Thursday, October 11, 2012

LXXI - Joshua 18-22 - Division to the Other Tribes

Prior to entering the Promised Land by crossing the Jordan River, Moses had given Rueben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan.  Then, in the last post we saw that Judah, Ephraim, and the other half tribe of Manasseh had received their inheritance in the main part of Canaan, which was where the original "Promised Land" was located.  At Shiloh, Joshua divided the rest of the land in Canaan among the seven remaining tribes.

Chapter 18:1-10  -  Joshua selected three men from each tribe and sent them to survey the remaining part of the land.  {I'm not certain why Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh were given their land prior to the survey.  I would guess that honoring Caleb had something to do with it, but that only explains Judah.  Also note the size difference.}  In this passage Joshua instructs the twenty one men to survey the land, document it onto a scroll, return to Joshua, and lots will be cast to distribute the land.  {Casting lots was explained in post LXXIX.  Very interesting.}

Please refer to your map of the tribal divisions while reading 18:11 - 21:42.  The land divisions by tribes were as follows:

Benjamin - (18:11-28)  The first lot fell to Benjamin which was one of the four smallest parcels of land.  This land bordered Judah on the north and Ephraim on the south, which seemed to squeeze them in, but also gave them protection.  On the east, Benjamin bordered the Jordan River and touched on the Dead Sea, which gave Benjamin fertile river-fed land plus a port for trade.  Size still seems like it would have an impact, but remember, Joshua sent a delegation to survey and divide the land.

Simeon - (19:1-9)  Simeon was the second lot cast.  Simeon was given a portion of Judah's land to the south because Judah had more land than it could occupy and control.  Simeon came out pretty good because although bordered the Mediteranean Sea, it was well south of the main Philistine stronghold.

Zebulun - (19:10-16)  The third lot fell to Zebulun, which was one of the four small parcels surrounded by Asher, Naphtali, Issachar, and both half tribes of Manasseh.  I can't see where Zebulun has any water access, or much other redeeming asset except protection.

Issachar - (19:17-23)  Issachar got the fourth parcel according to the lots cast.  This parcel is another of the very small pieces of land but at least it bordered the Jordan River.  Water access is always a strong asset.

Asher - (19:24-31)  The fifth parcel went to the tribe of Asher.  This is a somewhat narrow strip running north to south, almost all of which borders the Mediteranean Sea.  One would hope that Asher would become proficient in the shipping and seafood business.

Naphtali - (19:32-39)  The sixth went to Naphtali.  Naphtali shared the entire border of the Sea of Galilee with Manasseh across the Jordan.  Naphtali, due to the Jordan, should enjoy bumper crops.

Dan - (19:40-48)  The seventh and last lot fell to Dan.  Dan was given the last of the very small parcels.  It, like Benjamin, was sandwiched between Judah and Joseph, but at least Dan bordered the Mediteranean Sea.  Also, as stated in vs 47, the Danites conquered a tiny section of land in Leshem on the extreme north end of the east side of the Jordan and they called that land part of the Danites' inheritance.

Then in verse 49 it says they gave to Joshua a portion of land in the hill country of Ephraim.  This was probably very close to where he had headquartered during his conquests.

Chapter 20   -   This short chapter names the six cities to be used as the "Cites of Refuge", which was part of the original plan for the entire nation Israel.

Chapter 21   -   This chapter names all the towns to be given to the Levites to occupy, along with pasture land in the surrounding areas of each.  There totaled forty eight Levite towns spread throughout Israel.  Read the last two verses of chapter 21.  They started settling in their new homeland, and God gave the land rest.

Chapter 22   -   Remember when Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh asked for the land on the east side of Jordan?  Moses granted it to them conditionally, which was that they would help their cousins conquer the land west of the Jordan.  This chapter tells of their release of their obligation and their return home to settle in their land with their families they left behind.  Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh kept their end of the bargain.

Next post  -  Joshua's Farewell

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