Joshua’s Farewell to the Leaders

23 After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest(A) from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man,(B) summoned all Israel—their elders,(C) leaders, judges and officials(D)—and said to them: “I am very old.(E) You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you.(F) Remember how I have allotted(G) as an inheritance(H) for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea(I) in the west. The Lord your God himself will push them out(J) for your sake. He will drive them out(K) before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.(L)

“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law(M) of Moses, without turning aside(N) to the right or to the left.(O) Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear(P) by them. You must not serve them or bow down(Q) to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord(R) your God, as you have until now.

“The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations;(S) to this day no one has been able to withstand you.(T) 10 One of you routs a thousand,(U) because the Lord your God fights for you,(V) just as he promised. 11 So be very careful(W) to love the Lord(X) your God.

12 “But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them(Y) and associate with them,(Z) 13 then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out(AA) these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares(AB) and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes,(AC) until you perish from this good land,(AD) which the Lord your God has given you.

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14 “Now fear the Lord(A) and serve him with all faithfulness.(B) Throw away the gods(C) your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt,(D) and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites,(E) in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,(F) we will serve the Lord.”(G)

16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake(H) the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery,(I) and performed those great signs(J) before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out(K) before us all the nations,(L) including the Amorites, who lived in the land.(M) We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.(N)

19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God;(O) he is a jealous God.(P) He will not forgive(Q) your rebellion(R) and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord(S) and serve foreign gods, he will turn(T) and bring disaster(U) on you and make an end of you,(V) after he has been good to you.”

21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses(W) against yourselves that you have chosen(X) to serve the Lord.”

“Yes, we are witnesses,(Y)” they replied.

23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods(Z) that are among you and yield your hearts(AA) to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”(AB)

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