Today's Bible Commentary

  JOSHUA Daily Bible Readings
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DEUTERONOMY | Philippians | JOSHUA | Colossians | JUDGES

DateScripturesDaily devotional commentary
Mar 25: Philippians
Mar 26:Joshua 1-4* Crossing the Jordan River, by N Sween
Mar 27:Joshua 5-7* Victory and Defeat, by Sween
Mar 28:Joshua 8-10* The Invasion Begins, by Sween
Mar 29:Joshua 11-14* Fighting for the Land, for the LORD, by Sween
Mar 30:Joshua 15-17* Dividing up the Land, by Sween
Mar 31:Joshua 18-20* Carving Up Canaan, by N Sween
Apr 01:Joshua 21-22* The Levites, The Priests, by Sween
Apr 02:Joshua 23-24* And In Conclusion..., by Sween
Apr 3: Colossians

Crossing the Jordan River
Mar 26 reading
Joshua 1-4
Joshua Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Joshua, Wikipedia.org
* Faith, TorahBytes.org
PROMISE: "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. " (1:5b)
Thought for today: Even in its normal flood stage, the Jordan River was temporarily blocked off when
the men carrying the arc of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth stepped in to cross it. (from 3:11-16)
With the mixed feelings of sadness over Moses' death and anticipation over the near future, Israel accepted Joshua's leadership, and encouraged him to be strong and courageous. Their encouragement echoed the LORD's and Moses' instructions to talk and think on the law day and night, being careful to obey.

Joshua sent two spies secretly to look over the land around Jericho, the nearest city across the Jordan River from the Israel camp. They were led to the house of Rahab, a prostitute whose house was built into the city wall. Rahab told the two men how word had preceeded them of what the LORD had been doing among Israel since they left Egypt. Everyone knew Israel had come to take their land, and all were terrified of them. Because of all she had seen and heard, she believed the LORD their God was the God of heaven above and earth below, and she asked them to spare her and all her family from the invasion. They had the authority to grant this, so long as she marked her window with a scarlet ribbon and gathered all her family into her house before the attack began. She agreed, and told them how to escape the Jericho men already looking for them.

When the spies reported back to Joshua, the camp was ready to move west. Joshua had 12 men selected from each tribe, then had select Levites carry the ark of the coventant of the LORD and move out toward the flooded Jordan River. As soon as the priests walked into the water, the Jordan River parted similarly to the parting of the Red Sea years before. The flood water was dammed up a great distance away, at a town named "Adam". The priests walked to the middle of the river on dry land (3:17b), and all Israel hurried across in front of them - in front of the LORD - but keeping their distance from the ark for safety. The fighting men of the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh crossed dressed for battle. The twelve men chosen from each tribe found and carried a stone each from the river bed where the priests were standing and carried their stones to the other side. The priests stayed in the river bed until Joshua commanded them to come. Israel's first camp was made at Gilgath at the eastern border of Jericho, where Joshua set up the twelve stones as a memorial to Israel crossing the Jordan and into the promised land. Joshua told the people the LORD had made this amazing crossing possible so that all people worldwide would know how powerful He is and so the Israelites would always fear and respect the LORD.

Victory and Defeat
Mar 27 reading
Joshua 5-7
Joshua Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Reflections on the Book of Joshua, Torah.org
* Sending, Chabad.org * Let the Walls Come Down, TorahBytes.org

PROMISE: "I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. " (7:12b)
Thought for today: What message does my Lord have for his servant? (from 5:14)
The way Israel was instructed to begin taking over the land of Canaan included very unusual battle tactics. Word of how the LORD had dried up the Jordan River was circulating through the land, and the people were terrified of Israel. So Israel was not facing immediate defensive opposition. None of the boys born during the journey in the wilderness had been circumcised, so first the LORD had Joshua make flint knives and circumcise all the Israelite males. Then they remained in camp while they healed. The LORD told Joshua that this was rolling away the reproach of Egypt from the people. Then on the evening of their 4th day in Canaan, it was time to celebrate Passover and remember how the LORD God had brought them out of Egypt. The day after Passover, they began eating unleavened bread and roasted grain from the plains of Jericho in Canaan, and the manna stopped appearing the very next day.

