Read 72.) Joshua 13:1 thru 17:18. This reading, and the next, might come across as some of the dullest, most unimportant, uninteresting chapters in all the Bible. Why? What are they about? These are about the division of The Promised Land among the tribes of Israel. Not too thrilling, are they? But, we need to be careful here. Remember, there is an entire story playing out from beginning to end, through 9 phases or stages in the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament. And, all these are in the fulfillment of 7 promises and prophecies made by God. We’re only in the 3rd one, that of Conquest, but already the seeds are being sown for what will become the 4th. Chapter 13 opens by explaining that though there had been a great conquest of the Promised Land described throughout the first 12 chapters, there was still considerable work to be done, and land still to be taken. Then, we come to verse 13; which begins with the word, ‘But‘. We must go back to Numbers 33:50-56 for the ‘meaning’ of what is beginning to happen. Israel was to have driven out all the inhabitants of the land. And, they would have, or, they could have… by faith! With chapter 14, and verse 10, we have a time clue as to when all of this was taking place. Caleb was among the 12 that had spied out the land, 45 years before, when he was 40. Israel rebelled at that time, and would not enter to take the land. As a result, they were forced to wander in the wilderness for 38 years, until all that generation had passed away. This conquest, leading up to the division of the land has taken 7 years, and it’s about 1399 BC. And, let us not leave off the testimony of Caleb, found in verses 8 and 14. Especially since these are his own words in verse 8. I followed the Lord wholeheartedly! Which of us can say the same?
Chapter 15 continues the division of the land. Verses 35 and 39 mention Azekah and Lachish; just 2 more names in lists of many. But, these towns have been uncovered in Israel and are among its many tour sites today. An on-line search will bring these to you. Sadly, this chapter closes with mention of those people Judah failed to drive out. There’s more. Chapter 16 gives further details of land allotment to Ephraim and Manasseh, but closes with those they did not remove. Chapter 17 continues in the same vein. Consult a map in the back of your Bible, or on-line, to see these boundaries. Note Megiddo in verse 11, and Beth Shan in verses 11 and 16, as these have also been found in Israel, and can be visited. But, sadly, we see more failure on the part of Israel. The chapter closes with an exchange between Joshua and the Manassites of Joseph. Verse 13 says ‘they did not’, while the chapter ends with ‘you can’! They had the promise of God, but no faith. As a result, they were failing. What we will see is that this is already the beginning of the end for Israel! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell