וַיֶּאֶסֹף יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־כָּל־שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁכֶמָה וַיִּקְרָא לְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּלְרָאשָׁיו וּלְשֹׁפְטָיו וּלְשֹׁטְרָיו 24:1
וַיִּתְיַצְּבוּ לִפְנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים׃
Josh. 24:1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel and for its heads and for its judges and for its officers, and they presented themselves before He Who is God.
Why did Joshua call them to Shechem? This city is mentioned several times in Genesis. Abram sojourned there in the land of Canaan and built an altar there (Gene. 12:6, 7). Jacob also erected an altar there about a hundred and fifty years later (Gene. 33:18-20) and was buried there (as was Joseph) see v. 24:32 below; Jacob also buried the idols of his household under a tree near Shechem (Gene. 35:4). It is the city where Dinah was raped (Gene. 34:2). Joseph went to find his brothers with the flock in Shechem, where he met someone I suspect was an angel (Gene. 37:12). And finally, it was one of the cities of refuge named in Ephraim (Josh. 20:7). Was the city considered sacred because of its history? Or was it merely conveniently close to Timnath-serach (Josh. 19:49, 50), which was Joshua’s home?
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶל־כָּל־הָעָם כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר יָשְׁבוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם מֵעוֹלָם 24:2
תֶּרַח אֲבִי אַבְרָהָם וַאֲבִי נָחוֹר וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים׃
Josh. 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, God of Israel: ‘On the other side of the river your fathers dwelled from of old, Terach, father of Abraham, and father of Nahor, and they served other gods.’
וָאֶקַּח אֶת־אֲבִיכֶם אֶת־אַבְרָהָם מֵעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר וָאוֹלֵךְ אוֹתוֹ בְּכָל־אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן (וארב) [וָאַרְבֶּה] אֶת־ 24:3
זַרְעֹ֔ו וָֽאֶתֶּן־ לֹ֖ו אֶת־ יִצְחָֽק׃
Josh. 24:3 ’And I took your father, Abraham, from the other side of the river and led him through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed and gave him Isaac.’
The third word from the end of the first line is misspelled. The correct spelling is within the brackets. In addition, in this verse we encounter an inverted order of events described in the Hebrew, as we found in several other places in the Torah. Notice that God multiplied Abraham’s seed, then gave him Isaac. In reality, strictly speaking, it happened the other way around.
וָאֶתֵּן לְיִצְחָק אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת־עֵשָׂו וָאֶתֵּן לְעֵשָׂו אֶת־הַר שֵׂעִיר לָרֶשֶׁת אוֹתוֹ וְיַעֲקֹב וּבָנָיו יָרְדוּ 24:4
Josh. 24:4 ‘And I gave Jacob and Esau to Isaac, and I gave Mount Seir to Esau to possess it, and Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.’
וָאֶשְׁלַח אֶת־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶת־אַהֲרֹן וָאֶגֹּף אֶת־מִצְרַיִם כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי בְּקִרְבּוֹ וְאַחַר הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם׃ 24:5
Josh. 24:5 ‘And I sent Moses and Aaron and I plagued Egypt in its midst as I did, then afterward I brought you out.’
וָאוֹצִיא אֶת־אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם מִמִּצְרַיִם וַתָּבֹאוּ הַיָּמָּה וַיִּרְדְּפוּ מִצְרַיִם אַחֲרֵי אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם בְּרֶכֶב וּבְפָרָשִׁים 24:6
Josh. 24:6 ‘And I brought your fathers out from Egypt, and you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Reed Sea.’
וַיִּצְעֲקוּ אֶל־יְהוָה וַיָּשֶׂם מַאֲפֵל בֵּינֵיכֶם וּבֵין הַמִּצְרִים וַיָּבֵא עָלָיו אֶת־הַיָּם וַיְכַסֵּהוּ וַתִּרְאֶינָה עֵינֵיכֶם 24:7
אֵת אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂיתִי בְּמִצְרָיִם וַתֵּשְׁבוּ בַמִּדְבָּר יָמִים רַבִּים׃
Josh. 24:7 ‘And they cried out to the Lord and He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought it over the sea, and covered it; and your eyes saw what I did with Egypt, and you dwelled in the wilderness many days.’
