And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges…
I. GOD'S THREEFOLD MERCIES.
1. Israel's enlargement (vers. 2-4).
2. Israel's exodus (vers. 5-7).
3. Israel's entrance into Canaan (vers. 8-12).
II. JOSHUA'S THREEFOLD APPEAL.
1. He exhorts them to fear and serve this great and this good God.
2. To manifest in yet clearer light that the service of God is a reasonable service, and to show the utter folly of idolatry, Joshua, in the gravest irony, upholds the alternative for the adoption of the people, and mocks the apostasy, the latent germs of which he knew too well ware in the hearts of the great assembly before him.
3. Then, having, both with tender love and with withering scorn, set forth the two alternatives, he declares his own resolute decision in words which should be the motto for every ruler, and for every householder. This is the true order of the growth of piety. First, individual consecration; then follows family control; and then the third stage in the gradation — namely, public influence — will not be lacking.
III. ISRAEL'S THREEFOLD COVENANT.
IV. A THREEFOLD AFFIDAVIT TO ISRAEL'S COVENANT.
1. The first is the memory of the transaction in the minds of the people themselves.
2. Joshua himself, moreover, puts the whole matter into writing, even as we have it here before us in this last chapter.
3. But there is another testimony that shall witness against Israel if they apostatise — "a great stone," which he places beneath the oak in Shechem, "that was by the sanctuary of the Lord."
V. A THREEFOLD SEAL TO GOD'S PROMISES. The Book closes with the mention of three burials. In the peaceful graves of three of God's saints we seem to see three seals to the truth of God's Word. These holy men once served Him among strange nations, but now their bones are laid within the borders of the promised land.
(G. W. Butler, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.