Joshua 24:8-10: Memorial of God’s Covenant Faithfulness to Israel, Part 3

Verse 8:[1] And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; (Num. 21:21, 33; Deut. 2:32; 3:1) and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.


Verse 9:[2] Then (see Judg. 11:25) Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and (Num. 22:5; Deut. 23:4) sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you…

[And he fought against Israel[3]] But he neither fought, nor even quarreled with him by words, as it is evident from Judges 11:25 (Masius). How is this then true? Response 1: He fought, not with force, but with stratagems, which what follows explains, and the very history shows (Grotius). Balak and Balaam assailed them with magical arts; who are said to attempt war in this passage (Masius, similarly Lapide). Response 2: He is said to have fought, because, with an army, he was determined to attack them, namely, after the cursing of Balaam, relying upon which he plainly supposed that he was going to be the victor. But, since this malediction had been without success, it happened that he dared not to attack the Israelites (Bonfrerius). He did battle; that is, in his mind and will (Vatablus). See that the words of the Hebrew here often signify an action not completed, but begun; indeed, a disposition and attempt only, not an effect.[4] Thus in verse 11, the men of Jericho are said to have fought, that is, to have prepared themselves to fight; and in Amos 9:3, if they hide themselves from my eyes, that is, if they attempt to hide themselves (Lapide). [Our Gataker sets forth here similar examples from other authors.] Thus Suetonius;[5] when Cæsar pacified his adversaries, etc., that is, he wished to pacify.[6] The same on “Nero”; he ordained that gifts thereafter were to be paid out on the spot, that is, he said that they were going to be ordained.[7] Juvenal; Bid the fasting Grecian to go to heaven, that is, let him promise himself that he is going to go.[8] Dio, History of Rome 54; he declared that Lepidus was killed at that time, that is, was ordered to be killed, not actually killed. Thus in the writings of the Jurisconsults many things are undertaken with execution/completion, as they say. Thus Casaubon in Suetonius. Thus Trypon, Concerning the Signification of Words 1:225,[9] One is able to call a man a thief, an adulterer, and a gambler from the intention of the mind alone, hence also one that never carried off another’s property without the Owner’s consent, that never corrupted another’s wife, if only it be his intention that he is going to do it when the occasion presents itself, that is, as far as God is concerned, out of Matthew 5:28. Condemned κατὰ προπάθειαν, with respect to pre-passion, as Jerome has it; by intention, the Grammarians. Thus Cicero in his Aratea[10] 420, That formerly Orion violated Diana with his hands, that is, sought to violate. And Virgil in his Æneid 8:657, The Gauls arrived through the thorn bushes and were holding the citadel, that is, were trying to hold: Alciatus.[11] Isidore of Pelusium in his Letters[12] 2:289, Ἀπὸ τῆς γνώμης τὰ πράγματα κρίνεται, etc., that is, by resolution, purpose, or intention, actions are evaluated. Wherefore one that wounds another, although he does not kill him, is justly punished; but to one that involuntarily kills another pardon is granted. Thus one that plots an ambush for another, even if he does not find him, is a murderer. ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ ἐπιχειρήματος, οὐ τοῦ ἀποτελέσματος, τοιοῦτος εἶναι κρίνεται, etc., that is, for, from the attempt, not success, it is judged to be such. So also a woman that adorns herself, and looks out through a window, so that she might entirce young men, although she be deprived of her prey, is condemned just as if she had taken it; for she mixed the cup, etc., even if she did not find one to drink it. Thus Isidore. Salvian’s Concerning Providence[13] 6, And by this, even if they should do lesser evils, because they are less able, they are no less evil, for they are unwilling to be less if they are able. Thus Pythia to Glaucus in Herodotus’ Histories 6, τὸ πειρηθῆναι τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τὸ ποιῆσαι ἶσον δύναται, that is, To undertake a matter and to carry it through are the same to God.[14] When an evil thing is not done by a man out of necessity alone, the lust for the shameful thing itself is condemned in the place of the action; Matthew 5:28; 2 Maccabees 9:4.[15] Compare 1 Chronicles 28:2 (Gataker). Often in Scripture what is attempted, or sought, is said to be done: as in Genesis 37:21, and he delivered, that is, he was trying to deliver; Ezekiel 24:13, I have purged thee, that is, I have tried to purge thee; John 5:34, I do not receive, that is, I do not seek to receive; thus John 5:44; Romans 2:4, it leadeth, that is, it attempts to lead; 1 Corinthians 10:33, I please all, that is, I try to please; Galatians 5:4, who are justified by the law, that is, attempt to be justified (Glassius’ “Grammar” 3:3:8:250). Response 3: And he fought, is put in the place of, so that he might fight. Thus in Isaiah 53:2, and we were desiring, is put in the place of, that we should desire (Gataker). [Thus Junius and Tremellius translate it here, so that he might contend; and the Septuagint has, and he drew up the army.]

Balak warred against Israel. Question. How is this true, when Balak did never fight against Israel, Judges 11:25? Answer. One prince may commence a war against another, though he never come to a battle, nor strike one stroke; so Balak warred, though not by open force, yet by crafty counsel and warlike stratagems, by magical arts, by wicked devices, by making bate betwixt them and God their confederate; or by warlike preparations, in case Balaam’s charms had succeeded, as may be gathered from Numbers 22:11; or at least by design or intention; things being oft said to be done both in Scripture and other authors which were only designed or intended, as here, Joshua 24:11; Genesis 37:21; Ezekiel 24:13; Matthew 5:28; John 10:32, 33. And the old lawyers note, That he is rightly called a thief or an adulterer, etc., who wanted nothing but occasion to be so.


Verse 10:[16] (Deut. 23:5) But I would not hearken unto Balaam; (Num. 23:11, 20; 24:10) therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.

I would not hearken unto Balaam, who hereby appears to have desired of God leave to curse Israel; and therefore it is not strange that God, who permitted him simply to go, was highly angry with him for going with so wicked an intent, Numbers 22:20, 22, 32. Out of his hand, that is, from Balak’s malicious design against you.

[1] Hebrew: וָאָבִ֣אָה אֶתְכֶ֗ם אֶל־אֶ֤רֶץ הָאֱמֹרִי֙ הַיּוֹשֵׁב֙ בְּעֵ֣בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן וַיִּֽלָּחֲמ֖וּ אִתְּכֶ֑ם וָאֶתֵּ֙ן אוֹתָ֤ם בְּיֶדְכֶם֙ וַתִּֽירְשׁ֣וּ אֶת־אַרְצָ֔ם וָאַשְׁמִידֵ֖ם מִפְּנֵיכֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיָּ֙קָם בָּלָ֤ק בֶּן־צִפּוֹר֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ מוֹאָ֔ב וַיִּלָּ֖חֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיִּשְׁלַ֗ח וַיִּקְרָ֛א לְבִלְעָ֥ם בֶּן־בְּע֖וֹר לְקַלֵּ֥ל אֶתְכֶֽם׃

[3] Hebrew: וַיִּלָּ֖חֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל.

[4] וַיִּלָּחֶם is in the imperfect tense.

[5] Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 75- c. 130) was a Roman historian.

[6] De Vita Cæsarum “Divus Julius” 29.

[7] De Vita Cæsarum “Nero” 5.

[8] Satires 3:74.

[9] Tryphon of Alexandria (c. 60-c. 10 BC) was a Greek grammarian.

[10] Cicero’s Aratea is a Latin translation of the Phænomena of Aratus (c. 310-c. 240 BC), a Greek poet.  Aratus’ Phænomena is a description of the heavenly bodies and their movements.

[11] Commentary concerning the Signification of Words 4.  Andrea Alciato (1492-1550) was an Italian jurist and writer.

[12] Isidore of Pelusium (died c. 450) was a revered desert ascetic.  He dwelt at the monastery at Pelusium, Egypt, where he may have served as abbot.  He was involved in extensive correspondence, a portion of which has been preserved.