ואבאה) [וָאָבִיא] אֶתְכֶם אֶל־אֶרֶץ הָאֱמֹרִי הַיּוֹשֵׁב בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן וַיִּלָּחֲמוּ אִתְּכֶם וָאֶתֵּן אוֹתָם בְּיֶדְכֶם 24:8
וַתִּירְשׁוּ אֶת־אַרְצָם וָאַשְׁמִידֵם מִפְּנֵיכֶם׃
Josh. 24:8 ‘Then I brought you to the land of the Amorite who dwelled on the other side of the Jordan, and they fought with you, and I gave them into your hand, and you possessed their land, and I destroyed them from before you.’
The first word in the verse, before the left parenthesis, is misspelled. (Pardon me, but the software I’m using to build this website doesn’t handle right-to-left text too well and a parenthesis at the start or end of a line doesn’t show up.) The correct spelling is within the brackets. As a point of possible interest, the error in v. 24:3 involves a missing heh, while in this verse there is an extra heh included in error (and a missing yad).
וַיָּקָם בָּלָק בֶּן־צִפּוֹר מֶלֶךְ מוֹאָב וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּשְׁלַח וַיִּקְרָא לְבִלְעָם בֶּן־בְּעוֹר לְקַלֵּל אֶתְכֶם׃ 24:9
Josh. 24:9 ‘Then Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel, and he sent and called to Balaam son of Beor to curse you.’
וְלֹא אָבִיתִי לִשְׁמֹעַ לְבִלְעָם וַיְבָרֶךְ בָּרוֹךְ אֶתְכֶם וָאַצִּל אֶתְכֶם מִיָּדוֹ׃ 24:10
Josh. 24:10 ‘And I was not willing to listen to Balaam, so he blessed you abundantly, and I delivered you from his hand.’
וַתַּעַבְרוּ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן וַתָּבֹאוּ אֶל־יְרִיחוֹ וַיִּלָּחֲמוּ בָכֶם בַּעֲלֵי־יְרִיחוֹ הָאֱמֹרִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַחִתִּי 24:11
וְהַגִּרְגָּשִׁי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי וָאֶתֵּן אוֹתָם בְּיֶדְכֶם׃
Josh. 24:11 ‘And you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, and I gave them into your hand.’
וָאֶשְׁלַח לִפְנֵיכֶם אֶת־הַצִּרְעָה וַתְּגָרֶשׁ אוֹתָם מִפְּנֵיכֶם שְׁנֵי מַלְכֵי הָאֱמֹרִי לֹא בְחַרְבְּךָ וְלֹא בְקַשְׁתֶּךָ׃ 24:12
Josh. 24:12 ‘And I sent the hornet before you that drove them out from before you, the two kings of the Amorites, not with your sword and not with your bow.’
וָאֶתֵּן לָכֶם אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָגַעְתָּ בָּהּ וְעָרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא־בְנִיתֶם וַתֵּשְׁבוּ בָּהֶם כְּרָמִים וְזֵיתִים אֲשֶׁר 24:13
לֹא־נְטַעְתֶּם אַתֶּם אֹכְלִים׃
Josh. 24:13 ‘And I gave a land to you on which you have not labored, and cities that you did not build, but you dwell in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive yards you did not plant.’”
וְעַתָּה יְראוּ אֶת־יְהוָה וְעִבְדוּ אֹתוֹ בְּתָמִים וּבֶאֱמֶת וְהָסִירוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם 24:14
בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר וּבְמִצְרַיִם וְעִבְדוּ אֶת־יְהוָה׃
Josh. 24:14 “So now revere the Lord and serve Him with sincerity and in truth, and eschew the gods that your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”
וְאִם רַע בְּעֵינֵיכֶם לַעֲבֹד אֶת־יְהוָה בַּחֲרוּ לָכֶם הַיּוֹם אֶת־מִי תַעֲבֹדוּן אִם אֶת־אֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר־עָבְדוּ 24:15
אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר וְאִם אֶת־אֱלֹהֵי הָאֱמֹרִי אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם יֹשְׁבִים בְּאַרְצָם וְאָנֹכִי וּבֵיתִי נַעֲבֹד
Josh. 24:15 “But if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose for yourself today whom you will serve, either the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorite in whose land you are dwelling, but I with my house will serve the Lord.”
