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The Lord’s Charge to Joshua

After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea[a] in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua’s Charge to the Israelites

10 Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

12 Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, 13 “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’ 14 Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, assigned to you.”

16 They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”

Rahab Protects the Spies

Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove.[b] He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night.

But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land.”

Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.” (Actually, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them beneath bundles of flax she had laid out.) So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the road leading to the shallow crossings of the Jordan River. And as soon as the king’s men had left, the gate of Jericho was shut.

Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. 10 For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea[c] when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed.[d] 11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.

12 “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that 13 when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.”

14 “We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind to you when the Lord gives us the land.”

15 Then, since Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, she let them down by a rope through the window. 16 “Escape to the hill country,” she told them. “Hide there for three days from the men searching for you. Then, when they have returned, you can go on your way.”

17 Before they left, the men told her, “We will be bound by the oath we have taken only if you follow these instructions. 18 When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house. 19 If they go out into the street and are killed, it will not be our fault. But if anyone lays a hand on people inside this house, we will accept the responsibility for their death. 20 If you betray us, however, we are not bound by this oath in any way.”

21 “I accept your terms,” she replied. And she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window.

22 The spies went up into the hill country and stayed there three days. The men who were chasing them searched everywhere along the road, but they finally returned without success.

23 Then the two spies came down from the hill country, crossed the Jordan River, and reported to Joshua all that had happened to them. 24 “The Lord has given us the whole land,” they said, “for all the people in the land are terrified of us.”

Footnotes

  1. 1:4 Hebrew the Great Sea.
  2. 2:1 Hebrew Shittim.
  3. 2:10a Hebrew sea of reeds.
  4. 2:10b The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.

The Fall of Jericho

Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”

So Joshua called together the priests and said, “Take up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, and assign seven priests to walk in front of it, each carrying a ram’s horn.” Then he gave orders to the people: “March around the town, and the armed men will lead the way in front of the Ark of the Lord.”

After Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests with the rams’ horns started marching in the presence of the Lord, blowing the horns as they marched. And the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant followed behind them. Some of the armed men marched in front of the priests with the horns and some behind the Ark, with the priests continually blowing the horns. 10 “Do not shout; do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So the Ark of the Lord was carried around the town once that day, and then everyone returned to spend the night in the camp.

12 Joshua got up early the next morning, and the priests again carried the Ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests with the rams’ horns marched in front of the Ark of the Lord, blowing their horns. Again the armed men marched both in front of the priests with the horns and behind the Ark of the Lord. All this time the priests were blowing their horns. 14 On the second day they again marched around the town once and returned to the camp. They followed this pattern for six days.

15 On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times. 16 The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the town! 17 Jericho and everything in it must be completely destroyed[a] as an offering to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies.

18 “Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel. 19 Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the Lord and must be brought into his treasury.”

20 When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. 21 They completely destroyed everything in it with their swords—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys.

22 Meanwhile, Joshua said to the two spies, “Keep your promise. Go to the prostitute’s house and bring her out, along with all her family.”

23 The men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all the other relatives who were with her. They moved her whole family to a safe place near the camp of Israel.

24 Then the Israelites burned the town and everything in it. Only the things made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron were kept for the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 So Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute and her relatives who were with her in the house, because she had hidden the spies Joshua sent to Jericho. And she lives among the Israelites to this day.

26 At that time Joshua invoked this curse:

“May the curse of the Lord fall on anyone
    who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho.
At the cost of his firstborn son,
    he will lay its foundation.
At the cost of his youngest son,
    he will set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his reputation spread throughout the land.

Footnotes

  1. 6:17 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; similarly in 6:18, 21.

The Israelites Defeat Ai

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take all your fighting men and attack Ai, for I have given you the king of Ai, his people, his town, and his land. You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the plunder and the livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the town.”

So Joshua and all the fighting men set out to attack Ai. Joshua chose 30,000 of his best warriors and sent them out at night with these orders: “Hide in ambush close behind the town and be ready for action. When our main army attacks, the men of Ai will come out to fight as they did before, and we will run away from them. We will let them chase us until we have drawn them away from the town. For they will say, ‘The Israelites are running away from us as they did before.’ Then, while we are running from them, you will jump up from your ambush and take possession of the town, for the Lord your God will give it to you. Set the town on fire, as the Lord has commanded. You have your orders.”

So they left and went to the place of ambush between Bethel and the west side of Ai. But Joshua remained among the people in the camp that night. 10 Early the next morning Joshua roused his men and started toward Ai, accompanied by the elders of Israel. 11 All the fighting men who were with Joshua marched in front of the town and camped on the north side of Ai, with a valley between them and the town. 12 That night Joshua sent about 5,000 men to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the town. 13 So they stationed the main army north of the town and the ambush west of the town. Joshua himself spent that night in the valley.

