23. Joshua 1 – 24 (Taking the Promised Land)
A Chronological Daily Bible Study of the Old Testament
7-Day Sections with a Summary-Commentary, Discussion Questions, and a Practical Daily Application
Sunday (Joshua 1 - 4)
The Lord Commissions Joshua
1:1 After Moses the Lord’s servant died, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead. Get ready! Cross the Jordan River! Lead these people into the land which I am ready to hand over to them. 1:3 I am handing over to you every place you set foot, as I promised Moses. 1:4 Your territory will extend from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north. It will extend all the way to the great River Euphrates in the east (including all of Syria) and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 1:5 No one will be able to resist you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone. 1:6 Be strong and brave! You must lead these people in the conquest of this land that I solemnly promised their ancestors I would hand over to them. 1:7 Make sure you are very strong and brave! Carefully obey all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep! Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful in all you do. 1:8 This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful. 1:9 I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do.”
Joshua Prepares for the Invasion
1:10 Joshua instructed the leaders of the people: 1:11 “Go through the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your supplies, for within three days you will cross the Jordan River and begin the conquest of the land the Lord your God is ready to hand over to you.’”
1:12 Joshua told the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh: 1:13 “Remember what Moses the Lord’s servant commanded you. The Lord your God is giving you a place to settle and is handing this land over to you. 1:14 Your wives, children and cattle may stay in the land that Moses assigned to you east of the Jordan River. But all you warriors must cross over armed for battle ahead of your brothers. You must help them 1:15 until the Lord gives your brothers a place like yours to settle and they conquer the land the Lord your God is ready to hand over to them. Then you may go back to your allotted land and occupy the land Moses the Lord’s servant assigned you east of the Jordan.”
1:16 They told Joshua, “We will do everything you say. We will go wherever you send us. 1:17 Just as we obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. But may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses! 1:18 Any man who rebels against what you say and does not obey all your commands will be executed. But be strong and brave!”
Joshua Sends Spies into the Land
2:1 Joshua son of Nun sent two spies out from Shittim secretly and instructed them: “Find out what you can about the land, especially Jericho.” They stopped at the house of a prostitute named Rahab and spent the night there. 2:2 The king of Jericho received this report: “Note well! Israelite men have come here tonight to spy on the land.” 2:3 So the king of Jericho sent this order to Rahab: “Turn over the men who came to you – the ones who came to your house – for they have come to spy on the whole land!” 2:4 But the woman hid the two men and replied, “Yes, these men were clients of mine, but I didn’t know where they came from. 2:5 When it was time to shut the city gate for the night, the men left. I don’t know where they were heading. Chase after them quickly, for you have time to catch them!” 2:6 (Now she had taken them up to the roof and had hidden them in the stalks of flax she had spread out on the roof.) 2:7 Meanwhile the king’s men tried to find them on the road to the Jordan River near the fords. The city gate was shut as soon as they set out in pursuit of them.
2:8 Now before the spies went to sleep, Rahab went up to the roof. 2:9 She said to the men, “I know the Lord is handing this land over to you. We are absolutely terrified of you, and all who live in the land are cringing before you. 2:10 For we heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt and how you annihilated the two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og, on the other side of the Jordan. 2:11 When we heard the news we lost our courage and no one could even breathe for fear of you. For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below! 2:12 So now, promise me this with an oath sworn in the Lord’s name. Because I have shown allegiance to you, show allegiance to my family. Give me a solemn pledge 2:13 that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them, and rescue us from death.” 2:14 The men said to her, “If you die, may we die too! If you do not report what we’ve been up to, then, when the Lord hands the land over to us, we will show unswerving allegiance to you.”
2:15 Then Rahab let them down by a rope through the window. (Her house was built as part of the city wall; she lived in the wall.) 2:16 She told them, “Head to the hill country, so the ones chasing you don’t find you. Hide from them there for three days, long enough for those chasing you to return. Then you can be on your way.” 2:17 The men said to her, “We are not bound by this oath you made us swear unless the following conditions are met: 2:18 When we invade the land, tie this red rope in the window through which you let us down, and gather together in your house your father, mother, brothers, and all who live in your father’s house. 2:19 Anyone who leaves your house will be responsible for his own death – we are innocent in that case! But if anyone with you in the house is harmed, we will be responsible. 2:20 If you should report what we’ve been up to, we are not bound by this oath you made us swear.” 2:21 She said, “I agree to these conditions.” She sent them on their way and then tied the red rope in the window. 2:22 They went to the hill country and stayed there for three days, long enough for those chasing them to return. Their pursuers looked all along the way but did not find them. 2:23 Then the two men returned – they came down from the hills, crossed the river, came to Joshua son of Nun, and reported to him all they had discovered. 2:24 They told Joshua, “Surely the Lord is handing over all the land to us! All who live in the land are cringing before us!”
Israel Crosses the Jordan
3:1 Bright and early the next morning Joshua and the Israelites left Shittim and came to the Jordan. They camped there before crossing the river. 3:2 After three days the leaders went through the camp 3:3 and commanded the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, you must leave here and walk behind it. 3:4 But stay about three thousand feet behind it. Keep your distance so you can see which way you should go, for you have not traveled this way before.”
3:5 Joshua told the people, “Ritually consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform miraculous deeds among you.” 3:6 Joshua told the priests, “Pick up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they picked up the ark of the covenant and went ahead of the people.
3:7 The Lord told Joshua, “This very day I will begin to honor you before all Israel so they will know that I am with you just as I was with Moses. 3:8 Instruct the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, ‘When you reach the bank of the Jordan River, wade into the water.’”
3:9 Joshua told the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God!” 3:10 Joshua continued, “This is how you will know the living God is among you and that he will truly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites. 3:11 Look! The ark of the covenant of the Ruler of the whole earth is ready to enter the Jordan ahead of you. 3:12 Now select for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one per tribe. 3:13 When the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the Lord, the Ruler of the whole earth, touch the water of the Jordan, the water coming downstream toward you will stop flowing and pile up.”
3:14 So when the people left their tents to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 3:15 When the ones carrying the ark reached the Jordan and the feet of the priests carrying the ark touched the surface of the water – (the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest time) – 3:16 the water coming downstream toward them stopped flowing. It piled up far upstream at Adam (the city near Zarethan); there was no water at all flowing to the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea). The people crossed the river opposite Jericho. 3:17 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan. All Israel crossed over on dry ground until the entire nation was on the other side.
