Joshua 24:33: The Death and Burial of Eleazar

[circa 1420 BC] Verse 33:[1] And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to (Ex. 6:25; Judg. 20:28) Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

[Eleazar also] At almost the same time, as it is likely, since in all of life they had been most intimately connected. God governs human affairs in such a way that in one age there is a great crop of men most illustrious for virtue, in another, on the other hand, an astonishing scarcity. For when mortals neglect goodness of this sort, when it is present, and abuse it unto torpor, He thereupon closes His bountiful hand, etc. (Masius).

[They buried him in Gabaath-Phinehas his son, which was given to him in mount Ephraim[2]] It was given to him; to whom? Eleazar (Masius, Tostatus in Lapide). For he was the High Priest while Joshua was living (Bonfrerius). Or, Phinehas (Vatablus and Jerome in Lapide). This is supported by the fact that the place received its name from him (Bonfrerius). But we have already often said that the writers of the Sacred history generally name places with the names of their own age. Therefore, since Phinehas both lived for a very long time, and dwelt there, it is not strange the place took its enduring name from him, not from Eleazar, who had inhabited it for only a few years (Masius). Question: How was it given to Phinehas? Response 1: Through his wife: for Levites were not having private fields in their name. See a similar thing in 1 Chronicles 2:21-23 (Grotius, Hebrews in Masius). But that hill is mentioned as given, not as appointed for a dowry; and it was unlawful for women endowed with ancestral lands to marry outside of their own tribe (Masius). Response 2: It is rightly remembered as given to him, namely, beyond his lot (for all the priestly cities were either in Judah, or Simeon, or Benjamin, as it is evident out of Joshua 21 [Masius, Bonfrerius]), so that the habitation of the High Priest might not be far from the Tabernacle (which at that time was in Shiloh), nor from Joshua, who ought to administer public business according to the counsel of the High Priest (Bonfrerius out of Masius). Here I make an end of commenting, on my birthday, Saint Andrew’s Day,[3] in the year of Christ 1563, says the Most Illustrious Masius [would that he were wrong, and had not made an end of commenting here, but had proceeded to the following books, which he indicates that he had in his heart].

Which was given him in mount Ephraim: By special favour, and for his better conveniency in attending upon the ark, which then was, and for a long time was to be, in Shiloh, which was near to this place; whereas the cities which were given to the priests were in Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon, which were remote from Shiloh, though near to the place where the ark was to have its settled abode, to wit, to Jerusalem.

[1] Hebrew: וְאֶלְעָזָ֥ר בֶּֽן־אַהֲרֹ֖ן מֵ֑ת וַיִּקְבְּר֣וּ אֹת֗וֹ בְּגִבְעַת֙ פִּֽינְחָ֣ס בְּנ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִתַּן־ל֖וֹ בְּהַ֥ר אֶפְרָֽיִם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּקְבְּר֣וּ אֹת֗וֹ בְּגִבְעַת֙ פִּֽינְחָ֣ס בְּנ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִתַּן־ל֖וֹ בְּהַ֥ר אֶפְרָֽיִם׃.

[3] Saint Andrew’s Day is a feast of Saint Andrew, the disciple that introduced his brother, Peter, to Jesus.  Saint Andrew’s Day begins the Advent season.

Joshua 24:32: The Burial of Joseph’s Bones in the Land of Promise

Verse 32:[1] And (Gen. 50:25; Ex. 13:19) the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground (Gen. 33:19) which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver (or, lambs[2]): and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

[The bones of Joseph also…they buried] For Joseph made arrangements for his bones to be removed unto Canaan, Genesis 50:25, just as Jacob had also made arrangements for his, Genesis 49:29. Evidently, they were doing this, so that they might confirm their faith in the promises of God in the minds of their own people; and that sort of faith belonged to them that not even death had been able to snatch it away (Masius). Now, I am inclined to believe that what is here related had already happened year earlier, namely, after the peace bestowed upon them after the wars (Bonfrerius): or, when at first among the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim the Israelites confirmed the covenant with God; for that place was near to the grave (Masius). For there is no reason why they would have delayed unto this time. And so that, they buried, I translate, they had buried (Bonfrerius). But it is commemorated now because here the sepulchers of other great men are shown (Masius).

[In Shechem] For Jacob had desired that part of the field to belong to Joseph outside of his lot; but it was customary to those ancient Fathers that each one be buried in his own possession. And, although a region far separated had fallen to the lot of Joseph, nevertheless at the same time they were going to reckon this field to him as ancestral by hereditary right (Masius). But this field was indeed set within the bounds of Ephraim, yet they possessed it, not by the casting of lots of Joshua, but by donation of Jacob (Bonfrerius).

In Shechem; not in the city of Shechem, but in a field near and belonging to it, as appears from the following words, and from Genesis 33:18, and from the ancient custom of the Israelites to have their burying-places without cities, in fields or gardens.

[For a hundred young sheep, בְּמֵאָ֣ה קְשִׂיטָ֑ה] For a hundred lambs, or sheep (Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Montanus). Rather, coins (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, Masius), as it is evident from Acts 7:16, τιμῆς ἀργυρίου, a sum of silver (Masius). Lambs, that is, coins; perhaps because they had the form of a lamb impressed on them (Vatablus). [But concerning this and other sorts of coins see the tractate concerning Coins to be stitched together, Lord willing, and to be placed among the Appendices. Moreover, Masius explains those δυσνόητα/difficult passages, namely, Genesis 48:22 and Acts 7:16 compared with Genesis 33:19, concerning which see the things either brought together or to be brought together on those passages.]