[13] Salvian was a fifth century Christian author.  He addresses the theological difficulty of the invasion of the Roman Empire by the barbarians in his De Vero Judicio et Providentia.

[14] The story is told of one Glaucus, who had received some items on trust.  Contemplating defrauding the heir, Glaucus sent a messenger to the Oracle of Delphi, who prophesied his doom.

[15] 2 Maccabees 9:4, 5a:  “Then swelling with anger, he thought to avenge upon the Jews the disgrace done unto him by those that made him flee.  Therefore commanded he his chariotman to drive without ceasing, and to dispatch the journey, the judgment of God now following him.  For he had spoken proudly in this sort, That he would come to Jerusalem and make it a common burying place of the Jews.  But the Lord Almighty, the God of Isreal, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague…”

[16] Hebrew: וְלֹ֥א אָבִ֖יתִי לִשְׁמֹ֣עַ לְבִלְעָ֑ם וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ בָּרוֹךְ֙ אֶתְכֶ֔ם וָאַצִּ֥ל אֶתְכֶ֖ם מִיָּדֽוֹ׃

Revelation 1:5a: The Faithful Witness

Verse 5:[1] And from Jesus Christ, (John 8:14; 1 Tim. 6:13; Rev. 3:14) who is the faithful witness, and the (1 Cor. 15:20; Col. 1:18) first begotten of the dead, and (Eph. 1:20; Rev. 17:14; 19:16) the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him (John 13:34; 15:9; Gal. 2:20) that loved us, (Heb. 9:14; 1 John 1:7) and washed us from our sins in his own blood…

[And, etc., καὶ ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός] And from Jesus Christ (not only from God the Father operating by those that we called modes, but also from Jesus Christ, he desires all favorable things for the Churches: Thus also Paul in Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; and elsewhere [Grotius]: Eulogies of Christ here follow, as if so many reasons why he prays grace and peace for them from Christ [Pareus]), that faithful witness (Montanus). There is here no ἀκυρολογία, improper phraseology (Cotterius). Indeed, here he made use of Nominatives ἀκλίτως, without declining, so that, just as he had signified the Immutability of God, so also he might signify the immutability of Christ in His testimony and Kingdom. See 2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 13:8 (Grotius). It was not unsuitable for God thus to speak, who only cares for the matter, not the elegance of the words (Cotterius). It is an anomaly of case (Piscator, thus Glassius), or an Antiptosis,[2] as in Luke 1:55;[3] Revelation 3:12;[4] 18:13[5] (Glassius’ “Grammar” 4:2:19:736). Others:  It is an Ellipsis of the relative (Cotterius, similarly Beza), which is common among the Hebrews.  See Ephesians 2:5[6] (Beza).  Thus also Virgil, …En dextra fidesque: Quem secum patrios aiunt portare penates, …behold the pledge and good faith: Of him who brings, say they, his father’s gods along[7] (Cotterius).  [Thus, therefore, they render it:]  who is that faithful witness (Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, thus Erasmus, Illyricus,[8] Tigurinus).  Others: teste illo fideli, that faithful witness[9] (Castalio, thus the Syriac, Arabic).  Thus Christ is called in Isaiah 43:10 and 55:4 (Cluverus), and in this place, with the article duplicated, that is to say, that witness, that faithful one,[10] so that it might be signified that He is that eminent witness, concerning whom it was spoken in Isaiah 55:4 and John 18:37 (Ribera), and in 1 Timothy 6:13, who does not testify, like the Prophets and Apostles, to things heard and received from others, but what things He Himself has seen, and thoroughly known, John 1:18; 3:11, 32; 5:20; and that not only by words (Cluverus), and by promises (Pererius), but by actual deed (Cluverus, Pererius), John 10:25, 37, and by His own death (Cluverus), 1 Timothy 6:13:  who testified concerning God, concerning Himself, concerning the Church of God (Pererius), concerning the will of God (Piscator):  who in [read, all] the names that He announced to us in the name of God, and many of which, spoken by Christ in a general way, are specifically explained in this book, is most worthy, to whom it is entrusted.  See Isaiah 55:4; John 8:38, etc., and, concerning the word πιστὸς/faithful, see 1 Timothy 1:15.[11]  The same title is attributed to God Himself, Psalm 89:37 (Grotius).  Who faithfully, truly, and plainly taught the whole will of God, as much as pertains to the method of human salvation, or the whole Gospel, which is called μαρτυρία marturi/a, John 5:31, 32.[12]  This pertains to the Prophetic office of Christ (Brightman).  Now, this title here he ascribes to Christ, partly so that he might procure confidence for this prophecy, partly so that he might animate the pious to endure persecutions by the hope of the glory which Christ promised, who is faithful, and therefore He will fulfill it (Ribera), neither will He desert the faithful who are in danger for His sake (Pareus).

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness: here is an express mention of Jesus Christ, because he was the procurer of our redemption, and our Mediator, to whom the Father committed all power as to the church. He is called the faithful and true witness; 1 Timothy 6:13, he witnessed a good confession before Pontius Plate; he bare record of himself, John 8:13, 14: see also Isaiah 43:10; 55:4; John 18:37….  The first name here given to Christ speaketh his prophetical office, the second his priestly office, this last his kingly office.

[1] Greek: καὶ ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός, ὁ πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ὁ ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς. τῷ ἀγαπήσαντι ἡμᾶς, καὶ λούσαντι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ.

[2] In grammar, an antiptosis is the substituting of one case for another.

[3] Luke 1:55:  “As he spake to our fathers (πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ἡμῶν, πρὸς taking the Accusative case), to Abraham (τῷ Ἀβραὰμ, in the Dative case), and to his seed (τῷ σπέρματι αὐτου, in the Dative case) for ever.”

[4] Revelation 3:12a:  “The overcoming one (ὁ νικῶν, in the Nominative case), I will make him (αὐτὸν, in the Accusative case) a pillar in the temple of my God…”

[5] Revelation 18:11, 12a, 13:  “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver…and cinnamon (κινάμωμον, and the following in the Accusative case), and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves (καὶ ἵππων, καὶ ῥεδῶν, καὶ σωμάτων, all in the Genitive case), and souls (ψυχὰς, returning to the Accusative case) of men.”

[6] Ephesians 2:4, 5:  “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us (ἡμᾶς), us being (ὄντας ἡμᾶς) dead in sins, hath quickened together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)…”

[7] Æneid 4:597, 598.

[8] Matthæus Flaccius Illyricus (1520-1575) was a Lutheran divine.  He served as Professor of Hebrew at Wittenburg (1544), then as Professor of New Testament at Jena (1557).  He made great contributions in the fields of church history and hermeneutics.  He wrote Catalogus Testium Veritatis, Qui ante Nostram Ætatem Relamarunt Papæ (A Catalogue of Witnesses for the Truth, Who before Our Age Cried out against the Pope), which included commentary on the Apocalypse.

[9] In the Ablative case, bringing it into conformity with à Jesu Christo (in the Ablative), from Jesus Christ.

[10] Greek: ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός.

[11] 1 Timothy 1:15a:  “This is a faithful (πιστὸς) saying, and worthy of all acceptation…”

[12] John 5:31, 32:  “If I bear witness of myself, my witness (ἡ μαρτυρία μου) is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness (ἡ μαρτυρία) which he witnesseth of me is true.”

Joshua 24:4-7: Memorial of God’s Covenant Faithfulness to Israel, Part 2

Verse 4:[1] And I gave unto Isaac (Gen. 25:24-26) Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto (Gen. 36:8; Deut. 2:5) Esau mount Seir, to possess it; (Gen. 46:1, 6; Acts 7:15) but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

[Jacob and Esau] He makes mention of Esau as born from the same parents, even indeed in the first place, yet rejected by God, with Jacob at the same time made heir, and that freely, Romans 9:11, so that he might rouse them exceedingly to love God in return, etc. (Masius)

I gave unto Esau Mount Seir to possess it, that he might leave Canaan entire to his brother Jacob and his posterity, Genesis 36:7, 8.

