Division of the Rest of the Land
18 The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The country was brought under their control, 2 but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.
3 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? 4 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. 5 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. 6 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. 7 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.”
8 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.” 9 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 presence of 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.
A map of the approximate land each tribe was allotted:
Five of the tribes of Israel have received their allotted inheritance, and now seven remain. They are all gathered together for the next instruction from Joshua. In these first passages we get a glimpse of how all of us sometimes respond when given a task. For example, let’s say you are at work and your boss makes you head over accounts. He tells you to follow up on the first account of record. Once you are finished, you sit at your desk wondering what to do next. This irritates the boss and he asks why you haven’t just gone down the list, on to the next account.
We have all had moments like these, where we know there is something to do, and yet we are hesitant. Maybe we wait because we are unsure if what we think we should do is what we are supposed to do. Or maybe we just really have no clue what is next. In the case of the Israelites, it seems that they are so used to taking orders from Joshua that they are just standing around, waiting for him to tell them what is next, instead of going up to him in anticipation. Through Moses, and then again through Joshua, the Lord tells the Israelites to go and inherit the land. God has set the appointed leaders, and given a direct order in how to carry this out:
13 Moses commanded the Israelites: “Assign this land by lot as an inheritance. The Lord has ordered that it be given to the nine and a half tribes, 14 because the families of the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance. 15 These two and a half tribes have received their inheritance east of the Jordan across from Jericho, toward the sunrise.” 16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “These are the names of the men who are to assign the land for you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun. 18 And appoint one leader from each tribe to help assign the land.” – Numbers 34
Once the instruction is given, the men go out to map the land, and then lots are drawn in the presence of the Lord to see what tribe gets what. The drawing of lots was a custom back then to know what the will of God was for the situation. Though it is a lot like what we call gambling today, this was explicit instruction from the Lord because none of these people was endowed with that internal compass we take for granted: the Holy Spirit. There are several instances in the old testament of God telling the people to draw lots, so that they would know what He wanted them to do. Take note that even though they were ‘gambling’, the Lord decided the outcome (there are no coincidences). Benjamin is drawn first, and the preceding verses layout the land they are allotted.
- Is there a promise or principle to remember?
God wants us to take possession of our inheritance. Being a child of God, He calls you to certain activities. There are the obvious such as sharing the Gospel, baptism, and communion, but there is also a command given over and over throughout the Bible: make your calling sure. God wants us to make sure we are His, and He wants us to grow.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1
- Is there an example to follow or a command to obey?
In these passages we see that the command was to go out and take charge of what was already given. The Israelites were told to take possession of the land that was already considered theirs. God wants us to dive into Scripture, and to pray without ceasing so we can become more and more like Christ.
- Are there attitudes that needed changing, or an error to avoid?
What is it that defines you? What would your family or friends call you for advice on? Are you constantly talking about celebrities, gossip, exercise, food? If God tells us in His word to seek Him at every opportunity, then shouldn’t He be on our minds 24/7 and not the rest of this world? God tells us to seek first His kingdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7
- Is there a sin being revealed?
If we are not seeking & following God, we are seeking & following idols. Each of us has something in our lives that we place before God. For some, it is ourselves.. for others, our husbands, wives, or children. That is a sin. Nothing should come before the one who created you. It is time to repent, believe the Gospel, and move forward.
- Does this make you want to pray for someone or yourself?
O Lord, forgive me for placing my silly desires of wanting to be popular before wanting to know you more. I pray that this lesson, and the knowledge of what you desire of my life will resonate with me always, and that you will continue to work on me and where I place my allegiances. Help me, Lord, to take a hold of what you have done in my life and push forward to creating a deeper understanding of who you are, what you have done, and what you will do. I am ready to move into my inheritance.