The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Josue
And once more Josue gathered all the tribes of Israel at Sichem, with their elders, judges, chieftains and magistrates. They stood there in the Lord’s presence,
and he spoke thus to the people; Here is a message from the Lord your God. Long ago, these ancestors of yours, Thare and his sons Abraham and Nachor, had a home beyond the Euphrates, and there worshipped alien gods.
It was I that bade your father Abraham leave Mesopotamia, and brought him here, to Chanaan, instead. It was I that gave him heirs to succeed him,
Isaac, and Isaac’s sons, Jacob and Esau. For Esau, I found a home in the hill-country of Seir, while Jacob and his sons made their way into Egypt.
Then I sent Moses and Aaron to smite Egypt down with wonders and prodigies,
and so rescued you and your fathers from it. When your fathers reached the Red Sea, they found that the Egyptians had come in pursuit of them with chariots and horses, to the sea’s very brink.
It was to me, the Lord, that Israel cried out for aid; and I put a curtain of darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea back to overwhelm them. What was done in Egypt was done under your eyes.
For a long while you dwelt in the desert.
For a long while you dwelt in the desert.
Then I led you forward into the country of the Amorrhites, beyond Jordan; and when these offered battle, I gave you the victory over them, so that you could exterminate them, and take possession of their lands.
Balac, too, son of Sephor, the king of Moab, became your enemy, and sent for Balaam, son of Beor, to put you under a curse;
but I would not let him have his way; it was still my blessing he pronounced; and so I gave you the victory.
You crossed Jordan, and made your way to Jericho. And the men of Jericho withstood you, Amorrhite and Pherezite, Chanaanite and Hethite, Gergesite and Hevite and Jebusite, but I gave you the mastery over them.
I sent hornets in your path, and drove two kings of the Amorrhites out of their countries, before they could suffer from bow or sword of yours.
I have given you lands that others had tilled, cities to dwell in, not of your building, vineyards and oliveyards, not of your planting.
And now, will you fear the Lord, giving him full and loyal service, will you banish the gods your fathers obeyed in Egypt, or in Mesopotamia, and serve the Lord only?
If the Lord’s service mislikes you, choose some other way. Shall it be the gods your fathers worshipped in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell? I and mine will worship the Lord.
And with that, the whole people cried in answer, Never will we forsake the Lord, and yield ourselves to alien gods!
Never will we forsake the Lord our God, who rescued us and our fathers from slavery in Egypt, who did signal miracles under our very eyes, who protected us on our long journey, so beset by enemies,
who dispossessed all these tribes, of native Amorrhite stock, to make room for us here. Serve we the Lord; he is our own God.
You? said Josue. You are not fit to serve the Lord; he is a God set apart, fiercely jealous in his love, not one to overlook such sinful rebellions as yours;
if you should forsake him in time to come, and worship other gods, he would repent of all his goodness to you, and you would be involved in misery and ruin.
That shall never be, cried the people; the Lord, we will serve the Lord!
I call you to witness, said Josue, that you have chosen the Lord’s service; and they answered, We are thy witnesses.
Why then, said he, banish all alien gods from your company, and turn your hearts to the Lord God of Israel.
And the people told Josue, We will worship the Lord our God, and obey his commandments.
So Josue, that day, made a covenant with them, there in Sichem, and set before them the laws and decrees they were to follow;
and he wrote down in the book which contained the divine law, all that had passed. He took a great stone, too, and set it up under the oak that stood there in the Lord’s precincts;
This stone, he said to the people, shall bear witness that it has heard all these warnings the Lord has given you; so that you will never be able to deny it, and cheat the Lord your God of his due.
And with that he sent them home to the lands assigned to them.
After this, the Lord’s servant Josue died, a hundred and ten years old,
and they buried him within his own domain at Thamnath-Sare, in the hill-country of Ephraim, on the northern side of mount Gaas.
And Israel remained true to the worship of the Lord as long as Josue lived, and during the life-time of men already growing old who long survived him; men who had witnessed the great things the Lord had done for Israel.
And now the bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought with them from Egypt, were buried at Sichem, in the piece of land Jacob bought for a hundred lambs from Hemor, that was father to Sichem; a piece of land that belonged to Joseph’s descendants.
And when Aaron’s son Eleazar died, he too was buried in the hill-country of Ephraim, where his son Phinees had received a grant of land at Gabaath.
The Holy Bible