[They went down into Egypt] He relates this in a unique summary, and he skillfully passes over that exceedingly cruel servitude, because it was his intention to bring the benefits to them back into memory, neither was he willing to interrupt their abiding happiness by recording such a sad event (Masius).

Jacob and his children went down into Egypt, where they long lived in grievous bondage; which God having delivered us from, I shall now pass it over.


Verse 5:[2] (Ex. 3:10) I sent Moses also and Aaron, and (Ex. 7-10; 12) I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.

[And I smote Egypt, etc.,וָאֶגֹּ֣ף אֶת־מִצְרַ֔יִם כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשִׂ֖יתִי בְּקִרְבּ֑וֹ וְאַחַ֖ר הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אֶתְכֶֽם׃] And I smote, or, injured, or, afflicted with plagues,[3] Egypt (that is, the Egyptians [Piscator]), just as I did in the midst of it, and finally I led you out (Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus, Dutch, English). Just as, or according as, I did, understanding, plagues, in its midst, that is, for so long as I sent various plagues among them (Vatablus). And I smote Egypt: and after I did that in its midst, I led you out (Munster). [He supplies the ו/and, and translates כַּאֲשֶׁר/ after.]

According to that which I did, that is, in such manner, and with such plagues as I inflicted, and are recorded.


Verse 6:[4] And I (Ex. 12:37, 51) brought your fathers out of Egypt: and (Ex. 14:2) ye came unto the sea; (Ex. 14:9) and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.


Verse 7:[5] And when they (Ex. 14:10) cried unto the LORD, (Ex. 14:20) he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, (Ex. 14:27, 28) and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and (Deut. 4:34; 29:2) your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness (Josh. 5:6) a long season.

[Your eyes have seen] But almost all that had been in the desert had perished (Masius). Response: They were able to see, even all that [in the time of the murmuring] were less than twenty years old (see Numbers 14; 26 [Estius, Masius]), the Levites (Estius, Lyra) (who are believed to have been free from the sin of murmuring, because no one from that tribe was sent as a spy [Masius]), the women (Estius), Joshua and Caleb (Lyra), and Elders and Tribunes, etc., since those that go before others in age are wont to ascend into the seats of those dignities (Masius).

And your eyes have seen: He speaketh this to the elders, Joshua 24:1, who were so, not only by power and dignity, but many of them by age; and there being now not sixty years past since those Egyptian plagues, it is very probable that a considerable number of those here present had seen those things in Egypt, and being not twenty years old, were exempted from that dreadful sentence of destruction, passed upon all who were then of more years standing, Numbers 14.

[Ye dwelt in the wilderness, etc.] Where the marvelous kindness of God appeared to them, where He miraculously fed and preserved them, and revealed His presence, prescribed the Law, and bore patiently their peevishness (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וָאֶתֵּ֣ן לְיִצְחָ֔ק אֶֽת־יַעֲקֹ֖ב וְאֶת־עֵשָׂ֑ו וָאֶתֵּ֙ן לְעֵשָׂ֜ו אֶת־הַ֤ר שֵׂעִיר֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת אוֹת֔וֹ וְיַעֲקֹ֥ב וּבָנָ֖יו יָרְד֥וּ מִצְרָֽיִם׃

[2] Hebrew: וָאֶשְׁלַ֞ח אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֤ה וְאֶֽת־אַהֲרֹן֙ וָאֶגֹּ֣ף אֶת־מִצְרַ֔יִם כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשִׂ֖יתִי בְּקִרְבּ֑וֹ וְאַחַ֖ר הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אֶתְכֶֽם׃

[3] נָגַף signifies to smite.

[4] Hebrew: וָֽאוֹצִ֤יא אֶת־אֲבֽוֹתֵיכֶם֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם וַתָּבֹ֖אוּ הַיָּ֑מָּה וַיִּרְדְּפ֙וּ מִצְרַ֜יִם אַחֲרֵ֧י אֲבוֹתֵיכֶ֛ם בְּרֶ֥כֶב וּבְפָרָשִׁ֖ים יַם־סֽוּף׃

[5] Hebrew: וַיִּצְעֲק֣וּ אֶל־יְהוָ֗ה וַיָּ֙שֶׂם מַֽאֲפֵ֜ל בֵּינֵיכֶ֣ם׀ וּבֵ֣ין הַמִּצְרִ֗ים וַיָּבֵ֙א עָלָ֤יו אֶת־הַיָּם֙ וַיְכַסֵּ֔הוּ וַתִּרְאֶ֙ינָה֙ עֵינֵיכֶ֔ם אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂ֖יתִי בְּמִצְרָ֑יִם וַתֵּשְׁב֥וּ בַמִּדְבָּ֖ר יָמִ֥ים רַבִּֽים׃

Joshua 24:3: Memorial of God’s Covenant Faithfulness to Israel, Part 1

Verse 3:[1] And (Gen. 12:1; Acts 7:2, 3) I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and (Gen. 21:2, 3; Ps. 127:3) gave him Isaac.

[I brough, therefore, your father Abraham[2]] I think that I took has been put in the place of I called out, so that the kindness of God might appear the more illustrious, who brought him to Himself, taking him by the hand, as it were, not only freely, but while he was drawing back and turning away in the worship of rival gods (Masius).

I took your father; I apprehended him by my grace, and snatched him out of that idolatrous and wicked place, and took him into acquaintance and covenant with myself, which was the highest honour and happiness he was capable of.

[From Mesopotamia, מֵעֵ֣בֶר הַנָּהָ֔ר] From the farther part of the river (Syriac); from the place or region that is across the river (Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Bonfrerius). By which periphrasis Chaldea is also able to be indicated (which is called Mesopotamia repeatedly, although improperly [Bonfrerius]). It is certain that he was first called from Chaldea (Bonfrerius, Masius). Now, when he had persuaded his father Terah and Nachor, etc., to depart with him, and had arrived at Haran, they stopped there a number of years, either with the Divine stimuli gradually fading in the soul of Abraham, or because the purpose was irksome to the others. But a sense of responsibility was easily restraining him, since he was unwilling to leave his aged father. Being stirred by the death of his father, or by fresh inspiration, or even being properly mindful of the above, he conveyed himself to Canaan. But concerning these things see more on Genesis 12:1 and Acts 7:4 (Masius).

[I led him unto the land of Canaan[3]] And I led him throughout all the land of Canaan (Junius and Tremellius). He brings the Israelites back to the memory of that admirable goodness of God whereby God formerly preserved their father Abraham, a stranger and pilgrim no less,[4] magnified him with the greatest wealth,[5] and made him to be revered even by Kings[6] (Masius).

Led him throughout all the land of Canaan, that is, I brought him after his father’s death into Canaan, Genesis 12:1, and I conducted and preserved him in safety in all his travels through the several parts of Canaan.

[And I multiplied his seed, verse 4,[7] and gave him Isaac] The latter member is ἐξηγητικὸν/exegetical of the former, and the language of seed has regard to one, even Isaac, according to Genesis 21:12, in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Romans 9:8. Thus he shows the marvelous grace of God toward them, who, with others repudiated, had to do with only one, even Isaac; so that now they are obliged to appear most ungrateful, if they are not kept in mutual charity and piety toward Him. But why is the seed of Abraham said to have been multiplied, since only one son, Isaac, is mentioned as being born to him? Response: The multitude has regard to the posterity of Isaac (Masius). And I gave to him Isaac, that is, after I gave to him Isaac; that is, through Isaac I gave to him a numerous offspring (Vatablus).

Multiplied his seed, that is, gave him a numerous posterity, not only by Hagar and Keturah, but even by Sarah and by Isaac, as it follows. Gave him Isaac, by my special power and grace, to be the heir of my covenant, and all my promises, and the seed in or by which all nations were to be blessed, Genesis 12:3; 21:2.

