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Joshua 19

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Dividing up the land of Canaan to the remaining tribes comes to an end and all of Israel receives its allotted land, as promised by God through Moses when their forefathers were still in the desert. This ‘template’ stands for all of time on earth. As the chapter concentrates on land and cities, any information on these will be found in a separate publication. Thus, most commentary is for the final two verses. Do not swiftly look past these seemingly boring details – they are proof of the land given to the Jews, promised by God through Moses and earlier patriarchs; land held in perpetuity, and not revoked by illegal Muslim invasions, or ignorant UN resolutions.

Verses 1-9

  1. And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.

  2. And they had in their inheritance Beersheba, or Sheba, and Moladah,

  3. And Hazarshual, and Balah, and Azem,

  4. And Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormah,

  5. And Ziklag, and Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusah,

  6. And Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages:

  7. Ain, Remmon, and Ether, and Ashan; four cities and their villages:

  8. And all the villages that were round about these cities to Baalathbeer, Ramath of the south. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families.

  9. Out of the portion of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them.

The words “within the inheritance of the children of Judah” mean what they say. Look at one of the maps I issued previously and see how the land promised to Simeon is right in the middle of the land promised to Judah. Today, that would be considered more than ‘landlocked’ – it could present huge difficulties of access. But, as God gave the land, Jews may not argue the point. We see that the Lord said Judah had too much land, hence its reduction for the sake of Simeon’s descendants.

Whatever God gives to mere mortals is exactly what they should have. He gives benefits that are deemed suitable for particular people for particular holy reasons, so we may not jealously desire what others have, or their larger estates and gifts. Sometimes what other have is a curse on them, if they do not share their fortunes with those who are less endowed.

I also know, as a matter of fact, that when you have nothing it is also a gift, meant to strengthen your faith and personal characteristics, whereas those with more, but who do not help their fellow believers, will not have the same personal qualities or benefits from God. Rather, He will show them that they may keep everything they work for, for themselves... but may also suffer the consequences, have less spiritual growth, and more by way of later trials. It is not unusual for such greed to be rewarded by a total loss of everything.

Verses 10-16

  1. And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families: and the border of their inheritance was unto Sarid:

  2. And their border went up toward the sea, and Maralah, and reached to Dabbasheth, and reached to the river that is before Jokneam;

  3. And turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrising unto the border of Chislothtabor, and then goeth out to Daberath, and goeth up to Japhia,

  4. And from thence passeth on along on the east to Gittahhepher, to Ittahkazin, and goeth out to Remmonmethoar to Neah;

  5. And the border compasseth it on the north side to Hannathon: and the outgoings thereof are in the valley of Jiphthahel:

  6. And Kattath, and Nahallal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities with their villages.

  7. This is the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.

The tribe of Zebulun (‘exalted’) descended from Jacob’s 10th son. This tribe, too, had a variety of land types, from hills and valleys to rivers and sea. A famed name place was Bethlehem. As with the other tribes, their land inheritance contained many cities and villages.

Verses 17-23

  1. And the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families.

  2. And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem,

  3. And Hapharaim, and Shion, and Anaharath,

  4. And Rabbith, and Kishion, and Abez,

  5. And Remeth, and Engannim, and Enhaddah, and Bethpazzez;

  6. And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Bethshemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.

  7. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their families, the cities and their villages.

Then we come to the land promised to Issachar (‘there is recompense’), the tribe coming from a son of Jacob. They lived close to the Sea of Galilee. The ‘coast’ means the boundary.

Verses 24-31

  1. And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.

  2. And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph,

  3. And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihorlibnath;

  4. And turneth toward the sunrising to Bethdagon, and reacheth to Zebulun, and to the valley of Jiphthahel toward the north side of Bethemek, and Neiel, and goeth out to Cabul on the left hand,

  5. And Hebron, and Rehob, and Hammon, and Kanah, even unto great Zidon;

  6. And then the coast turneth to Ramah, and to the strong city Tyre; and the coast turneth to Hosah; and the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to Achzib:

  7. Ummah also, and Aphek, and Rehob: twenty and two cities with their villages.

  8. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.

The tribe of Asher (‘happy’) is mentioned next; Asher being another of Jacob’s sons. Their lot was to the north, including the fortified rich maritime city of Tyre.

Verses 32-39

  1. The sixth lot came out to the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families.

  2. And their coast was from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum; and the outgoings thereof were at Jordan:

  3. And then the coast turneth westward to Aznothtabor, and goeth out from thence to Hukkok, and reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and reacheth to Asher on the west side, and to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising.

  4. And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth,

  5. And Adamah, and Ramah, and Hazor,

  6. And Kedesh, and Edrei, and Enhazor,

  7. And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.

  8. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.

Now we read of the allocation to the tribe of Naphtali (‘wrestling’), 6th son of Jacob by a concubine, Bilhah. Their boundary touched that of Zebulun on the south, Asher to the west, and East Manasseh where the boundary was at the eastern edge.

Verses 40-48

  1. And the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families.

  2. And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Irshemesh,

  3. And Shaalabbin, and Ajalon, and Jethlah,

  4. And Elon, and Thimnathah, and Ekron,

  5. And Eltekeh, and Gibbethon, and Baalath,

  6. And Jehud, and Beneberak, and Gathrimmon,

  7. And Mejarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before Japho.

  8. And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.

  9. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.

Then we have land given to the tribe of Dan (‘a judge’), another of Jacob’s sons, also mothered by the concubine, Bilhah. Their land was wedged between Ephraim and Judah. The tribe felt they had too little land, so they fought against Leshem/Laish, a city south-east of Mount Hermon, in the far north and took the area, renaming it ‘Dan’. This extra land is counted as part of Dan’s inheritance.

Verses 49-51

  1. When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them:

  2. According to the word of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnathserah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein.

  3. These are the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. So they made an end of dividing the country.

Thus, Canaan was divided amongst the tribes, except for the tribe of Levi, which was supported by the other tribes. When all the land was divided, the tribal chiefs and elders then gave land to Joshua for his own family’s use and ownership. He asked for the city of Timnathserah on Mount Ephraim. This either meant a city now conquered, or a new one. If the former he elaborated upon what existed and fortified it. This was to the north of Mount Ephraim on a hill called Gaash.

Thus, the leader became the servant, receiving his allotted land last. This is the proper position of anyone who leads God’s people. "Of all sites I have seen," says Lieut. Col. Conder, "none is so striking as that of Joshua's home, surrounded as it is with deep valleys and wild, rugged hills." Over time the opposite hill was excavated to accommodate many sepulchres. It is where Joshua was buried and was said to be the most spectacular – a square chamber with excavations in three sides and a passageway leading to a second chamber. The walls of the porch had niches for lamps, up to 200, such was the respect shown for such a glorious and faithful leader used by God.

The divisions of Canaan were thrown by lot, guided by the Holy Spirit, in the doorway of the tabernacle, before Jehovah. The dividing of the land was now complete, and future history could see that the lands promised by God were finalised.

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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