Joshua 24

Joshua and the people repeat their promises to God

1 Joshua called all the tribes together at Shechem. He made all the men with authority to stand in front of God. They were the leaders, officers and judges.

24:1Shechem was an important place. When Abraham came to Shechem (see Genesis 12:7), God said to him, ‘I will give this land to your people.’ Now the people lived in the land.

2 Joshua spoke to the people. He said, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says, “A long time ago, your fathers lived across the river Euphrates, and worshipped other gods. Your fathers included Terah and his sons, Abraham and Nahor. 3 But I took Abraham from that land and I brought him to all the places in Canaan. I gave him many sons and daughters. I gave him Isaac, 4 and I gave to Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau. I gave the hill country of Mount Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his sons went down to live in Egypt.

5 I sent Moses and Aaron to the Israelites in Egypt and did many things to the people of Egypt to make them let you go. 6 When I brought your fathers out of Egypt, you reached the Red Sea. The Egyptians went after them with men on horses and in chariots as far as the Sea. 7 But your fathers cried to the Lord for help. He made it dark between them and the Egyptians, and made the river water cover your enemies. You saw what I did to the Egyptians with your own eyes. Then you lived in the desert for a long time.

8 I brought you to the land of the Amorites, east of the river Jordan. They fought you, but I helped you to win the fight. I destroyed them in front of you, and you took their land. 9 Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab, got ready to fight you. When he did this, he asked Balaam, son of Beor, to ask me to hurt you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam. So Balaam blessed you and went on blessing you. And I saved you from the king of Moab.

11 Then you went across the Jordan and came to Jericho. You fought with the people of Jericho and with the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites. I helped you to win all those fights. 12 I made them very afraid of you so they ran away from you. And so did the two kings of the Amorites. You did not do this on your own. 13 So I gave you a land that you had not worked for. I gave you houses that you did not build. You live in the houses. You eat fruit from plants and trees that you did not plant.” ’

14 Joshua said, ‘Now you must give honour to the Lord, and serve him. You must always do only what he says. Throw away the gods that your fathers worshipped across the Euphrates and in Egypt. Worship the Lord. 15 But if you do not want to serve the Lord, you may choose other gods. You may serve the gods that your fathers served across the river. Or serve the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. But I and my family, we will serve the Lord.’

16 The people answered Joshua, ‘We would never leave the Lord to serve other gods! 17 We and our fathers were slaves in Egypt. But the Lord our God brought us out from there. We saw the great things that he did there. He kept us safe all the time on our journey. He saved us from other people. 18 The Lord went in front of us. He pushed out the Amorites and the other people who lived in the land. So we too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.’

19 Joshua answered them, ‘But you cannot serve the Lord. He is a holy God. He will not forget if you turn away from him. He will not forgive your sins. 20 If you leave the Lord and serve other gods, he will turn round and punish you. Until now, he has been kind to you, but then he will destroy you, if you turn against him.’

21 ‘No!’ the people said. ‘We will serve the Lord.’

22 Joshua said, ‘You yourselves have chosen to serve the Lord. See that you keep your promise.’

They replied, ‘Yes, we will watch ourselves with great care.’

23 ‘Now then,’ Joshua said, ‘throw away the false gods, the gods of other people, that you still keep. And give yourselves completely to the Lord, the God of Israel.’

24 The people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.’

25 Joshua and the people made these important promises on that day. There at Shechem, he made a list of their rules and laws. 26 And Joshua wrote these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a big stone and stood it there under the oak tree (a big strong tree) that was by the Lord's holy place.

27 ‘See this stone!’ he said to all the people. ‘It will help you to remember the promise that you have made. It will make you feel bad if you do not obey your God.’

Joshua dies

28 Then Joshua sent the people away, each to his own part of the land.

29 After this, Joshua died at the age of 110. 30 The Israelites buried him in his own land that was at Timnah Serah in the hills of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

31 The people of Israel served the Lord while Joshua was alive. Other leaders had seen all that the Lord had done for Israel. The people of Israel continued to serve the Lord as long as these leaders were alive.

32 The people of Israel had brought the body of Joseph up from Egypt (Genesis 50:22-26). They buried it at Shechem. This was the land that Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. Jacob paid them 100 pieces of silver. The land belonged to Joseph's children.

33 Eleazar, son of Aaron, died and people buried him at Gibeah. This was the town in the hills of Ephraim that belonged to his son Phinehas.