14 When the king of Ai saw the Israelites across the valley, he and all his army hurried out early in the morning and attacked the Israelites at a place overlooking the Jordan Valley.[a] But he didn’t realize there was an ambush behind the town. 15 Joshua and the Israelite army fled toward the wilderness as though they were badly beaten. 16 Then all the men in the town were called out to chase after them. In this way, they were lured away from the town. 17 There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel[b] who did not chase after the Israelites, and the town was left wide open.

18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Point the spear in your hand toward Ai, for I will hand the town over to you.” Joshua did as he was commanded. 19 As soon as Joshua gave this signal, all the men in ambush jumped up from their position and poured into the town. They quickly captured it and set it on fire.

20 When the men of Ai looked behind them, smoke from the town was filling the sky, and they had nowhere to go. For the Israelites who had fled in the direction of the wilderness now turned on their pursuers. 21 When Joshua and all the other Israelites saw that the ambush had succeeded and that smoke was rising from the town, they turned and attacked the men of Ai. 22 Meanwhile, the Israelites who were inside the town came out and attacked the enemy from the rear. So the men of Ai were caught in the middle, with Israelite fighters on both sides. Israel attacked them, and not a single person survived or escaped. 23 Only the king of Ai was taken alive and brought to Joshua.

24 When the Israelite army finished chasing and killing all the men of Ai in the open fields, they went back and finished off everyone inside. 25 So the entire population of Ai, including men and women, was wiped out that day—12,000 in all. 26 For Joshua kept holding out his spear until everyone who had lived in Ai was completely destroyed.[c] 27 Only the livestock and the treasures of the town were not destroyed, for the Israelites kept these as plunder for themselves, as the Lord had commanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned the town of Ai,[d] and it became a permanent mound of ruins, desolate to this very day.

29 Joshua impaled the king of Ai on a sharpened pole and left him there until evening. At sunset the Israelites took down the body, as Joshua commanded, and threw it in front of the town gate. They piled a great heap of stones over him that can still be seen today.

The Lord’s Covenant Renewed

30 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal. 31 He followed the commands that Moses the Lord’s servant had written in the Book of Instruction: “Make me an altar from stones that are uncut and have not been shaped with iron tools.”[e] Then on the altar they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. 32 And as the Israelites watched, Joshua copied onto the stones of the altar[f] the instructions Moses had given them.

33 Then all the Israelites—foreigners and native-born alike—along with the elders, officers, and judges, were divided into two groups. One group stood in front of Mount Gerizim, the other in front of Mount Ebal. Each group faced the other, and between them stood the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. This was all done according to the commands that Moses, the servant of the Lord, had previously given for blessing the people of Israel.

34 Joshua then read to them all the blessings and curses Moses had written in the Book of Instruction. 35 Every word of every command that Moses had ever given was read to the entire assembly of Israel, including the women and children and the foreigners who lived among them.

Footnotes

  1. 8:14 Hebrew the Arabah.
  2. 8:17 Some manuscripts lack or Bethel.
  3. 8:26 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.
  4. 8:28 Ai means “ruin.”
  5. 8:31 Exod 20:25; Deut 27:5-6.
  6. 8:32 Hebrew onto the stones.

Israel Defeats the Southern Armies

10 Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured and completely destroyed[a] Ai and killed its king, just as he had destroyed the town of Jericho and killed its king. He also learned that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel and were now their allies. He and his people became very afraid when they heard all this because Gibeon was a large town—as large as the royal cities and larger than Ai. And the Gibeonite men were strong warriors.

So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon. “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” he urged them, “for they have made peace with Joshua and the people of Israel.” So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon.

The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.”

So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”

Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As the Amorites retreated down the road from Beth-horon, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.

12 On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said,

“Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,
    and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”

13 So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.

Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar[b]? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day.[c] 14 There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!

15 Then Joshua and the Israelite army returned to their camp at Gilgal.

Joshua Kills the Five Southern Kings

16 During the battle the five kings escaped and hid in a cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua heard that they had been found, 18 he issued this command: “Cover the opening of the cave with large rocks, and place guards at the entrance to keep the kings inside. 19 The rest of you continue chasing the enemy and cut them down from the rear. Don’t give them a chance to get back to their towns, for the Lord your God has given you victory over them.”

20 So Joshua and the Israelite army continued the slaughter and completely crushed the enemy. They totally wiped out the five armies except for a tiny remnant that managed to reach their fortified towns. 21 Then the Israelites returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. After that, no one dared to speak even a word against Israel.

22 Then Joshua said, “Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 When they brought them out, Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.” And they did as they were told.