[And it was for a possession of the sons of Joseph] Hebrew: And they were (that is, granted) to the sons of Joseph for a possession,[3] understanding, his own; that is, It was done in such a way that they considered the bones of the father buried in his own possession (Vatablus). The consent of the Divine foreknowledge, whereby Jacob had determined this place as a sepulcher of his son, and of the lot, which assigned that to Joseph, is covertly shown. Moreover, as with other nations, so with the Hebrews, it was custom that illustrious men be buried among their own. For thus by domestic example each family and tribe was greatly urged on to virtue. The Syrians relate that Noah conscientiously received the bones of Adam into the Ark, and afterwards divine them among his sons. Which I commemorate not for this reason, that I would wish any bones to be worshipped superstitiously: For I know that except for the one God nothing, neither in heaven nor on earth, is to be worshipped [Let the rest of the Papists note this, who roundly profess λειψανολατρείαν, that is, the worship of relics, and also of Angels, Saints, Images, etc.]; and that in Christ alone ought to be placed all our hope of salvation. [Let them also note this, who place at least some hope of salvation in merits, both their own, and of the Saints; and let them hear this, their most learned brother, from whom the force of truth alone has extorted these sayings.] Nevertheless, to me the bonds of the most holy men appear always to have had a just veneration among all the pious (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וְאֶת־עַצְמ֣וֹת י֠וֹסֵף אֲשֶׁר־הֶעֱל֙וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל׀ מִמִּצְרַיִם֮ קָבְר֣וּ בִשְׁכֶם֒ בְּחֶלְקַ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֙ר קָנָ֧ה יַעֲקֹ֛ב מֵאֵ֛ת בְּנֵֽי־חֲמ֥וֹר אֲבִֽי־שְׁכֶ֖ם בְּמֵאָ֣ה קְשִׂיטָ֑ה וַיִּֽהְי֥וּ לִבְנֵֽי־יוֹסֵ֖ף לְנַחֲלָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: קְשִׂיטָה.

[3] Hebrew: וַיִּֽהְי֥וּ לִבְנֵֽי־יוֹסֵ֖ף לְנַחֲלָֽה׃.

Joshua 24:31: The Limit of the Obedience of Israel

Verse 31:[1] And (Judg. 2:7) Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua (Heb. prolonged their days after Joshua[2]), and which had (see Deut. 11:2; 31:13) known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.

[All the days of Joshua and the elders, etc.] But not longer, as it is evident from Judges 2:8-10. So far prevails the recent memory of their benefactors, and the authority of their honored men. See a similar thin in 2 Chronicles 24:2, 16-18. Hence it appears that this book was written some time after Joshua (Grotius) [or, at least, that these and similar things were written by another sacred writer, as was previously noted more than once]. This passage teaches how much influence may be placed in the uprightness of one man that governs in the commonwealth (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲבֹ֤ד יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֣י יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ וְכֹ֣ל׀ יְמֵ֣י הַזְּקֵנִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֙ר הֶאֱרִ֤יכוּ יָמִים֙ אַחֲרֵ֣י יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ וַאֲשֶׁ֣ר יָדְע֗וּ אֵ֚ת כָּל־מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה יְהוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[2] Hebrew: הֶאֱרִ֤יכוּ יָמִים֙ אַחֲרֵ֣י יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ.

Joshua 24:29, 30: The Death and Burial of Joshua

[circa 1426 BC] Verse 29:[1] (Judg. 2:8) And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.

[He died] In what year of his government it is not evident (Lapide). Nothing certain is able to be established, since Scripture says nothing of that matter. Nevertheless, although it be so, and there be a certain obscurity in the years of the Judges; still no difficulty appears for the Sacred Chronology, when in 1 Kings 6:1 is found the number of years from the exodus out of Egypt unto the beginning of the edification of the Temple (Bonfrerius). Serarius enumerates here twelve opinions, of which two are more probable. The first give to him seventeen or eighteen years; the second, twenty-seven or twenty-eight (Lapide). Maimonides only gives him fourteen years; but I attribute to him twenty-eight years (Masius out of the Hebrews). But, that it is not possible to ascribe to him more than seventeen or eighteen years, is evident from the years of the Judges, etc. (Bonfrerius), and from that general sum of four hundred and eighty years from the exodus out of Egypt to the foundation of the Temple, which, moreover, Sacred Scripture distributes into these parts; forty years in the desert, two hundred and ninety-nine of the Judges, forty of Eli, forty of Samuel and Saul, forty of David, and four of Solomon unto the beginning of the edification of the Temple. The total sum of these is four hundred and sixty-three. Thus it is necessary that the government of Joshua lasted for seventeen years (Lightfoot). [Concerning these things Bonfrerius, Masius, and others, here debate at length. But I am unwilling to immerse myself in the ocean of chronological questions, except when the untying of some textual difficulty requires it. Perhaps I might place the rest of this sort back at the end of our Work among the Appendices, if God should provide life and strength.]


Verse 30:[2] And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in (Josh. 19:50; Judg. 2:9) Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.

[And they buried him] The care of bodies to be buried, ever customary among all nations, indicates a certain sense in them, that it is going to be that finally the bodies are going to revive, and are going to be restored to their souls. Hence in the Poets souls are not able to rest except with their bodies duly preserved; hence they, as if in the body, among the dead take cognizance of all their affairs. Moreover, in the Sacred Books we often see it recorded in what places the monuments of illustrious men were built. Not only concerning good men, but also concerning the wicked, is this observed; 1. so that there might be an inviolable confidence in the history: 2. so that the common experience of men might be perfectly attested by every memory of the other life: 3. so that men such as these, as if they were remaining in their graves, might be perpetually represented to the eyes of their descendants in a certain measure as examples of virtues to be followed, or of vices to be fled. For it is lawful to preserve the monuments of the saints only for the imitation of their lives, not for religious worship also (Masius).

[In Timnath-Serah, בְּתִמְנַת־סֶרַח[3]] With the letters transposed, it appears that it is to be called תִּמְנַת חֶרֶס, Timnath-heres,[4] as in Judges 2:9. Now, this name was imposed upon the city of Joshua from an image of the Sun erected here by the Israelites in memory of the miracle. See what things we have on Joshua 10. For חֶרֶס signifies Sun, and תְּמוּנָה, a figure (Masius). There is no mention here of the lamentation and grief of the people, as in Genesis 50 and Deuteronomy 34 (Menochius). And so they render גַּעַשׁ/Gaash as tremor,[5] and the Hebrews invent a story that the mountain was shaken violently in the burial of Joshua, because the Jews had not wept over the death of such a man (Munster). But it is to be believed that memorial rites were observed for Joshua in mourning, although it be not expressed (Menochius, Lapide).