Israel Commemorates the Crossing
4:1 When the entire nation was on the other side, the Lord told Joshua, 4:2 “Select for yourselves twelve men from the people, one per tribe. 4:3 Instruct them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests stand firmly, and carry them over with you and put them in the place where you camp tonight.’”
4:4 Joshua summoned the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one per tribe. 4:5 Joshua told them, “Go in front of the ark of the Lord your God to the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to put a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the Israelite tribes. 4:6 The stones will be a reminder to you. When your children ask someday, ‘Why are these stones important to you?’ 4:7 tell them how the water of the Jordan stopped flowing before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the water of the Jordan stopped flowing. These stones will be a lasting memorial for the Israelites.”
4:8 The Israelites did just as Joshua commanded. They picked up twelve stones, according to the number of the Israelite tribes, from the middle of the Jordan as the Lord had instructed Joshua. They carried them over with them to the camp and put them there. 4:9 Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan in the very place where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood. They remain there to this very day.
4:10 Now the priests carrying the ark of the covenant were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua to tell the people was accomplished, in accordance with all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people went across quickly, 4:11 and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed as the people looked on. 4:12 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed for battle ahead of the Israelites, just as Moses had instructed them. 4:13 About forty thousand battle-ready troops marched past the Lord to fight on the plains of Jericho. 4:14 That day the Lord brought honor to Joshua before all Israel. They respected him all his life, just as they had respected Moses.
4:15 The Lord told Joshua, 4:16 “Instruct the priests carrying the ark of the covenantal laws to come up from the Jordan.” 4:17 So Joshua instructed the priests, “Come up from the Jordan!” 4:18 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord came up from the middle of the Jordan, and as soon as they set foot on dry land, the water of the Jordan flowed again and returned to flood stage.
4:19 The people went up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and camped in Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 4:20 Now Joshua set up in Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan. 4:21 He told the Israelites, “When your children someday ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones represent?’ 4:22 explain to your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground.’ 4:23 For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you while you crossed over. It was just like when the Lord your God dried up the Red Sea before us while we crossed it. 4:24 He has done this so all the nations of the earth might recognize the Lord’s power and so you might always obey the Lord your God.”
Lord, You are our strength, You are our truth, You are our power, and You are our wisdom. May I dwell upon Your glory and love, learn, remember and share Your Word, and follow you all of my days. You go on ahead and prepare the way, may I obey You with confidence. You make a way for us where there seems no way. May I trust You always.
Scripture In Perspective
The Lord God instructed Joshua to get about the business of taking the promised land as He desired to complete His promise of that land to their ancestors.
While God instructed Joshua to be bold and fearless, because He would vanquish their enemies before them, He also reminded Joshua that everything was conditioned upon their faithfulness
“Carefully obey all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep! Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful in all you do.”
Joshua gave the people three days notice to prepare to enter the promised land.
The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh were reminded of their promise to accompany their fellow tribes before they returned to their homes on the other side of the Jordan – and in so doing they acknowledged that their loyalty to Joshua as leader was the same as that given to Moses.
Joshua sent spies into Jericho, as would any good general, and the Lord God guided them to the home of Rahab. Rahab lived along the fortified walls of Jericho as she was a prostitute.
Rahab reported to them that everyone was terrified because of the news they had heard of God’s great power exercised for Israel.
Word came to the king that the spies had visited Rahab so soldiers demanded that she surrender them. She had hidden them on the roof but told the soldiers that she didn’t know they were enemy spies and that they had just left the city before the gates were closed – then encouraged them to chase after them.
Rahab challenged the spies to promise to protect her extended family because she had given them information and hidden them from the soldiers and they agreed. They did require her to mark her home with a red rope and to have her family gathered in her home so they would know whom to protect.
She let them down by a rope and instructed them to flee to the hills and hide for 3days until the soldiers gave up their search. They did so and then reported to Joshua who was thus assured that the Lord had given them the city.
Joshua, as instructed by the Lord God, instructed the people to follow the Ark that the priests carried, so the huge populace could see where to go, but to do so at a distance of 3,000 feet.
The people were to told to “ritually consecrate” themselves, meaning both a literal religious ritual described in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and an attitude of obedience and trust.
The Lord God informed Joshua that He would show the people that he, Joshua, was God’s chosen the same as Moses. He instructed Joshua to go ahead of the people and to wade into the water.
From there Joshua informed the people that they would know that God was going on ahead because when the priests entered the water it would part and create dry land for them to cross – even though the Jordan was at flood-level that time of year.
The priests did so and the whole nation crossed, then Joshua instructed that one elder from each of the 12 tribes select a stone from where the priests stood and bring them to Gilgal where the people rested on the other side. The piled stones were a remembrance of what God had done that day. Joshua also piled 12 stones in the Jordan where the priests stood.
When the priests left the Jordan it returned to it normal flood-stage flow.
Interact With The Text
Joshua inherited the same stiff-necked people as had troubled Moses for so long, he inherited a small modern city-sized population of nearly a million, and he inherited leadership of a military campaign and population settlement project never before seen on earth. The Jordan was a huge river that would have been enormously dangerous and powerful at flood- stage. Stopping it was a major demonstration of God’s power from the people’s perspective.
What might have been the feelings that flowed across the people and the tribes of Israel when the message of Joshua, that they would enter the promised land in three days, passed in waves across the great mass of people. The Lord God works in mysterious ways and He uses whomsoever He will to accomplish His ends. Would the first spies, 40 years prior, have had the courage and trust in God to take the risks that these men did? How could anyone who doubted the calling of Joshua still doubt when God stopped the Jordan when he stepped into the water and then directed the priests with the ark to do the same?
The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh already had their land, their families and livestock were there, and they had built some fortifications. Now they would be gone for months or years alongside the other tribes. As frightened of the Israelites as were the people of Jericho, Rahab recognized God as supreme and that her self-interest in serving those who served Him, so she chose to side with God. Almost a million people crossed the Jordan on dry land in the middle of flood-stage season - no man (other than Caleb and Joshua) who was of military age or older was alive when the people crossed the Red Sea.
When have you been faced with a major change – how did the sudden reality of it wash over you emotionally? When have you been faced with an awkward and unexpected circumstance where God is clearly working and you had to act in faith despite great risk? How did things work out? When have you observed God making His presence known in an unmistakable way?
