Going in to the land that God promised


The people of Israel (the Israelites, the sons of Jacob) had lived and walked for 40 years in desert places. All the grown men that God had brought out of Egypt had died. Moses had died, too. Now God had chosen Joshua to be their leader. He was one of the two men who had spoken the true words. He said that the land of Canaan was good. The other 10 men had been afraid of the big, strong men there (Numbers 14). God had promised to give the people the land of Canaan. They had not believed that God could give it to them. So, God made them stay in the desert. They stayed there until they died. But their children did not die. The name ‘Joshua’ means ‘God saves’. The name ‘Jesus’ means the same in the Greek language.

The book of Joshua is like the books of Judges, Samuel and Kings. All these books tell how God saved and led his people. They tell the story of how God kept his promises to Israel.

Chapter 1

The Lord tells Joshua what to do

1 Moses, the man who had served the Lord, had died. Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, son of Nun, who had helped Moses. 2 ‘Moses, my servant, is dead. Now you and all these people must get ready to cross the river Jordan. You, the people of Israel, will go into the land that I am going to give you’, he said. 3 ‘I have given you every part of the ground that you walk upon. I promised Moses that I would do this. 4 You will have all the land from the desert in the south to the mountains of Lebanon in the north. It will be from the river Euphrates to the Great Sea on the west. You will have all the land of the Hittite people. 5 No one can stop you from taking this land as long as you live. As I was with Moses, I will always be with you. I will never leave you alone.

6 Be strong and do not be afraid. You will lead these people to take the land. That is the land that I promised to give to their fathers. 7 Be strong and do not be afraid. Be careful to do all the things that Moses told you. Remember to do everything that he told you. Then everything will go well with you. You will win, everywhere you go. 8 You must keep on speaking about the words of God’s law. Think about what it says, all the time. Then you will be careful to obey it. Then you will help yourselves to do well, and to win. 9 Remember that I have told you to do this. So be strong and do not be afraid. Do not be weak but be brave. I, the Lord your God, will be with you, everywhere that you go.’

Joshua speaks to the Israelites

10 So Joshua spoke to the leaders of the people. 11 ‘Go through all the places where the people live’, he said. ‘Tell them to get food ready for a journey. In 3 days or less, you will cross the river Jordan to begin to take the land for yourselves. This is the land that the Lord, your God, is giving to you’, Joshua said.

12 Moses had given land east of the Jordan to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh. Then Joshua spoke to these tribes. 13 ‘Remember what Moses told you’, he said. ‘The Lord your God is giving you a rest. He has given you this land.’ 14 Your wives, children and animals can stay in this land that Moses gave you, east of the Jordan. But your fighting men must cross the river, with their arms. They must go in front of their brother Israelites. You must help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest as he has given you. When all the other tribes are safe in the land, you may return to the land east of the Jordan. Moses gave this to you.’

16 ‘We will do whatever you tell us. And we will go everywhere that you send us’, they answered Joshua. 17 ‘As we always obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. The Lord your God was with Moses. We only ask that the Lord will be with you too. 18 Someone might not agree with your word. He might not obey it. We will make sure that he dies. But be very strong and be brave. Do not be afraid.’

‘Rest’ was something very special to the people of Israel. It meant that they had a rich land. No one was hungry there. It meant that there was no fighting. Everyone was happy. It did not mean that they did not have to do any work.

Chapter 2

Rahab helps two men of Israel

1 Then Joshua sent out two men from Shittim. He sent them in secret to see what the land was like. ‘Go’, he said, ‘Look at all the country, and look well at the city of Jericho’. When they came to the city, they went into the house of Rahab. They stayed there. She was a woman who had men to stay with her.

2 People spoke to the king of Jericho, ‘Look! Some of the people of Israel have come here tonight to see what our land is like’, they said. 3 So the king of Jericho sent a message to Rahab. ‘Bring out the men who are staying in your house. They have come to see what all our land is like!’ he said.

4 But the woman had hidden the two men. ‘Yes, some men did come to me. I did not know where they had come from’, she said. 5 ‘When it was getting near the time to close the gate of the city, they left. I do not know where they went. If you go after them quickly, you may catch them.’ 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof. She had hidden them under some plants that she was drying there.) 7 So the king’s men went out to try to find the two Israelites. They went towards the place where people could cross the river Jordan. As soon as they had gone out, people shut the gate.

8 Rahab went up to the roof. She spoke to the men as they prepared to sleep. 9 ‘I know that the Lord God has given this land to you’, she said to them. ‘I know that we are all very frightened of you. Everyone living in this part of the world is very afraid. 10 We heard how you came out of Egypt. And the Lord dried up the Red Sea for you. And we heard what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites. They lived east of the Jordan, and you destroyed them completely. 11 When we heard all this, we felt very weak. We were very frightened. This is because the Lord, your God, is God. He rules the heaven (the place where God lives) above and the earth beneath. 12 Now, please make me a promise. I have been kind to you. So, say that you will be kind to my family. As you believe in God, make your promise true. Give me something to show that you will keep your promise. 13 Show me that you will save the lives of my family. Save my mother, father, brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them. Please do not let anyone kill us.’

14 ‘We will give you your life if you save ours. Do not tell the king about us. When the Lord gives us this land we will keep our promise. We will be kind to you’, the men said to her.

15 So Rahab put a rope out of the window. (The house that she lived in was part of the city wall.) The men climbed down the rope. 16 ‘Go to the hills’, she told them. ‘The men who are looking for you will not find you there. Hide there for 3 days until they return here. Then you can go back to your people.’

17 ‘We will keep the promise that we have given to you’, the men said to her. 18 ‘This is what you must do. Tie this red rope in the window that we came through. Do this when we come to take your city. Get your father, mother, brothers and sisters and all your family into your house. 19 If anyone goes out into the street, he may die. That will be his own bad mistake. And you will know that we kept our promise. But if anyone in the house with you dies, then we should be punished. 20 It would be different if you told anyone about this. Then we would not have to keep the promise that we have given you.’ 21 Rahab agreed with the men, and sent them away. When they had gone, she tied the red rope in her window.

22 The two Israelites went into the hills and hid there. The king’s men looked everywhere for them for 3 days. They did not find them, so they returned to Jericho. 23 Then the two men came down from the hills and crossed the river Jordan. They went to Joshua. They told him everything that had happened. 24 ‘We are sure that the Lord has given us the whole country. All the people there are very frightened of us’, they said.

Chapter 3

The people cross the Jordan

1 Early in the morning, Joshua and all the Israelites left the city of Shittim. They put their tents by the river Jordan. They waited to cross the river. 2 Three days later, their leaders went to every tent. 3 ‘You will see the priests carrying the ark of God’s promise’, they said to the people. ‘Then you must carry your tents and follow them. 4 They will show you the way to go because you have never been here before. But stay about 1000 metres behind the ark. Do not go near it.

5 Joshua told the people to make themselves holy and ready for the Lord. ‘Tomorrow the Lord will do great things that will surprise you completely’, he said.

6 ‘Take up the ark, and go in front of the people’, Joshua said to the priests. So, they picked it up, and went on in front of the people.

7 And the Lord spoke to Joshua. ‘Today I will begin to make you look important in front of all the people of Israel’, he said. ‘I was with Moses. And they will know that I am with you too. 8 The priests that are carrying the ark will reach the edge of the river Jordan. Tell them, “Go and stand in the river” ’.

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 Your God is alive. He is going to show you that he is with you. He will show you how powerful he is. He will certainly push the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites from this land. 11 See the ark of the Lord of all the earth go into the Jordan in front of you. 12 Now choose 12 men, one from each tribe of Israel. 13 The priests are carrying the ark of promise of the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet go into the water of the river, the Lord will stop its water from coming towards them. Instead, the water will rise up like a wall.’

14 So the priests carrying the ark went in front of the people towards the river. 15 There was a lot of water coming down the river at that time of the year. But as soon as the priests carrying the ark went into the river, 16 the water stopped coming. It stopped a long way up the river, at a town called Adam near Zarethan. The water going down to the Salt Sea stopped completely. So, the people crossed the river near Jericho. 17 While the people walked across on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark stood still in the middle of the Jordan. They stood there until all the people had crossed.

The people of the tribe of Israel are called Israelites. The people of the tribe of Canaan are called Canaanites. It is the same with the names of the people of other tribes, as in verse 9.

Chapter 4

1 When all the people of Israel had crossed the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua. 2 ‘Choose 12 men from the people, one from each tribe’, he said. 3 ‘Tell them to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan. Take them from where the priests are standing. Carry the stones over with you. Put them down where you stay tonight.’

4 So Joshua called the 12 men that he had chosen, one from each Israelite tribe. 5 He said to them, ‘Go in front of the ark of the Lord into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you must pick up a stone and put it on his shoulder. There will be one stone for each of the tribes of Israel. 6 This will be like a special mark for you. In years to come, your children will ask you, “What do these stones mean?” 7 Then you will tell them that the waters of the river Jordan stopped moving. That was while the ark of God’s promise went across the river. These stones will help the people of Israel to remember this for ever.’