Toward the walled city of Jericho, Joshua saw a man in front of him with a drawn sword. Joshua approached him and asked whose side he was on. "Neither," he said, and identified himself as the commander of the army of the LORD. Joshua fell before him, and asked for the commander's message. First things first - "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." Joshua obeyed. The LORD's message to Joshua was that Jericho was delivered - with the instructions to make it so. Israel was not to be in a hurry. A line of armed guards would precede seven priests carrying trumpets, who would precede the priests carrying the ark. The rear guard with all the rest of the armed men would follow the ark. From early morning as long as it would take, the whole procession would march around the city one time each day for six days with the trumpets sounding, but the people silent. After each circling, Israel went back to camp for the night.

At daybreak of the seventh day, instead of circling once, Joshua passed along his instructions for the same procession to circle the city seven times. And this time they were to wait for the command to shout along with the trumpets. They knew that somehow the LORD was giving them the city and when He did, they were (1) to spare Rahab the prostitute and all her family from inside her house on the wall, (2) to devote the city to the LORD, and (3) to destroy every living person and thing in the city. Silver and gold plus articles of bronze and iron were all devoted to go into the treasury of the LORD's house. With these instructions, the Israelite army circled Jericho seven times and at their shout, the wall collapsed. They cleaned out the city, killing all but Rahab and her family. Then they burned Jericho, cremating it. Joshua cursed any man who would rebuild it. Word spread of the success of Joshua's leadership.

No further instructions came from the LORD, but Joshua sent men to spy out the nearby city of Ai. The men Joshua sent to capture Ai were unexpectedly defeated, and Joshua fell before the ark of the LORD, praying to know why. The LORD was not impressed and made him stand up. The LORD hadn't gone back on HIS word. During the battle against the people of Jericho, someone had disobeyed the command about devoted things, and had taken and hidden some treasure for himself. The people needed to consecrate themselves for a special meeting the next day. Something devoted to God was among them, and they couldn't stand against their enemies until they removed it. One individual was bringing defeat on all. In the morning the lots cast singled out the tribe of Judah, then the clan of Zerah, then the family of Zimri, and then the individual, Achan son of Carmi. Joshua told him to praise God and tell the truth. Only then did Achan confess his sin against the LORD. He had taken a beautiful robe from Babylonia plus some silver and a wedge of gold, and hid it in the ground in his tent, apparently known to his family as well. Further investigation proved all this was true. So Joshua and all Israel took Achan, the silver, the robe, the gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, donkeys, and sheep, his tent, and all his belongings down into a valley where he was stoned, his family was stoned, and all was burned. The area was known as the Valley of Achor (i.e., Trouble).

The Invasion Begins
Mar 28 reading
Joshua 8-10
Joshua Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* The Day the Sun Stood Still, JP Dawson.com
* Maps of Canaan
PROMISE: "... in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." (Proverbs 3:6)
Thought for today: When making commitments with others, habitually inquire of the LORD rather than judging by appearance. (from 9:14)
With the LORD again speaking to Joshua, He gives Joshua the battle plan for defeating the king and people of Ai. This was the same city that had chased Israel to defeat when Joshua perhaps misunderstood the LORD's silence about Achan's sin as a "go ahead" sign. Secretly, Joshua was to send off several thousand men to set up an ambush, while Joshua would lead the main army to face - then retreat - from Bethel's and Ai's armies. Lured away from their cities, the men from the two cities thought they were winning again. But when Joshua lifted his javelin toward Ai in signal, the main Israelite army turned back to face them, while the ambush troups captured and burned the city. The armies of Ai and Bethel were surrounded and killed. The King of Ai lived long enough to see his defeat. All the people were killed, but this time the LORD allowed Israel to carry off plunder.

With uncut stones according to Moses' instructions, Joshua built an altar to the LORD following this victory, where they offered burnt sacrifices and fellowship offerings to Him. While all of Israel - both aliens and citizens - was gathered together, Joshua copied the Law on the stones. All this was in obedience to what Moses had commanded (at the end of Deuteronomy 25-27). Half the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim of the blessings and half in front of Mount Ebal of the cursings, where the altar was built. Then Joshua read the entire law to all the people of Israel, including women, children, and aliens.