Faith In Action
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what He has planned for you to do in His service in the near future. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal an opportunity for you to serve someone who is serving Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how He has gone-ahead to clear the way for the ministry He has chosen for you.
Today I will prepare myself in prayer and be certain that I have good stewardship of my resources so that I may serve the Lord wherever and however He calls. Today I will prayerfully agree to partner with the Holy Spirit in support of someone to whom He has assigned a ministry, I will do so with full confidence and trust in God, and I will do so to the best of my ability. Today I will praise the Lord for His power and provision so that I may be well-used in His service. As He directs I will expand my existing ministry and/or engage a new one. I will do so prayerfully and in consultation with one who is Biblically qualified as an elder.
Be Specific ________________________________________________
Monday (Joshua 5 - 6)
5:1 When all the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the seacoast heard how the Lord had dried up the water of the Jordan before the Israelites while they crossed, they lost their courage and could not even breathe for fear of the Israelites.
A New Generation is Circumcised
5:2 At that time the Lord told Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites once again.” 5:3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites on the Hill of the Foreskins. 5:4 This is why Joshua had to circumcise them: All the men old enough to fight when they left Egypt died on the journey through the desert after they left Egypt. 5:5 Now all the men who left were circumcised, but all the sons born on the journey through the desert after they left Egypt were uncircumcised. 5:6 Indeed, for forty years the Israelites traveled through the desert until all the men old enough to fight when they left Egypt, the ones who had disobeyed the Lord, died off. For the Lord had sworn a solemn oath to them that he would not let them see the land he had sworn on oath to give them, a land rich in milk and honey. 5:7 He replaced them with their sons, whom Joshua circumcised. They were uncircumcised; their fathers had not circumcised them along the way. 5:8 When all the men had been circumcised, they stayed there in the camp until they had healed. 5:9 The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have taken away the disgrace of Egypt from you.” So that place is called Gilgal even to this day.
5:10 So the Israelites camped in Gilgal and celebrated the Passover in the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the plains of Jericho. 5:11 They ate some of the produce of the land the day after the Passover, including unleavened bread and roasted grain. 5:12 The manna stopped appearing the day they ate some of the produce of the land; the Israelites never ate manna again.
Israel Conquers Jericho
5:13 When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him holding a drawn sword. Joshua approached him and asked him, “Are you on our side or allied with our enemies?” 5:14 He answered, “Truly I am the commander of the Lord’s army. Now I have arrived!” Joshua bowed down with his face to the ground and asked, “What does my master want to say to his servant?” 5:15 The commander of the Lord’s army answered Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, because the place where you stand is holy.” Joshua did so.
6:1 Now Jericho was shut tightly because of the Israelites. No one was allowed to leave or enter. 6:2 The Lord told Joshua, “See, I am about to defeat Jericho for you, along with its king and its warriors. 6:3 Have all the warriors march around the city one time; do this for six days. 6:4 Have seven priests carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the horns. 6:5 When you hear the signal from the ram’s horn, have the whole army give a loud battle cry. Then the city wall will collapse and the warriors should charge straight ahead.”
6:6 So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and instructed them, “Pick up the ark of the covenant, and seven priests must carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark of the Lord.” 6:7 And he told the army, “Move ahead and march around the city, with armed troops going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”
6:8 When Joshua gave the army its orders, the seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the Lord moved ahead and blew the horns as the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed behind. 6:9 Armed troops marched ahead of the priests blowing the horns, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark blowing rams’ horns. 6:10 Now Joshua had instructed the army, “Do not give a battle cry or raise your voices; say nothing until the day I tell you, ‘Give the battle cry.’ Then give the battle cry!” 6:11 So Joshua made sure they marched the ark of the Lord around the city one time. Then they went back to the camp and spent the night there.
6:12 Bright and early the next morning Joshua had the priests pick up the ark of the Lord. 6:13 The seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord marched along blowing their horns. Armed troops marched ahead of them, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark of the Lord blowing rams’ horns. 6:14 They marched around the city one time on the second day, then returned to the camp. They did this six days in all.
6:15 On the seventh day they were up at the crack of dawn and marched around the city as before – only this time they marched around it seven times. 6:16 The seventh time around, the priests blew the rams’ horns and Joshua told the army, “Give the battle cry, for the Lord is handing the city over to you! 6:17 The city and all that is in it must be set apart for the Lord, except for Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house, because she hid the spies we sent. 6:18 But be careful when you are setting apart the riches for the Lord. If you take any of it, you will make the Israelite camp subject to annihilation and cause a disaster. 6:19 All the silver and gold, as well as bronze and iron items, belong to the Lord. They must go into the Lord’s treasury.”
6:20 The rams’ horns sounded and when the army heard the signal, they gave a loud battle cry. The wall collapsed and the warriors charged straight ahead into the city and captured it. 6:21 They annihilated with the sword everything that breathed in the city, including men and women, young and old, as well as cattle, sheep, and donkeys. 6:22 Joshua told the two men who had spied on the land, “Enter the prostitute’s house and bring out the woman and all who belong to her as you promised her.” 6:23 So the young spies went and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and took them to a place outside the Israelite camp. 6:24 But they burned the city and all that was in it, except for the silver, gold, and bronze and iron items they put in the treasury of the Lord’s house. 6:25 Yet Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s family, and all who belonged to her. She lives in Israel to this very day because she hid the messengers Joshua sent to spy on Jericho. 6:26 At that time Joshua made this solemn declaration: “The man who attempts to rebuild this city of Jericho will stand condemned before the Lord. He will lose his firstborn son when he lays its foundations and his youngest son when he erects its gates!” 6:27 The Lord was with Joshua and he became famous throughout the land.
Lord, You are the power and we are Your tools, what You say will be will be. May Joshua be one of my Biblical role models for faithful service to You.
Scripture In Perspective
While all of the men of age to serve in the military at the time of the exodus had been circumcised, they and the elderly men died in the 40 years of wandering, but the younger men had never been circumcised.
The Lord God instructed Joshua to have them circumcised as they were ritually unclean. After a time of healing the people then celebrated Passover and ate of the local food – at which time the Manna ceased to fall and never was seen again.
