Joshua
Introduction 1-4 The South Border 5-12 East Border, North Border and West Border 13-14 Caleb Gets and Conquers His Inheritance 15-19 Caleb, Othniel and Achsah 20-62 Cities and Villages in Judah 63 Enemies Whom Judah Not Able to Drive Out
Introduction

At first sight, the listing of the names of borders and cities does not seem to give much food for the heart. But “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2Tim 3:1616All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;). When we read through such lists of names, we often find something in between that affects us. This chapter suddenly contains the history of Caleb and his daughter (verses 13-1913Now he gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh a portion among the sons of Judah, according to the command of the LORD to Joshua, [namely], Kiriath-arba, [Arba being] the father of Anak (that is, Hebron).14Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the children of Anak.15Then he went up from there against the inhabitants of Debir; now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher.16And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.”17Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it; so he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife.18It came about that when she came [to him], she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she alighted from the donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?”19Then she said, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.).

Caleb’s daughter shows the same faith as her father. Two things are said of her. First, she encourages her husband to ask her father for a piece of land. Secondly, she also asks for a blessing herself. Women take a different place in the Bible than men, but not a lesser one. They can stimulate their husbands in being busy with the blessings of heaven and they themselves can enjoy them as well.


The South Border

1Now the lot for the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families reached the border of Edom, southward to the wilderness of Zin at the extreme south. 2Their south border was from the lower end of the Salt Sea, from the bay that turns to the south. 3Then it proceeded southward to the ascent of Akrabbim and continued to Zin, then went up by the south of Kadesh-barnea and continued to Hezron, and went up to Addar and turned about to Karka. 4It continued to Azmon and proceeded to the brook of Egypt, and the border ended at the sea. This shall be your south border.

The LORD makes it clear by lot which part of the land will belong to Judah. In Acts 1 we read for the last time in Scripture about the use of the lot to know the will of the Lord (Acts 1:2626And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.). In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the church. From that moment on He leads God’s children “into all the truth” (Jn 16:1313But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.).

Judah gets the southern part of the land, from the wilderness to the mountain on which Jerusalem lies. The southern border separates the land of Canaan from other peoples, including Edom and Egypt.


East Border, North Border and West Border

5The east border [was] the Salt Sea, as far as the mouth of the Jordan. And the border of the north side was from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan. 6Then the border went up to Beth-hoglah, and continued on the north of Beth-arabah, and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben. 7The border went up to Debir from the valley of Achor, and turned northward toward Gilgal which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south of the valley; and the border continued to the waters of En-shemesh and it ended at En-rogel. 8Then the border went up the valley of Ben-hinnom to the slope of the Jebusite on the south (that is, Jerusalem); and the border went up to the top of the mountain which is before the valley of Hinnom to the west, which is at the end of the valley of Rephaim toward the north. 9From the top of the mountain the border curved to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah and proceeded to the cities of Mount Ephron, then the border curved to Baalah (that is, Kiriath-jearim). 10The border turned about from Baalah westward to Mount Seir, and continued to the slope of Mount Jearim on the north (that is, Chesalon), and went down to Beth-shemesh and continued through Timnah. 11The border proceeded to the side of Ekron northward. Then the border curved to Shikkeron and continued to Mount Baalah and proceeded to Jabneel, and the border ended at the sea. 12The west border [was] at the Great Sea, even [its] coastline. This is the border around the sons of Judah according to their families.

The description of the east border and the west border of Judah is simple. These borders are indicated by two waters: ‘the Salt Sea’, or the Dead Sea, ‘as far as the mouth of the Jordan River’ in the east (verse 5a5The east border [was] the Salt Sea, as far as the mouth of the Jordan. And the border of the north side was from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan.) and ‘the Great Sea’, or the Mediterranean Sea, in the west (verse 12a12The west border [was] at the Great Sea, even [its] coastline. This is the border around the sons of Judah according to their families.). The north border is described in detail (verses 5b-115The east border [was] the Salt Sea, as far as the mouth of the Jordan. And the border of the north side was from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan.6Then the border went up to Beth-hoglah, and continued on the north of Beth-arabah, and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben.7The border went up to Debir from the valley of Achor, and turned northward toward Gilgal which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south of the valley; and the border continued to the waters of En-shemesh and it ended at En-rogel.8Then the border went up the valley of Ben-hinnom to the slope of the Jebusite on the south (that is, Jerusalem); and the border went up to the top of the mountain which is before the valley of Hinnom to the west, which is at the end of the valley of Rephaim toward the north.9From the top of the mountain the border curved to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah and proceeded to the cities of Mount Ephron, then the border curved to Baalah (that is, Kiriath-jearim).10The border turned about from Baalah westward to Mount Seir, and continued to the slope of Mount Jearim on the north (that is, Chesalon), and went down to Beth-shemesh and continued through Timnah.11The border proceeded to the side of Ekron northward. Then the border curved to Shikkeron and continued to Mount Baalah and proceeded to Jabneel, and the border ended at the sea.) because it delimits Judah’s territory from the other tribes.


Caleb Gets and Conquers His Inheritance

13Now he gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh a portion among the sons of Judah, according to the command of the LORD to Joshua, [namely], Kiriath-arba, [Arba being] the father of Anak (that is, Hebron). 14Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the children of Anak.

Here we read that Caleb really takes possession of his inheritance. He has got it and driven out the enemies. Caleb knows these children of Anak from the past. All Israelites who have been afraid of them (Num 13:3333There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”) have died.

Anak means ‘long-necked’ or ‘giant’. In him we can see a picture of satan. His three sons are together a picture of all that is in the world and is in rebellion against God. Sheshai means ‘free’, Ahiman means ‘brother of the gift’, Talmai means ‘audacious’.

In connection with these names and “all that is in the world” (1Jn 2:1616For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.) the following application can be made. It is the desire of the flesh to be free, to do what you want. In addition, one is guided by the desire of the eyes to possess what is presented as ‘a gift’. Finally man is so audacious that he takes in the pride of life what the devil offers him.

These giants do not impress Caleb because he compares them to the power of God. He is now eighty-five years old, but still as fearless to take possession of the land as when he had just spied it out. The giants have not become smaller in the course of time, but neither has the faith of Caleb in the power of God.

Even old believers can fight the battle. Unfortunately, it may be possible that in the course of Christian life, old habits have crept in that form an obstacle to this struggle. But if there is faith in the power of God, even in old age giants can still be expelled and blessings taken into possession.


Caleb, Othniel and Achsah

15Then he went up from there against the inhabitants of Debir; now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher. 16And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.” 17Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it; so he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife. 18It came about that when she came [to him], she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she alighted from the donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 19Then she said, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

Kiriath-sepher means ‘city of the book’. It will have been a city of scholarship and literature of the Canaanites. Young people sometimes have to deal with books of the world, with modern literature, which defiles the mind. Then spiritual strength is needed to take and eradicate this stronghold so it will not harm the soul.

It is possible to confront in spiritual power. Parents have a responsibility in this. They need to know what their children need to take in. They don’t have to read such literature themselves, but as Caleb they can offer a reward, a stimulus to overcome in the strength of faith. Parents have a duty to help their children capture that city.

Othniel will not only be inspired by the reward. He himself must have been longing for the land. He will have often heard uncle Caleb talk about it and seen what it means to him in his uncle’s life. This preparation, together with the victory he gets and the woman he gets, makes him ready to be the first judge (Jdg 3:99When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.).

The city is captured by Othniel, a young man. His name means ‘lion of God’ or ‘my power is God’. Young people often have to deal with ‘the city of the book’, which is the wisdom of the world. If that city is overcome in spiritual power of faith, the city is renamed Debir, which means ‘place of demand’. This reminds us of the most holy place, the place where God speaks to the High Priest and to the people. Debir can also mean ‘a word of God’. Both meanings point to the speaking of God to our hearts.

It is to be desired that all old believers want to be like Caleb who has taken Kiriath-arba, which means ‘city of giants’, to make Hebron, that means ‘fellowship’, out of it. It is to be desired that all young believers want to be like Othniel who takes ‘the city of the book’ to make it ‘a word of God’.

Caleb knows how to encourage young people to fight. He promises the conqueror of Kiriath-Sepher his daughter. Othniel seizes that opportunity. Achsah will not only have been attractive to him externally. He will have known her interest in the land, for she shows that.

Caleb also has sons (1Chr 4:15a15The sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh [were] Iru, Elah and Naam; and the son of Elah [was] Kenaz.). They will also have received their share. But the blessings of the land and taking possession of them is not only for brothers. May the Lord give that there are women like Achsah, who are interested in the inheritance of God and ask for a part.

Achsah’s interest in the land is first expressed by her stimulating her husband Othniël to ask her father for a field. Women who stimulate their husbands in this way are a real help. Such women are not interested in their husbands taking a prominent position in the church. Such women want that their husbands will achieve spiritual victories.

It will have been a joy for Caleb to comply with Othniel’s request. He gives him a field. But Achsah sees that something is missing in the inheritance. Not only does she want to have a land, but she wants to enjoy fruit from the inheritance. We can point at the amount of bible comments that we have received or purchased or that we know to find them on the Internet. But if we don’t want to use those comments to bear fruit, we only own dry land.

Four times in one verse there is talk of ‘give’ (verse 1919Then she said, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.). Achsah knows her father as a giving father. If we know God like this, we will ask Him a lot. It is His joy to give us, but He desires us to ask Him. He loves to give to those who expect something from Him.

Achsah addresses her father appropriately, not boldly or compellingly. She alights from the donkey. Caleb understands that she wants to ask something. She asks for a wedding gift. The dry land does not yield anything. Water is needed and she asks for it. She will have known that Moses has spoken of a land with an abundance of water, both in the valley and on the hill (Deu 8:77For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills;). The water from a spring speaks of the Word of God which is made alive by the Holy Spirit. Upper springs in the mountains make the water flow from top to bottom. Lower springs are in the valleys.

In our lives of faith we are at highlights, but also in valleys. Conferences and personal Bible study can be from those upper springs, where we are refreshed. But also in the struggles of the life of faith, in the valleys, we need the clear water of the Word to refresh ourselves. Above all, we need the desire of faith of an Achsah to desire such springs.

Often women have a better and greater understanding of what is needed than men. Because they long for it and know how to obtain it, they also get what they long for. Such one is Mary “who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word” (Lk 10:3939She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.). The Lord Jesus says of her: “Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Lk 10:4242but [only] one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”). One may still be so familiar with the land, but to enjoy fruit requires a desire.


Cities and Villages in Judah

20This is the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families. 21Now the cities at the extremity of the tribe of the sons of Judah toward the border of Edom in the south were Kabzeel and Eder and Jagur, 22and Kinah and Dimonah and Adadah, 23and Kedesh and Hazor and Ithnan, 24Ziph and Telem and Bealoth, 25and Hazor-hadattah and Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor), 26Amam and Shema and Moladah, 27and Hazar-gaddah and Heshmon and Beth-pelet, 28and Hazar-shual and Beersheba and Biziothiah, 29Baalah and Iim and Ezem, 30and Eltolad and Chesil and Hormah, 31and Ziklag and Madmannah and Sansannah, 32and Lebaoth and Shilhim and Ain and Rimmon; in all, twenty-nine cities with their villages. 33In the lowland: Eshtaol and Zorah and Ashnah, 34and Zanoah and En-gannim, Tappuah and Enam, 35Jarmuth and Adullam, Socoh and Azekah, 36and Shaaraim and Adithaim and Gederah and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages. 37Zenan and Hadashah and Migdal-gad, 38and Dilean and Mizpeh and Joktheel, 39Lachish and Bozkath and Eglon, 40and Cabbon and Lahmas and Chitlish, 41and Gederoth, Beth-dagon and Naamah and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages. 42Libnah and Ether and Ashan, 43and Iphtah and Ashnah and Nezib, 44and Keilah and Achzib and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages. 45Ekron, with its towns and its villages; 46from Ekron even to the sea, all that were by the side of Ashdod, with their villages. 47Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; as far as the brook of Egypt and the Great Sea, even [its] coastline. 48In the hill country: Shamir and Jattir and Socoh, 49and Dannah and Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir), 50and Anab and Eshtemoh and Anim, 51and Goshen and Holon and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages. 52Arab and Dumah and Eshan, 53and Janum and Beth-tappuah and Aphekah, 54and Humtah and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior; nine cities with their villages. 55Maon, Carmel and Ziph and Juttah, 56and Jezreel and Jokdeam and Zanoah, 57Kain, Gibeah and Timnah; ten cities with their villages. 58Halhul, Beth-zur and Gedor, 59and Maarath and Beth-anoth and Eltekon; six cities with their villages. 60Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), and Rabbah; two cities with their villages. 61In the wilderness: Beth-arabah, Middin and Secacah, 62and Nibshan and the City of Salt and Engedi; six cities with their villages.

Here the towns and villages are named according to the different territories in which they are located. In this way, the inheritance is enjoyed, in these different contexts. A village is not what we understand by it. It is more like a hamlet consisting of one or two families living and working together. It speaks of individual believers who share blessings with each other in a smaller context, for example a family context.

A city speaks more of a local church. Every family is different, as is every local church. We notice this when we read the letters to the various churches in the New Testament. Taking possession of the land is not something of the study room, to enjoy those things only for ourselves. It is something we share with our families, fathers, mothers and children or also with the brothers and sisters with whom we form a local church.

If we don’t, we will capture the inheritance as Reuben and Gad did. Of these tribes only the men have captured the inheritance. Although, they did not do this for themselves, but for others. Their wives and children have never seen the inheritance. Not sharing with others what we have taken possession of is also visible in Ephraim and Manasseh: there are hardly any villages and towns mentioned of them. Judah really is a tribe after the thoughts of God.

Can any local authority be seen as a city, in the wilderness or in the mountains? We are all needed to build up each other and complement each other. This happens mainly in the local Bible reading. Can the church where we are be considered a church in the wilderness or in the mountain? Is it a city in the land, i.e. is it a church where the blessings of heaven are enjoyed, either in relation to life on earth or in relation to the position of believers in Christ?

Spiritually speaking, the border of Judah is a curious border. No tribe has a view like Judah. Those who live in the south have the view on Edom (verses 21-3221Now the cities at the extremity of the tribe of the sons of Judah toward the border of Edom in the south were Kabzeel and Eder and Jagur,22and Kinah and Dimonah and Adadah,23and Kedesh and Hazor and Ithnan,24Ziph and Telem and Bealoth,25and Hazor-hadattah and Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor),26Amam and Shema and Moladah,27and Hazar-gaddah and Heshmon and Beth-pelet,28and Hazar-shual and Beersheba and Biziothiah,29Baalah and Iim and Ezem,30and Eltolad and Chesil and Hormah,31and Ziklag and Madmannah and Sansannah,32and Lebaoth and Shilhim and Ain and Rimmon; in all, twenty-nine cities with their villages.). Edom is a brother nation and at the same time the most hateful enemy. Edom speaks about the flesh in the believer. That limit may not be crossed, that is to say that the flesh may not have the opportunity to enter the inheritance, because that will result in destruction of (the enjoyment of) the inheritance.

Then verses 33-4733In the lowland: Eshtaol and Zorah and Ashnah,34and Zanoah and En-gannim, Tappuah and Enam,35Jarmuth and Adullam, Socoh and Azekah,36and Shaaraim and Adithaim and Gederah and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages.37Zenan and Hadashah and Migdal-gad,38and Dilean and Mizpeh and Joktheel,39Lachish and Bozkath and Eglon,40and Cabbon and Lahmas and Chitlish,41and Gederoth, Beth-dagon and Naamah and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages.42Libnah and Ether and Ashan,43and Iphtah and Ashnah and Nezib,44and Keilah and Achzib and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages.45Ekron, with its towns and its villages;46from Ekron even to the sea, all that were by the side of Ashdod, with their villages.47Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; as far as the brook of Egypt and the Great Sea, even [its] coastline. mention the cities in the lowland. That is the low part of the land between the sea and the mountains of Judea. The low speaks of the realm of Christian life where heavenly blessings are shown, the practical life of faith of every day. In the letter to the Ephesians, those territories are seen in marriages and families and working environment. Women and men, children and parents, slaves and gentlemen are all addressed (Eph 5:22-3322Wives, [be subject] to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself [being] the Savior of the body.24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives [ought to be] to their husbands in everything.25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also [does] the church,30because we are members of His body.31For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must [see to it] that she respects her husband.; 6:1-4,5-91Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.2Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),3so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.5Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;6not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.7With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,8knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.9And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.).

There are also cities in the hill country (verses 48-6048In the hill country: Shamir and Jattir and Socoh,49and Dannah and Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir),50and Anab and Eshtemoh and Anim,51and Goshen and Holon and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages.52Arab and Dumah and Eshan,53and Janum and Beth-tappuah and Aphekah,54and Humtah and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior; nine cities with their villages.55Maon, Carmel and Ziph and Juttah,56and Jezreel and Jokdeam and Zanoah,57Kain, Gibeah and Timnah; ten cities with their villages.58Halhul, Beth-zur and Gedor,59and Maarath and Beth-anoth and Eltekon; six cities with their villages.60Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), and Rabbah; two cities with their villages.). This relates to knowing the victories in Christ in the heavenly places. Paul prays for the believers in Ephesus that they will know their blessings (Eph 1:17-2117that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.18[I pray that] the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,19and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. [These are] in accordance with the working of the strength of His might20which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly [places],21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.). John is taken “in the spirit to a great and high mountain” to see the new Jerusalem, that is the church (Rev 21:1010And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,). Churches like Ephesus are located “in the hill country”. Are there still such churches in Christianity today?

Finally, the cities are mentioned in the wilderness of Judea, east of the mountains to the Dead Sea (verses 61-6261In the wilderness: Beth-arabah, Middin and Secacah,62and Nibshan and the City of Salt and Engedi; six cities with their villages.). Judea is constantly reminded of the wilderness, its aridity. The awareness of all the blessings in heaven also includes the awareness that this world has nothing to offer for faith. In the kingdom of peace, however, the wilderness will “blossom like a crocus” (Isa 35:11The wilderness and the desert will be glad,
And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom;
Like the crocus
). That is what faith looks forward to.


Enemies Whom Judah Not Able to Drive Out

63Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day.

However much the Judeans may occupy a special place in God’s people, however much there are men and women in Judah like Caleb and Achsah, it is no guarantee for complete faithfulness. As a tribe they lack the strength (faith) to drive the enemy out to the last man.

Every testimony, every family has the responsibility to ensure that every enemy is driven out and that the land is possessed, so that all are saturated. The history of the church on earth unfortunately shows that the enemy has not been completely eliminated.


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