Joshua Becomes Israel’s Leader to Replace Moses

Moses continued to speak to all the Israelites:

“I’m 120 years old now, and I’m not able to lead you anymore. Besides, the Lord has told me that I cannot cross the Jordan River. The Lord your God is the one who will cross the river ahead of you. He will destroy those nations as you arrive, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua will also cross the river ahead of you, as the Lord told you. The Lord will do to those nations what he did to King Sihon and King Og of the Amorites and to their lands when he destroyed them. The Lord will hand them over to you, and you must do to them everything that I commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Don’t tremble! Don’t be afraid of them! The Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He won’t abandon you or leave you.”

Then Moses called for Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous. You will go with these people into the land that the Lord will give them, as he swore to their ancestors. You will help them take possession of the land.[a] The Lord is the one who is going ahead of you. He will be with you. He won’t abandon you or leave you. So don’t be afraid or terrified.”

Moses wrote down these teachings and gave them to the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the Lord’s promise and to all the leaders of Israel. 10 Then Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel debts. At that time, during the Festival of Booths, 11 all the Israelites will come into the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose. Read these teachings so that they can hear them. 12 Assemble the men, women, and children, as well as the foreigners who live in your cities. Have them listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and faithfully obey every word of these teachings. 13 Their children, who don’t know these teachings, must hear them and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land that you are going to take possession of when you cross the Jordan River.”

14 The Lord said to Moses, “The time of your death is coming soon. Call for Joshua. Both of you come to the tent of meeting, and I will give him his instructions.” Moses and Joshua came to the tent of meeting. 15 Then the Lord appeared in a column of smoke at the entrance to the tent.

16 The Lord said to Moses, “Soon you are going to lie down in death with your ancestors. When these people enter the land and are living among the foreigners there, they will chase after foreign gods as though they were prostitutes. They will abandon me and reject the promise [b] I made to them. 17 On that day I will become angry with them. I will abandon them and turn away from them. They will be destroyed, and many terrible disasters will happen to them. On that day they will ask, ‘Haven’t these disasters happened to us because our God isn’t with us?’ 18 On that day I will certainly turn away from them because of all the evil they’ve done in turning to other gods.

19 “Write down this song, teach it to the Israelites, and have them sing it. This song will be a witness for me against the Israelites. 20 I will bring them into the land that I swore to give to their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey. When they have eaten all they want and have become fat,[c] they will turn to other gods and worship them. They will despise me and reject my promise. 21 When many terrible disasters happen to them, this song will testify against them, because it will never be forgotten by their descendants. I know what their hearts are set on doing, even now before I bring them into the land that I swore to give them.” 22 That day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites.

23 The Lord gave this command to Joshua, son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, because you will bring the Israelites into the land that I swore to give them, and I will be with you.”

24 Finally, Moses finished writing all the words of these teachings in a book. 25 He gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the Lord’s promise: 26 “Take this Book of Teachings, and put it next to the ark of the promise of the Lord your God, where it will be a witness against you. 27 I know how rebellious you are. You are impossible to deal with. While I am alive and still with you, you are rebelling against the Lord. How much more rebellious will you be after I die? 28 Assemble all the leaders of your tribes and your officers in front of me. As they listen, I will speak these words and call on heaven and earth to testify against them. 29 I know that after I die you will become thoroughly corrupt and turn from the way I have commanded you to live. In the days to come disasters will happen to you because you will make the Lord furious by doing what he considers evil.”

The Song of Moses

30 Then, as the whole congregation of Israel listened, Moses recited all the words of this song:


  1. 31:7 Or “And you will distribute the land to them.”
  2. 31:16 Or “covenant.”
  3. 31:20 Or “prosperous.”