Joshua 21–24: Promises Fulfilled & Final Charges

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 5: Tuesday

…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15b

Today’s Bible reading of Joshua 21–24 finishes the book of Joshua. The Levites receive their cities in chapter 21, the tribes from east of the Jordan return to their lands in 22 and Joshua gives his final charge to Israel in 23–24.

In chapter 21, the Levites are gives 48 cities scattered throughout the lands of the other ten tribes and the two half-tribes. The priests of God are amongst all of the people. One thing to notice is that all of the six cities of refuge: Kedesh, Shechem and Kiriath-arba (Hebron), west of the Jordan River, and Bezer, Ramoth and Golan (notice the name),
east of the Jordan River, are given to the Levites. They will be the ones hearing the cases of those guilty of manslaughter who flee to these cities for refuge. This ends the distribution of land to the people.

Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.
Joshua 21:45

After having helped their brothers, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh with lands east of the Jordan, Joshua charges them to obey God and hold fast to Him, and sends them home in chapter 22. Those tribes build an altar, but this creates a misunderstanding and the rest of Israel fears the altar has been built for sacrifice and offerings. They go after the three tribes because this would have been a rebellious act against the Lord’s commands regarding worship and the altars for sacrifice and offerings in the Tabernacle. Reuben, Gad and Manasseh tell the other tribes the altar was built for the sole purpose to serve as a witness between them and between their succeeding generations who live on the two sides of the Jordan, that all of the tribes are of Israel, and that the Lord is the God of all.

Finally, in his old age Joshua charges the nation in the final two chapters. Having led them through battle, he reminds them of all the Lord has done for them since the days of Abraham, and that God has kept all of His promises. Joshua challenges them to serve the Lord and to incline their hearts to Him.

“Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the LORD which He had done for Israel.”
Joshua 24:31

Next Tuesday reading begins in the book of Judges, and we find out what happens after those elders who survived Joshua are gone.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Golan Heights, Roybb95: Public Domain.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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