Joshua 24:31
Israel had served the LORD throughout the days of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced all the works that the LORD had done for Israel.
Dying ChargesW. E. Knox, D. D.Joshua 24:1-33
Joshua's Last AppealW. G. Blaikie, D. D.Joshua 24:1-33
Joshua's Last FarewellG. W. Butler, M. A.Joshua 24:1-33
A Great DecisionR. Glover Joshua 24:16-31
Faithful Adherence to EngagementsL. H. Wiseman, M. A.Joshua 24:29-33
The Burials of Distinguished SaintsW. Seaton.Joshua 24:29-33
Three GravesR. Glover Joshua 24:30, 32, 33

Such is the story of life. The end of it is always in some sepulchre. "They buried Joshua." "They buried the bones of Joseph." "They buried Eleazer." So the land is taken in possession. Every grave becoming a stronger link, binding the people to each other and to the land God gave them. Look at these graves. And observe -

I. EVERY LIFE AT LAST FINDS A GRAVE. However strong the frame and long the conflict, at last the priest must lay down the censer, the statesman resign command, the warrior retire from fields of strife. Immortality is not for earthly surroundings, nor for the imperfect spirit and body we have here. If we are to live forever it must be somewhere where character is perfect, and a frame suited for a perfect spirit is enjoyed. It is well that an existence so faulty is so brief. Out of Eden it is better that we should be out of reach of any tree of life that can give earthly immortality. The average life is long enough for the average power of enjoying it. And it is well that it should be "rounded off by sleep." This destiny is too much overlooked. It may be so contemplated as only to injure us. When we anticipate it with dread, without the light of God's smile upon it or of His home beyond it, when it only shrivels up the warmth and energy of life, then its influence is harmful. But it need not have any such influence. If we remember that God is love and death a Divine institution, we shall feel that there must be some service rendered by even death; and this feeling destroying the dread of it, we shall then be in a condition to profit by its helpful influence. Amongst many wholesome influences these may be noted:

(1) It should correct the folly that wastes life. Some make two mistakes. They treat time as if it were eternity, and eternity as if it were time. And this mistake produces a purposeless existence that turns life to no account. The thought of death should wake those wasteful of life. It reminds us that the day of life has its task, that there is a serious account to be rendered of how we spent it. It says, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." It bids us live while we live, and work while it is called day.

(2) It comforts the heavy laden. Life has many burdens. Duty is often a heavy load. Regrets, cares, sorrows make between them a burden of huge dimensions. God's saints, though they take more peacefully what is sent them, are not insensible to its troubles. On the contrary, "many are the afflictions of the righteous." Death comes when the burden is too heavy, and whispers, "It is not for long." "The light affliction is but for a moment." The glory is eternal.

"Brief life is here our portion,
Brief sorrow, shortlived care,
The life that knows no ending,
The tearless life is there." How many would have fainted utterly but for the thought, that trials were only mortal. If to some death had seemed a great foe, to many others it has seemed the

"Kind umpire of men's miseries,
Which, with sweet enlargement, does dismiss us hence." If it is a great consoler of the suffering, observe further

(3) it gives zest to every activity of life. How vapid would life become if death were not the lot of men! How dull the activity which had eternity for its work! How poor the low delight would become if anything fixed forever the conditions which for the moment are sufficient to produce it. But a brief life, ever changing, with no time to waste, gives keenness and zest and joy to all our existence. And lastly, it makes us look for immortality. It raises the eye above. The other world is lighted by those who, dying, enter it. The thought of our own impending death makes us desire some "everlasting habitation" when the stewardship here is ended. So mortality protects immortality, keeps it from being forgotten, undervalued, or endangered. And, like some schoolmaster whose harshness yet helps the learning of some lesson, so death is the great instructor and preparer for the life beyond. Lament not Joshua, or Joseph, or Eleazer. Death is mercy to all such. It is not a calamity, it is the sleep God gives His beloved. If it is well to remember that all life comes to a grave, it is still more important to remember -


