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Joshua 1-14Common English Bible (CEB)

Orders from the Lord

After Moses the Lord’s servant died, the Lord spoke to Joshua, Nun’s son. He had been Moses’ helper. “My servant Moses is dead. Now get ready to cross over the Jordan with this entire people to the land that I am going to give to the Israelites. I am giving you every place where you set foot, exactly as I promised Moses. Your territory will stretch from the desert and the Lebanon as far as the great Euphrates River, including all Hittite land, up to the Mediterranean Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you during your lifetime. I will be with you in the same way I was with Moses. I won’t desert you or leave you. Be brave and strong, because you are the one who will help this people take possession of the land, which I pledged to give to their ancestors.

“Be very brave and strong as you carefully obey all of the Instruction that Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t deviate even a bit from it, either to the right or left. Then you will have success wherever you go. Never stop speaking about this Instruction scroll. Recite it day and night so you can carefully obey everything written in it. Then you will accomplish your objectives and you will succeed. I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua gives orders

10 Then Joshua gave orders to the people’s officers: 11 “Go through the camp and give orders to the people. Say, ‘Get supplies ready for yourselves because in three days you will be crossing over the Jordan to enter the land and take it over. The Lord your God is going to give it to you as your possession.’”

12 Then Joshua addressed the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh: 13 “Remember the command that Moses the Lord’s servant gave you: ‘The Lord your God will give you rest and give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, children, and cattle may remain in the land that Moses has given you on the east side of the Jordan. But all you brave fighters, organized for war, must cross over in front of your fellow Israelites. You must help them 15 until the Lord gives a rest like yours to your fellow Israelites and they too take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you may return and take over the land that belongs to you, which Moses the Lord’s servant has given you on the east side of the Jordan.”

16 They answered Joshua, “We will obey everything you have commanded us and go anywhere you send us. 17 We will obey you in the same way that we obeyed Moses. Just let the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses! 18 Anybody who stubbornly opposes what you declare and doesn’t obey any of your commands will be put to death. Be brave and strong!”

Joshua sends spies

Joshua, Nun’s son, secretly sent two men as spies from Shittim. He said, “Go. Look over the land, especially Jericho.” They set out and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab. They bedded down there.

Someone told the king of Jericho, “Men from the Israelites have come here tonight to spy on the land.”

So the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab: “Send out the men who came to you, the ones who came to your house, because they have come to spy on the entire land.”

Rahab takes action

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. Then she said, “Of course the men came to me. But I didn’t know where they were from. The men left when it was time to close the gate at dark, but I don’t know where the men went. Hurry! Chase after them! You might catch up with them.” But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the flax stalks that she had laid out on the roof. The men from Jericho[a] chased after them in the direction of the Jordan up to the fords. As soon as those chasing them went out, the gate was shut behind them.

Rahab sets terms

Before the spies bedded down, Rahab went up to them on the roof. She said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land. Terror over you has overwhelmed us. The entire population of the land has melted down in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Reed Sea[b] in front of you when you left Egypt. We have also heard what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites on the other side of the Jordan. You utterly wiped them out. 11 We heard this and our hearts turned to water. Because of you, people can no longer work up their courage. This is because the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. 12 Now, I have been loyal to you. So pledge to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal loyally with my family. Give me a sign of good faith. 13 Spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, and sisters, along with everything they own. Rescue us from death.”

14 The men said to her, “We swear by our own lives to secure yours. If you don’t reveal our mission, we will deal loyally and faithfully with you when the Lord gives us the land.”

The spies escape

15 So she lowered the spies on a rope through the window. Her house was on the outer side of the city wall, and she lived inside the wall. 16 Then she said to them, “Go toward the highlands so that those chasing you don’t run into you. Hide there for three days until those chasing you return. Then you may go on your way.”

17 The men said to her, “We won’t be responsible for this pledge you made us swear 18 unless, when we come into the land, you tie this red woven cord in the window through which you lowered us. Gather your father, your mother, your brothers, and your whole family into the house with you. 19 Those who go outside the doors of your house into the street will have only themselves to blame for their own deaths. We won’t be responsible. If anyone lays a hand on those who are with you in the house, we will take the blame for their death. 20 But if you reveal our mission, we won’t be responsible for this pledge you made us swear.”

21 She said, “These things will happen just like you said.” She sent them away and they went off. Then she tied the red cord in the window.

Mission accomplished

22 The spies went out and entered the highlands. They stayed there for three days until those chasing them came back. Those chasing them had searched all along the road but never found them. 23 Then the two men came back down from the highlands. They crossed the Jordan and came to Joshua, Nun’s son. They told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has definitely given the entire land into our power. In addition, all of the land’s population has melted down in fear because of us.”

Directions for crossing the Jordan

Joshua took down the camp early in the morning. He and all the Israelites marched out of Shittim and came to the Jordan, where they stayed overnight before crossing. At the end of three days the officers went through the middle of the camp. They commanded the people, “As soon as you see the Lord your God’s chest containing the covenant and the levitical priests carrying it, you are to march out from your places and follow it. But let there be some distance between you and it, about three thousand feet. Don’t come near it! You will know the way you should go, even though you’ve never traveled this way before.”

