Sunday, October 31, 2021
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Joshua has been drawing lots to assign the seven remaining tribes their portions of the promised land. Today we look at the allotment for Issachar.
"The fourth lot came out for Issachar according to its clans. Their territory included: Jezreel, Kesulloth, Shunem, Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, Remeth, En Gannim, En Haddah and Beth Pazzez. The boundary touched Tabor, Shahazumah and Beth Shemesh, and ended at the Jordan. There were sixteen towns and their villages. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Issachar, according to its clans." (Joshua 19:17-23) On the map below we find Issachar in dark green right above West Manasseh and below Zebulun and Naphtali.
Friday, October 29, 2021
A couple of days ago in our study there were seven tribes of Israel who had not yet been allotted territory in the promised land. Joshua has been parceling it out according to how the lot falls. The first lot fell to the tribe of Benjamin and the second lot fell to the tribe of Simeon. The third lot falls to Zebulun.
"The third lot came up for Zebulun according to its clans: The boundary of their inheritance went as far as Sarid." (Joshua 19:10) Zebulun was one of the sons of Jacob by his wife Leah, but Issachar was born to Jacob and Leah before Zebulun. Yet this tribe is assigned its territory before Issachar. I'm not sure why this is but it's interesting to note that when bestowing prophetic blessings upon his sons prior to his death, Jacob pronounced Zebulun's blessing before Issachar's, saying, "Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon." (Genesis 49:13) When Moses blessed the tribes of Israel before his death he also placed Zebulun's blessing before Issachar's, saying, "Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and you, Issachar, in your tents. They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer the sacrifices of the righteous; they will feast on the abundance of the seas, on the treasures hidden in the sand." (Deuteronomy 33:18-19)
The Bible now describes the borders of the land of Zebulun. "Going west it ran to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, and extended to the ravine near Jokneam. It turned east from Sarid toward the sunrise to the territory of Kisloth Tabor and went on to Daberath and up to Japhia. Then it continued eastward to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin; it came out at Rimmon and turned toward Neah. There the boundary went around on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtah El. Included were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem. There were twelve towns and their villages." (Joshua 19:11-15) The Bethlehem of verse 15 is not the one which lay within the territory of Judah (called Bethlehem of Judah or Bethlehem of Judea). The Bethlehem which lay within the tribe of Zebulun was known as Bethlehem of Galilee.
"These towns and their villages were the inheritance of Zebulun, according to its clans." (Joshua 19:16) We will again insert the map we've been using so we can point out the location of Zebulun.
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Today we'll be looking at the allotment for the tribe of Simeon.
In yesterday's passage Joshua began distributing allotments in the promised land to the remaining seven tribes. The first lot drawn went to the tribe of Benjamin. Today the second lot will be drawn and it will go to the tribe of Simeon. Some Bible scholars believe the lots were drawn by using two jars. For example, one jar may have contained seven slips of parchment or seven stones with the name of each of the remaining tribes on each one; the other jar may have contained the deeds to each portion of the land that remained to be parceled out. Then, in a prayerful attitude toward the Lord, Joshua would have drawn a name out of one jar and a land deed out of the other jar. We don't know for certain that this is how the task was accomplished but it's quite feasible it was done in this manner.
"The second lot came out for the tribe of Simeon according to its clans. Their inheritance lay within the territory of Judah. It included: Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah, Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem, Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth Markaboth, Hazar Susah, Beth Labaoth and Sharuhen---thirteen towns and their villages." (Joshua 19:1-6) You'll recognize the name of Beersheba, for it was mentioned a number of times in the story of Abraham back in Genesis. Ziklag will figure prominently in the life of David later in the Old Testament.
In addition to the towns and villages above, Simeon was given: "Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan---four towns and their villages---and all the villages around these towns as far as Baalath Beer (Ramah in the Negev)." (Joshua 19:7-8a) Below I'm inserting our map again so we can see the territory allotted to Simeon.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
The land west of the Jordan has been surveyed and the remaining seven tribes receive their allotments. We begin by looking at the allotment for the tribe of Benjamin.
"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." (Joshua 18:11) Again we'll turn to our map for guidance. Benjamin's territory is at the middle of the map in light orange. We see Judah (in green) below the tribe of Benjamin and we see Joseph (Ephraim in light purple and West Manasseh in yellow) above Benjamin's allotment. The lot, as directed by the Lord, ensured that the tribe of Benjamin ended up near to and under the protection of his brother Joseph (the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh). The very small tribe of Benjamin was bordered on the south by the very large tribe of Judah, was bordered on the west by Dan, and bordered on the east by Reuben. Just as Jacob took great care to protect his youngest son Benjamin, the Lord took care to protect the tribe of Benjamin by surrounding it on all sides by other tribes of Israel.
"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. 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. 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." (Joshua 18:12-14) As we've seen in other descriptions of the promised land, the Bible often provides us with the original name of a town or region along with the name it was given after the Israelites took hold of the land. We frequently find that the original names were idolatrous in nature; for example, some included the name of Baal who was a Canaanite deity. Kiriath Baal, "city of Baal", was changed to Kiritah Jearim which means "city of woods".
