Israel Renews its Commitment to the Lord
Joshua assembled all the Israelite tribes at Shechem. He summoned Israel’s elders, rulers, judges, and leaders, and they appeared before God. Joshua told all the people, “Here is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘In the distant past your ancestors lived beyond the Euphrates River, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor. They worshipped other gods, but I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates and brought him into the entire land of Canaan. I made his descendants numerous; I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I assigned Mount Seir, while Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. I sent Moses and Aaron, and I struck Egypt down when I intervened in their land. Then I brought you out. When I brought your fathers out of Egypt, you arrived at the sea. The Egyptians chased your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. Your fathers cried out for help to the Lord; he made the area between you and the Egyptians dark, and then drowned them in the sea. You witnessed with your very own eyes what I did in Egypt. You lived in the wilderness for a long time. Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought with you, but I handed them over to you; you conquered their land and I destroyed them from before you. Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, launched an attack against Israel. He summoned Balaam son of Beor to call down judgment on you. I refused to respond to Balaam; he kept prophesying good things about you, and I rescued you from his power. You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The leaders of Jericho, as well as the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites, fought with you, but I handed them over to you. I sent terror ahead of you to drive out before you the two Amorite kings. I gave you the victory; it was not by your swords or bows. I gave you a land in which you had not worked hard; you took up residence in cities you did not build and you are eating the produce of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.’
Now obey the Lord and worship him with integrity and loyalty. Put aside the gods your ancestors worshipped beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and worship the Lord. If you have no desire to worship the Lord, choose today whom you will worship, whether it be the gods whom your ancestors worshipped beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family will worship the Lord!”
The people responded, “Far be it from us to abandon the Lord so we can worship other gods! For the Lord our God took us and our fathers out of slavery in the land of Egypt and performed these awesome miracles before our very eyes. He continually protected us as we travelled and when we passed through nations. The Lord drove out from before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. So we too will worship the Lord, for he is our God!”
Joshua warned the people, “You will not keep worshipping the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God who will not forgive your rebellion or your sins. If you abandon the Lord and worship foreign gods, he will turn against you; he will bring disaster on you and destroy you, though he once treated you well.”
The people said to Joshua, “No! We really will worship the Lord!” Joshua said to the people, “Do you agree to be witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to worship the Lord?” They replied, “We are witnesses!” Joshua said, “Now put aside the foreign gods that are among you and submit to the Lord God of Israel.”
The people said to Joshua, “We will worship the Lord our God and obey him.”
That day Joshua drew up an agreement for the people, and he established rules and regulations for them in Shechem. Joshua wrote these words in the Law Scroll of God. He then took a large stone and set it up there under the oak tree near the Lord’s shrine. Joshua said to all the people, “Look, this stone will be a witness against you, for it has heard everything the Lord said to us. It will be a witness against you if you deny your God.” When Joshua dismissed the people, they went to their allotted portions of land.
An Era Ends
After all this Joshua son of Nun, the Lord’s servant, died at the age of one hundred ten. They buried him in his allotted territory in Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. Israel worshipped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and as long as the elderly men who outlived him remained alive. These men had experienced first-hand everything the Lord had done for Israel.
The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the part of the field that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred pieces of money. So it became the inheritance of the tribe of Joseph.
Eleazar son of Aaron died, and they buried him in Gibeah in the hill country of Ephraim, where his son Phinehas had been assigned land.