Joshua 23 KJV Commentary, Explained, Lessons, Sermons

For now, we’ll move on the chapter 23. Chapters 23 and 24 consist of Joshua giving two final addresses to Israel. Let’s start reading verse 1…

Joshua 23:1-4

[23:1 ¶ And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. 2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges [We’ll see more about this group in Israel when we start studying Judges.], and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age: 3 And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you. 4 Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.]

So, Joshua says that he’s about to die. So he isn’t making this address for his own personal benefit. He turns the attention to his audience. YOU ALL have seen what the Lord has done to the nations in Canaan. And their land has been given to the Israelites. There are some Canaanites left, but the Lord will continue working with Israel to drive them out – verse 5…

Joshua 23:5

[5 And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you.]

But in order for the Lord to keep doing this, Israel needs to keep the warning in verse 6…

Joshua 23:6-8

[6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; 7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: 8 But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.]

And why would Israel even think of worshipping the gods of the Canaanites? They didn’t do much good for their own worshippers, whom Israel has destroyed. Joshua reminds them of this fact starting in verse 9…

Joshua 23:9-10

[9 For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. 10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.]

And yet Joshua must warn Israel of what will happen if they turn from loving God. Verse 11…

Joshua 23:11-13

[11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God. 12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: 13 Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.]

If Israel stops loving God, he will stop driving their enemies out of their land. In fact, what will end up happening is that Israel itself will be driven from the land. And Joshua gives them one huge reason to love this God of theirs in verse 14…

Joshua 23:14

[14 ¶ And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.]

God has kept all his promises. He’s so good to his people. But God’s promise-keeping isn’t simply for the benefit of Israel. It can also be to their detriment that God always keeps his promises. Because, after all, God also promised Israel calamity if they turn from him. Verse 15…

Joshua 23:15-16

[15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. [Under what circumstances would God do this to his people Israel?] 16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.]

So, that’s Joshua’s first final address. He gives another one in chapter 24…

 

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