"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. 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. 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. It continued to the northern slope of Beth Arabah and on down into the Arabah. 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 at the south. This was the southern boundary. 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." (Joshua 18:15-20) The descriptions of the boundaries of each tribe were invaluable to the Israelites. They were as invaluable to them as modern maps and land surveys are to us today. I have pins that mark the corners of the lot my house sits on and my land survey is on file downtown at the courthouse. A similar thing is going on in the passages we're studying; the descriptions and borders define the property rights of the tribes and will be available to clear up any disputes that may arise regarding these borders.
Now the Bible names the towns contained within Benjamin's borders. "The tribe of Benjamin, according to its clans, had the following towns: Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, Kephar Ammoni, Ophni and Geba---twelve towns and their villages. Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah, Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 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." (Joshua 18:21-28) Gibeah was the birthplace of Saul, a man of the tribe of Benjamin who became Israel's first king. Jerusalem, which later became the most famous location in all Israel, was originally called Jebusi (sometimes rendered Jebus) after the Jebusites. The Jebusites were descendants of Noah's son Ham through his son Canaan. At the time our current chapter was written, the Jebusites were still inhabiting Jerusalem, for as you'll recall from our passages throughout this week, the land was assigned before all the heathen tribes had been wiped out of it. In each allotment there are still pockets of pagans taking up residence. It won't be until the time of King David that Jerusalem is conquered and its name changed from Jebusi (or Jebus) to Jerusalem which means "city of peace".
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
On the west side of the Jordan River we've already seen three tribes beginning to settle in their allotments: Judah, Ephraim, and the half tribe of Manasseh that had not chosen land on the east of the Jordan. Along with those Manassites who chose to dwell east of the Jordan, the tribes of Reuben and Gad had their territories there too. Today Joshua asks the rest of the people (the remaining seven tribes who are to inherit allotments), "What are you waiting for? Begin taking hold of the inheritance the Lord is giving you."
"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." (Joshua 18:1-2) As we've already learned, not all of the tribes and clans of Canaan have been driven out at this point, but enough of them have that Israel can be said to hold sway over the majority of this land mass. The Israelites are in a position to take up residence in Canaan and to root out any remaining heathen idolaters from the region---if they will boldly move in and do so as Joshua encouraged them in yesterday's passage. In verse 1 we find the Israelites setting up the tabernacle at Shiloh where it will remain for about the next 369 years. The Israelites have enough control over the region and enough stability in the region to protect and maintain the tabernacle at this semi-permanent location for several centuries. There is no reason for the delay in the seven remaining tribes to take possession of their portions.
"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?'" (Joshua 18:3) He asks, "What are you waiting for? What more has to happen for you to move in and claim the promises of the Lord?" I believe the Lord sometimes says this same thing to us. He has made us great and precious promises. He has called us out of darkness into light and has made us the children of the living God. Yet we are prone to doubts and fears. We hesitate and hang back. I think sometimes He says to us, "What are you waiting for? Why are you not living in the bold confidence that belongs to the children of the King? What more must I do to prove that I love you and that I hear your prayers and want to provide for you and do great things in your life? Step out in faith knowing that I am with you! I will never leave you or forsake you."
Joshua has to take steps to get the ball rolling and to end the people's hesitation. He is about to direct the people to appoint men to survey the remaining land. He is demonstrating good leadership. He starts taking action to encourage the people to take action. Have you ever noticed in a group setting that sometimes it takes one person making the first step toward a goal to get all the others to begin taking action toward that goal? In those situations, the person who takes the first step is usually a person with leadership qualities. It's usually a person who has an encouraging spirit, a person who believes the thing can be done and who shows enthusiasm for the task at hand. Surveying and taking over the large area of land must have seemed like a daunting task but as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Great things can't be accomplished until the first step is made. The first step can encourage people enough to keep them moving forward and Joshua knows that. He embodies the qualities of a leader when he says the following, "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." (Joshua 18:4) He tells the people what to do first so he can get things moving in the right direction.
He continues, "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." (Joshua 18:5) We are dealing here with only the land on the west side of the Jordan. Judah and the tribes of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) have already received their allotments in this region. Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh already have their allotments east of the Jordan. That's why the remainder of the land is divided into seven parts; seven tribes are not yet in possession of their allotments.
"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." (Joshua 18:6) As we've said before, the casting of lots in the Old Testament should not be compared to the rolling of dice or the flipping of a coin in today's world. It was done "in the presence of the Lord our God", as Joshua says, in a prayerful and obedient spirit, asking the Lord to cause the lots to fall according to His will. As we move through the Old Testament we'll find this method used less and less until it is not mentioned anymore. As the Scriptures began to be written down, they were available for guidance in making decisions. In our day, we who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who directs our path in conjunction with our reading of the word of God and with our prayers for guidance.
"The Levites, however, do not get a portion among you, because the priestly service of the Lord is their inheritance." (Joshua 18:7a) The Levites were given towns to dwell in throughout the territories of the other tribes. If the Levites were going to be given an allotment west of the Jordan, the land would have been divided into eight portions instead of seven. But because the Levites did not receive allotments in the promised land, we still generally refer to Israel as having twelve tribes although technically there were thirteen since Joseph's descendants through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh were essentially two tribes and each of them received their own separate allotment. The land Israel occupied on both sides of the Jordan was divided into twelve territories, excluding a territory for the tribe of Levi. The Levites did have some livestock and they did raise some crops, but they did not need large swathes of territory in which to raise great herds and flocks because they made their living serving the Lord.
