約書亞記 24

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1 示劍重述的恩惠約書亞在示劍召集以色列各支派,又把以色列的長老、首領、審判長都召了來,他們就站在面前。

2 約書亞對眾民:“耶和華以色列的這樣:‘古時你們的列祖,就是亞伯拉罕和拿鶴的父親他拉,在大那邊;他們事奉別的

3 我把你們的祖先亞伯拉罕,從大那邊帶來,領他走遍迦南地,使他的後裔增多,把以撒他;

4 又把雅各以掃以撒,把西珥以掃作產業;雅各和他的子孫卻埃及去。

5 我差派了摩西亞倫,藉著我在埃及所行的神蹟,用災疫擊打埃及,然把你們領出來。

6 我領你們的列祖離開埃及,他們去到邊;埃及人著戰車和馬兵,追趕你們的列祖直到紅

7 你們的列祖呼求耶和華,他就以黑暗隔開你們和埃及人,又使水復流淹沒了他們;我在埃及所行的事,你們都親眼見過;你們在曠野也許多日子。

8 我領你們到了約旦河東的亞摩利人的地,他們和你們爭戰,我把他們交在你們裡,你們就得了他們的地作產業;我也在你們面前把他們消滅。

9 那時摩押西撥的兒子巴勒起來攻擊以色列人;他派人把比珥的兒子巴蘭召了來,咒詛你們。

10 我不肯巴蘭的話,結果他反而一而再祝福你們;這樣,我就救了你們脫離他的

11 你們過了約旦河耶利哥耶利哥的居民與你們作戰,還有亞摩利人、比利洗人、迦南人、赫人、革迦撒人、希未人、耶布斯人,也跟你們作戰;我把他們都交在你們裡。

12 我派了黃蜂飛在你們前面,把亞摩利人的兩個從你們面前趕走,並不是用你的刀,也不是用你的

13 我賜你們的土地,不是你們勞苦開墾的;我賜你們的城市,不是你們建造的,你們卻在城中;你們享用的葡萄園橄欖園,也不是你們栽種的。’

14 勸勉眾民事奉耶和華“現在你們要敬畏耶和華,真誠地按著真理事奉他,把你們列祖在大那邊和在埃及事奉的除掉,去事奉耶和華

15 如果你們認為事奉耶和華不好,那麼今日你們就可以選擇你們所要事奉的:是你們列祖在大那邊事奉的呢,還是你們現在所亞摩利人之地的呢?至於我和父,我們必事奉耶和華。”

16 眾民回答:“我們絕對不會離棄耶和華,去事奉別的

17 因為耶和華我們我們我們的列祖,從埃及地為奴的家領出來,並且在我們眼前行了那些偉蹟;又在我們所行的一切上,和我們經過的一切民族中間,他都保護了我們

18 耶和華又把所有的民族和在這地的亞摩利人,都從我們面前趕走;所以我們必事奉耶和華,因為他是我們。”

19 約書亞對眾民:“你們不能事奉耶和華,因為他是聖潔的;他是嫉妒的,他必不赦免你們的過犯和惡。

20 如果你們離棄耶和華,去事奉外族人的,那麼在耶和華賜福給你們之,他必而降禍與你們,把你們消滅。”

21 眾民對約書亞:“不,我們必定事奉耶和華。”

22 約書亞對眾民:“你們選擇了耶和華,要事奉他,你們為自己作證吧。”他們:“我們願意作證。”

23 約書亞:“現在你們要除掉在你們中間外族人的,一心歸向耶和華以色列的。”

24 眾民對約書亞:“我們必事奉耶和華我們的,必從他的話。”

25 約書亞與眾民立約那一天,約書亞就與眾民立約,在示劍為他們訂立律例和典章。

26 亞把這些的律法上;又拿一塊石頭,立在耶和華聖所旁邊的橡樹

27 約書亞對全體人民:“看哪,這塊石頭可以向我們作證,因為它見了耶和華我們的一切;所以這塊石頭要向你們作證,免得你們否認你們的。”

28 於是約書亞打發眾民各自回到自己的地業去了。

29 約書亞逝世這些事以耶和華的僕人、嫩的兒子約書亞死了,那時他是一歲。

30 以色列人把他埋葬在他自己地業的境內,就是在以法蓮地上的亭拿.西拉,在迦實邊。

31 約書亞在世的日子,和約書亞死後,那些知道耶和華以色列人所行的一切事的長老還在世的日子,以色列人都事奉耶和華

32 附錄以色列人埃及帶出來的約瑟骸,葬在示劍的一塊田裡;這塊田是雅各從前用一塊銀子向示劍的父親哈抹的子孫那裡買來的;這塊田就成了約瑟子孫的產業。

33 亞倫的兒子以利亞撒也死了;以色列人就把他埋葬在基比亞,就是他兒子非尼哈在以法蓮地所得的產業。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 約書亞記 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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