[On the north side of the hill Gaash] It is likely that this was a part of mount Ephraim, set over against that city on the South: Judges 2:9 (Masius, Jerome and Adrichomius in Lapide, Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֗י אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַיָּ֛מָת יְהוֹשֻׁ֥עַ בִּן־נ֖וּן עֶ֣בֶד יְהוָ֑ה בֶּן־מֵאָ֥ה וָעֶ֖שֶׂר שָׁנִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּקְבְּר֤וּ אֹתוֹ֙ בִּגְב֣וּל נַחֲלָת֔וֹ בְּתִמְנַת־סֶ֖רַח אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּהַר־אֶפְרָ֑יִם מִצְּפ֖וֹן לְהַר־גָּֽעַשׁ׃

[3] תִּמְנָה/Timnah signifies portion or territory; סֶרַח/abundance, from סָרַח, to exceed.

[4] חֶרֶס/heres signifies sun.

[5] גָּעַשׁ signifies to tremble.

Joshua 24:26-28: Memorials of Covenant Renewal

Verse 26:[1] And Joshua (Deut. 31:24) wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took (see Judg. 9:6) a great stone, and (see Gen. 28:18; Josh. 4:3) set it up there (Gen. 35:4) under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

[He wrote all these words] That is, the words of this covenant (Drusius). The forms of words of the stipulation of God and the solemn promise of the people (Masius, Serarius, Bonfrerius). He wrote, 1. for a perpetual memorial (Lapide out of Masius); 2. so that the people might be mindful that those things are on record, and therefore might cultivate with greater reverence faithfulness for the future, willingly given (Masius).

[In the scroll of the law] That is, which was in the Ark (Vatablus, Grotius, similarly Masius, Lapide, Bonfrerius). See Deuteronomy 17:18; 31:26. Joshua ordered that the priests enter it into the book of the Law of God, which was in their hands, and also into that public book that God had commanded to the Prince to be written out (Malvenda out of Junius).

These words, that is, this covenant or agreement of the people with the Lord. In the book of the law of God, that is, in that volume which was kept in the ark, Deuteronomy 31:9, 26, whence it was taken and put into this book of Joshua. This he did, partly, for the perpetual remembrance of this great and solemn action; partly, to lay the greater obligation upon the people to be true to their engagement; and partly, as a witness for God, and against the people, if afterwards he severely punished them for their detection from God, to whom they had so solemnly and freely obliged themselves.

[He brought an exceedingly great stone] Which would be to coming generations a monument of the matter conducted, and of the covenant renewed (Bonfrerius out of Lapide). There is a similar thing in Genesis 28:18 and Joshua 4:20 (Bonfrerius). Indeed, Moses set up twelve stones near the Altar,[2] so that by that symbol the Israelites might understand that, although some of them were admitted to come closer, others appeared farther off, some stood in a higher degree, others in a lower, nevertheless they were all equally dear to God. But here only the heads of the people were summoned, and they were all easily able to stand near the Ark. Besides, this stone was a monument; not so those twelve stones (for what need was there of a monument in those place to which the Israelites were never going to return?), but they were only representing the twelve Tribes (Masius).

Set it up there, as a witness and monument of this great transaction, according to the custom of those ancient times, as Genesis 28:18; 31:45; 35:14; Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 27:2; Joshua 4:3; 8:32. Possibly this agreement was written upon this stone, as was then usual.

[Under the oak] Some maintain that it is the same oak as that of Jacob in Genesis 35:4, and as that near which God first appeared to Abraham, and promised him that land (Masius out of the Hebrews). But who would believe that the same oak had endured for five centuries (Bonfrerius)? You will say that in Deuteronomy 16:21 it is prescribed, thou shalt not plant a grove or any tree near the altar: How then was this oak in the Tabernacle near the Altar? Responses: 1. Understand, where the Tabernacle and Altar were remaining fixed, not, where it was only raised temporarily. 2. Only a planting done deliberately unto that end is prohibited, in the manner of the Gentiles, to exercise every indecency under them (Bonfrerius). He forbids that a tree be planted, but not that the Tabernacle be erected near a tree already planted (Lapide).

[That was in the sanctuary of the Lord] Question: What is the meaning of this? Responses: 1. That place is called the Sanctuary of the Lord that Abraham had first consecrated in Canaan, since there he had received that most joyous announcement from the Lord; moreover also that place where Jacob had seen visions is called Beth-el,[3] Genesis 28:19 (Masius). 2. Thus he calls the place in which the Ark of the Lord was, which was sanctified by the presence of the Ark (Vatablus, Bonfrerius). This oak was contained in the courtyard of the Tabernacle (Junius, Lapide, Tirinus, Menochius); or near the courtyard (Rabbis in Tirinus). Now, the Sanctuary in the Scriptures is everywhere taken for the holy place, although not the most holy (Junius). This oak was, of course, in Shiloh (Menochius); or, in Shechem, to which the Ark had been moved from Shiloh, as has been said (Lapide).

Under an oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord, that is, near to the place where the ark and tabernacle then were; for though they were forbidden to plant a grove of trees near unto the altar, Deuteronomy 16:21, as the Gentiles did, yet they might for a time set up an altar, or the ark, near a great tree which had been planted there before.


Verse 27:[4] And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be (see Gen. 31:48, 52; Deut. 31:19, 21, 26; Josh. 22:27, 28, 34) a witness unto us; for (Deut. 32:1) it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

[That stone shall be to you for a testimony] That is, It shall testify that the covenant with the Lord God is void (Vatablus).

[For it hath heard, etc.] This is Personification, whereby hearing is attributed to the stone (Masius, Lapide, Bonfrerius, Drusius). Those words are similar, Give ear, O ye heavens and earth, Deuteronomy 32:1. The stones shall cry out, Luke 19:40 (Bonfrerius). Feignings of persons of this sort, in which we see a sense of the Divine word attributed to inanimate objects, show the marvelous force of that word, and at the same time implicitly accuse the stupidity of men (Masius). It signifies that this stone is going to be a witness and memorial of the covenant (Lapide). As Moses willed that Law, as public Tables, to remain as a witness of the perfidy of the people, if they should revolt, etc.; so Joshua says that this pillar, as if conscious, is going to be a witness of the solemn promise made; so that, while the Table of Moses lie hidden, that might daily strike the eyes (Masius). Junius and Tremellius thus translate it, it was present, etc.; Hebrew, it heard:[5] An expression transferred from witnesses living, present, and hearing, to stone (Junius).

