Then Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, including their elders, leaders, judges, and officers. So they came and presented themselves to God.
Joshua said to the people, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods.
But I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him into the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac.
To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir, while Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
“Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterward I brought you out as a free people.
But when your ancestors arrived at the Red Sea, the Egyptians chased after you with chariots and charioteers.
When your ancestors cried out to the LORD, I put darkness between you and the Egyptians. I brought the sea crashing down on the Egyptians, drowning them. With your very own eyes you saw what I did. Then you lived in the wilderness for many years.
“Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I destroyed them before you. I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their land.
Then Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, started a war against Israel. He summoned Balaam son of Beor to curse you,
but I would not listen to him. Instead, I made Balaam bless you, and so I rescued you from Balak.
“When you crossed the Jordan River 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.
And I sent terror ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites. It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory.
I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.
“So fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone.
But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD .”
The people replied, “We would never abandon the LORD and serve other gods.
For the LORD our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us.
It was the LORD who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the LORD, for he alone is our God.”
Then Joshua warned the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.
If you abandon the LORD and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you.”
But the people answered Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD !”
“You are a witness to your own decision,” Joshua said. “You have chosen to serve the LORD .” “Yes,” they replied, “we are witnesses to what we have said.”
“All right then,” Joshua said, “destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God. We will obey him alone.”
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day at Shechem, committing them to follow the decrees and regulations of the LORD .
Joshua recorded these things in the Book of God’s Instructions. As a reminder of their agreement, he took a huge stone and rolled it beneath the terebinth tree beside the Tabernacle of the LORD .
Joshua said to all the people, “This stone has heard everything the LORD said to us. It will be a witness to testify against you if you go back on your word to God.”
Then Joshua sent all the people away to their own homelands.