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NOW it came to pass after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Josue the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, and said to him:

Ver. 1.  Now: lit. And.  Thus the sacred history is connected, the last chapter of Deuteronomy being, in the opinion of many, a part of the work of Josue.  H.

 

--- Moses died on the 1st of the 12th month, Adar, and as soon as that month of mourning had expired, and the spies had returned on the 4th of Nisan, God ordered the people to prepare for their departure.

 

--- Minister.  This was by no means degrading.  He was designed for the successor of Moses, as Eliseus was to succeed Elias.  The heroes at Troy had servants of the same high character as themselves, attached to their persons by the ties of friendship.  See Ex. xvii. 10.


INTRODUCTION.

 

THE BOOK OF JOSUE.

 

This book is called Josue, because it contains the history of what passed under him, and, according to the common opinion, was written by him.  The Greeks call him Jesus; for Josue and Jesus, in the Hebrew, are the same name, and have the same signification, viz. A Saviour.  And it was not without a mystery, that he who was to bring the people into the land of promise, should have his name changed from Osee (for so he was called before, Num. xiii. 17,) to Josue, or Jesus, to give us to understand, the Moses, by his law, could only bring the people within sight of the promised inheritance, but that our Saviour, Jesus, was to bring us into it.  Ch.

 

--- The Hebrews who had been so rebellious under Moses, behaved with remarkable fidelity and respect towards his successor; who, by these means, more forcibly represented the Christian Church, (D.) which will be ever obedient to her divine head and observe his directions.  Josue had been trained up a long time under the hand of Moses, and God had given him the commission to govern his people, in so public a manner, that no one offered to claim that high and arduous office.  In effect, the whole conduct of Josue before and after his exaltation, shewed him to be most deserving of command.  H.

 

--- Josue, says the Holy Ghost, (Eccli. xlvi. 1,) was successor of Moses among the prophets, or, according to the Greek, "in prophecies."  Many explain this of the obligation incumbent on him, to continue the sacred history (C.) and revelations where Moses had left off.  The last chapter of this book informs us that he did so.  Perhaps some additions, by way of farther explication, have been made by subsequent inspired writers, though most of the passages which are adduced to prove this assertion, seem to be of little force.  Respecting the death of Josue, we may make the same observations as on that of Moses.  It may have been written by the author of the Book of Judges.  Theodoret seems to have thought that the work before us, was compiled out of the public registers, which are quoted C. x. under the name of the book of the Lord.  See Num. xxi. 14.  The Samaritans have a book or chronicle of Josue, which relates in 39 or 47 chapters, many facts of scriptural history, (H.) down to the reign of Adrian, intermingled with a variety of fables.  It seems to be of modern date.  Hottinger undertook to publish it in Latin, but was prevented by death.  C.

 

--- The true history of Josue sets before us the passage of the Jordan, the conquest of Chanaan, and the distribution of the country.  After the pious general had performed all that could be expected from him, after he had twice ratified the covenant between God and his people, and exhorted the latter, with his last breath, to observe an inviolable fidelity to the only Lord, he departed this life in peace, in the 110th year of his age, and was buried at Thamnath Sare, which he had built for the place of his abode.  H.

 

--- As the five books of Moses contain the law, intermixed with history, so this first of the historical books exhibits a variety of useful precepts and predictions.  The prophetical and sapiential books must be considered in the same light.  W.

 

--- They all tend to promote true wisdom and the salvation of men, provided they be perused in the same spirit with which they were written.  H.


2 Moses my servant is dead: arise, and pass over this Jordan, thou and thy people with thee, into the land which I will give to the children of Israel.

Ver. 2.  Jordan, a river well known, which rises in Antilibanus, not from Panion, but from the lake Phiala, as Herod the Tetrarch discovered by throwing some straw into the latter, which passed by a subterraneous passage into Panion.  Thence it proceeds to the Semonite lake and to Daphne, where it begins to be called the Great Jordan.  Joseph. Bel. iii. 33.  Having traversed the land of Palestine in the southern direction, it loses itself in the lake of Sodom.  C.

 

--- It is a very rapid river, and hence its appellation from irod, of jord, descendit, is very probably derived.  H.

 

--- The Arabs call it Zacchar, "overflowing," because the snows and rains cause it formerly to overflow about Easter.  Univ. Hist.

 

--- When Maundrell travelled through this country, the stream was too rapid for a person to swim against it.  Parkhurst.

 

--- Hence the miracle of the Hebrews passing through the Jordan on dry land, when its waters were the most copious and violent, would be the more observable.  H.




3 I will deliver to you every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, as I have said to Moses.

Ver. 3.  Moses.  Thus the preceding permission, which the Jews extend, as if God had authorized them to conquer the whole world, is limited.  H.  See Deut. xi. 24.

