Joshua 24:25

I. THE TERMS OF THE COVENANT. It was to bind the people to their promise to renounce the old life of sin and idolatry, and to enter upon and remain in the true service of God. Nations are proud of protecting treaties, constitutional pledges, charters of liberty, etc. No nation ever took a more important covenant than this. The chief question for all of us is whether we will live for the world or for God. The gospel brings to us a new covenant. The promises are greater, the terms are more light. Yet we must choose and resolve and yield ourselves in submission to it if we would enjoy the advantages its offers. This covenant has two sides. God pledges His blessings, but we must pledge our devotion. His is the infinitely greater part. Yet if we fail in ours God's promises of blessing no longer apply.


(1) It was to preserve the memory of the pledge. Men make resolutions in moments of exaltation which they are apt to forget when the feelings which gave rise to them have subsided. Yet it is just then that they are most necessary. They are not needed when they are freely made, because the impulse to resolve would carry out the action without the resolution. Their real value is for those seasons of trial and service when the lack of a strong spontaneous impulse makes it necessary to fall back on some fixed principle.

(2) It was to secure the execution of the pledge. It is easy to promise. The difficulty lies in the performance. God is only mocked with the devotion of the sanctuary which is not followed by the service of the daily life. Hence we need to preserve and carry the high impulses of worship into the work of the world. Many men live two lives, and the life of the Sunday has no bearing on that of the week day. We should use all means to bring religion into life.


(1) There was an appeal to memory. The people were to be witnesses against themselves. We should treasure in the memory and often call to mind the thoughts of our seasons of spiritual elevation.

(2) There was a written record. Writing remains unchanged with the varying moods of men. It may he well to write our higher thoughts and deeper resolves for our own subsequent private meditation. The New Testament is a written covenant.

(3) There was a memorial stone. This would be always visible. So the covenant would be often called to mind. We often need to have our memories refreshed and our thoughts called back to the great practical truths of Christianity. Hence the utility of preaching not only new ideas, but truths that all of us know, and yet that all need to be reminded of, and to have often brought before us for practical application. The stone would not lose its value as it became old and familiar. Truth does not grow feeble with age, nor is it the less important because it is the more familiar. - W.F.A.

