March 10: Day 69

Reading: Joshua 22-24, Psalm 69 (ESV)

Joshua 22

The Eastern Tribes Return Home

1At that time Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, 2and said to them, "You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you and have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you. 3You have not forsaken your brothers these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God. 4And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. 5Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul." 6So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

7Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua had given a possession beside their brothers in the land west of the Jordan. And when Joshua sent them away to their homes and blessed them, 8he said to them, "Go back to your tents with much wealth and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers." 9So the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, parting from the people of Israel at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, their own land of which they had possessed themselves by command of the Lord through Moses.

The Eastern Tribes' Altar of Witness

10And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. 11And the people of Israel heard it said, "Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel." 12And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

13Then the people of Israel sent to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 14and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15And they came to the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16"Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, 'What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the Lord? 17Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the Lord, 18that you too must turn away this day from following the Lord? And if you too rebel against the Lord today then tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19But now, if the land of your possession is unclean, pass over into the Lord's land where the Lord's tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us. Only do not rebel against the Lord or make us as rebels by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20Did not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.'"

21Then the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22"The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the Lord, do not spare us today 23for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord. Or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or peace offerings on it, may the Lord himself take vengeance. 24No, but we did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, 'What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you people of Reuben and people of Gad. You have no portion in the Lord.' So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. 26Therefore we said, 'Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27but to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, "You have no portion in the Lord."' 28And we thought, 'If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, "Behold, the copy of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you."' 29Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!"

30When Phinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh spoke, it was good in their eyes. 31And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh, "Today we know that the Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the Lord. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Lord."

32Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the people of Reuben and the people of Gad in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33And the report was good in the eyes of the people of Israel. And the people of Israel blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them to destroy the land where the people of Reuben and the people of Gad were settled. 34The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar Witness, "For," they said, "it is a witness between us that the Lord is God."


Joshua 23

Joshua's Charge to Israel's Leaders

1A long time afterward, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years, 2Joshua summoned all Israel, its elders and heads, its judges and officers, and said to them, "I am now old and well advanced in years. 3And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the Lord your God who has fought for you. 4Behold, I have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. 5The Lord your God will push them back before you and drive them out of your sight. And you shall possess their land, just as the Lord your God promised you. 6Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, 7that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, 8but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day. 9For the Lord has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, no man has been able to stand before you to this day. 10One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as he promised you. 11Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. 12For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, 13know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.

14"And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. 15But just as all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the Lord will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the Lord your God has given you, 16if you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you."


Joshua 24

The Covenant Renewal at Shechem

1Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God. 2And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. 3Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac. 4And to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. And I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. 5And I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did in the midst of it, and afterward I brought you out.

6"'Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea. And the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. 7And when they cried to the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians and made the sea come upon them and cover them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness a long time. 8Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan. They fought with you, and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. 9Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. And he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, 10but I would not listen to Balaam. Indeed, he blessed you. So I delivered you out of his hand. 11And you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the leaders of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And I gave them into your hand. 12And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. 13I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.'

Choose Whom You Will Serve

14"Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

16Then the people answered, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, 17for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God."

19But Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good." 21And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the Lord." 22Then Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him." And they said, "We are witnesses." 23He said, "Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel." 24And the people said to Joshua, "The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey." 25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem. 26And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27And Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God." 28So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance.

Joshua's Death and Burial

29After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years old. 30And they buried him in his own inheritance at Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash.

31Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.

32As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.

33And Eleazar the son of Aaron died, and they buried him at Gibeah, the town of Phinehas his son, which had been given him in the hill country of Ephraim.


Psalm 69

Save Me, O God

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David.


1 Save me, O God!

For the waters have come up to my neck.

2 I sink in deep mire,

where there is no foothold;

I have come into deep waters,

and the flood sweeps over me.

3 I am weary with my crying out;

my throat is parched.

My eyes grow dim

with waiting for my God.

4 More in number than the hairs of my head

are those who hate me without cause;

mighty are those who would destroy me,

those who attack me with lies.

What I did not steal

must I now restore?

5 O God, you know my folly;

the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,

O Lord God of hosts;

let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,

O God of Israel.

7 For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,

that dishonor has covered my face.

8 I have become a stranger to my brothers,

an alien to my mother's sons.

9 For zeal for your house has consumed me,

and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

10 When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,

it became my reproach.

11 When I made sackcloth my clothing,

I became a byword to them.

12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,

and the drunkards make songs about me.

13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.

At an acceptable time, O God,

in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.

14 Deliver me

from sinking in the mire;

let me be delivered from my enemies

and from the deep waters.

15 Let not the flood sweep over me,

or the deep swallow me up,

or the pit close its mouth over me.

16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;

according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

17 Hide not your face from your servant,

for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.

18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me;

ransom me because of my enemies!

19 You know my reproach,

and my shame and my dishonor;

my foes are all known to you.

20 Reproaches have broken my heart,

so that I am in despair.

I looked for pity, but there was none,

and for comforters, but I found none.

21 They gave me poison for food,

and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

22 Let their own table before them become a snare;

and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.

23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,

and make their loins tremble continually.

24 Pour out your indignation upon them,

and let your burning anger overtake them.

25 May their camp be a desolation;

let no one dwell in their tents.

26 For they persecute him whom you have struck down,

and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.

27 Add to them punishment upon punishment;

may they have no acquittal from you.

28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;

let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

29 But I am afflicted and in pain;

let your salvation, O God, set me on high!

30 I will praise the name of God with a song;

I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

31 This will please the Lord more than an ox

or a bull with horns and hoofs.

32 When the humble see it they will be glad;

you who seek God, let your hearts revive.

33 For the Lord hears the needy

and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,

the seas and everything that moves in them.

35 For God will save Zion

and build up the cities of Judah,

and people shall dwell there and possess it;

36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,

and those who love his name shall dwell in it.