וַיַּעַן הָעָם וַיֹּאמֶר חָלִילָה לָּנוּ מֵעֲזֹב אֶת־יְהוָה לַעֲבֹד אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים׃ 24:16
Josh. 24:16 And the people answered and said “Far be it for us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods,
כִּי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ הוּא הַמַּעֲלֶה אֹתָנוּ וְאֶת־אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים וַאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה 24:17
לְעֵינֵינוּ אֶת־הָאֹתוֹת הַגְּדֹלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וַיִּשְׁמְרֵנוּ בְּכָל־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר הָלַכְנוּ בָהּ וּבְכֹל הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר
Josh. 24:17 for it is the Lord, our God, Who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt from the house of bondage and Who did those great signs for our eyes and preserved us along all the way on which we went, and by all the peoples that we passed in their midst,
וַיְגָרֶשׁ יְהוָה אֶת־כָּל־הָעַמִּים וְאֶת־הָאֱמֹרִי יֹשֵׁב הָאָרֶץ מִפָּנֵינוּ גַּם־אֲנַחְנוּ נַעֲבֹד אֶת־יְהוָה כִּי־הוּא 24:18
Josh. 24:18 and the Lord drove out all the peoples, even the Amorites, inhabitants of the land, from before us. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶל־הָעָם לֹא תוּכְלוּ לַעֲבֹד אֶת־יְהוָה כִּי־אֱלֹהִים קְדֹשִׁים הוּא אֵל־קַנּוֹא הוּא לֹא־ 24:19
יִשָּׂא לְפִשְׁעֲכֶם וּלְחַטֹּאותֵיכֶם׃
Josh. 24:19 And Joshua said to the people, “You might not be able to serve the Lord, for He is a holy God, He is a possessive God; He will not pardon for your transgression or for your sins.”
Believe it or not, this is the first time that the phrase “holy God” has appeared in the bible. Also believe it or not, it’s the first time a plural adjective, holy (which is spelled in the plural form), has been used with “God”, when the Name referred to the one God rather than other gods. Moreover, believe it or not, in the phrase “possessive God,” both words are in singular form. More than likely, this is not an error. I suspect the scribe was attempting to be poetic. The singular form of the word for “God” is occasionally used in poetry.
More to the point of the verse, I believe Joshua was warning the people and expressing his doubt in their loyalty, or he had been given a glimpse of the future as Moses had been. Apparently, Joshua had the same distrust -- or knowledge -- of the people as did Moses.
כִּי תַעַזְבוּ אֶת־יְהוָה וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֱלֹהֵי נֵכָר וְשָׁב וְהֵרַע לָכֶם וְכִלָּה אֶתְכֶם אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר־הֵיטִיב לָכֶם׃ 24:20
Josh. 24:20 “If you will forsake the Lord and serve the gods of the stranger, then He will turn and bring evil to you and consume you after when he had brought good to you.”
וַיֹּאמֶר הָעָם אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ לֹא כִּי אֶת־יְהוָה נַעֲבֹד׃ 24:21
Josh. 24:21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, for we will serve the Lord.”
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶל־הָעָם עֵדִים אַתֶּם בָּכֶם כִּי־אַתֶּם בְּחַרְתֶּם לָכֶם אֶת־יְהוָה לַעֲבֹד אוֹתוֹ וַיֹּאמְרוּ 24:22
Josh. 24:22 And Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves, to serve Him.” And they said, “Witnesses!”
וְעַתָּה הָסִירוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵי הַנֵּכָר אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבְּכֶם וְהַטּוּ אֶת־לְבַבְכֶם אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 24:23
Josh. 24:23 “Then now remove the gods of the stranger who is in your midst and stretch forth your hearts to the Lord, God of Israel.”
