Joshua 23

Chapter twenty-three contains the first half of the farewell address that Joshua made to “all Israel, including the elders, rulers, judges, and leaders” (Joshua 23:2). In this part Joshua made three assertions. First, he reminded them of everything God had done for them and said that, if they continued to be loyal to God and obey his law, he would finish driving the Canaanites out of the land (Joshua 23:3-8).

Second, he warned that, if they did not remain loyal to God and instead made “alliances with these nations that remain near you, and intermarry with them and establish friendly relations with them,” God would not drive out those nations and would instead drive let Israel disappear from the land (Joshua 23:9-13). Moses had already told this generation that expulsion from the land would be God’s punishment if they refused to stay loyal to him (Deuteronomy 29:28), although he promised to bring them back when they final turn back to him, an event which is still future (Deuteronomy 30:1-10).

Third, because of God’s unwavering faithfulness, in the same way that he had fulfilled all of his promises to Israel to that point, he would also fulfill all of his curses upon them, if they disobeyed him (Joshua 23:14-16). For those who believe that the “God of love” could never punish or curse anyone, they forget that both blessings and curses are bound up in God’s faithfulness, and he can never be unfaithful.

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Daniel Goepfrich

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