[It hath heard all the words of the Lord that He spoke to you] At the same time it is understood to have heard what the people responded; for in these two things consists the covenant renovation, of which the stone is said to be a witness (Bonfrerius). The words of Jehovah, etc., that is, the words of the covenant which we composed with the Lord: that is, Those Laws were related near that stone (Vatablus).

It hath heard; it shall be as sure a witness against you as if it had heard. This is a common figure, called prosopopœia, whereby the sense of hearing is oft ascribed to the heavens and the earth, and other senseless creatures, as Deuteronomy 32:1; Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 2:12.

[And it shall be a witness against you, etc.] That is to say, In its own way it shall accuse you, lest perhaps afterwards ye should lie, that is, ye should say that ye did not compose the covenant with the Lord with these laws (Vatablus).


Verse 28:[6] So (Judg. 2:6) Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּכְתֹּ֤ב יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה בְּסֵ֖פֶר תּוֹרַ֣ת אֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיִּקַּח֙ אֶ֣בֶן גְּדוֹלָ֔ה וַיְקִימֶ֣הָ שָּׁ֔ם תַּ֚חַת הָֽאַלָּ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּמִקְדַּ֥שׁ יְהוָֽה׃

[2] Exodus 24:4.

[3] That is, House of God.

[4] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ אֶל־כָּל־הָעָ֗ם הִנֵּ֙ה הָאֶ֤בֶן הַזֹּאת֙ תִּֽהְיֶה־בָּ֣נוּ לְעֵדָ֔ה כִּֽי־הִ֣יא שָׁמְעָ֗ה אֵ֚ת כָּל־אִמְרֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֖ר עִמָּ֑נוּ וְהָיְתָ֤ה בָכֶם֙ לְעֵדָ֔ה פֶּֽן־תְּכַחֲשׁ֖וּן בֵּאלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

[5] Hebrew: שָׁמְעָה.

[6] Hebrew: וַיְשַׁלַּ֤ח יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם אִ֖ישׁ לְנַחֲלָתֽוֹ׃

Joshua 24:22-25: Joshua’s Covenant Renewal with Israel

Verse 22:[1] And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that (Ps. 119:173) ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.

[Ye are witnesses] After the Commander-in-Chief thinks that the assembly has deliberated sufficiently, he proceeds further; and he, as God’s treaty-maker, extracts an oath in solemn utterances, etc. (Masius).

Ye are witnesses against yourselves; this solemn profession will be a swift witness against you, if hereafter you apostatize from God.


Verse 23:[2] Now therefore (Josh. 24:14; Gen. 35:2; Judg. 10:16; 1 Sam. 7:3) put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.

[Remove the strange gods in your midst, הָסִ֛ירוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֥י הַנֵּכָ֖ר אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם] Put away the strange gods that are in your midst (Junius and Tremellius). Strange gods, or, rather, gods of a strange, understanding, people; Genesis 35:2.[3] Thus, בְּנֵי נֵכָר, υἱοὶ ἀλλοτριότητος, sons of foreignness, that is, ἀλλότριοι/foreigners[4] (Drusius). The אֲשֶׁר/which/that is twofold, and is able to be referred either, 1. to the strange people that were yet living among them; or, 2. to the gods; which is more apt (Malvenda out of Masius). For in a similar oration that בְּתֹכְכֶם, among you, Moses has interpreted as בְּיָדָם, which were in their hands, Genesis 35:2, 4; which certainly is not able to be understood of barbarian men (Masius). Gods, that is, images that ye have seized from conquered cities, or have carried out of Egypt (Vatablus). Strange gods Augustine here understands of the opinions of men, absurd and foreign to the majesty of God. For it is not plausible, says he, that the images of gods were among them (Augustine in Masius). But he speaks of idols properly so called (Lapide, thus Masius, Bonfrerius). He supposes that the worshippers of idols are yet among them (Bonfrerius), at least covertly and secretly (Masius). Now, this was discovered to him either by revelation, or by arguments morally certain (Bonfrerius). Objection: But we do not here see any images being put away, as was elsewhere done, Genesis 35; etc. Response: No mention is made in the books of Moses of that idolatry of which Amos, Amos 5:26, and Stephen, Acts 7:43, accuse them. And furthermore, when the words here are the same as in Genesis 35, why are they interpreted in so diverse a sense (Masius)? [See more concerning these things on verse 14.]

The strange gods which are among you; those idols which you either brought out of Egypt, or have taken in Canaan, which I have too much reason to believe that some of you, contrary to God’s command, do keep, whether for the preciousness of the matter, or rather for some secret inclination to superstition and idolatry, as the following words imply. See verse 14.


Verse 24:[5] And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.


Verse 25:[6] So Joshua (see Ex. 15:25; 2 Kings 11:17) made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance (Josh. 24:26) in Shechem.

[He cut a covenant[7]] With sacrifices and other rites used, as in Exodus 24:5-8 (Masius). But this is not proven. It is one thing to enter newly into a covenant; it is another thing to renovate a former covenant; which is wont to be done with words and protestations alone (Bonfrerius).

[And he set forth to the people] Hebrew: he set for it[8] (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius); he established for them (Vatablus). That is to say, he set forth to them in a compendium the statues and judgments of the Divine Law (Menichius, similarly the Hebrews in Masius). He set forth to them the precepts, moral and ceremonial: he added nothing to the Law, but he taught them the conditions of this covenant (Vatablus).