8 So the 12 men obeyed Joshua. They took 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan as the Lord had told Joshua. There was one stone for each tribe of Israel. They carried the stones to the place where the people had put their tents. And they put the stones down. 9 Joshua also put 12 stones from the Jordan in the middle of the Jordan, in the place where the priests with the ark had stood. (The stones were still there when people wrote this.) 10 The priests stood in the middle of the Jordan. Then people did everything as the Lord had told Joshua. The Lord had spoken to Joshua as he had spoken to Moses.

The people crossed the river quickly. 11 As soon as everybody was on the other side, the priests took the ark to the other side, too. The people saw them. 12 The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh led the people, ready to fight, as Moses had told them. 13 About 40 000 men, ready to fight, crossed to the flat land near Jericho.

14 This is what the Lord did that day. It made all the people think that Joshua was a great man. They gave him honour all his life, as they had honoured Moses.

15 Then the Lord spoke again to Joshua. 16 ‘Tell the priests carrying the ark to come up out of the Jordan.’

17 So Joshua said to the priests, ‘Come up out of the Jordan.’ 18 And the priests came up out of the river. They were carrying the ark of the Lord. As soon as their feet touched the dry ground, the waters of the Jordan began to return. There was much water and it moved fast.

19 The people went from the Jordan and put their tents at Gilgal on the 10th day of the first month. Gilgal was a city on the east side of Jericho. 20 At Gilgal, Joshua put the 12 stones that they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the people of Israel, ‘Your children will ask, in later years, “What do these stones mean?” 22 Then you must tell them, “Israel went across the river Jordan on dry ground.” 23 The Lord your God made the river dry up as he made the Red Sea dry up. He dried the Sea. Then the people could cross it when they left Egypt. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the world would see how powerful he was. He did it so that you would always fear the Lord, your God.’

Chapter 5

Circumcision at Gilgal

1 All the Amorite kings west of the Jordan, and all the Canaanite kings heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan. And how the Lord had kept it dry until all the Israelites had crossed to the other side. Then the kings became very afraid, and felt too weak to fight with the Israelites.

2 The Lord spoke to Joshua at that time. ‘Make knives of stone and circumcise the men’, he said. 3 So Joshua made the knives and circumcised them at Gibeath Haaraloth.

4 All the men who came out of Egypt had died. So Joshua did this. All the men old enough to fight had died in the desert on the way to Canaan. 5 All the people who came out of Egypt had been circumcised. But all the people born in the desert coming from Egypt had not been circumcised. 6 The Israelites had walked about in the desert for 40 years. But all the men who were old enough to fight when they left Egypt had died. This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord. The Lord had made a promise. He had promised to give them the land. But he said that they would certainly not see it. The land would feed their sheep and give other good food, too. 7 Joshua circumcised the sons of the men who had died.

8 All of them were circumcised. Then they stayed there until they were better again. 9 The Lord said to Joshua, ‘You are no longer slaves to the people of Egypt. Today I have saved you from being ashamed of this.’

So, the place was called Gilgal and it still has that name. (Gilgal means ‘taken away’.)

10 The Israelite people kept the ‘feast of Passover’ on the evening of the 14th month. They did this while they were at Gilgal, near the city of Jericho. 11 The next day they ate food grown in Canaan for the first time. They ate dry seed and flat bread. 12 The ‘manna’ stopped falling at the same time, so they did not have it any more. After that time they only ate food that was grown in Canaan.

13 While Joshua was near Jericho, a man appeared, standing in front of him. The man had a sword (a sharp metal stick to fight with) in his hand. Joshua went up to him, ‘Are you one of our soldiers, or an enemy?’ he asked.

14 ‘I am neither’, he answered. ‘I am here as the captain of the Lord’s army.’

Joshua fell on the ground to worship and said, ‘I am your servant. Lord, what can I do for you?’

15 The captain of the Lord’s army said, ‘Take your shoes off. You are standing on holy ground.’ And Joshua did take off his shoes.

The Lord God told Abraham that he and his sons were to circumcise all male children. They had to do this when the children were 8 days old. This showed that God had made a promise to them. He would make them his special people. He would do this if they obeyed him (Genesis 17:9-16).

The ‘feast of Passover’ was an important holy day. The Israelites ate a special meal. It helped them to remember how God had saved them. They had been slaves in Egypt. They remembered, too, how the Lord had dried up the Red Sea. Then they could walk out of Egypt.

‘Manna’ was food that God sent to the Israelites from the sky. It fed them all the time that they were walking through the desert (Exodus 16:4).

Chapter 6

The fall of Jericho city

1 The people of Jericho kept their gates shut. They watched to see that the Israelites did not get in. No one could go in or out of the city. 2 ‘I am going to give you Jericho’, the Lord said to Joshua. ‘I will give you its king and all its brave soldiers. 3 You and all your soldiers must march round the city once each day, for 6 days. 4 Seven (7) priests will walk in front of the ark. They will carry trumpets as they walk. On the 7th day, you and your soldiers must march round the city 7 times. At the same time the priests will blow their trumpets. 5 Then they will make one long loud noise. As soon as you hear this, all the men must give a loud shout. The city walls will fall down. Then the whole army will go straight into the city.’ 6 Joshua called the priests. ‘Take the ark of God’s promise, and make 7 other priests walk in front of it, carrying trumpets’, he said to them. 7 He told the people to start marching round the city, with a group of fighting men going in front of the ark.

8 Joshua finished speaking to the people. Then the 7 priests carrying the 7 trumpets went blowing their trumpets. And the priests carrying the ark followed them. 9 Some strong fighting men went in front of the priests with the trumpets, and another group of soldiers followed the ark. The trumpets were blowing all this time. 10 But Joshua had said to the people, ‘Do not shout or make a noise. Do not say a word until I tell you to shout. I will tell you to shout one day, then shout!’ 11 Joshua made them carry the ark round the city once. Then they returned to their tents, and slept there that night.

12 Joshua got up early the next morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The 7 priests carrying the trumpets marched in front of the ark, blowing the trumpets. The groups of soldiers went in front of the priests blowing the trumpets, and behind the ark. The priests blew the trumpets all the time. 14 This is how they marched round the city on the second day. They did this once and returned to their tents. They did this for 6 days.

15 On the 7th day they got up at dawn and marched round the city in the same way, but for 7 times. 16 The 7th time, the priests made a long, loud noise on the trumpets. Joshua told the people, ‘Shout! Because the Lord has given you the city. 17 The city and all that is in it belongs to the Lord. All the people must die. Only Rahab and the people with her in her house will live. This is because she hid our two men. 18 Keep away from the things that belong to God. If you take any of them, you will die. You would make trouble for the people of Israel, and could cause the Lord to destroy them, too. 19 All the things made of silver, gold and iron and mixed metals are holy to the Lord. They must be stored with his valuable things.’

20 When the trumpets made their loud sound, all the people gave a great shout. When they did this, the walls fell down. Every man went up into the city. And they took the city. 21 They gave the city to the Lord. So they destroyed every living thing in it. They killed men and women, young and old people, cows, sheep and other animals.

22 Joshua spoke to the two men that Rahab had hidden. ‘Go into her house. Bring her out with all who are with her’, he said. ‘This is what you promised to her.’ 23 So the young men who had been to look at the city went and brought out Rahab and her whole family. They brought out her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They gave them a place outside the Israelite tents.

24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it. They put the gold, silver, iron and metal things into the Lord’s store of valuable things. 25 But Joshua saved Rahab and her family and all who belonged to her. Joshua had sent to find out about the city. And Rahab had hidden those men. She still lives among the Israelites.

26 At that time, Joshua made this serious promise. ‘The Lord will punish the man who builds this city again’, he said. ‘When he starts to build, his oldest son will die. His youngest son will die when he puts up its gates.’

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and people all over the land heard all about him.

Rahab was a woman who let men pay her to have sex with her. But God saved her. She had believed that he could keep her safe (Hebrews 11:31). Someone wrote this story while she was alive.

Chapter 7

The sin of Achan

1 The people of Israel did not do as God had told them through Joshua. Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zimri, son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, did not obey God. He took some of the things that belonged to God. So God was very angry with the people of Israel.

2 Now Joshua had sent men from Jericho to Ai. This is a city near to Beth Aven, and east of Bethel. He said to them, ‘Go up and look at the land near there, in secret.’ So, the men went to see what they could find out.

3 The men came and spoke to Joshua. ‘There are not many men there. Do not make all the people tired. 2000 or 3000 men should be enough to take the city.’ 4 So about 3000 men went up to Ai. But the men of Ai made them run away. 5 And the men of Ai killed about 36 of the Israelites. They ran after the Israelites from the gate of the city to the place where they cut stone for building. They killed them as they ran over the hill. When the people of Israel heard this, they were very frightened. They felt very weak.

6 Joshua tore his clothes to show that he was very sad. He fell with his face to the ground in front of the ark of the Lord. He stayed there until it began to get dark. The people’s leaders did the same, and put dirt on their heads. 7Lord, ruler of all, why did you ever bring this group of people over the Jordan?’ said Joshua. ‘Did you want the Amorites to destroy us? We might have been happy if we had stayed on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Lord, what can I say now that the enemies of Israel have won the fight? 9 The Canaanites and other tribes who live here will hear about this. They will come round us and kill us all. No one will give honour to your name.’ 10 The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Stand up! Why are you lying on the ground? 11 Israel has sinned. They have not kept their promise. They did not do what I told them. I said that they must destroy everything that was not gold or silver or metal. They have taken some of these things. They took them. Then they said that they had not taken anything. They have hidden them with their own things. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They run away from their enemies now. The Israelites have sinned and their enemies can destroy them. You must destroy everything that I told you to destroy. If you do not, then I will not be with you any more.’