Joshua said to the people, “Make yourselves holy! Tomorrow the Lord will do wonderful things among you.” Then Joshua said to the priests, “Lift up the covenant chest. Go along in front of the people.” So they lifted up the covenant chest and went in front of the people.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you great in the opinion of all Israel. Then they will know that I will be with you in the same way that I was with Moses. You are to command the priests who carry the covenant chest, ‘As soon as you come to the bank of the Jordan, stand still in the Jordan.’”

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come close. Listen to the words of the Lord your God.” 10 Then Joshua said, “This is how you will know that the living God is among you and will completely remove the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites before you. 11 Look! The covenant chest of the ruler of the entire earth is going to cross over in front of you in the Jordan. 12 Now pick twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one per tribe. 13 The soles of the priests’ feet, who are carrying the chest of the Lord, ruler of the whole earth, will come to rest in the water of the Jordan. At that moment, the water of the Jordan will be cut off. The water flowing downstream will stand still in a single heap.”

Marching across the Jordan

14 The people marched out from their tents to cross over the Jordan. The priests carrying the covenant chest were in front of the people. 15 When the priests who were carrying the chest came to the Jordan, their feet touched the edge of the water. The Jordan had overflowed its banks completely, the way it does during the entire harvest season. 16 But at that moment the water of the Jordan coming downstream stood still. It rose up as a single heap very far off, just below Adam, which is the city next to Zarethan. The water going down to the desert sea (that is, the Dead Sea) was cut off completely. The people crossed opposite Jericho. 17 So the priests carrying the Lord’s covenant chest stood firmly on dry land in the middle of the Jordan. Meanwhile, all Israel crossed over on dry land, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

Twelve stones at Gilgal

When the entire nation had finished crossing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Pick twelve men from the people, one man per tribe. Command them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from right here in the middle of the Jordan, where the feet of the priests had been firmly planted. Bring them across with you and put them down in the camp where you are staying tonight.’”

Joshua called for the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one man per tribe. Joshua said to them, “Cross over into the middle of the Jordan, up to the Lord your God’s chest. Each of you, lift up a stone on his shoulder to match the number of the tribes of the Israelites. This will be a symbol among you. In the future your children may ask, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you will tell them that the water of the Jordan was cut off before the Lord’s covenant chest. When it crossed over the Jordan, the water of the Jordan was cut off. These stones will be an enduring memorial for the Israelites.”

The Israelites did exactly what Joshua ordered. They lifted twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, matching the number of the tribes of the Israelites, exactly as the Lord had said to Joshua. They brought them over to the camp and put them down there. Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan where the feet of the priests had stood while carrying the covenant chest. They are still there today.

Crossing completed

10 Meanwhile, the priests carrying the chest were standing in the middle of the Jordan. They stood there until every command that the Lord had ordered Joshua to tell the people had been carried out. This was exactly what Moses had commanded Joshua. The people crossed over quickly. 11 As soon as all the people had finished crossing, the Lord’s chest crossed over. The priests then moved to the front of the people. 12 The people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over, organized for war ahead of the Israelites, exactly as Moses had told them. 13 Approximately forty thousand armed for war crossed over in the Lord’s presence to the plains of Jericho, ready for battle. 14 The Lord made Joshua great in the opinion of all Israel on that day. So they revered him in the same way that they had revered Moses during all of his life.

15 The Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the chest containing the testimony to come up out of the Jordan.”

17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up from the Jordan.” 18 The priests carrying the Lord’s covenant chest came up from the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of their feet touched dry ground. At that moment, the water of the Jordan started flowing again. It ran as before, completely over its banks. 19 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month.[c] They camped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.

Stones at Gilgal

20 Joshua set up at Gilgal those twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask their parents, ‘What about these stones?’ 22 Then you will let your children know: ‘Israel crossed over the Jordan here on dry ground.’ 23 This was because the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you until you crossed over. This was exactly what the Lord your God did to the Reed Sea.[d] He dried it up before us until we crossed over. 24 This happened so that all the earth’s peoples might know that the Lord’s power is great and that you may always revere the Lord your God.”

Enemy kings react

All the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings near the sea heard that the Lord had dried up the water of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over. Then their hearts melted. They lost all courage because of the Israelites.

Circumcision

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make yourself flint knives. Circumcise the Israelites for a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives for himself. He circumcised the Israelites at Foreskins Hill. This is the reason Joshua did so: All the people who went out of Egypt, that is, all the men who were soldiers, had died in the desert on the way after they left Egypt. All the people who went out were circumcised. But none of the people born in the desert on the way after they had left Egypt had been circumcised. This was because the Israelites journeyed forty years in the desert until the whole nation died off. These were the men old enough to fight who went out from Egypt and who hadn’t obeyed the Lord. The Lord had pledged to them never to show them the land that the Lord had pledged to their ancestors to give us. It is a land full of milk and honey. Joshua circumcised their children, the ones the Lord had set in their place. They were uncircumcised because they hadn’t been circumcised on the way. After the whole nation had undergone circumcision, they remained in the camp until they got well again. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” So the place was called Gilgal,[e] as it is today.

Passover

10 The Israelites camped in Gilgal. They celebrated Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month[f] on the plains of Jericho. 11 On the very next day after Passover, they ate food produced in the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped on that next day, when they ate food produced in the land. There was no longer any manna for the Israelites. So that year they ate the crops of the land of Canaan.

