Bible: Josh 22-24

Joshua Sends Home the Eastern Tribes

22:1 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh 22:2 and told them: “You have carried out all the instructions of Moses the Lord’s servant, and you have obeyed all I have told you. 1  22:3 You have not abandoned your fellow Israelites 2  this entire time, 3  right up to this very day. You have completed the task given you by the Lord your God. 4  22:4 Now the Lord your God has made your fellow Israelites secure, 5  just as he promised them. So now you may turn around and go to your homes 6  in your own land 7  which Moses the Lord’s servant assigned to you east of the Jordan. 22:5 But carefully obey the commands and instructions Moses the Lord’s servant gave you. Love 8  the Lord your God, follow all his instructions, 9  obey 10  his commands, be loyal to him, 11  and serve him with all your heart and being! 12 

22:6 Joshua rewarded 13  them and sent them on their way; they returned to their homes. 14  22:7 (Now to one half-tribe of Manasseh, Moses had assigned land in Bashan; and to the other half Joshua had assigned land on the west side of the Jordan with their fellow Israelites.) When Joshua sent them home, 15  he rewarded 16  them, 22:8 saying, “Take home 17  great wealth, a lot of cattle, 18  silver, gold, bronze, iron, and a lot of 19  clothing. Divide up the goods captured from your enemies with your brothers.” 22:9 So the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites in Shiloh in the land of Canaan and headed home to their own land in Gilead, 20  which they acquired by the Lord’s command through Moses.

Civil War is Averted

22:10 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan and built there, near the Jordan, an impressive altar. 21  22:11 The Israelites received this report: 22  “Look, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the entrance to 23  the land of Canaan, at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side.” 22:12 When the Israelites heard this, the entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh to launch an attack against them. 24 

22:13 The Israelites sent Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 22:14 He was accompanied by ten leaders, one from each of the Israelite tribes, each one a family leader among the Israelite clans. 25  22:15 They went to the land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them: 22:16 The entire community of the Lord says, ‘Why have you disobeyed the God of Israel by turning back today from following the Lord? You built an altar for yourselves and have rebelled today against the Lord. 26  22:17 The sin we committed at Peor was bad enough. To this very day we have not purified ourselves; it even brought a plague on the community of the Lord. 27  22:18 Now today you dare to turn back 28  from following the Lord! You are rebelling today against the Lord; tomorrow he may break out in anger against 29  the entire community of Israel. 22:19 But if your own land 30  is impure, 31  cross over to the Lord’s own land, 32  where the Lord himself lives, 33  and settle down among us. 34  But don’t rebel against the Lord or us 35  by building for yourselves an altar aside from the altar of the Lord our God. 22:20 When Achan son of Zerah disobeyed the command about the city’s riches, the entire Israelite community was judged, 36  though only one man had sinned. He most certainly died for his sin!’ 37 

22:21 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered the leaders 38  of the Israelite clans: 22:22 El, God, the Lord! 39  El, God, the Lord! He knows the truth! 40  Israel must also know! If we have rebelled or disobeyed the Lord, 41  don’t spare us 42  today! 22:23 If we have built 43  an altar for ourselves to turn back from following the Lord by making 44  burnt sacrifices and grain offerings on it, or by offering 45  tokens of peace 46  on it, the Lord himself will punish us. 47  22:24 We swear we have done this because we were worried that 48  in the future your descendants would say to our descendants, ‘What relationship do you have with the Lord God of Israel? 49  22:25 The Lord made the Jordan a boundary between us and you Reubenites and Gadites. You have no right to worship the Lord.’ 50  In this way your descendants might cause our descendants to stop obeying 51  the Lord. 22:26 So we decided to build this altar, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, 22:27 but as a reminder to us and you, 52  and to our descendants who follow us, that we will honor the Lord in his very presence 53  with burnt offerings, sacrifices, and tokens of peace. 54  Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to our descendants, ‘You have no right to worship the Lord.’ 55  22:28 We said, ‘If in the future they say such a thing 56  to us or to our descendants, we will reply, “See the model of the Lord’s altar that our ancestors 57  made, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a reminder to us and you.”’ 58  22:29 Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord by turning back today from following after the Lord by building an altar for burnt offerings, sacrifices, and tokens of peace 59  aside from the altar of the Lord our God located in front of his dwelling place! 60 

22:30 When Phinehas the priest and the community leaders and clan leaders who accompanied him heard the defense of the Reubenites, Gadites, and the Manassehites, 61  they were satisfied. 62  22:31 Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, said to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the Manassehites, 63 Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not disobeyed the Lord in this. 64  Now 65  you have rescued the Israelites from the Lord’s judgment.” 66 

22:32 Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, and the leaders left the Reubenites and Gadites in the land of Gilead and reported back to the Israelites in the land of Canaan. 67  22:33 The Israelites were satisfied with their report and gave thanks to God. 68  They said nothing more about launching an attack to destroy the land in which the Reubenites and Gadites lived. 69  22:34 The Reubenites and Gadites named the altar, “Surely it is a Reminder to us 70  that the Lord is God.”

Joshua Challenges Israel to be Faithful

23:1 A long time 71  passed after the Lord made Israel secure from all their enemies, 72  and Joshua was very old. 73  23:2 So Joshua summoned all Israel, including the elders, rulers, judges, and leaders, and told them: “I am very old. 23:3 You saw everything the Lord your God did to all these nations on your behalf, for the Lord your God fights for you. 74  23:4 See, I have parceled out to your tribes these remaining nations, 75  from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea 76  in the west, including all the nations I defeated. 77  23:5 The Lord your God will drive them out from before you and remove them, 78  so you can occupy 79  their land as the Lord your God promised 80  you. 23:6 Be very strong! Carefully obey 81  all that is written in the law scroll of Moses so you won’t swerve from it to the right or the left, 23:7 or associate with these nations that remain near 82  you. You must not invoke or make solemn declarations by the names of their gods! 83  You must not worship 84  or bow down to them! 23:8 But you must be loyal to 85  the Lord your God, as you have been 86  to this very day.