Either, 1. He set, or propounded, or declared unto them the statute and ordinance, that is, the sum of the statutes and ordinances of God, which their covenant obliged them to. Or, 2. He set or established it, to wit, that covenant, with them, that is, the people, for a statute or an ordinance, to bind themselves and their posterity unto God for ever, as a statute and ordinance of God doth.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ אֶל־הָעָ֗ם עֵדִ֤ים אַתֶּם֙ בָּכֶ֔ם כִּֽי־אַתֶּ֞ם בְּחַרְתֶּ֥ם לָכֶ֛ם אֶת־יְהוָ֖ה לַעֲבֹ֣ד אוֹת֑וֹ וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ עֵדִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֕ה הָסִ֛ירוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֥י הַנֵּכָ֖ר אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וְהַטּוּ֙ אֶת־לְבַבְכֶ֔ם אֶל־יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[3] Genesis 35:2:  “Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you (הָסִ֜רוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֤י הַנֵּכָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּתֹכְכֶ֔ם), and be clean, and change your garments…”

[4] For example, Nehemiah 9:2:  “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers (בְּנֵ֣י נֵכָ֑ר; υἱοῦ ἀλλοτρίου, in the Septuagint), and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.”

[5] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ הָעָ֖ם אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ אֶת־יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֵ֙ינוּ֙ נַעֲבֹ֔ד וּבְקוֹל֖וֹ נִשְׁמָֽע׃

[6] Hebrew: וַיִּכְרֹ֙ת יְהוֹשֻׁ֧עַ בְּרִ֛ית לָעָ֖ם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא וַיָּ֥שֶׂם ל֛וֹ חֹ֥ק וּמִשְׁפָּ֖ט בִּשְׁכֶֽם׃

[7] Hebrew: וַיִּכְרֹ֙ת יְהוֹשֻׁ֧עַ בְּרִ֛ית.

[8] Hebrew: וַיָּ֥שֶׂם ל֛וֹ.

Joshua 24:19, 20: Joshua Renews and Intensifies His Challenge to Israel

Verse 19:[1] And Joshua said unto the people, (Matt. 6:24) Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an (Lev. 19:2; 1 Sam. 6:20; Ps. 99:5, 9; Is. 5:16) holy God; he is (Ex. 20:5) a jealous God; (Ex. 23:21) he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

[Ye will not be able to serve the Lord] This is not to be taken absolute, but with restriction (Serarius). This not a dehortation from the worship of God, God forbid, but a goading even greater than before (Bonfrerius). They understand it in a variety of ways. 1. Augustine determines that here the people’s response is marked by arrogance, just as if it, not rightly considering the righteousness of God, attributed to much to its own righteousness, according to Romans 10:3, and that additionally this is treated, so that, with this so great sanctity of God set forth, they might be all the more stirred up, not only to serve such majesty instead of vile idols, but also to seek help from that, and to place hope in His mercy, according to Psalm 143:2. But I myself do not see any arrogance in the words of the people; for they are the same in word and intention that Joshua speaks, We also (גַּם, which is to say, just as thou and thy house) will serve the Lord.[2] Moreover, they attach the greatest reason of their service, when they say, for He is our God (Masius). 2. That, ye will not be able, does not signify a physical impossibility, but a moral impossibility, or difficulty, with their fragility and proneness to idolatry supposed, and that greatest purity that God wills to be employed in His service. I fear that ye might not be able to serve God as it is fitting; for He is holy and jealous, and He will not bear your scandals (Bonfrerius): whence ye will easily revolt from Him to other gods to whom vices are altogether agreeable worship/service. He covertly touches upon the inconstancy of the people, whereby they had always had the greatest tendency from the worship of God to idolatry; and at the same time, with the difficulty set forthy, he wills to bring this to pass, that their undertaking and profession of Religion might be most deliberate (Masius). Ye will not be able to serve Him, unless ye put on new, great, and constant souls (Lapide), and ye have it decided and fixed to keep all incitements to idolatry far away (Tirinus), and to cultivate holy habits, and to admit no sin (Menochius). This is a vehement exhortation to serve God. Thus a Commander-in-Chief, with soldiers postulating that the strength to invade arises unto the enemy, says, Ye will not conquer, nor resist their strength, etc. Thus he goads their souls unto battle (Menochius out of Serarius). 3. Ye will not be able, understanding, with your images (Vatablus). Ye will not be able, understanding, in retaining strange gods, and in mingling their worship with the worship of God; which is gathered out of verse 23 (Junius, Glassius), and out of verses 14-16, where this member stands forth. This Ellipsis is of the conjoined words, to be repeated out of the preceding member. Thus in Numbers 24:22, they shall waste the Kenite; how long? that is, will thy nest be in a rock? out of verse 21: in Numbers 26:3, 4, saying, (supply, Take the sum of the people) from twenty years old, etc.: in Zechariah 14:18, and not upon them, that is, shall be rain, out of verse 17. Thus in John 9:3, Neither hath this man sinned, etc., that is, that he might be born blind, out of verse 2. Thus in 1 John 2:19, but (supply, they went out from us) that they might be made manifest, etc. (Glassius’ “Grammar” 4:2:12:724).

Ye cannot serve the Lord: he speaks not of an absolute impossibility, (for then both his resolution to serve God himself, and his exhortation to them to do so, had been vain and ridiculous,) but of a moral impossibility, or a very great difficulty, which he allegeth not to discourage them from God’s service, which is his great design to engage them in; but only to make them more considerate and cautious in obliging themselves, and more circumspect and resolved in answering their obligations. The meaning is, God’s service is not, as you seem to fancy, a slight and easy thing, as soon done as said; but it is a work of great difficulty, and requires great care, and courage, and resolution; and when I consider the infinite purity of God, that he will not be mocked or abused; and withal your great and often manifested proneness to superstition and idolatry, even during the life of Moses, and in some of you whilst I live, and whilst the obligations which God hath laid upon you in this land are fresh in remembrance; I cannot but fear that after my decease you will think the service of God too hard and burdensome for you, and therefore will cast it off, and revolt from him, if you do not double your watch, and carefully avoid all occasions of idolatry, which I fear you will not do, but I do hereby exhort you to do.

[He is an holy God, אֱלֹהִ֥ים קְדֹשִׁ֖ים ה֑וּא] Verbatim: Holy Gods is He (Munster, Lapide). It is a mystical expression, as in Jeremiah 10:10[3] (Junius). The plural number, either, 1. to indicte Trinity with Unity (Munster, Lapide); or, 2. for comparison with other gods, that is to say, strange gods are impure, but our Gods are holy (Lapide out of Masius); or, 3. to denote the most absolute holiness of God (Lapide). Thus in the ancient Commentaries that are entitled Tanhuma[4] (Masius).