Joshua reminds the people that Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh already have land east of the Jordan and are not to be considered when dividing up the remainder of the land on the west. "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." (Joshua 18:7b)
After three surveyors are selected from each tribe, Joshua repeats his instructions to them before they depart. "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. 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." (Joshua 18:8-10) We will study these allotments as we move on through the book of Joshua.
But today a good question to ask ourselves is, "What are you waiting for?" If we are not living in the bold confidence of the children of the King, why not? If we don't feel the assurance that our God loves us and is for us, why not? If we don't believe He hears our prayers and wants to direct our lives, why not? If He has told us to step forward and we haven't done it yet, why not? What more could He do than He has already done to prove to us that He loves us with all His heart? Why then do we not always trust that His love is everlasting and unchanging? And if we do believe He loves us and always will, why aren't we quicker to obey Him, considering He has our best interests at heart? If we spent more time fixing our thoughts on the goodness and greatness of our God, we'd spend far less time hesitating and far less time struggling with doubts and fears. I'm guilty of that myself; today's text speaks to me and convicts me as much as it does anybody. So I'm asking myself, "What are you waiting for? Go forth in the strength of the Lord your God who loves you and was willing to do anything it took to save you. Do what He says to do because He will never tell you to do anything He won't enable you to do. He won't ever tell you to move forward without being right there with you every step of the way."
Monday, October 25, 2021
The Book Of Joshua. Day 40, The Land West Of The Jordan: The Allotment For Joseph (Ephraim And Manasseh), Part Three
We will conclude Chapter 17 today by studying the land allotted to the tribe of Manasseh and by taking a look at a complaint the people descended from Joseph will bring to Joshua.
"The territory of Manasseh extended from Asher to Mikmethath east of Shechem. The boundary ran southward from there to include the people living at En Tappuah. (Manasseh had the land of Tappuah, but Tappuah itself, on the boundary of Manasseh, belonged to the Ephraimites.) Then the boundary continued south to the Kanah Ravine. There were towns belonging to Ephraim lying among the towns of Manasseh, but the boundary of Manasseh was the northern side of the ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. On the south the land belonged to Ephraim, on the north to Manasseh. The territory of Manasseh reached the Mediterranean Sea and bordered Asher on the north and Issachar on the east. Within Issachar and Asher, Manasseh also had Beth Shan, Ibleam and the people of Dor, Endor, Taanach and Megiddo, together with their surrounding settlements (the third in the list is Naphoth)." (Joshua 17:7-11) We'll use our map below to illustrate these verses. This region is titled "West Manasseh" and it is in yellow right above Ephraim which is in light purple.
We were told earlier in the book of Joshua that the division of the land was accomplished by casting lots. The casting of lots performed in the Bible was done prayerfully and in a submissive spirit to the Lord, trusting that He would cause the lots to fall according to His will. (You and I, however, are not to make big decisions by flipping a coin, for example; the ancient Israelites were not playing a game of chance when they cast lots in the Old Testament. In the church age, Christians are to be guided by the Holy Spirit who indwells us and by prayer and by the word of God.) If the division of the land had been left up to human discretion, anyone unhappy with their lot could have claimed Joshua and the elders of Israel had slighted them somehow. We will actually find the descendants of Joseph making a complaint about the size of their portion, but I dare say that complaints would have been far more widespread had the division of the land not been done by casting lots. The casting of the lot was to be accepted as the decision of the Lord, not as the decision of mere mortals. The reason I mention the casting of the lots is due to our next segment of Scripture which tells us that although the boundaries of Manasseh were established by lot, the Manassites did not take hold of all of it. They did not drive out all the heathens from their land, just as we previously learned that the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Ephraim did not make an end of the pagan peoples in their land.
"Yet the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely." (Joshua 17:12-13) The Lord wanted the tribe of Manasseh to fully occupy the land, but they had to do their part. They had to have the faith and the courage to take hold of what the Lord promised them. The Lord's promises never fail, but as we've noted time and time again, many of His promises are conditional upon our faith and obedience. They are the type of promises where the Lord says, "If you will do this, then I will do that." I have no doubt I've missed out on some of the things the Lord longed to give me because I didn't have the faith to believe I could have them or because I didn't do my part by being obedient to Him.
