Joshua 1:16, 17: The Commitment of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 4

Verse 16:[1]  And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.

[And they answered]  Either, the Reubenites, etc., to whom he was speaking (Serarius):  or, all the Tribes (Junius, Masius).  But these had previously pledged their obedience to him, Numbers 27; Deuteronomy 31 (Lapide, Masius).

They answered, i.e. the Reubenites, etc., mentioned verse 12, to whom Joshua’s discourse is confined, verses 13-15.  No doubt the other tribes expressed the same thing; but this is only recorded concerning these, because that might seem most doubtful, and the obedience of the rest was unquestionable.


Verse 17:[2]  According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee:  only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.

[Just as we obeyed Moses]  Objection:  But they rebelled against Moses.  Responses:  1.  Those stiff-necked were dead; but their sons were more obedient (Lapide, Masius).  2.  At least the compliant were able thus to speak (Bonfrerius).  3.  They do not boast of obedience, but rather they acknowledge the extent of the obedience they owe (Masius).

According as we hearkened unto Moses, etc.:  The same obedience which we owed, and those of us who are now alive generally performed, to Moses, we promise unto thee.

[Only the Lord thy God be with thee]  Some interpret the רַק/only exceptively; they promise compliance as long as the Ruler himself is not deserted by God, and prescribes no other things than what things are right and profitable in conjunction with the Law of God:  Thus Kimchi, Levi Ben Gershon, and the Talmudists.  This opinion is not inconsistent with the truth (Masius).  The sense:  See to it that God be present with, and that thou withdraw not from Him.  It is a restipulation[3] (Junius, Piscator).  [Others otherwise.]  These are the prayers of the people, not conditions of rule (Lapide, Menochius).  [Masius prefers this:]  how prayers are wont to be made by the people, when they bestow authority on their Princes (Malvenda).  This is an expression of wish, not, as some think, of restipulation:  that is to say, Be not thou anxious for us; only let God favor thee, and all shall be well.  This expression, the Lord be with thee, you will see what it may mean in Judges 6:12; Ruth 2:4; Jeremiah 1:8; Matthew 28:20; Acts 18:10 (Grotius).

Only the Lord thy God be with thee:  this is not a limitation of their obedience, as if they would not obey him any further or longer than he was prosperous or successful; but an additional prayer for him.  As we have hereby promised thee our obedience, so our prayer shall be, that God would bless and prosper thee, as he did Moses.

[1] Hebrew:  וַֽיַּעֲנ֔וּ אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לֵאמֹ֑ר כֹּ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוִּיתָ֙נוּ֙ נַֽעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְאֶֽל־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר תִּשְׁלָחֵ֖נוּ נֵלֵֽךְ׃

[2] Hebrew:  כְּכֹ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־שָׁמַ֙עְנוּ֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה כֵּ֖ן נִשְׁמַ֣ע אֵלֶ֑יךָ רַ֠ק יִֽהְיֶ֞ה יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הָיָ֖ה עִם־מֹשֶֽׁה׃

[3] That is, a counter-obligation.

1 thought on “Joshua 1:16, 17: The Commitment of the Transjordanian Tribes, Part 4

  1. Something valuable for this election season from Matthew Henry: “They pray for the presence of God with him (Joshua 1:17): ‘Only the Lord thy God be with thee, to bless and prosper thee, and give thee success, as he was with Moses.’ Prayers and supplications are to be made for all in authority, 1 Timothy 2:1, 2. And the best thing we can ask of God for our magistrates is that they may have the presence of God with them; this will make them blessings to us, so that in seeking this for them we consult our own interest.”

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