JOSHUA CHAPTER 18.
Further Steps toward Permanent Settlement.
the tabernacle set up. — V.1. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, a little more than one half the distance between Jerusalem and Shechem, and set up the Tabernacle of the Congregation there. Shiloh, approximately in the center of the country, was the city of the Sanctuary for several centuries, until the time of Eli. So the Ark of the Covenant had now found a place of rest and thus served as a sign encouraging the people to strive for the true rest which is reserved for the children of God, Heb. 4. And the land was subdued before them, and there was nothing hindering the division of the land. V. 2. And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes which had not yet received their inheritance, Reuben, Gad, Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh having been provided for. V. 3. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you? The chief strongholds of the heathen inhabitants had fallen before the vigorous onslaughts of Joshua and the army of Israel, and it now remained merely to take possession of the land and to complete the extermination of the heathen. Apparently the tribes of Israel were not at all eager to exchange the nomadic form of life with that of settled abodes, and the thought of taking possession of their land with their weapons in their hand did not appeal to them. V. 4. Give out from among you, select and set forth, three men for each tribe; and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them, with reference to its being taken possession of by the seven remaining tribes. Their chief work consisted in their making a list of the cities and their vicinity, the physical aspect of the land, and the condition of the soil. And they shall come again to me, their report serving as the basis of the subsequent division of the land. V. 5. And they shall divide it, the land still remaining, into seven parts; Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north, no changes being made in the possessions of these tribes. V. 6. Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description, the list as thus made out, hither to me, to Shiloh, that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord, our God, probably in the court of the Tabernacle, chap. 19, 51. V. 7. But the Levites have no part among you, chap. 13, 33; Num. 18, 20; for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance, and as ministers of the Sanctuary they were granted certain privileges which compensated, in a way, for the fact that they had not received a definite section of the Promised Land as their home; and Gad and Reuben and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave them, Num. 32. The weakness of the children of God in waging the war which is their lot in life may easily result in disaster of the worst kind for them.
the lot of benjamin. — V. 8. And the men, the twenty-one chosen from the tribes, arose and went away; and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the Lord in Shiloh. V. 9. And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities, with special reference to the cities found throughout the unclaimed sections, into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua, to the host at Shiloh. V. 10. And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord; and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions. V. 11. And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up, namely, when it was drawn from the urn, according to their families; and the coast of their lot, the territory allotted to them, came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph, north of Judah and south of Ephraim. V. 12. And their border on the north side was from Jordan, beginning at the river; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, the site of this city thus being included in the territory of Benjamin, and went up through the mountains westward, west and northwest of this city, chap. 16, 1; and the goings out thereof, the continuation of the boundary line, were at the wilderness of Bethaven, the bare and rocky heights east of Bethel. V. 13. And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is Bethel, southward, the city itself thus being included in this territory; and the border descended to Atarothadar, near the hill that lieth on the south side of the nether Bethhoron, chap. 16, 2. V. 14. And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, it turned southward on the western boundary of Benjamin, from the hill that lieth before Bethhoron southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, a city of the children of Judah, chap. 15, 9; this was the west quarter. V. 15. And the south quarter was from the end of Kirjathjearim, from the boundaries of this city, and the border went out on the west, westward, and went out to the well of the waters of Nephtoah, chap. 15, 9; v. 16. and the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the Valley of the Giants on the north, and descended to the Valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi, Jerusalem, on the south, and descended to Enrogel, v. 17. and was drawn from the north, northward, and went forth to Enshemesh, and went forth to Geliloth, toward the west, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan, the son of Reuben, v. 18. and passed along. toward the side over against Arabah, the eastern plain, northward, and went down unto Arabah, the plain in which Jericho is situated; v. 19. and the border passed along to the side of Bethhoglah northward; and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the Salt Sea at the south end, the mouth, of Jordan; this was the south coast. This description coincides with that of the north border of Judah, chap. 15, 5-9, only the southeast corner being determined a little more exactly. V. 20. And Jordan was the border of it, Benjamin's territory, on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, by their coasts thereof round about, according to their families. V. 21. Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Bethhoglah, and the valley of Keziz, Emekkeziz, between Jerusalem and Jericho, v. 22. and Betharabah, and Zemaraim, and Bethel, v. 23. and Avim, probably the same as Ai, and Parah, and Ophrah, v. 24. and Chepharhaamonai, and Ophni, and Gaba, some ten miles north of Jerusalem: twelve cities with their villages, those of the eastern half of the territory of Benjamin. V. 25. Gibeon, chap. 10, 1-15, and Ramah, and Beeroth, v. 26. and Mizpeh, 1 Sam. 7, 5-15, and Chephirah, near Gibeon, and Mozah, v. 27. and Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah, v. 28. and Zeiah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, later known as Gibeah of Saul, 1 Sam. 10, 26; 11, 4; 15, 34, and Kirjath: fourteen cities with their villages, all of them in the western part of Benjamin's territory. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families.