Commander of the Lord’s heavenly force

13 When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up. He caught sight of a man standing in front of him with his sword drawn. Joshua went up and said to him, “Are you on our side or that of our enemies?”

14 He said, “Neither! I’m the commander of the Lord’s heavenly force. Now I have arrived!”

Then Joshua fell flat on his face and worshipped. Joshua said to him, “What is my master saying to his servant?”

15 The commander of the Lord’s heavenly force said to Joshua, “Take your sandals off your feet because the place where you are standing is holy.” So Joshua did this.

Instructions about Jericho

Now Jericho was closed up tightly because of the Israelites. No one went out or came in. The Lord said to Joshua, “Look. I have given Jericho and its king into your power, along with its mighty warriors. Circle the city with all the soldiers, going around the city one time. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven trumpets made from rams’ horns in front of the chest. On the seventh day, circle the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.

“Have them blow a long blast on the ram’s horn. As soon as you hear that trumpet blast, have all the people shout out a loud war cry. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will rise up, attacking straight ahead.”

Israel destroys Jericho

So Joshua, Nun’s son, called the priests. He said to them, “Lift up the covenant chest. Let seven priests carry seven trumpets made from rams’ horns in front of the Lord’s chest.” He said to the people, “Go forward. Circle the city. Let the armed soldiers go in front of the Lord’s chest.” As soon as Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying seven ram’s horn trumpets moved forward in front of the Lord. They blew the trumpets. The Lord’s covenant chest followed. The initial group of soldiers was going in front of the priests who were blowing the trumpets. The rear guard was coming behind the chest, with trumpets blowing continuously. 10 Joshua ordered the people, “Don’t shout. Don’t let your voice be heard. Don’t let a word come out of your mouth until the day I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then shout!”

11 He made the Lord’s chest circle the city, going around one time. They went back to the camp and stayed there overnight. 12 Joshua got up early in the morning. The priests lifted up the Lord’s chest. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets made from rams’ horns were going in front of the Lord’s chest, blowing trumpets continuously. The armed soldiers were going in front of them. The rear guard was coming after the Lord’s chest, blowing trumpets continuously. 14 They circled the city one time on the second day. Then they went back to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 On the seventh day, they got up at dawn. They circled the city in this way seven times. It was only on that day that they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets. Then Joshua said to the people, “Shout, because the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and everything in it is to be utterly wiped out as something reserved for the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute is to stay alive, along with everyone with her in her house. This is because she hid the messengers we sent. 18 But you, keep away from the things set aside for God so that you don’t desire[g] and take some of the things reserved. That would turn the camp of Israel into a thing doomed to be utterly wiped out and bring calamity on it. 19 All silver and gold, along with bronze and iron equipment, are holy to the Lord. They must go into the Lord’s treasury.” 20 Then the people shouted. They blew the trumpets. As soon as the people heard the trumpet blast, they shouted a loud war cry. Then the wall collapsed. The people went up against the city, attacking straight ahead. They captured the city. 21 Without mercy, they wiped out everything in the city as something reserved for God—man and woman, young and old, cattle, sheep, and donkeys.

Consequences

22 Joshua spoke to the two men who had scouted out the land. “Go to the prostitute’s house. Bring out the woman from there, along with everyone related to her, exactly as you pledged to her.” 23 So the young men who had been spies went and brought Rahab out, along with her father, her mother, her brothers, and everyone related to her. They brought her whole clan out and let them stay outside Israel’s camp. 24 They burned the city and everything in it. But they put the silver and gold, along with the bronze and iron equipment, into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 Joshua let Rahab the prostitute live, her family, and everyone related to her. So her family still lives among Israel today, because she hid the spies whom Joshua had sent to scout out Jericho.

26 At that time Joshua made this decree:

“Anyone who starts to rebuild this city of Jericho will be cursed before the Lord.

Laying its foundations will cost them their oldest child.

Setting up its gates will cost them their youngest child.”

27 The Lord was with Joshua. News about him spread throughout the land.

Israel defeated at Ai

The Israelites did a disrespectful thing concerning the items reserved for God. Achan was the son of Carmi, grandson of Zabdi, great-grandson of Zerah. He was from the tribe of Judah. He took some of the things reserved for God. So the Lord was furious with the Israelites.

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven to the east of Bethel. He said to them, “Go up. Scout out the land.”

So the men went up and scouted out Ai. They came back to Joshua and said to him, “There is no need for all of the people to go up. Two or three thousand men could go up and strike Ai. Don’t make all of the people bother going there. There are just a few of them.” So about three thousand men from the people went up in that direction. But they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down approximately thirty-six of them. They chased them from outside the gate as far as Shebarim. They struck them down on the slope. Then the hearts of the people melted and turned to water.

Cause of Israel’s defeat

Joshua ripped open his clothes. He, along with the elders of Israel, lay flat on their faces before the Lord’s chest until evening. They put dust on their heads. Then Joshua said, “Oh no, Lord God! Why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan? Was it to hand us over to the power of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been prepared to live on the other side of the Jordan! Please forgive me, Lord. What can I say now that Israel has retreated before its enemies? The Canaanites and the whole population of the land will hear of it. They will surround us and make our name disappear from the earth. What will you do about your great name then?”

