Joshua Tells Israel to Serve the Lord
1Joshua gathered all of Israel's tribes together at Shechem. He sent for the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel. They came and stood there in the sight of God.
2Joshua spoke to all of the people. He said, "The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, 'Long ago your people lived east of the Euphrates River. They worshiped other gods there. Your people included Terah. He was the father of Abraham and Nahor.
3" 'I took your father Abraham from the land that is east of the Euphrates. I led him all through Canaan. I gave him many children and grandchildren. I gave him Isaac. 4To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave the hill country of Seir to Esau. But Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.
5" 'Then I sent Moses and Aaron. I made the people of Egypt suffer because of the plagues I sent on them. But I brought you out of Egypt.
6" 'When I brought your parents out, they came to the Red Sea. The people of Egypt chased them with chariots and with men on horses. They chased them all the way to the sea. 7But your people cried out to me for help. So I put darkness between you and the people of Egypt. I swept them into the sea. It completely covered them. Your own eyes saw what I did to them. After that, you lived in the desert for a long time.
8" 'I brought you to the land of the Amorites. They lived east of the Jordan River. They fought against you. But I handed them over to you. I destroyed them to make room for you. Then you took over their land.
9" 'Balak, the son of Zippor, prepared to fight against Israel. Balak was king of Moab. He sent for Balaam. He wanted him to put a curse on you. Balaam was the son of Beor. 10But I would not listen to Balaam's curses. So he blessed you again and again. And I saved you from his power.
11" 'Then you went across the Jordan River. You came to Jericho. Its people fought against you. So did the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites. But I handed them over to you.
12" 'I sent hornets ahead of you. They drove your enemies out to make room for you. That included the two Amorite kings. You did not do that with your own swords and bows. 13So I gave you a land you had never farmed. I gave you cities you had not built. You are now living in them. And you are eating the fruit of vineyards and olive trees you did not plant.'
14"So have respect for the Lord. Serve him. Be completely faithful to him. Throw away the gods your people worshiped east of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord.
15"But suppose you don't want to serve him. Then choose for yourselves right now whom you will serve. You can choose the gods your people served east of the Euphrates River. Or you can choose the gods the Amorites serve. After all, you are living in their land. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."
16Then the people answered Joshua. They said, "We would never desert the Lord! We would never serve other gods! 17The Lord our God himself brought us and our parents up out of Egypt. He brought us out of that land where we were slaves. With our own eyes, we saw those great and miraculous signs he did. He kept us safe on our entire journey. He kept us safe as we traveled through all of the nations. 18He drove them out to make room for us. That included the Amorites. They also lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord. That's because he is our God."
19Joshua spoke to the people. He said, "You aren't able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won't forgive you when you disobey him. He won't forgive you when you sin against him.
20"Suppose you desert the Lord. Suppose you serve the gods that people in other lands serve. If you do, he will turn against you. He will bring trouble on you. He will destroy you, even though he has been good to you."
21But the people spoke to Joshua. They said, "No! We will serve the Lord."
22Then Joshua said, "You are witnesses against yourselves. You have said that you have chosen to serve the Lord."
"Yes. We are witnesses," they replied.
23"Now then," said Joshua, "throw away the gods that are among you. People from other lands serve those gods. Give yourselves completely to the Lord, the God of Israel."
24Then the people spoke to Joshua. They said, "We will serve the Lord our God. We will obey him."
25On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people. There at Shechem he wrote down rules and laws for them. 26He recorded those things in the Scroll of the Law of God. Then he got a large stone. He set it up in Shechem under the oak tree. It was near the place that had been set apart for the Lord.
27"Look!" he said to all of the people. "This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all of the words the Lord has spoken to us. Suppose you aren't true to your God. Then the stone will be a witness against you."
28Joshua sent the people away. He sent all of them to their own shares of land.
29Then Joshua, the servant of the Lord, died. He was the son of Nun. He was 110 years old when he died. 30His people buried his body at Timnath Serah on his own property. It's north of Mount Gaash in the hill country of Ephraim.
31Israel served the Lord as long as Joshua lived. They also served him as long as the elders lived. Those were the elders who lived longer than Joshua did. They had seen for themselves everything the Lord had done for Israel.
32The people of Israel had brought Joseph's bones up from Egypt. They buried his bones at Shechem in the piece of land Jacob had bought. He had bought it from the sons of Hamor. He had paid 100 pieces of silver for it. Hamor was the father of Shechem. That piece of land became the share that belonged to Joseph's children after him.
33Aaron's son Eleazar died. His body was buried at Gibeah in the hill country of Ephraim. Gibeah had been given to Eleazar's son Phinehas.
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