Daily Tanach, Wednesday: Yehoshua Chapter 24-Part 1: Parting message of Yehoshua


Chapter 24: Parting message of Yehoshua

1.      Yehoshua gathers the nation and recounts their history:

  • Yehoshua gathered all the tribes in the city of Shechem, the tribal leaders, judges and police. Yehoshua recounted to them the history of their ancestors, and how they were idol worshipers, such as Terach the father of Avraham. He continued to relay to them the history of the descendants of Avraham, and Yitzchak, and the inheritance of Eisav in the Mount of Seir, the exodus from Egypt, and destruction of the Egyptian regime. He recounted the battle they had with Moav, Balak and Balaam, and how they crossed the Jordon and conquered Jericho, and how Hashem banished several Amorite kings, and their nations, using a swarm of wasps that attacked them. They thus did not even need to use their swords and arrows. The Jewish people thus received lands that they did not earn in battle, and cities which they did not build, and vineyards and olive orchards that they did not plant.

2.      Yehoshua warns the Jewish people not to serve idolatry:

  • Yehoshua warns the Jewish people to destroy idolatry from amongst them [including the gold and silver idols that they captured in battle[1]]. “Now, if it does not find favor in your eyes to serve Hashem then choose one of the other deities to worship, such as the deities worshiped by your ancestors. I and my family however will only serve G-d.
  • The people reply: The Jewish people replied to Yehoshua that Heaven forfend that they would serve any G-d other than Hashem, as it is Hashem who took them out of Egypt and performed for them all these miracles. “Hashem is our G-d and we will worship only Him.”
  • Yehoshua responds: Yehoshua responded to the nation that they cannot worship G-d[2] as He is very Holy and zealous to give retribution towards sinful activity. If you leave G-d and serve other deities, He will return and punish you and destroy you, in spite of the fact that He has done so much good for you.
  • The people reply: The people replied to Yehoshua that indeed they will serve G-d.
  • Yehoshua responds: Yehoshua replied to the nation that they are witness to the fact that you have chosen to serve G-d, and the people replied that indeed they are witnesses. Yehoshua then instructed the nation to get rid of all the idols that are amongst them and to listen to G-d. The nation again replied that they will serve G-d and listen to Him.
  • The covenant is made: Yehoshua made a covenant with the nation on that day [to serve G-d] and placed the laws before them, in the city of Shechem.

[1] Radak 24:14

[2] See Metzudos David 24:19 for the meaning of this statement

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