וַיֹּאמְרוּ הָעָם אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ נַעֲבֹד וּבְקוֹלוֹ נִשְׁמָע׃ 24:24
Josh. 24:24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord, our God, and we will listen into His voice.”
וַיִּכְרֹת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בְּרִית לָעָם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיָּשֶׂם לוֹ חֹק וּמִשְׁפָּט בִּשְׁכֶם׃ 24:25
Josh. 24:25 So Joshua made a covenant for the people on that day, and set for it a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
וַיִּכְתֹּב יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרַת אֱלֹהִים וַיִּקַּח אֶבֶן גְּדוֹלָה וַיְקִימֶהָ שָּׁם תַּחַת 24:26
הָאַלָּה אֲשֶׁר בְּמִקְדַּשׁ יְהוָה׃
Josh. 24:26 And Joshua wrote those words on the scroll of the law of God, then he took a great stone and set it up there under the oak that was near the sanctuary of the Lord.
Is the scroll mentioned here the book of Joshua? Probably. But what sanctuary of the Lord is this? In Shechem? Very strange.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶל־כָּל־הָעָם הִנֵּה הָאֶבֶן הַזֹּאת תִּהְיֶה־בָּנוּ לְעֵדָה כִּי־הִיא שָׁמְעָה אֵת כָּל־אִמְרֵי 24:27
יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר עִמָּנוּ וְהָיְתָה בָכֶם לְעֵדָה פֶּן־תְּכַחֲשׁוּן בֵּאלֹהֵיכֶם׃
Josh. 24:27 And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be against you for a witness for it heard all the words of the Lord that He spoke with us; so it shall be against you for a witness lest you deal falsely with your God.”
וַיְשַׁלַּח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־הָעָם אִישׁ לְנַחֲלָתוֹ׃ 24:28
Josh. 24:28 Then Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance.
וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיָּמָת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן עֶבֶד יְהוָה בֶּן־מֵאָה וָעֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים׃ 24:29
Josh. 24:29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua son of Nun, servant of the Lord, died. He was one hundred and ten years of age.
וַיִּקְבְּרוּ אֹתוֹ בִּגְבוּל נַחֲלָתוֹ בְּתִמְנַת־סֶרַח אֲשֶׁר בְּהַר־אֶפְרָיִם מִצְּפוֹן לְהַר־גָּעַשׁ׃ 24:30
Josh. 24:30 And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance, in Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim from the north of Mount Gaash.
וַיַּעֲבֹד יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־יְהוָה כֹּל יְמֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְכֹל יְמֵי הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר הֶאֱרִיכוּ יָמִים אַחֲרֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ 24:31
וַאֲשֶׁר יָדְעוּ אֵת כָּל־מַעֲשֵׂה יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל׃
Josh. 24:31 And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who lived days after Joshua and who knew all the work of the Lord that He had wrought for Israel.
וְאֶת־עַצְמוֹת יוֹסֵף אֲשֶׁר־הֶעֱלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרַיִם קָבְרוּ בִשְׁכֶם בְּחֶלְקַת הַשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר קָנָה 24:32
יַעֲקֹב מֵאֵת בְּנֵי־חֲמוֹר אֲבִי־שְׁכֶם בְּמֵאָה קְשִׂיטָה וַיִּהְיוּ לִבְנֵי־יוֹסֵף לְנַחֲלָה׃
Josh. 24:32 And they buried the bones of Joseph, that the children of Israel had brought up from Egypt, in Shechem, in the parcels of ground that Jacob bought from the children of Hamor, the father of Shechem, with one hundred pieces of money, and they became for an inheritance for the children of Joseph.
וְאֶלְעָזָר בֶּן־אַהֲרֹן מֵת וַיִּקְבְּרוּ אֹתוֹ בְּגִבְעַת פִּינְחָס בְּנוֹ אֲשֶׁר נִתַּן־לוֹ בְּהַר אֶפְרָיִם׃ 24:33
Josh. 24:33 And Eleazar son of Aaron died, and they buried him on the hill of Phinehas, his son, that was given to him on Mount Ephraim.
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