What appeared to the eyes of Joshua to be a man appeared before him with a sword, so Joshua issued the common challenge, are you friend or foe. The bring answered that He was the commander of the armies of God. The implied message was that He was on the side of God, and therefore on the side of whoever was faithful to Him.
[Note: Joshua bowed to the “man” and referred to Him as “my Lord”. The being responded that he must remove his sandals because he was on “holy ground”. Two keys here are that the only other references to “holy ground” was when Moses in the presence of God on the mountain, and that in every other case of a person bowing to a mere angel there was an immediate instruction to stand as one only bows to God. Therefore, this suggests that Joshua was in the presence of either Jesus or the Holy Spirit.]
The Lord God then instructed Joshua to have the priests with the ark lead a silent procession around Jericho for six days, then on the seventh to make the circle seven times immediately concluded with a battle cry from the soldiers – at which moment He would cause the walls to collapse and the soldiers could charge directly into the city. Joshua gave that instruction and included a reminder to protect Rahab’s family and to dedicate all of the silver, gold, bronze, and iron to “the Lord’s service” [the priests].
It happened as the Lord God had said, everything in the city was destroyed except for the metals given to the priests, Rahab’s family was rescued and moved to a place outside of the Israelite camp, and a curse was pronounced on anyone who attempted to rebuild Jericho.
And as the Lord God had planned, his chosen leader for the Israelites – Joshua – became well-known as a symbol of the people of God who were blessed by God with victory that day..
Interact With The Text
The Lord God made clear that the victory was His and His chosen instruments were Joshua and the priests and not the might of an army or special weapons.
As the priests and army marched around Jericho what may have been the emotions and thoughts of the already-terrified residents of Jericho, the priests and soldiers for whom this was an unusual exercise, and of the watching Israelites?
While the Lord God protected Rahab’s family from the annihilation of her people it is notable that they were not relocated within the Israelite camp but outside of it. Only later, presumably once appropriate boundaries were established, were they allowed to take up residence among the Israelites.
When have you observed the Lord God performing a miracle in which He used unlikely methods and/or persons?
Faith In Action
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place in your life where He intends to do a miracle and where it will be clear that no man was responsible.
Today I will prayerfully seek an opportunity to be the Lord’s instrument as He reveals Himself through a miracle, however great or small, and I agree to testify of Him to anyone who asks about it. It may be Him leading me victory over a sin, Him using me to walk alongside another in such a victory, the salvation of one or more, the restoration of a prodigal, healing, or whatever He chooses.
Be Specific _____________________________________________
Tuesday (Joshua 7 - 8)
Achan Sins and is Punished
7:1 But the Israelites disobeyed the command about the city’s riches. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, stole some of the riches. The Lord was furious with the Israelites.
7:2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai (which is located near Beth Aven, east of Bethel) and instructed them, “Go up and spy on the land.” So the men went up and spied on Ai. 7:3 They returned and reported to Joshua, “Don’t send the whole army. About two or three thousand men are adequate to defeat Ai. Don’t tire out the whole army, for Ai is small.”
7:4 So about three thousand men went up, but they fled from the men of Ai. 7:5 The men of Ai killed about thirty-six of them and chased them from in front of the city gate all the way to the fissures and defeated them on the steep slope. The people’s courage melted away like water.
7:6 Joshua tore his clothes; he and the leaders of Israel lay face down on the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening and threw dirt on their heads. 7:7 Joshua prayed, “O, Master, Lord! Why did you bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites so they could destroy us? 7:8 If only we had been satisfied to live on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say now that Israel has retreated before its enemies? 7:9 When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will turn against us and destroy the very memory of us from the earth. What will you do to protect your great reputation?”
7:10 The Lord responded to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying there face down? 7:11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenantal commandment! They have taken some of the riches; they have stolen them and deceitfully put them among their own possessions. 7:12 The Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they retreat because they have become subject to annihilation. I will no longer be with you, unless you destroy what has contaminated you. 7:13 Get up! Ritually consecrate the people and tell them this: ‘Ritually consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, because the Lord God of Israel says, “You are contaminated, O Israel! You will not be able to stand before your enemies until you remove what is contaminating you.” 7:14 In the morning you must approach in tribal order. The tribe the Lord selects must approach by clans. The clan the Lord selects must approach by families. The family the Lord selects must approach man by man. 7:15 The one caught with the riches must be burned up along with all who belong to him, because he violated the Lord’s covenant and did such a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”
7:16 Bright and early the next morning Joshua made Israel approach in tribal order and the tribe of Judah was selected. 7:17 He then made the clans of Judah approach and the clan of the Zerahites was selected. He made the clan of the Zerahites approach and Zabdi was selected. 7:18 He then made Zabdi’s family approach man by man and Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was selected. 7:19 So Joshua said to Achan, “My son, honor the Lord God of Israel and give him praise! Tell me what you did; don’t hide anything from me!” 7:20 Achan told Joshua, “It is true. I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel in this way: 7:21 I saw among the goods we seized a nice robe from Babylon, two hundred silver pieces, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels. I wanted them, so I took them. They are hidden in the ground right in the middle of my tent with the silver underneath.”
7:22 Joshua sent messengers who ran to the tent. The things were hidden right in his tent, with the silver underneath. 7:23 They took it all from the middle of the tent, brought it to Joshua and all the Israelites, and placed it before the Lord. 7:24 Then Joshua and all Israel took Achan, son of Zerah, along with the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, ox, donkey, sheep, tent, and all that belonged to him and brought them up to the Valley of Disaster. 7:25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought disaster on us? The Lord will bring disaster on you today!” All Israel stoned him to death. (They also stoned and burned the others.) 7:26 Then they erected over him a large pile of stones (it remains to this very day) and the Lord’s anger subsided. So that place is called the Valley of Disaster to this very day.
Israel Conquers Ai
8:1 The Lord told Joshua, “Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! Take the whole army with you and march against Ai! See, I am handing over to you the king of Ai, along with his people, city, and land. 8:2 Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king, except you may plunder its goods and cattle. Set an ambush behind the city!”