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why do you lie flat on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned. They have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the things reserved for me and put them with their own things. They have stolen and kept it a secret. 12 The Israelites can’t stand up to their enemies. They retreat before their enemies because they themselves have become a doomed thing reserved for me. I will no longer be with you unless you destroy the things reserved for me that are present among you. 13 Go and make the people holy. Say, ‘Get ready for tomorrow by making yourselves holy. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “Israel! Things reserved for me are present among you. You won’t be able to stand up to your enemies until you remove from your presence the things reserved for me.”’ 14 In the morning, come forward tribe by tribe. Whichever tribe the Lord selects must come forward clan by clan. Whichever clan the Lord selects must come forward family by family. Whichever family the Lord selects will come forward by individual soldiers. 15 The person selected, who has the things reserved for God, must be put to death by burning. Burn everything that belongs to him too. This is because he has violated the Lord’s covenant and has committed an outrage in Israel.”

Achan discovered and punished

16 Joshua got up early in the morning. He made Israel come forward tribe by tribe. The tribe of Judah was selected. 17 He made the clans of Judah come forward. He selected the clan of Zerah. He made the clan of Zerah come forward as individual soldiers. Zabdi was selected. 18 He made each soldier of his family come forward. Achan was selected. He was a son of Carmi, grandson of Zabdi, great-grandson of Zerah, and of the tribe of Judah. 19 Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord the God of Israel. Tell me what you have done. Don’t hide anything from me.”

20 Achan answered Joshua, “It’s true. I’ve sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 Among the booty I saw a single beautiful robe in the Babylonian style, two hundred shekels of silver, and a single gold bar weighing fifty shekels. I desired them and took them. Now they are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver on the bottom.”

22 Then Joshua sent messengers. They ran to the tent. There it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver on the bottom. 23 They took the things from inside the tent. They brought them to Joshua and to all the Israelites and emptied them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua seized Achan, Zerah’s son, along with the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys, flocks, tent, and everything that belonged to him. All Israel joined Joshua. They brought them up to Achor Valley. 25 Joshua said, “You have brought disaster to us! May the Lord bring disaster to you today!” Then all Israel stoned him. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 They raised over him a great pile of stones that is still there today. Then the Lord turned away from his fury. So he named that place Achor Valley.[h] It is still called that today.

Plan to capture Ai

The Lord said to Joshua, “Don’t be afraid or terrified. Take the entire army with you. Start to go up to Ai. Look! I have given the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land into your power. Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king. But you may take its booty and cattle as plunder. Set your ambush behind the city.”

So Joshua and the whole army got ready to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand brave soldiers. He sent them out by night. He commanded them, “Look. You are to ambush the city from behind. Don’t move too far away from the city. Be ready, all of you. I will approach the city with all the people. When they come out against us the same way as before, we will flee from them. They will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city. They will think, They are fleeing from us as before. So we will flee from them. But you will rise up from the ambush and take over the city. The Lord your God will give it into your power. As soon as you seize the city, set it on fire. Act according to the Lord’s word. Indeed, I have given you an order!”

Joshua sent them off, and they went to set the ambush. They stayed between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. Joshua spent that night among the people. 10 Joshua got up early in the morning and mustered the people. Then he and the elders of Israel went up in front of the people to Ai. 11 The entire army that was with him went up. They moved in close, in front of the city. Then they camped north of Ai, with the valley between them and Ai. 12 He took about five thousand men and positioned them as an ambush between Bethel and Ai to the west of the city. 13 The people positioned the main camp on the north side of the city and its rear guard on its west side. That night, Joshua went into the middle of the valley.

Israel’s successful strategy

14 As soon as the king of Ai saw this, he and all his troops, the men of the city, hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle. They moved out to the battleground on the slopes down toward the Jordan.[i] He didn’t know that there was an ambush set against him behind the city. 15 Then Joshua and all Israel let themselves be beaten before them. They fled in the direction of the desert. 16 Next, all the troops who were still in the city were called out to chase them. They chased after Joshua and so let themselves be drawn away from the city. 17 No one who hadn’t gone out after Israel was left in either Ai or Bethel. They left the city wide open and chased after Israel.

18 The Lord said to Joshua, “Point the dagger in your hand toward Ai, because I will give it into your power.” So Joshua pointed the dagger in his hand toward the city. 19 The ambush quickly rose from its place. As soon as he reached out his hand, it charged. They entered the city and captured it. They set the city on fire at once. 20 Then the men of Ai turned around. They caught sight of the smoke of the city rising toward the sky. They had no chance to flee one way or the other. The troops who were fleeing toward the desert turned against the pursuit. 21 Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city and that the smoke of the city was rising. So they turned and struck down the men of Ai. 22 When other Israelites came out of the city to confront them, the men of Ai were caught in the middle. Some Israelites were on one side of them and some on the other. The Israelites struck them down until there was no one left to escape. 23 But they seized the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.

24 Israel finished killing the entire population of Ai that had chased them out into the open wasteland. All of them were finished off without mercy. Then all Israel went back to Ai and struck it down without mercy. 25 Twelve thousand men and women died that day, all the people of Ai. 26 Joshua didn’t pull back the hand that was stretched out holding a dagger until he had wiped out the whole population of Ai as something reserved for God. 27 However, Israel did take the cattle and other booty of that city as plunder for themselves, in agreement with the command that the Lord had given Joshua. 28 Then Joshua burned Ai. He made it a permanently deserted mound. That is still the case today. 29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. At sundown, Joshua gave an order, and they took his body down from the tree. They threw it down at the opening of the city gate. Then they raised over it a great pile of stones that is still there today.

Joshua reads the Instruction

30 Then Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal to the Lord, the God of Israel. 31 This was exactly what Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded the Israelites. It is what is written in the Instruction scroll from Moses: “an altar of crude stones against which no iron tool has swung.”[j] On it they offered entirely burned offerings to the Lord and sacrificed well-being offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on the stones a copy of the Instruction from Moses, which Moses had written earlier. 33 All Israel—with its elders, officers, and judges—were standing on either side of the chest. They were facing the levitical priests who carry the Lord’s chest containing the covenant. They included both immigrants and full citizens. Half stood facing Mount Gerizim and half stood facing Mount Ebal. This was exactly what Moses the Lord’s servant had initially commanded for the blessing of the Israelite people. 34 Afterward, Joshua read aloud all the words of the Instruction, both blessing and curse, in agreement with everything written in the Instruction scroll. 35 There wasn’t a single word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua failed to read aloud in the presence of the entire assembly of Israel. This assembly included the women and small children, along with the immigrants who lived among them.

The Gibeonites’ trick

All the kings on the west side of the Jordan heard about this, including those in the highlands, the lowlands, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea toward Lebanon. They were Hittites and Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. They formed an alliance to fight Joshua and Israel. In contrast, when the population of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they acted cleverly. They set out pretending to be messengers.[k] They took worn-out sacks for their donkeys and worn-out wineskins that were split and mended. They had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet and were wearing worn-out clothes. All the bread in their supplies was dry and crumbly.

They went to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal. They said to him and to Israel, “We have come from a distant country. So now, make a treaty with us.”

Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us. How then could we make a treaty with you?”

Then they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.”

Joshua said to them, “Who are you? Where have you come from?”

They said to him, “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the reputation of the Lord your God. We have heard a report about him and everything he did in Egypt. 10 We heard about everything he did to the two kings of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan, Heshbon’s King Sihon and Bashan’s King Og, who was in Ashtaroth. 11 Our elders and all the population of our land said to us, ‘Take along supplies for the journey. Go meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. So now make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This is our bread. On the day we left to come to you we took it warm from our houses as supplies. But now here it is, dried up and crumbly. 13 These wineskins were new when we filled them. But here they are, split open. These clothes and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” 14 The Israelites[l] took some of their supplies, but they didn’t ask for any decision from the Lord. 15 Joshua made peace with them. He made a treaty with them to protect their lives. The leaders of the community made a solemn pledge to them.

Israel discovers the trick

16 Three days after the Israelites made a treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were actually their neighbors and were living among them. 17 So on the third day the Israelites marched out and came to their cities: Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the Israelites didn’t strike at them. This was because the leaders of the community had made a solemn pledge to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. The entire community grumbled against the leaders. 19 Then all the leaders said to the whole community, “We have made a solemn pledge to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. So we can’t touch them now. 20 This is what we’ll do with them. We’ll let them live so that wrath won’t come down on us because of the solemn pledge that we made to them.” 21 The leaders went on to say to them, “Let them live.” So they became woodcutters and water haulers for the whole community, exactly as the leaders had intended for them.

22 Joshua called for the Gibeonites and spoke to them: “Why have you deceived us by saying, ‘We live very far away from you,’ when actually you live among us? 23 So now you are cursed. Some of you will always serve as woodcutters and water haulers for my God’s house.”

24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants had been told that the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the entire land and to wipe out all its population on your account. So we feared for our very lives because of you and did this thing. 25 Now, here we are in your power. Do to us whatever seems good and proper to you.” 26 So Joshua treated them in this way. He spared them from the power of the Israelites, and they didn’t kill them. 27 That day Joshua assigned them as woodcutters and water haulers for the community and for the Lord’s altar, located wherever God[m] would choose. That is still the case today.

Gibeonites under attack

10 Jerusalem’s King Adoni-zedek heard that Joshua had captured Ai and had wiped it out as something reserved for God. Joshua did the same thing to Ai and its king that he had done to Jericho and its king. He also heard that the population of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were living among them. Adoni-zedek and his people[n] were very afraid, because Gibeon was a large city, like one of the royal cities. It was larger than Ai. All its men were soldiers. So Jerusalem’s King Adoni-zedek sent word to Hebron’s King Hoham, Jarmuth’s King Piram, Lachish’s King Japhia, and Eglon’s King Debir: “Come up and help me. We will strike at Gibeon, because it has made peace with Joshua and with the Israelites.” Then the five kings of the Amorites gathered. These were the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. They went up with all their armies, camped against Gibeon, and attacked it. The people of Gibeon sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Don’t desert your servants! Come to us quickly. Rescue us! Help us! All the Amorite kings from the highlands have assembled together against us.” So Joshua went up from Gilgal with the entire army and all the bravest soldiers.

The Lord fights for Israel

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Don’t be afraid of them. I have given them into your power. Not a single one of them can stand up against you.” Joshua quickly attacked them, having come up overnight from Gilgal. 10 Then the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel. Joshua struck a mighty blow against them at Gibeon. He chased them on the way up to Beth-horon and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 When they were fleeing from Israel and were on the slope of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from the sky all the way to Azekah. So they died. More died from the hailstones than the Israelites killed with the sword.

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites into the power of Israel, Joshua spoke to the Lord in the presence of the Israelites:

“Sun, stand still at Gibeon!
        and Moon, at the Aijalon Valley!”
13 The sun stood still and the moon stood motionless
        until a nation took revenge on its enemies.

Isn’t this written in the Jashar scroll? So the sun stood motionless in the middle of the sky. For a whole day, it was in no hurry to go down. 14 There hasn’t been a day like it before or since, when the Lord responded to a human voice. The Lord fought for Israel. 15 Then Joshua along with all Israel came back to the camp at Gilgal.

Israel executes five kings

16 Then those five kings fled and hid in the cave at Makkedah. 17 It was reported to Joshua, “The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah.”

18 Joshua said, “Roll large stones over the mouth of the cave. Station some men by it to guard them, 19 but don’t you stay there. Chase after your enemies and attack them from the rear. Don’t let them enter their cities, because the Lord your God has given them into your power.” 20 Joshua and the Israelites finished dealing them a stunning blow until they were finished off. Some survivors among them escaped into the fortified cities. 21 Then the whole people came back safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. Not a single person threatened the Israelites.

22 Joshua said, “Open up the mouth of the cave. Bring those five kings out of the cave to me.” 23 They did so. They brought the five kings out of the cave to him: the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for every Israelite. He said to the military commanders who had gone out with him, “Come forward. Put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they went forward and put their feet on their necks. 25 Then Joshua said to them, “Don’t be afraid or terrified. Be brave and strong, because this is how the Lord will deal with all the enemies you fight.” 26 Next, Joshua struck them down. He put them to death and then hanged them on five trees. They were hanging on the trees until evening. 27 At sundown, Joshua gave an order, and they took them down from the trees. They threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and they set large stones over the mouth of the cave. The stones are still there to this very day.

Victories in the south

28 On that day, Joshua captured Makkedah. With a sword, he struck it and its king without mercy. He wiped them out, treating everyone in the city as something reserved for God. He left no survivors. He did to the king of Makkedah exactly as he had done to the king of Jericho.

29 Then Joshua along with all Israel moved on from Makkedah to Libnah. They attacked Libnah. 30 The Lord also gave it and its king into the power of Israel. With a sword, he struck it and everyone in it without mercy. He left no survivors in it. He did to its king exactly as he had done to the king of Jericho.

31 Joshua along with all Israel moved on from Libnah to Lachish. They camped near it and attacked it. 32 The Lord gave Lachish into the power of Israel. Joshua captured it on the second day. With a sword, he struck it and everyone in it without mercy, just exactly as he had done to Libnah. 33 Then Gezer’s King Horam came up to help Lachish. But Joshua struck him and his people down, until no survivors were left.

34 Joshua along with all Israel moved on from Lachish to Eglon. They camped against it and attacked it. 35 They captured it on the same day and struck it down without mercy. On that day, he wiped out everyone in it as something reserved for God, just exactly as he had done to Lachish.

36 Joshua along with all Israel went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They captured it and struck it down without mercy, along with its king, all its towns, and everyone in it. He left no survivors, just exactly as he had done to Eglon. He wiped out the city and everyone in it as something reserved for God.

38 Joshua along with all Israel turned back to Debir and attacked it. 39 He captured it along with its king and all its cities. They struck them down without mercy and wiped out everyone in it as something reserved for God. He left no survivors. Exactly as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king—exactly as he had done to Libnah and its king.

40 So Joshua struck at the whole land: the highlands, the arid southern plains, the lowlands, the slopes, and all their kings. He left no survivors. He wiped out everything that breathed as something reserved for God, exactly as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua struck them down from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, and the whole land of Goshen as far as Gibeon. 42 Joshua captured all these kings and their land all at the same time. This was because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua along with all Israel came back to the camp at Gilgal.

Victories in the north

11 King Jabin of Hazor heard about this. So he sent word to Madon’s King Jobab, to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph. He sent word to the kings from the north part of the highlands, in the desert plain south of Chinneroth, in the lowlands, and in Naphoth-dor on the west. He sent word to the Canaanites from east and west, to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, and Jebusites in the highlands, and to the Hivites at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpah. They went out with all their battalions as a great army. They were as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore. There were very many horses and chariots. All these kings came together. They came and camped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Don’t be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow, I will make them all dead bodies in Israel’s presence. Cripple their horses! Burn their chariots!”

Then Joshua along with the entire army launched a surprise attack against them at the waters of Merom. The Lord gave them into Israel’s power. They struck them down. They chased them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim, then to the east as far as the Mizpeh Valley. They struck them down until no survivors were left. Joshua dealt with them exactly as the Lord had told him. He crippled their horses and burned their chariots.

