Joshua was an old man. His journey and purpose in life had been completed. He called for the chief men of Israel to meet with him. It was in this meeting that he reviewed some of the events of the past and admonished them regarding the future. God had fulfilled His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give them a land flowing with milk and honey. They were a great nation.
It was important that the Israelites would continue to follow the law that God had given them through Moses—not to turn from the right or to the left. They were in a land that still contained nations of idol worshipping people. As long as they continued to fear God and worship Him instead of the gods of the Canaanites, He would be with them and help them drive the remaining people out of the land. If they turned from following God to serving other gods, they would also feel His wrath just as the Canaanites had felt it earlier.
Joshua continued his farewell to the children of Israel by calling another meeting with them at Shechem. He reminded them that their ancestors had served other gods, but that they were to serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Joshua recalled the events leading them into Egypt and up to the time that he was speaking to them.
As a challenge to Israel, Joshua charged them to either serve the gods of their fathers on the other side of Jordan or to serve the Lord. He then expressed what should be the slogan of every home, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The people accepted Joshua’s challenge and stated, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!” With that commitment, he took a large stone and set it up at Shechem as a “witness to us.”
Joshua died at the age of one hundred ten years and was buried at Timnath Serah. Joseph’s bones had been brought up out of Egypt and were buried at Shechem in the plot that Jacob had purchased many years earlier. Eleazar, the high priest also died and was buried in the mountains of Ephraim.