25 “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.” 26 Then Joshua killed each of the five kings and impaled them on five sharpened poles, where they hung until evening.

27 As the sun was going down, Joshua gave instructions for the bodies of the kings to be taken down from the poles and thrown into the cave where they had been hiding. Then they covered the opening of the cave with a pile of large rocks, which remains to this very day.

Israel Destroys the Southern Towns

28 That same day Joshua captured and destroyed the town of Makkedah. He killed everyone in it, including the king, leaving no survivors. He destroyed them all, and he killed the king of Makkedah as he had killed the king of Jericho. 29 Then Joshua and the Israelites went to Libnah and attacked it. 30 There, too, the Lord gave them the town and its king. He killed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. Then Joshua killed the king of Libnah as he had killed the king of Jericho.

31 From Libnah, Joshua and the Israelites went to Lachish and attacked it. 32 Here again, the Lord gave them Lachish. Joshua took it on the second day and killed everyone in it, just as he had done at Libnah. 33 During the attack on Lachish, King Horam of Gezer arrived with his army to help defend the town. But Joshua’s men killed him and his army, leaving no survivors.

34 Then Joshua and the Israelite army went on to Eglon and attacked it. 35 They captured it that day and killed everyone in it. He completely destroyed everyone, just as he had done at Lachish. 36 From Eglon, Joshua and the Israelite army went up to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They captured the town and killed everyone in it, including its king, leaving no survivors. They did the same thing to all of its surrounding villages. And just as he had done at Eglon, he completely destroyed the entire population.

38 Then Joshua and the Israelites turned back and attacked Debir. 39 He captured the town, its king, and all of its surrounding villages. He completely destroyed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. He did to Debir and its king just what he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.

40 So Joshua conquered the whole region—the kings and people of the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills,[d] and the mountain slopes. He completely destroyed everyone in the land, leaving no survivors, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua slaughtered them from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza and from the region around the town of Goshen up to Gibeon. 42 Joshua conquered all these kings and their land in a single campaign, for the Lord, the God of Israel, was fighting for his people.

43 Then Joshua and the Israelite army returned to their camp at Gilgal.

Israel Defeats the Northern Armies

11 When King Jabin of Hazor heard what had happened, he sent messages to the following kings: King Jobab of Madon; the king of Shimron; the king of Acshaph; all the kings of the northern hill country; the kings in the Jordan Valley south of Galilee[e]; the kings in the Galilean foothills[f]; the kings of Naphoth-dor on the west; the kings of Canaan, both east and west; the kings of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites in the towns on the slopes of Mount Hermon in the land of Mizpah.

All these kings came out to fight. Their combined armies formed a vast horde. And with all their horses and chariots, they covered the landscape like the sand on the seashore. The kings joined forces and established their camp around the water near Merom to fight against Israel.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel as dead men. Then you must cripple their horses and burn their chariots.”

So Joshua and all his fighting men traveled to the water near Merom and attacked suddenly. And the Lord gave them victory over their enemies. The Israelites chased them as far as Greater Sidon and Misrephoth-maim, and eastward into the valley of Mizpah, until not one enemy warrior was left alive. Then Joshua crippled the horses and burned all the chariots, as the Lord had instructed.

10 Joshua then turned back and captured Hazor and killed its king. (Hazor had at one time been the capital of all these kingdoms.) 11 The Israelites completely destroyed[g] every living thing in the city, leaving no survivors. Not a single person was spared. And then Joshua burned the city.

12 Joshua slaughtered all the other kings and their people, completely destroying them, just as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded. 13 But the Israelites did not burn any of the towns built on mounds except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 And the Israelites took all the plunder and livestock of the ravaged towns for themselves. But they killed all the people, leaving no survivors. 15 As the Lord had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua. And Joshua did as he was told, carefully obeying all the commands that the Lord had given to Moses.

16 So Joshua conquered the entire region—the hill country, the entire Negev, the whole area around the town of Goshen, the western foothills, the Jordan Valley,[h] the mountains of Israel, and the Galilean foothills. 17 The Israelite territory now extended all the way from Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir in the south, as far north as Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon in the valley of Lebanon. Joshua killed all the kings of those territories, 18 waging war for a long time to accomplish this. 19 No one in this region made peace with the Israelites except the Hivites of Gibeon. All the others were defeated. 20 For the Lord hardened their hearts and caused them to fight the Israelites. So they were completely destroyed without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

21 During this period Joshua destroyed all the descendants of Anak, who lived in the hill country of Hebron, Debir, Anab, and the entire hill country of Judah and Israel. He killed them all and completely destroyed their towns. 22 None of the descendants of Anak were left in all the land of Israel, though some still remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.

