Joshua 23

Chapter 23[a]

Joshua’s Final Discourse. 1 Quite some time later, after the Lord had given Israel rest from all of its surrounding enemies, and when Joshua had grown old and was well advanced in years, 2 Joshua summoned all of Israel including its leaders and officials, their judges and their officers, and he said to them, “I am now an old man, well advanced in years 3 and you have seen all that the Lord, your God, has done to all of these nations on your behalf, for the Lord, your God, has fought for you. 4 I have divided up by lot these remaining nations as an inheritance for your tribes, all the nations that I have conquered between the Jordan and the Great Sea to the west. 5 The Lord, your God, himself will drive them out before you. He will push them out of your sight so that you can take possession of the land that the Lord, your God, has promised you. 6 Be most courageous, and be careful to observe everything that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses. Do not turn away from it to the right or the left. 7 Avoid associating with these nations that still remain among you. Do not mention the names of their gods; do not swear by them. Do not serve them; do not worship them. 8 Hold fast to the Lord, your God,[b] as you have done up to the present. 9 The Lord has driven out great and powerful nations from before you. To this day no one has been able to stand up against you. 10 Just one of you has been able to route a thousand, because the Lord, your God, has fought for you, just as he promised you that he would do. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord, your God.

12 [c]“But if you were to turn away and you were to ally yourselves with the survivors of the nations that remain here, and you were to intermarry with them, and you were to associate with them, 13 then you should know for sure that the Lord, your God, will no longer drive out these nations before you. They will be like snares and traps to you, as if they were scourges upon your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you finally vanish from this good land that the Lord, your God, has given you.

14 “I am now about to go the way of all upon the earth. You know very well in your hearts and your souls that not one of the good things that the Lord, your God, promised you has failed to take place. Every promise has been fulfilled, not one of them has been broken. 15 Just as all the good things that the Lord, your God, has promised you have come true, so the Lord could bring upon you all the evil that he has threatened until he has wiped you out from this good land that the Lord, your God, has given you. 16 If you transgress the covenant that the Lord, your God, has commanded you to observe, and you go and serve other gods and worship them, then the Lord’s anger will blaze out against you. You will quickly perish from the good land that the Lord, your God, has given you.”


  1. Joshua 23:1 From the testament of Joshua (as from the discourse of Moses in Deuteronomy) Israel understands that its history is the work of the Lord. The land has been given to it because it is God’s people, but if it compromises with pagan customs and forms of worship it will suffer the loss of its inheritance.
  2. Joshua 23:8 Hold fast to the Lord, your God: these words are the essence of Joshua’s lifelong commitment to God and his absolute rule of life for others to follow.
  3. Joshua 23:12 The question of intermarriage and the dire predictions that are made here are not in any way a contrast to the actions of a loving and merciful God who wants what is truly best for his children. Would that these words were heeded so much pain and suffering could have been avoided.

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