Local kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites started talks to form alliances for defending their cities against the Israelites. The Gibeonites who were Hivites took a different approach, coming up with an elaborate scheme to trick Israel into making a treaty with them. Again Joshua did not inquire of the LORD and again this was a mistake. When everyone found out that the Gibeonites was one of the groups Israel was to completely distroy, the Israelite people grumbled against their leaders and wanted to kill the Gibeonites according to the LORD's instructions. But the Israel leaders had made a promise, so Joshua decreed that Gibeon would do manual labor for Israel and for the altar of the LORD. They agreed and lived.

The news of Israel's alliance with Gibeon spread to the king of Jerusalem who knew Gibeon was a city of good fighters. So he appealed to all the Amorite kings: the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon to attack Gibeon because of their new loyalty to Israel. Under attack, Gibeon appealed for help to Joshua at his camp at Gilgal. The LORD gave Joshua instructions and encouraged him. The Israelite army marched all night to surprise the Amorite armies, and the LORD threw the Amorites into great confusion. On top of that, huge hailstones fell on these armies killing more people that way than by Israel's swords. In a unique move, Joshua asked the LORD in front of Israel to make the sun stand still over Gibeon while they fought, and it stayed in the middle of the sky nearly a full day before setting. As the Amorites soldiers fell, their five kings hid in the cave at Makkedah. Joshua heard this and had them held there while the fighting continued. Almost all of the Amorites were killed, but some escaped back to their fortified cities. No one was complaining now against the Israelites. The five kings were killed then hung on trees until sunset of this very long extended day.

Israel killed the king and destroyed the people of Makkedah, then of Lignah, then of Lachish (and even the King of Gezer who came to help Lachish), then of Eglon. From there the Israelite army left no survivors at Hebron, then no survivors at Debir. Because the LORD fought for Israel, during this single campaign Joshua had subdued the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills, and the mountain slopes, as the LORD had commanded - from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from Goshen to Gibeon. Then all Israel returned to camp at Gilgal. But there was much more yet to do.

Fighting For The Land, For The Lord
Mar 29 reading
Joshua 11-14
Joshua Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Hazor Excavation, 2004, ChristianAnswers.net
* Questia library: "The Land of the Bible"
PROMISE: "The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly." (14:9)
Thought for today: The LORD hardens the hearts of people who oppose His people, even to the extent
that such people will wage war against Israel - but to their own destruction. (from 11:20)
News of Israel's defeat of the southern cities in Canaan reached various kings to the north. King Jabin of Hazor set up an alliance with the urban kings of Madon, Shimron, Acshaph, plus other Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Hivites. Their combined forces were huge as the armies came together by the Waters of Merom at the mouth of the Jordan River, preparing to fight Israel. The LORD spoke to Joshua - "Fear not!" - and showed him a different picture. By the same time tomorrow Joshua would be hamstringing the enemy's horses and burning their chariots. Joshua obeyed and Israel attacked the confederacy suddenly, chasing and killing them all until there were no survivors. And Joshua hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots. Then Joshua brought his army back to Hazor, killed the king and all the residents, then burned the city. The other cities involved with Hazor in the urban coalition weren't burned, but over a long period of time the kings and their people were all killed, just as Moses had commanded. This considerably increased the size of Israel. The Hivites of Gibeon were the only city that made a treaty of peace with Israel (and that by deceipt - Joshua 9). Why did these kings fight against Israel? The LORD himself hardened their hearts to war against Israel so that these enemies would be completely exterminated. Joshua also destroyed the Anakites from the hill country until they only survived in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. With the land won that the LORD was giving Israel as an inheritance, the land, Joshua, and his troops rested from war.

Chapter 12 lists all the kings that the LORD led Israel to defeat. Israel had killed 2 kings while Moses was leader, then killed 31 kings with Joshua leading. Eleazar was the priest.

The LORD recognized that Joshua was very old with still a large areas of land to be conquered. Check on-line Canaan maps to see how the land was divided first to the half tribe of Manasseh, the Reubenites, and the Gadites east of the Jordan. East of the Jordan, the Reubenites got the area that had been Sihon's, king of the Amorites. East of the Jordan, the Gadites got the towns of Gilead, half the Ammonite country, and the rest of Sihon of Heshbon's land. The rest of the tribes were assigned their land inheritance by lot, with Joseph's two sons - Manasseh and Ephraim - counting for two tribes, and Levi not receiving any land inheritance, only towns to live in.