[1] Hebrew: וָ֠אֶקַּח אֶת־אֲבִיכֶ֤ם אֶת־אַבְרָהָם֙ מֵעֵ֣בֶר הַנָּהָ֔ר וָאוֹלֵ֥ךְ אוֹת֖וֹ בְּכָל־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וָאֶרֶב֙ אֶת־זַרְע֔וֹ וָֽאֶתֶּן־ל֖וֹ אֶת־יִצְחָֽק׃

[2] Hebrew: וָ֠אֶקַּח אֶת־אֲבִיכֶ֤ם אֶת־אַבְרָהָם֙ .

[3] Hebrew: וָאוֹלֵ֥ךְ אוֹת֖וֹ בְּכָל־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן.

[4] See Psalm 105:9-14; Genesis 12:17; 20:3.

[5] See, for example, Genesis 13:2; 24:35.

[6] See Genesis 14; 20:14-18; 21:21-32.

[7] In the Vulgate.

Joshua 24:2: History of Idolatry in Terah’s Family

Verse 2:[1] And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, (Gen. 11:26, 31; Judith 5:6, 7[2]) Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and (Gen. 31:53) they served other gods.

Unto all the people, that is, that people which were present, to wit, to the elders, etc., by whom it was to be imparted to all the rest, and to as many of the people as came thither.

[Thus saith the Lord] That is, through me (Vatablus).

[The God of Israel] This exordium[3] is perfectly suited to the following narration, since the whole of it is taken up in explaining the goodness of God toward the family of Israel (Masius).

[Across the river] That is, Euphrates; which Jonathan and the Syriac have here. [All interpreters agree.]

The flood, or, the river, to wit, Euphrates, as all agree; so called by way of eminency.

[Your fathers…and they served strange gods] He shows that he speaks of their near ancestors, not of the more remote, of which sort were Shem and Noah. This is done, so that it might be evident that they were graciously adopted by God for a people, not only freely, but even while they were enemies (Masius).

[Terah, the father of Abraham and Nachor] He names these, because from these the entire stock of Israel was descended. For from Nahor the maternal lineage is traced through Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel (Masius). Question: Whether Abraham also worshipped idols? Response: Some deny this (thus Lapide, Tostatus and Cajetan in Serarius, Pererius in Lapide). Some affirm that he, when he was younger, was an idolater (thus Masius, Serarius out of the Rabbis). And there are those that think that for that reason Abraham was called ἀσεβῆ/ungodly, Romans 4:5 (Serarius). I am not able to heed those that with great effort seek to vindicate Abraham from this sin, I know not with what arguments. But, supposing that to be the case, the grace of God, with which He embraced him, would not be the more illustrious, the more sinful he was; and not for the admirable kindness of God would the Sacred History commemorate and inculcate so many times in our souls, that He rescued him, as if taken by the hand, from his homeland and the company of idolaters, as we called them (Masius, similarly Malvenda). Concerning this question see what things we have on Genesis 12:1 (Bonfrerius).

They served other gods, that is, both Abraham and Nahor were no less idolaters than the rest of mankind. This is said to prevent their vain boasting in their worthy ancestors, and to assure them that whatsoever good was in or had been done by their progenitors, was wholly born God’s free grace, and not for their own merit or righteousness, as the Jews were very apt to conceit.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ אֶל־כָּל־הָעָ֗ם כֹּֽה־אָמַ֣ר יְהוָה֮ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ בְּעֵ֣בֶר הַנָּהָ֗ר יָשְׁב֤וּ אֲבֽוֹתֵיכֶם֙ מֵֽעוֹלָ֔ם תֶּ֛רַח אֲבִ֥י אַבְרָהָ֖ם וַאֲבִ֣י נָח֑וֹר וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ אֱלֹהִ֥ים אֲחֵרִֽים׃

[2] Judith 5:6, 7:  “This people are descended of the Chaldeans:  And they sojourned heretofore in Mesopotamia, because they would not follow the gods of their fathers, which were in the land of Chaldea.”

[3] That is, the introduction.

Revelation 1:4c: The Seven Spirits?

Verse 4:[1] John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him (Ex. 3:14; Rev. 1:8) which is, and (John 1:1) which was, and which is to come; (Zech. 3:9; 4:10; Rev. 3:1; 4:5; 5:6) and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne…


