of iron, their hearts failed them, ver, 19. Mentiou is made of the Kenites settling among them, ver. 16. 2. The other tribes in comparison with these did but sneakingly. (1.) Benjamin failed, ver. 21. (2.) The house of Joseph did well against Bethel, ver. 22-26. but in other places did not improve their advantages, not Manasseh, ver. 27, 28. nor Ephraim, ver. 22. (3.) Zebulun spared the Canaanites, ver. So. (4) Asher truckled worse than any of them to the Canaanites, ver. si, 32. (5.) Naphtali was kept out of the full possession of several of his cities, ver. 33. (6.) Dan was straiteped by the Amorites, ver. 31. No acconnt is given of Issachar, nor of the two tribes and a half on the other side Jordan.
VER. 1, 2." And the Lord said, Judah shall go up.") - Wbile Joshua was living, all Israel had a guide, gover nor, and warrior; but he leaving no successor, they enquired of the Lord who should go forib against the Canaanites which still remained in the land : their enquiry was no doubt by the Urim and Thummim, which denote lights and perfections, and were a figure of Christ, by whom the church makes all her petitions to the Father, and from whom she receives her answers of peace. When the high priest enquired of the Lord by the Urim and Thummim, he put on his robes, particularly his pontifical babit, in which was the breast-plate with the Urim and Thummim; there he presented himself, not in the holy of holies, where he could enter only once a year, but in the holy place before the veil, which separated the holy place from the most holy; there standing upright, with his face towards the ark of the covenant, upon which the divine presence dwelt; and by the answers that were given they received satisfaction. But how they were given, is matter of curious enquiry : the Hebrew doctors say, “ It was by some peculiar lustre and extraordinary brightness which slone upon some of the stones in a distinguishing manner; swelling higher, being protuberant; by which stones the high priest formed an answer.' But it seems most probable to have been by an ar. ticulate voice from off the mercy-seat. See Numb. vii. 89. and xxvii, 21.
The answer was, “ Judah shall go up:" Judah was he 66 whom his brethren sbouid praise," Gen. xlix. 8. and he was the most honourable and most powerful tribe, from which our Lord sprang; and our Lord is he whom his brethren in the election of grace, or family of heaven, praise, and by whom they are more than conquerors : for it