Joshua 24:1-21New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
The Covenant Is Renewed at Shechem
24 Joshua gathered all Israel’s tribes together at Shechem. He sent for the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel. They came and stood there in the sight of God.
2 Joshua spoke to all the people. He said, “The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, ‘Long ago your people lived east of the Euphrates River. They worshiped other gods there. Your people included Terah. He was the father of Abraham and Nahor. 3 I took your father Abraham from the land east of the Euphrates. I led him all through Canaan. I gave him many children and grandchildren. I gave him Isaac. 4 To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave the hill country of Seir to Esau. But Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.
5 “ ‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron. I made the people of Egypt suffer because of the plagues I sent on them. But I brought you out of Egypt. 6 When I brought your people out, they came to the Red Sea. The people of Egypt chased them with chariots and with men on horses. They chased them all the way to the sea. 7 But your people cried out to me for help. So I put darkness between you and the people of Egypt. I swept them into the sea. It completely covered them. Your own eyes saw what I did to them. After that, you lived in the desert for a long time.
8 “ ‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites. They lived east of the Jordan River. They fought against you. But I handed them over to you. I destroyed them to make room for you. Then you took over their land. 9 Balak, the son of Zippor, prepared to fight against Israel. Balak was the king of Moab. He sent for Balaam, the son of Beor. Balak wanted Balaam to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam’s curses. So he blessed you again and again. And I saved you from his power.
11 “ ‘Then you went across the Jordan River. You came to Jericho. Its people fought against you. So did the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites. But I handed them over to you. 12 I sent hornets ahead of you. They drove your enemies out to make room for you. That included the two Amorite kings. You did not do that with your own swords and bows. 13 So I gave you a land you had never farmed. I gave you cities you had not built. You are now living in them. And you are eating the fruit of vineyards and olive trees you did not plant.’
14 “So have respect for the Lord. Serve him. Be completely faithful to him. Throw away the gods your people worshiped east of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord. 15 But suppose you don’t want to serve him. Then choose for yourselves right now whom you will serve. You can choose the gods your people served east of the Euphrates River. Or you can serve the gods of the Amorites. After all, you are living in their land. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
16 Then the people answered Joshua, “We would never desert the Lord! We would never serve other gods! 17 The Lord our God himself brought us and our parents up out of Egypt. He brought us out of that land where we were slaves. With our own eyes, we saw those great signs he did. He kept us safe on our entire journey. He kept us safe as we traveled through all the nations. 18 He drove them out to make room for us. That included the Amorites. They also lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord. That’s because he is our God.”
19 Joshua said to the people, “You aren’t able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won’t forgive you when you disobey him. He won’t forgive you when you sin against him. 20 Suppose you desert the Lord. Suppose you serve the gods that people in other lands serve. If you do, he will turn against you. He will bring trouble on you. He will destroy you, even though he has been good to you.”
21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”
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