Joshua 24:22
And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
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24:15-28 It is essential that the service of God's people be performed with a willing mind. For LOVE is the only genuine principle whence all acceptable service of God can spring. The Father seeks only such to worship him, as worship him in spirit and in truth. The carnal mind of man is enmity against God, therefore, is not capable of such spiritual worship. Hence the necessity of being born again. But numbers rest in mere forms, as tasks imposed upon them. Joshua puts them to their choice; but not as if it were indifferent whether they served God or not. Choose you whom ye will serve, now the matter is laid plainly before you. He resolves to do this, whatever others did. Those that are bound for heaven, must be willing to swim against the stream. They must not do as the most do, but as the best do. And no one can behave himself as he ought in any station, who does not deeply consider his religious duties in family relations. The Israelites agree with Joshua, being influenced by the example of a man who had been so great a blessing to them; We also will serve the Lord. See how much good great men do, by their influence, if zealous in religion. Joshua brings them to express full purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord. They must come off from all confidence in their own sufficiency, else their purposes would be in vain. The service of God being made their deliberate choice, Joshua binds them to it by a solemn covenant. He set up a monument of it. In this affecting manner Joshua took his last leave of them; if they perished, their blood would be upon their own heads. Though the house of God, the Lord's table, and even the walls and trees before which we have uttered our solemn purposes of serving him, would bear witness against us if we deny him, yet we may trust in him, that he will put his fear into our hearts, that we shall not depart from him. God alone can give grace, yet he blesses our endeavours to engage men to his service.Choose - Service of God in sincerity and truth can only result from a free and willing allegiance of the heart. This accordingly is what Joshua invites, as Moses had done before him (Deuteronomy 30:15 ff). 14-28. Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth—After having enumerated so many grounds for national gratitude, Joshua calls on them to declare, in a public and solemn manner, whether they will be faithful and obedient to the God of Israel. He avowed this to be his own unalterable resolution, and urged them, if they were sincere in making a similar avowal, "to put away the strange gods that were among them"—a requirement which seems to imply that some were suspected of a strong hankering for, or concealed practice of, the idolatry, whether in the form of Zabaism, the fire-worship of their Chaldean ancestors, or the grosser superstitions of the Canaanites. Ye are witnesses against yourselves; this solemn profession will be a swift witness against you, if hereafter you apostatize from God.

And Joshua said unto the people,.... In reply to their answer and resolution:

ye are witnesses against yourselves, that ye have chosen you the Lord God to serve him; that is, should they, after this choice of him, which they had so publicly declared, desert his service, and go into idolatry, their testimony would rise up against them, and they would, be self-condemned:

and they said, we are witnesses; should we ever apostatize from the Lord and his worship, we are content to have this our witness produced against us.

And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses {i} against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.

(i) If you do the contrary, your own mouths will condemn you.

22. Ye are witnesses against yourselves] Clearly and unmistakeably the people had declared that they had chosen the service of Jehovah. By so doing, in the event of their falling away, they would condemn themselves by their own evidence, and would be obliged to admit that Jehovah had a right to punish them for their unfaithfulness.

We are witnesses] Literally, Witnesses are we against ourselves.

Verse 22 - Ye are witnesses against yourselves. Joshua has not disguised from them the difficulty of the task they have undertaken. Like a true guide and father, he has placed the case fully and fairly before them, and they have made their choice. He reminds them that their own words so deliberately uttered will be forever witnesses against them, should they afterwards refuse to keep an engagement into which they entered with their eyes open. They do not in any way shrink from the responsibility, and by accepting the situation as it is placed before them, render it impossible henceforth to plead ignorance or surprise as an excuse for their disobedience. And it is well to observe, as has been remarked above, that such an excuse never was pleaded afterwards, that the obligation, though evaded, was never disavowed. Joshua 24:22Upon this repeated declaration Joshua says to them, "ye are witnesses against yourselves," i.e., ye will condemn yourselves by this your own testimony if ye should now forsake the Lord, "for ye yourselves have chosen you Jehovah to serve Him;" whereupon they answer עדים, "witnesses are we against ourselves," signifying thereby, "we profess and ratify once more all that we have said" (Rosenmller). Joshua then repeated his demand that they should put away the strange gods from within them, and incline their hearts (entirely) to Jehovah the God of Israel. בּקבּכם אשׁר הנּכר אלהי might mean the foreign gods which are in the midst of you, i.e., among you, and imply the existence of idols, and the grosser forms of idolatrous worship in the nation; but בּקרב also signifies "within," or "in the heart," in which case the words refer to idols of the heart. That the latter is the sense in which the words are to be understood is evident from the fact, that although the people expressed their willingness to renounce all idolatry, they did not bring any idols to Joshua to be destroyed, as was done in other similar cases, viz., Genesis 35:4, and 1 Samuel 7:4. Even if the people had carried idols about with them in the desert, as the prophet Amos stated to his contemporaries (Amos 5:26; cf. Acts 7:43), the grosser forms of idolatry had disappeared from Israel with the dying out of the generation that was condemned at Kadesh. The new generation, which had been received afresh into covenant with the Lord by the circumcision at Gilgal, and had set up this covenant at Ebal, and was now assembled around Joshua, the dying servant of God, to renew the covenant once more, had no idols of wood, stone, or metal, but only the "figments of false gods," as Calvin calls them, the idols of the heart, which it was to put away, that it might give its heart entirely to the Lord, who is not content with divided affections, but requires the whole heart (Deuteronomy 6:5-6).
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