1Then Joshua called together the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh. 2He said to them, “You have done everything that Moses the LORD's servant ordered you to do, and you have obeyed all my commands. 3All this time you have never once deserted your fellow-Israelites. You have been careful to obey the commands of the LORD your God. 4Now, as he promised, the LORD your God has given your fellow-Israelites peace. So go back home to the land which you claimed for your own, the land on the east side of the Jordan, that Moses, the LORD's servant, gave you. 5Make sure you obey the law that Moses commanded you: love the LORD your God, do his will, obey his commandments, be faithful to him, and serve him with all your heart and soul.”
9So the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh went back home. They left the rest of the people of Israel at Shiloh in the land of Canaan and started out for their own land, the land of Gilead, which they had taken as the LORD had commanded them through Moses.
The Altar by the Jordan
10When the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh arrived at Geliloth, still on the west side of the Jordan, they built a large, impressive altar there by the river. 11The rest of the people of Israel were told, “Listen! The people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh have built an altar at Geliloth, on our side of the Jordan!” 12When the people of Israel heard this, the whole community came together at Shiloh to go to war against the eastern tribes.
13Then the people of Israel sent Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, to the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh in the land of Gilead. 14Ten leading men went with Phinehas, one from each of the western tribes and each one the head of a family among the clans. 15They came to the land of Gilead, to the people of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh, 16and speaking for the whole community of the LORD, they said to them, “Why have you done this evil thing against the God of Israel? You have rebelled against the LORD by building this altar for yourselves! You are no longer following him! 17Remember our sin at Peor, when the LORD punished his own people with an epidemic? We are still suffering because of that. Wasn't that sin enough? 18Are you going to refuse to follow him now? If you rebel against the LORD today, he will be angry with everyone in Israel tomorrow. 19Now then, if your land is not fit to worship in, come over into the LORD's land, where his Tent is. Claim some land among us. But don't rebel against the LORD or make rebels out of us by building an altar in addition to the altar of the LORD our God. 20Remember how Achan son of Zerah refused to obey the command about the things condemned to destruction; the whole community of Israel was punished for that. Achan was not the only one who died because of his sin.”
21The people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh answered the heads of the families of the western tribes: 22“The Mighty One is God! He is the LORD! The Mighty One is God! He is the LORD! He knows why we did this, and we want you to know too! If we rebelled and did not keep faith with the LORD, do not let us live any longer! 23If we disobeyed the LORD and built our own altar to burn sacrifices on or to use for grain offerings or fellowship offerings, let the LORD himself punish us. 24No! We did it because we were afraid that in the future your descendants would say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the LORD, the God of Israel? 25He made the Jordan a boundary between us and you people of Reuben and Gad. You have nothing to do with the LORD.’ Then your descendants might make our descendants stop worshipping the LORD. 26So we built an altar, not to burn sacrifices or make offerings, 27but instead, as a sign for our people and yours, and for the generations after us, that we do indeed worship the LORD before his sacred Tent with our offerings to be burnt and with sacrifices and fellowship offerings. This was to keep your descendants from saying that ours have nothing to do with the LORD. 28It was our idea that, if this should ever happen, our descendants could say, ‘Look! Our ancestors made an altar just like the LORD's altar. It was not for burning offerings or for sacrifice, but as a sign for our people and yours.’ 29We would certainly not rebel against the LORD or stop following him now by building an altar to burn offerings on or for grain offerings or sacrifices. We would not build any other altar than the altar of the LORD our God that stands in front of the Tent of his presence.”
30Phinehas the priest and the ten leading men of the community who were with him, the heads of families of the western tribes, heard what the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh had to say, and they were satisfied. 31Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, said to them, “Now we know that the LORD is with us. You have not rebelled against him, and so you have saved the people of Israel from the LORD's punishment.”
32Then Phinehas and the leaders left the people of Reuben and Gad in the land of Gilead and went back to Canaan, to the people of Israel, and reported to them. 33The Israelites were satisfied and praised God. They no longer talked about going to war to devastate the land where the people of Reuben and Gad had settled.
34The people of Reuben and Gad said, “This altar is a witness to all of us that the LORD is God.” And so they named it “Witness”.
