Joshua 18:11-28

The Territory of Benjamin

11 Now the lot of the tribe of the sons of Benjamin came up according to their families, and the territory of their lot [d]lay between the sons of Judah and the sons of Joseph. 12 Their border on the north side was from the Jordan, then the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north, and went up through the hill country westward, and [e]it ended at the wilderness of Beth-aven. 13 From there the border continued to Luz, to the side of Luz (that is, Bethel) southward; and the border went down to Ataroth-addar, near the hill which lies on the south of lower Beth-horon. 14 The border extended from there and turned round on the west side southward, from the hill which lies before Beth-horon southward; and [f]it ended at Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), a city of the sons of Judah. This was the west side. 15 Then the south side was from the edge of Kiriath-jearim, and the border went westward and went to the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah. 16 The border went down to the edge of the hill which is in the valley of Ben-hinnom, which is in the valley of Rephaim northward; and it went down to the valley of Hinnom, to the slope of the Jebusite southward, and went down to En-rogel. 17 It extended northward and went to En-shemesh and went to Geliloth, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, and it went down to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben. 18 It continued to the side in front of the Arabah northward and went down to the Arabah. 19 The border continued to the side of Beth-hoglah northward; and the [g]border ended at the north bay of the Salt Sea, at the south end of the Jordan. This was the south border. 20 Moreover, the Jordan was its border on the east side. This was the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin, according to their families and according to its borders all around.

21 Now the cities of the tribe of the sons of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho and Beth-hoglah and Emek-keziz, 22 and Beth-arabah and Zemaraim and Bethel, 23 and Avvim and Parah and Ophrah, 24 and Chephar-ammoni and Ophni and Geba; twelve cities with their villages. 25 Gibeon and Ramah and Beeroth, 26 and Mizpeh and Chephirah and Mozah, 27 and Rekem and Irpeel and Taralah, 28 and Zelah, Haeleph and the Jebusite (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah, Kiriath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin according to their families.

Tucked into the very last verse is the mention of what we think of as an important city in Israel, Jerusalem. However, at this time it was inhabited by Jebusites, whom the Israelites had been instructed to wipe out along with the other inhabitants for their wickedness.

But the Benjamites never did address this problem. As was so often the case, the inhabitants that remained would corrupt the people of God. The extent of this corruption can be seen in the book of Judges, and it is a disturbing example of what happens to mankind when left to our own devices. It became a story that enraged the entire nation of Israel, and resulted in the near destruction of an entire tribe.

Now we live in a different age, and Jesus has sent us into the world to spread His good news, so we must be careful and guard our hearts. Jesus himself prayed for us, that the Father would protect us even though we must remain among the “world”. Keeping our eyes focused on our purpose, which is to share Jesus’ story with them, is a major way to keep ourselves unstained in the midst of such wickedness as we see in our day.


Joshua 18:1-10

Rest of the Land Divided

18 Then the whole congregation of the sons of Israel assembled themselves at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there; and the land was subdued before them.

There remained among the sons of Israel seven tribes who had not divided their inheritance. So Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you? Provide for yourselves three men from [a]each tribe that I may send them, and that they may arise and walk through the land and write a description of it according to their inheritance; then they shall [b]return to me. They shall divide it into seven portions; Judah shall stay in its territory on the south, and the house of Joseph shall stay in their territory on the north. You shall describe the land in seven divisions, and bring the description here to me. I will cast lots for you here before the Lord our God. For the Levites have no portion among you, because the priesthood of the Lord is [c]their inheritance. Gad and Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh also have received their inheritance eastward beyond the Jordan, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them.”

Then the men arose and went, and Joshua commanded those who went to describe the land, saying, “Go and walk through the land and describe it, and return to me; then I will cast lots for you here before the Lord in Shiloh.” So the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities in seven divisions in a book; and they came to Joshua to the camp at Shiloh. 10 And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord, and there Joshua divided the land to the sons of Israel according to their divisions.

It’s hard to say if this chronologically follows the last chapter, but if it does, there is an interesting contrast. We had accused the sons of Manasseh of being somewhat lazy, but here we have seven tribes that hadn’t even scoped out the rest of the land yet.

But I think part of the problem is that they didn’t have a plan. There is a verse that says “for lack of vision, the people perish.” In other words, you can’t thrive without a plan.

I’m good at flying by the seat of my pants, but in business, life, and even faith, I need to have a plan. I need to have something I’m aiming for, goals, and ways to accomplish those goals.

Joshua realized this, and devised a plan for dividing the remainder of the land, and that got the ball rolling. Are you living life with a purpose, or wandering aimlessly. Start setting some goals, start small, and work your way up, and you never know what you might accomplish. But sit back and relax and you’ll find yourself going backwards.


Joshua 17

Territory of Manasseh

17 Now this was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. To Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, [a]were allotted Gilead and Bashan, because he was a man of war. So the lot was made for the rest of the sons of Manasseh according to their families: for the sons of Abiezer and for the sons of Helek and for the sons of Asriel and for the sons of Shechem and for the sons of Hepher and for the sons of Shemida; these were the male [b]descendants of Manasseh the son of Joseph according to their families.

However, Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. They came near before Eleazar the priest and before Joshua the son of Nun and before the leaders, saying, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So according to the [c]command of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among their father’s brothers. Thus there fell ten portions to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan, because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons. And the land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh.

The border of Manasseh [d]ran from Asher to Michmethath which was east of Shechem; then the border went [e]southward to the inhabitants of En-tappuah. The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the sons of Ephraim. The border went down to the [f]brook of Kanah, southward of the [g]brook (these cities belonged to Ephraim among the cities of Manasseh), and the border of Manasseh was on the north side of the [h]brook and [i]it ended at the sea. 10 The south side belonged to Ephraim and the north side to Manasseh, and the sea was [j]their border; and they reached to Asher on the north and to Issachar on the east. 11 In Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth-shean and its towns and Ibleam and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns, the third is Napheth. 12 But the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 13 It came about when the sons of Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not [k]drive them out completely.

14 Then the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me only one lot and one portion for an inheritance, since I am a numerous people whom the Lord has thus far blessed?” 15 Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go [l]up to the forest and [m]clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16 The sons of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the valley land have chariots of iron, both those who are in Beth-shean and its towns and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.” 17 Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, “You are a numerous people and have great power; you shall not have one lot only18 but the hill country shall be yours. For though it is a forest, you shall [n]clear it, and to its [o]farthest borders it shall be yours; for you shall [p]drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron and though they are strong.”

This chapter doesn’t go beyond the mundane until about verse 12, where we see that the sons of Manasseh had become strong, but did not drive out the inhabitants as they were supposed to do.

From what information we have (though it is scant), it seems they were being quite lazy. Either that, or they needed a serious reality check, which is what Joshua offers. They say, “Hey, we are very powerful and numerous, so we need more land!” And Joshua replies with, “Hey, if you ARE very powerful and numerous, go conquer the land like God told you to do!”

Now, he does go a bit farther, and reminds them that even though there seem to be large obstacles, they are not too big for them. Something important comes up, though it isn’t explicitly stated, but there is already context in place with “…whom the Lord has thus far blessed?”

Thus the lesson is this, “don’t sit around whining about the job that God has put in front of you.” For it IS GOD who has put it in front of you, and in that case, it is part of His plan AND He will give you the strength and ability needed to accomplish the task at hand.