Joshua and Judges: Joshua's farewell. A reminder of all that the Lord has done. Jos 23.
Title: Joshua and Judges: Joshua's farewell. A reminder of all that the Lord has done. Jos 23.
A river is a natural boundary and to some people so are race, gender, economic status, political and national affiliation, skin color, etc. In Christ there are no boundaries; all are one.
This may be why God allowed the 2½ tribes to settle on the eastern side of the Jordan. He may have wanted to teach them that a river or any other geographical or personal boundary is not a boundary within the community of the Lord's elect. Christians also had to learn this in the first century as this truth was new and they had been brought up in a world with many prejudices, which the world always has been and always will be.
a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
Jos 22:26 "Therefore we said, 'Let us build an altar, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice;
Jos 22:27 rather it shall be a witness between us and you and between our generations after us, that we are to perform the service of the Lord before Him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices and with our peace offerings, that your sons may not say to our sons in time to come, "You have no portion in the Lord."'
Jos 22:28 "Therefore we said, 'It shall also come about if they say this to us or to our generations in time to come, then we shall say," See the copy of the altar of the Lord which our fathers made, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice; rather it is a witness between us and you."'
"copy" - an altar that represented the brazen altar in the tabernacle.
The Hebrew word does refer to a copy and so we would assume that they built an altar that represented the brazen altar in the tabernacle, which to the eye would definitely be an altar of sacrifice, but this was not its intent.
They conclude with an expression of horror at disobeying Jehovah.
Jos 22:29 "Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away from following the Lord this day, by building an altar for burnt offering, for grain offering or for sacrifice, besides the altar of the Lord our God which is before His tabernacle."
Jos 22:30 So when Phinehas the priest and the leaders of the congregation, even the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words which the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the sons of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them.
Jos 22:31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Manasseh, "Today we know that the Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this unfaithful act against the Lord; now you have delivered the sons of Israel from the hand of the Lord."
Jos 22:32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest and the leaders returned from the sons of Reuben and from the sons of Gad, from the land of Gilead, to the land of Canaan, to the sons of Israel, and brought back word to them.
Jos 22:33 And the word pleased the sons of Israel, and the sons of Israel blessed God; and they did not speak of going up against them in war, to destroy the land in which the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad were living.
Jos 22:34 And the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad called the altar Witness; "For," they said, "it is a witness between us that the Lord is God."
The name and the description of the altar are the same: "A witness it is between us that Jehovah is God." We would not suppose that it was inscribed on it.
The first instance of "witness" [ed in Hebrew] is not in the original but was added in later manuscripts.
Jos 23-24; Joshua's farewell and death.
After the division of the land among the tribes, Joshua had withdrawn to Timnath-serah, on the mountains of Ephraim to spend the last days of his life there in the quiet enjoyment of his own inheritance. But when the time of his departure from the earth was drawing near, remembering the call which he had received from the Lord (Josh 1:6-8), he felt constrained to gather the people together once more in the persons of their representatives, to warn them most earnestly of the dangers of apostasy from the Lord, and point out the evils that would follow (ch. 23); and then after that, in a solemn assembly of the nation at Shechem, to review the abundant mercies which the Lord had conferred upon Israel from the calling of Abraham to that day, that he might call upon them to remain steadfast and faithful in the worship of their God, and then solemnly renew the covenant with the Lord.
Like a father to his children, he not only taught his children when alive but when his death is imminent he leaves behind a legacy of the truth in which they must walk.
As Moses did when death was imminent [Deuteronomy] Joshua reminds them of the great things that the Lord had done and warns them against falling away from the Lord.
Jos 23:1 Now it came about after many days, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies on every side, and Joshua was old, advanced in years,
Jos 23:2 that Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and their heads and their judges and their officers, and said to them, "I am old, advanced in years.
Reminders of what the Lord has done for us are necessary and beneficial.
And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder
Jos 23:3 And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the Lord your God is He who has been fighting for you.
Jos 23:4 See, I have apportioned to you these nations which remain as an inheritance for your tribes, with all the nations which I have cut off, from the Jordan even to the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun.
Jos 23:5 And the Lord your God, He shall thrust them out from before you and drive them from before you; and you shall possess their land, just as the Lord your God promised you.
Jos 23:6 Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left,
Jos 23:7 in order that you may not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them.
Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.
God shows how easily we are led into sin. Getting comfortable with the names of the false gods will lead to further involvement. Don't get chummy with that which is evil. That would put evil too close to your soul. None of us have the power to stand against sin and evil without the power from Christ flowing through our souls. There is nothing good at all in that which is evil, so to what benefit is it to get close to it?
We never get comfortable with evil. This doesn't mean that we separate from evil people. They need the gospel. We separate from their evil.
Jos 23:8 But you are to cling to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.