23:9The Lord drove out from before you great and mighty nations; no one has been able to resist you 87  to this very day. 23:10 One of you makes a thousand run away, 88  for the Lord your God fights for you 89  as he promised you he would. 90  23:11 Watch yourselves carefully! Love the Lord your God! 91  23:12 But if you ever turn away and make alliances with 92  these nations that remain near you, 93  and intermarry with them and establish friendly relations with them, 94  23:13 know for certain that the Lord our God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. They will trap and ensnare you; 95  they will be a whip that tears 96  your sides and thorns that blind 97  your eyes until you disappear 98  from this good land the Lord your God gave you.

23:14Look, today I am about to die. 99  You know with all your heart and being 100  that not even one of all the faithful promises the Lord your God made to you is left unfulfilled; every one was realized – not one promise is unfulfilled! 101  23:15 But in the same way every faithful promise the Lord your God made to you has been realized, 102  it is just as certain, if you disobey, that the Lord will bring on you every judgment 103  until he destroys you from this good land which the Lord your God gave you. 23:16 If you violate the covenantal laws of the Lord your God which he commanded you to keep, 104  and follow, worship, and bow down to other gods, 105  the Lord will be very angry with you and you will disappear 106  quickly from the good land which he gave to you.”

Israel Renews its Commitment to the Lord

24:1 Joshua assembled all the Israelite tribes at Shechem. He summoned Israel’s elders, rulers, judges, and leaders, and they appeared before God. 24:2 Joshua told all the people, “Here is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘In the distant past your ancestors 107  lived beyond the Euphrates River, 108  including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor. They worshiped 109  other gods, 24:3 but I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates 110  and brought him into 111  the entire land of Canaan. I made his descendants numerous; I gave him Isaac, 24:4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I assigned Mount Seir, 112  while Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. 24:5 I sent Moses and Aaron, and I struck Egypt down when I intervened in their land. 113  Then I brought you out. 24:6 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. 24:7 Your fathers 114  cried out for help to the Lord; he made the area between you and the Egyptians dark, 115  and then drowned them in the sea. 116  You witnessed with your very own eyes 117  what I did in Egypt. You lived in the wilderness for a long time. 118  24:8 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 119  their land and I destroyed them from before you. 24:9 Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, launched an attack 120  against Israel. He summoned 121  Balaam son of Beor to call down judgment 122  on you. 24:10 I refused to respond to Balaam; he kept 123  prophesying good things about 124  you, and I rescued you from his power. 125  24:11 You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. 126  The leaders 127  of Jericho, as well as the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites, fought with you, but I handed them over to you. 24:12 I sent terror 128  ahead of you to drive out before you the two 129  Amorite kings. I gave you the victory; it was not by your swords or bows. 130  24:13 I gave you a land in 131  which you had not worked hard; you took up residence in cities you did not build and you are eating the produce of 132  vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.’

24:14 Now 133  obey 134  the Lord and worship 135  him with integrity and loyalty. Put aside the gods your ancestors 136  worshiped 137  beyond the Euphrates 138  and in Egypt and worship 139  the Lord. 24:15 If you have no desire 140  to worship 141  the Lord, choose today whom you will worship, 142  whether it be the gods whom your ancestors 143  worshiped 144  beyond the Euphrates, 145  or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family 146  will worship 147  the Lord!

24:16 The people responded, “Far be it from us to abandon the Lord so we can 148  worship 149  other gods! 24:17 For the Lord our God took us and our fathers out of slavery 150  in the land of Egypt 151  and performed these awesome miracles 152  before our very eyes. He continually protected us as we traveled and when we passed through nations. 153  24:18 The Lord drove out from before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. So we too will worship 154  the Lord, for he is our God!

24:19 Joshua warned 155  the people, “You will not keep worshiping 156  the Lord, for 157  he is a holy God. 158  He is a jealous God who will not forgive 159  your rebellion or your sins. 24:20 If 160  you abandon the Lord and worship 161  foreign gods, he will turn against you; 162  he will bring disaster on you and destroy you, 163  though he once treated you well.” 164 

24:21 The people said to Joshua, “No! We really will 165  worship 166  the Lord! 24:22 Joshua said to the people, “Do you agree to be witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to worship the Lord?” 167  They replied, “We are witnesses! 168  24:23 Joshua said, 169  “Now put aside the foreign gods that are among you and submit to 170  the Lord God of Israel.”

24:24 The people said to Joshua, “We will worship 171  the Lord our God and obey him.” 172 

24:25 That day Joshua drew up an agreement 173  for the people, and he established rules and regulations 174  for them in Shechem. 24:26 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. 24:27 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. 175  It will be a witness against you if 176  you deny your God.” 24:28 When Joshua dismissed the people, they went to their allotted portions of land. 177 

An Era Ends

24:29 After all this 178  Joshua son of Nun, the Lord’s servant, died at the age of one hundred ten. 24:30 They buried him in his allotted territory 179  in Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 24:31 Israel worshiped 180  the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and as long as the elderly men who outlived him remained alive. 181  These men had experienced firsthand everything the Lord had done for Israel. 182 

24:32 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. 183  So it became the inheritance of the tribe of Joseph. 184 

24:33 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. 185 

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