13 ‘Get up. Tell the people to make themselves clean. Get ready for tomorrow when you will meet with me. I, the Lord God of Israel say this, “Israel, you have kept some of the things that I told you to destroy. You will not win the fight against your enemies until you have destroyed these things!” 14 So tell them that in the morning they will come before me, one tribe at a time. I will choose one tribe to come in front. The groups of that tribe will come before me, one by one. The group that I will choose will come before me, family by family. I will choose a family. Then the men of that family will come before me, one by one. 15 I will choose the man who has taken the things. Then you will burn him with the things that he has taken. You are to burn him and all that he has and all his family. He has caused great trouble to Israel. He made them ashamed, because he did not obey me.’

16 Early the next morning, Joshua made the tribes come in front of him, tribe by tribe. The Lord chose the tribe of Judah. 17 Groups of the tribe of Judah came in front of him, and the Lord chose the group of Zerah. Families of the Zerahites came in front of him, and the Lord chose the family of Zimri. 18 Joshua made each man of the family of Zimri come in front of him, and the Lord chose Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zimri, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah.

19 Then Joshua spoke to Achan. ‘My son’, he said, ‘give honour to the Lord, the God of Israel. Tell me what you have done. Do not hide it from me.’ 20 Achan replied, ‘It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done. 21 I found a beautiful coat from Babylon and about two kilos of silver and a gold bar that weighed half a kilo. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are in the ground under my tent, with the silver under the other things.’ 22 So Joshua sent people with a message. They ran to the tent. They found the things that Achan had hidden. The silver was under them. 23 They took the things from the tent and brought them to Joshua and the other Israelites. They put them all before the Lord.

24 Then Joshua and all the people took Achan, the son of Zerah, and the coat, the gold and the silver to the valley of Achor (‘Achor’ means trouble). With him, they took his sons, daughters, cows, sheep and other animals and all that he had. 25 Joshua said, ‘Why did you cause us so much trouble? The Lord will give you trouble today!’ Then all Israel threw big stones at him until he died. They killed his family and his animals with him. They also burnt his family and all that he had. 26 They put many big stones over him, that are still there. That is why the place is still called ‘Trouble Valley’. Then the Lord was not angry any more.

Chapter 8

They destroyed Ai

1 Then the Lord spoke again. ‘Do not be afraid. Do not think that you are weak’, he said to Joshua. ‘Take the whole army with you and go to attack Ai. I will give the king and all his people and the city and its land to you. 2 You must destroy the city and its king as you did Jericho and its king. But this time you may take their good things and all their animals for yourselves. Hide some of your men behind the city.’ 3 So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose 30 000 of the best fighting men and sent them out by night. 4 ‘Listen with great care’, he said. ‘You are to go and hide behind the city. Stay near to it. Be sure to stay awake! 5 I will march towards the city with all the other soldiers. The men will come out of the city to fight us, as they did before. Then we will run away. 6 They will run after us, until we have gone from the city. They will say, “They are running away from us, as they did before”. So, when we run from them, 7 you must get out from your hiding place. You will take the city. The Lord your God will give it to you. 8 When you have taken the city, start to burn it. Do what the Lord has told you. See that you obey my words.’

9 Then Joshua sent the men off. They went to wait and hide to the west of Ai, between Bethel and Ai. But Joshua stayed with the people that night.

10 Early the next morning, Joshua took all the men together to march towards Ai. He and the leaders of Israel went in front. 11 The whole army marched up to the city and stopped in front of it. They put their tents north of Ai. They left a valley between them and the city. 12 Joshua had hidden about 5000 men to the west of the city, between Bethel and Ai. 13 All the soldiers took their places, ready to fight. Some were north of the city, by their tents. And other soldiers were hiding to the west of the city. That night Joshua went into the valley.

14 When the king of Ai saw Joshua’s men, the king and his men hurried out of the city. It was early in the morning. They wanted to meet Israel at the same place as before. And they wanted to fight Israel there. But the king of Ai did not know that there were Israelite soldiers hidden behind the city. 15 Joshua and his army let the men of Ai push them back, and they ran towards the desert. 16 The king told all the men of Ai to run after them. So they ran after Israel and away from their city. 17 Not one man remained in Ai or Bethel. They all ran after the Israelite soldiers.

In verse 3, Joshua told 30 000 men to hide behind Ai. But in verse 12, Joshua hid 5000 men. It is not clear why these numbers are different. Perhaps Joshua used two different groups of soldiers.

18 Then the Lord spoke to Joshua. The Lord said, ‘Hold out the throwing stick (a long sharp stick called a ‘javelin’) that is in your hand. Point it towards Ai. I will give the city to you.’ So Joshua held out his throwing stick towards Ai. 19 As soon as he did this, the men hiding behind the city came out at once. They quickly ran into the city. They took it and immediately made it burn. 20 The men of Ai looked back and saw smoke rise over the city. But they could not run away. The Israelites who had been running away had turned to fight them. 21 Joshua and his army had seen that they had taken the city. The men that he had hidden had taken it. Joshua’s army saw the smoke from the burning city. So they turned round and began to fight the men of Ai. 22 The Israelites in the city then came down to join the fight. The men of Israel were all round the men of Ai. They killed all the men of Ai. Nobody could run away. 23 The only person that they did not kill was the king of Ai. They took him to Joshua.

24 The Israelites killed all the men in the desert and fields where they had run from the fight. Then they went back to Ai and killed everyone there. 25 All the men and women of Ai died on that day. 12 000 people died then. 26 Joshua had kept pointing his throwing stick at Ai until his army had killed every person who lived there. 27 But the Israelites took the good things and the animals for themselves, as the Lord had told Joshua. 28 Joshua burnt the city and broke it down. It is still like that today. 29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree and left his body there until evening. At sunset, Joshua told them to cut the body down and throw it in front of the city gate. They covered it with many stones. These stones are still there today.

Joshua reads the Lord’s law to the people

30 Then Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal, to the Lord, the God of Israel (‘Mount’ is another name for mountain). 31 He made it as Moses had told the Israelites. Moses, the Lord’s servant, had written this in a book. This book, the Law of Moses, told him how it should be made. ‘The altar must be made of stones that had not been cut with iron tools.’ They burnt animals on it to worship the Lord. And they burnt other animals, as ‘fellowship offerings’ to the Lord. 32 The Israelites watched Joshua as he made a copy of the Law of Moses on the stones. This was the Law that Moses had written. 33 All the Israelites stood on the two sides of the ark, with their faces towards the priests who carried it. The leaders, officers, and judges were there, and the foreign people were with them, too. Half the people stood with their backs to Mount Gerizim. The other half stood with their backs to Mount Ebal. This is how the Lord’s servant, Moses had told them to stand (Deuteronomy 11:29). ‘Stand like this when I am asking the Lord to give you his blessing’, he had said. 34 Then Joshua read the whole Law aloud to them. He read the blessings and the curses, as they are written in the book of the Law. Moses had told him how to bless the people of Israel. 35 Joshua read every word to the people of Israel. Moses had told him what to read. Joshua read it to the whole people, including the women, children and the foreign people who lived with them.

When the people wanted to thank the Lord for something special, they made ‘fellowship offerings’. They gave an animal that people could burn. And they ate a meal together (Leviticus chapter 3 and 7:11-17).

The Lord had punished the people of Israel because they did not obey him at Ai. They were very careful to do just what God had told them after that. They were very happy when the Lord helped them to win the fight. When Joshua read the Law to them, they listened with great care.

Chapter 9

The people of Gibeon tell a lie to Joshua and save their lives

1 When all the kings who lived west of the Jordan heard about these things, they joined together. They were the kings in the hills to the west, and all the places near the Great Sea, as far as Lebanon. (They were the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.) 2 They joined together to fight Joshua and Israel.

3 The people of Gibeon heard about what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai. 4 So they had a clever idea. Some of their men put old bags of food and broken and mended skins of wine (a drink) on their donkeys (animals like small horses for carrying things). 5 They had old mended shoes on their feet, and they wore old clothes. The bread that they took for food was dry. It was going bad. 6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal. They spoke to him and to the men of Israel. ‘We have come from a land a long way away’, they said. ‘Please let us make a promise not to fight each other.’

7 But the men of Israel answered the Hivites, ‘Perhaps you live close to us. How then can we make a promise not to destroy you?’

8 ‘We want to serve you’, they said to Joshua.

‘Who are you? Where do you come from?’ Joshua asked.

9 They answered, ‘Your servants have come from a country a very long way away. We heard about your great God. We have heard all about the things that he did in Egypt. 10 And we heard what he did to the two kings of the Amorites. Those kings ruled cities east of the Jordan. They were Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan. They ruled in Ashtaroth. 11 Our leaders and the people of our land told us to come to see you. Our leaders said, “Take food and wine (a drink) for your journey. Go to meet them, and speak to them. Say to them, ‘We want to serve you, will you promise not to destroy us?’ ” 12 This bread of ours was warm when we put it in our bags. That was on the day that we left home to come to you. But see how bad and dry it has become. 13 And these skins of wine (a drink) were new, but see how old and mended they are. And our clothes are now old, and our shoes are very thin and mended. They have become old as we made our long journey.’

