GOD'S WORD® Translation
1Joshua 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. 2Joshua 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. 3But 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. 4To 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. 6When 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. 7When 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. 9Then Balak, son of King Zippor of Moab, fought Israel. He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you. 10But 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. 12I 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. 13So 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. 15But 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."
16The people responded, "It would be unthinkable for us to abandon the LORD to serve other gods. 17The 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. 18The 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."
19But 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. 20If 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." 21The people answered Joshua, "No! We will [only] serve the LORD!" 22Joshua 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." 24The people replied to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and obey him." 25That day Joshua made an agreement for the people and set up laws and rules for them at Shechem. 26Joshua 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. 27Joshua 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." 28Then Joshua sent the people away, each to his own property.
31Israel 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.
32Joseph'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. 33Aaron's son Eleazar also died. He was buried on the hill that had been given to his son Phinehas in the mountains of Ephraim.