约书亚记 24

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1 示剑重述的恩惠

2 约书亚对众民:“耶和华以色列的这样:‘古时你们的列祖,就是亚伯拉罕和拿鹤的父亲他拉,在大那边;他们事奉别的

3 我把你们的祖先亚伯拉罕,从大那边带来,领他走遍迦南地,使他的后裔增多,把以撒他;

4 又把雅各以扫以撒,把西珥以扫作产业;雅各和他的子孙却埃及去。

5 我差派了摩西亚伦,借着我在埃及所行的神迹,用灾疫击打埃及,然把你们领出来。

6 我领你们的列祖离开埃及,他们去到边;埃及人着战车和马兵,追赶你们的列祖直到红

7 你们的列祖呼求耶和华,他就以黑暗隔开你们和埃及人,又使水复流淹没了他们;我在埃及所行的事,你们都亲眼见过;你们在旷野也许多日子。

8 我领你们到了约旦河东的亚摩利人的地,他们和你们争战,我把他们交在你们里,你们就得了他们的地作产业;我也在你们面前把他们消灭。

9 那时摩押西拨的儿子巴勒起来攻击以色列人;他派人把比珥的儿子巴兰召了来,咒诅你们。

10 我不肯巴兰的话,结果他反而一而再祝福你们;这样,我就救了你们脱离他的

11 你们过了约旦河耶利哥耶利哥的居民与你们作战,还有亚摩利人、比利洗人、迦南人、赫人、革迦撒人、希未人、耶布斯人,也跟你们作战;我把他们都交在你们里。

12 我派了黄蜂飞在你们前面,把亚摩利人的两个从你们面前赶走,并不是用你的刀,也不是用你的

13 我赐你们的土地,不是你们劳苦开垦的;我赐你们的城市,不是你们建造的,你们却在城中;你们享用的葡萄园橄榄园,也不是你们栽种的。’

14 劝勉众民事奉耶和华“现在你们要敬畏耶和华,真诚地按着真理事奉他,把你们列祖在大那边和在埃及事奉的除掉,去事奉耶和华

15 如果你们认为事奉耶和华不好,那么今日你们就可以选择你们所要事奉的:是你们列祖在大那边事奉的呢,还是你们现在所亚摩利人之地的呢?至于我和父,我们必事奉耶和华。”

16 众民回答:“我们绝对不会离弃耶和华,去事奉别的

17 因为耶和华我们我们我们的列祖,从埃及地为奴的家领出来,并且在我们眼前行了那些伟迹;又在我们所行的一切上,和我们经过的一切民族中间,他都保护了我们

18 耶和华又把所有的民族和在这地的亚摩利人,都从我们面前赶走;所以我们必事奉耶和华,因为他是我们。”

19 约书亚对众民:“你们不能事奉耶和华,因为他是圣洁的;他是嫉妒的,他必不赦免你们的过犯和恶。

20 如果你们离弃耶和华,去事奉外族人的,那么在耶和华赐福给你们之,他必而降祸与你们,把你们消灭。”

21 众民对约书亚:“不,我们必定事奉耶和华。”

22 约书亚对众民:“你们选择了耶和华,要事奉他,你们为自己作证吧。”他们:“我们愿意作证。”

23 约书亚:“现在你们要除掉在你们中间外族人的,一心归向耶和华以色列的。”

24 众民对约书亚:“我们必事奉耶和华我们的,必从他的话。”

25 约书亚与众民立约那一天,约书亚就与众民立约,在示剑为他们订立律例和典章。

26 亚把这些的律法上;又拿一块石头,立在耶和华圣所旁边的橡树

27 约书亚对全体人民:“看哪,这块石头可以向我们作证,因为它见了耶和华我们的一切;所以这块石头要向你们作证,免得你们否认你们的。”

28 于是约书亚打发众民各自回到自己的地业去了。

29 约书亚逝世这些事以耶和华的仆人、嫩的儿子约书亚死了,那时他是一岁。

30 以色列人把他埋葬在他自己地业的境内,就是在以法莲地上的亭拿.西拉,在迦实边。

31 约书亚在世的日子,和约书亚死后,那些知道耶和华以色列人所行的一切事的长老还在世的日子,以色列人都事奉耶和华

32 附录以色列人埃及带出来的约瑟骸,葬在示剑的一块田里;这块田是雅各从前用一块银子向示剑的父亲哈抹的子孙那里买来的;这块田就成了约瑟子孙的产业。

33 亚伦的儿子以利亚撒也死了;以色列人就把他埋葬在基比亚,就是他儿子非尼哈在以法莲地所得的产业。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 约书亚记 24      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 24: The covenant at Shechem and the death of Joshua.

In the beginning of this final chapter, Joshua recounts God’s work for Israel in great detail, spanning the time before Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, the Israelites’ time as slaves in Egypt, and the exodus through the wilderness for many years, culminating with crossing the Jordan and taking Jericho.

Joshua then told the people of Israel that they were to choose whom they would serve: the gods of their fathers, or the Lord God of Israel. The people strongly affirmed that they would follow the Lord and be faithful to Him. They repeated this several times. Then Joshua told them that they were witnesses of their choice, and he renewed the covenant with them there, at Shechem. To mark the covenant, Joshua took a large stone and set it up as a witness to remind the Israelites of what they had sworn that day.

And after all of this, Joshua died, and was buried within his inheritance at Timnath Serah. Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and continued to serve the Lord for some time after. And also Eleazar, the chief priest of Israel, died.

The bones of Joseph, which had been carried by Israel since they left slavery in Egypt, were then given their final resting place at Shechem in a plot of land originally bought by the family of Joseph.

The spiritual meaning of this chapter is all about commitment and devotion in our relationship with the Lord. Joshua’s review of events at the beginning is a reminder that the Lord leads us through life, with all its trials and blessings (see Swedenborg’s work, Heaven and Hell 18). In the work of regeneration, a high state of peace and of the Lord’s presence in us is followed by a state where we are in temptation and under attack from hell. In contrast, a state of temptation in which we stand firm and depend on the Lord leads to a state of trust, confidence, and the return of the Lord’s peace (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 933[2]).

Our spiritual life involves many repeated choices. This is why it is significant that the Israelites repeated their promise to serve the Lord so many times. We may feel that our decision to follow the Lord is a final one, but the reality is that we uphold (or refute) this decision in our actions each and every day. We will need to choose time and time again, even though we believe we would always choose the Lord (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 321[5]).

A covenant is a formal agreement. Biblical covenants are between people and the Lord. The Lord will always honor his part in the covenant, and we are to ensure that we will honor our part. Spiritually, the covenant is about the empowerment in declaring our commitment to the Lord. ‘This I will do.’ There is no longer any uncertainty or vagueness about our commitment to God. It has been sealed (Arcana Caelestia 1038).

The fact that Joshua commemorates the covenant with a stone also has important spiritual significance for us. A stone represents the strength and durability of truth when it becomes a permanent factor in our life. Committing to follow the Lord’s truths gives us a sturdy foundation in life.

When a story in the Bible mentions death, it always reflects the changing of some state in us. When Joshua and Eleazar the priest die, it is like moving on from a state which has served us well into a new and different state. In our regeneration, the Lord wants us to keep exploring new thoughts and decisions, so that we are always progressing and never complacent (Arcana Caelestia 1382).

The mention of Joseph’s bones at the very end of the chapter is also very significant. These bones of Joseph stand for the continuity of the Lord’s truth, wisdom and providence with us and for us. They also stand for the preservation of all that happens in a person’s life. All of these events make us the people we are, and will always keep shaping our spirit (Arcana Caelestia 6592).

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