Caleb, a Judahite, son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, had been 40 years old when Moses sent him to spy out the land of Canaan. (Moses had also sent Joshua, and only the two of them brought back a good report.) Forget peer pressure. Caleb had stuck with his convictions to follow the LORD his God wholeheartedly then and ever since. Now he is an amazingly vigorous 85 year old, still able and willing to fight. Caleb comes to remind Joshua that Moses promised him he could have the land he walked on while on the spying mission. There are still Anakites living there, and Caleb wants to drive them out and claim his hilly land, Hebron, with the LORD's help. Joshua blesses Caleb and gives him his land. Then that land rests from war.

Dividing Up The Land
Mar 30 reading
Joshua 15-17
Joshua Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Jamieson Fausset Brown
Commentary
A Memory Verse: "Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah." (15:63)
Thought for today: When God's people make compromises for profit - using enemies' forced labor - or for the strength of their
enemy's weapons, they begin to lose confidence in the LORD's power to overcome enemies. (from 16:10, 17:12-13,16-18)
In today's reading each clan of the tribes of Judah, Manasseh, and Ephraim finds out by allotment which specific portions of the promised land will be theirs. On the one hand, Canaan had immediately become Israel's land by the LORD's promise and command when they crossed the Jordan River, following and obeying the LORD who had promised them this land. On the other hand, several groups of people were already living there. From the LORD's view, these people had corrupted the land with horrendous idolatry. From the Canaanite people's view, hearing about the LORD's recent work with Israel didn't mean they agreed with His point of view. In fact, they were adamant not to be replaced, and fought for land they considered to be their own.

Compare this conquest and possession of Canaan to inheriting an old house from a deceased relative. Yes, you own it, but there is still much to do. People may even be living in the house and must be evicted. Then you need to inventory everything still in the house. Proceed too fast and you will have more problems than necessary. You will find some treasures you can tithe or use - maybe even some hidden treasure - but a lot of other things must be thrown out. It all needs a thorough cleaning before rearranging it the way you want to live in it.

Moses had said Caleb would inherit land he walked on while spying on Canaan 40 years earlier, and sure enough, that southern area of Canaan fell by lot to Caleb's tribe, Judah. (See Canaan maps) The clans of Judah received the first allotment west of the Jordan - the towns of the Negev toward Edom, the western foothills, the hill country, and the desert. Judah could never get the Jebusites out of Jerusalem, so the two groups of people lived there with each other. Next alloted were the two tribes of Joseph - the other half-tribe of his elder son, Manasseh, and his younger son, Ephraim. Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim, and his people along with Manasseh were not pleased with the size of their portion of land compared to their number. But Joshua showed no favoritism, telling them to clear the forested hill country for more living space, and to drive out the Canaanites. Despite his encouragement, there is no indication here that Joseph's people continued to inquire of the LORD for battle directions. So some of the Canaanites continued to use iron chariots in the plains and held on to some of their towns. Eventually, the Canaanites did forced labor for Israel, but they remained.

I'm not sure why 80 year old Caleb's daughter Acsah (or Achsah) is still young enough to be single, but she marries her relative Othniel (son of Kenaz - Caleb's brother) as a reward to Othniel for capturing the town of Debir on Caleb's alloted land. 1 Chronicles 2:49 suggests that Acsah could be Caleb's granddaughter. Caleb includes her in his inheritance, adding land with springs to land he had given her in the Negrev. Within a few paragraphs after Acsah's inheritance is described, Joshua notes that the daughters of the tribe of Manasseh received inheritance among the sons. The LORD had commanded this through Moses because of the request of the five daughters of Zelophehad of the Manasseh tribe. Zelophehad had died with five daughters but no sons, and the daughters asked Moses for their father's share of the land inheritance. So women were receiving shares of the land as well as men.