14 The men of Israel looked at the food and other things, but they did not ask the Lord for help. 15 Then Joshua agreed that they would not kill the people of Gibeon. The leaders of Israel also said that they would keep Joshua’s promise.

16 So Joshua and the Israelites made a promise to the Gibeonites. Three days later, the Israelites learnt that the Gibeonites lived near to them. 17 The Israelites left their camp to go to the cities of Gibeon. Three days later, they came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 The Israelites did not attack them, because of the promise that their leaders had made. They had said to the Lord God of Israel that they would not kill the Gibeonites.

All the people of Israel were angry with their leaders. 19 The leaders said to them, ‘We have promised the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we cannot hurt them. 20 But this is what we will do. We will let them live, so that God will not punish us for breaking our promise. 21 Let them live, but make them cut wood and carry water for us’, they said. This is how the leaders kept their promise to the Gibeonites.

22 Joshua told the Gibeonites to come to him. ‘Why did you tell me those lies? You said that you lived a long way from us. But you really live near to us’, he said. 23 ‘Now you will be punished. You will always be our servants. You will cut wood and carry water for the people of our God.’

24 They answered Joshua, ‘The Lord your God had told Moses to give you the whole land. We had heard that clearly. He told you that you must kill all the people who lived there in front of you. So, we were afraid that you would kill us. That is why we did as we did. 25 You must decide what to do with us. Do what you think is right and good.’

26 So Joshua did not let the Israelites kill the Gibeonites, and the Israelites let them live. 27 They made the Gibeonites cut wood and fetch water for them. And they would do this for the altar of the Lord, at the place that the Lord would tell them. They are still doing this.

Chapter 10

The sun stands still

1 The king of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek, heard what Joshua had done to Ai and to Jericho and to their kings. He heard that Joshua had destroyed them. He also heard that Israel had promised not to kill the people of Gibeon. They lived near to Joshua. 2 The king and his people were very afraid, because Gibeon was an important city. It was like a king’s city and bigger than Ai. All its men fought well. 3 So Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, asked some other kings to come with him to attack Gibeon. They were Hoham, king of Hebron, Piram, king of Jarmuth, Japhia, king of Lachish and Debir, king of Eglon. 4 Adoni-Zedek said to them, ‘Gibeon has promised not to fight Joshua and the Israelites. Please help me to attack Gibeon.’

5 Then the 5 kings of the Amorites joined together. They were the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. They took their soldiers near to Gibeon, and attacked it.

6 Then the Gibeonites sent a message to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal. ‘Do not leave us alone. Come quickly and save us. All the Amorite kings from the hills have joined to attack us. We need your help’, they said.

7 So Joshua marched his whole army up from Gilgal. He included all his best fighting men. 8 The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them. I will see that you win the fight. I will not let one of them stand against you.’

9 They marched all night from Gilgal, and Joshua surprised his enemies. 10 The Lord made the enemies confused when they saw Israel. Israel won a great fight at Gibeon. Israel ran after their enemies on the road to Beth Horon. Israel went on killing them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 The Lord sent stones of hard water on them from the sky as they ran from Beth Horon to Azekah. The Lord killed more men with these stones than the Israelites killed in the fight.

12 Joshua stood in front of Israel and spoke to the Lord on that day. It was the day that he gave them power over the Amorites. Joshua spoke to the Lord and said, ‘Sun stand still over Gibeon. Moon stand over the valley of Aijalon.’

13 So the sun stood still and the moon stopped until Israel had punished its enemies. People wrote about this in the book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not go down for about a whole day. 14 The Lord has never listened to a man like this before or since that day. The Lord must have been fighting for Israel!

15 Then Joshua and all Israel went back to the camp at Gilgal.

The Israelites kill the 5 Amorite kings

16 Now the 5 kings had run away. They had hidden in a hole in the hill at Makkedah. 17 Joshua heard that they were hiding there. 18 He said to his men, ‘Cover the front of the hole with big stones. And put some men there to keep them safe. 19 But do not stop. Go on running after your enemies. Attack them from behind, and do not let them reach their cities. Remember that the Lord, your God has promised to give you power over them.’

20 So Joshua and the Israelites destroyed all of them. Nearly every one died. But the few who were alive reached their strong cities. 21 The whole army returned to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. All the people in the land were too afraid to say anything bad about the Israelites.

22 Then Joshua said, ‘Take away the stones from the hole in the hill. Bring the 5 kings out to me.’ 23 So they brought out the kings. They were the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 They brought the kings to Joshua, and he told the men of Israel to come to him. ‘Put your feet on the necks of the kings’, he said to the officers who had come with him. They did as he told them.

25 Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Be very strong and brave. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies that you are going to fight.’ 26 Then he hit and killed the kings. The Israelites hung the dead kings on 5 trees until the evening.

27 At sunset, Joshua told his men to take the kings down from the trees. ‘Throw them into the hole in the hill where they were hiding’, he said. They put big stones over the front of the hole, and they are still there.

28 That day Joshua attacked Makkedah and took it, with its king. He destroyed everyone in it. He did not leave anyone alive. He did to the king of Makkedah what he had done to the king of Jericho.

Joshua attacks cities in the south

29 After this, Joshua and his army went on from Makkedah to Libnah, and attacked it. 30 The Lord gave them power over that city and its king. Joshua destroyed the city and everyone in it. He did not leave anyone alive. They did to the king as they had done to the king of Jericho.

31 After this, Joshua and all the Israelites went on from Libnah to Lachish. They attacked it from all sides. 32 The Lord gave them power over Lachish. And Joshua took the city on the 2nd day. They left no one alive, as they had done at Libnah. They killed everyone in the city. 33 King Horam of Gezer came to help Lachish. But Joshua fought and destroyed him and his army. He killed them all.

34 Then Joshua and his army went from Lachish to Eglon. They went round it and attacked it. 35 They took it on the same day. They killed everyone in that city, as they had at Lachish.

36 After this, Joshua and his army went from Eglon to Hebron in the hills. They attacked 37 and took it. They killed the king and all the people there, and the people in the towns near to it. Joshua destroyed the whole city, as he had done to Eglon. He did not leave anyone alive.

38 Then Joshua and his army went back to Debir and attacked it. 39 He attacked it and took it with all the towns near to it. They killed everyone there. Joshua did to Debir and its king what he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.

40 So Joshua took the whole land. He took the hill country, the hills of the east and the west and the dry country in the south. He took them with their kings. He killed all the people who lived there. He did not leave anyone alive. The Lord God of Israel had told him to do this. 41 Joshua had fought from Kadesh Barnea in the south to Gaza near the sea. This included all of Goshen as far as Gibeon in the north. 42 Joshua won this long list of fights with all these kings and their cities. He won them because the Lord, the God of Israel, was fighting for Israel. 43 After this, Joshua and his army went back to the camp at Gilgal.

Chapter 11

Joshua fights with Jabin and other kings

1 Jabin, king of Hazor, heard what had happened. So, he sent messengers (people with a message) to Jobab, king of Madon, and to the kings of Shimron and of Acshaph. 2 And he sent to the kings of the mountains in the north, in the Arabah, south of Kinnereth. And he sent messengers to the little hills in the west, and Naphoth Dor on the west. 3 Messengers went to the Canaanites in the east and in the west. They went to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hills. And he sent them to the Hivites who lived by Hermon near Mizpah. 4 All these kings came with their soldiers and many horses and chariots. It was a great big army. The soldiers were as many as there are bits of sand by the sea. 5 The kings all joined together and made a camp by the Waters of Merom. They wanted to fight against Israel.

6 ‘Do not be afraid of them’, the Lord said to Joshua. ‘I will give you all of them. You will kill them all by this time tomorrow. You must cut the backs of the horses’ legs, and burn the chariots.’

7 So Joshua and all his army went to fight them at the Waters of Merom. They quickly attacked them 8 and the Lord helped the Israelites to win the fight. Israel ran after them as far as Sidon, Misrephoth Maim and the valley of Mizpah. They went east until they had killed all their enemies. 9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had said. He cut the backs of the legs of the horses and burnt their chariots.

10 Then Joshua went back and took Hazor. He killed its king. (Hazor had been most important kingdom over all the kingdoms who were against Israel.) 11 The Israelites killed everyone who lived there. They killed everything in the city that was alive. They burned the city and destroyed it.

12 Joshua took all these cities and killed all their kings. He destroyed them all, as God’s servant Moses had told him to do. 13 But Israel did not burn all the cities built on small hills, except Hazor. Joshua did burn this one. 14 The Israelites took all the animals and good things from the cities, but killed all the people. They did not let one of them live, but destroyed them all. 15 The Lord told Moses what to do. Then Moses told Joshua what the Lord had said. Joshua did what Moses told him to do. Joshua did not forget anything. He did everything that the Lord had told Moses.

