Joshua 23:3, 4: Joshua’s Reminder of What God Had Done for Israel

Verse 3:[1] And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the (Ex. 14:14; Josh. 10:14, 42) LORD your God is he that hath fought for you.

[What the Lord has done, etc.] That is to say, It is therefore fair that ye cultivate piety in return, and reciprocate the love of so beneficent a God (Masius). That is to say, Consider, call again into mind (Vatablus).

Because of you; for your sake and good, that you might gain by their losses.


Verse 4:[2] Behold, (Josh. 13:2, 6; 18:10) I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward (Heb. at the sunset[3]).

[And now because, etc., רְאוּ] Look ye. Propose to the eyes of your soul. The ordering of the words is more confused here (Masius).

[הִפַּ֙לְתִּי לָכֶ֜ם אֶֽת־הַ֠גּוֹיִם הַנִּשְׁאָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֛לֶּה בְּנַחֲלָ֖ה לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶ֑ם] By lot I have distributed (I have cause to fall [Montanus], I have overthrown [Tigurinus], I have subjected [Munster]) to you those nations remaining (or, persisting, that survive, that is, are not yet conquered) for an inheritance for your tribes, or, according to your tribes, etc. (Pagnine, English, similarly Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, Jonathan, Arabic).

These nations that remain, not yet conquered. To be an inheritance for your tribes; you shall certainly subdue them, and inherit their land, as you have done the rest, if you be not wanting to yourselves.

[From the eastern part of Jordan, etc.,מִן־הַיַּרְדֵּ֗ן וְכָל־הַגּוֹיִם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הִכְרַ֔תִּי וְהַיָּ֥ם הַגָּד֖וֹל מְב֥וֹא הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃] From Jordan, and all the nations (together with the land of all nations) that I cut off, or, destroyed, unto the great sea (or, and to the great sea [Tigurinus, Arabic]) toward the setting (or, and the setting [Munster]) of the sun (Pagnine, English, Munster, Tigurinus). From Jordan, both all nations that I have cut off, and the nations of the great sea toward the setting of the sun (Junius and Tremellius). Namely, those dwelling by the sea; which nations remained to be cut off, even if the Israelites were undisturbed by them. See on Joshua 22:2 (Junius). This is the meaning of the entire sentence; By lot I have distributed to you both those nations that have not yet been driven out, and those that I myself have already cut off throughout all Canaan between Jordan…and the great sea. That מִן־הַיַּרְדֵּן, from Jordan, is not set down in its proper place. He calls to mind those that have not yet been driven out, so that he might increase their courage to overthrown them; from the ease of it. For the Divine lot itself was as an earnest and pledge of God’s altogether certain counsel, as it is explained in the next verse (Masius).

With all the nations that I have cut off, that is, with the land of those nations; the people put for their land, as we have seen before; and as sometimes, on the contrary, the land is put for the people. Westward, where the Philistines, your most formidable adversaries, yet survive; but them also and their land I have given to you, and you shall undoubtedly destroy them, if you will proceed vigorously in your work.

[1] Hebrew: וְאַתֶּ֣ם רְאִיתֶ֗ם אֵת֩ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֙ר עָשָׂ֜ה יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֛ם לְכָל־הַגּוֹיִ֥ם הָאֵ֖לֶּה מִפְּנֵיכֶ֑ם כִּ֚י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֔ם ה֖וּא הַנִּלְחָ֥ם לָכֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: רְאוּ֩ הִפַּ֙לְתִּי לָכֶ֜ם אֶֽת־הַ֠גּוֹיִם הַנִּשְׁאָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֛לֶּה בְּנַחֲלָ֖ה לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶ֑ם מִן־הַיַּרְדֵּ֗ן וְכָל־הַגּוֹיִם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הִכְרַ֔תִּי וְהַיָּ֥ם הַגָּד֖וֹל מְב֥וֹא הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃

[3] Hebrew: מְב֥וֹא הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃.

1 thought on “Joshua 23:3, 4: Joshua’s Reminder of What God Had Done for Israel

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The discourse itself, the scope of which is to engage them if possible, them and their seed after them, to persevere in the true faith and worship of the God of Israel….

    He puts them in mind of the great things God had done for them, now in his days, and under his administration, for here he goes no further back. And for the proof of this he appeals to their own eyes (Joshua 23:3): “You have seen all that the Lord your God has done; not what I have done, or what you have done (we were only instruments in God’s hand), but what God himself has done by me and for you.” (1.) Many great and mighty nations (as the rate of nations then went) were driven out from as fine a country as any was at that time upon the face of the earth, to make room for Israel. “You see what he has done to these nations, who were his creatures, the work of his hands, and whom he could have made new creatures and fit for his service; yet see what destruction he has made of them because of you (Joshua 23:2), how he has driven them out from before you (Joshua 23:9), as if they were of no account with him, though great and strong in comparison with you.” (2.) They were not only driven out (this they might have been, and yet sent to some other country less rich to begin a new plantation there, suppose to that wilderness in which Israel had wandered so long, and so they would only have exchanged seats with them), but they were trodden down before them; though they held out against them with the greatest obstinacy that could be, yet they were subdued before them, which made the possessing of their land so much the more glorious to Israel and so much the more illustrious an instance of the power and goodness of the God of Israel (Joshua 23:3): “The Lord your God has not only led you, and fed you, and kept you, but he has fought for you as a man of war,” by which title he was known among them when he first brought them out of Egypt, Exodus 15:3. So clear and cheap were all their victories, during the course of this long war, that no man had been able to stand before them (Joshua 23:9), that is, to make head against them, so as to put them in fear, create them any difficulty, or give any check to the progress of their victorious arms. In every battle they carried the day, and in every siege they carried the city; their loss before Ai was upon a particular occasion, was inconsiderable, and only served to show them on what terms they stood with God; but, otherwise, never was army crowned with such a constant uninterrupted series of successes as the armies of Israel were in the wars of Canaan. (3.) They had not only conquered the Canaanites, but were put in full possession of their land (Josh 23:4): “I have divided to you by lot these nations, both those which are cut off and those which remain, not only that you may spoil and plunder them, and live at discretion in their country for a time, but to be a sure and lasting inheritance for your tribes. You have it not only under your feet, but in your hands.”‘

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