10 Joshua turned back at that time. He captured Hazor and struck down its king with the sword. Hazor had been the head of all those kingdoms in the past. 11 They struck down everyone there without mercy, wiping them out as something reserved for God. Nothing that breathed was left. Hazor itself he burned. 12 Joshua captured all these kings and their cities. He struck them down without mercy. He wiped them out as something reserved for God. This was exactly as Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded. 13 But Israel didn’t burn any of the cities that still are standing on their mounds. Joshua burned only Hazor. 14 The Israelites took all the valuable things from those cities and the cattle as plunder for themselves. But they struck down every person without mercy until they had wiped them out. They didn’t let anything that breathed survive. 15 What the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, Moses had commanded Joshua, and Joshua did exactly that. He didn’t deviate a bit from any command that the Lord had given Moses.

Summary of Israel’s victories

16 So Joshua took this whole land: the highlands, the whole arid southern plain, the whole land of Goshen, the lowlands, the desert plain, and both the highlands and the lowlands of Israel. 17 He took land stretching from Mount Halak, which goes up toward Seir, as far as Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Lebanon Valley. He captured all their kings. He struck them down and killed them. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. 19 There wasn’t one city that made peace with the Israelites, except the Hivites who lived in Gibeon. They captured every single one in battle. 20 Their stubborn resistance came from the Lord and led them to wage war against Israel. Israel was then able to wipe them out as something reserved for God, without showing them any mercy. This was exactly what the Lord had commanded Moses.

21 At that time, Joshua went and wiped out the Anakim from the highlands. He wiped them out from Hebron, from Debir, and from Anab, from the whole highlands of Judah, and the whole highlands of Israel. Joshua wiped them out along with their cities as something reserved for God. 22 The Anakim no longer remained in the land of the Israelites. They survived only in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. 23 So Joshua took the whole land, exactly as the Lord had promised Moses. Joshua gave it as a legacy to Israel according to their tribal shares. Then the land had a rest from war.

Moses defeated two kings

12 The Israelites struck down these kings of the land and took over their land on the east side of the Jordan. This ran from the Arnon Valley as far as Mount Hermon and included the whole eastern part of the desert plain. First there was the Amorites’ King Sihon, who lived in Heshbon. He ruled from Aroer by the rim of Arnon Valley and then from the middle of the valley as far as the Jabbok Valley, the border of the Ammonites. This was half of Gilead. He ruled the desert plain up to the east side of the Chinneroth Sea. This ran southward in the direction of Beth-jeshimoth at the foot of the Pisgah slopes as far as the east side of the desert plain (that is, the Dead Sea) and the territory next to it.[o] Then there was Bashan’s King Og. He was one of the last of the Rephaim. He lived in Ashtaroth and Edrei. He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salecah, and all of Bashan as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead down to the border of Heshbon’s King Sihon. Moses the Lord’s servant and the Israelites struck them down. Moses the Lord’s servant gave their land as property to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh.

Kings west of the Jordan

Joshua and the Israelites struck down these kings of the land and took over their land on the west side of the Jordan. This ran from Baal-gad in the Lebanon Valley as far as Mount Halak, which goes up toward Seir. Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as shares of property. This was in the highlands, in the lowlands, in the desert plain, in the slopes, in the desert, and in the arid southern plain. The land belonged to Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. They were:

the king of Jerichoone
the king of Ai (which is near Bethel)one
10 the king of Jerusalemone
the king of Hebronone
11 the king of Jarmuthone
the king of Lachishone
12 the king of Eglonone
the king of Gezerone
13 the king of Debirone
the king of Gederone
14 the king of Hormahone
the king of Aradone
15 the king of Libnahone
the king of Adullamone
16 the king of Makkedahone
the king of Bethelone
17 the king of Tappuahone
the king of Hepherone
18 the king of Aphekone
the king of Lasharonone
19 the king of Madonone
the king of Hazorone
20 the king of Shimron-meronone
the king of Achshaphone
21 the king of Taanachone
the king of Megiddoone
22 the king of Kedeshone
the king of Jokneam in Carmelone
23 the king of Dor in Naphath-dorone
the king of Goiim of Gilgalone
24 the king of Tirzahone
Total of all kings:thirty-one.

Land still unconquered

13 Now Joshua had reached old age. The Lord said to him, “You have reached old age, but much of the land remains to be taken over. This is the land that remains: All the districts of the Philistines and all those of the Geshurites. (The land stretching from the Shihor near Egypt northward as far as the Ekron territory is considered to be Canaanite. There are five rulers of the Philistines, for Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron.) The land of the Avvites in the south. The whole land of the Canaanites, along with Mearah, which belongs to the Sidonians, as far as Aphek and as far as the Amorite border. The land of the Gebalites and the whole Lebanon eastward, stretching from Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon to Lebo-hamath.

“I myself will remove the entire population of the highlands from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim before the Israelites, that is, all the Sidonians. You have only to allot it to Israel as a legacy exactly as I commanded you. So now divide up this land as a legacy for the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh. You will give it out from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Mediterranean Sea is the border.[p]

Land east of the Jordan

As for the other half of the tribe of Manasseh,[q] the Reubenites and Gadites together with it had already taken their legacy that Moses had given them on the east side of the Jordan. It was exactly what Moses the Lord’s servant had given them. It ran from Aroer by the rim of the Arnon Valley and the city in the middle of the valley through the whole Medeba plateau as far as Dibon. 10 It included all the cities of the Amorites’ King Sihon, who ruled in Heshbon, as far as the Ammonite border. 11 It also included Gilead and the territory of the Geshurites and Maacathites, all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan as far as Salecah— 12 the entire kingdom of Og in Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth and in Edrei. He survived as the last of the Rephaim. Moses had struck down and removed them. 13 But the Israelites didn’t remove the Geshurites or the Maacathites. So Geshur and Maacath still live among Israel today. 14 It was only to the tribe of Levi that he gave no legacy. Their legacy consists of the fire offerings for the Lord, the God of Israel, exactly as he had promised them.