16 So Joshua took all these places. He took the hills, the dry country in the south, all of Goshen and the little hills in the west. He took the Arabah and the mountains and hills of Israel. 17 These were from Mount Halak near Seir to Baal Gad in the valley of Lebanon, below Mount Hermon. He took all their kings and killed them all. 18 Joshua was fighting these kings for a very long time. 19 He only left alive the Hivites living in Gibeon, because he had made them a promise. 20 The Lord had made all the peoples want to fight Israel. This was so that the Lord could destroy them all. He did not let them live. This was what the Lord had told Moses. 21 Joshua went at that time to fight the Anakites from the hills. They came from Hebron, Debir and Anab and all the hills of Judah and Israel. Joshua destroyed them all, and all their towns. 22 He killed all the Anakites in Israel, except for a few in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod. 23 So Joshua took the whole country, as the Lord had told Moses. The Lord gave the country to Israel to live in. Joshua gave each tribe its own part.

Then the people did not have to fight any more.

Chapter 12

List of kings that Israel had already destroyed

1 Israel killed these kings. They destroyed them and took their land. It was east of the Jordan, from the Arnon valley to Mount Hermon. All of it was on the east side of the Arabah.

2 Sihon, king of the Amorites, was king of Heshbon. He ruled from Aroer by the middle of the Arnon valley to the Jabbok River. This is near the land of the Ammonites. It included half of Gilead. 3 Sihon ruled the east of the Arabah from the sea of Kinnereth to the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea). And he ruled as far as Beth Jeshimoth and to where Mount Pisgah begins.

4 Og, king of Bashan, was one of the last Rephaites. He ruled in Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5 And he ruled Mount Hermon, Salecah and all of Bashan as far as Geshur and Maacah. He ruled the half of Gilead to the edge of Sihon’s kingdom of Heshbon.

6 Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites won the fight with these kings. He gave their land to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh to live in.

7 Joshua and the Israelites killed these kings on the west side of the Jordan. They ruled from Baal Gad in the Lebanon valley to Mount Halak, which is near Seir. (Joshua gave each tribe a special part of the land.) 8 This was in the hills and in the little hills in the west. And they ruled the Arabah, the sides of the mountains, and the desert and the Negev. They ruled all the land that had belonged to the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 They took the land of the kings of Jericho, Ai (near Bethel), 10 Jerusalem, Hebron, 11 Jarmuth and Lachish. 12 And they took the land of the kings of Eglon, Gezer, 13 Debir, Geder, 14 Hormah, Arad, 15 Libnah, Adullam, 16 Makkedah and Bethel. 17 And they took the land of the kings of Tappuah, Hepher, 18 Aphek, Lasharon, 19 Madon, Hazor, 20 Shimron Meron and Acshaph. 21 They also took Taanach, Megiddo, 22 Kedesh, Jokneam in Carmel, 23 Dor (in Naphoth Dor), Goyim in Gilgal, 24 and Tirzah. They took all the land of these 31 kings.

Chapter 13

The land that Israel had not yet taken

1 Joshua was very old and had lived for many years. The Lord said to him, ‘You are old. There is still a lot of land that you have not taken. This is the land left for you to take. 2 There is all the land of the Philistines and Geshurites 3 and of the Avvim on the south. (The land from the Shihor river east of Egypt to the edge of Ekron’s land on the north was part of Canaan. The Philistines lived in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron.) 4 You must take all the land of the Canaanites and Mearah, (which belonged to the people of Sidon). This is the land as far as Aphek, by the edge of the land of the Amorites. 5 You have to take the land of the Gebalites and all of Lebanon to the east. That is from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.’

6 The Lord said to Joshua, ‘I, myself will push out the people of Sidon in front of the Israelites. They will leave the mountains of Lebanon as far as Misrephoth Maim. You must give this land to Israel, as I have told you. 7 Each of the 9 tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh is to have its own part.’

How Joshua gave each tribe its own land

8 Moses had already given land to the Reubenites, Gadites and the other half of Manasseh. It was east of the Jordan, as Moses, the servant of God, had said.

9 It was from Aroer, on the edge of the Arnon valley and the town in the middle of the valley. It included all the flat land of Medeba to Dibon. 10 And it included all the towns of Sihon, king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon. It went to the edge of the land of the Amorites. 11 It included the land of Gilead, and of the people of Geshur and Maacah. And it included all of Mount Hermon and Bashan as far as Salecah. 12 (That was the kingdom of Og in Bashan.) Og had ruled Ashtaroth and Edrei. He was one of the last of the Rephaim (a group of very large people called giants). Moses had won a fight with them and had taken their land. 13 But the Israelites did not send away the people of Geshur and Maacah, so they still live there among the Israelites.

14 Moses had given no land to the tribe of Levi. This was because God had made them a promise. He had said that the other tribes must give them the burnt offerings made to the Lord God of Israel. This was the part for the Levites.

15 This is the part of the land that Moses gave to the families of the Reubenites.

16 He gave them the land from Aroer by the edge of the Arnon valley and the town in the middle of the valley. 17 And he gave them all of the flat land past Medeba in Heshbon. It included Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 18 Jahaz and Kedemoth. And it included Mephaath, 19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah and Zereth Shahar. Zereth was on a hill in the middle of the valley. 20 Moses gave Beth Peor, and the sides of Mount Pisgah and Beth Jeshimoth town to the tribe of Reuben. 21 And he gave them all the towns on the flat land. He gave them all the land of Sihon, king of the Amorites. Sihon had ruled from Hebron. But Moses had won the fight with him, and the Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba. These kings had lived in that place, and ruled with Sihon. 22 The Israelites had killed Balaam, son of Beor, when they had killed soldiers in the fight. He had wanted to help Balak to fight against Israel (Numbers 22). 23 The end of the land of the Reubenites was by the river Jordan. Moses gave these towns and their villages to the tribe of Reuben to live in, family by family.

24 This is the land that Moses gave to the tribe of Gad, family by family.

25 He gave them the land of Jazer, the towns of Gilead and half the land of the Ammonites. 26 This was from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the land of Debir. 27 Moses gave Gad the towns in the valley: Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth and Zaphon. He gave them the rest of the land of Sihon, king of Heshbon. (This was on the east of the Jordan, to the end of the sea of Kinnereth.) 28 Moses gave these towns and villages to the tribe of Gad to live in, family by family.

29 This is the land that Moses gave to half the tribe of Manasseh. That is, half the families of the sons of Manasseh, family by family.

30 He gave them the land from Mahanaim, the land of Bashan, all the land ruled by Og, king of Bashan. It included all the 60 towns of Jair in Bashan. 31 And it included half of Gilead, Ashtaroth and Edrei. (These were the cities that belonged to Og in Bashan.) This was for half the sons of Makir, son of Manasseh, family by family.

32 Moses gave land to these tribes while he was in the flat land of Moab, east of Jericho. He was across the Jordan then. 33 Moses gave no land to the tribe of Levi. The Lord, the God of Israel, was their part. This is what he had promised to do for them.

Chapter 14

1 Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of the families of Israel chose different parts of the land for each tribe. This is how they did it. 2 The leaders used lots to decide which parts of the land God had chosen for each of the 9 and a half tribes left. This is what the Lord had told Moses to do. 3 Moses had already given the two and a half tribes land east of the river Jordan. But he had not given any land to the Levites. 4 (The tribe of Joseph was now two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim.) The leaders gave the Levites towns to live in, with enough land near them to feed their animals. 5 The leaders of the Israelites gave a part of the land to each tribe, as the Lord had told Moses.

Joshua gives Hebron to Caleb

6 Some of the men of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb, son of Jephunneh, spoke to Joshua. He said, ‘You know what God said to Moses the man of God, about you and me, at Kadesh Barnea. 7 I was 40 years old when he sent me from there to explore the land. And I brought him a report that was true, and I was sure that we could take the land. 8 The other men who went with us made the people afraid (Numbers 13:26-33). But I did only what the Lord wanted us to do. 9 So Moses made me a promise on that day. Moses said, “The land that your feet have walked on will always belong to you and to your children. This is because you have done everything as the Lord told you” ’ (Deuteronomy 1:34-36).

10 Caleb said to Joshua, ‘The Lord has kept me alive for the 45 years since Moses said this. Israel was walking about the desert for all this time. Now I am 85 years old. 11 I am still as strong as I was on the day that Moses sent me out. I can fight as well now as I could then. 12 Now then, give to me this hill country that the Lord promised to me. You heard that the Anakites were there then. And you heard that their cities were large and strong. But the Lord will help me to push them out. The Lord said that he would.’

13 Then Joshua asked the Lord to bless Caleb, son of Jephunneh. And he gave Hebron to him as his part of the land. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb, son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite since that day. He had done everything as the Lord had told him to do. So Joshua gave him the land.15 (Hebron had been called ‘Kiriath Arba’ after Arba, the most important man among the Anakites.)

The fighting in the land ended after this.

Chapter 15

The tribe of Judah gets its land

1 Joshua gave the land from the edge of Edom to the Desert of Zin to the families of the tribe of Judah, family by family. The desert was at the south of the land.

2 The south edge of Judah’s land was from the south end of the Salt Sea, 3 across the south side of the Scorpion valley, to Zin. He also gave them land south of Kadesh Barnea, as far as Hebron. The edge of their land continued past Addar, round to Karka 4 and to Azmon. The dry valley of Egypt leading to the sea was the south edge of Judah.

