Joshua Chapter 23  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Joshua 23
Jos 23:1

“well advanced in years.” The same phrase is used in Joshua 13:1. This is a type of inclusion, that the wars of Joshua were basically over and it was after those wars that Joshua divided up the land.

“when Yahweh had given rest to Israel.” The “rest” that Yahweh gave to Israel is a type of the full rest that Jesus will give to his people (cp. Heb. 4:8).

Jos 23:2

“all Israel.” “All Israel” was not there, but is represented by the leaders.

Jos 23:3(top)
Jos 23:4

“Great Sea.” The common Old Testament name for the Mediterranean Sea.

Jos 23:5

“drive them out.” This has the meaning (as at many other places as well) of dispossessing the native population and living where they had lived.

Jos 23:6

“the book of the law.” This is more good evidence that the Law was written down and not just passed on in oral tradition (cp. Josh. 8:31, 32, 34).

“the law of Moses.” The Hebrew is “the torah of Moses,” where “torah” is much more than “law.” The torah involves instruction in many different ways (see commentary on Prov. 1:8).

Jos 23:7

“mix with.” Literally “come into.” In some contexts, “come into” is idiomatic for sexual intercourse, but that may be going too far in this context (cp. Josh. 23:12, which uses the same phrase).

“nor serve them.” This refers to the work of worship.

Jos 23:8

“as you have done to this day.” At first, this seems to contradict the fact that the Israelites had foreign gods among them (cp. Josh. 24:14, 23). However, it shows that although there was some worship of foreign gods among the people, they had not wholly deserted Yahweh as later generations of Israelites would. Thus, the situation is likely similar to Christians today who love God but also practice astrology, have “lucky” objects, etc.

Jos 23:9

“numerous.” That is, full of people; well populated.

Jos 23:10(top)
Jos 23:11

“watch yourselves.” This could be “watch your souls,” or even guard your souls, where “your soul” means yourself. The text is telling us that it takes a certain amount of diligence to love Yahweh. There are many forces against it: our own sin nature and the pull of the ungodly society around us. [For more on the biblical use of “soul” see Appendix 7, “Usages of ‘soul’”].

Jos 23:12

“turn away, yes, turn away.” The Hebrew uses the figure of speech polyptoton for emphasis (see commentary on Gen. 2:16).

“hold fast.” In Joshua 22:5 and Joshua 23:8 Israel was instructed to “hold fast” to Yahweh.

“make marriages.” The verb is accurately translated, and does not mean simply “marry.” In the biblical culture, the father (usually with the advice of the mother and other female family members) arranged for the marriage of his daughters, so he “made marriages” with others. Marriages were usually treated quite seriously because they often involved forming family alliances, and that would be the case here; a marriage alliance between Israel and the pagans near them.

“mix with.” Literally, “come into them” (see commentary on Josh. 23:7).

Jos 23:13

“out from before you.” That is, out of your presence. This explains why some versions read “out of your sight.”

“a whip for your sides.” The image is most likely that of whipping the side of a horse (cp. Prov. 26:3; Nah. 3:2).

“thorns in your eyes.” There were so many thorn bushes and thistles in Israel that it occasionally happened that someone would get a thorn in their eyes. In Numbers 33:55, the thorn would be in the side, but a “barb” in the eyes (although the Hebrew in Numbers is really a different Hebrew word for “thorn”).

Jos 23:14

“going the way of all the earth.” An idiom for dying. But Joshua does not die that day, but later on.

“not one word has failed of all the good things.” The Hebrew has “not one word (dabar; word, thing, matter) has failed of all the good things (dabar: word, thing, matter), that Yahweh” spoke.

Jos 23:15(top)
Jos 23:16

“transgress.” The Hebrew uses the word, “cross over,” where to cross over the covenant is to go beyond it, to transgress its boundaries.

“you will perish quickly from off the good land.” This is also stated in Deuteronomy 11:17.


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