JOSHUA’S LAST CHARGE.
(a) To the rulers (Joshua 23).
(b) To the people (Joshua 24 to Joshua 24:25).
(a) To THE RULERS.
(1) Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.—The same expression employed in Joshua 13:1. It is possible that we ought to translate thus: “It came to pass, a long time after the Lord had given rest . . . and (after) Joshua had grown old, advanced in days, that Joshua called . . .” Or it may be that we have here, as it were, “the two evenings” of Joshua’s life: the early evening, when his sun began to decline—the afternoon; and the late evening, just before its glorious setting in the service of Jehovah on earth, to “serve Him day and night in His temple.”
(Our Lord fed the five thousand between the two evenings—Matthew 14:15; Matthew 14:23. So Joshua gave Israel their inheritance between the two evenings of his life.)
And said unto them . . .—The address which follows should be contrasted with that in Joshua 24. The first is suited to men of education, authority, and position in Israel, and concerns the duty of the rulers; the second contains one plain lesson for all the people, and makes no demand upon their intellect, nor does it require any position of influence or authority to carry out the instructions which it gives.
The above exhortations are upon matters that lie within the province of the ruler. The law must be forgotten if the magistrates will not enforce it. Marriages and treaties and public worship are matters under the control of the law. What the rulers will not tolerate, the people will find it hard to maintain.