Joshua 23

Joshua says ‘goodbye’ to the leaders

1 After many years had passed, Joshua was very old. The Lord had given the people of Israel a time with no fighting. Their enemies who lived near them all did not attack them any more. 2 Joshua called all the people to him with their leaders, judges and officers. He said to them, ‘I am very many years old. 3 You yourselves have seen what the Lord has done to these people. It was the Lord who fought against them to help you. 4 Remember how I have given each of your tribes a special part of the land. Some other people still live there. I fought for this land and took it from the people near you. The land is between the river Jordan and the Great Sea in the west. 5 The Lord himself will push the people out of the land. He will push them out in front of you, and you will live in their land. The Lord promised that he would do this.

6 Be very strong. Do everything that Moses told you to do in his Book of the Law. Obey his rules. Do not turn away from them even a little bit. 7 Do not become friends of the people who are near you. Do not call out to their gods. Do not use their names to show that you mean what you say. You must not serve them or worship them. 8 But you must always obey the Lord your God, as you have until now.

9 The Lord has pushed out big and strong people in front of you. No one has been strong enough to stand against you. 10 One of you has sent away 1,000 men. This is because the Lord your God fought for you, as he promised. 11 You must be very careful to love the Lord your God. 12 You must not turn away from him to join with the other nations that still live near you. Do not marry any of them. Do not live in the way that they live. 13 If you do that, the Lord your God will not push them out in front of you any more. Instead, they will catch you and hurt you. They will be like hard sticks on your backs and sharp stones in your eyes. Then you will lose this good land that the Lord your God has given to you.

14 Now I am going to die, as all men do. The Lord has kept every one of the promises that he gave to you. You know that deep in yourselves. He has not failed to keep one of them. 15 The Lord has kept every good promise. And the Lord will also keep the promise to trouble you and to destroy you. The Lord will send you away from this good land that he has given you. 16 He will do this if you do not keep the rules that he gave you. If you do not obey the Lord, he will be very angry with you. If you go to serve other gods and worship them, you will soon die out from this good land.’