23 So Joshua took control of the entire land, just as the Lord had instructed Moses. He gave it to the people of Israel as their special possession, dividing the land among the tribes. So the land finally had rest from war.

Footnotes

  1. 10:1 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; also in 10:28, 35, 37, 39, 40.
  2. 10:13a Or The Book of the Upright.
  3. 10:13b Or did not set for about a whole day.
  4. 10:40 Hebrew the Shephelah.
  5. 11:2a Hebrew in the Arabah south of Kinnereth.
  6. 11:2b Hebrew the Shephelah; also in 11:16.
  7. 11:11 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; also in 11:12, 20, 21.
  8. 11:16 Hebrew the Shephelah, the Arabah.

Joshua’s Final Words to Israel

23 The years passed, and the Lord had given the people of Israel rest from all their enemies. Joshua, who was now very old, called together all the elders, leaders, judges, and officers of Israel. He said to them, “I am now a very old man. You have seen everything the Lord your God has done for you during my lifetime. The Lord your God has fought for you against your enemies. I have allotted to you as your homeland all the land of the nations yet unconquered, as well as the land of those we have already conquered—from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea[a] in the west. This land will be yours, for the Lord your God will himself drive out all the people living there now. You will take possession of their land, just as the Lord your God promised you.

“So be very careful to follow everything Moses wrote in the Book of Instruction. Do not deviate from it, turning either to the right or to the left. Make sure you do not associate with the other people still remaining in the land. Do not even mention the names of their gods, much less swear by them or serve them or worship them. Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.

“For the Lord has driven out great and powerful nations for you, and no one has yet been able to defeat you. 10 Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.

12 “But if you turn away from him and cling to the customs of the survivors of these nations remaining among you, and if you intermarry with them, 13 then know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive them out of your land. Instead, they will be a snare and a trap to you, a whip for your backs and thorny brambles in your eyes, and you will vanish from this good land the Lord your God has given you.

14 “Soon I will die, going the way of everything on earth. Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed! 15 But as surely as the Lord your God has given you the good things he promised, he will also bring disaster on you if you disobey him. He will completely destroy you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you break the covenant of the Lord your God by worshiping and serving other gods, his anger will burn against you, and you will quickly vanish from the good land he has given you.”

The Lord’s Covenant Renewed

24 Then Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, including their elders, leaders, judges, and officers. So they came and presented themselves to God.

Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River,[b] and they worshiped other gods. But I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him into the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir, while Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

“Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterward I brought you out as a free people. But when your ancestors arrived at the Red Sea,[c] the Egyptians chased after you with chariots and charioteers. When your ancestors cried out to the Lord, I put darkness between you and the Egyptians. I brought the sea crashing down on the Egyptians, drowning them. With your very own eyes you saw what I did. Then you lived in the wilderness for many years.

“Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I destroyed them before you. I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their land. Then Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, started a war against Israel. He summoned Balaam son of Beor to curse you, 10 but I would not listen to him. Instead, I made Balaam bless you, and so I rescued you from Balak.

11 “When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I gave you victory over them. 12 And I sent terror[d] ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites. It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory. 13 I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.

14 “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

16 The people replied, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. 17 For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. 18 It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God.”

19 Then Joshua warned the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you abandon the Lord and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you.”

21 But the people answered Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!”

22 “You are a witness to your own decision,” Joshua said. “You have chosen to serve the Lord.”

“Yes,” they replied, “we are witnesses to what we have said.”

23 “All right then,” Joshua said, “destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

24 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God. We will obey him alone.”

25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day at Shechem, committing them to follow the decrees and regulations of the Lord. 26 Joshua recorded these things in the Book of God’s Instructions. As a reminder of their agreement, he took a huge stone and rolled it beneath the terebinth tree beside the Tabernacle of the Lord.

27 Joshua said to all the people, “This stone has heard everything the Lord said to us. It will be a witness to testify against you if you go back on your word to God.”

28 Then Joshua sent all the people away to their own homelands.

Leaders Buried in the Promised Land

29 After this, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. 30 They buried him in the land he had been allocated, at Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

31 The people of Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him—those who had personally experienced all that the Lord had done for Israel.

32 The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought along with them when they left Egypt, were buried at Shechem, in the plot of land Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor for 100 pieces of silver.[e] This land was located in the territory allotted to the descendants of Joseph.

33 Eleazar son of Aaron also died. He was buried in the hill country of Ephraim, in the town of Gibeah, which had been given to his son Phinehas.

Footnotes

  1. 23:4 Hebrew the Great Sea.
  2. 24:2 Hebrew the river; also in 24:3, 14, 15.
  3. 24:6 Hebrew sea of reeds.
  4. 24:12 Often rendered the hornet. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  5. 24:32 Hebrew 100 kesitahs; the value or weight of the kesitah is no longer known.

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