約書亞記 24

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1 約書亞將以色列的眾支派聚集示劍,召了以色列的長老、族長、審判,並長來,他們就站在面前。

2 約書亞對眾民耶和華以色列的如此:古時你們的列祖,就是亞伯拉罕和拿鶴的父親他拉,在大那邊事奉別

3 我將你們的祖宗亞伯拉罕從大那邊帶來,領他走遍迦南全地,又使他的子孫眾多,把以撒他;

4 又把雅各以掃以撒,將西珥以掃為業;後來雅各和他的子孫埃及去了。

5 我差遣摩西亞倫,並照我在埃及中所行的降災與埃及,然把你們領出來。

6 我領你們列祖出埃及,他們就到了紅埃及人領車輛馬兵追趕你們列祖到紅

7 你們列祖哀求耶和華,他就使你們和埃及人中間黑暗了,又使水淹沒埃及人。我在埃及所行的事,你們親眼見過。你們在曠野也許多年日。

8 我領你們到約但河東亞摩利人所之地。他們與你們爭戰,我將他們交在你們中,你們便得了他們的地為業;我也在你們面前將他們滅絕。

9 那時,摩押西撥的兒子巴勒起來攻擊以色列人,打發人召了比珥的兒子巴蘭來咒詛你們。

10 我不肯巴蘭的話,所以他倒為你們連連祝福。這樣,我便救你們脫離巴勒的

11 你們過了約但河,到了耶利哥耶利哥人、亞摩利人、比利洗人、迦南人、赫人、革迦撒人、希未人、耶布斯人都與你們爭戰;我把他們交在你們裡。

12 我打發黃蜂飛在你們前面,將亞摩利人的從你們面前攆出,並不是用你的刀,也不是用你的

13 我賜你們地土,非你們所修治的;我賜你們城邑,非你們所建造的。你們就在其中,又得非你們所栽種的葡萄園橄欖園的果子。

14 現在你們要敬畏耶和華,誠心實意的事奉他,將你們列祖在大那邊和在埃及所事奉的除掉,去事奉耶和華

15 若是你們以事奉耶和華為不好,今日就可以選擇所要事奉的:是你們列祖在大那邊所事奉的呢?是你們所這地的亞摩利人的呢?至於我和我,我們必定事奉耶和華

16 百姓回答我們斷不敢離棄耶和華去事奉別

17 耶和華我們曾將我們我們列祖從埃及地的為奴之家領出來,在我們眼前行了那些蹟,在我們所行的道上,所經過的諸國,都保護了我們

18 耶和華又把此地的亞摩利人都從我們面前趕出去。所以,我們必事奉耶和華,因為他是我們

19 約書亞對百姓:你們不能事奉耶和華;因為他是聖潔的,是忌邪的,必不赦免你們的過犯罪惡。

20 你們若離棄耶和華去事奉外邦耶和華在降福之,必而降禍與你們,把你們滅絕。

21 百姓回答約書亞:不然,我們定要事奉耶和華

22 約書亞對百姓:你們選定耶和華,要事奉他,你們自己作見證罷!他們:我們願意作見證。

23 約書亞:你們現在要除掉你們中間的外邦,專心歸向耶和華以色列的

24 百姓回答約書亞:我們必事奉耶和華─我們的從他的話。

25 當日,約書亞就與百姓立約,在示劍為他們立定律例典章。

26 亞將這些的律法上,又將一塊石頭立在橡樹耶和華的聖所旁邊。

27 約書亞對百姓:看哪,這石頭可以向我們作見證;因為是見了耶和華所吩咐我們的一切,倘或你們背棄你們的,這石頭就可以向你們作見證(倘或云云:或作所以要向你們作見證,免得你們背棄耶和華─你們的)。

28 於是約書亞打發百姓各歸自己的地業去了。

29 這些事以耶和華的僕人嫩的兒子約書亞,正一歲,就死了

30 以色列人將他葬在他地業的境內,就是在以法蓮地的亭拿西拉,在迦實邊。

31 約書亞在世和約書亞死後,那些知道耶和華以色列人所行諸事的長老還在的時候,以色列人事奉耶和華

32 以色列人埃及所帶來約瑟的骸,葬埋在示劍,就是在雅各從前用一塊銀子向示劍的父親、哈抹的子孫所買的那塊地裡;這就作了約瑟子孫的產業。

33 亞倫的兒子以利亞撒也死了,就把他葬在他兒子非尼哈所得、以法蓮地的小上。

  

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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