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ESV — Chronological: Day 89
89
Reading
Joshua 22-24

The Eastern Tribes Return Home

22 At that time Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them, “You have kept wall that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you xand have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you. You have not forsaken your brothers these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God. yAnd now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, zwhich Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. aOnly be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, bto love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” So Joshua cblessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, dbut to the other half Joshua had given a possession beside their brothers in the land west of the Jordan. And when Joshua sent them away to their homes and blessed them, he said to them, “Go back to your tents with much wealth and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with much clothing. eDivide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.” So the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, parting from the people of Israel at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go fto the land of Gilead, their own land of which they had possessed themselves by command of the Lord through Moses.

The Eastern Tribes' Altar of Witness

10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. 11 And the people of Israel gheard it said, “Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.” 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, hthe whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

13 Then the people of Israel sent to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, iPhinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, jevery one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 And they came to the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, ‘What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar this day kin rebellion against the Lord? 17 Have we not had enough of lthe sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the Lord, 18 that you too must turn away this day from following the Lord? And if kyou too rebel against the Lord today then tomorrow mhe will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 But now, if the land of your possession is unclean, pass over into the Lord's land nwhere the Lord's tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us. oOnly do not rebel against the Lord or make us as rebels by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 pDid not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and mwrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.’”

21 Then the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 “The Mighty One, qGod, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! rHe knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the Lord, do not spare us today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord. Or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or peace offerings on it, may the Lord himself stake vengeance. 24 No, but we did it from fear that tin time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you people of Reuben and people of Gad. You have no portion in the Lord.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be ua witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we vdo perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’ 28 And we thought, ‘If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, “Behold, the copy of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be ua witness between us and you.”’ 29 Far be it from us that we should wrebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord wby building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!”

30 When xPhinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh spoke, yit was good in their eyes. 31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh, “Today we know that zthe Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the Lord. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Lord.”

32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the people of Reuben and the people of Gad ain the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And the report bwas good in the eyes of the people of Israel. And the people of Israel cblessed God and spoke no more of making war against them to destroy the land where the people of Reuben and the people of Gad were settled. 34 The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, d“it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Joshua's Charge to Israel's Leaders

23 A long time afterward, when the Lord had given erest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua fwas old and well advanced in years, Joshua gsummoned all Israel, its elders and heads, its judges and officers, and said to them, “I am now old and well advanced in years. And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, hfor it is the Lord your God who has fought for you. Behold, iI have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. The Lord your God jwill push them back before you and drive them out of your sight. And you shall possess their land, kjust as the Lord your God promised you. Therefore, lbe very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, mturning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, nthat you may not mix with these nations remaining among you oor make mention of the names of their gods por swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, qbut you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day. rFor the Lord has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, sno man has been able to stand before you to this day. 10 tOne man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God uwho fights for you, just as he promised you. 11 vBe very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. 12 For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you wand make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, 13 know for certain that xthe Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, ybut they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.

14 “And now zI am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that anot one word has failed of all the good things1 that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. 15 But just as all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the Lord will bring upon you ball the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the Lord your God has given you, 16 if you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”

The Covenant Renewal at Shechem

24 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel cto Shechem and dsummoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And ethey presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, fyour fathers lived beyond the Euphrates,2 Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and gthey served other gods. hThen I took your father Abraham from beyond the River3 and iled him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. jI gave him Isaac. And to Isaac I gave kJacob and Esau. lAnd I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, mbut Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. nAnd I sent Moses and Aaron, oand I plagued Egypt with what I did in the midst of it, and pafterward I brought you out.

“‘Then pI brought your fathers out of Egypt, and qyou came to the sea. rAnd the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. sAnd when they cried to the Lord, the put darkness between you and the Egyptians uand made the sea come upon them and cover them; vand your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. wAnd you lived in the wilderness a long time. Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan. xThey fought with you, and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. yThen Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. zAnd he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, 10 abut I would not listen to Balaam. aIndeed, he blessed you. So I delivered you out of his hand. 11 bAnd you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, cand the leaders of Jericho fought against you, and also cthe Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And I gave them into your hand. 12 And I sent dthe hornet before you, which drove them out before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was enot by your sword or by your bow. 13 I gave you a land on which you had not labored fand cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’

Choose Whom You Will Serve

14 g“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. hPut away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 iAnd if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, jchoose this day whom you will serve, whether hthe gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or kthe gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. lBut as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, 17 for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

19 But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is ma holy God. He is na jealous God; ohe will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20 pIf you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then qhe will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” 21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord.” 22 Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that ryou have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23 He said, “Then sput away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.” 24 And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” 25 So Joshua tmade a covenant with the people that day, and put in place ustatutes and rules for them at Shechem. 26 And Joshua vwrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And whe took a large stone and set it up there xunder the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, ythis stone shall be a witness against us, for zit has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.” 28 So Joshua asent the people away, every man to his inheritance.

Joshua's Death and Burial

29 bAfter these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years old. 30 And they buried him in his own inheritance at cTimnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash.

31 dIsrael served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua eand had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.

32 fAs for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land gthat Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money.4 It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.

33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died, and they buried him at Gibeah, the town of hPhinehas his son, which had been given him in ithe hill country of Ephraim.

Footnotes

[1] 23:14 Or words; also twice in verse 15
[2] 24:2 Hebrew the River
[3] 24:3 That is, the Euphrates; also verses 14, 15
[4] 24:32 Hebrew for a hundred qesitah; a unit of money of unknown value