Epilogue for Joshua

Joshua 22 – The Altar of Witness by the Jordan
Joshua 23 – Joshua’s Farewell Exhortation
Joshua 24:1-28 – The Renewal of the Covenant at Shechem
Joshua 24:29-33 – The Death and Burial of Joshua and Eleazar

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One Reply to “Epilogue for Joshua”

  1. It’s tempting to read the first few verses of Joshua 22 as an analogy for our present life, maybe not a bad temptation, what do you think?

    For a long time now — to this very day — you have not deserted your fellow Israelite but have carried out the mission the Lord your God gave you. Now that the Lord your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan Joshua 22:3-4

    In this story, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half-tribe of Manasseh all receive a great reward for doing what they said they would do back in Numbers 32. Many times I have vowed easier things, so when I read this story of their great success, I was excited to see how God fulfilled their desires after so much time.

    Then the twist.

    “The whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them” (22:12).  What’s this? The 2-1/2 tribes just received Joshua’s blessing and now there’s war among the tribes? “How could you break faith with the God of Israel like this?” (22:16).  Their response to Phinehas (Eleazar’s son) is pure gold:

    The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows! And let Israel know!…No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? … So your descendants might cause our to stop fearing the Lord…Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord and turn away from him today…” Joshua 22:22-29

    And my confession

    I was raised in a Christian home and came to faith in Christ at an early age. Most of my life I’ve had the Bible readily available and easy access to clergy, elders, deacons and various teachers of God’s word. Now, at age 55+, I’m just starting to realize the beautiful complexity of the Bible. This revelation should have occurred years ago, and I should be ashamed at the years gone by, but instead I’m more excited about learning God’s word in the Bible today than ever before. Each day God reveals a new treasure of wisdom before my eyes. I’m so thankful for this hour each morning, the reward far outweighs the early sound of the coffee pot.  The truth is, I don’t remember the term “Transjordan tribes” ever being taught or preached on, though I’m sure it was, I just don’t remember. Now it sticks out like one of the most important stories in the Bible, one that I missed all these years. Along with the transgression at Peor (Balaam), the sin that rattled the Israelites for years, these stories are full of insight into the minds of our forefathers. Thank you Lord for this blessing!

    Joshua is getting old as we wrap up in chapters 23 and 24. He prophetically warns them about forsaking the Lord our God, about aligning their hearts with those who do not honor God, “Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them” (23:7).  Joshua gives them further warnings and ends with this important guarantee:

    If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you. Joshua 23:16

    Chapter 24 is a great epilogue and summary of events from Abraham to Joshua. The renewing of the covenant is boldly stated and the people reaffirm their commitment to serve the Lord, the only true God. Joshua (110 years old) and Eleazar (not sure of his age) die and are buried in the hill country of Ephraim. Such a great legacy.

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