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Read Joshua 15

Allotment for Judah

1 The allotment for the tribe of Judah, according to its clans, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south.

Their southern boundary started from the bay at the southern end of the Dead Sea, crossed south of Scorpion Pass, continued on to Zin and went over to the south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it ran past Hezron up to Addar and curved around to Karka. It then passed along to Azmon and joined the Wadi of Egypt, ending at the Mediterranean Sea. This is their southern boundary. The eastern boundary is the Dead Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan.The northern boundary started from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan, went up to Beth Hoglah and continued north of Beth Arabah to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. The boundary then went up to Debir from the Valley of Achor and turned north to Gilgal, which faces the Pass of Adummim south of the gorge. It continued along to the waters of En Shemeshand came out at En Rogel. Then it ran up the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem). From there it climbed to the top of the hill west of the Hinnom Valley at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. From the hilltop the boundary headed toward the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, came out at the towns of Mount Ephron and went down toward Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim). 10 Then it curved westward from Baalah to Mount Seir, ran along the northern slope of Mount Jearim (that is, Kesalon), continued down to Beth Shemesh and crossed to Timnah. 11 It went to the northern slope of Ekron, turned toward Shikkeron, passed along to Mount Baalah and reached Jabneel. The boundary ended at the sea. 12 The western boundary is the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. These are the boundaries around the people of Judah by their clans. 13 In accordance with the Lord’s command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah—Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) 14 From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak. 15 From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 16 And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 17 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage. 18 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”19 She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.20 This is the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, according to its clans: 21 The southernmost towns of the tribe of Judah in the Negev toward the boundary of Edom were:
Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25 Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet, 28 Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, Iyim, Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah,32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain and Rimmon—a total of twenty-nine towns and their villages.
33 In the western foothills:
Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34 Zanoah, En Gannim,Tappuah, Enam, 35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Sokoh, Azekah, 36 Shaaraim, Adithaim and Gederah (or Gederothaim)—fourteen towns and their villages. 37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad, 38 Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40 Kabbon, Lahmas, Kitlish, 41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah and Makkedah—sixteen towns and their villages. 42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Akzib and Mareshah—nine towns and their villages. 45 Ekron, with its surrounding settlements and villages; 46 west of Ekron, all that were in the vicinity of Ashdod, together with their villages; 47 Ashdod, its surrounding settlements and villages; and Gaza, its settlements and villages, as far as the Wadi of Egypt and the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. 48 In the hill country:
Shamir, Jattir, Sokoh, 49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir), 50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51 Goshen, Holonand Giloh—eleven towns and their villages. 52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) and Zior—nine towns and their villages. 55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57 Kain, Gibeah and Timnah—ten towns and their villages. 58 Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, 59 Maarath, Beth Anoth and Eltekon—six towns and their villages. 60 Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah—two towns and their villages.
61 In the wilderness:
Beth Arabah, Middin, Sekakah, 62 Nibshan, the City of Salt and En Gedi—six towns and their villages.
63 Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.

Go Deeper

At first glance, this chapter looks like a daunting one. Another list of names you most likely will butcher and cities that have very little geographical significance for you as you read this passage on your couch (or wherever you are). On the contrary, there is so much for us to glean from this text.

This chapter deals with the actual division of the land of Canaan. Judah, as we have seen, was first by right of Jacob’s blessing. Here we have an outline of the borders of Judah’s territory, an account of Caleb’s occupation of Hebron and Debir, and an exhaustive list of the cities awarded to Judah. It’s also important to recall what happened just before this reading. Caleb (85 years young) continued to press forward and charge the mountain of his enemies (Joshua 14:6-12). Neither Joshua nor Caleb sat back and relaxed. No, these men traded retirement for restructuring. May we strive to have this tenacity as well! Caleb is a man worth emulating, from chasing out giants (v. 14) to giving blessings and streams amidst the desert (v. 19).

However, not all of the people shared this tenacity. According to the author, the Jebusites “could not” be driven out of the land of Jerusalem. This begs the questions, “Why were they unable to drive out the Jebusites? Did not God say the land was theirs and that He would be with them?” It would seem that it was not so much a could not scenario but a would not. It would take the people of God many, many years to conquer Jerusalem. Not until 2 Samuel 5 when King David comes to power!

So, after reading Joshua 15, we have a decision to make: We can choose to retire or restructure our culture. We can sit back and be could not people or have the heart of Caleb with a can do spirit. We can look at the opportunities all around us and push back darkness for the sake of the Kingdom. May we be a people who charge mountains and chase giants according to the will of God!


  1. Read Gen. 49:9-10. How does this passage illuminate this allotment of land to Judah? How might this prophecy have been fulfilled by Jesus? 
  2. What promises has God given you that you result in confidence such as Caleb? 
  3. The chapter ends with the people saying they “could not” take Jerusalem. Now, recall Numbers 13 where 10 of the spies return with negative news. With these stories in mind, what lies/negativity are you allowing to overshadow God’s future for you?

Did You Know?

The “Valley of Achor” in verse 7 literally means the “Valley of Trouble” and is named after Achan who is buried there in Joshua 7. Even more beautiful is that the book of Hosea says that God will transform this “Valley of Trouble” into a “door of hope” for the people of Israel (Hosea 2:14-15). God promises to transform the trouble of the past into a triumphant future!

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1 thought on “Joshua 15”

  1. I’m reminded of the phrases “ have to” vs. “get to”. These 2 little phrases can drive the trajectory of our lives and will certainly determine the outcome. Caleb was a “get to” kind of guy. He boldly accepted the challenge of taking the land promised him. Scripture says he drove & marched & took the land. I’m thinking he instilled that same mindset in his daughter, Achsah, who asked for a blessing of access to springs on land allotted her and her husband, something rarely done by women in that culture. Today, I’m turning on my “get to” attitude to tackle whatever comes my way with confidence and hope in my Savior. As one of my favorite songs says,
    “Let me be singing when the evening comes” a testament to his faithfulness.

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