1 Joshua summoned the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh. 2 He said to them, "You have done everything the LORD's servant Moses commanded you. You have also obeyed me in everything I commanded you. 3 All this time, to this day, you have never deserted your relatives. You have carefully kept the commands of the LORD your God. 4 "Now the LORD your God has given your relatives peace, as he promised them. So return home, to the land that is your own possession. It is the land that the LORD's servant Moses gave you east of the Jordan River. 5 Carefully follow the commands and teachings that the LORD's servant Moses gave you. Love the LORD your God, follow his directions, and keep his commands. Be loyal to him, and serve him with all your heart and soul." 6 Then Joshua blessed them. He sent them on their way, and they went to their homes. 7 Moses had given land in Bashan as an inheritance to half of Manasseh, and Joshua had given the other half of the tribe their land with their relatives west of the Jordan. When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them. 8 He also said to them, "Return to your homes with your vast wealth, large herds of livestock, silver, gold, bronze, iron, and loads of clothing. Divide the loot from your enemies with your relatives." 9 So the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh left the rest of the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan. They returned to Gilead. This was their own possession which they had captured as the LORD had instructed them through Moses. 10 Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh came to the region of the Jordan that was still in Canaan. They built an altar by the Jordan River. The altar was very large and highly visible. 11 The rest of the Israelites heard about it and said, "See there! Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the border of Canaan. It's in the region near the Jordan River on Israel's side." 12 When the people of Israel heard about it, the whole congregation of Israel gathered at Shiloh. They intended to wage war against them. 13 The Israelites sent Phinehas, son of the priest Eleazar, to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh in Gilead. 14 Ten leaders, one from each tribe in Israel, went with him. Each man was a leader of a household and head of a family division in Israel. 15 When they arrived these leaders said to the people of Gilead, 16 "All of the LORD's congregation is asking, 'What is this faithless act you have committed against the God of Israel?' Today you have turned away from following the LORD by building an altar for yourselves. Today you have rebelled against the LORD! 17 Does the sin we committed at Peor mean nothing to us anymore? Didn't we cleanse ourselves from it? Because of that sin there was a plague on the LORD's congregation! 18 You have turned away from following the LORD! Today you rebel against the LORD, and tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 If your land is unclean, come over here to the LORD's land. The LORD's tent is standing here. Take some property for yourselves among us. Don't rebel against the LORD or against us by building an altar for yourselves in addition to the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Didn't Achan, son of Zerah, act faithlessly with the things claimed by the LORD? Didn't the LORD become angry with the whole congregation of Israel? Achan wasn't the only one who died because of his sin." 21 Then the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh answered the heads of the divisions of Israel. 22 They said, "The LORD is [the only true] God! The LORD is [the only true] God! He knows, so let Israel know! If our act is rebellious or unfaithful to the LORD, 23 don't spare us today. If we built an altar with the intention of no longer following him, and if we built it for making burnt offerings, grain offerings, or fellowship offerings, let the LORD punish us. 24 "We were worried because of the situation we're in. We thought sometime in the future your children might say to our children, 'What relationship do you have with the LORD God of Israel? 25 The LORD has made the Jordan River a dividing line between us and you, the descendants of Reuben and Gad. You have no connection with the LORD!' So your descendants would stop our descendants from worshiping the LORD. 26 Then we said, 'Let's build an altar for ourselves. It will not be for burnt offerings or sacrifices, 27 but it will stand as a witness between us for generations to come. It will stand as a witness that we may worship in the presence of the LORD with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and fellowship offerings.' Then your descendants cannot say to our descendants, 'You have no connection with the LORD!' 28 So we thought, if this statement is made to us or to our descendants in the future, we will answer, 'Look at the model of the LORD's altar our ancestors made. They didn't make it for burnt offerings or sacrifices but to stand as a witness between us.' 29 It would be unthinkable for us to rebel against the LORD or to turn back today from following the LORD by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings, or sacrifices in addition to the altar of the LORD our God that is in front of his tent." 30 When the priest Phinehas, the leaders of the congregation, and the heads of the divisions of Israel heard what the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh said, they were satisfied. 31 Then Phinehas, son of the priest Eleazar, said to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, "Today we know the LORD is among us, because you did not commit an unfaithful act against the LORD. Now you have rescued the people of Israel from the LORD's punishment." 32 Then Phinehas (son of the priest Eleazar) and the leaders returned from Reuben and Gad in Gilead to Israel in Canaan and gave them the report. 33 The people of Israel were satisfied with the report. So they praised God and didn't talk anymore about going to war against Reuben and Gad and destroying the land where they were living. 34 The tribes of Reuben and Gad gave the altar a name: Witness Between Us That the LORD Is [the Only True] God.