[He is holy, etc.] Hebrew: He is a holy God, He is a jealous God, etc.,[5] that is to say, If ye worship images together with the Lord, ye pollute His holiness: He is a God that does not suffer a rival in love (Vatablus).

He is a jealous God; he will not endure a co-rival or partner in his worship; you cannot serve him and idols together, as you will be inclined and tempted to do.

[He will not forgive your evil deeds, לֹֽא־יִשָּׂ֥א לְפִשְׁעֲכֶ֖ם] He will not bear your defection, that is, unpunished. Thus Exodus 23:21 (Junius). He will not send away, etc. (Munster), will not spare your evil deeds (Pagnine).

He will not forgive your transgressions; if you who own yourselves for his people and servants, shall wickedly and wilfully transgress his laws by idolatry or other crimes, he will not let this go unpunished in you, as he doth in other nations; therefore consider what you do when you take the Lord for your God; weigh your advantages and inconveniences together; for as if you be sincere and faithful in God’s service, you will have admirable benefits by it; so if you be false to your professions, and forsake him whom you have so solemnly avouched to be your God, he will deal more severely with you than with any people in the world.


Verse 20:[6] (1 Chron. 28:9; 2 Chron. 15:2; Ezra 8:22; Is. 1:28; 65:11, 12; Jer. 17:13) If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, (Josh. 23:15; Is. 63:10; Acts 7:42) then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

[He will turn, and afflict you, וְשָׁ֙ב וְהֵרַ֤ע לָכֶם֙] He will turn, and do you hurt (Munster, Pagnine, Montanus); having turned back, He will afflict you with evil (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Arabic, Syriac, Tigurinus). Then He will be turned away, that is, with His thought changed, He will destroy you (Vatablus). He will change His mind, or, He will turn Himself: It is spoken according to the opinion of the common people, from diverse outcomes of matters shaping some and other affections of God; which He otherwise governs by the level tenor of His eternal counsel, being subject to no perturbations of soul (Masius). Others more correctly, from a most well-known Hebraism, that is, again and again He will afflict you with evils (Malvenda).

He will turn, that is, he will alter his course and the manner of his dealing with you, and will be as severe as ever he was kind and gracious. Consume you, after that he hath done you good; he will repent of all his former kindness, and his goodness abused will be turned into fury.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ אֶל־הָעָ֗ם לֹ֤א תֽוּכְלוּ֙ לַעֲבֹ֣ד אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה כִּֽי־אֱלֹהִ֥ים קְדֹשִׁ֖ים ה֑וּא אֵֽל־קַנּ֣וֹא ה֔וּא לֹֽא־יִשָּׂ֥א לְפִשְׁעֲכֶ֖ם וּלְחַטֹּאותֵיכֶֽם׃

[2] Verse 18.

[3] Jeremiah 10:10a:  “But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king (וַֽיהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ אֱמֶ֔ת הֽוּא־אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּ֖ים וּמֶ֣לֶךְ עוֹלָ֑ם)…”

[4] There are three midrashic collections called Tanchuma.  Although these collections bear the name of Rabbi Tanhuma (a Palestinian Amora of the fourth century), they are compilations, and contain material, of a much later date (fifth to ninth century).  Their explanations of a text often include Halachic (legal) material, poetry, and Messianic prophecies.

[5] Hebrew: אֱלֹהִ֥ים קְדֹשִׁ֖ים ה֑וּא אֵֽל־קַנּ֣וֹא ה֔וּא.

[6] Hebrew: כִּ֤י תַֽעַזְבוּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה וַעֲבַדְתֶּ֖ם אֱלֹהֵ֣י נֵכָ֑ר וְשָׁ֙ב וְהֵרַ֤ע לָכֶם֙ וְכִלָּ֣ה אֶתְכֶ֔ם אַחֲרֵ֖י אֲשֶׁר־הֵיטִ֥יב לָכֶֽם׃

Joshua 24:16-18: Israel’s Response to Joshua’s Challenge

Verse 16:[1] And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods…


Verse 17:[2] For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed…


Verse 18:[3] And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.

[And He cast out all nations, the Amorite] Hebrew: and the Amorite[4] (Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus, etc.). All nations here are the seven peoples of the Canaanites on this side Jordan; the Amorites are the Transjordanian peoples of Sihon and Og (Bonfrerius). Others thus; nations (understanding, particularly, or especially), the Amorite (Munster, Pagnine, Osiander).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּ֤עַן הָעָם֙ וַיֹּ֔אמֶר חָלִ֣ילָה לָּ֔נוּ מֵעֲזֹ֖ב אֶת־יְהוָ֑ה לַעֲבֹ֖ד אֱלֹהִ֥ים אֲחֵרִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: כִּ֚י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ הוּא֩ הַמַּעֲלֶ֙ה אֹתָ֧נוּ וְאֶת־אֲבוֹתֵ֛ינוּ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם מִבֵּ֣ית עֲבָדִ֑ים וַאֲשֶׁ֧ר עָשָׂ֣ה לְעֵינֵ֗ינוּ אֶת־הָאֹת֤וֹת הַגְּדֹלוֹת֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַֽיִּשְׁמְרֵ֗נוּ בְּכָל־הַדֶּ֙רֶךְ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָלַ֣כְנוּ בָ֔הּ וּבְכֹל֙ הָֽעַמִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָבַ֖רְנוּ בְּקִרְבָּֽם׃

[3] Hebrew: וַיְגָ֙רֶשׁ יְהוָ֜ה אֶת־כָּל־הָעַמִּ֗ים וְאֶת־הָאֱמֹרִ֛י יֹשֵׁ֥ב הָאָ֖רֶץ מִפָּנֵ֑ינוּ גַּם־אֲנַ֙חְנוּ֙ נַעֲבֹ֣ד אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה כִּי־ה֖וּא אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ׃

[4] Hebrew: וְאֶת־הָאֱמֹרִי.

