Understanding the Old Testament

Dividing the Promised Land

(All quotations are from the New American Standard Bible translation)

Now that Canaan had been conquered, Joshua divided the land among the remaining nine and one-half tribes. (Recall that Reuben, Gad, and one-half of the tribe of Manasseh had already settled on land which had been seized from the Amorites, east of the Jordan River.)

If you want to read the details of the division of the land, they are spelled out in chapters 15 through 19 of Joshua. But in short, Judah and Simeon were located west of the Dead Sea. The tribes of Dan, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Issachar possessed the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The territories of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali were west and north of the Sea of Galilee. Judah's territory included the city of Jerusalem.

As mandated in Numbers 35, the Levites received forty-eight cities within the territories of the other tribes, including the six cities of refuge. (Joshua 20:1 - 21:42)

In recognition of his faithfulness to the Lord, Joshua awarded the city of Hebron, in the territory of Judah, to Caleb, who had been one of the twelve men sent to spy on the land of Canaan. (Joshua 14:6-15) Caleb drove out the inhabitants of Hebron, and then turned his attention to the nearby city of Debir, offering the hand of his daughter Achsah to whoever could capture Debir. The man who accomplished this task was Calebís nephew, Othniel, whom we will meet again in Judges. (Joshua 15:15-17)

Questions to ponder or discuss: In Numbers 26:52-56, the Lord directed that the land was to be divided unevenly, with the larger tribes receiving more land than the less numerous tribes. How fair do you think that was? What would be the advantages of such an arrangement? 

.Copyright 2018 by Don Davidson

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Understanding the Old Testament


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