[And from the seven spirits which are before His throne (thus Beza, etc.)] The seven spirits here are, either, 1. Angels (certain interpreters in Grotius, Pererius, Ribera, Lapide, Menochius, Beza, Drusius,[37] Hammond, Mede, Rheims[38]), as also in Revelation 5:6 and 8:2. So many thought, because it was received among the Hebrews that there are seven chief Angels who stand near to God, that is, just as seven Princes were standing near to the King of the Persians;[39] because this palace was the most magnificent of all, the Hebrews imagine the palace of God in accordance with it. See Tobit 12:15;[40] Matthew 18:10; and what things were said by us in both places. Add The Shepherd of Hermas[41] 2:9 and Clement’s Stromata 6 (Grotius). Now, here are understood, either, the entire body of the Angels, which is designated by the number seven (certain interpreters in Ribera), to which it is objected that not one or two times, but often and always, seven is used, which indicates a certain and definite number (Ribera): or, the Angels of these seven Churches (certain interpreters in Pererius), or rather, the seven principal Angels (Pererius, thus Ribera, Lapide, Hammond), the primary administrators of divine providence concerning the government of the Church, and indeed even of the world (Pererius, similarly Ribera): whom others call Archangels (Drusius). Now, it is apparent that Angels are to be understood, from a comparison with Revelation 5:6 (Mede’s Works 1111 out of Beza), where those seven spirits are called the horns and eyes of the lamb, that is, ministers (Beza):  and with Revelation 8:2, where they are expressly called the seven Angels which stand before God (Mede’s Works 1111):  and with Revelation 15:6, 7 (Ribera), and Zechariah 4:10, those are the seven eyes of the Lord, etc.  Consult Tobit 12:15 (Mede’s Works 1111).  [To others this opinion does not satisfy, and they oppose it in this way:]  1.  It is absurd that Angels should be placed in the same order and society with Divine persons (certain interpreters in Pererius), and placed before Christ (certain interpreters in Ribera, thus Gomar, Estius).  Response:  They are reckoned in this place, not as equals, but as ministers (Pererius):  but they are set before Christ because He is here treated according to His human nature, with respect to which He was inferior to the Angels (Ribera).  On the contrary, Christ according to the glory of His humanity is above the Angels and is their head, Ephesians 1:21 (Estius).  2.  There is another weightier argument, that what is given by God alone is not to be attributed to Angels (Gomar).  It is absurd that grace and peace would be sought from Angels (certain interpreters in Pererius, thus Gomar, Pareus), who are neither the authors, nor givers, of it (certain interpreters in Pererius).  There is in Sacred Scripture no promise or example of the grace and peace of God sought and given by Angels or any creature (Gomar).  Good Theology does not bear that these things were sought from Angels (Pareus).  Response:  1.  These things are sought from them, not as the authors, but as the instruments of God in the dispensing of them (Mede’s Diatribes 10:55,[42] thus Pererius).  See Hebrews 1:14.  2.  The prayer here is directed to God (Mede), not to the seven spirits (Hammond, thus Mede), whether immediately or ultimately (Hammond).  This is not a prayer, but a wish, which is directed to God as the giver (certain interpreters in Gomar); but He makes mention of the Angels as instruments through whom He gives these things in His own way, in the manner of keeping, etc.  Therefore, there is nothing here in support of the invocation of Angels (Gomar).  Now, why is it not lawful to seek from God grace and peace from the Ministry, whether external of the word, or invisible of Angels?  It is certainly lawful to seek from God blessing by an instrument, which blessing He is wont to give by that instrument (Mede’s Diatribes 10:55).  But no equivocation ought to be contrived here. This particle ἀπὸ/from, here thrice repeated, relates συνωνύμως, or univocally, that it is sought from God and from the seven spirits and from Christ, as from operating causes, or rather from one cause, the Triune God.  Therefore, a religious supplication is treated here.  Now, all worship of angels is condemned, Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10; 22:9 (Pareus).  God alone is to be worshipped, Matthew 4:10; neither does God bestow His own glory upon another, Isaiah 42:8 (Gomar).  This is not a prayer, but only a salutation (Mede, Hammond); and grace and peace are here able to be taken, not strictly, but broadly, so that he might express the favor and blessing of God in general, and all prosperity, which things God is certainly wont to give by the ministry of Angels (Mede).  [These things concerning the first opinion.]  2.  He that will judge all things rightly, and will bring in Revelation 5:6 for comparison, where the Spirits are called the eyes of God, by which eyes we said on Zechariah 4:10 to be signified the manifold providence of God, will rather proceed to the point that he might here esteem those seven members of divine providence, named in Revelation 5:12 and 7:12, to be denoted.  And thus it will be ἕν διὰ δυοῖν, an hendiadys.  For peace is desired from God and the seven spirits, that is, from God operating by these seven modes.  He confirms this interpretation, insofar as in Revelation 5 the Spirits and Angels are distinguished (Grotius).  3.  By the seven spirits the Holy Spirit is understood (Cotterius, Cluverus, Pareus, Brightman, Gomar, Durham, Apocalyptic Harmony, Gagnæus).  This is the common interpretation.  Thus Ambrose, Andreas Cæsarius, Primasius,[43] Rupertus,[44] and a great many other great men, take it (Pererius, similarly Ribera).  This is evident, 1.  from a comparison with Revelation 4:5, where the seven spirits are said to be seven burning lamps.  Now, the Holy Spirit is often compared to a fire, as in Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:3.  2.  And especially from a comparison with Revelation 5:6, where the seven spirits are clearly distinguished from the four beasts, which are Angels.  Where also those spirits are said both to be in the midst of the throne, and to have been sent into all the earth, while Angels are not able at the same time to be in heaven and on earth (Cartwright[45]).  3.  Because in that very place these seven spirits are defined to be the seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb (Cartwright, Cluverus, Durham).  The eyes denote His omniscience; the horns, His omnipotence (Durham).  Now, Christ sees not with the eyes of Angels and others, but with His own; and Christ is mighty with horns, or power, not of Angels and others, but with His own (Gomar, Cartwright).  Now, the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit is the power and wisdom of the Son, inasmuch as the Spirit proceeds equally from the Father and the Son (Cartwright).  Consult Zechariah 3:9, where upon that singular stone, which beyond controversy is the Messiah, seven eyes are said to be, that is, the most perfect wisdom of the Spirit, etc.  Add Revelation 3:1, These things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God.  But Christ (according to the flesh, let us suppose) is not anointed with the power, nor does He see by the wisdom, of Angels, but of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; John 3:34; Acts 10:38.  Neither is the throne of God illuminated by Angels, but by the Spirit.  Neither are Angels able to see the secrets of the book of God, except they be revealed by the Spirit of Christ, Revelation 5:2, 3 (Cluverus).  4.  Because, while in Revelation 4 and 5 the living creatures and the elders worship God, the seven spirits are never read to worship God:  by which it is indicated that, not a creature, but the creator is understood (Gomar, Apocalyptic Harmony).  [To others this opinion does not satisfy, which they thus assail:]  1.  These spirits are seven; therefore, these are not the Holy Spirit, who is one (certain interpreters in Gomar).  Response:  A multiplicity of persons is not here denoted, but an infinite variety of gifts (Cartwright, similarly Gomar), 1 Corinthians 12:4 (Gomar), whence the sevenfold spirit is given to Christ, Isaiah 11:2, 3 (Gomar, similarly the Apocalyptic Harmony).  Neither is it alien to the prophetic and figurative style that the Spirit would be called by seven gifts, by a Metonymy of Effect in the place of the cause, just as contrariwise the gifts of the Spirit are called the Spirit, John 7:39, by a Metonymy of Cause in the place of the effect.  Thus the one providence of God is indicated by innumerable eyes in Ezekiel,[46] and the one person of Christ is signified by various shadows in the Old Testament (Gomar).  By a similar mode of speaking God is said to place of the Spirit, or a portion of the Spirit, upon someone; likewise the spirits of the prophets, 1 Corinthians 14:32 (Cocceius).  Now, the Spirit of God is called the seven spirits (Cotterius), either, 1.  because this number is sacred in this book (Durham):  or, 2.  so that every sort of perfection might be attributed to Him (Cotterius), the seven spirits, that is, the sevenfold Spirit (Pererius, Ribera, Cotterius), that is, the omnifold Spirit.  Now, I have preferred to say the seven spirits, so that it might signify that the perfections of that Spirit are not accidents, as in us, but His essence, and that all those subsist οὐσιωδῶς/ essentially in the Divine essence (Cotterius).  Or, 3.  because He was flowing into these seven Churches (Apocalyptic Harmony, thus Cocceius), as if the spirit of the individual Churches was His own (Cocceius).  [These things concerning the first argument.]  2.  The Holy Spirit is on the throne, as Lord and God (Ribera), not, as here, before the throne; which is of subordinates and ministers, who stand prepared to carry out and execute commands (Pererius, similarly Ribera), as it is evident out of Zechariah 3:7; 6:5; Tobit 12:15 (Ribera).  Response:  The expression, to be, or to stand, before the throne does not always and necessarily denote inequality and separation.  For as the Holy Spirit, although equal with respect to essence to the Father, with respect to voluntary office and by dispensation is said to be sent by the Father and the Son (Gomar); thus in this place to be before the throne is used, that is, to be prompt to fulfill one’s duty (Gomar, similarly Durham), to be present with the Father and the Son, who by the Spirit exhibit grace and consolation to the people of God (Durham).  By this, to be before the throne, it is denoted that the Holy Spirit both was given to us by Christ, and that He is to us παράκλητον, a Helper:  consult Romans 8:26, 27 (Cocceius).  [This is the second argument.]  3.  The order is incompatible, because this is set before the Son (certain interpreters in Gomar).  Response 1:  Among the persons of the Trinity the order is often confounded, as in Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 5:5; etc., neither is this absurd, on account of the equality and unity of all.  Response 2:  Wisely and opportunely is He here set before, either, lest the proper order of speech be interrupted (Gomar); because concerning the Son he was going to say more things (Cocceius, thus the Apocalyptic Harmony, Gomar, Cluverus), and was going finish the salutation in δοξολογίᾳ, a doxology, of Him:  or, lest an inequality be thought in the Trinity; or, lest someone understand the seven spirits, if they be subjoined in the last place, of angels:  or, so that he might insinuate the proper character of the Holy Spirit, who is, as it were, the love and bond of the Father and the Son (Cluverus).

And from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; it is very difficult to determine what is meant by the seven Spirits here before the throne: we read of them also, Revelation 3:1; 4:5; 5:6. Christ is described, Revelation 3:1, as having the seven Spirits of God. It is said, Revelation 4:5, that the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, are the seven Spirits of God; and Revelation 5:6, that the Lamb’s seven eyes were the seven Spirits of God. This is all the light we have from Scripture. Some think they are seven angels that are here meant. We read, Revelation 8:2, of seven angels that stood before God; and in Revelation 15:6-8, there is a like mention of seven angels; and Zechariah 4:2, 10, Zechariah had a vision of seven lamps, and seven pipes, which, Zechariah 4:10, are said to be the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. But John saluting the churches with grace and peace from these seven Spirits, and joining them with Christ, they do not seem to be creatures, angels, that are here meant, but such a Being from whom grace and peace cometh. Others therefore understand by them, the seven workings of Divine Providence in his management of the affairs of the world, with relation to the church, of which we shall read after; but this also seems hard. The sense seems to be, and from the Holy Ghost, who, though but one spiritual Being, yet exerteth his influence many ways, and by various manifestations, called here seven Spirits, because all flow from the same Spirit. They are therefore called, Revelation 4:5, burning lamps; the Holy Ghost descending in the appearance of fire, Acts 2:3, 4, and being compared to fire, Matthew 3:11. They are called the Lamb’s seven eyes and seven horns, Revelation 5:6. Christ had the Spirit without measure;[47] and the Holy Spirit is oft called the Spirit of Christ.[48] This seemeth the best sense; the reader may find the objections to it answered in Mr. Pool’s Synopsis Criticorum upon this verse.

