Sefer Yehoshua-Chapter 24: 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 Jordan 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.

3. The Torah is written, and a monument is set up:

  • Yehoshua wrote these verses[3] in the Sefer Torah of G-d and took a large stone and established it as a monument there, by the entrance to the Temple of G-d [or alternatively, under the known tree of Shechem[4]]. Yehoshua stated to the Jewish people that the stone will serve as a testimony for them, that they should not stray from G-d.
  • Yehoshua then sent each person to his land of inheritance.

4. Yehoshua passes away:

  • Age: After all the above took place, Yehoshua passed away at the age of 110 years.
  • Burial area: He was buried in the area of his inheritance, in Timnas Serach in the mountains of Ephraim, north of the roaring mountains.[5]
  • Serving G-d: The Jewish people served G-d properly throughout all the days of Yehoshua, and throughout all the days of the elders who lived after Yehoshua.
  • Yosef’s remains are buried: The bones of Yosef which the Jewish people elevated from Egypt were buried in Shechem in the field that Yaakov purchased from Chamor, the father of Shechem for 100 Kesita. That area was inherited by the descendants of Yosef.
  • Elazar the Kohen passes away: Elazar the son of Aaron passed away and he was buried in the plot of his son Pinchas, in the mountains of Ephraim.


[1] Radak 24:14

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

[3] Some say this refers to the last eight verses of the Torah, while others say this refers to the Parsha of Arei Miklat. [See Rashi 24:26; Makos 11a]

[4] See Rashi 24:26

[5] See Rashi Yehoshua 24:30 that when the Jewish people did not eulogize Yehoshua properly, the mountain wanted to crush them

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