Carving Up Canaan
Mar 31 reading
Joshua 18-20
Joshua Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Canaan period, Jerusalem
* Occupation of Canaan * Maps before - after - now
PROMISE: "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:15)   Also see: Isaiah 57:1
Thought for today: After a big goal is met - like Dan's getting to the promised land and having specific land to conquer -
how do I personally continue a long-term relationship with the LORD while handling failures? (from 19:47 and Judges 17-18)
As Israel began to settle into the land, they gathered together to move the Tent of Meeting from Gilgal to Shiloh.

Seven tribes still needed to be assigned their inheritance. Joshua organized mapping parties to survey the land, then divide it into seven parts between the area of Judah to the south and of Joseph to the north. When the teams returned, Joshua cast lots in the presence of the LORD to determine which area each tribe would get. The Levites, of course, did not get a land share. Reuben, Gad, Judah, and Joseph (i.e., Manasseh and Ephraim) already had theirs.

1. The tribe of Benjamin came up first. Their land included the towns of Jericho, Bethel, Gibeon, and the Jebsuite city (Jerusalem) among others.
2. The tribe of Simeon came up next. Their inheritance lay within the territory of Judah because Judah had more land than they needed, and included the towns of Beersheba and Ramah in the Negev.
3. The tribe of Zebulun came up third. The town of Bethlehem was within its inheritance.
4. The tribe of Issachar was fourth. Their land included the town of Jezreel, not quite to the Sea of Galilee.
5. The tribe of Asher came up fifth. Their land was north of Issachar's and along the Mediterranean Sea.
6. The tribe of Naphtali was sixth. Their land bordered on Zebulun to the south, Asher on the west, and the Jordan River on the east. Towns in their land included Ramah and Hazor.
7. The tribe of Dan was last. Their land was along the Mediterranean Sea coast west of Benjamin and Judah. But they had trouble taking possession of their land, so they left that area to the Philistines and went far north in Ephraim's land. There they attacked and took the city of Leshem and renamed it Dan.
Joshua asked for and received the town, Timnath Serah, in the hill country of Ephraim as his inheritance and residence.

Next, the LORD had Joshua tell the tribes to establish the cities of refuge for anyone who accidentally and unintentionally kills someone. Such a person would flee the avenger of blood by going to the designated city for his or her tribe, stating his case to the elders of that city, and awaiting trial. At the death of the high priest serving at that time, the person may go back to his own home. The cities were:

Kedesh, in the territory of Naphtali Shechem, in the territory of Ephraim Hebron, in the territory of Judah
Bezer, in the territory of Reuben Ramoth, in the territory of Gad Golan, in the territory of Manasseh

A Memory Verse: "The inheritance of the Simeonites was taken from the share of Judah, because Judah's portion was more than they needed. So the Simeonites received their inheritance within the territory of Judah." (19:9)

The Levites, The Priests
Apr 1 reading
Joshua 21-22
Joshua Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Dictionary, ChristianAnswers.net
* Wikipedia.org
PROMISE: "Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled." (21:45)
Thought for today: I will be very careful to love the LORD our God, to walk in all his ways, to
obey his commands, to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all my heart and all my soul. (from 22:5)
Towns for the Levites       (also see other kinds of cities)
Kohath
Descendants
of Aaron
(13 towns)
from Judah and SimeonHebron, a city of refuge, but not the surrounding fields and villages - Caleb owned them. (map)
Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, Holon, Debir, Ain, Juttah, Beth Shemesh (with pasturelands)
from Benjamin
Gibeon, Geba, Anathoth, Almon (with pasturelands)
The other
Korhathite clans

(10 towns)
from EphraimShechem (a city of refuge), Gezer, Kibzaim, Beth Horon (with pasturelands)
from Dan
Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Aijalon, Gath Rimmon (with pasturelands)
from 1/2 Manasseh Taanach, Gath Rimmon (with pasturelands)
Gershon
(13 towns)
from 1/2 tribe Manasseh Golan (a city of refuge), Be Eshrarah (with pasturelands)
from IssacharKishion, Daberath, Jarmuth, En Gannim (with pasturelands)
from AsherMishal, Abdon, Helkath, Rehob (with pasturelands)
from NaphtaliKedesh more- (a city of refuge), Hammoth Dor, Kartan (with pasturelands)
Merari
(12 towns)
from ZebulunJokneam, Kartah, Dimnah, Nahalal (with pasturelands)
from ReubenBezer (a city of refuge), Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath (with pasturelands)
from GadRamoth (a city of refuge), Mahanaim, Heshbon, Jazer (with pasturelands)