8:3 Joshua and the whole army marched against Ai. Joshua selected thirty thousand brave warriors and sent them out at night. 8:4 He told them, “Look, set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from the city; all of you be ready! 8:5 I and all the troops who are with me will approach the city. When they come out to fight us like before, we will retreat from them. 8:6 They will attack us until we have lured them from the city, for they will say, ‘They are retreating from us like before.’ We will retreat from them. 8:7 Then you rise up from your hiding place and seize the city. The Lord your God will hand it over to you. 8:8 When you capture the city, set it on fire. Do as the Lord says! See, I have given you orders.” 8:9 Joshua sent them away and they went to their hiding place west of Ai, between Bethel and Ai. Joshua spent that night with the army.
8:10 Bright and early the next morning Joshua gathered the army, and he and the leaders of Israel marched at the head of it to Ai. 8:11 All the troops that were with him marched up and drew near the city. They camped north of Ai on the other side of the valley. 8:12 He took five thousand men and set an ambush west of the city between Bethel and Ai. 8:13 The army was in position – the main army north of the city and the rear guard west of the city. That night Joshua went into the middle of the valley.
8:14 When the king of Ai saw Israel, he and his whole army quickly got up the next day and went out to fight Israel at the meeting place near the Arabah. But he did not realize men were hiding behind the city. 8:15 Joshua and all Israel pretended to be defeated by them and they retreated along the way to the desert. 8:16 All the reinforcements in Ai were ordered to chase them; they chased Joshua and were lured away from the city. 8:17 No men were left in Ai or Bethel; they all went out after Israel. They left the city wide open and chased Israel.
8:18 The Lord told Joshua, “Hold out toward Ai the curved sword in your hand, for I am handing the city over to you.” So Joshua held out toward Ai the curved sword in his hand. 8:19 When he held out his hand, the men waiting in ambush rose up quickly from their place and attacked. They entered the city, captured it, and immediately set it on fire. 8:20 When the men of Ai turned around, they saw the smoke from the city ascending into the sky and were so shocked they were unable to flee in any direction. In the meantime the men who were retreating to the desert turned against their pursuers. 8:21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the men in ambush had captured the city and that the city was going up in smoke, they turned around and struck down the men of Ai. 8:22 At the same time the men who had taken the city came out to fight, and the men of Ai were trapped in the middle. The Israelites struck them down, leaving no survivors or refugees. 8:23 But they captured the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.
8:24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai who had chased them toward the desert (they all fell by the sword), all Israel returned to Ai and put the sword to it. 8:25 Twelve thousand men and women died that day, including all the men of Ai. 8:26 Joshua kept holding out his curved sword until Israel had annihilated all who lived in Ai. 8:27 But Israel did plunder the cattle and the goods of the city, in accordance with the Lord’s orders to Joshua. 8:28 Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanently uninhabited mound (it remains that way to this very day). 8:29 He hung the king of Ai on a tree, leaving him exposed until evening. At sunset Joshua ordered that his corpse be taken down from the tree. They threw it down at the entrance of the city gate and erected over it a large pile of stones (it remains to this very day).
8:30 Then Joshua built an altar for the Lord God of Israel on Mount Ebal, 8:31 just as Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded the Israelites. As described in the law scroll of Moses, it was made with uncut stones untouched by an iron tool. They offered burnt sacrifices on it and sacrificed tokens of peace. 8:32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua inscribed on the stones a duplicate of the law written by Moses. 8:33 All the people, rulers, leaders, and judges were standing on either side of the ark, in front of the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Both resident foreigners and native Israelites were there. Half the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and the other half in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the Lord’s servant had previously instructed to them to do for the formal blessing ceremony. 8:34 Then Joshua read aloud all the words of the law, including the blessings and the curses, just as they are written in the law scroll. 8:35 Joshua read aloud every commandment Moses had given before the whole assembly of Israel, including the women, children, and resident foreigners who lived among them.
Lord, You are holy and Your commands are to always be obeyed to the intent and letter if mankind wishes to receive the blessing from obedience to which they are associated. May I be intentional in following Your instructions carefully, turning neither to the left or to the right.
Scripture In Perspective
All seemed well with the taking of Jericho until the Israelites turned their sites on Ai. The spies reported a small military which could be easily overrun by a subset of the Israeli forces – but when their tried they were repelled and chased away.
The leaders were prostrate on the ground before the ark of the covenant and Joshua feared that the other nations would see them as weak and destroy them. The Lord God explained that someone had stolen what He said to destroy or give only to the priests from Jericho and therefore the entire nation had lost His protection, as He had warned.
God explained to Joshua how to find the perpetrator(s) and he did so, “Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah” was found to be guilty, and as God instructed he and his children and animals and tent and other property were brought to the “Valley of Disaster” where they were stoned to death by the people and then everything burned. Thus the ceremonial purity of the people before the holy and pure God was restored.
[Note: The text does not specifically mention Achan’s wife. Culturally, she would have been considered part of the “all that belonged to him”, so unless he was a widower she was likely killed along with the rest of the family.]
God gave to Joshua His plan to take and destroy the city and the people of Ai. This time they were allowed to plunder that city. Joshua’s standing as God’s instrument was evidenced by the curved sword he held toward the city until the mission was complete.
Joshua built an altar to the Lord on Mount Ebal as previously instructed by the Lord via Moses, he inscribed the ten commandments again on the stones he used, then he read the law to the people. They made sacrifices to the Lord God there.
Interact With The Text
The Lord God had warned that all of Israel was accountable for the actions of anyone in Israel, He had instructed that nothing but the metals survive Jericho and those were to go only to the priests, so there was no surprise to be had when Achan disobeyed – his punishment was both swift and terrible.
After God's clear instruction that He would go before them in battle and His choreography of the taking of Jericho, placing the priests in the lead with the Ark of the Covenant – bearing His presence – why would the Israelites think that they could then attack Ai without God's leadership?
The Lord God’s expectations were clearly stated and set high, but He also provided a path for restoration for His people.
When have you stumbled because you disobeyed God but then repented and He led you to a victory in your life?
Faith In Action
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place in your life where He wants to lead you to healing and wholeness so that He may use you in His ministry?
Today I will surrender to and partner with the Holy Spirit in the healing and restorative work He desires for my life. I will ask a fellow believer to pray in-agreement for courage and wisdom.
Be Specific _________________________________________________
Wednesday (Joshua 9)
The Gibeonites Deceive Israel
9:1 When the news reached all the kings on the west side of the Jordan – in the hill country, the lowlands, and all along the Mediterranean coast as far as Lebanon (including the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) – 9:2 they formed an alliance to fight against Joshua and Israel.
