12. Else if you 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:
12. Quia si avertendo aversi fueritis, et adhaeseritis residuis gentibus istis, residuis, inquam, istis quae sunt vobiscum: et affinitatem contraxeritis cum eis, et misceatis vos cum eis, et ipsae vobiscum:
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 you perish from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you.
13. Jam nunc scitote quod posthac Jehova Deus vester non expellet omnes gentes istas a facie vestra: sed potius erunt vobis in laqueum, et offendiculum, et flagellum in lateribus vestris, et in spinas in oculis vestris, donec pereatis e terra optima ista quam dedit vobis Jehova Deus vester.
14. And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing has failed thereof.
14. En autem ego ingredior hodie viam universae terrae: cognoscite ergo toto corde vestro, et tota anima vestra quod non cecidit verbum unum ex omnibus verbis optimis quae loquutus est Jehova Deus vester super vos: omnia evenerunt vobis, non cecidit ex eis verbum unum.
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 has given you.
15. Sicut ergo evenit vobis omne verbum bonum quod loquutus est Jehova Deus vester ad vos, sic adducet Jehova super vos omne verbum malum, donec disperdat vos e terra optima ista, quam dedit vobis Jehova Deus vester.
16. When you 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 you shall perish quickly from off the good land which he has given unto you.
16. Quum transgressi fueritis pactum Jehovae Dei vestri quod praecepit vobis, et abieritis, et servieritis diis alienis, incurvaveritisque vos eis, irascetur furor Jehovae contra vos, et peribitis cito e terra optima quam dedit vobis.
12. Else if you do in any wise go back, etc According to the usual method observed in the Law, he adds threatening, in order that if they are not sufficiently allured by the divine goodness, they may be aroused by fear to the performance of their duty. It is, indeed, disgraceful for men, when God graciously condescends to invite them, not at once to run forward and meet the invitation by prompt and alert obedience; but such is the lethargy of the flesh, that it always requires to be stimulated by threats. Joshua, therefore, adopts the usual method of the Law, while he reminds the Israelites of the terrors of the Lord, provided they do not of their own accord embrace his offered favor. Moreover, it is not once only that, he sets before them the denunciation that the nations of Canaan will be scourges to their sides and thorns in their eyes if they become familiar with them. First, inasmuch as God had consecrated the land to himself, he wished it to be purged of all impurities; and secondly, inasmuch as he saw how prone the people were to be corrupted by bad example, he wished also to provide a remedy for this evil. Then, while on the one hand the people counted it as nothing that the land should be contaminated by impious superstitions, and that idols should be worshipped in it instead of the true God, and on the other hand, eagerly contracted contagion from their vices, it was only a just punishment of this gross contempt that they should experience molestation and hostility from those whom they had improperly spared.
That the threatening which both Moses and Joshua thus denounced were openly accomplished, is but too plain from the Book of Judges. And yet this promulgation of the divine vengeance was not altogether useless; for after Joshua was dead, they became courageous enough to engage in war. Their ardor, however, proved evanescent, and they shortly after were initiated in nefarious Gentile rites. Hence, we perceive in the human mind an intemperate longing for perverse worship, a longing which no curbs are able to restrain.
It is now proper to consider how far this doctrine is applicable to us. It is true a special command was given to the ancient people to destroy the nations of Canaan, and keep aloof from all profane defilement's. To us, in the present day, no certain region marks out our precise boundaries; nor are we armed with the sword to slay all the ungodly; we have only to beware of allowing ourselves to become involved in fellowship with wickedness, by not keeping at a sufficient distance from it. For it is almost impossible, if we mingle with it, spontaneously to avoid receiving some spot or blemish. But this point having been elsewhere expounded, I now merely advert to it in passing.
14. And, behold, this day I am going, etc As it has been appointed unto all men once to die, (Hebrews 9:27) Joshua says that in regard to himself the common end of all is at hand, inasmuch as he, too, was born mortal. These expressions are evidently adapted to console the people, and prevent them from feeling immoderate grief at the bereavement when he should be taken from them. For there cannot be a doubt that his loss filled the people with the deepest regret, when they saw themselves reduced, as it were, to a mutilated trunk, by being deprived of their head. He therefore admonishes them, that since the race of life is ended by having reached the goal, they were not to ask that his condition should be different from that of the whole human race. Meanwhile he does not intimate that the form of dying is the same in all, because the believers of heavenly doctrine are distinguished from unbelievers by an incorruptible seed, not allowing them in like manner to perish, but only adverts to that which is common, namely, departure from the world after the course of life is ended. The substance of his whole address amounts to this, that as God had proved himself true by his favors and the fulfillment of his promises, so his threatening would not be empty or vain, and he would certainly avenge the profanation of his worship by their final destruction.