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Joshua Challenges Israel to be Faithful

23 A long time[a] passed after the Lord made Israel secure from all their enemies,[b] and Joshua was very old.[c] So Joshua summoned all Israel, including the elders, rulers, judges, and leaders, and told them: “I am very old. You saw everything the Lord your God did to all these nations on your behalf, for the Lord your God fights for you.[d] See, I have parceled out to your tribes these remaining nations,[e] from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea[f] in the west, including all the nations I defeated.[g] The Lord your God will drive them out from before you and remove them,[h] so you can occupy[i] their land as the Lord your God promised[j] you. Be very strong! Carefully obey[k] all that is written in the law scroll of Moses so you won’t swerve from it to the right or the left, or associate with these nations that remain near[l] you. You must not invoke or make solemn declarations by the names of their gods![m] You must not worship[n] or bow down to them! But you must be loyal to[o] the Lord your God, as you have been[p] to this very day.

“The Lord drove out from before you great and mighty nations; no one has been able to resist you[q] to this very day. 10 One of you makes a thousand run away,[r] for the Lord your God fights for you,[s] as he promised you he would.[t] 11 Watch yourselves carefully! Love the Lord your God![u] 12 But if you ever turn away and make alliances with[v] these nations that remain near you,[w] and intermarry with them and establish friendly relations with them,[x] 13 know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. They will trap and ensnare you;[y] they will be a whip that tears[z] your sides and thorns that blind[aa] your eyes until you disappear[ab] from this good land the Lord your God gave you.

14 “Look, today I am about to die.[ac] You know with all your heart and being[ad] that not even one of all the faithful promises the Lord your God made to you is left unfulfilled; every one was realized—not one promise is unfulfilled![ae] 15 But in the same way every faithful promise the Lord your God made to you has been realized,[af] it is just as certain that if you disobey, then the Lord will bring on you every judgment[ag] until he destroys you from this good land that the Lord your God gave you. 16 If you violate the covenantal laws of the Lord your God which he commanded you to keep,[ah] and follow, worship, and bow down to other gods,[ai] then the Lord will be very angry with you and you will disappear[aj] quickly from the good land that he gave to you.”


  1. Joshua 23:1 tn Heb “many days.”
  2. Joshua 23:1 tn Heb “the Lord had given rest to Israel from their enemies all around.”
  3. Joshua 23:1 tn Heb “was old, coming into the days.” This expression, referring to advancing in years, also occurs in the following verse.
  4. Joshua 23:3 tn Heb “for the Lord your God, he [is] the one who fights for you.”
  5. Joshua 23:4 tn Heb “I have assigned by lots to you these remaining nations as an inheritance for your tribes.”
  6. Joshua 23:4 tn Heb “the Great Sea,” the typical designation for the Mediterranean Sea.
  7. Joshua 23:4 tn Heb “from the Jordan and all the nations which I cut off and the Great Sea [at] the place where the sun sets.” The relationship of the second half of the verse, which mentions nations already conquered, to the first half, which speaks of “remaining nations,” is difficult to understand.
  8. Joshua 23:5 tn The Hebrew text reads, “from before you.” This has not been included in the translation because it is redundant in English.
  9. Joshua 23:5 tn Or “take possession of.”
  10. Joshua 23:5 tn Heb “said to.”
  11. Joshua 23:6 tn Heb “Be strong so you can be careful to do.”
  12. Joshua 23:7 tn Heb “with.”
  13. Joshua 23:7 tn Heb “and in the name of their gods you must not invoke and you must not make solemn declarations.” The words “and you must not make solemn declarations” are omitted in the LXX and may represent a later scribal addition to elucidate the immediately preceding command. The Hiphil of שָׁבַע (shavaʿ) without an object occurs only here and in Josh 6:26.
  14. Joshua 23:7 tn Or “serve.”
  15. Joshua 23:8 tn Heb “hug.”
  16. Joshua 23:8 tn Heb “done.”
  17. Joshua 23:9 tn Heb “not a man has stood before you.”
  18. Joshua 23:10 tn Or “chases a thousand.”
  19. Joshua 23:10 tn Heb “for the Lord your God, he [is] the one who fights for you.”
  20. Joshua 23:10 tn Heb “as he said to you.”
  21. Joshua 23:11 tn Heb “Watch carefully yourselves so as to love the Lord your God.”
  22. Joshua 23:12 tn Heb “and hug.”
  23. Joshua 23:12 tn Heb “the remnant of the these nations, these nations that are with you.”
  24. Joshua 23:12 tn Heb “and go into them, and they into you.”
  25. Joshua 23:13 tn Heb “be a trap and a snare to you.”
  26. Joshua 23:13 tn Heb “in.”
  27. Joshua 23:13 tn Heb “thorns in your eyes.”
  28. Joshua 23:13 tn Or “perish.”
  29. Joshua 23:14 tn Heb “go the way of all the earth.”
  30. Joshua 23:14 tn Or “soul.”
  31. Joshua 23:14 tn Heb “one word from all these words which the Lord your God spoke to you has not fallen, the whole has come to pass for you, one word from it has not fallen.”
  32. Joshua 23:15 tn Heb “and it will be as every good word which the Lord your God spoke to you has come to pass.”
  33. Joshua 23:15 tn Heb “so the Lord will bring every injurious [or “evil”] word [or “thing”] upon you.”
  34. Joshua 23:16 tn Heb “when you violate the covenant of the Lord your God which he commanded you.”
  35. Joshua 23:16 tn Heb “and you walk and serve other gods and bow down to them.”
  36. Joshua 23:16 tn Or “perish.”