Joshua made a covenant.
"That day" was a very notable day in the annals of the children of Israel; its transactions might well be recorded in the volume of the book and engraven on the monumental stone. All the favours which God had promised to their fathers while yet they languished in bondage in Egypt had been now fulfilled; the promised land was theirs. God had given them rest in all their borders. In the meantime their captain, who had so often led them to victory, waxed helpless and old; he felt that there gathered around him the mists and crept over him the shadow of the coming change. He summoned the tribes of Israel, therefore, to meet him in Shechem; and they muster largely, for they feel it to be a great day, and suspect they are about to listen to their leader's parting charge. He recounts God's providential dealings with them, and seeks by the memory of the past to inspire their vows of fidelity and allegiance. The warrior heart is still in the old man eloquent, but he wars not now against advancing hosts, but against rebellious minds. There is yet fire in his battle-cry, but it summons to self-conquest. There is glory yet upon his brow, but it is not the lustre of his former achievements, but the radiance of the nearing heaven already gathering to crown its hero. He has often led the people to victory; he will confirm them in piety now, that he may but briefly precede them into the recompense of the reward. He knew full well that their only danger sprang from themselves, that there was no danger to them, if they were but obedient and faithful, from the shock even of an embattled world; and with earnest love to God, and with deep knowledge of the human heart, he delivers his final and his impressive appeal. He warns them to count the cost, in order that there may be a more solemn and decided consecration of themselves to God. Then, receiving their reiterated vows, he makes a covenant with them, and stamps it with a sacramental and with an authoritative value, and sets it up for a statute and for an ordinance in Shechem. This seems to have been the last public act of his life, and then, weary for the rest of which Canaan was but the significant shadow, he went serenely into heaven. First, as to the nature of this covenant. I need not remind you that the Israelites were the chosen people of God — chosen to be the recipients of His bounty — chosen to be the witnesses of His unity — chosen to enter solemn protests against the abominable idolatries of the nations around. For the fulfilment of these ends Jehovah had interposed for His Israel in many signal deliverances and blessings. They were not a people, and tie had given them a great name; lie had broken for them the yoke of the oppressor; He had made them heir to an inheritance which they knew not, neither did their fathers know; He made the ocean a pavement for them, the heavens a storehouse, and the rock a fountain of waters; He had successively overthrown all their enemies in their sight, and by many a convincing illustration had stamped the seal of faithfulness upon every promise He had made. And yet they had very frequently rebelled. When trials came they turned recreant from faith and hope; when they were summoned to hazardous duty they shrank, like cowards, from its discharge; and they even formed unholy leagues with the people whom they were sent to overthrow, and adopted their idolatries with an enthusiasm the more reckless because of its perversion from a purer faith and worship. There was need, therefore, that they should be reminded of their duty, and that they should be urged, by all the solemnity of statute and of ordinance, to give themselves afresh unto God. Are not their circumstances yours? The burden of the summons which Joshua made unto the people was that they should serve the Lord. This was also the essence of the covenant, that they should serve the Lord. And, allowing for the differences of mission and local circumstances, there is an identity in the covenant which I want to make with you to-day. I just mention two points. In the first place, then, Joshua could not have served the Lord if he had neglected the Divinely-appointed institution of sacrifice. Although the Mosaic and the Christian economy differ in many things, they are alike in this, that the foundation of each of them is a recognition of sin. The only other part of the covenant which it is necessary for me to bring before you is that Joshua could not have served the Lord, nor any Israelite in the camp, if he had not strictly obeyed the ten commandments of the law. The great principles of morality are the same in every age, and these precepts of the former time, with a new spirit put into them by the exposition of Jesus on the mount, are binding on our consciences to-day. In entire union with Christ I have obtained power to obey — that is the first thing. We cannot obey until we have got a new heart put into us; we have no strength in human nature's old heart to obey the commandments of God; but having by our union with Christ obtained power to obey, that obedience should be sincerely and heartily rendered. A sincere seeker after the will of God will not choose among the commandments, will not obey them just so far as they chime in with corrupt desire and contravene no darling and yet vicious inclination of the soul; he will seek to obey them in the universality of their behests, in the breadth and grandeur of their deep design. I do not think it necessary to go further. If these points of the covenant are granted me, that is all I ask. Come to Christ, and keep His law, and you will be Christians fit for earth, and Christians fit for heaven. I cannot at large mention the arguments by which this covenant was commended. I rather, therefore, prefer to confine my thoughts to the faculty to which the minister makes his appeal. Joshua evidently regarded every man among the Israelites around him as invested with the royal attribute of personal freedom. Beneath each kindling eye and swarthy brow he sees an active reason and a manly soul. He speaks not to those who are of necessity impelled — who are circumscribed by a despotism of surroundings — from whose shackles there is no liberation; he speaks to men, to freemen, to freemen with power to choose the right — with power to prefer the wrong: "Choose you this day." You can choose your service. Oh! I would remind you of the many blessings which God has heaped upon you from the beginning — how your life has sparkled in the light of His loving-kindness. It was He who kindled for you all the endearments of affection and lit up all the joyfulness of home; it was He that warded off peril and environed you with the restraints that have preserved you from the grosser vices and inspired you with the impulse of every good desire. His Son died to redeem you, and fives to intercede that the benefits of His redemption may be yours. His Spirit fans the faint impression and kindles the holy desire, and takes of the precious things of Christ — those precious, those holy motives, and inspiring hopes — and shows them unto you. There is not a temporal mercy, there is not an intellectual enjoyment, there is not a spiritual mercy, for which you are not indebted to Him. And even now He comes, not forcing you to love Him, but inviting, entreating, imploring, adjuring, "My son, My daughter, give Me thy heart."

(W. M. Punshon, D. D.)

Aaron, Amorites, Balaam, Balak, Beor, Canaanites, Egyptians, Eleazar, Esau, Girgashite, Girgashites, Hamor, Hittites, Hivite, Hivites, Isaac, Israelites, Jacob, Jebusites, Joseph, Joshua, Nachor, Nahor, Nun, Perizzites, Phinehas, Seir, Serah, Terah, Zippor
Canaan, Egypt, Euphrates River, Gaash, Gibeah, Jericho, Jordan River, Moab, Red Sea, Seir, Shechem, Timnath-serah
Agreement, Covenant, Decrees, Drew, Joshua, Law, Laws, Layeth, Maketh, Ordinance, Ordinances, Rule, Shechem, Statute, Statutes
1. Joshua assembles the tribes at Shechem
2. A brief history of God's benefits from Terah
14. He renews the covenant between them and God
26. A stone the witness of the covenant
29. Joshua's age, death, and burial
32. Joseph's bones are buried
33. Eleazar dies

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Joshua 24:14-27

     8145   renewal, people of God

Joshua 24:22-25

     1349   covenant, at Sinai

Joshua 24:24-25

     7263   theocracy

February the Tenth Registering a Verdict
"The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey." --JOSHUA xxiv. 22-28. Here was a definite decision. Our peril is that we spend our life in wavering and we never decide. We are like a jury which is always hearing evidence and never gives a verdict. We do much thinking, but we never make up our minds. We let our eyes wander over many things, but we make no choice. Life has no crisis, no culmination. Now people who never decide spend their days in hoping to do so. But this kind of life
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

