Joshua 1:6: God’s Promise of Assistance, Part 2

Verse 6:[1] (Deut. 31:7, 23) Be strong and of a good courage: for (or, thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land, etc.) unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

[Be strengthened, and be valiant, חֲזַ֖ק וֶאֱמָ֑ץ] Strengthen thyself (possess, or lay hold of, thyself [Malvenda]; be very strong [Syriac]; be reassured [Junius and Tremellius]), and reinforce thyself (Montanus), or, be strong (Junius and Tremellius), act manfully (Septuagint), be strong and firm (Masius). These two words signify the same thing[2] (Vatablus, Masius). Be strengthened and be tough (Vatablus). Be hardy, that is, with a strong and unbroken spirit (certain interpreters in Vatablus, Masius). Here He rouses Joshua to bear bravely the burden of government. Neither is it strange that he might be confirmed by God so prolixly, since Joshua was called to a long lasting and most difficult Government, and had experience of the well-known obstinacy of this people against Moses and God Himself. With so many exhortations God shows just how humbly Joshua feels about himself (Masius).

Be strong and of a good courage: Joshua, though a person of great courage and resolution, whereof he had given sufficient proof, yet needs these exhortations, partly because his work was great, and difficult, and long, and in a great measure new; partly because he had a very mean opinion of himself, especially if compared with Moses; and remembering how perverse and ungovernable that people were, even under Moses, he might very well suspect the burden of ruling them would be too heavy for his shoulders.

[Thou shalt divide by lot, תַּנְחִיל[3]] Thou shalt cause to inherit (Montanus, similarly the Syriac), thou shalt deliver it to be possessed (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus), thou shalt cause to possess (Jonathan). This, either, 1. is a promise; that is to say, Be of a great and confident spirit; for it is certainly going to happen, that thou art completing what Moses was not able. Or, 2. (which I prefer) it contains the matter for exercising courage; that is to say, a great and strong spirit is needful for you, since thou art obliged to lead this people, etc. He uses this emphatically, that is to say, a people never sufficiently compliant with God, still less with their Governors (Masius).

Thou shalt divide the land; which supposeth the full conquest of the land. That honour and assistance which I denied to Moses I will give to thee.

[That I will deliver it to them] That is, to their posterity. For the fourth generation was now complete, Genesis 15:16 (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: חֲזַ֖ק וֶאֱמָ֑ץ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תַּנְחִיל֙ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אֶת־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֥עְתִּי לַאֲבוֹתָ֖ם לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶֽם׃

[2] Both חָזַק and אָמֵץ signify to be strong.

[3] נָחַל, in the Qal, signifies to take possession; in the Hiphil, to cause to possess.

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