Joshua Chapter 23

The Book of Joshua does not openly name its author. But Joshua, the successor of Moses as a leader over Israel, wrote much of the book. The last parts of this book were penned by at least another person after Joshua died. In Joshua 23, the land is at rest and Joshua is now old. Joshua therefore begins to tidy up things before he goes, beginning with a recap of battle and finishing in the renewal of the covenant.

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Joshua is Nearing Death

Joshua was very old and dying. He summoned the Israelites, their elders, officials and judges as the Lord had instructed him. He reminded them of wonderful things Yahweh had done for them. He urged them to be courageous, sincere, and careful. He exhorted the Israelites not to associate with the nations that remain among them nor invoke the names of their gods or vow by them. He instructed them not to forsake God, as He has been faithful to them.

Warnings against Intermarriage

Joshua warned the Israelites against associating themselves with these nations that remain among them and if they intermarry with them, then the God will not drive out these nations before them. Rather, they would become snares and traps for them, whips on their backs and thorns in their eyes, until they disappear from the land which the Lord has given them. In verse 14, he reminded them that not one of the promises the Lord gave them has failed.

Consequences of Disobeying God

In the last verse of this chapter, Joshua warns of the fatal consequences of rebelling against God. He stated that just as all the great things God had promised them have come to pass, so He will bring on them all evil things that He has threatened. He urged his people not to violate God’s covenant by worshipping other gods as God’s anger will burn against them, and they will perish from the land which the Lord has given them.

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Joshua 23 (King James Version)

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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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