The Book of Joshua, chapter 23. Joshua Gives a Departure Message Before his Death.
[Joshua 23:1] AND IT CAME TO PASS A LONG TIME AFTER THAT THE LORD HAD GIVEN REST UNTO ISRAEL FROM ALL THEIR ENEMIES ROUND ABOUT, THAT JOSHUA WAXED OLD AND STRICKEN IN AGE.
Chapters 23 and 24 speak of the Last words of Joshua to the people. It is uncertain if one final assembly is being described or two separate ones.
[Joshua 23:2] AND JOSHUA CALLED FOR ALL ISRAEL, AND FOR THEIR ELDERS, AND FOR THEIR HEADS, AND FOR THEIR JUDGES, AND FOR THEIR OFFICERS, AND SAID UNTO THEM, I AM OLD AND STRICKEN IN AGE:
<<ELDERS>>: There were seventy elders who formed the first Sanhedrinor Grand Council. They had authority to decide how the Law should be applied on a practical level. This authority was passed onto their successors and has continued to the present day through consensus of the sages in religious legal matters.
<<AND THE LORD SAID UNTO MOSES, GATHER UNTO ME SEVENTY MEN OF THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL, WHOM THOU KNOWEST TO BE THE ELDERS OF THE PEOPLE, AND OFFICERS OVER THEM; AND BRING THEM UNTO THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION, THAT THEY MAY STAND THERE WITH THEE.AND I WILL COME DOWN AND TALK WITH THEE THERE: AND I WILL TAKE OF THE SPIRIT WHICH IS UPON THEE, AND WILL PUT IT UPON THEM; AND THEY SHALL BEAR THE BURDEN OF THE PEOPLE WITH THEE, THAT THOU BEAR IT NOT THYSELF ALONE>> [Numbers 11:16-17] .
<< THEIR HEADS>>: The 12 Princes of the Tribes. Each Tribe had its own chief prince.
<<THEIR JUDGES>>: Local judges who sat in the gateway and resolved conflicts. These days such an institution is lacking since most have neither the means nor the energy to go to court when perhaps we should or when the public welfare would be served by us doing so.
<<THEIR OFFICERS>>: In Hebrew shotrov meaning in Modern Hebrew, their policmen but according to Yehudah Kiel (Daat Mikra Commentary) in Biblical Hebrew meaning public official.
[Joshua 23:3] AND YE HAVE SEEN ALL THAT THE LORD YOUR GOD HATH DONE UNTO ALL THESE NATIONS BECAUSE OF YOU; FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS HE THAT HATH FOUGHT FOR YOU.
The people had seen miracles and even things that had occurred to them in a natural manner were recognized by them as due to the intervention of the Almighty. God fought for them.I have just finished reading a book concerning the evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk in WW2 and there was something miraculous about the combination of coincidencesthat enable the British Army to be saved and thus maintain the struggle against the enemy.
[Joshua 23:4] BEHOLD, I HAVE DIVIDED UNTO YOU BY LOT THESE NATIONS THAT REMAIN, TO BE AN INHERITANCE FOR YOUR TRIBES, FROM JORDAN, WITH ALL THE NATIONS THAT I HAVE CUT OFF, EVEN UNTO THE GREAT SEA WESTWARD.
<<THE GREAT SEA WESTWARD>>: This is the Mediterranean in this case.
[Joshua 23:5] AND THE LORD YOUR GOD, HE SHALL EXPEL THEM FROM BEFORE YOU, AND DRIVE THEM FROM OUT OF YOUR SIGHT; AND YE SHALL POSSESS THEIR LAND, AS THE LORD YOUR GOD HATH PROMISED UNTO YOU.[Joshua 23:6] BE YE THEREFORE VERY COURAGEOUS TO KEEP AND TO DO ALL THAT IS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF MOSES, THAT YE TURN NOT ASIDE THEREFROM TO THE RIGHT HAND OR TO THE LEFT;
They needed courage not only to expel the foreigners but also to keep the Law.
