Joshua 23&24: The Last Days of Joshua

Joshua addresses Israel one last time, they reaffirm their faith in God, and we see the fulfillment of a promise made in Egypt.


The final chapters of the book of Joshua conclude both the life of Joshua and the life of Eleazar. Joshua had completed his mission, so he called the people of Israel together to hear his final speech.

Final Words to Israel

Joshua reminds the Israelites that they are to love God and follow His commands; numerous times in both Testaments of the Bible are we told that if we love God we will follow His commandments, so it's not surprising that this would be part of Joshua's final message. Joshua warns the people that if they follow pagan traditions or marry the people of pagan nations, both of which they wind up doing, they will be unable to keep the land.

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And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.Joshua 24:15 KJV
Joshua summarizes the history of the Israelites, from the time before Abraham to the present. In this, he reveals to us that Abraham's ancestors worshipped false gods. This leads Joshua to offer a choice to the Israelites. They could follow the false idols of their ancestors before Abraham, the false idols of the Canaanite religions, or follow the real God. He cautions them that there would be no turning back once they had decided. One of the most used and well known quotes comes from this part of Joshua's speech—the last part of Joshua 24:15.

The people of Israel agree to follow God, once again, and make a covenant to do so (this time at Shechem). Here, Joshua erects a marker to act as a witness of their covenant. We will revisit the city of Shechem in Judges.

Deaths and Burials

Joshua 24 concludes with the death of Joshua and Eleazar.


Joshua dies at 110 years old and is buried at the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah. At his death, he is blessed with the title servant of the Lord, like Moses. This is consistent with a person's death being more important than his or her birth (see Ecclesiastes 7:1).


In Genesis, Joseph tells the Israelites when they left Egypt to enter the Promised Land, they were to take his bones with them and bury him in the Promised Land. As promised, the Israelites do just that. Joseph's remains are buried in Shechem. Jacob had purchased this same land in Genesis 33:19.


The final death and burial discussed in Judges 24 is that of Eleazar. Eleazar was the son of Aaron and served as Israel's high priest after his father died. Like Joshua, he was buried near Mount Ephraim, but was buried in a location that "pertained to Phinehas his son." Likely, this means land Phineas was in charge of.

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