Joshua 24

1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem. He called the older leaders, heads of families, judges, and officers of Israel to stand before God.
2 Then Joshua said to all the people, "Here's 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. Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, worshiped other gods.
3 But I, the Lord, took your ancestor Abraham from the other side of the river and led him through the land of Canaan. And I gave him many children, including his son Isaac.
4 I gave Isaac two sons named Jacob and Esau. I gave the land around the mountains of Edom to Esau, but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.
5 Then I sent Moses and Aaron to Egypt, where I brought many disasters on the Egyptians. Afterwards I brought you out.
6 When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, they came to the Red Sea, and the Egyptians chased them with chariots and men on horses.
7 So the people called out to the Lord. And I brought darkness between you and the Egyptians and made 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.
8 "'Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, east of the Jordan River. They fought against you, but I handed them over to you. I destroyed them before you, and you took control of that land.
9 But the king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, prepared to fight against the Israelites. The king sent for Balaam son of Beor to curse you,
10 but I refused to listen to Balaam. So he asked for good things to happen to you! I saved you and brought you out of his power.
11 "'Then you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, where the people of Jericho fought against you. Also, the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites fought against you. But I handed them over to you.
12 I sent terror ahead of you to force out two Amorite kings. You took the land without using swords and bows.
13 I gave you that land where you did not have to work. I gave you cities that you did not have to build. And now you live in that land and in those cities, and you eat from vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant.'"
14 Then Joshua said to the people, "Now respect the Lord and serve him fully and sincerely. Throw away the gods that your ancestors worshiped on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord.
15 But if you don't want to serve the Lord, you must choose for yourselves today whom you will serve. You may serve the gods that your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River, or you may serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land. As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."
16 Then the people answered, "We will never stop following the Lord to serve other gods!
17 It was the Lord our God who brought our ancestors out of Egypt. We were slaves in that land, but the Lord did great things for us there. He brought us out and protected us while we traveled through other lands.
18 Then he forced out all the people living in these lands, even the Amorites. So we will serve the Lord, because he is our God."
19 Then Joshua said, "You are not able to serve the Lord, because he is a holy God and a jealous God. If you turn against him and sin, he will not forgive you.
20 If you leave the Lord and serve other gods, he will send you great trouble. The Lord may have been good to you, but if you turn against him, he will destroy you."
21 But the people said to Joshua, "No! We will serve the Lord."
22 Then Joshua said, "You are your own witnesses that you have chosen to serve the Lord." The people said, "Yes, we are."
23 Then Joshua said, "Now throw away the gods that you have. Love the Lord, the God of Israel, with all your heart."
24 Then the people said to Joshua, "We will serve the Lord our God, and we will obey him."
25 On that day at Shechem Joshua made an agreement for the people. He made rules and laws for them to follow.
26 Joshua wrote these things in the Book of the Teachings of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up under the oak tree near the Lord's Holy Tent.
27 Joshua said to all the people, "See this stone! It will remind you of what we did today. It was here the Lord spoke to us today. It will remind you of what happened so you will not turn against your God."
28 Then Joshua sent the people back to their land.
29 After that, Joshua son of Nun died at the age of one hundred ten.
30 They buried him in his own land at Timnath Serah, in the mountains of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
31 The Israelites served the Lord during the lifetime of Joshua and during the lifetimes of the older leaders who lived after Joshua who had seen what the Lord had done for Israel.
32 When the Israelites left Egypt, they carried the bones of Joseph with them. They buried them at Shechem, in the land Jacob had bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor (Hamor was the father of Shechem). This land now belonged to Joseph's children.
33 And Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah in the mountains of Ephraim, which had been given to Eleazar's son Phinehas.

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Joshua 24 Commentary

Chapter 24

God's benefits to their fathers. (1-14) Joshua renews the covenant between the people and God. (15-28) Joshua's death, Joseph's bones buried, The state of Israel. (29-33)

Verses 1-14 We must never think our work for God done, till our life is done. If he lengthen out our days beyond what we expected, like those of Joshua, it is because he has some further service for us to do. He who aims at the same mind which was in Christ Jesus, will glory in bearing the last testimony to his Saviour's goodness, and in telling to all around, the obligations with which the unmerited goodness of God has bound him. The assembly came together in a solemn religious manner. Joshua spake to them in God's name, and as from him. His sermon consists of doctrine and application. The doctrinal part is a history of the great things God had done for his people, and for their fathers before them. The application of this history of God's mercies to them, is an exhortation to fear and serve God, in gratitude for his favour, and that it might be continued.

Verses 15-28 It is essential that the service of God's people be performed with a willing mind. For LOVE is the only genuine principle whence all acceptable service of God can spring. The Father seeks only such to worship him, as worship him in spirit and in truth. The carnal mind of man is enmity against God, therefore, is not capable of such spiritual worship. Hence the necessity of being born again. But numbers rest in mere forms, as tasks imposed upon them. Joshua puts them to their choice; but not as if it were indifferent whether they served God or not. Choose you whom ye will serve, now the matter is laid plainly before you. He resolves to do this, whatever others did. Those that are bound for heaven, must be willing to swim against the stream. They must not do as the most do, but as the best do. And no one can behave himself as he ought in any station, who does not deeply consider his religious duties in family relations. The Israelites agree with Joshua, being influenced by the example of a man who had been so great a blessing to them; We also will serve the Lord. See how much good great men do, by their influence, if zealous in religion. Joshua brings them to express full purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord. They must come off from all confidence in their own sufficiency, else their purposes would be in vain. The service of God being made their deliberate choice, Joshua binds them to it by a solemn covenant. He set up a monument of it. In this affecting manner Joshua took his last leave of them; if they perished, their blood would be upon their own heads. Though the house of God, the Lord's table, and even the walls and trees before which we have uttered our solemn purposes of serving him, would bear witness against us if we deny him, yet we may trust in him, that he will put his fear into our hearts, that we shall not depart from him. God alone can give grace, yet he blesses our endeavours to engage men to his service.

Verses 29-33 Joseph died in Egypt, but gave commandment concerning his bones, that they should not rest in their grave till Israel had rest in the land of promise. Notice also the death and burial of Joshua, and of Eleazar the chief priest. The most useful men, having served their generation, according to the will of God, one after another, fall asleep and see corruption. But Jesus, having spent and ended his life on earth more effectually than either Joshua or Joseph, rose from the dead, and saw no corruption. And the redeemed of the Lord shall inherit the kingdom he prepared for them from the foundation of the world. They will say in admiration of the grace of Jesus, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives us an account of another summons of the tribes of Israel by Joshua, who obeyed it, and presented themselves before the Lord at Shechem, Jos 24:1; when Joshua in the name of the Lord rehearsed to them the many great and good things the Lord had done for them, from the time of their ancestor Abraham to that day, Jos 24:2-13; and then exhorted them to fear and serve the Lord, and reject idols, Jos 24:14; and put them upon making their choice, whether they would serve the true God, or the gods of the Canaanites; and they choosing the former, he advised them to abide by their choice, Jos 24:15-24; and made a covenant with them to that purpose, and then dismissed them, Jos 24:25-28; and the chapter is concluded with an account of the death and burial of Joshua and Eleazar, and of the interment of the bones of Joseph, Jos 24:29-33.

Joshua 24 Commentaries

Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.