Joshua 24

Joshua's Farewell Address


And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem (Joshua 24:1).

Joshua’s choice of Shechem as a gathering place for his final address to the Israelites is an interesting one, since by that time the tabernacle was located at Shiloh (Josh 18:1). However, Shechem had been visited by Abraham (Gen 12:6) and Jacob (Gen 33:18) and would be the burial place of the bones of Joseph (Josh 24:32). Shechem was also the location of some of Joshua’s first activities in the Promised Land, including the construction of an altar and the rehearsal of the covenant (Josh 8:30-34).

The Euphrates

Your fathers dwelled long ago beyond the River (Joshua 24:2).

Abraham and his clan came from Mesopotamia. Regardless of whether Abraham came from Ur in southern Mesopotamia or another site named Ur in the north, he would have had to cross the Euphrates River in order to continue on to the land of Canaan. The photo of the Euphrates shown here is from near the city of Birecik, along the upper reaches of the river in Turkey. As can be seen from the width of the river, it would have posed a formidable barrier to travel.


And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you (Joshua 24:12).

The word rendered here as “hornet” occurs four times in the Bible. Once it appears to mean “terror, distress” (Gen 41:21), but the other times it may refer to hornets or wasps. Hornets are a subspecies of wasps, very similar in appearance to the yellowjackets shown in this photo. God had promised to drive out the Canaanites ahead of the Israelites using these insects (Exod 23:28, Deut 7:20), a non-lethal method of emptying the land for His people. Although there is no description of this happening, Joshua confirms here that God did in fact employ this tactic.

Conquering King

Yahweh drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land (Joshua 24:18).

It was commonplace for the kings of Egypt to depict themselves driving out their enemies, as does Merneptah in this carved relief. In the case of the Israelites, it was Yahweh who truly did this for His people, accomplishing what many foreign kings only boasted of doing. Incidentally, Merneptah is perhaps best known for an inscription he left at Thebes that constitutes one of the earliest references to the people of Israel.

Sanctuary at Shechem

He took a great stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary (Joshua 24:26).

This photo shows the remains of a very large building in ancient Shechem. It is identified as a fortified temple and often referred to as the Temple of Baal Berith because of the name given to a similar structure at Shechem during the Judges period (Judg 9:4). This temple is a candidate for the “sanctuary” mentioned in this verse, based on the archaeological excavations that have been undertaken so far.


Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Yahweh, died, being a hundred and ten years old. They buried him in the land of his inheritance in Timnath-serah (Joshua 24:29-30).

Identified today with Khirbet Tibnah, Timnath-serah is located 14 miles (24 km) southwest of Shechem. The site was given to Joshua as his inheritance after the land had been divided among the twelve tribes. Originally settled in the Middle Bronze Age II, Timnath-serah was rebuilt in Iron Age I and was a fairly large village at that time. It continued to be occupied throughout the rest of antiquity, even in the Early Arab and medieval periods. Today the site is rather remote and few people ever visit.

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