9:3 When the residents of Gibeon heard what Joshua did to Jericho and Ai, 9:4 they did something clever. They collected some provisions and put worn-out sacks on their donkeys, along with worn-out wineskins that were ripped and patched. 9:5 They had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet and dressed in worn-out clothes. All their bread was dry and hard.
9:6 They came to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land. Make a treaty with us.”
9:7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live near us. So how can we make a treaty with you?” 9:8 But they said to Joshua, “We are willing to be your subjects.” So Joshua said to them, “Who are you and where do you come from?” 9:9 They told him, “Your subjects have come from a very distant land because of the reputation of the Lord your God, for we have heard the news about all he did in Egypt 9:10 and all he did to the two Amorite kings on the other side of the Jordan – King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan in Ashtaroth.
9:11 Our leaders and all who live in our land told us, ‘Take provisions for your journey and go meet them. Tell them, “We are willing to be your subjects. Make a treaty with us.”‘ 9:12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it in our homes the day we started out to meet you, but now it is dry and hard. 9:13 These wineskins we filled were brand new, but look how they have ripped. Our clothes and sandals have worn out because it has been a very long journey.”
9:14 The men examined some of their provisions, but they failed to ask the Lord’s advice.
9:15 Joshua made a peace treaty with them and agreed to let them live. The leaders of the community sealed it with an oath.
9:16 Three days after they made the treaty with them, the Israelites found out they were from the local area and lived nearby.
9:17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day arrived at their cities – Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim.
9:18 The Israelites did not attack them because the leaders of the community had sworn an oath to them in the name of the Lord God of Israel. The whole community criticized the leaders, 9:19 but all the leaders told the whole community, “We swore an oath to them in the name of the Lord God of Israel. So now we can’t hurt them!
9:20 We must let them live so we can escape the curse attached to the oath we swore to them.”
9:21 The leaders then added, “Let them live.” So they became woodcutters and water carriers for the whole community, as the leaders had decided.
9:22 Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said to them, “Why did you trick us by saying, ‘We live far away from you,’ when you really live nearby? 9:23 Now you are condemned to perpetual servitude as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”
9:24 They said to Joshua, “It was carefully reported to your subjects how the Lord your God commanded Moses his servant to assign you the whole land and to destroy all who live in the land from before you. Because of you we were terrified we would lose our lives, so we did this thing.
9:25 So now we are in your power. Do to us what you think is good and appropriate. 9:26 Joshua did as they said; he kept the Israelites from killing them 9:27 and that day made them woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the Lord at the divinely chosen site. (They continue in that capacity to this very day.)
Lord, You are always there for us, may I always remember to pray without ceasing so that I may have the inestimable value of Your perfect wisdom in all decisions.
Scripture In Perspective
People in the region in the path of the advancing Israelites created an alliance against them and the Gibeonites hatched a scheme to trick them. They used old clothes and bread and wineskins to appear to have traveled a distance, lied and said they from a distance, and pleaded for a treaty.
The Gibeonites were actually people from a nearby region which included the cities of Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim, they were sometimes referred to as Hivites.
Joshua and the elders and other leaders failed to consult the Lord but trusted instead in the word of their enemies and the evidence of their human eyes and made a treaty, but 3 days later they discovered the truth.
Joshua challenged the leaders of the Gibeonites for deceiving them to which they replied that they expected to be annihilated so the ruse was their only hope of survival. Joshua kept his oath-bound word and made them water and wood carriers for the people and the priests.
Interact With The Text
The Gibeonites were in a no-win situation, had they not acted deceitfully they faced annihilation, rather they manipulated the circumstances to became servants to a people with the blessings of the almighty God.
What foolish pride motivated Joshua to not pause to consult God, especially considering all that he had heard and seen?
Their oath-bound word given could not be withdrawn, so the Israelites now had to live with a pagan nation dwelling among them – choices have consequences.
When have you been deceived by someone who misled you? Were you without God’s perspective because you failed to seek Him directly in prayer, and indirectly through His people around you?
Faith In Action
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you need to slow down and consult Him before making a commitment.
Today I will pause from a rush to decision and prayerfully seek God’s wisdom in His Word, in my time alone with Him, and through those whom He has equipped to Biblically counsel me. I will consult one who is Biblically-qualified as an elder to prayerfully reflect with me on the decision before me.
Be Specific ________________________________________________
Thursday (Joshua 10 - 12)
Israel Defeats an Amorite Coalition
10:1 Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua captured Ai and annihilated it and its king as he did Jericho and its king. He also heard how the people of Gibeon made peace with Israel and lived among them. 10:2 All Jerusalem was terrified because Gibeon was a large city, like one of the royal cities. It was larger than Ai and all its men were warriors. 10:3 So King Adoni-Zedek of Jerusalem sent this message to King Hoham of Hebron, King Piram of Jarmuth, King Japhia of Lachish, and King Debir of Eglon: 10:4 “Come to my aid so we can attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.” 10:5 So the five Amorite kings (the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon) and all their troops gathered together and advanced. They deployed their troops and fought against Gibeon.
10:6 The men of Gibeon sent this message to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, “Do not abandon your subjects! Rescue us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings living in the hill country are attacking us.” 10:7 So Joshua and his whole army, including the bravest warriors, marched up from Gilgal. 10:8 The Lord told Joshua, “Don’t be afraid of them, for I am handing them over to you. Not one of them can resist you.” 10:9 Joshua attacked them by surprise after marching all night from Gilgal. 10:10 The Lord routed them before Israel. Israel thoroughly defeated them at Gibeon. They chased them up the road to the pass of Beth Horon and struck them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 10:11 As they fled from Israel on the slope leading down from Beth Horon, the Lord threw down on them large hailstones from the sky, all the way to Azekah. They died – in fact, more died from the hailstones than the Israelites killed with the sword.
10:12 The day the Lord delivered the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua prayed to the Lord before Israel:
“O sun, stand still over Gibeon!
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon!”
10:13 The sun stood still and the moon stood motionless while the nation took vengeance on its enemies. The event is recorded in the Scroll of the Upright One. The sun stood motionless in the middle of the sky and did not set for about a full day. 10:14 There has not been a day like it before or since. The Lord obeyed a man, for the Lord fought for Israel! 10:15 Then Joshua and all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.