[1] Greek: Ἰωάννης ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις ταῖς ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος· καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων ἃ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ.

[37] John Drusius (1550-1616) was a Protestant, who excelled in Oriental studies, Biblical exegesis, and critical interpretation, as is evident from his Annotationes in Pentateuchum, Josuam, Judices, Ruth, Samuelem, Estheram, Jobum, Coheleth, seu Ecclesiasten, Prophetas Minores, Ecclesiasticum, Tobit, 1 Librum Machabæorum; Notæ Majores in Genesin, Exodum, Leviticum, et Priora 18 Capita Numerorum; Annotata in Novum Testamentum.  He served as Professor of Oriental Languages at Oxford (1572), at Louvain (1577), and at Franeker (1585).

[38] This is a reference to notes attached to the Douay-Rheims translation.  The Douay Old Testament (1609) and the Rheims New Testament (1587) constitute the Douay-Rheims Bible.  It is a Roman Catholic English Version of the Latin Vulgate.

[39] See Ezra 7:14.

[40] Tobit 12:15:  “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.”

[41] The Shepherd of Hermas was written in either the late first century, or mid-second century.  The work consists of five visions, twelve mandates, and ten parables, in which the Church is called to repentance; the method of instruction is allegorical.  It was considered canonical by some early Christians.

[42] On Zechariah 4:10.

[43] Primasius (sixth century) was Bishop of Adrumentum in Africa, and a disciple of Augustine.  He wrote Commentarium in Apocalypsim.

[44] Rupertus (1091-1135) was a learned Benedictine, Abbot of Tuits on the Rhine.  The citation is likely taken from his commentary In Apocalypsim.

[45] Thomas Cartwright (c. 1535-1603) was an English Presbyterian and Puritan leader.  He wrote A Plaine Explanation of the Whole Revelation of Saint John.

[46] See Ezekiel 1:18, for example.

[47] John 3:34.

[48] For example, Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11.

Joshua 24:1: Assembly at Shechem

Verse 1:[1] And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to (Gen. 35:4) Shechem, and (Josh. 23:2) called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they (1 Sam. 10:19) presented themselves before God.

[And he gathered, וַיֶּאֶסֹף] He gathered then (Junius and Tremellius), or, also, that is, thereafter (Masius). Now, he gathered, supplying, again. He assembles the people a second time (Vatablus, Masius). Since he had survived longer than he expected after the last assembly, yet in the same year, as it appears, having an even stronger presentiment now of the nearness of death, or even learning by revelation that it is near, being solicitous of their well-being, he calls them together again, he involves himself in every respect, so that he might inculate in them constancy in worship and the Divine covenant (Bonfrerius).

Gathered all the tribes of Israel, to wit, by their representatives, as Joshua 23:2.

[To Shechem] Thus all interpreters except the Septuagint, which has in the Roman codex, to Shiloh. But other codices [of the Septuagint], the Complutensian, Royal, Basilian,[2] and of Masius, have Shechem (Bonfrerius). That is error is ancient [in the Roman codex], there is able to be no doubt, which sort are certainly almost infinite in the Greek edition (Masius in his notes on his edition of the Septuagint). Question 1: Where then was this gathering? Response 1: In Shiloh (Serarius, Drusius, Junius, Menochius, Tirinus, Grotius). They prove this out of verse 1, they stood in the sight of God; and out of verse 26, they set it [that is, the stone] under an oak that was in the sanctuary of the Lord (Serarius). You will say, But this place is called Shechem. Response: Therefore Shechem here is not the city of Shechem, but Shechemite territory, in which Shiloh was (Serarius, Junius). Thus Gibeon is put in place of its territory, and Jericho (Drusius) [as previously noted]. Thus Hebron was given to Caleb, Joshua 14:14, although not the city itself, but its territory, was given to him, Joshua 21:12. Thus in Joshua 24:32 the bones of Joseph are said to be buried in Shechem, and it is immediately subjoined, in the parcel of ground that Jacob bought; but, that that field was not in the city is evident from Genesis 33:18 (Junius, Drusius, Serarius). But the reasoning is unequal: for that field of Jacob was a suburb of the city of Shechem, and set in proximity, Genesis 33; but Shechem was ten miles distant from Shiloh, as Jerome testifies. And it would be truly remarkable, that, while everywhere Shiloh is expressly named as the site of the Tabernacle, the same is called Shechem only in this place and never elsewhere (Bonfrerius). Why was it necessary to denominate the place, otherwise famous, by an external field, and not by itself (Malvenda)? Response 2: Others maintain that it was not in Shiloh, but in Shechem (thus Vatablus, Masius, Lapide, Bonfrerius, Malvenda). At that time the Ark of the covenant was moved from Shiloh to Shechem (Vatablus, Masius, Lapide, Bonfrerius), so that the covenant might be entered upon before the Ark: which is discovered from the end of this book. For the book was shut up in the Ark of the covenant, but he says that he wrote in the book of the Law (Vatablus). The matter is certain and is shown by many examples, that it was not unlawful for the King to transport the Ark here and there when there was need; 1 Samuel 4:3; 2 Samuel 15:24 (Masius). Moreover, by the Sanctuary, Joshua 24:26, the Tabernacle is not understood (for it was unheard of that there was an oak in the Tabernacle, which was only ten cubits tall,[3] especially since it was prohibited in Deuteronomy 16:21, that a grove or tree should not be planted by the Altar of God), but the place in which the Ark was resting for the present until the meetings were finished (in which, or near which, was that oak, under which that stone was placed as a monument): it is not strange that this place was called the Sanctuary, since by the presence of the Ark the Tabernacle also was regarded as holy (Bonfrerius). Question 2: Why did he assembly them at Shechem? Response: Joshua thought that this covenant was to be renewed in that place, 1. Because there the covenant was first ratified by Abraham, and then by all the Israelites, as we showed in Joshua 8. That place certainly ought to have stirred, and that not a little, the souls of all, in which place the remains of Abraham were yet present; who, after he had left his native land, was there first of all initiated into that religion and those sacred rites that they were yet cherishing and were obliged to cherish, and was made by God the heir of this land, whose possession they were now enjoying (Masius). Wherefore Joshua wanted his posterity solemnly to swear unto the Law of God, with the inheritance now received (Lapide). 2. Because near Shechem on the mountains of Gerezim and Ebal, which were in view, Joshua had formerly renewed the same covenant of the people with God upon their entrance into the Promised Land, Joshua 8. And so that event was powerful to recall into mind the memory of the original covenant (Bonfrerius out of Lapide). In Shechem Abraham first offered sacrifice to God, Genesis 12:6, 7. In Shechem the Patriarchs were buried (Lapide). 3. In Shechem rather than Shiloh, the former was closer to Timnath-serah, the city of their now aged Commander-in-Chief (Malvenda).