Joshua released the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh from the army to go back to their new homes, with acknowledgement of their obedience to fight for the land of the rest of Israel, and with the admonition to be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses received from the LORD. Joshua verbally blessed them, and told them to share their great plunder with their brothers. After those tribes left Shiloh in Canaan to return to Gilead, they stopped near the Jordan at Geliloth in Canaan and built an altar there. The rest of Israel heard of this and, jumping to conclusions from previous rebellion, gathered to go to war against the 3 tribes for building an altar in rebellion of the LORD's instructions. But when confronted by Phinehas the priest, sent to confront them, the 3 tribes explained it was not for burnt offerings, but for a witness with the other tribes of Israel.

And In Conclusion...
Apr 2 reading
Joshua 23-24
Joshua Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Sending, Chabad.org
* The Witness of a Stone, K. Hartley
* Altar Calls, J. Humphrey
PROMISE: "One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as He promised. So be very careful to love the LORD your God." (23:10-11)
Thought for today: Because today I choose to serve the LORD, I will not forsake Him to serve foreign gods my relatives or neighbors may have served, or the gods non-believers living around me serve. I want Him alone. I yield my heart to the LORD, the God of Israel. (chapter 24)
After many years in the promised land, Joshua called the elders, leaders, judges, and officials of Israel together one more time, to review their lives and shared history. They had experienced victories that - for man - were impossible. But whatever the LORD says He will do, He does. Joshua had completed his assigned portion of the conquest and now was very old, soon to die.

Now the LORD updated the current instructions - His people were to live separated lives in a diverse society. How to separate, and to whom? Be strong! Hold fast to the LORD your God, obeying Him and not associating with any one around you who worships other gods. The Lord your God is the key to separation. Be careful to continually exercise with the word, the written Law of Moses, by reading, listening, and obeying it all, from doing it to enforcing it. The LORD has opened the way, leading Joshua's army to defeat kings, leaders, and their unbeatable armies. Yes, there is unfinished business. Many Canaanite people remain, and they will do their best to change your mind, away from your LORD, your God, your law, His way. Associations and intermarriage will defeat you, as they intice you to serve other gods. But the LORD has started you out, expecting to be respected, loved, asked, followed, and obeyed. Your part is not to be a baby all your life, getting everything done for you the way you want it done. Now it's time to grow up in the LORD. Just like other maturing children, you will be blessed for following the LORD's ways, and punished for disobeying Him.

All the tribes gathered to Joshua at Shechem before the LORD. He never tired of telling the history of Israel and this time went back to Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, who were first called away from worshiping other gods. Through all the generations up to their current time, the LORD had worked with them, for them to know Him as LORD. Now it was time to throw out any and all gods their forefathers had ever worshiped, and serve the one true LORD.

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the (Euphrates) River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (24:15)

And the people agreed that all this they had seen the LORD do was more than enough reason for them also to serve the LORD because He was their God. Joshua corrected them. "You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins." Forsake Him and He will turn from you, bringing disaster on you and make your numbers dwindle. But the people persisted. "No! We will serve the LORD." They stood as witnesses against themselves and their offspring for future generations. So Joshua told them to throw away the foreign gods that were STILL among them, and to yield their hearts to the LORD, the GOD of Israel. Joshua made a covenant at Shechem between the LORD and Israel and recorded everything agreed upon in the Book of the Law of God. He made the book public, with a large stone as a witness and memorial to this covenant.

Sometime after this, the 110 year old Joshua died. They buried him at Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. While the elders who outlived Joshua still were alive, Israel served the LORD. Israel had brought the remains of Jacob's son, Joseph, up from Egypt. They buried his bones at Shechem in the land Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. By lot and the LORD's design, this land had now become the inheritance of Joseph's descendants.

Then Eleazar, son of Aaron, died and was buried in land alloted to his son Phinehas at Gibeah in the hill country of Ephraim.

NEXT Book: Colossians

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