Joshua's Farewell Address
1Much later the LORD gave Israel security from their enemies around them. By that time Joshua was very old, 2so he called all Israel, the elders, leaders, judges, and officers of the people, and said, “I am very old now. 3You have seen everything that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you. The LORD your God has been fighting for you. 4I have assigned as the possession of your tribes the land of the nations that are still left, as well as of all the nations that I have already conquered, from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5The LORD your God will make them retreat from you, and he will drive them away as you advance. You shall have their land, as the LORD your God has promised you. 6So be careful to obey and do everything that is written in the book of the Law of Moses. Do not neglect any part of it, 7and then you will not associate with these peoples left among you or speak the names of their gods or use those names in taking vows or worship those gods or bow down to them. 8Instead, be faithful to the LORD, as you have been till now. 9The LORD has driven great and powerful nations out as you advanced and no one has ever been able to stand against you. 10Any one of you can make a thousand men run away, because the LORD your God is fighting for you, just as he promised. 11Be careful, then, to love the LORD your God. 12If you are disloyal and join with the nations that are still left among you and intermarry with them, 13you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive these nations out as you advance. Rather, they will be as dangerous for you as a trap or a pit and as painful as a whip on your back or thorns in your eyes. And this will last until none of you are left in this good land which the LORD your God has given you.
14“Now my time has come to die. Every one of you knows in his heart and soul that the LORD your God has given you all the good things that he promised. Every promise he made has been kept; not one has failed. 15But just as he kept every promise that he made to you, so he will carry out every threat. 16If you do not keep the covenant which the LORD your God commanded you to keep and if you serve and worship other gods, then in his anger he will punish you, and soon none of you will be left in this good land that he has given you.”
Joshua Speaks to the People at Shechem
1Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem. He called the elders, the leaders, the judges, and the officers of Israel, and they came into the presence of God. 2Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, has to say: ‘Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the River Euphrates and worshipped other gods. One of those ancestors was Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor. 3Then I took Abraham, your ancestor, from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, 4and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave Esau the hill country of Edom as his possession, but your ancestor Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. 5Later I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought great trouble on Egypt. But I led you out; 6I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and cavalry. But when your ancestors got to the Red Sea 7they cried out to me for help, and I put darkness between them and the Egyptians. I made the sea come rolling over the Egyptians and drown them. You know what I did to Egypt.
“ ‘You lived in the desert a long time. 8Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the east side of the Jordan. They fought you, but I gave you victory over them. You took their land, and I destroyed them as you advanced. 9Then the king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, fought against you. He sent word to Balaam son of Beor and asked him to put a curse on you. 10But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you, and in this way I rescued you from Balak. 11You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The men of Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I gave you victory over them all. 12As you advanced, I threw them into panic in order to drive out the two Amorite kings. Your swords and bows had nothing to do with it. 13I gave you a land that you had never cultivated and cities that you had not built. Now you are living there and eating grapes from vines that you did not plant, and olives from trees that you did not plant.’
14“Now then,” Joshua continued, “honour the LORD and serve him sincerely and faithfully. Get rid of the gods which your ancestors used to worship in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve only the LORD. 15If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors worshipped in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. As for my family and me, we will serve the LORD.”
16The people replied, “We would never leave the LORD to serve other gods! 17The LORD our God brought our fathers and us out of slavery in Egypt, and we saw the miracles that he performed. He kept us safe wherever we went among all the nations through which we passed. 18As we advanced into this land, the LORD drove out all the Amorites who lived here. So we also will serve the LORD; he is our God.”
19Joshua said to the people, “But you may not be able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God and will not forgive your sins. He will tolerate no rivals, 20and if you leave him to serve foreign gods, he will turn against you and punish you. He will destroy you, even though he was good to you before.”
21The people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”
22Joshua said to them, “You are your own witnesses to the fact that you have chosen to serve the LORD.”
“Yes,” they said, “we are witnesses.”
23“Then get rid of those foreign gods that you have,” he demanded, “and pledge your loyalty to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
24The people then said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God. We will obey his commands.”
25So Joshua made a covenant for the people that day, and there at Shechem he gave them laws and rules to follow. 26Joshua wrote these commands in the book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up under the oak tree in the LORD's sanctuary. 27He said to all the people, “This stone will be our witness. It has heard all the words that the LORD has spoken to us. So it will be a witness against you, to keep you from rebelling against your God.” 28Then Joshua sent the people away, and they all returned to their own part of the land.
Joshua and Eleazar Die
29After that, the LORD's servant Joshua son of Nun died at the age of 110. 30They buried him on his own land at Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash.
31As long as Joshua lived, the people of Israel served the LORD, and after his death they continued to do so as long as those leaders were alive who had seen for themselves everything that the LORD had done for Israel.
32The body of Joseph, which the people of Israel had brought from Egypt, was buried at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a hundred pieces of silver. This land was inherited by Joseph's descendants.
33Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah, the town in the hill country of Ephraim which had been given to his son Phinehas.