1 A long time afterward, the LORD gave the Israelites peace with all their enemies around them. Joshua was old, near the end of his life. 2 So he called all the leaders, chiefs, judges, and officers of Israel together. He said to them, "I am old, near the end of my life. 3 You have seen for yourselves everything the LORD your God did to all those nations. The LORD your God fought for you! 4 I have given you the territory of the nations that still remain as an inheritance for your tribes. This includes the territory of all the nations I have already destroyed from the Jordan River westward to the Mediterranean Sea 5 The LORD your God will expel them right in front of your eyes and force them out of your way. You will take their land as the LORD your God told you. 6 Now you must be very strong to keep and to do everything written in the Book of Moses' Teachings. Don't turn away from them. 7 Don't get mixed up with the nations left in your territory. Don't ever mention the names of their gods or swear an oath to them. Don't ever serve their gods or bow down to them. 8 But you must be loyal to the LORD your God, as you have been until now. 9 The LORD has forced important and powerful nations out of your way. Not one person has ever been able to stand up to you. 10 One of you used to chase a thousand. That was because the LORD your God was fighting for you, as he had promised you. 11 Be very careful to love the LORD your God. 12 "But if you turn away and go along with the other nations within your [borders], if you intermarry with them or associate with them, 13 then you should know that the LORD your God will never again force these people out of your way. Instead, they will be a snare and a trap for you, a whip laid to your sides, and thorns in your eyes until none of you are left in this good land that the LORD your God has given you. 14 "Pay attention, because I will soon die like everyone else. You know with all your heart and soul that not one single promise which the LORD your God has given you has ever failed to come true. Every single word has come true 15 "Every good word the LORD your God has promised you has come true for you. In the same way the LORD will bring about every evil curse until he has destroyed you from this good land that he has given you. 16 When you ignore the conditions placed on you by the LORD your God and follow other gods, serve them and bow down to them, the LORD will be angry with you. Then you will quickly disappear from the good land he has given you."
1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem. He called together Israel's leaders, chiefs, judges, and officers, and they presented themselves to God. 2 Joshua said to all the people, "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: Long ago your ancestors, Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor, lived on the other side of the Euphrates River and served other gods. 3 But I took your ancestor Abraham from the other side of the Euphrates River. I led him through all of Canaan and gave him many descendants. I also gave him Isaac. 4 To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave Esau the mountains in Seir as his own. However, Jacob and his sons went to Egypt. 5 "Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I struck Egypt with plagues. Later I led you out. 6 When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, you came to the sea. The Egyptians with their chariots and horsemen chased your ancestors to the Red Sea. 7 When your ancestors cried out to the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians. He made the sea flow back and cover them. You saw for yourselves what I did to Egypt. Then you lived in the desert for a long time. 8 "After that I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived on the east side of the Jordan River. They fought you. However, I handed them over to you. So you took their land, and I destroyed them in front of you. 9 Then Balak, son of King Zippor of Moab, fought Israel. He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you. 10 But I refused to listen to Balaam. All he could do was bless you. So I saved you from his power. 11 "Then you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho, the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites fought you. But I handed them over to you. 12 I sent hornets ahead of you to force out the two kings of the Amorites ahead of you. These things didn't happen because of your battle skills or fighting ability. 13 So I gave you a land that you hadn't farmed, cities to live in that you hadn't built, vineyards and olive groves that you hadn't planted. So you ate all you wanted! 14 "Fear the LORD, and serve him with integrity and faithfulness. Get rid of the gods your ancestors served on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve only the LORD. 15 But if you don't want to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Even if you choose the gods your ancestors served on the other side of the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live, my family and I will still serve the LORD." 16 The people responded, "It would be unthinkable for us to abandon the LORD to serve other gods. 17 The LORD our God brought us and our ancestors out of slavery in Egypt. He did these spectacular signs right before our eyes. He guarded us wherever we went, especially as we passed through other nations. 18 The LORD forced out all the people ahead of us, including the Amorites who lived in this land. We, too, will serve the LORD, because he is our God." 19 But Joshua answered the people, "Since the LORD is a holy God, you can't possibly serve him. He is a God who does not tolerate rivals. He will not forgive your rebellious acts and sins. 20 If you abandon the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you. He will destroy you, although he has been so good to you." 21 The people answered Joshua, "No! We will [only] serve the LORD!" 22 Joshua said to the people, "You have testified that you have chosen to serve the LORD." They answered, "Yes, we have!" 23 "Get rid of the foreign gods that are among you. Turn yourselves entirely over to the LORD God of Israel." 24 The people replied to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and obey him." 25 That day Joshua made an agreement for the people and set up laws and rules for them at Shechem. 26 Joshua wrote these things in the Book of God's Teachings. Then he took a large stone and set it up under the oak tree at the LORD's holy place. 27 Joshua told all the people, "This stone will stand as a witness for us. It has heard all the words which the LORD spoke to us. It will stand as a witness for you. You cannot deceive your God." 28 Then Joshua sent the people away, each to his own property. 29 After these events, the LORD's servant Joshua, son of Nun, died. He was 110 years old. 30 He was buried on his own land at Timnath Serah in the mountains of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash. 31 Israel served the LORD as long as Joshua and the older leaders, who outlived him and who knew everything the LORD had done for Israel, were alive. 32 Joseph's bones, which the people of Israel had brought from Egypt, were buried at Shechem. They were placed in the plot of ground Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor, father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver. The plot was inherited by Joseph's descendants. 33 Aaron's son Eleazar also died. He was buried on the hill that had been given to his son Phinehas in the mountains of Ephraim.