Joshua 23

Joshua says ‘goodbye’

1 Joshua became very old. The Lord had let the Israelite people live safely for many years. The other nations who lived near them did not attack them. 2 One day, Joshua called all the leaders to meet with him. They were the leaders of Israel's tribes and clans, the judges and the officers. He said to them,

‘I am now very old. 3 You yourselves have seen what the Lord has done to these other nations. It was the Lord who fought against them on your behalf. 4 Remember how I have given land to each of your tribes. The land is between the Jordan river in the east, and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. It is land that belonged to different nations. Some of those people we have chased away, but some of them still remain in the land. 5 The Lord himself will chase those people out of the land, so that you can live there. The Lord your God has promised you all this.

6 Be very strong. Be careful that you obey everything that Moses wrote in the Book of the Law. Do not turn away from any of those rules. 7 Do not become friends of the nations that live near you. Do not call out to their gods. Do not use the names of their gods to make a promise. You must not serve them or worship them. 8 But you must always serve the Lord your God, as you have until now.

9 The Lord has chased out in front of you nations that are great and strong. None of them has been strong enough to win against you. 10 Because the Lord your God fights on your behalf, one of you can chase away 1,000 men! The Lord has promised to do this for you. 11 You must be very careful that you continue 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 chase them out in front of you any more. Instead, those nations will become a danger for you. They will be like a trap that catches you. They will be like sticks that beat your backs, and like sharp thorns in your eyes. They will bring trouble to you until none of you remain in this good land that the Lord your God has given to you.

14 I will soon die, as all men do. The Lord your God has done everything that he promised you he would do. Deep inside yourselves, you know that is true. He has not failed to do even one thing that he promised. 15 The Lord has given to you every good thing that he has promised. But if you refuse to obey him, he will also punish you in every way that he has promised. He will destroy you so that you no longer live in this good land that he has given to you. 16 You must obey the rules that he commanded you to obey in his covenant. You must not serve or worship other gods. If you turn against him, the Lord your God will be very angry with you. Then very soon none of you will remain in this good land that he has given to you.’