And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls…
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH JOSHUA HERE REPRESENTS HIMSELF AS PLACED. Time has gathered death's memorials on that form; and warned, perhaps, by some communication from the world invisible, or feeling, it may be, in the pain, the weakness, or the gathering wrinkles, that his closing hour is near, he thus addresses the multitude around: "Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth." What was dying Joshua but just the representative of dying man? and what is Joshua dead but an instance, from the midst of ten thousand times ten thousand of the human form, erect and strong, and animated once, consigned to mournful silence, and the human spirit vanished from the scenes of enterprise and life, where it thought so loftily or toiled so zealously of old? And if we commit ourselves to the pages of recorded history, and find them full throughout with the alternations of life and death, or mark the common course of society and providence around us, how many an illustration may be found of what to us is specially momentous in the idea afforded by the words, "the way of all the earth" I
II. THE APPEAL WHICH JOSHUA MAKES TO THE PEOPLE HE ADDRESSES.
1. Joshua's appeal may suggest the idea of a pious and active old age. To earlier years and robuster vigour may belong the more stirring and laborious forms of Christian enterprise and zeal; but age has the same principles of duty to regard, and the same animating motives to cherish in the heart. In the apparent proximity of death it has a consideration in some degree peculiar, to urge it on to zealous and devoted services for God; and, oh! how powerfully ought that consideration and many a motive else to animate the minds of those who, "old and stricken in age," are ready, like Joshua, to say, "I am going the way of all the earth"! If you have given your more vigorous years to sin, why should you delay with contrite and devout heart to give the close of your continuance here to Christ, and piety, and God? And if you have, in some degree, like Joshua, given your earlier life to the cause of righteousness, oh I have you not found, in your experience of its dignity, anti blessedness, and worth, a motive strong to keep you steadfast to the end?
2. Not only is the appeal of Joshua in the text representative of a pious and zealous old age, but it expresses an important fact presented by the providence of God: "Ye know," says he, "in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed," &c. Of all men Christian believers perhaps will be the readiest to perceive, and the most willing to acknowledge, the absolute faithfulness and the gracious liberality of God; and how can they but know that, sad as the outward condition of God's chosen may sometimes be, and sadder still as may be the general aspect of the earth, to neither can the Almighty's pledge be broken, to neither can His promise fail?
(Alex. S. Patterson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
WEB: "Behold, today I am going the way of all the earth. You know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which Yahweh your God spoke concerning you. All have happened to you. Not one thing has failed of it.