 

--- Their right to the land of Chanaan depends on this grant of God, who is the Lord of all things, and who thus took away all the privileges of the former inhabitants.  But the warrant of destruction only regarded the people of Chanaan.  Those who lived towards the Euphrates, were obliged only to pay tribute by David and Solomon, thought their country formed part of what had been promised to the Israelites.  They might have possessed all that region, if they had proved faithful.  The limits of the promised land vary, as they are considered under various lights.  C.

 

--- The desert of Arabia Petrea and Antilibanus formed the boundaries on the south and on the north, the Euphrates and Mediterranean were on the east and west, when the territories of the Israelites were considered in their utmost extent.  H.



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4 From the desert and from Libanus unto the great river Euphrates, all the land of the Hethites unto the great sea toward the going; down of the sun, shall be your border.

Ver. 4.  Hethites, the most formidable of the nations of Chanaan.  Masius.




5 No man shall be able to resist you all the days of thy life: as I have been with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will not leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Ver. 5.  Resist you.  They shall at last be overcome, and their resistance will prove detrimental to themselves.  C.



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6 Take courage, and be strong: for thou shalt divide by lot to this people the land, for which I swore to their fathers, that I would deliver it to them.

Ver. 6.  Lot.  Heb. "thou shalt give for an inheritance."  H.



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7 Take courage therefore, and be very valiant: that thou mayst observe and do all the law, which Moses my servant hath commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayst understand all things which thou dost.

Ver. 7.  From it.  Heb. him, Moses.  But the Masorets order us to read it.  H.

 

--- Understand, or "succeed."  Chal.  Vat.


8 Let not the book of this law depart from thy mouth: but thou shalt meditate on it day and night, that thou mayst observe and do all things that are written in it: then shalt thou direct thy way, and understand it.

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9 Behold I command thee, take courage, end be strong. Fear not and be not dismayed: because the Lord thy God is with thee in all things whatsoever thou shalt go to. 10 And Josue commanded the princes of the people, saying: Pass through the midst of the camp, and command the people, and say:

Ver. 10.  Princes.  Shoterim may denote both judges and heralds, such as those mentioned in Homer, the messengers of gods and men, whose persons were deemed sacred.  They bore a wand or sceptre, as a mark of their authority.


11 Prepare you victuals: for after the third day you shall pass over the Jordan and shall go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God will give you.

Ver. 11.  Victuals.  The manna still supplied the army after they had passed the Jordan.  C. v. 12.  But Josue might fear lest the people might not have liberty to gather it in the midst of the enemy's country, or he might perhaps suppose that this miraculous food would be withdrawn, as soon as they had entered Chanaan.  He therefore takes all necessary precautions, and gets other sorts of provisions in the neighbourhood.  C.

 

--- This might foreshew, that in the primitive Church the ceremonies and privileges of the old law would not be abrogated immediately, but they might be used for a time along with the rites of the gospel, till the old law should be buried with honour.  W.

 

--- Third day, after their departure from Setim; or perhaps this order was only published when the Israelites were arrived on the banks of the Jordan.  C.




12 And he said to the Rubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasses:
13 Remember the word, which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying: The Lord your God hath given you rest, and all this land.

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14 Your wives, and children, and cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan: but pass you over armed before your brethren, all of you that are strong of hand, and fight for them,

Ver. 14.  Armed before, in order of battle, at the head of the army, and not according to the disposition of the tribes, which were observed in the desert.  Only 40,000 men were selected out of 110,580, the rest were very prudently left to guard the new conquered country.  See Num. xxxii. 17.

 

--- For them.  Heb. "help them."



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15 Until the Lord give rest to your brethren as he hath given you, and they also possess the land which the Lord your God will give them: and so you shall return into the land of your possession, and you shall dwell in it, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan, toward the rising of the sun.

Ver. 15.  Beyond.  The same expression is translated on this side, v. 14.  Heb. beheber means also, "in the passage."  If we have regard to Josue, when he spoke this, he was beyond, that is on the east side of the river, though perhaps (H.) he might be on the other side when he wrote the history.  Deut. i. 1.  C.




16 And they made answer to Josue, and said: All that thou hast commanded us we will do; and whithersoever thou shalt send us, we will go. 17 As we obeyed Moses in all things, so will we obey thee also: only be the Lord thy God with thee, as he was with Moses.

Ver. 17.  Moses.  Thus they express their ardent wish, that God would extend his protection to Josue.  M.

 

--- They do not mean to insinuate, that they will obey him only as long as he complies with God's law.  C.


18 He that shall gainsay thy mouth, and not obey all thy words, that thou shalt command him, let him die: only take thou courage, and do manfully.

Ver. 18.  Die, as guilty of high treason.  The person's goods were confiscated, and became the property of the king.  Thus David disposed of the effects of Saul, (2 K. xvi. 4.) and Achab seized the vineyard of Naboth, 3 K. xxi. 15.  C.


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