[Joshua 23:7] THAT YE COME NOT AMONG THESE NATIONS, THESE THAT REMAIN AMONG YOU; NEITHER MAKE MENTION OF THE NAME OF THEIR GODS, NOR CAUSE TO SWEAR BY THEM, NEITHER SERVE THEM, NOR BOW YOURSELVES UNTO THEM:
They were forbidden to intermarry with other peoples nor serve their gods nor render them any recognition.
[Joshua 23:8] BUT CLEAVE UNTO THE LORD YOUR GOD, AS YE HAVE DONE UNTO THIS DAY.
We all should try to cleave to the Almighty as much as we can.
[Joshua 23:9] FOR THE LORD HATH DRIVEN OUT FROM BEFORE YOU GREAT NATIONS AND STRONG: BUT AS FOR YOU, NO MAN HATH BEEN ABLE TO STAND BEFORE YOU UNTO THIS DAY.
[Joshua 23:10] ONE MAN OF YOU SHALL CHASE A THOUSAND: FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD, HE IT IS THAT FIGHTETH FOR YOU, AS HE HATH PROMISED YOU.
Things like this sometimes happened. Even in the Battle of Britain there were cases where British or American or Czech pilots (flying for the RAF) attacked hundreds of German planes and sometimes drove them off and won a strategic victory even though the Germans were just as well trained, had almost as good planes, and could be just as good or better fighters on occasion.
[Joshua 23:11] TAKE GOOD HEED THEREFORE UNTO YOURSELVES, THAT YE LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD.
This is for our own good. We are not doing anybody any favors. God requires that we love Him so that he may be with us and this is to our benefit and the good of those we hold dear. We should not forget this though all of us may do so in moments of weakness.
[Joshua 23:12] ELSE IF YE DO IN ANY WISE GO BACK, AND CLEAVE UNTO THE REMNANT OF THESE NATIONS, EVEN THESE THAT REMAIN AMONG YOU, AND SHALL MAKE MARRIAGES WITH THEM, AND GO IN UNTO THEM, AND THEY TO YOU:
[Joshua 23:13] KNOW FOR A CERTAINTY THAT THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL NO MORE DRIVE OUT ANY OF THESE NATIONS FROM BEFORE YOU; BUT THEY SHALL BE SNARES AND TRAPS UNTO YOU, AND SCOURGES IN YOUR SIDES, AND THORNS IN YOUR EYES, UNTIL YE PERISH FROM OFF THIS GOOD LAND WHICH THE LORD YOUR GOD HATH GIVEN YOU.
These are good points. We are forbidden to marry other peoples in principle unless those peoples make themselves part of us. The reason given for this prohibition is so that we not learn foreign ways. This is not racial.
[Joshua 23:14] AND, BEHOLD, THIS DAY I AM GOING THE WAY OF ALL THE EARTH: AND YE KNOW IN ALL YOUR HEARTS AND IN ALL YOUR SOULS, THAT NOT ONE THING HATH FAILED OF ALL THE GOOD THINGS WHICH THE LORD YOUR GOD SPAKE CONCERNING YOU; ALL ARE COME TO PASS UNTO YOU, AND NOT ONE THING HATH FAILED THEREOF.
All good things promised by the Almighty must come to pass. Bad things can be averted or mitigated by good deeds and repentance.
[Joshua 23:15] THEREFORE IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT AS ALL GOOD THINGS ARE COME UPON YOU, WHICH THE LORD YOUR GOD PROMISED YOU; SO SHALL THE LORD BRING UPON YOU ALL EVIL THINGS, UNTIL HE HAVE DESTROYED YOU FROM OFF THIS GOOD LAND WHICH THE LORD YOUR GOD HATH GIVEN YOU.
<<THIS GOOD LAND>>: The land of Israel really is good. I would encourage all those of you who can visit the Land of Israel to do as frequently as possible.
[Joshua 23:16] WHEN YE HAVE TRANSGRESSED THE COVENANT OF THE LORD YOUR GOD, WHICH HE COMMANDED YOU, AND HAVE GONE AND SERVED OTHER GODS, AND BOWED YOURSELVES TO THEM; THEN SHALL THE ANGER OF THE LORD BE KINDLED AGAINST YOU, AND YE SHALL PERISH QUICKLY FROM OFF THE GOOD LAND WHICH HE HATH GIVEN UNTO YOU.
Keep away from paganism and false gods and anything connected with them.