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Joshua 8:30-35 – Covenant Renewal

Summary

Joshua assembles the Israelites at Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal and reads to them from the book of the law of Moses. The covenant between Israel and the Lord is renewed.

Analysis

The first of two covenant renewal ceremonies in Joshua (the other is in Joshua 24), this passage in chapter 8 tells of an assembly at Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, near the city of Shechem (though Shechem is not mentioned explicitly). Joshua builds an altar where sacrifices are offered; he writes down the law of Moses on the stones, then reads the words of the law--both blessings and curses--to the people. This ceremony fulfills to the letter the command of the Lord in Deuteronomy 27 to hold such a ceremony (see also Deuteronomy 11:29-30). In this passage, as in the rest of the book, Joshua is depicted as an exemplary leader: "As the LORD had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses" (Joshua 11:15).

Joshua 8:30-35

Joshua Renews the Covenant

30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, ‘an altar of unhewn* stones, on which no iron tool has been used’; and they offered on it burnt-offerings to the Lord, and sacrificed offerings of well-being. 32And there, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua* wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. 33All Israel, alien as well as citizen, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark in front of the levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel. 34And afterwards he read all the words of the law, blessings and curses, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the aliens who resided among them.

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