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.

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