(1) Life does not end there. Who could imagine that that grave at Timnath-serah was the end of Joshua? When ripest and fittest for high employment, to what purpose would have been "the waste of such ointment"? "God gathers up fragments that nothing may be lost;" would He waste such a splendid aggregate of saintly forces? Men could not believe it. Jacob spoke of his approaching death as a being "gathered to his people," as if his great ancestors were all above waiting to welcome him. What nature has whispered to the hearts of all men the Saviour has revealed more clearly. He has "abolished death." And now we rejoice to believe life does not end, but only takes a new departure from the grave. Death in the ease of all God's saints is only the fulfilment of the Saviours promise, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself." If life does not end with the grave, observe

(2) usefulness does not end with it. There is something touching in these earliest graves of Israel - Machpelah, Shechem, Timnath, Mount Ephraim. Such graves were thrones, on each of which a great spirit sat and ruled, teaching spirituality, truth, courage, communion with God. The very graves consecrated the land. As of the great cathedral of Florence the poet sang:

"In Santa Croce's holy precincts lie
Ashes which make it holier. Dust which is
Even in itself an immortality;"

So we feel these graves were a leavening consecration which made Palestine indeed a holy land. England is rich in graves. Its soil is rich with the dust of the great and good.

"Half the soil has trod the rest
In poets, heroes, martyrs, sages." What impulses of courage, of philanthropy, and consecration have come from the graves of Bruce, of Howard, of the Wesleys: of a multitude that none can number? If we have the Divine life within us, death cannot end our usefulness. On the contrary, its touch canonises. Death makes the neglected counsel the revered oracle; and the neglected example the pattern on the mount; and the despised creed the life giving truth. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Death robs us of rulership over a few things only to give us rulership over many things. Let us live so that, like these, our graves may brighten and bless the land of our burial. - G.