"The people of Joseph said to Joshua, 'Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly.'" (Joshua 17:14) When the second census was taken at the end of the book of Numbers, we were told that the tribe of Ephraim had 32,5000 men able to serve in the army and the tribe of Manasseh had 52,700 men able to serve in the army. Combined, these tribes were quite large, for those counted in the census for the army did not include women or children or males too young or too old or too infirm to serve as soldiers. The descendants of Joseph feel they should have been allotted more territory, for the Lord has blessed them abundantly in human offspring and in flocks and herds. But the truth is, the size of their allotment is not unfair, and Joshua points out that if they will do as the Lord commanded and drive the heathens from the towns they have not yet occupied, they will have more than enough. The fault does not lie with God or with Joshua and the leadership of Israel, but with those who lack the faith and obedience to do what the Lord has said. "'If you are so numerous,' Joshua answered, 'and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.'" (Joshua 17:15)
The Perizzites are believed to have been metalworkers, and we'll see in a moment that they had horses and chariots---something the Israelites did not have---and iron was incorporated in the construction of their chariots. Their weapons of war were superior to that of the Israelites, but the God of the Israelites is superior to the false gods of the Perizzites. The Rephaites, who also inhabited the region, were giants. God is greater than any giant and He has enabled the Israelites to defeat giants before now. Still, we can see by the reply made to Joshua in our next verse that the descendants of Joseph are being held back by fear. They propose that Joshua allot them more land instead of asking them to rid more portions of their own land of its current inhabitants. "The people of Joseph replied, 'The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the valley of Jezreel.'" (Joshua 17:16) They've taken hold of the hill country but are afraid to take hold of the forested areas of their allotment because of the fierce warriors they'll have to face down.
Joshua doesn't give in. Giving in wouldn't help them grow their faith. Giving in wouldn't encourage them to be obedient to the Lord. The forested hill country can be theirs as well as the portion they're already inhabiting if they will trust the Lord and boldly move in to take it. "But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph---to Ephraim and Manasseh---'You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment but the forested hill country instead. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.'" (Joshua 17:17-18) Joshua uses "tough love" when dealing with this complaint. He's not being rude or unsympathetic. He's doing what a godly leader should do: encouraging the people to trust and obey the Lord. His reply to them is something like this: "It is as you said---you are numerous and very powerful and the Lord has blessed you abundantly. You have the numbers needed to take the forested hill country from those idolaters who now occupy it. Then you will have more than enough land for all the people and livestock with which the Lord has blessed you."
Joshua doesn't give them an easy way out by supplying territory from which they won't have to drive out giants or men with the highest-tech weaponry available in ancient times. Instead Joshua asks them to face their fears and fight their enemies in the strength of the Lord. He asks them to trust the promises of God.
In our own lives there will be times when the Lord tells us to stand back and watch what He will do but there will be other times when He asks us to step up our faith by participating in the battle and in its victory. There will be times when promises can be obtained only through faith and obedience. If we would just take the Lord at His word more often, we'd obtain great victories more often. We'd receive huge boosts to our faith more often. If we never step out in faith, we can never say what David said to the Lord, "Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and Your servant loves them." (Psalm 119:140) David was a great warrior and army commander. David fought a giant and won. David received the kingdom promised to him by God. How did he accomplish these things? By taking the Lord at his word and by stepping out in faith to do what the Lord told him to do. David tested the promises of God by living them out. You and I can do the same! The men and women of the Bible were ordinary people just like we are. The reason they saw and did extraordinary things is because they trusted and obeyed the Lord for whom nothing is impossible. You and I can experience extraordinary things just like they did. If we trust and obey our God, no mountain can stand in our way, no sea can block our path, and no giant can defeat us. If the Lord tells us a thing can be done, it can be done, but we have to be men and women with the faith to believe the Lord can do what He says He can do.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
The Book Of Joshua. Day 39, The Land West Of The Jordan: The Allotment For Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh), Part Two
Thursday, October 21, 2021
The Book Of Joshua. Day 38, The Land West Of The Jordan: The Allotment For Joseph (Ephraim And Manasseh), Part One
In the NIV Bible our next segment of Scripture is titled "Allotment For Joseph". As we've previously discussed, there is no "tribe of Joseph" per se, but his descendants are reckoned through his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh whom Jacob adopted as his own sons. So instead of a "tribe of Joseph" we find a tribe of Ephraim and a tribe of Manasseh. Chapters 16 and 17 tell us about the land that was allotted to the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh.
You'll recall that half the tribe of Manasseh settled on the east side of the Jordan River. Chapter 16 and Chapter 17 will tell us where the remainder of Manasseh settled and will include a dispute that arose between them and Joshua. But first we will take a look at the borders of the land given to Joseph's descendants as a whole and then we will study the borders of the territory of Ephraim.
"The allotment for Joseph began at the Jordan, east of the springs of Jericho, and went up from there through the desert into the hill country of Bethel. It went on from Bethel (that is, Luz), crossed over to the territory of the Arkites in Ataroth, descended westward to the territory of the Japhelites as far as the region of Lower Beth Horon and on to Gezer, ending at the Mediterranean Sea. So Manasseh and Ephraim, the descendants of Joseph, received their inheritance." (Joshua 16:1-4) I'm inserting the map we've been using that illustrates the territory of each tribe. Manasseh's land is shown in yellow, with their land on the west side of the Jordan titled "West Manasseh" and their land on the east side of the Jordan titled "East Manasseh". Ephraim's land is in light purple, just below West Manasseh.
