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26

Verse 26

26.And Joshua wrote these words, etc Understand that authentic volume which was kept near the ark of the covenant, as if it contained public records deposited for perpetual remembrance. And there is no doubt that when the Law was read, the promulgation of this covenant was also added. But as it often happens, that that which is written remains concealed in unopened books, (208) another aid is given to the memory, one which should always be exposed to the eye, namely, the stone under the ark, near the sanctuary. Not that the perpetual station of the ark was there, but because it had been placed there, in order that they might appear in the presence of God. Therefore, as often as they came into his presence, the testimony or memorial of the covenant which had been struck was in their view, that they might be the better kept in the faith.

Joshua’s expression, that the stone heard the words, is indeed hyperbolical, but is not inapt to express the efficacy and power of the divine word, as if it had been said that it pierces inanimate rocks and stones; so that if men are deaf, their condemnation is echoed in all the elements. To lie is here used, as it frequently is elsewhere, for acting cunningly and deceitfully, for frustrating and violating a promise that has been given. Who would not suppose that a covenant so well established would be firm and sacred to posterity for many ages? But all that Joshua gained by his very great anxiety was to secure its rigorous observance for a few years.

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