10:16 The five Amorite kings ran away and hid in the cave at Makkedah. 10:17 Joshua was told, “The five kings have been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah.” 10:18 Joshua said, “Roll large stones over the mouth of the cave and post guards in front of it. 10:19 But don’t you delay! Chase your enemies and catch them! Don’t allow them to retreat to their cities, for the Lord your God is handing them over to you.” 10:20 Joshua and the Israelites almost totally wiped them out, but some survivors did escape to the fortified cities. 10:21 Then the whole army safely returned to Joshua at the camp in Makkedah. No one dared threaten the Israelites. 10:22 Joshua said, “Open the cave’s mouth and bring the five kings out of the cave to me.” 10:23 They did as ordered; they brought the five kings out of the cave to him – the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 10:24 When they brought the kings out to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the commanders of the troops who accompanied him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came up and put their feet on their necks. 10:25 Then Joshua said to them, “Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! Be strong and brave, for the Lord will do the same thing to all your enemies you fight. 10:26 Then Joshua executed them and hung them on five trees. They were left hanging on the trees until evening. 10:27 At sunset Joshua ordered his men to take them down from the trees. They threw them into the cave where they had hidden and piled large stones over the mouth of the cave. (They remain to this very day.)
Joshua Launches a Southern Campaign
10:28 That day Joshua captured Makkedah and put the sword to it and its king. He annihilated everyone who lived in it; he left no survivors. He did to its king what he had done to the king of Jericho.
10:29 Joshua and all Israel marched from Makkedah to Libnah and fought against it. 10:30 The Lord handed it and its king over to Israel, and Israel put the sword to all who lived there; they left no survivors. They did to its king what they had done to the king of Jericho.
10:31 Joshua and all Israel marched from Libnah to Lachish. He deployed his troops and fought against it. 10:32 The Lord handed Lachish over to Israel and they captured it on the second day. They put the sword to all who lived there, just as they had done to Libnah. 10:33 Then King Horam of Gezer came up to help Lachish, but Joshua struck down him and his army until no survivors remained.
10:34 Joshua and all Israel marched from Lachish to Eglon. They deployed troops and fought against it. 10:35 That day they captured it and put the sword to all who lived there. That day they annihilated it just as they had done to Lachish.
10:36 Joshua and all Israel marched up from Eglon to Hebron and fought against it. 10:37 They captured it and put the sword to its king, all its surrounding cities, and all who lived in it; they left no survivors. As they had done at Eglon, they annihilated it and all who lived there.
10:38 Joshua and all Israel turned to Debir and fought against it. 10:39 They captured it, its king, and all its surrounding cities and put the sword to them. They annihilated everyone who lived there; they left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king what they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.
10:40 Joshua defeated the whole land, including the hill country, the Negev, the lowlands, the slopes, and all their kings. He left no survivors. He annihilated everything that breathed, just as the Lord God of Israel had commanded. 10:41 Joshua conquered the area between Kadesh Barnea and Gaza and the whole region of Goshen, all the way to Gibeon. 10:42 Joshua captured in one campaign all these kings and their lands, for the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. 10:43 Then Joshua and all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.
Israel Defeats a Northern Coalition
11:1 When King Jabin of Hazor heard the news, he organized a coalition, including King Jobab of Madon, the king of Shimron, the king of Acshaph, 11:2 and the northern kings who ruled in the hill country, the Arabah south of Kinnereth, the lowlands, and the heights of Dor to the west. 11:3 Canaanites came from the east and west; Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, and Jebusites from the hill country; and Hivites from below Hermon in the area of Mizpah. 11:4 These kings came out with their armies; they were as numerous as the sand on the seashore and had a large number of horses and chariots. 11:5 All these kings gathered and joined forces at the Waters of Merom to fight Israel.
11:6 The Lord told Joshua, “Don’t be afraid of them, for about this time tomorrow I will cause all of them to lie dead before Israel. You must hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” 11:7 Joshua and his whole army caught them by surprise at the Waters of Merom and attacked them. 11:8 The Lord handed them over to Israel and they struck them down and chased them all the way to Greater Sidon, Misrephoth Maim, and the Mizpah Valley to the east. They struck them down until no survivors remained. 11:9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had commanded him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.
11:10 At that time Joshua turned, captured Hazor, and struck down its king with the sword, for Hazor was at that time the leader of all these kingdoms. 11:11 They annihilated everyone who lived there with the sword – no one who breathed remained – and burned Hazor.
11:12 Joshua captured all these royal cities and all their kings and annihilated them with the sword, as Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded. 11:13 But Israel did not burn any of the cities located on mounds, except for Hazor; it was the only one Joshua burned. 11:14 The Israelites plundered all the goods of these cities and the cattle, but they totally destroyed all the people and allowed no one who breathed to live. 11:15 Moses the Lord’s servant passed on the Lord’s commands to Joshua, and Joshua did as he was told. He did not ignore any of the commands the Lord had given Moses.
A Summary of Israel’s Victories
11:16 Joshua conquered the whole land, including the hill country, all the Negev, all the land of Goshen, the lowlands, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowlands, 11:17 from Mount Halak on up to Seir, as far as Baal Gad in the Lebanon Valley below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and executed them. 11:18 Joshua campaigned against these kings for quite some time. 11:19 No city made peace with the Israelites (except the Hivites living in Gibeon); they had to conquer all of them, 11:20 for the Lord determined to make them obstinate so they would attack Israel. He wanted Israel to annihilate them without mercy, as he had instructed Moses.
11:21 At that time Joshua attacked and eliminated the Anakites from the hill country – from Hebron, Debir, Anab, and all the hill country of Judah and Israel. Joshua annihilated them and their cities. 11:22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory, though some remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. 11:23 Joshua conquered the whole land, just as the Lord had promised Moses, and he assigned Israel their tribal portions. Then the land was free of war.
12:1 Now these are the kings of the land whom the Israelites defeated and drove from their land on the east side of the Jordan, from the Arnon Valley to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern Arabah:
12:2 King Sihon of the Amorites who lived in Heshbon and ruled from Aroer (on the edge of the Arnon Valley) – including the city in the middle of the valley and half of Gilead – all the way to the Jabbok Valley bordering Ammonite territory. 12:3 His kingdom included the eastern Arabah from the Sea of Kinnereth to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea), including the route to Beth Jeshimoth and the area southward below the slopes of Pisgah.
