Joshua
Introduction 1-7 Land Still to Be Possessed 8-13 Land to Be Divided in the Wilderness Side of the Jordan 14 The Inheritance of Levi 15-23 The Inheritance of Reuben 24-28 The Inheritance of Gad 29-31 The Inheritance of the Half-Tribe of Manasseh 32 Conclusion 33 The LORD Himself Is the Inheritance of Levi
Introduction

The enemy’s main power is broken. Joshua has taken all the land (Jos 11:2323So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.). From Joshua 13 onwards, the tribes, starting with the two and a half tribe on the other side of the Jordan, are each assigned their own inheritance. They have to take possession of that themselves.

Through the work of the Lord Jesus, the Christian has been given all earthly blessings and all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. Yet there is a distinction in enjoying that blessing. Every Christian must take personal care to enjoy it. This can only happen by really experiencing the relationship with the Lord Jesus, by reading the Bible personally and prayerful.

This chapter is the beginning of the second part of the book, which deals with the division of the land. It is a most important moment in the history of this young nation. After centuries of Egyptian slavery, after decades of wandering in a wild wilderness and after years of heavy fighting, the moment has now come when the Israelites will get their home. They can now work the land, build families and live in peace in their own land, enjoying the fruit that the land produces.

In Joshua 1-12 we saw the entry into the land and its conquest. Joshua 13 is about the division, the classification of the land. When it comes to classification, God shows us the size it has in His eyes. That does not mean that it has all already been taken into possession. God speaks about it according to His purpose.

Joshua 13 is the general introduction to the possession of one’s own inheritance by each tribe individually. First there is a reference to what remains to be possessed (Jos 13:11Now Joshua was old [and] advanced in years when the LORD said to him, “You are old [and] advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed.) and then to the classification (Jos 13:77Now therefore, apportion this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.”). When we take possession of it, we can count on God’s power. What must be taken possession of is determined by lot. Taking possession and dividing are two things.

The part that each tribe gets differs from each other tribe. So no two believers are equal. Every believer has his own character, gifts, possessions. The same applies to local churches. No two of them are equal. Nobody has everything, nobody has a total property. Every servant has his one-sidedness and each needs the other as a complement.

In the classification God shows the great scope of His blessings. But that is something else than to take possession of it. Taking possession of the land as a whole they did together. After the classification, everyone must take possession of what God has entrusted him, because there are still enemies living there.


Land Still to Be Possessed

1Now Joshua was old [and] advanced in years when the LORD said to him, “You are old [and] advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed. 2This is the land that remains: all the regions [of] the Philistines and all [those of] the Geshurites; 3from the Shihor which is east of Egypt, even as far as the border of Ekron to the north (it is counted as Canaanite); the five lords of the Philistines: the Gazite, the Ashdodite, the Ashkelonite, the Gittite, the Ekronite; and the Avvite 4to the south, all the land of the Canaanite, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians, as far as Aphek, to the border of the Amorite; 5and the land of the Gebalite, and all of Lebanon, toward the east, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 6All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon as far as Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians, I will drive them out from before the sons of Israel; only allot it to Israel for an inheritance as I have commanded you. 7Now therefore, apportion this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.”

God must tell Joshua that there is still “very much of the land remains” that must be taken into possession. Is he also sunk into rest? We no longer taste the atmosphere of spiritual energy to continue conquering. Eventually also Joshua did not bring the people in the promised peace (Heb 4:88For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.). The people will only be brought into true peace by the Lord Jesus, of whom Joshua is often a picture, but not a perfect picture.

God gives a description of what remains to be conquered. He wants them to see the value of those regions, what they can produce. In this way He wants to make them willing to fight again.

We also need this encouragement regularly. To make us willing to continue the battle, God shows us the glory of heavenly blessings. He encourages us by saying that He will drive out the enemies, even that the blessings have already been given us as inheritance (verse 6a6All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon as far as Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians, I will drive them out from before the sons of Israel; only allot it to Israel for an inheritance as I have commanded you.).