"This was the territory of Ephraim, according to its clans: The boundary of their inheritance went from Ataroth Addar in the east to Upper Beth Horon and continued to the Mediterranean Sea. From Mikmethath on the north it curved eastward to Taanath Shiloh, passing by it to Janoah on the east. Then it went down from Joanoah to Ataroth and Naarah, touched Jericho and came out at the Jordan. From Tappuah the border went west to the Kanah Ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. This was the inheritance of the Ephraimites, according to its clans. It also included all the towns and their villages that were set aside for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites." (Joshua 16:5-9)
The descendants of Judah and the descendants of Joseph were the first to receive their inheritance on the west side of the Jordan. Judah was the third son of Jacob by his wife Leah and we've discussed before how that Jacob's first three sons by Leah (Reuben, Simeon, and Levi) disqualified themselves for the position of primary heir and how the blessing and the birthright and the double portion, for all intents and purposes, ended up going to Judah. This is why the tribe of Judah was the first to receive their allotment in the promised land. The tribe of Joseph, because Joseph was the firstborn son of the marriage between Jacob and Rachel, was the second to receive their allotment.
In our previous chapter we were told that the tribe of Judah did not drive out the Jebusites (who were a clan of the Amorites) from their territory. Today we learn that the Ephraimites did not drive out all the Canaanites from their territory. "They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor." (Joshua 16:10) What did the Lord say about the Amorites and Canaanites? These were some of the peoples the Israelites were to wipe out of the promised land, for the Lord warned them, "Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against Me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you." (Exodus 23:33) The Lord's instructions were not fully obeyed; some sort of compromise took place in which the Israelites made these people subject to them instead of ridding the land of them. Later in the Bible we'll see the Lord's prediction coming true: the gods of these pagan peoples will become a snare to many of the Israelites.
You and I have not fully obeyed every one of the Lord's instructions either. We've compromised our values at times. But aren't we glad the Lord is gracious to us like He was to Israel? He never turned His back on Israel and said, "I'm done with you," and He's never said that to you or to me either. He heard every prayer of repentance that the Israelites ever prayed and He hears our prayers too. Every time we are made aware that we have stopped short of full obedience or that we have compromised our values, we should run as fast as we can to bow at the feet of the Lord. He is so merciful and gracious to hear our prayers, set us back up on our feet, and place us back on the right path.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Today we'll conclude Chapter 15 which deals with the portion of the promised land allotted to the tribe of Judah. Our passage begins with a personal story about Joshua's friend Caleb.
You'll recall from Chapter 15 that Caleb, of the tribe of Judah, was the first to receive his portion of the promised land. The area belonging to him contained some of the descendants of Anak (the Anakites were giants) and although he was eighty-five years old when he was allotted his portion, he was still a mighty warrior who drove three of these men of great stature from the land. "In accordance with the Lord's command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah---Kiriah Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) From Hebron Caleb drove out three Anakites---Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak. From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher)." (Joshua 15:13-15)
Caleb encourages others to do great deeds. He offers an advantageous alliance to the man who is able to capture Kiriath Sepher. "And Caleb said, 'I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.' Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage." (Joshua 15:16-17) Othniel and Aksah were first cousins but the Bible does not prohibit marriage between first cousins in the Old Testament rules regarding marriage. Some scholars assume Othniel was already in love with Aksah and that this is why he boldly stepped up to take the city. Whether or not this was the case, to be the son-in-law of Caleb would have been considered a great honor, and it could be that more men than Othniel went up against Kiriath Sepher but that Othniel is the one who prevailed.
In Old Testament times (and in some places in our modern world today) a father had all authority over the selection of spouses for his children. But Caleb's daughter Aksah is no meek lady; like Caleb himself, she is bold. Aksah asks for more than the dowry her father bestowed on her. She wants him to grant her a special area within the tribe of Judah, an area containing springs of good water. "One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field." (Joshua 15:18a) Some of the commentaries I consulted state that this was probably on the day she was married to Othniel and was about to go home with him, so this verse could be rendered, "On the day she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field." But it's possible she came back to visit her father to make her request after she was already married. Also in the commentaries it was noted that in the original text it is not entirely plain who mentioned the land to whom, so it may actually be saying that Othniel urged Aksah to ask her father for the field. Either way, Aksah has the boldness to make this request of her father because she is secure in the knowledge that her father loves her and will hear her request and will grant it. If we are the children of God, the Bible urges us to come boldly to Him for help, secure in the knowledge that our Father loves us: "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
Caleb grants his daughter's request. "When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked, 'What can I do for you?' 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." (Joshua 15:18b-19) As soon as his daughter alights from her donkey, Caleb is ready to hear her request and to act upon it. When we go to our heavenly Father in prayer, I think we might pray with more confidence if we pictured Him saying, "Hello, My child. What can I do for you?"