Joshua... died.
Within the compass of the five last verses of this book three deaths are recorded and three burial-places signalised by the deposited remains of the most distinguished saints. After all we have seen in Canaan, let us visit the sepulchre of Joshua. The short record given may be viewed as a simple, unvarnished memento, or monumental inscription (vers. 29, 30). The place of his interment was in the lot of his inheritance, and may remind us how soon the seat of life becomes the repository of death. Short had been the date of his settlement: an hundred years before he obtained rest, and then but ten before he must lie down in his grave, not again to rise till the heavens be no more. What can be a greater or more convincing proof of still higher and nobler ends of Providence than any contained within the limits of this life, when even the most distinguished of God's family, the most exemplary and useful of His children, are not suffered to continue by reason of death, but are early removed from the happiest scenes on earth! It bespeaks the greatness of man, and the more exalted provisions of glory the infinite goodness of God has secured in another world. The designs of His grace are too exalted, and the displays of His power too wondrous, to centre in any earthly lot, though equal in beauty and richness to Eden, when as yet the seat of innocence, perfection, and love. Timnath-serah was still the portion of his lot, even in death. Where he lived in possession, there he lay in possession, nor left any commandment, as Jacob and Joseph, for removal. It is remarkable how much this was the desire of the faithful, and of what moment, though not in itself, yet in its typical regards, they viewed a burying-place in the promised land. It was as if they thought upon the interests of their sleeping dust as well as the felicity of their undying spirits, and in still retaining their inheritance, even in a state of death, would claim for their bodies a share in the life to come; for He who had so richly provided for the one as well as for the other, in an inheritance entirely typical, would not have so essential a part of our redeemed nature for ever the prey of worms. Where the believer now rests, in what bed matters little, for Jesus is the resurrection and the life of all His people. A short inscription, which, as a plain monumental record of his character and age, claims in the solemn reflections here excited a moment's pause: "Servant of the Lord died, being an hundred and ten years old." What an important connection of age and dignity! What an honour to lie down at last under this character! This is the highest style of man. What he had done, and all which this book recorded of the mighty conquests achieved, was not here to be named; for in everything he had been but a servant, and only the willing instrument of Omnipotence. The title was all that need appear, or that any who know their own insignificance would desire. It is enough that "they rest from their labours, and their works do follow." Joshua and all the saints, from infancy to age, through the long lapse of time, shall retain the record of truth, and in the character in which they died rise the servants of God. As now in the end of life it is said, "The servant of the Lord died, being an hundred and ten years old," so then shall commence the history of eternity. The servant of the Lord arose the beginning, the first day, of immortality. From the tomb of Joshua let us go to the burying-place of Joseph: it is in the same inheritance, and not far distant. It is remarkable in the connected record of these burials that Joshua should have lived just the same number of years as this his distinguished ancestor, and that though not buried in the same spot, yet in the same inheritance, and not far distant from the same period. Never was there so singular a funeral: two hundred years dead before interment. Many, we may think, crowded to see it, and if the Church in heaven could have been witnesses, the sight must have yielded pleasure; for it was the burial of faith. And did it reach the glorified saint, the spirit long made perfect, or could he have looked down upon the purchased spot of his father, the desired resting-place of his bones, he would have known the fidelity of his brethren, and have rejoiced in the end of his faith. It became the inheritance of the children of Joseph, though he had stood a stranger in the land, when, in obedience to the dying request of his father, he buried him in the grave which himself was said to have digged (Genesis 50:5). How remarkable that the place where Joseph obtained interment, and where at length he was gathered to his fathers, should turn out the inheritance of his sons; and that, though separated many years from his father in life, he should, as he, rest in Canaan, and find a grave even in his own inheritance. Oh! it was a sweet privilege to be entombed in his own inheritance, and to hold a place with both his sons and his fathers in what bespoke the common hope and claim of all the faithful. It was a choice spot, and where any saint would have wished to have been laid, and there to have rested in the hope of all that was, in the perfection of the Church and close of time, to open in the grandeur of the resurrection, when, as the heirs of promise, and the sons of immortality, they would rise to claim a fairer, brighter, and more lasting inheritance above the skies. The ground was a purchase (Genesis 23:16, 17). And now the purchase of Jacob became the burying-place of Joseph. The heavenly land is spoken of as a purchased possession, and that in no part ever to become a burying-place, but the seat of endless life and felicity to the whole Church of God. But, oh! what has been the purchase, what paid for it, by the eternal Son of God! One more burying-place within this inheritance is pointed out: "And Eleazar the son of Aaron died," &c. As situated near Shiloh, this was, probably for its convenience, assigned as the residence of the high priest. We see the inheritances of Israel fast changing into the burying-places of the dead. It was not the land of immortality, not that state of being of which it is said, "There shall be no more death," &c. In Canaan all must die, as well princes, priests, and rulers, as others; but in heaven none die: there natural evils and moral pollutions are for ever removed.

(W. Seaton.)

Israel served the Lord.
The men of that generation remained faithful to their engagements. These men, who had themselves "known all the works of the Lord that He had done for Israel," in bringing them into Canaan and in subduing the hostile nations, never forsook His worship for the worship of the idols of the laud, of whose boasted power they had witnessed so signal a discomfiture. The character and admonitions of Joshua were not forgotten. His disinterestedness, his energy, his singleness of purpose, his faith, had left a track of glory behind, as the sun, after he has sunk below the horizon, flings glorious hues and golden light over all the western sky. The men who had themselves seen the conquests of Joshua would have been doubly inexcusable if they had forsaken the worship of Jehovah. Like the disciple Thomas, because they had seen they had believed. How, indeed, could it have been otherwise? How could they, standing there in Shechem, — the site of Abraham's altar, of Jacob's well, of Joseph's tomb, of Joshua's victories — refuse to believe in the Divine calling of the people Israel?

(L. H. Wiseman, M. A.).

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
TRUE, Deeds, Elders, Experienced, Joshua, Joshua's, Lifetime, Older, Outlived, Overlived, Prolonged, Served, Serveth, Survived, Throughout, Worked, Works, Wrought
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 24:31

     5854   experience, of God

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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