5 The Salt Sea was the edge of Judah to the east as far as the mouth of the river Jordan.

The north edge of Judah was from the mouth of the Jordan 6 to Beth Hoglah. Then it went north of Beth Arabah to the stone of Bohan. (Bohan was the son of Reuben.) 7 The edge of Judah’s land went from the valley of Achor to Debir. Then it went north to Gilgal. Gilgal is opposite the path of Adummim on the south side of the valley. The edge of Judah then reached to the water springs of En Shemesh to En Rogel. 8 From there it went through the valley of Hinnom to the south side of a hill by the Jebusite city of Jerusalem. The edge of Judah continued to the top of the hill on the west side of the Hinnom valley. This was at the north end of the valley of Rephaim. 9 From there it went to the springs of Nephtoah and on to the cities near Mount Ephron. It went towards Baalah (or Kiriath Jearim). 10 From there it went round Baalah towards the hills of Edom. It went north of Mount Jearim (or Kesalon) down to Beth Shemesh, and on past Timnah. 11 The edge of Judah went out to the hills north of Ekron, then towards Shikkeron. It went past Mount Baalah to Jabneel. The land of Judah ended at the sea. 12 The sea was the west edge of Judah’s land.

The families of the tribe of Judah lived inside this land.

Achan and his family had died in the valley of Achor. They had taken things from Jericho. But the Lord had said that they must destroy those things (Joshua 7:24). So, the valley was called ‘Trouble Valley’.

Caleb takes the cities of Hebron and Debir (Judges 1:11-15)

13 The Lord had told Joshua to give Caleb, son of Jephunneh, part of Judah’s land. (He belonged to the tribe of Judah.) Joshua gave him Hebron, the city of Arba. Arba was the father of Anak. 14 Caleb pushed out the 3 sons of Anak from Hebron. Their names were Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. 15 From there he marched to fight the people of Debir (also called Kiriath Sepher). 16 Caleb said, ‘If a man attacks and takes Kiriath Sepher, he can marry my daughter, Acsah.’ 17 Othniel was the son of Caleb’s brother, Kenaz. He took Kiriath Sepher, so Caleb gave him his daughter to marry.

18 Acsah spoke to Othniel one day. She wanted him to ask her father for a field. She got off her donkey (an animal like a small horse). ‘What can I do for you?’ Caleb asked her.

19 ‘Be very kind to me’, she said. ‘You have given me land in the dry country in the south, so please will you give me some springs of water, too?’ So Caleb gave her the higher and lower springs.

20 This is the land that Joshua gave to the families of the tribe of Judah, to live in.

21 The towns in the south of Judah were near the edge of Edom. They were:

Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, and Bealoth. 25 Also Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet. 28 Also Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain and Rimmon. He gave them 29 towns with their villages.

33 He gave them towns in the small hills of the west:

Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34 Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh and Azekah. 36 Also he gave them Shaaraim, Adithaim and Gederah, (or Gederothaim). There were 14 towns and villages.

37 He gave them Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad, 38 Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40 Cabbon, Lahmas, and Kitlish. 41 Also he gave them Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah and Makkedah. There were 16 towns and their villages.

42 And he gave them Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Aczib and Mareshah. There were 9 towns with their villages.

45 He also gave to the tribe of Judah, Ekron with the houses and villages that belonged to it. 46 And he gave them all those towns west of Ekron, near to Ashdod with their villages. 47 And he gave them Ashdod and Gaza with their houses and villages. They had the land as far as the valley of Egypt, and to the Great Sea.

48 Joshua gave them land in the hill country:

Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir), 50 and Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51 Goshen, Holon and Giloh. There were 11 towns and their villages.

52 He also gave them Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) and Zior. There were 9 towns and their villages.

55 Also Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57 Kain, Gibeah and Timnah. There were 10 towns and their villages.

58 And he gave them Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, 59 Maarath, Beth Anoth and Eltekon. There were 6 towns and their villages.

60 And Kiriath Baal, (that is, Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah. There were two towns and their villages.

61 Joshua gave Judah towns in the desert:

Beth Arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62 Nibshan, the city of salt, and En Gedi. There were 6 towns and their villages.

63 Judah could not push the Jebusites out of Jerusalem. So, Jebusites still live there with the people of Judah.

Chapter 16

Joshua gives Ephraim and Manasseh their land

1 Joshua gave some land east of Jericho to the tribes of Joseph. Their land started at the Jordan and went through the desert into the hills of Bethel. 2 The edge of their land went from Bethel (that is, Luz) to the land of the Arkites in Ataroth. 3 Their land continued to the west, to the land of the Japhletites by lower Beth Horon. It ended near the sea, by Gezer.

4 Joshua gave this land to Manasseh and Ephraim, the sons of Joseph. It was for them and their families.

5 Joshua gave this land to the families of Ephraim:

The edge of their land was from Ataroth Addar in the east to Beth Horon. 6 Then it continued to the west. Michmethath was north of their land. East of Michmethath, the edge of their land went past Taanath Shiloh on the east to Janoah. 7 From there it went to Ataroth and Naarah and through Jericho to the river Jordan. 8 From Tappuah, the edge of their land continued to the west to the little river Kanah. From there, it continued to the sea. Joshua gave all this land to the families of the tribe of Ephraim. 9 He also gave them some towns and villages that were in the land of Manasseh. 10 But the tribe of Ephraim did not push out the Canaanite people who lived in Gezer. Canaanite people still live there, but they have to work as slaves to the Ephraimites.

Chapter 17

West Manasseh

1 Joshua gave part of the land west of the river Jordan to some families of the tribe of Manasseh. Manasseh was Joseph’s oldest son. Manasseh’s oldest son was Makir, father of Gilead. He had fought very bravely, so Joshua gave him Gilead and Bashan, east of the Jordan. 2 He gave land west of the Jordan to all the other families of Manasseh. These were: Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida. They were all sons of Manasseh, and heads of their families. 3 Zelophehad, son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Makir, son of Manasseh, had no sons. He had only daughters. Their names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 4 They went to see Eleazar, the priest and Joshua, son of Nun and the leaders. They said, ‘The Lord told Moses to give us part of the land. We must have land like the sons of other families.’ So, Eleazar and Joshua gave them land, like the other families. 5 That is why they gave Manasseh 10 parts of the land as well as Gilead and Bashan on the east side of the Jordan. 6 They gave some daughters of Manasseh land as well as his sons. They gave the land of Gilead to the rest of the families of Manasseh.

7 The edge of the land of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethath east of Shechem. It went south to include En Tappuah. 8 Manasseh had the land near Tappuah, but the town of Tappuah belonged to the sons of Ephraim. 9 The edge of Manasseh’s land went down to the little river of Kanah. The cities south of the river that belonged to Ephraim were in Manasseh’s land. The edge of Manasseh’s land was along the north side of the river to the sea. 10 Ephraim was south of the river, and Manasseh to the north. The sea was to the west of them both. Asher was north and west of them, and Issachar to the north and east. 11 Beth Shan and Ibleam and the towns near them that belonged to Manasseh were in the lands of Issachar and Asher. Dor (by the sea), Endor, Taanach, Megiddo and the towns near them also belonged to Manasseh. 12 But the people of Manasseh could not push out the people who lived in those cities. So the Canaanite people went on living there. 13 Some of them continued to live there, even when the people of Israel became strong. But the Israelites made the Canaanites work for them.

Joseph’s sons ask for more land

14 Joseph’s sons asked Joshua, ‘Why have you given us only one part of the land to live in? The Lord has been good to us, and there are very many of us.’

15 Joshua said to them, ‘If there are so many of you, and the hills of Ephraim are too small for you, take more land. Cut down trees in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim.’

16 They replied, ‘The hills are not big enough for us. But the Canaanites in Beth Shan and its towns and in the valley of Jezreel have iron chariots.’

17 Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘There certainly are a lot of you. And you are very strong. I will give you more than one part. 18 You will have the hills. They are full of trees, but you will cut them down. You will take the land from one end to the other. I know that the Canaanites are a strong people. They have iron chariots, but you will push the Canaanites out.’

Chapter 18

Joshua gives land to the other tribes

1 All the people of Israel met together at Shiloh. There they put up the tent where they met with God. They now ruled all the land. 2 But Joshua still had not given 7 tribes a part of the land for themselves.

3 Joshua asked them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you the land. How long will you wait before you take it?’ 4 Choose 3 men from each tribe. I will send them to look at all the land, and to see what it is like. They must say what they find in each part. Then they must come back to me. 5 You must make it into 7 parts. Judah is to stay in its land to the south, and Joseph’s people are to remain in their land in the north. 6 You must write down what each of the 7 parts look like. Then I will ask God to help me to choose which part I will give to each tribe. I will use lots to decide. 7 The Levites will not have any of the 7 parts of the land. This is because their part is to serve the Lord God. And Gad, Reuben and half the tribe of Manasseh already have land on the east side of the river Jordan. Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave it to them.’

8 The chosen men started to go to describe the land. ‘Go and look at the land. Write down what you find’, Joshua told them. ‘Then come back to me in Shiloh. I will use the lots in front of the Lord here.’ 9 So the men left and went all through the land. They wrote about each town in a book. They wrote about each of the 7 parts of the land. Then they went back to Joshua in the tents at Shiloh. 10 At Shiloh, Joshua stood in front of the Lord. He used the lots to decide which part of the land each tribe should have.

Benjamin’s part of the land

11 The lot showed that the first part of the land was for Benjamin, family by family. It was between the land that Joshua gave to the tribes of Judah and Joseph.

