Joshue 24

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1 Congregavitque Josue omnes tribus Israël in Sichem, et vocavit majores natu, ac principes, et judices, et magistros : steteruntque in conspectu Domini :

2 et ad populum sic locutus est : Hæc dicit Dominus Deus Israël : Trans fluvium habitaverunt patres vestri ab initio, Thare pater Abraham et Nachor : servieruntque diis alienis.

3 Tuli ergo patrem vestrum Abraham de Mesopotamiæ finibus, et adduxi eum in terram Chanaan, multiplicavique semen ejus,

4 et dedi ei Isaac : illique rursum dedi Jacob et Esau. E quibus, Esau dedi montem Seir ad possidendum : Jacob vero et filii ejus descenderunt in Ægyptum.

5 Misique Moysen et Aaron, et percussi Ægyptum multis signis atque portentis.

6 Eduxique vos et patres vestros de Ægypto, et venistis ad mare : persecutique sunt Ægyptii patres vestros cum curribus et equitatu, usque ad mare Rubrum.

7 Clamaverunt autem ad Dominum filii Israël : qui posuit tenebras inter vos et Ægyptios, et adduxit super eos mare, et operuit eos. Viderunt oculi vestri cuncta quæ in Ægypto fecerim, et habitastis in solitudine multo tempore :

8 et introduxi vos in terram Amorrhæi, qui habitabat trans Jordanem. Cumque pugnarent contra vos, tradidi eos in manus vestras, et possedistis terram eorum, atque interfecistis eos.

9 Surrexit autem Balac filius Sephor rex Moab, et pugnavit contra Israëlem. Misitque et vocavit Balaam filium Beor, ut malediceret vobis :

10 et ego nolui audire eum, sed e contrario per illum benedixi vobis, et liberavi vos de manu ejus.

11 Transistisque Jordanem, et venistis ad Jericho. Pugnaveruntque contra vos viri civitatis ejus, Amorrhæus et Pherezæus, et Chananæus, et Hethæus, et Gergezæus, et Hevæus, et Jebusæus : et tradidi illos in manus vestras.

12 Misique ante vos crabrones : et ejeci eos de locis suis, duos reges Amorrhæorum, non in gladio nec in arcu tuo.

13 Dedique vobis terram, in qua non laborastis, et urbes quas non ædificastis, ut habitaretis in eis : vineas, et oliveta, quæ non plantastis.

14 Nunc ergo timete Dominum, et servite ei perfecto corde atque verissimo : et auferte deos quibus servierunt patres vestri in Mesopotamia et in Ægypto, ac servite Domino.

15 Sin autem malum vobis videtur ut Domino serviatis, optio vobis datur : eligite hodie quod placet, cui servire potissimum debeatis : utrum diis, quibus servierunt patres vestri in Mesopotamia, an diis Amorrhæorum, in quorum terra habitatis : ego autem et domus mea serviemus Domino.

16 Responditque populus, et ait : Absit a nobis ut relinquamus Dominum, et serviamus diis alienis.

17 Dominus Deus noster ipse eduxit nos, et patres nostros, de terra Ægypti, de domo servitutis : fecitque videntibus nobis signa ingentia, et custodivit nos in omni via, per quam ambulavimus, et in cunctis populis, per quos transivimus.

18 Et ejecit universas gentes, Amorrhæum habitatorem terræ, quam nos intravimus. Serviemus igitur Domino, quia ipse est Deus noster.

19 Dixitque Josue ad populum : Non poteritis servire Domino : Deus enim sanctus et fortis æmulator est, nec ignoscet sceleribus vestris atque peccatis.

20 Si dimiseritis Dominum, et servieritis diis alienis, convertet se, et affliget vos, atque subvertet postquam vobis præstiterit bona.

21 Dixitque populus ad Josue : Nequaquam ita ut loqueris erit, sed Domino serviemus.

22 Et Josue ad populum : Testes, inquit, vos estis, quia ipsi elegeritis vobis Dominum ut serviatis ei. Responderuntque : Testes.

23 Nunc ergo, ait, auferte deos alienos de medio vestri, et inclinate corda vestra ad Dominum Deum Israël.

24 Dixitque populus ad Josue : Domino Deo nostro serviemus, et obedientes erimus præceptis ejus.

25 Percussit ergo Josue in die illo fœdus, et proposuit populo præcepta atque judicia in Sichem.

26 Scripsit quoque omnia verba hæc in volumine legis Domini : et tulit lapidem pergrandem, posuitque eum subter quercum, quæ erat in sanctuario Domini :

27 et dixit ad omnem populum : En lapis iste erit vobis in testimonium, quod audierit omnia verba Domini, quæ locutus est vobis : ne forte postea negare velitis, et mentiri Domino Deo vestro.

28 Dimisitque populum, singulos in possessionem suam.

29 Et post hæc mortuus est Josue filius Nun servus Domini, centum et decem annorum :

30 sepelieruntque eum in finibus possessionis suæ in Thamnathsare, quæ est sita in monte Ephraim, a septentrionali parte montis Gaas.

31 Servivitque Israël Domino cunctis diebus Josue et seniorum, qui longo vixerunt tempore post Josue, et qui noverunt omnia opera Domini quæ fecerat in Israël.

32 Ossa quoque Joseph, quæ tulerant filii Israël de Ægypto, sepelierunt in Sichem, in parte agri quem emerat Jacob a filiis Hemor patris Sichem, centum novellis ovibus, et fuit in possessionem filiorum Joseph.

33 Eleazar quoque filius Aaron mortuus est : et sepelierunt eum in Gabaath Phinees filii ejus, quæ data est ei in monte Ephraim.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Joshue 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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