To Shechem; either, 1. To Shiloh, where the ark and tabernacle was; because they are here said to present themselves before God; and because the stone set up here is said to be set up in or by the sanctuary of the Lord; of both which I shall speak in their proper places. And they say Shiloh is here called Shechem, because it was in the territory of Shechem; but that may be doubted, seeing Shiloh was ten miles distant from Shechem, as St. Jerome affirms. And had he meant Shiloh, why should he not express it in its own and proper name, by which it is called in all other places, rather than by another name no where else given to it? Or rather, 2. To the city of Shechem, a place convenient for the present purpose, not only because it was a Levitical city, and a city of refuge, and a place near to Joshua’s city, but especially for the two main ends for which he summoned them thither. 1. For the solemn burial of the bones of Joseph, as is implied here, Joshua 24:32, and of the rest of the patriarchs, as is noted Acts 7:15, 16, for which this place was designed. 2. For the solemn renewing of their covenant with God; which in this place was first made between God and Abraham, Genesis 12:6, 7, and afterwards was there renewed by the Israelites at their first entrance into the land of Canaan, between the two mountains of Ebal and Gerizim, Joshua 8:30, etc., which were very near Shechem, as appears from Judges 9:6, 7; and therefore this place was most proper, both to remind them of their former obligations to God, and to engage them to a further ratification of them. Before God; either, 1. Before the ark or tabernacle, as that phrase is commonly used; which might be either in Shiloh, where they were fixed; or in Shechem, whither the ark was brought upon this great occasion, as it was sometimes removed upon such occasions, as 1 Samuel 4:3; 2 Samuel 15:24. Or, 2. In that public, and venerable, and sacred assembly met together for religious exercises; for in such God is present, Exodus 20:24; Psalm 82:1; Matthew 18:20. Or, 3. As in God’s presence, to hear what Joshua was to speak to them in God’s name, and to receive God’s commands from his mouth. Thus Isaac is said to bless Jacob before the Lord, that is, in his name and presence, Genesis 27:7; and Jephthah is said to utter all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh,[4] that is, as in God’s presence, calling him in to be witness of them.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֶּאֶסֹ֧ף יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ אֶת־כָּל־שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שְׁכֶ֑מָה וַיִּקְרָא֩ לְזִקְנֵ֙י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל וּלְרָאשָׁ֗יו וּלְשֹֽׁפְטָיו֙ וּלְשֹׁ֣טְרָ֔יו וַיִּֽתְיַצְּב֖וּ לִפְנֵ֥י הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃

[2] Aldus Manutius published an edition of the Septuagint in Venice, 1518.  His edition was closer to Vaticanus than the Complutensian.  A corrected edition was published in Basil in 1545 with a preface by Melancthon.

[3] See Exodus 26:16; 36:21.

[4] Judges 11:11.

Joshua 24 Outline

Joshua assembles all the tribes at Shechem, 1. A brief history of God’s benefits from Terah: he exhorts them faithfully to serve the true God, 2-13. Reneweth a covenant between them and God; promising for himself and his house; the people four several times promising for themselves, 11-25. He writes this in the book of the law, and sets up a stone for a witness, 26-28. His age, death, and burial, 29-31. The burying of Joseph’s bones, 32. The death and burial of Eleazar, 33.

Joshua 23:14-16: Joshua’s Doctrine of the Two Ways

Verse 14:[1] And, behold, this day (1 Kings 2:2; see Heb. 9:27) I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that (Josh. 21:45; Luke 21:33) 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…

[Today I am going into the way of all the earth,אָנֹכִ֤י הוֹלֵךְ֙ הַיּ֔וֹם בְּדֶ֖רֶךְ כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ] I am going to go today by the way of all the earth, that is, flesh: which is to say, today I am going to die, just as it is appointed for all men (Vatablus, Drusius). Thus 1 Kings 2:2, I go the way of all the earth, that is, I am dying. Plautus said, Who now depart unto the common place;[2] and, He entered unto the many.[3] For there are more dead than living. The way of the earth sometimes signifies sexual intercourse, Genesis 19:31. But by the Masters [that is, the Rabbis] even civil or political life is called the way of the earth (Drusius). [Junius and Tremellius translate it, I am going to depart soon; and they enclose this entire verse in parentheses, and connect verse 15 with verse 13.] He here impresses that the end of his life is near; evidently so that these words, as the last, they might take to heart and preserve in memory; and at the same time so that they might understand that after this they are going to have to live life for themselves in their own manner, and hence be circumspect, and more intent upon all the duties of life, since they are no longer going to have a counselor and guide for all their actions, in whose care they have hitherto been able to rest secure (Masius on verse 3).

Of all the earth, that is, of all flesh, or of all men; the way which all men go; I am about to die, as all men must, Hebrews 9:27. The same phrase is 1 Kings 2:2.

[And ye shall know with all your soul: that is, ye shall know fully and plainly; or, that is to say, attend with your whole soul (Lapide): וִידַעְתֶּם] Ye shall know (Montanus, Jonathan, similarly the Septuagint). Now, ye know, etc. (Syriac, Munster, Tigurinus). Know ye, therefore (Arabic, Pagnine). After ye have known, etc.; that is to say, I die most willingly now, since I see that ye have most securely been established concerning the trustworthiness and truth of the promises of God, so that ye might preserve His people in their duty; which matter I wish to be entrusted to you. See Joshua 24:31; Judges 2:7, etc. (Junius).

Ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that is, you know assuredly; your own experience puts it out of all question.

[Not one has been omitted, לֹא־נָפַל] It has not fallen (Pagnine, Montanus, Septuagint) (perished [Junius and Tremellius], ceased [Syriac, Vatablus]); it was not void (Vatablus); it was not useless (Jonathan).

Not one thing hath failed. Question. How is this true, when so great a part of the promised land and people yet remain unconquered? Answer. God promised them to destroy all their enemies, and to give them the whole land, not at once, but by degrees, by little and little, as is expressed Deuteronomy 7:22, and as was most convenient for them.


Verse 15:[4] (Deut. 28:63) 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 (Lev. 26:16; Deut. 28:15, 16, etc.) all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

[Therefore, just as He hath fulfilled, etc.] That is to say, If the blessings have come to pass, as ye have experienced the very event; there is no reason why ye should be able to hope that the curses also are any less going to come to pass, Deuteronomy 28 (Masius on verse 3).

All evil things: The accomplishment of God’s promises is a pledge or assurance that he will also fulfil his threatenings; both of them depending upon the same ground, the faithfulness of God.


Verse 16:[5] 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.

[Because ye will have transgressed the covenant of the Lord, etc., בְּעָבְרְכֶם וגו״] In transgressing (or, passing over [Jonathan]) you the covenant of the Lord[6] (Montanus). Seeing that ye have transgressed, etc. (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus). If ye transgress (Syriac, similarly the Arabic).

[From this land] There is emphasis below the surface; that is, which ye now possess, and acquired with much labor and time, and to which ye came with great desire (Menochius).

[Which God delivered to you] So that it might be distressing, to be spoiled of such a great blessing of God; so that it might be altogether ungrateful and criminal, to let it go by their guilt and sin (Menochius).

[1] Hebrew: וְהִנֵּ֙ה אָנֹכִ֤י הוֹלֵךְ֙ הַיּ֔וֹם בְּדֶ֖רֶךְ כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וִידַעְתֶּ֞ם בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶ֣ם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶ֗ם כִּ֣י לֹֽא־נָפַל֩ דָּבָ֙ר אֶחָ֜ד מִכֹּ֣ל׀ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הַטּוֹבִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֙ר דִּבֶּ֜ר יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֙ עֲלֵיכֶ֔ם הַכֹּל֙ בָּ֣אוּ לָכֶ֔ם לֹֽא־נָפַ֥ל מִמֶּ֖נּוּ דָּבָ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃

[2] Prologue of Casina.

[3] Trinummus 2:2:14.