12 The north side of their land began at the river Jordan, and went up the hills to the north of Jericho. From there it went west into the hills, to the desert of Beth Aven. 13 The edge of their land went on to the south of Luz (that is Bethel) to Ataroth Addar. That is on the hill south of Lower Beth Horon.

14 From this hill, the edge of their land went south along the west side to Kiriath Baal (that is Kiriath Jearim). This town belonged to the people of Judah. This was the west edge of Benjamin’s land.

15 The south edge went from the edge of Kiriath Jearim to the waters of Nephtoah. 16 Then it went to the foot of the hill across the Valley of Ben Hinnom. This was north of the Valley of Rephaim. It continued down the Hinnom valley south of the Jebusite city to En Rogel. 17 Then it went north to En Shemesh. It went on to Geliloth, opposite the valley of Adummim. Then it went to the stone of Bohan, son of Reuben. 18 It continued to the north of Beth Arabah down into the Arabah. 19 Then it went north of Ben Hoglah to the north end of the Salt Sea. This was at the south end of the river Jordan. This was the south edge of Benjamin’s land.

20 The Jordan was the west edge of their land.

These are the edges of the land that Joshua gave to the families of the tribe of Benjamin.

21 These are the cities that Joshua gave to the tribe of Benjamin:

Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, 22 Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24 Kephar, Ammoni, Ophni and Geba. There were 12 towns and their villages.

25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26 Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah, 27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28 Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath. These were 14 towns and their villages.

Joshua gave these cities to the families of Benjamin’s tribe, to live in.

Chapter 19

Joshua gives land to Simeon

1 The second lot showed that the next part of the land was for the tribe of Simeon. Joshua gave their families some of the land that he had given to Judah. 2 It included:

Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah, 3 Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem, 4 Eltolad, Bethul and Hormah. 5 And Joshua gave them Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah, 6 Beth Lebaoth and Sharuhen. These were 13 towns and their villages. 7 He gave them 4 more towns and their villages. These were Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan. 8 This included all the villages near them as far as Baalath Beer (Ramah in the Negev).

This is the land that Joshua gave to the families of the tribe of Simeon. 9 He took Simeon’s land from Judah’s land. Judah did not need all the land that Joshua had given to them. So the tribe of Simeon lived inside the land that Joshua had given to Judah.

Joshua gives land to Zebulun

10 The lot showed that the next part of the land was for Zebulun. The edge of it went as far as Sarid. 11 Then it went west to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, and went to the valley near Jokneam. 12 From Sarid, the edge of their land went east to the land of Kisloth Tabor. Then it went to Daberath and up to Japhia. 13 It continued east to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin. It went on to Rimmon, and turned to go to Neah. 14 The edge went north to Hannathon and stopped at the valley of Iphtah El. 15 Twelve (12) towns and their villages were in this part of the land. They were Kattah, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem.

16 Joshua gave these towns and their villages to families of the tribe of Zebulun.

Joshua gives land to Issachar

17 The lot showed Joshua that the next part of the land was for Issachar’s families. 18 Their land included Jezreel, Kesulloth, Shunem, 19 Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20 Rabbith, Kishion and Ebez. 21 And it included Remeth, En Gannim, En Haddah and Beth Pazzez. 22 The edge of their land touched Tabor, Shahazumah and Beth Shemesh and ended at the river Jordan. Joshua gave them 16 towns and their villages.

23 Joshua gave these towns and their villages to the families of the tribe of Issachar.

Joshua gives land to Asher

24 The next lot showed Joshua the land that he must give to Asher’s families. 25 This is the land that he gave them:

Helkath, Hali, Beten, Acshaph, 26 Allammelech, Amad and Mishal. The edge of the land on the west touched Carmel and Shihor Libnath. 27 Then it went east towards Beth Dagon, to touch Zebulun and the valley of Iphtah El. Then the edge of their land went north to Beth Emek and Neiel. It passed the left side of Cabul. 28 It went to Abdon, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, as far as Sidon. 29 Then the edge went back towards Ramah to the strong city of Tyre. Then it turned to Hosah and ended at the sea near Aczib, 30 Ummah, Aphek and Rehob. Joshua gave them 22 towns and their villages.

31 These towns and villages Joshua gave to the families of Asher’s tribe.

Joshua gives land to Naphtali

32 Joshua gave the land chosen by the 6th lot to Naphtali’s families:

33 The edge of their land went from Heleph and the big tree in Zaanannim past Adami Nekeb and Jabneel to Lakkum. It ended at the river Jordan. 34 Another edge went west through Aznoth Tabor to Hukkok. It touched Zebulun on its south side, Asher on its west and the Jordan on its east side. 35 The land contained the strong cities Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath and Kinnereth. 36 And Joshua gave them Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37 Kedesh, Edrei, En Hazor, 38 Iron, Migdal El, Horem, Beth Anath and Beth Shemesh. He gave them 19 towns and their villages.

39 Joshua gave these towns and villages to the families of Naphtali.

Joshua gives land to the tribe of Dan

40 The next lot showed Joshua the land to give to Dan’s families. 41 This is the land that he gave them:

It included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir Shemesh, 42 Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43 Elon, Timnah and Ekron. 44 And he gave them Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45 Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon, 46 Me Jarkon and Rakkon, with land in front of Joppa.

47 (But the people of Dan could not take their land, so they went to attack Leshem. They took it and killed its people and lived there themselves. They called the city Dan, after their father.)

48 Joshua gave these towns and their villages to the families of Dan’s tribe.

The Israelites give land to Joshua

49 When Joshua had given all the tribes their land, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun his own land. 50 This is what the Lord had told them to do. He asked for the town Timnah Serah in the hills of Ephraim. And they gave it to him. He built up the town and went to live there.

51 This is the list of all the lands that they gave to each tribe. The lots showed Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the leaders which land was for each tribe. They did this by the tent of meeting, in front of the Lord. So they finished giving each tribe a part of the land.

Chapter 20

Safe cities

1 Then the Lord spoke to Joshua. 2 He said, ‘Tell the people of Israel to choose special cities. I told you this through Moses. 3 Anyone can be safe in these cities if he has killed someone. But he will only be safe if he had not meant to kill that person. The person who killed a man or woman can run to that city. The person will be safe. They will not let the brother of the dead person kill him there (Numbers 35:6-34).

The law of Moses said that any man who killed a person must die. The brother or cousin of the dead person had to kill him (Leviticus 24:17-18).

4 The man who killed someone must go to the city. When he arrives, he must stand in the gate of the city. There he must tell the leaders what he has done. Then they must let him go in. And they must give him a place to live and stay there. 5 The brother of the dead person may follow the man who killed his brother or sister. The leaders must not let the brother hurt that man. This is because he did not mean to kill the dead man. He did not want to hurt him. 6 The man who killed must stay in that city. He may have told them what is true. The judges there will decide. Then he must wait until the High Priest of that time dies. After that, he is free to return to the town that he came from.’

7 So they chose these towns: Kedesh in Galilee, in the hills of Naphtali, Shechem in the hills of Ephraim, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hills of Judah.

8 They chose other cities east of the river Jordan and to the east of the flat land near Jericho: Bezer in the flat desert land of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh.

9 Any Israelite or foreign person living in Israel could run to these cities. They may have killed someone, but had not meant to kill them. They could run to these cities. Then the brother of the dead person could not kill them. The judges had to decide whether they had meant to kill or not. Nobody could kill them before this.

Chapter 21

Towns for the Levites

1 The fathers of the Levite families came to speak to Joshua. They came with the leaders of all the other tribes. 2 They met at Shiloh in Canaan. ‘The Lord told Moses that you must give us towns to live in’, they said. ‘And we must have land to feed our animals.’ 3 So the Israelites did as the Lord had told them. They gave them towns with land from the land that belonged to their tribes.

4 They gave towns first to the Kohathite family. They gave them 13 towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin. They gave these to Levites from the family of Aaron, the priest. 5 They gave to the other Kohathites, towns from the tribes of Ephraim, Dan and half of Manasseh.

6 Then they gave 13 towns to the family of Gershon. The tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and the half of Manasseh in Bashan gave them these towns.

7 They gave 12 towns to the families of Merari. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Zebulun gave them these.

8 So the people of Israel gave these towns and the land and fields near to them to the families of Levi’s tribe. They did as the Lord had told Moses.

9 These are the names of the towns that the tribes of Simeon and Judah gave. 10 They gave them to the Kohathites, of Aaron’s family, because God chose them first.

11 They gave them Kiriath Arba (or Hebron), with land near to it, in the hills of Judah. (Arba was the father of Anak.) 12 But the fields and villages near Hebron belonged to Caleb, son of Jephunneh. 13 So they gave the city of Hebron (a safe city) to the sons of Aaron. They also gave them Libnah, 14 Jattir, Eshtemoa, 15 Holon, Debir, 16 Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh with their land and fields. These two tribes gave them 9 towns. 17 They gave them Gibeon, Geba, 18 Anathoth and Almon with their fields. These 4 towns were from the tribe of Benjamin.

19 They gave the priests, sons of Aaron, all these 13 towns.

20 They gave to the Levites of Kohath’s family, towns from the tribe of Ephraim.

21 They gave them Shechem, a safe city, in the hills of Ephraim, and Gezer, 22 Kibzaim and Beth Horon with their fields. They gave them 4 towns. 23 The tribe of Dan gave them Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 24 Aijalon, and Gath Rimmon. They gave them these 4 towns with their fields. 25 The half tribe of west Manasseh gave them Taanach and Gath Rimmon with their fields. They gave them two towns.

