Joshua 11–15: Conquer & Divide

Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 3: Tuesday

Just as Yahweh had commanded Moses His servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that Yahweh had commanded Moses.
Joshua 11:15 LSB

In today’s Bible reading, Joshua 11–15, Joshua leads Israel in their last major campaign. The first campaign, recorded in Joshua 6:1–8:35 against Jericho and Ai, went into the middle of Canaan. The second campaign, recorded in Joshua 9:1–10:43, was against the kings of southern Canaan. Chapter 11 records the campaign in the north.

So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that Yahweh had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land was quiet from war.
Joshua 11:23 LSB

Hugh Blair comments:

The land has rest from war in the sense that no more pitched battles were required. But the completion of the campaign ‘took a long time’ (v. 18), and even at the end of Joshua’s life there remained ‘very much land to be possessed’ (13:1). To deal with the parts of the country still unsubdued was now to be the responsibility of the individual tribes.1

Joshua 12 lists those kings conquered by Israel under the command of Moses, east of the Jordan River, and under the command of Joshua, west of the Jordan River.

Chapter 13 begins a record of the division of the land into the inheritances of the 11 tribes and the 2 half-tribes of Israel (the descendants of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim, the younger, and Manasseh, the firstborn, each received separate tribal inheritances). The twelve sons of Jacob, whose descendants were divided into tribes, were: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin.

The inheritance division is not finished by the end of chapter 15, but I want to show you a map of their lands:

From the tribe of Levi come the priests for the nation of Israel, and this tribe is not allotted its own territory (cf. Deuteronomy 18:1–8). In Joshua 21, the Levites will be given cities and pasture lands scattered within the lands of the other tribes.

To the tribe of Levi alone Moses gave no inheritance. The offerings by fire to the LORD God of Israel are their inheritance, as he said to him…
But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; Yahweh, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.
For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan; but he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them. For the sons of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, and they did not give a portion to the Levites in the land, except cities to live in, with their pasture lands for their livestock and for their property.
Joshua 13:14, 33; 14:3–4 LSB

Caleb’s individual inheritance is specifically mentioned in Joshua 14:6–15. He and Joshua alone were the two spies of the total twelve sent by Moses to spy out Canaan who did not rebel against God, but trusted Him to deliver the land into their hand (cf. Numbers 13:1–14:38). It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible that Caleb followed the Lord fully (Numbers 14:34, 32:12; Deuteronomy 1:36; Joshua 14:9, 14:14). Caleb himself says:

“I was forty years old when Moses the servant of Yahweh sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless, my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed Yahweh my God fully. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever because you have followed Yahweh my God fully.’”
Joshua 14:7–9 LSB

Caleb obtained his inheritance, and he left us an inheritance: the legacy of his example. He followed the Lord fully, and, in the face of opposition, attempted to persuade others to do the same.

Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
The Twelve Tribes of Israel: Richardprins. (CC BY-SA 3.0). GFDL-1.2-or-later.
1Hugh J. Blair, “Joshua,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds. (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1970) 245.

I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and others at Read the Bible in 2023.

Copyright ©2011–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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