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The people are optimistic about worshiping the Lord

Joshua 24

16So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. 18And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”

But Joshua was pessimistic.

19But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.”

21And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord!”

Why does Joshua put down tthe enthusiasm of the people?

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  • Is he pessimistic or just realistic? He lived through many of Israel's unfaithful episodes, and his prediction proved very true in the years that followed.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 13:36

2 Answers 2

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Joshua was privy to the same information that Moses had been given about the children of Israel before he died. Joshua, therefore, knew the truth, and that despite the people's vows to follow and to serve Jehovah, they would soon devolve to worshiping idols.

Here is what God revealed to Moses.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. (Deuteronomy 31:16, KJV)

Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? (Deuteronomy 31:17, KJV)

And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. (Deuteronomy 31:18, KJV)

Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. (Deuteronomy 31:19, KJV)

For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. (Deuteronomy 31:20, KJV)

And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware. (Deuteronomy 31:21, KJV)

Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. (Deuteronomy 31:22, KJV)

And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee. (Deuteronomy 31:23, KJV)

Therefore, Joshua knew what the people would do: He had it on good authority.

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Why is Joshua so pessimistic before he dies?

As curiousdannii suggested in his comment, Joshua was being realistic.

Moses feeling was similar before he died, Deuteronomy 31:

14 The Lord said to Moses, “Now the day of your death is near. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, where I will commission him.”

Joshua was personally with Moses before he died. Joshua felt what Moses felt.

The Lord commanded Moses:

19 “Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them.

It was a song against the Israelites. That's among Moses' last words to the Israelites. Moses knew the bad news.

29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.”

30 And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel

Deuteronomy 32:

16They made him jealous with their foreign gods
and angered him with their detestable idols

They would commit apostasy.

23 “I will heap calamities on them
and spend my arrows against them.
24I will send wasting famine against them,
consuming pestilence and deadly plague;
I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts,
the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
25In the street the sword will make them childless;
in their homes terror will reign.
The young men and young women will perish,
the infants and those with gray hair.

Why does Joshua put down the enthusiasm of the people?

The people were focusing on the present good time. Joshua saw their evil future.

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