Joshua: “Don’t make friends with locals”
Some locals remain in Israel’s land1Years later, when Joshua had grown very old, the people of Israel finally lived in peace, thanks to the LORD.
2Joshua called a meeting of all Israel’s top leaders, including officials, elders, and military commanders. He said, “Folks, I have grown old. 3You’ve seen everything the LORD your God did for you. He fought for you. And you saw what he did to the nations that lived here. 4I’ve divided the land among your tribes—land from the Jordan River to the great Mediterranean Sea. Some tribes still need to conquer all the territory I’ve assigned them. 5The LORD your God himself will take care of that for you if you let him. He’ll drive off your enemies so you can live in peace on all the land he gave you. 6But you need to carefully follow all the laws Moses wrote about in the Book of Teaching. Don’t break any of those laws.
7And don’t have anything to do with these locals you haven’t driven off yet. You’re supposed to get rid of them, not get along with them. Don’t worship their gods. Don’t bow to them. Don’t make promises by swearing on the names of their gods. Don’t even speak the names of those gods. 8Stick with the LORD. You’ve been doing that. Now keep it up. 9The LORD has driven off some great nations protected by powerful armies. No one has been able to stop you. 10One soldier of Israel drives off a thousand enemies. That math works only because the LORD your God is fighting on your side, just like he said he would.
Love God on purpose11Love the LORD your God. Do it on purpose and with intention.
12If you let your love fade away and you make peace with these locals and even marry them, here’s something you can count on. 13The LORD your God will stop helping you drive them off. If you let them into your lives, you’ll regret it. They’ll become like a bear trap for your feet, a bullwhip for your back, and briars scratching your eyeballs. They’ll add pain to the rest of your lives, until you lose this land the LORD your God has given you.
14The time I have left on this earth is almost gone. From your head to your toes, you know God has never failed you. Everything the LORD promised has come true. He left nothing undone. 15But just as all the good things have come true, the bad things he warned about can come true, as well. 16If you break the agreement you made with the LORD your God, and you start worshiping other gods, the LORD will get angry. Then you’ll become the people who lose their land.”
Joshua died at age 110 (Joshua 24:29).
Possibly a reference to Deuteronomy, which summarizes the teachings in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers and which add new insights about those rules for living and for maintaining a spiritual relationship with the LORD.