Conquering the land means that it is still in the hands of the enemy. In practical application, this means that we must drive out powers from our lives that still have ‘land’, so that we cannot yet enjoy certain blessings. The enjoyment of the land is linked to taking possession of it. Taking possession of them can only be done by chasing away the enemy.

The enemies that still exist include the Philistines. They did not go through the Red Sea and the Jordan. They came into the land by the easy way. In them we have a picture of the nominal Christians, people who have a confession, but no new life. These people claim the land for themselves. We have to remove everything the Philistines speak of from our lives. There are also Canaanites in the land that need to be driven out. They have always lived in the land. They are a picture of the people of this world who want to prevent us from taking possession of the land.

God’s promise is that He will drive out these enemies from before His people (verse 66All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon as far as Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians, I will drive them out from before the sons of Israel; only allot it to Israel for an inheritance as I have commanded you.). Always the people must take the initiative and then God helps. We must have the desire to drive the enemy out of our lives. When we see the promise of God that He will give us all the victories of heaven to fully enjoy at the end of the battle, that is a great exhortation to clean the land that is not yet subject from to enemies.

The lot is the way God reveals His will to give Israel to enter the land as inheritances (verse 6b6All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon as far as Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians, I will drive them out from before the sons of Israel; only allot it to Israel for an inheritance as I have commanded you.; Pro 16:3333The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.
). The casting of lots is the way God divides the land among His people. Each of us has his own possessions in the land, his own enjoyment of the blessing. No one has the same enjoyment of the blessing as any other.


Land to Be Divided in the Wilderness Side of the Jordan

8With the other half-tribe, the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance which Moses gave them beyond the Jordan to the east, just as Moses the servant of the LORD gave to them; 9from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, with the city which is in the middle of the valley, and all the plain of Medeba, as far as Dibon; 10and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the border of the sons of Ammon; 11and Gilead, and the territory of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan as far as Salecah; 12all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); for Moses struck them and dispossessed them. 13But the sons of Israel did not dispossess the Geshurites or the Maacathites; for Geshur and Maacath live among Israel until this day.

The division of the wilderness side of the Jordan is done by Moses (verse 88With the other half-tribe, the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance which Moses gave them beyond the Jordan to the east, just as Moses the servant of the LORD gave to them;). The conquest of the land to be divided in the other side of the Jordan is attributed to Moses (verse 1212all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); for Moses struck them and dispossessed them.). But just like in the land also in the wilderness side of the Jordan all enemies have not been driven out (verse 1313But the sons of Israel did not dispossess the Geshurites or the Maacathites; for Geshur and Maacath live among Israel until this day.). This is not because of Moses, but because of the unfaithfulness of the people. The power of faith of Moses is not shared by the people.


The Inheritance of Levi

14Only to the tribe of Levi he did not give an inheritance; the offerings by fire to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He spoke to him.

The Levites, to which we must also count the priests, have no inheritance. They are connected with the sacrificial service. They receive a threefold inheritance:
1. the offerings by fire,
2. the LORD Himself (verse 3333But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.) and
3. the priesthood (Jos 18:77For the Levites have no portion among you, because the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance. Gad and Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh also have received their inheritance eastward beyond the Jordan, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave them.”).
It points to the distinction between the blessing and Him Who gives the blessing. With Levi is not the inheritance in the foreground, but the LORD, the Giver of the inheritance.


The Inheritance of Reuben

15So Moses gave [an inheritance] to the tribe of the sons of Reuben according to their families. 16Their territory was from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, with the city which is in the middle of the valley and all the plain by Medeba; 17Heshbon, and all its cities which are on the plain: Dibon and Bamoth-baal and Beth-baal-meon, 18and Jahaz and Kedemoth and Mephaath, 19and Kiriathaim and Sibmah and Zereth-shahar on the hill of the valley, 20and Beth-peor and the slopes of Pisgah and Beth-jeshimoth, 21even all the cities of the plain and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses struck with the chiefs of Midian, Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the princes of Sihon, who lived in the land. 22The sons of Israel also killed Balaam the son of Beor, the diviner, with the sword among [the rest of] their slain. 23The border of the sons of Reuben was the Jordan. This was the inheritance of the sons of Reuben according to their families, the cities and their villages.