[4] Hebrew: וְהָיָ֗ה כַּאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֤א עֲלֵיכֶם֙ כָּל־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַטּ֔וֹב אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֛ר יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם כֵּן֩ יָבִ֙יא יְהוָ֜ה עֲלֵיכֶ֗ם אֵ֚ת כָּל־הַדָּבָ֣ר הָרָ֔ע עַד־הַשְׁמִיד֣וֹ אוֹתְכֶ֗ם מֵ֠עַל הָאֲדָמָ֤ה הַטּוֹבָה֙ הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁר֙ נָתַ֣ן לָכֶ֔ם יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

[5] Hebrew: בְּ֠עָבְרְכֶם אֶת־בְּרִ֙ית יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה אֶתְכֶם֒ וַהֲלַכְתֶּ֗ם וַעֲבַדְתֶּם֙ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶ֖ם לָהֶ֑ם וְחָרָ֤ה אַף־יְהוָה֙ בָּכֶ֔ם וַאֲבַדְתֶּ֣ם מְהֵרָ֔ה מֵעַל֙ הָאָ֣רֶץ הַטּוֹבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֖ר נָתַ֥ן לָכֶֽם׃

[6] A woodenly literalistic rendering.

Joshua 23:12, 13: Threats Discouraging Disobedience

Verse 12:[1] Else if ye do in any wise (Heb. 10:38, 39; 2 Pet. 2:20, 21) go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall (Deut. 7:3) make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you…

[But if ye desire, etc., כִּ֣י׀ אִם־שׁ֣וֹב תָּשׁ֗וּבוּ] For if (or, but if [Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, similarly Pagnine], else if [Munster, English]) by turning away ye turn away (Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic) (or, ye draw back [Arabic], ye shall turn back [Jonathan], ye fall away), understanding, from God (Vatablus). For if by turning around ye change the design, etc. שׁוּב signifies to go back, but it is often transferred to the soul, and is to depart from the design, to change the manner of life (Masius). [What things follow in Masius, and the explanation of the remaining part of this verse, see on verse 7.]

If ye go back, from God, and from his worship and service. Go in unto them; the phrase notes the matrimonial act.


Verse 13:[2] Know for a certainty that (Judge. 2:3) the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; (Ex. 23:33; Num. 33:55; Deut. 7:16; 1 Kings 11:4) 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.

[They shall be for a pit, לְפַח[3]] For a snare [thus all interpreters]. But the Latin appears to have read פַּחַת/pit (Masius).

[And a snare, וּלְמוֹקֵשׁ[4]] And for a stumbling-block (Montanus, Munster, Pagnine, English, Dutch, Jonathan, Syriac), a snare (Osiander, Dutch); and for a trap (Junius and Tremellius, English), an obstacle (Castalio).

They shall be snares and traps unto you: by your indulgence to them, and converse with them, you will be enticed and drawn by degrees into their errors, and impieties, and brutish lusts.

[And a stumbling-block at your side, וּלְשֹׁטֵ֤ט בְּצִדֵּיכֶם֙] A scourge in your sides [thus nearly all interpreters]; that is, with which your sides are beaten, or flogged (Vatablus). There was an ancient custom of beating the sides, Ecclesiasticus 30:12;[5] 42:5[6] (Junius, Drusius, Grotius). שׁוֹטֵט is the same as שׁוֹט/scourge/whip (Drusius); and it signifies that by which we prod and beat one, so that we might urge to movement (Masius). Spurs in your sides (Tigurinus, Castalio). Ἥλους, that is, nails, is used in the place of spurs by the Septuagint (Masius); spears in your times (Syriac). In Numbers 33:55 it is read, and for thorns in your sides[7] (Vatablus).

[And stakes in your eyes, וְלִצְנִנִ֣ים בְּעֵינֵיכֶ֔ם] And for thorns in your eyes (Montanus) [thus nearly all interpreters]; barbs (Syriac), darts (Septuagint); for knives/points, Numbers 33:55. Moses said, thorns (or knives/points) in your sides; see the annotation there; that is, with which your sides are jabbed; which is to say, afflicting you in extraordinary manner (Vatablus). The Chaldean, in the place of scourge, said, troops taking up arms against you; and, in the place of thorn, etc., rendered it, armies surrounding you: evidently because the verb שָׁטַט sometimes signifies to wander and to roam here and there for the sake of taking prey; and since צִנָּה is used, not only of a thorn, but also of a shield; he transferred it to an army that surrounds its enemies, as a shield does the body of a man, says Rabbi Salomon. Moreover, it is clear enough why these metaphors would be used of idolaters. For by the traps and snares of alluring pleasure progress in the worship of God is first impeded: Then, after the soul is once bound fast by that pleasure, it is easily impelled to every shameful thing by that, as by a whip: But soon, he is also so blinded that he is no longer able to see the shining light of truth. Now, it is evident that all these things happened to them (Masius). First, they are going to be for a trap, etc., that is, by their friendly behavior and marriages they are going to seize you, so that you might become entangled in their impieties, just as a fowler captures birds, or a hunter wild animals, with a trap and snare. Then, these nations shall nevertheless become troublesome to you: gradually they shall recover their strength, and afflict you: and they shall be the scourges of God, as it were, by which He would put you to grief; and, like thorns in your eyes, they shall become intolerable to you (Osiander). This passage is able to be taken, not only of the stumbling-block of Divine punishment and vengeance, but also of the stumbling-block of guilt (Lapide).

Scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes: when they have inveigled, and seduced, and thereby weakened you, then they will molest and vex you, no less than a severe scourge doth a man’s sides which are lashed by it, or than a small thorn doth the eye when it is got within it.

[Until He remove you…from the land, etc.] This was goading their souls exceedingly. For, while after the greatest hardships, which they had endured in another’s land, they, having at last gained their own possessions, appeared to themselves to be altogether happy, and in them were resting most pleasantly, no case more bitter to them was albe to be set before their eyes than a new exile (Masius on verse 3).

Until ye perish from off this good land: they shall so persecute you, and fight against you with such success, that you shall be forced to quit your own land, and wander you know not whither; which must needs be very terrible to them to think of, when they compared this present case, and plenty, and safety, with the pains, and weariness, and hazards, and wants of their former wanderings.

[1] Hebrew: כִּ֣י׀ אִם־שׁ֣וֹב תָּשׁ֗וּבוּ וּדְבַקְתֶּם֙ בְּיֶ֙תֶר֙ הַגּוֹיִ֣ם הָאֵ֔לֶּה הַנִּשְׁאָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה אִתְּכֶ֑ם וְהִֽתְחַתַּנְתֶּ֥ם בָּהֶ֛ם וּבָאתֶ֥ם בָּהֶ֖ם וְהֵ֥ם בָּכֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: יָדוֹ֙עַ֙ תֵּֽדְע֔וּ כִּי֩ לֹ֙א יוֹסִ֜יף יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֗ם לְהוֹרִ֛ישׁ אֶת־הַגּוֹיִ֥ם הָאֵ֖לֶּה מִלִּפְנֵיכֶ֑ם וְהָי֙וּ לָכֶ֜ם לְפַ֣ח וּלְמוֹקֵ֗שׁ וּלְשֹׁטֵ֤ט בְּצִדֵּיכֶם֙ וְלִצְנִנִ֣ים בְּעֵינֵיכֶ֔ם עַד־אֲבָדְכֶ֗ם מֵ֠עַל הָאֲדָמָ֤ה הַטּוֹבָה֙ הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁר֙ נָתַ֣ן לָכֶ֔ם יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

[3] A פַּח is a bird-trap.

[4] מוֹקֵשׁ, a fowler’s trap or its bait, is derived from the verbal root יָקשׁ, to lure.

[5] Ecclesiasticus 30:12:  “Bow down his neck while he is young, and beat him on the sides while he is a child, lest he wax stubborn, and be disobedient unto thee, and so bring sorrow to thine heart.”

[6] Ecclesiasticus 42:5:  “And of merchants’ indifferent selling; of much correction of children; and to make the side of an evil servant to bleed.”

[7] Numbers 33:55:  “But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes (לְשִׂכִּים֙ בְּעֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם), and thorns in your sides (וְלִצְנִינִ֖ם בְּצִדֵּיכֶ֑ם), and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.”