A Summary of Israel's Faithlessness and God's Patience
'And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3. Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Jesus Sets Out from Judæa for Galilee.
Subdivision B. At Jacob's Well, and at Sychar. ^D John IV. 5-42. ^d 5 So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 and Jacob's well was there. [Commentators long made the mistake of supposing that Shechem, now called Nablous, was the town here called Sychar. Sheckem lies a mile and a half west of Jacob's well, while the real Sychar, now called 'Askar, lies scarcely half a mile north of the well. It was a small town, loosely called
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Meditations for Household Piety.
1. If thou be called to the government of a family, thou must not hold it sufficient to serve God and live uprightly in thy own person, unless thou cause all under thy charge to do the same with thee. For the performance of this duty God was so well pleased with Abraham, that he would not hide from him his counsel: "For," saith God, "I know him that he will command his sons and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Promise to the Patriarchs.
A great epoch is, in Genesis, ushered in with the history of the time of the Patriarchs. Luther says: "This is the third period in which Holy Scripture begins the history of the Church with a new family." In a befitting manner, the representation is opened in Gen. xii. 1-3 by an account of the first revelation of God, given to Abraham at Haran, in which the way is opened up for all that follows, and in which the dispensations of God are brought before us in a rapid survey. Abraham is to forsake
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). In our last chapter we considered at some length the much debated and difficult question of the human will. We have shown that the will of the natural man is neither Sovereign nor free but, instead, a servant and slave. We have argued that a right conception of the sinner's will-its servitude-is essential to a just estimate of his depravity and ruin. The utter corruption and degradation of human nature is something which
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God

And for Your Fearlessness against them Hold this Sure Sign -- Whenever There Is...
43. And for your fearlessness against them hold this sure sign--whenever there is any apparition, be not prostrate with fear, but whatsoever it be, first boldly ask, Who art thou? And from whence comest thou? And if it should be a vision of holy ones they will assure you, and change your fear into joy. But if the vision should be from the devil, immediately it becomes feeble, beholding your firm purpose of mind. For merely to ask, Who art thou [1083] ? and whence comest thou? is a proof of coolness.
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Covenanting Performed in Former Ages with Approbation from Above.
That the Lord gave special token of his approbation of the exercise of Covenanting, it belongs to this place to show. His approval of the duty was seen when he unfolded the promises of the Everlasting Covenant to his people, while they endeavoured to perform it; and his approval thereof is continually seen in his fulfilment to them of these promises. The special manifestations of his regard, made to them while attending to the service before him, belonged to one or other, or both, of those exhibitions
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The First Commandment
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' Exod 20: 3. Why is the commandment in the second person singular, Thou? Why does not God say, You shall have no other gods? Because the commandment concerns every one, and God would have each one take it as spoken to him by name. Though we are forward to take privileges to ourselves, yet we are apt to shift off duties from ourselves to others; therefore the commandment is in the second person, Thou and Thou, that every one may know that it is spoken to him,
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Moses and his Writings
[Illustration: (drop cap W) Clay letter tablet of Moses' time.] We now begin to understand a little of the very beginning of God's Book--of the times in which it was written, the materials used by its first author, and the different kinds of writing from which he had to choose; but we must go a step farther. How much did Moses know about the history of his forefathers, Abraham and Jacob, and of all the old nations and kings mentioned in Genesis, before God called him to the great work of writing
Mildred Duff—The Bible in its Making

"The Carnal Mind is Enmity against God for it is not Subject to the Law of God, Neither Indeed Can Be. So Then they that Are
Rom. viii. s 7, 8.--"The carnal mind is enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." It is not the least of man's evils, that he knows not how evil he is, therefore the Searcher of the heart of man gives the most perfect account of it, Jer. xvii. 12. "The heart is deceitful above all things," as well as "desperately wicked," two things superlative and excessive in it, bordering upon an infiniteness, such
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Gen. xxxi. 11
Of no less importance and significance is the passage Gen. xxxi. 11 seq. According to ver. 11, the Angel of God, [Hebrew: mlaK halhiM] appears toJacob in a dream. In ver. 13, the same person calls himself the God of Bethel, with reference to the event recorded in chap. xxviii. 11-22. It cannot be supposed that in chap xxviii. the mediation of a common angel took place, who, however, had not been expressly mentioned; for Jehovah is there contrasted with the angels. In ver. 12, we read: "And behold
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Manner of Covenanting.
Previous to an examination of the manner of engaging in the exercise of Covenanting, the consideration of God's procedure towards his people while performing the service seems to claim regard. Of the manner in which the great Supreme as God acts, as well as of Himself, our knowledge is limited. Yet though even of the effects on creatures of His doings we know little, we have reason to rejoice that, in His word He has informed us, and in His providence illustrated by that word, he has given us to
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The book of Joshua is the natural complement of the Pentateuch. Moses is dead, but the people are on the verge of the promised land, and the story of early Israel would be incomplete, did it not record the conquest of that land and her establishment upon it. The divine purpose moves restlessly on, until it is accomplished; so "after the death of Moses, Jehovah spake to Joshua," i. 1. The book falls naturally into three divisions: (a) the conquest of Canaan (i.-xii.), (b) the settlement of the
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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