约书亚记 24

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1 约书亚将以色列的众支派聚集示剑,召了以色列的长老、族长、审判,并长来,他们就站在面前。

2 约书亚对众民耶和华以色列的如此:古时你们的列祖,就是亚伯拉罕和拿鹤的父亲他拉,在大那边事奉别

3 我将你们的祖宗亚伯拉罕从大那边带来,领他走遍迦南全地,又使他的子孙众多,把以撒他;

4 又把雅各以扫以撒,将西珥以扫为业;後来雅各和他的子孙埃及去了。

5 我差遣摩西亚伦,并照我在埃及中所行的降灾与埃及,然把你们领出来。

6 我领你们列祖出埃及,他们就到了红埃及人领车辆马兵追赶你们列祖到红

7 你们列祖哀求耶和华,他就使你们和埃及人中间黑暗了,又使水淹没埃及人。我在埃及所行的事,你们亲眼见过。你们在旷野也许多年日。

8 我领你们到约但河东亚摩利人所之地。他们与你们争战,我将他们交在你们中,你们便得了他们的地为业;我也在你们面前将他们灭绝。

9 那时,摩押西拨的儿子巴勒起来攻击以色列人,打发人召了比珥的儿子巴兰来咒诅你们。

10 我不肯巴兰的话,所以他倒为你们连连祝福。这样,我便救你们脱离巴勒的

11 你们过了约但河,到了耶利哥耶利哥人、亚摩利人、比利洗人、迦南人、赫人、革迦撒人、希未人、耶布斯人都与你们争战;我把他们交在你们里。

12 我打发黄蜂飞在你们前面,将亚摩利人的从你们面前撵出,并不是用你的刀,也不是用你的

13 我赐你们地土,非你们所修治的;我赐你们城邑,非你们所建造的。你们就在其中,又得非你们所栽种的葡萄园橄榄园的果子。

14 现在你们要敬畏耶和华,诚心实意的事奉他,将你们列祖在大那边和在埃及所事奉的除掉,去事奉耶和华

15 若是你们以事奉耶和华为不好,今日就可以选择所要事奉的:是你们列祖在大那边所事奉的呢?是你们所这地的亚摩利人的呢?至於我和我,我们必定事奉耶和华

16 百姓回答我们断不敢离弃耶和华去事奉别

17 耶和华我们曾将我们我们列祖从埃及地的为奴之家领出来,在我们眼前行了那些迹,在我们所行的道上,所经过的诸国,都保护了我们

18 耶和华又把此地的亚摩利人都从我们面前赶出去。所以,我们必事奉耶和华,因为他是我们

19 约书亚对百姓:你们不能事奉耶和华;因为他是圣洁的,是忌邪的,必不赦免你们的过犯罪恶。

20 你们若离弃耶和华去事奉外邦耶和华在降福之,必而降祸与你们,把你们灭绝。

21 百姓回答约书亚:不然,我们定要事奉耶和华

22 约书亚对百姓:你们选定耶和华,要事奉他,你们自己作见证罢!他们:我们愿意作见证。

23 约书亚:你们现在要除掉你们中间的外邦,专心归向耶和华以色列的

24 百姓回答约书亚:我们必事奉耶和华─我们的从他的话。

25 当日,约书亚就与百姓立约,在示剑为他们立定律例典章。

26 亚将这些的律法上,又将一块石头立在橡树耶和华的圣所旁边。

27 约书亚对百姓:看哪,这石头可以向我们作见证;因为是见了耶和华所吩咐我们的一切,倘或你们背弃你们的,这石头就可以向你们作见证(倘或云云:或作所以要向你们作见证,免得你们背弃耶和华─你们的)。

28 於是约书亚打发百姓各归自己的地业去了。

29 这些事以耶和华的仆人嫩的儿子约书亚,正一岁,就死了

30 以色列人将他葬在他地业的境内,就是在以法莲地的亭拿西拉,在迦实边。

31 约书亚在世和约书亚死後,那些知道耶和华以色列人所行诸事的长老还在的时候,以色列人事奉耶和华

32 以色列人埃及所带来约瑟的骸,葬埋在示剑,就是在雅各从前用一块银子向示剑的父亲、哈抹的子孙所买的那块地里;这就作了约瑟子孙的产业。

33 亚伦的儿子以利亚撒也死了,就把他葬在他儿子非尼哈所得、以法莲地的小上。

  

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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