Now that all the children of Israel have settled into their land, it is time for Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh to go back to their homes on the east side of the Jordan. But before they go, they build a large altar on the border of Canaan, on the west side of the Jordan. This altar offends the Israelites because the Lord instructed them in the wilderness to only worship Him in the one place He chooses (Deuteronomy 12). Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh explain that they were not planning to worship there, but that it was simply a memorial for all the descendants to remember that they belong to the Lord their God. This explanation pleases the Israelites, so there is peace. And the children of Reuben and Gad “called the altar, Witness, ‘For it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.’”
After the Lord gave Israel rest from all their enemies, about fourteen years after the conquest of the land, Joshua, now old in age, called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers. Joshua reminds the people that the Lord gave them the promised land and says to them – “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day… Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God. Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations—these that remain among you—and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.”
Then Joshua renews the covenant with the people. He reminds them of all that the Lord has done by telling God’s story! He starts with Abraham in the Patriarch Era and goes through to the present Conquest Era. After Joshua reminds Israel of the Lord’s mighty works on their behalf based the promises He made to the patriarchs by bringing them out of Egypt, defeating their enemies in the wilderness, and giving them the land in Canaan, Joshua says to them – “I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Apparently the people are still battling with idolatry. Therefore, Joshua again tells them to put away their false gods and choose whom to serve. And all the people respond to Joshua saying, “The Lord our God we will serve and His voice we will obey!” But will they really?
Joshua dies at the age of one hundred and ten years old, bringing an end to the Conquest Era. Tomorrow we begin the Judges Era, a very dark time in Israel’s history. Keep reading. (Joshua 22:1-24:33)
Creation Era (Gen 1:1-11:26) ✔️
Patriarch Era (Gen 11:27-50:26 and Job) ✔️
Exodus Era (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) ✔️
Conquest Era (Joshua) ✔️
Judges Era (Judges and Ruth) up next!
Eras to follow:
Kingdom, Divided Kingdom, Captivity, Return, Silent, Gospel, Church, Missions, and End Times/New Beginnings