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Read Joshua 18

Division of the Rest of the Land

1 The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The country was brought under their control, but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.

So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you? Appoint three men from each tribe. I will send them out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, according to the inheritance of each. Then they will return to me. You are to divide the land into seven parts. Judah is to remain in its territory on the south and the tribes of Joseph in their territory on the north. After you have written descriptions of the seven parts of the land, bring them here to me and I will cast lots for you in the presence of the Lord our God. The Levites, however, do not get a portion among you, because the priestly service of the Lord is their inheritance. And Gad, Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have already received their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan. Moses the servant of the Lord gave it to them.”

As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, “Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord.” So the men left and went through the land. They wrote its description on a scroll, town by town, in seven parts, and returned to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh.10 Joshua then cast lots for them in Shiloh in the presenceof the Lord, and there he distributed the land to the Israelites according to their tribal divisions.

Allotment for Benjamin

11 The first lot came up for the tribe of Benjamin according to its clans. Their allotted territory lay between the tribes of Judah and Joseph:

12 On the north side their boundary began at the Jordan, passed the northern slope of Jericho and headed west into the hill country, coming out at the wilderness of Beth Aven. 13 From there it crossed to the south slope of Luz (that is, Bethel) and went down to Ataroth Addar on the hill south of Lower Beth Horon.

14 From the hill facing Beth Horon on the south the boundary turned south along the western side and came out at Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim), a town of the people of Judah. This was the western side.

15 The southern side began at the outskirts of Kiriath Jearim on the west, and the boundary came out at the spring of the waters of Nephtoah. 16 The boundary went down to the foot of the hill facing the Valley of Ben Hinnom, north of the Valley of Rephaim. It continued down the Hinnom Valley along the southern slope of the Jebusite city and so to En Rogel. 17 It then curved north, went to En Shemesh, continued to Geliloth, which faces the Pass of Adummim, and ran down to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 18 It continued to the northern slope of Beth Arabah and on down into the Arabah. 19 It then went to the northern slope of Beth Hoglah and came out at the northern bay of the Dead Sea, at the mouth of the Jordan in the south. This was the southern boundary.

20 The Jordan formed the boundary on the eastern side.

These were the boundaries that marked out the inheritance of the clans of Benjamin on all sides.

21 The tribe of Benjamin, according to its clans, had the following towns:

Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, 22 Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24 Kephar Ammoni, Ophni and Geba—twelve towns and their villages.

25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26 Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah, 27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28 Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath—fourteen towns and their villages.

This was the inheritance of Benjamin for its clans.

Go Deeper

In this chapter, Joshua organized the Israelites and sent them out to survey the land in which they would now live. While it seems like an odd task, Joshua wanted the people of God to have a firm grasp on this new land. This wasn’t just busywork–they needed to be clear about who lived where, so each tribe could take ownership of their own land. Later in the chapter Joshua assigns each tribe a portion of land with a detailed description of it. 

This entire section of Scripture feels like a living out of what God commanded Adam in Genesis 1. As soon as Adam was formed, God told him to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Adam was to feel the responsibility of understanding and taking care of the earth. Here, we see Joshua doing just that. He is putting the Israelites in a place so they might fill the earth and subdue it.    

Sometimes Christians can be accused of having an “evacuation” mindset. People often think all Christians want to do is go to heaven because faith in Jesus simply serves as a “get out of hell free card.” However, our trust in Jesus does far more for us than that. Our faith also raises the importance of our life here. Scripture makes it clear that God has placed us in a specific place at a specific time for a purpose. If we live our days only hoping to evacuate to heaven, we’ve missed out our purposes and God’s plans for our lives. Rather, we need to have a clear lay of the land we occupy. We should know what areas of our city need tending to because we pay attention to it! While we live in the land, God has a purpose for us. We are to be rooted where we’ve been planted and allow the Holy Spirit to use us to change those around us.

Questions

  1. What stood out to you about this passage?
  2. Why do you think God has placed you where you are today?
  3. Why do you think it’s important to understand the place in which you live?

Did You Know?

The tabernacle, or “tent of meeting” moved around from place to place throughout history. We know it was at Shiloh at least twice based off of Joshua 18 and 1 Samuel 1:3.

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3 thoughts on “Joshua 18”

  1. Joshua 18:3 shows Joshua asking “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord …has given you?” This encouraged me to prayerfully consider any areas of my life that I have not walked in God’s plans for me. I want to be obedient to His plans and purposes, recognizing He has placed me in this specific time, place, family, and circumstances. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

  2. We see at the beginning of chapter 18 as the Israelite community is assembled at Shiloh around the tabernacle, that seven of the Israelite tribes had neglected to fulfill what God called them to do, go in and possess the land. Joshua questions them and then prods them with a plan to reach the goal. What was holding them back? Most likely the same things that deter us, like fear, complacency, weariness, & losing sight of the promises of God. Sometimes we need a Joshua in our lives to get us back on track. Let’s be present and show up for others to keep running the faith race to reach the prize. We rise by lifting others up.

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