Reviewing their blessedness. Reviewing their responsibilities. They renew the Covenant. Joshua dies.
VERSE 1. Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
Joshua. He did authentic miracles and conquered the Promised Land. He is the honored leader of the nation.
gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem. Shechem is a few miles northwest of Shiloh, where Abraham first received the Promise.
VERSE 2. Joshua said to all the people, “The LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Your fathers lived of old time beyond the River, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor. They served other gods.
VERSE 3. I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his offspring, and gave him Isaac.
his offspring. Or “seed.”
VERSE 4. I gave to Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave to Esau Mount Seir, to possess it. Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
VERSE 5. “ ‘I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
VERSE 6. I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and you came to the sea. The Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and with horsemen to the Sea of Suf.
VERSE 7. When they cried out to the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea on them, and covered them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. You lived in the wilderness many days.
VERSE 8. “ ‘I brought you into the land of the Amorites, that lived beyond the Jordan. They fought with you, and I gave them into your hand. You possessed their land, and I destroyed them from before you.
I gave them into your hand. They did the leg-work. But it was the LORD God who granted them the victory.
VERSE 9. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. He sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you,
VERSE 10. but I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he blessed you still. So I delivered you out of his hand.
I delivered you out of his hand. That is, “I saved you from him.”
This reads as if the curse from Balaam would have had actual spiritual power against them, were it not for the LORD’s intervention.
What might have happened to them if the LORD had not intervened? Would the curse against them have been effective?
VERSE 11. “ ‘You went over the Jordan, and came to Jericho. The men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I delivered them into your hand.
VERSE 12. I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; not with your sword, nor with your bow.
the hornet. What is the hornet? The text doesn’t tell us. And so people speculate. Here are some speculations:
- An angel
- Panic experienced by the people of Canaan upon hearing of the LORD God fighting for Israel
- The Egyptian army attacking Canaan before the Conquest
- A plague of literal hornets
VERSE 13. I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you didn’t build, and you live in them. You eat of vineyards and olive groves which you didn’t plant.’
VERSE 14. “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth. Put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, in Egypt; and serve the LORD.
fear the LORD. The first duty of Israel is to fear the LORD God.
serve him. The second duty of Israel is to serve the LORD God.
in sincerity. Their service of the LORD God must be done with sincerity.
In our day, some people serve the Lord insincerely. They do it for personal gain.
and in truth. Their service of the LORD God must be done in truth.
In our day, some people serve the Lord not based on truth. They do it in a way that suits their own whims. They do it to advance their own agenda.
VERSE 15. If it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
choose today whom you will serve. Joshua calls them to make a choice.
as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. This phrase is famous.
VERSE 16. The people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
VERSE 17. for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way in which we went, and among all the peoples through the middle of whom we passed.
VERSE 18. The LORD drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD; for he is our God.”
we also will serve the LORD. They promise that they too will serve the LORD God.
VERSE 19. Joshua said to the people, “You can’t serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your disobedience nor your sins.
You can’t serve the LORD. Joshua is not at all satisfied with their sudden enthusiasm.
He will not forgive. For those of us who are accustomed to the portrayal of the LORD God in the New Testament, this is jarring.
VERSE 20. If you forsake the LORD, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after he has done you good.”
VERSE 21. The people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD.”
VERSE 22. Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD yourselves, to serve him.” They said, “We are witnesses.”
VERSE 23. “Now therefore put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
put away the foreign gods. Joshua calls them to put their words into practice. They must get rid of their idols.
VERSE 24. The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God, and we will listen to his voice.”
VERSE 25. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
Joshua solemnly renews the covenant.
VERSE 26. Joshua wrote these words in the scroll of the Torah of God; and he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.
Joshua wrote their agreement into the Bible.
VERSE 27. Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the LORD’s words which he spoke to us. It shall be therefore a witness against you, lest you deny your God.”
VERSE 28. So Joshua sent the people away, each to his own inheritance.
VERSE 29. After these things, Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being one hundred ten years old.
Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD. No greater tribute can be paid to Joshua than the fact that he is simply called the servant of the LORD.
And so can we.
Numbers 12:7. My servant Moses is not so. He is faithful in all my house.
Joshua 24:29. After these things, Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being one hundred ten years old.
Matthew 25:23. His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
VERSE 30. They buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, on the north of the mountain of Gaash.
VERSE 31. Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, and had known all the work of the LORD, that he had worked for Israel.
VERSE 32. They buried the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, in Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of silver. They became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
pieces of silver. The Hebrew word is kesitahs. A kesitah was a kind of silver coin.
VERSE 33. Eleazar the son of Aaron died. They buried him in the hill of Phinehas his son, which was given him in the hill country of Ephraim.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.