October 20 (Year 2)
Joshua called all the tribes of Israel to meet together at Shechem. Then Joshua called the older leaders, heads of the families, judges, and the officers of Israel. These men stood before God.
Then Joshua spoke to all the people. He said, “I am telling you what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you: ‘A long time ago, your ancestors lived on the other side of the Euphrates River. I am talking about men like Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor. At that time they worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham out of the land on the other side of the River. I led him through the land of Canaan and gave him many children. I gave Abraham his son Isaac. And I gave Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau. To Esau, I gave the land around the mountains of Seir. Jacob and his sons did not live there. They went to live in the land of Egypt.
“‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron to Egypt. I wanted them to bring my people out of Egypt. I caused many terrible things to happen to the people of Egypt. Then I brought your people out of Egypt. When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, they came to the Red Sea, and the men of Egypt were chasing them. There were chariots and men on horses. So the people asked me, the Lord, for help. And I caused great trouble to come to the men of Egypt. I caused the sea to cover them. You yourselves saw what I did to the army of Egypt.
“‘After that you lived in the desert for a long time. Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, east of the Jordan River. Those people fought against you, but I allowed you to defeat them. I gave you the power to destroy them, and you took control of that land.
“‘Then Balak, the son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against the Israelites. The king sent for Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, but I refused to listen to Balaam’s prayer. So he asked me to bless you, and I saved you from the enemy.
“‘Then you went across the Jordan River to the city of Jericho. The people in Jericho fought against you. Also, the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites fought against you. But I allowed you to defeat them all. As your army went forward, I sent the Hornet ahead of them and made the people leave the land, as I did to the two Amorite kings. It was not your swords and bows that brought you victory!
“‘I, the Lord, gave that land to you. You didn’t work for that land—I gave it to you. You did not build those cities—I gave them to you. And now you live in that land and in those cities. You have vineyards and olive trees, but you did not have to plant those gardens.’”
Then Joshua said to the people, “Now you have heard the Lord’s words. So you must respect the Lord and sincerely serve him. Throw away the false gods that your ancestors worshiped. That was something that happened a long time ago on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Now you must serve only the Lord.
“But maybe you don’t want to serve the Lord. You must choose for yourselves today. Today you must decide who you will serve. Will you serve the gods that your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River? Or will you serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land? You must choose for yourselves. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
Then the people answered, “We will never stop following the Lord. We will never serve other gods! We know that it was the Lord God who brought our people out of Egypt. We were slaves in that land, but he did great things for us there. He brought us out of that land and protected us while we traveled through other lands. The Lord helped us defeat the people living in these lands. He helped us defeat the Amorites who lived in this land where we are now. So we will continue to serve the Lord, because he is our God.”
Then Joshua said, “You will not be able to continue serving the Lord. God is holy. And God hates his people worshiping other gods. He will not forgive you if you turn against him like that. If you leave the Lord and serve other gods, he will cause terrible things to happen to you. He will destroy you. He has been good to you, but if you turn against him he will destroy you.”
Then the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!”
Then Joshua said, “Look around at yourselves and the people with you. Do you all know and agree that you have chosen to serve the Lord? Are you all witnesses to this?”
The people answered, “Yes, it is true. We all see that we have chosen to serve the Lord.”
Then Joshua said, “So throw away the false gods that you have among you. Love the Lord, the God of Israel, with all your heart.”
Then the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God. We will obey him.”
So that day Joshua made an agreement for the people. He made this agreement at the town called Shechem. It became a law for them to follow. Joshua wrote these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he found a large stone to be the proof of this agreement. He put the stone under the oak tree near the Lord’s Holy Tent.
Then Joshua said to all the people, “This stone will help you remember what we said today. This stone was here when the Lord was speaking to us today. So this stone will be something that helps you remember what happened today. The stone will be a witness against you. It will stop you from turning against your God.”
Then Joshua told the people to go home. So everyone went back to his own land.
After that the Lord’s servant Joshua son of Nun died. He was 110 years old. Joshua was buried on his own land at Timnath Serah, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
The Israelites served the Lord during the time Joshua was living. After Joshua died, the people continued to serve the Lord while their leaders were alive. These were the leaders who had seen what the Lord had done for Israel.
When the Israelites left Egypt, they carried the bones from the body of Joseph with them. They buried the bones of Joseph at Shechem on the land that Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of the man named Shechem. Jacob had bought that land for 100 pieces of pure silver. This land belonged to Joseph’s children.
Aaron’s son, Eleazar, died and was buried at Gibeah in the hill country of Ephraim. Gibeah had been given to Eleazar’s son Phinehas.