24:12. And I sent before you and I drove them out from their places, the two kings of the Amorrhites, not with thy sword nor with thy bow,
24:13. And I gave you a land, in which you had not laboured, and cities to dwell in which you built not, vineyards and oliveyards, which you planted not.
24:14. Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him with a perfect and most sincere heart: and put away the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
24:15. But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve thee Lord,
24:16. And the people answered, and said, God forbid we should leave the Lord, and serve strange gods.
24:17. The Lord our God he brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: and did very great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way by which we journeyed, and among all the people through whom we passed.
24:18. And he hath cast out all the nations, the Amorrhite the inhabitant of the land into which we are come. Therefore we will serve the Lord, for he is our God.
24:19. And Josue said to the people: You will not be able to serve the Lord: for he is a holy God, and mighty and jealous, and will not forgive your wickedness and sins.
You will not be able to serve the Lord, etc... This was not said by way of discouraging them; but rather to make them more earnest and resolute, by setting before them the greatness of the undertaking, and the courage and constancy necessary to go through with it.
24:20. If you leave the Lord, and serve strange gods, he will turn, and will afflict you, and will destroy you after all the good he hath done you.
24:21. And the people said to Josue: No, it shall not be so as thou sayest, but we will serve the Lord.
24:22. And Josue said to the people, You are witnesses, that you yourselves have chosen you the Lord to serve him. And they answered: We are witnesses.
24:23. Now therefore, said he, put away strange gods from among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord the God of Israel.
24:24. And the people said to Josue: We will serve the Lord our God, and we will be obedient to his commandments.
24:25. Josue therefore on that day made a covenant, and set before the people commandments and judgments in Sichem.
24:26. And he wrote all these things in the volume of the law of the Lord: and he took a great stone, and set it under the oak that was in the sanctuary of the Lord.
24:27. And he said to all the people: Behold this stone shall be a testimony unto you, that it hath heard all the words of the Lord, which he hath spoken to you: lest perhaps hereafter you will deny it, and lie to the Lord your God.
It hath heard... This is a figure of speech, by which sensation is attributed to inanimate things; and they are called upon, as it were, to bear witness in favour of the great Creator, whom they on their part constantly obey.
24:28. And he sent the people away every one to their own possession,
24:29. And after these things Josue the son of Nun the servant of the Lord died, being a hundred and ten years old:
And after, etc... If Josue wrote this book, as is commonly believed, these last verses were added by Samuel, or some other prophet.
24:30. And they buried him in the border of his possession in Thamnathsare, which is situate in mount Ephraim, on the north side of mount Gaas.
24:31. And Israel served the Lord all the days of Josue, and of the ancients that lived a long time after Josue, and that had known all the works of the Lord which he had done in Israel.
24:32. And the bones of Joseph which the children of Israel had taken out of Egypt, they buried in Sichem, in that part of the field which Jacob had bought of the sons of Hemor the father of Sichem, for a hundred young ewes, and it was in the possession of the sons of Joseph.
24:33. Eleazar also the son of Aaron died: and they buried him in Gabaath that belongeth to Phinees his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
THE BOOK OF JUDGES
This Book is called JUDGES, because it contains the history of what passed under the government of the judges, who ruled Israel before they had kings. The writer of it, according to the more general opinion, was the prophet Samuel.
Judges Chapter 1
The expedition and victory of Juda against the Chanaanites: who are tolerated in many places.
1:1. After the death of Josue, the children of Israel consulted the Lord, saying: Who shall go up before us against the Chanaanite, and shall be the leader of the war?
1:2. And the Lord said: Juda shall go up: behold I have delivered the land into his hands.
1:3. And Juda said to Simeon, his brother: Come up with me into my lot, and fight against the Chanaanite, that I also may go along with thee into thy lot. And Simeon went with him.
1:4. And Juda went up, and the Lord delivered the Chanaanite, and the Pherezite into their hands: and they slew of them in Bezec ten thousand men.
1:5. And they found Adonibezec in Bezec, and fought against him, and they defeated the Chanaanite, and the Pherezite.
1:6. And Adonibezec fled: and they pursued after him and took him, and cut off his fingers and toes.
1:7. And Adonibezec said: Seventy kings, having their fingers and toes cut off, gathered up the leavings of the meat under my table: as I have done, so hath God requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
1:8. And the children of Juda besieging Jerusalem, took it, and put it to the sword, and set the whole city on fire.
Jerusalem... This city was divided into two; one part was called Jebus, the other Salem: the one was in the tribe of Juda, the other in the tribe of Benjamin. After it was taken and burnt by the men of Juda, it was quickly rebuilt again by the Jebusites, as we may gather from ver.
21; and continued in their possession till it was taken by king David.
1:9. And afterwards they went down and fought against the Chanaanite, who dwelt in the mountains, and in the south, and in the plains.
1:10. And Juda going forward against the Chanaanite, that dwelt in Hebron, (the name whereof was in former times Cariath-Arbe) slew Sesai, and Ahiman, and Tholmai:
Hebron... This expedition against Hebron, etc. is the same as is related, Jos. 15.24. It is here repeated, to give the reader at once a short sketch of all the achievements of the tribe of Juda against the Chanaanites.
1:11. And departing from thence, he went to the inhabitants of Dabir, the ancient name of which was Cariath-Sepher, that is, the city of letters.
The city of letters... Perhaps so called from some famous school, or library, kept there.
1:12. And Caleb said: He that shall take Cariath-Sepher, and lay it waste, to him will I give my daughter Axa to wife.
1:13. And Othoniel, the son of Cenez, the younger brother of Caleb, having taken it, he gave him Axa his daughter to wife.
1:14. And as she was going on her way, her husband admonished her to ask a field of her father. And as she sighed sitting on her ass, Caleb said to her: What aileth thee?