For Reuben

15 Moses provided for the clans of the Reubenite tribe. 16 Their territory ran from Aroer by the rim of the Arnon Valley and the city in the middle of the ravine, and the whole plateau as far as Medeba. 17 It included Heshbon and all its cities that are on the plateau: Dibon, Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon, 18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, the Zereth-shahar highlands, 20 Beth-peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth. 21 It included all the cities of the plateau and the whole kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon. Moses had struck him down, along with Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the leaders of Midian. They had lived in the land as princes of Sihon. 22 In addition to those others slain, the Israelites killed the fortune-teller Balaam, Beor’s son, with the sword. 23 The border of the people of Reuben was the Jordan and the territory next to it. This was the legacy of the people of Reuben—for their clans, their cities, and their settlements.

For Gad

24 Moses provided for the clans of the Gadite tribe. 25 Their territory was Jazer, all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the Ammonites as far as Aroer near Rabbah. 26 It also ran from Heshbon as far as Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim as far as the territory of Lidebir. 27 In the valley were Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon. This was the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon. It included the Jordan and the territory next to it up to the tip of the Chinnereth Sea on the east side of the Jordan. 28 This was the legacy of the Gadites—for their clans, their cities, and their settlements.

For half of Manasseh

29 Moses provided for half the tribe of Manasseh. It was for the clans in half the tribe of the people of Manasseh. 30 Their territory ran from Mahanaim, all Bashan, the whole kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all sixty of the tent villages of Jair that are in Bashan. 31 Half of Gilead along with Ashtaroth and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, belonged to the people of Machir son of Manasseh. It belonged to the clans for half of the people of Machir.

32 Moses assigned these territories when he was in the Moab plains on the other side of the Jordan, east of Jericho. 33 But Moses gave no legacy to the tribe of Levi. The Lord God of Israel is their legacy, exactly as he promised them.

Dividing up Canaan

14 The Israelites received these inheritances in the land of Canaan. Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the families of the Israelite tribes assigned them. Their legacy was assigned by lot, exactly as the Lord had commanded the nine and a half tribes through Moses. In fact, Moses had given out the legacy of the two and a half tribes on the other side of the Jordan. But he gave no legacy among them to the Levites. The people of Joseph consisted of two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites weren’t given any portion of the land, except cities to live in and pastureland for their cattle and flocks. The Israelites divided up the land exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Caleb receives Hebron

In Gilgal, the people of Judah approached Joshua. Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses, man of God, about you and me when we were in Kadesh-barnea. I was 40 years old when Moses the Lord’s servant sent me from Kadesh-barnea to scout out the land. I brought back a report to him of what I really thought. My companions who had gone up with me made the people’s heart melt. But I remained loyal to the Lord my God. So Moses pledged on that day, ‘The land on which you have walked will forever be a legacy for you and your children. This is because you remained loyal to the Lord my God.’ 10 Now look. The Lord has kept me alive, exactly as he promised. It is forty-five years since the Lord spoke about this to Moses. It was while Israel was journeying in the desert. Now look. Today I’m 85 years old. 11 I’m just as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength then was as my strength is now, whether for war or for everyday activities. 12 So now, give me this highland that the Lord promised me that day. True, the Anakim are there with large fortified cities, as you yourself heard that day. But if the Lord is with me, I should be able to remove them, exactly as the Lord promised.”

13 So Joshua blessed him. He gave Hebron to Caleb, Jephunneh’s son, as a legacy. 14 So Hebron still belongs to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite as a legacy today. This was because he remained loyal to the Lord God of Israel. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath-arba. Arba had been the greatest of the Anakim.) Then the land rested from war.

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua 2:7 Heb lacks from Jericho.
  2. Joshua 2:10 Or Red Sea
  3. Joshua 4:19 March–April, Nisan
  4. Joshua 4:23 Or Red Sea
  5. Joshua 5:9 Gilgal sounds like the Heb verb galal, “to roll away.”
  6. Joshua 5:10 March–April, Nisan
  7. Joshua 6:18 LXX; Heb wipe out as something reserved for God
  8. Joshua 7:26 Or Calamity Valley
  9. Joshua 8:14 Or the Arabah
  10. Joshua 8:31 Deut 27:5-6
  11. Joshua 9:4 Heb uncertain
  12. Joshua 9:14 Or men
  13. Joshua 9:27 Or he
  14. Joshua 10:2 Or they
  15. Joshua 12:4 Heb lacks next to it.
  16. Joshua 13:7 LXX; MT lacks You will give it out from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Mediterranean Sea is the border.
  17. Joshua 13:8 LXX; MT lacks As for the other half of the tribe of Manasseh.
Common English Bible (CEB)

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