The remainder of our chapter is a list of the cities within the territory allotted to the tribe of Judah. "This is the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, according to its clans: The southernmost towns of the tribe of Judah in the Negev toward the boundary of Edom were: Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, Telem, Bealoth, Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor), Amam, Shema, Moladah, Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet, Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, Baalah, Iyim, Ezem, Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain and Rimmon---a total of twenty-nine towns and their villages." (Joshua 15:20-32)
"In the western foothills: Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, Jarmuth, Adullam, Sokoh, Azekah, Shaaraim, Adithaim and Gederah (or Gederothaim)---fourteen towns and their villages. Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad, Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, Kabbon, Lahmas, Kitlish, Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah and Makkedah---sixteen towns and their villages. Ekron, with its surrounding settlements and villages; west of Ekron, all that were in the vicinity of Ashdod, together with their villages; 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." (Joshua 15:33-47)
"In the hill country: Shamir, Jattir, Sokoh, Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir), Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, Goshen, Holon and Giloh---eleven towns and their villages. Arab, Dumah, Eshan, Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior---nine towns and their villages. Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, Kain, Gibeah and Timnah---ten towns and their villages. Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, Maarath, Beth Anoth and Eltekon---six towns and their villages. Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah---two towns and their villages." (Joshua 15:48-60)
"In the wilderness: Beth Arabah, Middin, Sekakah, Nibshan, the City of Salt and En Gedi---six townsa and their villages." (Joshua 15:61-62)
"Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah." (Joshua 15:63) The Jebusites were still in Jerusalem at the time the book of Joshua was written but they were driven out during the time of King David.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Today and tomorrow we will be studying Chapter 15 which tells us which part of the promised land was allotted to the tribe of Judah.
"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." (Joshua 15:1) The tribe of Judah is given the preeminence here by being the first to receive their land on the west side of the Jordan River. Judah was the fourth son of Jacob by his first wife Leah. Judah's older brothers Reuben, Simeon, and Levi disqualified themselves to be their father's chief heir who would receive the birthright. Judah therefore rose to the top spot, and just as a primary heir receives his inheritance first, the tribe of Judah receives their inheritance first. Judah was also the largest tribe of Israel. I'm inserting a map below that we will be using for the next several days to help ourselves picture how the promised land was divided up. The land given to the tribe of Judah is shown in the left lower portion of the map.
"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." (Joshua 15:2-4)
"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 to Beth Arabah to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben." (Joshua 15:5-6) The Stone of Bohan was likely situated on the map at the top of the Dead Sea where the border of the tribe of Judah meets the border of the tribe of Reuben. Boundary stones were extremely important, so much so that King Solomon twice issued a warning in the book of Proverbs about moving one of these stones. "Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors." (Proverbs 22:28) "Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you." (Proverbs 23:10) The Lord Himself warned the people twice in the book of Deuteronomy not to move a boundary stone. "Do not move your neighbor's boundary stone set up by your predecessors in the inheritance you receive in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess." (Deuteronomy 19:14) "Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor's boundary stone." (Deuteronomy 27:17a)
Moving a boundary stone is stealing. Just as it's important in our day to have our property officially surveyed and to have the survey pins placed into the ground to mark the borders of our property, it was very important in ancient times to mark the boundary of each person's property and the boundary of each tribe's territory. If anyone moved a boundary stone it was the same as moving a survey pin in today's world. It breaks one of the ten commandments ("You shall not steal."), and it demonstrates a greedy heart and a callous disregard for the rights of others.
You and I may be unfamiliar with many of the places mentioned in the description of the territories of the promised land. It may seem as if this detailed description doesn't have much to do with us, sitting here in the United States today. But this detailed description of the borders of each tribe was extremely important to the ancient Israelites, just as having clear borders for each of the fifty states is important to us in our country.
After mentioning the Stone of Bohan, the author continues. "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 Shemesh and 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." (Joshua 15:7-8) The Rephaites were giants and in some translations of the Bible, in the King James Version for example, verse 8 refers to this valley as "the valley of the giants".
"From the hilltop the boundary headed toward the spring of waters of Nephtoah, came out at the towns of Mount Ephron and went down toward Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim). 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. 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. The western boundary is the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. These are the boundaries around the people of Judah by their clans." (Joshua 15:9-12) We will see a number of the locations from today's text again because they will feature in several important Bible stories.
As we learned in Chapter 14, Caleb of the tribe of Judah was the first to be given his portion of the promised land. Tomorrow we will take a look at a personal story involving the family of Caleb and then we will conclude our chapter with a detailed list of the towns belonging to the tribe of Judah.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
"Now these are the areas the Israelites received as an inheritance in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel allotted to them. Their inheritances were assigned by lot to the nine and a half tribes, as the Lord had commanded through Moses. Moses had granted the two and a half tribes their inheritance east of the Jordan but had not granted the Levites an inheritance among the rest, for Joseph's descendants became two tribes---Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites received no share of the land but only towns to live in, with pasturelands for their flocks and herds. So the Israelites divided the land, just as the Lord had commanded Moses." (Joshua 14:1-5) We typically use the expression "the twelve tribes of Israel" but in a way there were actually thirteen tribes. There was no tribe of Joseph; his descendants were reckoned through the family lines of his two sons whom Jacob adopted as his own. But only twelve tribes received swaths of land in the promised land, for the Levites were assigned towns to live in and they mainly made their living from serving the Lord. So we see it is correct to refer to Israel as having either twelve tribes or thirteen tribes, depending on which subject we are discussing.
Saturday, October 16, 2021
We are studying the division of the land on the east side of the Jordan River. Yesterday we took a look at the borders of the area as a whole. Today we'll see how it was divided among the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh.