In conquering the part that Reuben received as inheritance, the Israelites killed Balaam. It seems that this was Moses’ last act of war before his death (Num 31:1-2,81Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,2“Take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites; afterward you will be gathered to your people.”8They killed the kings of Midian along with the [rest of] their slain: Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian; they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword.). The memory of this deed must be a penetrating warning for the Reubenites to guard themselves against the evil that Balaam managed to do in Israel (Num 25:1-31While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.2For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.3So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel.; 31:1616Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD.). For us, it means a call to live holy life in body and mind: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Cor 7:11Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.).


The Inheritance of Gad

24Moses also gave [an inheritance] to the tribe of Gad, to the sons of Gad, according to their families. 25Their territory was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the sons of Ammon, as far as Aroer which is before Rabbah; 26and from Heshbon as far as Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim as far as the border of Debir; 27and in the valley, Beth-haram and Beth-nimrah and Succoth and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, with the Jordan as a border, as far as the [lower] end of the Sea of Chinnereth beyond the Jordan to the east. 28This is the inheritance of the sons of Gad according to their families, the cities and their villages.

Ramoth, in the inheritance of Gad, seems to have been the first city to fall back into the hands of the enemies of God’s people (1Kgs 22:33Now the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we are still doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?”). It is a harbinger of the deportation of the two and a half tribe in its entirety by the Assyrians who were later used by God as a disciplinary rod for His people.


The Inheritance of the Half-Tribe of Manasseh

29Moses also gave [an inheritance] to the half-tribe of Manasseh; and it was for the half-tribe of the sons of Manasseh according to their families. 30Their territory was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, sixty cities; 31also half of Gilead, with Ashtaroth and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, [were] for the sons of Machir the son of Manasseh, for half of the sons of Machir according to their families.

The inheritance of the half-tribe of Manasseh contains the kingdom of Og, famous for the best wood, that of the oak trees of Basan. This tribe lies north of Gad, reaches up to Mount Hermon, and encloses part of Gilead. With this half-tribe of Manasseh are well known names connected. Thus, Mizpah lies in the territory of this half tribe. From there come two founders, “Jaïr the Gileadite” (Jdg 10:33After him, Jair the Gileadite arose and judged Israel twenty-two years.) and “Jephthah the Gileadite” (Jdg 11:11Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead was the father of Jephthah.), as well as the famous prophet “Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead” (1Kgs 17:11Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”).

The two and a half tribe did not look beyond their needs when applying for the wilderness side of the Jordan as inheritance. They have a lot of cattle, the land has a lot of pasture land, the conclusion is quickly drawn. They have been guided in their choice by their eyes (cf. Gen 13:10-1110Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—[this was] before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.11So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other.). But besides the fact that they have shown a certain disdain for the actual inheritance of the LORD for His people, they also have no eye for the vulnerable position they have chosen. Their land has no natural boundaries. They form a grateful object for hostile peoples. As said, they are also the first to be taken away by the Assyrians and scattered in the countries over which the king of Assyria reigns (1Chr 5:2626So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away into exile, namely the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara and to the river of Gozan, to this day.). Till this day they have not yet returned to their territory.


Conclusion

32These are [the territories] which Moses apportioned for an inheritance in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan at Jericho to the east.

This verse establishes that the allocation of the territories in the wilderness side of the Jordan to the two-and-a-half tribe was done by Moses.


The LORD Himself Is the Inheritance of Levi

33But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.

What the two and a half tribe has been given, forms a great contrast with the part of the Levites. The LORD Himself is the inheritance of Levi: “Therefore, Levi does not have a portion or inheritance with his brothers; the LORD is his inheritance, just as the LORD your God spoke to him” (Deu 10:99Therefore, Levi does not have a portion or inheritance with his brothers; the LORD is his inheritance, just as the LORD your God spoke to him.); 18:22They shall have no inheritance among their countrymen; the LORD is their inheritance, as He promised them.). This inheritance is not given to them by Moses, but they receive it according to the promise of the LORD Himself.


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