Joshua 24:14, 15: Joshua’s Challenge to Israel to Renew Commitment to the Lord

Verse 14:[1] (Deut. 10:12; 1 Sam. 12:24) Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in (Gen. 17:1; 20:5; Deut. 18:13; Ps. 119:1; 2 Cor. 1:12; Eph. 6:24) sincerity and in truth: and (Josh. 24:2, 23; Lev. 17:7; Ezek. 20:18) put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and (Ezek. 20:7, 8; 23:3) in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

[Serve ye Him with a perfect and altogether genuine heart, בְּתָמִ֣ים וּבֶֽאֱמֶ֑ת] In perfection (integrity [Junius, Vatablus], sincerity [Syriac], rectitude [Septuagint]) and in truth (Montanus) (with righteousness [Septuagint], in faith [Junius]). Integrity is opposed to feigned piety; Truth has regard to constancy, or, if you prefer, to the probity of the worship/service (Masius). In an unusual manner he set down תָּמִים/whole in the place of תּוֹם/wholeness: But certain terms are sometimes concrete, sometimes abstract. Thus עֵד is a witness and a testimony; thus צָר is an adversary and adversity. Hence תָּמִים elsewhere is taken for integrity; as in Judges 9:16;[2] Amos 5:10;[3] Psalm 26:1;[4] 101:2[5] (Drusius).

In sincerity and in truth; either these two expressions note the same thing; or sincerity is opposed to the mixture of false gods with the true, as it here follows, or of a false and corrupt worship of God with that which God appointeth; and truth is opposed to dissimulation and falseness, and instability of heart.

[And put away the gods that your fathers served…in Egypt] Hence it is evident, what was hitherto nowhere else recorded, that not a few Israelites worshipped idols in Egypt also. Nevertheless, Ezekiel clearly indicates this very thing in Ezekiel 23:3, 8, 19, 21, 27 (Bonfrerius, Estius). It is asked whether there were at that time among them those that were worshipping idols. Augustine denies this. 1. Because the obedience and constancy of the Israelites had been commended above, Joshua 22:3; 23:8. 2. God would not have allowed much of such wickedness. 3. The idols would have been cast out at that time, as it was done in Genesis 35:2, 4; 1 Samuel 7:3. And, indeed, these things evince that no such sin was committed publicly; but that it was done privately they do not demonstrate (Bonfrerius). Others affirm (thus Tirinus, Bonfrerius, Lyra), from this verse, and from verse 23 (Bonfrerius), and from Amos 5 compared with Acts 7 (Lyra).

Put away the gods; whereby it appears, that although Joshua had doubtless prevented and purged out all public and manifest idolatry, yet there were some of them who practised it in their private houses and retirements. See Joshua 24:23; Amos 5:25, 26; Acts 7:42, 43. Your fathers: Terah, and Nahor, and Abraham, as Joshua 24:2, and others of your ancestors. On the other side of the flood, and in Egypt: see Ezekiel 23:3, 8, 19, 21, 27. Under these particulars no doubt he comprehends all other false gods, which were served by the nations amongst whom they were, as appears from Joshua 24:15, but only mentions these, as the idols which they were in more danger of worshipping than those in Canaan; partly because those of Canaan had been now lately and palpably disgraced by their inability to preserve their worshippers from total ruin; and partly because the other idols came recommended unto them by the venerable name of antiquity, and the custom of their forefathers. See Jeremiah 44:17; Ezekiel 20:18.


Verse 15:[6] And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, (see Ruth 1:15; 1 Kings 18:21; Ezek. 20:39; John 6:67) choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether (Josh. 24:14) the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or (Ex. 23:24, 32, 33; 34:15; Deut. 13:7; 29:18; Judg. 6:10) the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: (Gen. 18:19) but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

If it seem evil; unjust, unreasonable, or inconvenient.

[The choice is given to you] What things we, being compelled, undertake, we violate with no shame; not so those things to which we have voluntarily obligated ourselves. And so with two religions proposed, he now in a certain manner loosens them from both, and sets them at liberty, as it were (Masius). But an actual choice of choosing God Joshua does not here concede, who in the preceding chapter compelled them unto the worship of the true God (Lapide); and neither would he have left one unpunished, if he, with God abandoned, had passed over unto idols (Bonfrerius): but he makes use of Rhetorical artifice (Lapide), and leads them whither he wills by the highest art of eloquence, inasmuch as the comparison is made between things so unequal (Bonfrerius). The worship of the true God brings so many advantages, but the worship of idols so many disadvantages, that only a mad man would prefer idols to the true God (Lapide). Thus we speak, One or the other is to be chosen by you, O mortals, either eternal punishment, or perpetual blessedness; choose ye what ye will. Elijah makes us of this manner of exhortation, 1 Kings 18:21; Ecclesiasticus 15:17[7] (Menochius out of Serarius). He does not loose them from the bond of worshipping God, to which they were previously bound; but, by setting forth these things, he searches their hearts. See a similar thing in Ruth 1:15; John 6:67 (Malvenda out of Junius).

Choose you this day whom ye will serve: not that he leaves them to their liberty, whether they would serve God or idols; for Joshua had no such power or liberty himself, nor could give it to any other; and both he and they were obliged by the law of Moses to give their worship to God only, and to forbear all idolatry in themselves, and severely to punish it in others; but it is a rhetorical and powerful insinuation, whereby he both implies that the worship of God is so highly reasonable, so necessary and beneficial, and the service of idols is so absurd, and vain, and pernicious, that if it were left free to all men to make their choice, every man in his right wits must needs choose the service of God before that of idols; and provokes them to bind themselves faster to God by their own choice. See such manner of speeches in Ruth 1:8, 15; 1 Kings 18:21.

[I and my house] The example of the Commander-in-Chief was the most effective argument, especially one so prudent, holy, and blessed. An example is set forth here for governing our families (Masius).

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord; but know this, if you should all be so base and brutish, as to prefer senseless and impotent idols before the true and living God, it is my firm purpose, that I will, and my children and servants (as far as I can influence them) shall, be constant and faithful to the Lord.

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֞ה יְר֧אוּ אֶת־יְהוָ֛ה וְעִבְד֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ בְּתָמִ֣ים וּבֶֽאֱמֶ֑ת וְהָסִ֣ירוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהִ֗ים אֲשֶׁר֩ עָבְד֙וּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶ֜ם בְּעֵ֤בֶר הַנָּהָר֙ וּבְמִצְרַ֔יִם וְעִבְד֖וּ אֶת־יְהוָֽה׃

[2] Judges 9:16a:  “Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely (בֶּאֱמֶ֤ת וּבְתָמִים֙), in that ye have made Abimelech king…”

[3] Amos 5:10:  “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly (תָּמִים).”

[4] Psalm 26:1a:  “Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity (בְּתֻמִּי)…”

[5] Psalm 101:2:  “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way (בְּדֶ֬רֶךְ תָּמִ֗ים).  O when wilt thou come unto me?  I will walk within my house with a perfect heart (בְּתָם־לְבָבִי).”

[6] Hebrew: וְאִם֩ רַ֙ע בְּֽעֵינֵיכֶ֜ם לַעֲבֹ֣ד אֶת־יְהוָ֗ה בַּחֲר֙וּ לָכֶ֣ם הַיּוֹם֮ אֶת־מִ֣י תַעֲבֹדוּן֒ אִ֣ם אֶת־אֱלֹהִ֞ים אֲשֶׁר־עָבְד֣וּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶ֗ם אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּעֵ֣בֶר הַנָּהָ֔ר וְאִם֙ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֣י הָאֱמֹרִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתֶּ֖ם יֹשְׁבִ֣ים בְּאַרְצָ֑ם וְאָנֹכִ֣י וּבֵיתִ֔י נַעֲבֹ֖ד אֶת־יְהוָֽה׃

[7] Ecclesiasticus 15:17:  “Before man is life and death; and whether him liketh shall be given him.”

Joshua 24:12, 13: Memorial of God’s Covenant Faithfulness to Israel, Part 5

Verse 12:[1] And (Ex. 23:28; Deut. 7:20) I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but (Ps. 44:3, 6) not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.

[And I sent…hornets, and I drove out (thus Jonathan, similarly the Syriac), וַתְּגָרֶשׁ] And it drove out (Montanus, Vatablus, similarly Drusius); which was driving out (Junius and Tremellius), that is, the Hornets themselves turned them to flight (Vatablus). Concerning these things see what things are on Exodus 23:28 (Bonfrerius). Some understand it metaphorically, of terrors divinely sent (thus Augustine in Serarius, Arabic). But others properly (thus Munster, Masius, Serarius, Lapide, Menochius, Tirinus); as it is plain from the book of Wisdom 12:8-10[2] (Masius, Serarius). Now, since it appears that those things were thus conducted before the coming of the Israelites, it is not at all to be wondered at that they were nowhere set forth in this Record among the other matters conducted, in which only those things done under the leadership of Joshua were exhibited. Now, the conjunction is also wanting here: For plainly it was to be written, which drove them away…and the two kings of the Amorites, as he relates in verse 18 (Masius).

The hornet; either, 1. Figuratively, that is, terrors and plagues, or other destroying judgments. Or, 2. Properly so called. See on Exodus 23:28. And this being done before Joshua’s entrance into Canaan, it is not strange if it be not mentioned in this book or record of Joshua’s actions.

[Not with thy sword, etc.] But these two kings of the Israelites were conquered by the sword, Numbers 21. Responses: 1. They are able to be said to have been overcome by the hornets, not by sword and bow, either because, while their lines were in readiness for battle, hornets were sent in among them, by the bites and venomous stings of which they were put to flight; or, before the coming of the Israelites it came to pass by an unremitting and intolerable infestation of hornets, that many Amorite subjects of these two Kings moved, whence it happened that a small number of warriors remained to them, whom they set against the Israelites. 2. Therefore, these words, I drove them out, etc., are to be referred to the Amorites on both sides of Jordan, and something is to be understood here, the two kings (supply, likewise, or similarly, or even) of the Amorites (Bonfrerius).

Not with thy sword, nor with thy bow; for though thou didst fight with them, and prevail against them in battle, yet this was not because thou hadst more force or courage than they; but because by my hornet, which I sent like a harbinger before thee, I had both broken their spirits, and greatly diminished their numbers, and particularly cut off those giants or others who were like to give time most trouble and difficulty; whence it comes to pass that we read of so few giants in that land, which was called the land of giants, Deuteronomy 3:3.


Verse 13:[3] And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and (Deut. 6:10, 11; Josh. 11:13) cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

[A land in which ye have not labored (thus the Syriac, Arabic, Pagnine, similarly Jonathan, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius), אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹֽא־יָגַ֣עְתָּ בָּ֗הּ] For which ye labored not (Tigurinus). Land, that is, the fruit of the land (Vatablus).

Cities which you built not. See on Joshua 11:12, 13.

[1] Hebrew: וָאֶשְׁלַ֤ח לִפְנֵיכֶם֙ אֶת־הַצִּרְעָ֔ה וַתְּגָ֤רֶשׁ אוֹתָם֙ מִפְּנֵיכֶ֔ם שְׁנֵ֖י מַלְכֵ֣י הָאֱמֹרִ֑י לֹ֥א בְחַרְבְּךָ֖ וְלֹ֥א בְקַשְׁתֶּֽךָ׃

[2] Wisdom of Solomon 12:8-10:  “Nevertheless even those thou sparedst as men, and didst send wasps, forerunners of thine host, to destroy them by little and little.  Not that thou wast unable to bring the ungodly under the hand of the righteous in battle, or to destroy them at once with cruel beasts, or with one rough word:  But executing thy judgments upon them by little and little, thou gavest them place of repentance, not being ignorant that they were a naughty generation, and that their malice was bred in them, and that their cogitation would never be changed.”

[3] Hebrew: וָאֶתֵּ֙ן לָכֶ֜ם אֶ֣רֶץ׀ אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹֽא־יָגַ֣עְתָּ בָּ֗הּ וְעָרִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹא־בְנִיתֶ֔ם וַתֵּשְׁב֖וּ בָּהֶ֑ם כְּרָמִ֤ים וְזֵיתִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־נְטַעְתֶּ֔ם אַתֶּ֖ם אֹכְלִֽים׃