"This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Reuben, according to its clans: The territory from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the town in the middle of the gorge, and the whole plateau past Medeba to Heshbon and all its towns on the plateau, including Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the hill in the valley, Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth---all the towns on the plateau and the entire realm of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled at Heshbon." (Joshua 13:15-21a) This was very fertile land, suitable for raising cattle and growing crops, which is why some of the Israelites chose the land on this side of the Jordan.
The author reminds us of the great victory of the Israelites over King Sihon and his army and his allies. It should be noted that the main reason two and a half tribes of Israel obtained land on the east side of the Jordan is because King Sihon refused to allow the people to pass peacefully through his territory on a highway that was a major trade route. Instead he came out to oppose the Israelites and the Lord took what was Sihon's and gave it to His covenant people. "Moses had defeated him and the Midianite chiefs, Evi, Rekim, Zur, Hur and Reba---princes allied with Sihon---who lived in that country." (Joshua 13:21b)
The author reminds us that the Israelites put to death the prophet Balaam, who for money promised to him by Israel's enemies attempted to curse the nation of Israel. Not only was Balaam (once a true prophet of the Lord) willing to turn his back on the Lord's people, but he also indulged in occult practices, which is probably what caused his heart to be hard toward the Israelites. "In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practice divination. The boundary of the Reubenites was the bank of the Jordan. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Reubenites, according to their clans." (Joshua 13:22-23)
"This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Gad, according to its clans: The territory of Jazer, all the towns of Gilead and half the Ammonite country as far as Aroer, near Rabbah; and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir; and in the valley, Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Sukkoth and Zaphon with the rest of the realm of Sihon king of Heshbon (the east side of the Jordan, the territory up to the end of the Sea of Galilee). These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Gadites, according to their clans." (Joshua 13:24-28) The Gadites had a great deal of cattle but in addition to being herdsmen they gained the reputation of being mighty warriors. An altar to the Lord will be built in the territory of Gad later in the book of Joshua.
"This is what Moses had given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, that is, to half the family of the descendants of Manasseh, according to its clans: The territory extending from Mahanaim and including all of Bashan, the entire realm of Og king of Bashan---all the settlements of Jair in Bashan, sixty towns, half of Gilead, and Ashtaroth and Edrei (the royal cities of Og in Bashan). This was for the descendants of Makir son of Manasseh---for half the sons of Makir, according to their clans." (Joshua 13:29-31) Only half of this tribe wanted their land to be on the east side of the Jordan. Later in the book of Joshua we will learn where the other half of Manasseh settled.
King Og followed the example of King Sihon by refusing to allow the Israelites peaceful passage. As a result he lost his kingdom and his life. What once was his now belongs to the people of the Lord.
"This is the inheritance Moses had given when he was in the plains of Moab across the Jordan east of Jericho. But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He promised them." (Joshua 13:32-33) The Levites were given cities to inhabit and later in the book of Joshua we'll learn which cities they dwelled in on both the east side and the west side of the Jordan River.
Tomorrow we will begin studying how the land on the west of the Jordan was distributed among the remaining tribes.
Friday, October 15, 2021
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Some of the promises of the Bible depend solely on the faithfulness of God. Other promises depend on us obeying the Lord's instructions. The Lord has never made a false promise and He never will.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Today we will conclude Chapter 12 with the list of kings defeated by the Israelites in the promised land. Yesterday we talked about the kings they defeated on the east side of the Jordan River. That land went to the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Today we'll talk about the kings defeated on the west side of the Jordan.
"Here is a list of the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir. Joshua gave their lands as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions. The lands included the hill country, the western foothills, the Arabah, the mountain slopes, the wilderness and the Negev. These were the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites." (Joshua 12:7-8a) These nations of the promised land are those which have been on the Lord's list for a long time throughout the Old Testament, nations He commanded the Israelites to destroy.
"These were the kings: Jericho---one," (Joshua 12:8b-9a) Jericho is where we find Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46, Luke 18:35. It's also where He met the tax collector named Zacchaeus who repented of his sins and became a follower of the Lord.
"The king of Ai (near Bethel)---one," (Joshua 12:9b) It was in this area that Abraham built an altar to the Lord in Genesis 12:8, not long after he answered the Lord's call to leave his homeland and strike out for the land the Lord would give to his descendants.
"The king of Jerusalem---one," (Joshua 12:10a) There's not enough space or time to discuss all the things that happened at Jerusalem on the pages of the Holy Bible. To me, Jerusalem is an especially holy place because Jesus taught there, healed there, died there for my sins, and rose there from the grave.
"The king of Hebron---one," (Joshua 12:10b) Hebron is where David was anointed as king over Judah in 2 Samuel 5.
"The king of Jarmuth---one, the king of Lachish---one, the king of Eglon---one, the king of Gezer---one," (Joshua 12:11-12) Gezer was a very important location on the road between Joppa and Jerusalem. It was later recaptured by the Egyptians but the father of King Solomon's Egyptian wife gave it to his daughter and Solomon rebuilt it in 1 Kings 9.
