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.

2 thoughts on “Joshua 24:31: The Limit of the Obedience of Israel

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘A general idea given us of the state of Israel at this time, Joshua 24:31. While Joshua lived, religion was kept up among them under his care and influence; but soon after he and his contemporaries died it went to decay, so much oftentimes does one head hold up: how well is it for the gospel church that Christ, our Joshua, is still with it, by his Spirit, and will be always, even unto the end of the world!’

  2. Joel Beeke, “Family Worship”: ‘…in Joshua 24:15, Joshua enforces the service of God in families with his own example. Joshua 24:1 makes plain that he is addressing the heads of households. Joshua 24:15 declares that Joshua is going to do what he wants every other household in Israel to do: “serve the Lord.” Joshua has such command over his family that he speaks for the entire household: “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” he says. Several factors reinforce this bold declaration:

    — When Joshua makes this declaration, he is more than 100 years old. He has remarkable zeal as an aged man.

    — Joshua knows that his direct control over his family will soon end. God has told him he will soon die. Yet Joshua is confident that his influence will continue in his family and that they will not abandon worship after he dies.

    — Joshua knows that much idolatry remains in Israel. He has just told the people to put away false gods (Joshua 24:14). He knows his family will be swimming against the stream in continuing to serve the Lord—yet he emphatically declares that his family will do that anyway.

    — The historical record shows that Joshua’s influence was so pervasive that most of the nation followed his example for at least one generation. Joshua 24:31 says, “And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua [that is, for the next generation], and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.” What an encouragement to God-fearing parents to know that the worship they set up in the home may last generations after them!’

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