26 They gave the families of Kohath all these 10 cities.

27 They gave the Levites of Gershon’s family the towns of Golan in Bashan, a safe city, and Be Eshtarah, two cities with their fields. The half tribe of east Manasseh gave them these. 28 They gave them 4 cities from the tribe of Issachar. These were Kishion, Daberath, 29 Jarmuth and En Gannim, with their fields. 30 The tribe of Asher gave them 4 towns. These were Mishal, Abdon, 31 Helkath and Rehob, with their fields. 32 The tribe of Naphtali gave them Kedesh in Galilee, a safe city, Hammoth Dor and Kartan with their fields. They gave them these 3 cities.

33 They gave the families of Gershon all these 13 cities.

34 The other Levites that did not have any towns were the Merarite family. The tribe of Zebulun gave to them the towns of Jokneam, Kartah, 35 Dimnah and Nahalal. They gave to them 4 towns with their fields.

36 The tribe of Reuben gave them four towns. These were Bezer, Jahaz, 37 Kedemoth and Mephaath, with their fields. 38 The tribe of Gad gave them four towns. These were Ramoth in Gilead, a safe city, Mahanaim, 39 Heshbon and Jazer, with their fields.

40 So they gave to these Levites, the family of Merari, 12 towns.

41 The Levites had 48 towns in the land of Israel. 42 Each of these towns had its own fields round it.

43 So the Lord gave all the land to the people of Israel. He had promised it to their fathers. They took it and lived there. 44 The Lord gave them rest, as he had promised. None of the people round Israel attacked them. Not one of their enemies could win a fight with them. The Lord helped them to win all their fights. 45 He kept all his good promises to the people of Israel. He did not forget one of his promises.

Chapter 22

The tribes that were living east of the Jordan go home

1 Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh. 2 Joshua said, ‘You have done all that Moses, the servant of the Lord, told you to do’ (Numbers 32:20-22). He said, ‘And you have obeyed me. You have done everything that I told you to do. 3 You have helped your brothers, for a long time. You have stayed even to this day. And you have done the work that the Lord gave you to do. 4 Now your brothers have finished fighting for their land, as the Lord promised them. So you can go to your homes on the other side of the river Jordan. Moses, the Lord’s servant gave them to you. 5 But you must be very careful to keep the rules and the law that he gave you. This law says that you must love the Lord your God. And you must keep the rules that he gave to you. You must do everything that he tells you. And you must believe him. You must serve him with everything that you have.’

6 Joshua then blessed them and sent them away to their homes. Moses had given land in Bashan to half the tribe of Manasseh. 7 (But Joshua had given land on the west side of the Jordan to the other half of the tribe, with their brothers.) When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them. 8 ‘Go back to your homes with the good things that you took from your enemies’, he said. ‘Take many animals, gold and other metals and rich clothes. You and your brothers must each have a part of these things.’

9 So the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh left their brothers there in Shiloh in Canaan. They returned to Gilead, their own land. Moses had given them this land, as the Lord had told him.

10 The two and a half tribes came to Geliloth, near the Jordan, in Canaan. They built a big altar there, by the river Jordan. 11 When the other Israelites heard that they had built an altar at the edge of Canaan, at Geliloth, they were angry. It was on the side of the Jordan that the Israelites had. 12 They all came together at Shiloh to fight the two and a half tribes.

13 So the Israelites sent Phinehas, son of Eleazar the priest, to the land of Gilead. He went to see Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh. 14 They sent 10 of the leaders with him. They chose one man from each of the tribes of Israel. Each man was the leader of his own family group.

15 They spoke to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead. 16 They said, ‘You have not obeyed the Lord God of Israel. All the people of Israel are saying this. Why have you built an altar? The Lord said that you must not do this (Deuteronomy 13:13-14). You are turning away from him. 17 The sin at Peor was bad (Numbers 23:27-29). We still feel bad about it and God made us all sick to punish us. 18 Now you seem to be doing another thing that is wrong.’

The leaders said, ‘You might do something that is wrong today. The Lord will be angry with all the people of Israel tomorrow. 19 If your land here is not clean, come back to the Lord’s land. And we will give you some of it. The Lord’s tent is there. Do not turn against the Lord or against us. Do not build an altar for yourselves that is not for the Lord our God. 20 When Achan, son of Zerah, took things that belonged to God, he became angry with all the people of Israel. Achan was not the only one that died’ (Joshua 7:1).

21 Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered the leaders of Israel. 22 They said, ‘God, the Lord, is the great one. God the Lord! He knows! So let all Israel know! Punish us today if we have done anything against the Lord. We have not done anything that he told us not to do. 23 We did not build our own altar to burn animals or food, or to give gifts to God. If we did anything wrong, may the Lord punish us himself.’

24 They also said, ‘No! We had a very different idea. We were afraid that in later times, your children might speak to ours. They might say, “You have nothing to do with the Lord, the God of Israel. 25 The Lord put the Jordan between us and your tribes, Reuben and Gad. You do not belong to the Lord!” So your children might stop our children from worshipping the Lord.

26 That is why we said, “Let us build an altar”. It will not be an altar where we burn food. And it will not be an altar where we give things to God. 27 But it will help us and you, and our children and your children, to remember to worship the Lord at his tent. We will burn animals and seeds and give him gifts there. Then, in later years, your children will not tell our children that they do not belong to the Lord.

28 We said, “If they say this to us, we will answer them. We will say ‘Look at this altar. It is a copy of the Lord’s altar. It is not for burning food or giving gifts to the Lord. Our fathers built it so that we should remember that we are all part of Israel’ ”.

29 We never wanted to turn away from the Lord. We wanted to do the things that please him. We would never burn anything at an altar that was not the altar of the Lord our God. His altar stands in front of his tent.’

30 Phinehas the priest and the leaders (the men from each tribe of Israel) heard this. They were pleased with what Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had told them. 31 They said to them, ‘You have not done anything that would not please the Lord. So today we know that the Lord is with us. Now he will not be angry with us.’

32 Then Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest and the leaders went back to Canaan. They told the Israelites what had happened when they had met the men of Reuben and Gad. 33 They were happy to hear about it, and gave thanks to God. They did not talk about fighting them any more. They would not destroy the land where the two and a half tribes lived.

34 Reuben and Gad gave the altar a name. They called it ‘Remember, all of us, that the Lord is God’.

Chapter 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 old, many years old. 3 You, yourselves, have seen what the Lord has done to these peoples, to help you. It was the Lord who fought them for 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 peoples 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. He 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 peoples 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 peoples in front of you. No one has been strong enough to stand against you. 10 One of you has sent away 1000 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 Joshua said to all the people, ‘But you may turn away to join with other peoples, those that are left among you. Perhaps you will marry some of them, or mix with them. 13 Then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no more push them out in front of you. 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 he will also keep the promise to trouble you and to destroy you. He 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 him, 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.

Chapter 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.

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 brought him all through 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 Seir (Edom) to Esau, but Jacob and his sons went down to 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 peoples. 18 He 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 him and serve other gods, he will turn round and punish you. He will destroy you, after he has been good to you.’

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 peoples, 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, 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.

Word List

a table for burning animals or other gifts to God.
a box that contained God’s 10 rules and other things. These helped the Israelites to remember what God had told them. And it helped them to remember what he had done for them.
to say or do much good to a person.
when we are happy; when we know that God does good to us.
a good thing that God does for us; asking for God to help us and do good in us.
a place to stay in tents.
a box that horses pull to carry soldiers to a fight.
circumcise, circumcision
to cut off the skin from the end of the sex part of a man or boy.
to do good things and to think good thoughts.
to say bad words against someone else.
a wild place where no people live, because it is very dry.
to be afraid of someone; to show someone that you think that they are good and great.
to show love and not to remember bad things about someone.
to be good with no bad in it. Only God is really holy.
to show someone that you think that they are good and great.
people who live in Israel. They are sons of Jacob.
a person who decides what is right or wrong.
a place where a king rules.
rules made to stop people from hurting each other.
A person from the tribe of Levi. God chose them to work for him. They help the priests.
A name for God in the Bible. It means that he rules or is a master.
something used to find what people or things God chooses.
food that God sent from the sky to the Israelites. He sent it while they were in the desert.
another name for mountain.
a gift for God from the priest and the people.
a son of Aaron, son of Levi. God chose these men to burn gifts to God on an altar.
to hurt someone for the wrong things that they have done.
a piece of long, thin and strong material used to tie things together.
to help and to work for another person.
shining white metal with great value.
when a person does not obey the rules of God.
the part of a living person that decides what we do - good or bad.
spring (of water)
water coming out of the ground to become a pool or river.
a place to live, that people make out of cloth.
a whole family of one of Jacob’s 12 sons; a family from the same father.
someone blows through this to make a loud noise.
to give thanks to God; to tell God that he is very great; to show God that we love him very much; to believe God and to work for him.

Book List

H G May ~ Joshua ~ Peake’s Commentary, Van Nostrand Reinhold

NIV Study Bible ~ Hodder and Stoughton


© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1999-2002

This version published November 2002

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.