"The king of Debir---one, the king of Geder---one, the king of Hormah---one, the king of Arad---one, the king of Libnah---one, the king of Adullam---one," (Joshua 12:13-15) Debir was a stronghold of the Anakim (the giants) of the Old Testament. Libnah was a city Joshua assigned to the priests of Israel. It was from Libnah that Sennacherib, king of Assyria, kept sending threatening messages to Jerusalem. It was at Libnah that the angel of the Lord destroyed the Assyrian army camp during the night so the Assyrians could not attack Jerusalem. We find this account in the book of 2 Kings.
"The king of Makkedah---one, the king of Bethel---one, the king of Tappuah---one, the king of Hepher---one, the king of Aphek---one, the king of Lasheron---one, the king of Madon---one, the king of Hazor---one," (Joshua 12:16-19) Bethel was not only a place Abraham set up an altar, but Jacob had his vision there of a ladder ascending to heaven and it was at Bethel he set up a pillar to the Lord. He later returned to Bethel and built an altar.
"The king of Shimron Meron---one, the king of Akshaph---one, the king of Taanach---one, the king of Megiddo---one," (Joshua 12:20-21) It is in the area of Megiddo that man's final rebellion against the Lord will take place, according to Revelation 16. This is what is commonly called "Armageddon", from the words "Har Megiddo" which means "Mountain of Megiddo".
"The king of Kedesh---one, the king of Jokneam in Carmel---one, the king of Dor (in Naphoth Dor)---one, the king of Goyim in Gilgal---one, the king of Tirzah---one, thirty-one kings in all." (Joshua 12:22-24) Israel defeated thirty-one kings on the west side of the Jordan with the help of the Lord. This list of defeated kings is actually a list of the Lord's victories.
You and I could make a list of the Lord's victories in our own lives! As we said yesterday, it's helpful to us to regularly think back on all the things the Lord has done for us. It strengthens our faith and it strengthens our praise. It gives us confidence in the Lord regarding our current situation and regarding anything that comes against us in the future. The Israelites must have been greatly encouraged in the Lord anytime they read back over the list we've studied today. They must have comforted themselves with the fact that the Lord had given them victory over the kingdoms of thirty-one kings in the promised land. The Lord had given them victory over armies bigger than theirs, armies with more technology than they had, and armies that sometimes contained men of extraordinary physical stature. Can a God like this not fight future battles also? Of course He can! And He will!
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Chapter 12 provides us with a detailed list of the kings the Israelites defeated and where the territories of these kings were located. This was a very important list to the Israelites who were inheriting the land. It should be an important list to us too, for, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17) This list proves that God was able to do what He said He was going to do and that He did do it.
The ten spies back in the book of Numbers who said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are," were wrong. They were wrong because they left God out of the equation. If the Israelites had had to go up alone against the fortified cities, the enormous armies, and the giant warriors of the land, then the spies would have been correct in their assessment. The Israelites were outnumbered. They were outgunned too, because the armies of the land of Canaan had horses and chariots and superior weaponry. But the God for whom nothing is impossible was with Israel. The God who keeps His promises kept His promise to Israel and the list of Chapter 12 is proof of that.
"These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern side of the Arabah: Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon." (Joshua 12:1-2a) We read the account of Sihon's defeat in Numbers 21. He was a king who came out against the Israelites while they were still on the east side of the Jordan.
"He ruled from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge---from the middle of the Gorge---to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites. This included half of Gilead. He also ruled over the eastern Arabah from the Sea of Galilee to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea), to Beth Jeshimoth, and then southward below the slopes of Pisgah." (Joshua 12:2b-3) Other than the Dead Sea, the location on this list with which we are probably most familiar is the Sea of Galilee. Jesus spent a lot of time in this region, walking and talking with the people, preaching the word of God and healing the sick along the shores of Galilee.
Also on the east side of the Jordan the Lord gave the kingdom of Og into Israel's hands. "And the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the last of the Rephaites, who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei. He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salekah, all of Bashan to the border of the people of Geshur and Maakah, and half of Gilead to the border of Sihon king of Heshbon." (Joshua 12:4-5) The Rephaites were people of large stature who lived among the Ammonites. In Deuteronomy 3:11 Moses told us that Og was so tall that his bed was more than nine cubits long. Translated into feet this means the king required a bed that was about thirteen feet long. He was probably at least ten feet tall to require a bed of this size and perhaps may have been as much as twelve feet tall. Moses encouraged his readers to go see the bed for themselves if they didn't believe him: "It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites." (Deuteronomy 3:11b) But it didn't matter how big the king was or how big his army was, for the Lord fought on the side of Israel.
After conquering these two kings, some of the Israelites fell requested to be allowed to have as their inheritance the land on the east of the Jordan because the land was perfect for grazing their many herds of cattle. The land which formerly belonged to Sihon and Og became the possession of the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. "Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites conquered them. And Moses the servant of the Lord gave their land to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh to be their possession." (Joshua 12:6)
It behooves us to do the same thing the author of the book of Joshua is doing in Chapter 12: we should take time to think back on the victories the Lord has already given us. Thinking back over and being thankful for everything the Lord has done for us up to this point will strengthen our faith for today and for the future. The God who fought our battles in the past hasn't lost any of His strength. He is still as mighty to save as He ever was. He is still as faithful and true as He ever was.
Join us tomorrow as we take a look at the kings the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan.