Read the full chapter here.
Joshua 24 is the end of the book, and the end of the story for Joshua. The Biblical narrative continues seamlessly over the page (Judges 1.1), but today is the last time we will hear from Joshua himself.
Perhaps at the same meeting as 23.2, Joshua speaks prophetically (v.2) and delivers a comprehensive overview and reminder of the fact that, actually, it has been God and not man that has brought you from humble beginnings to where you all are today (vv.2-13). Upon remembering the covenant, Joshua challenges the people to recommit to it:
“Now obey the LORD and worship him with integrity and loyalty. Put aside the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and worship the LORD. If you have no desire to worship the LORD, then choose today whom you will worship, whether it be the gods whom your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family will worship the LORD.”
Joshua wants the people to have more than a surface-level, light and easy commitment (v.19, cf. Luke 14.25-33) and they duly reply three times with the fervour that Joshua was looking for:
“No! We really will worship the LORD…
We are witnesses!…
We will worship the LORD our God and obey him”.
(v.21, 22, 24, NET)
We then read that at the age of one hundred and ten Joshua died (v.29) and that he was buried in his own inheritance at Timnath-serah. As if to underscore the fact that the links with the wilderness generation are coming to an end, we read that whilst those who knew Joshua were alive Israel served God (v.31), that the bones of Joseph were buried where promised (v.32), and that Eleazar the Son of Aaron also died (v.33).
The end of the book reads very much like a time of change. The people had now possessed their land as promised, and the leaders that had guided them here on behalf of the Lord had now died. The covenant had been renewed here in Joshua 24, meaning that Joshua had set up the people to focus on their true source of guidance and provision. We get the feeling that a new chapter was beginning in the story of God’s people, which we can read about in the book of Judges.
For a point to ponder for you and for me, I love what David Guzik wrote on the end of the book of Joshua:
“As the generations pass, they are each challenged to conquer the land of blessing and promise that God has for them – and we will do it, as we pay close heed to our Joshua, to Jesus Christ”.