2. THE SETTLEMENT WEST OF THE JORDAN
(1) The First Settlement Done at Gilgal
“Now these are the areas the Israelites received as an inheritance …assigned by lot to the nine-and-a-half tribes, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.” . Here the record reminds us that the sons of Joseph – Manasseh and Ephraim – formed two tribes. Although sons of Joseph, Jacob adopted them and they were counted as sons of Jacob, thus there were twelve tribes . Jacob, in blessing his sons before his death, spoke of Simeon and Levi, brothers who were known for their violence, who would be dispersed throughout the other tribes which was finally fulfilled in the allotment of the territories . Simeon’s inheritance was within the borders of Judah, while the Levites were given forty-eight towns scattered throughout the territories.
Caleb’s Inheritance . “…. will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” . A promise of God to Caleb through Moses, made forty-five years previously after Caleb returned from spying out the land of Canaan. Now eighty-five, “Joshua …gave him Hebron as his inheritance.” , his reward for following the Lord “wholeheartedly”, something that we should bear in mind that one day we too shall inherit God’s kingdom if we are faithful to our Lord and Saviour. . We should also note Caleb’s resolve to drive out the Anakites with God’s help; “…the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” Judah’s Inheritance . After a description of the boundaries of Judah’s inheritance, it is recorded that “Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.” No reason is recorded for Judah’s failure to drive out the Jebusites, but surely he could have done this with God’s help and a similar resolve of his brother Caleb. Inheritance of Ephraim and Manasseh . In reference to Ephraimites the record states “They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim…” , also the Manassites “..were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region.” and the Scriptures continued to record the problems and difficulties that these Canaanites caused the people of Israel down through successive years. Again we should observe that if they had only resolved to be obedient to the commands of Joshua things would have been much different .
(2) The Second Settlement Done at Shiloh
Benjamin’s Inheritance , the territory between Judah and Joseph (or Ephraim). Simeon’s Inheritance , “..Their inheritance lay within the territory of Judah.”. Zebulun’s Inheritance , their allotment was between Issachar and Asher, and south of Naphtali. Issachar’s Inheritance , the area between Zebulun on the west, and the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River on the east. Asher’s Inheritance , Their allotment was between the Naphtali and Zebulun on the east, and the Great Sea on the west. Naphtali’s Inheritance , they were allotted the area between the Jordan River on the east and the tribe of Asher on the west. Dan’s Inheritance , their portion was situated between Ephraim on the north, the half-tribe of Manasseh on the east, Benjamin and Judah on the south, and the Great Sea on the west. Joshua’s Inheritance , “…the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them, as the LORD had commanded. They gave him the town he asked for– Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he built up the town and settled there.” Joshua received his inheritance not as a Tribe but as a reward for his faithfulness to God in his report back to Moses when the spies were sent into the Land of Canaan some forty years previously; Caleb had his portion allotted, then Joshua .
“And so they finished dividing the land.” . The conquest and allotment of the territories was complete, and Joshua had accomplished his commission. But there was still work to be done by the individual Tribes; they were now to settle in their territory taking complete possession by driving out the remaining inhabitants that were under God’s judgment. At the commencement of this last phase of dividing the Land we read “The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control…” and the land was yet to be divided. Joshua then asks “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” . Throughout the account of the inheritances we read that some of the Tribes were not successful in driving out the inhabitants of the Land – Ephraim, Manasseh, Dan – and these people lived among the Israelites plundering their fields and towns and causing them to sin against God with their idol worship . The lesson we need to learn from all this is that as believers and followers of Jesus Christ we today are required to put out of our lives, through the help of the Holy Spirit, all the “baggage” of our old sinful ways. When we fail to do so we leave ourselves exposed to attacks from Satan and we sin against God .
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