12:4 The territory of King Og of Bashan, one of the few remaining Rephaites, who lived in Ashtaroth and Edrei 12:5 and ruled over Mount Hermon, Salecah, all of Bashan to the border of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and half of Gilead as far as the border of King Sihon of Heshbon.
12:6 Moses the Lord’s servant and the Israelites defeated them and Moses the Lord’s servant assigned their land to Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.
12:7 These are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the Israelites defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Lebanon Valley to Mount Halak on up to Seir. Joshua assigned this territory to the Israelite tribes, 12:8 including the hill country, the lowlands, the Arabah, the slopes, the wilderness, and the Negev – the land of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites:
12:9 the king of Jericho (one), the king of Ai – located near Bethel – (one), 12:10 the king of Jerusalem (one), the king of Hebron (one), 12:11 the king of Jarmuth (one), the king of Lachish (one), 12:12 the king of Eglon (one), the king of Gezer (one), 12:13 the king of Debir (one), the king of Geder (one), 12:14 the king of Hormah (one), the king of Arad (one), 12:15 the king of Libnah (one), the king of Adullam (one), 12:16 the king of Makkedah (one), the king of Bethel (one), 12:17 the king of Tappuah (one), the king of Hepher (one), 12:18 the king of Aphek (one), the king of Lasharon (one), 12:19 the king of Madon (one), the king of Hazor (one), 12:20 the king of Shimron Meron (one), the king of Acshaph (one), 12:21 the king of Taanach (one), the king of Megiddo (one), 12:22 the king of Kedesh (one), the king of Jokneam near Carmel (one), 12:23 the king of Dor – near Naphath Dor – (one), the king of Goyim – near Gilgal – (one), 12:24 the king of Tirzah (one), a total of thirty-one kings.
Lord, no person or nation or every nation on earth can stand against You, or against those whom You send. When I feel powerless may I remember that You are my power when I stand with You.
Scripture In Perspective
The five kings of those remaining in the alliance of nation-state/cities, whom the Gibeonites had abandoned to make a truce with Israel, attacked then in vengeance so the Gibeonites asked Israel for help.
The Lord God told Joshua that he would deliver those nations to him so they defeated and chased them, then God killed more with hailstones than had died in battle, and finally - at Joshua’s request - God caused the sun to stand still as Israel continued to put their enemies to the sword.
The five kings escaped to some caves and Joshua had large stones placed to trap them while the soldiers continue to destroy their remaining forces. Despite his encouragement to allow none to escape a few survivors of the alliance managed to return alive to their fortified cities.
Joshua then had the stones rolled back and the kings brought to him. He instructed soldiers to put their feet on their necks and challenged them to not be afraid of mere human kings because the Lord God was allied with them. He then executed the kings, hung them on trees, and at sunset had their bodies thrown into the caves and the stones rolled back to seal them. Joshua then turned south and defeated and obliterated the nations and kings there.
The kings to the north then created an alliance, but even with the help of fighters left over from those who had attacked the Gibeonites, they were overwhelmed and defeated by Joshua’s men. Their leader was the king of Hazor, he was killed as well as the other kings and their men, but of those cities on the mounds only his city was burned. Israel plundered all of the nations that they defeated.
Interact With The Text
Despite the evidence of overwhelming power only the Gibeonites were clever enough to survive, the rest were obliterated as God used their pride against them so that Joshua could eliminate them from the land.
Given all of the evidence of the irresistible power of God that was allied with Joshua’s army why would the kings not have sued for peace or fled to another land?
All of the things that those who hated God had labored to gather now became the possession of Israel.
When have you found yourself arguing with God, or acting in ways in opposition of His clear will? How did that work out for you?
Faith In Action
Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the irresistible power of God.
Today I will take some time to celebrate our awesome God with one or more fellow believers.
Be Specific _____________________________________________
Friday (Joshua 13 - 21)
The Lord Speaks to Joshua
13:1 When Joshua was very old, the Lord told him, “You are very old, and a great deal of land remains to be conquered. 13:2 This is the land that remains: all the territory of the Philistines and all the Geshurites, 13:3 from the Shihor River east of Egypt northward to the territory of Ekron (it is regarded as Canaanite territory), including the area belonging to the five Philistine lords who ruled in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron, as well as Avvite land 13:4 to the south; all the Canaanite territory, from Arah in the region of Sidon to Aphek, as far as Amorite territory; 13:5 the territory of Byblos and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 13:6 I will drive out before the Israelites all who live in the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, all the Sidonians; you be sure to parcel it out to Israel as I instructed you.” 13:7 Now, divide up this land among the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.”
Tribal Lands East of the Jordan
13:8 The other half of Manasseh, Reuben, and Gad received their allotted tribal lands beyond the Jordan, just as Moses, the Lord’s servant, had assigned them. 13:9 Their territory started from Aroer (on the edge of the Arnon Valley), included the city in the middle of the valley, the whole plain of Medeba as far as Dibon, 13:10 and all the cities of King Sihon of the Amorites who ruled in Heshbon, and ended at the Ammonite border. 13:11 Their territory also included Gilead, Geshurite and Maacathite territory, all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah – 13:12 the whole kingdom of Og in Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth and Edrei. (He was one of the few remaining Rephaites.) Moses defeated them and took their lands. 13:13 But the Israelites did not conquer the Geshurites and Maacathites; Geshur and Maacah live among Israel to this very day. 13:14 However, Moses did not assign land as an inheritance to the Levites; their inheritance is the sacrificial offerings made to the Lord God of Israel, as he instructed them.
13:15 Moses assigned land to the tribe of Reuben by its clans. 13:16 Their territory started at Aroer (on the edge of the Arnon Valley) and included the city in the middle of the valley, the whole plain of Medeba, 13:17 Heshbon and all its surrounding cities on the plain, including Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 13:18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 13:19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the hill in the valley, 13:20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth. 13:21 It encompassed all the cities of the plain and the whole realm of King Sihon of the Amorites who ruled in Heshbon. Moses defeated him and the Midianite leaders Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba (they were subjects of Sihon and lived in his territory). 13:22 The Israelites killed Balaam son of Beor, the omen reader, along with the others. 13:23 The border of the tribe of Reuben was the Jordan. The land allotted to the tribe of Reuben by its clans included these cities and their towns.
13:24 Moses assigned land to the tribe of Gad by its clans. 13:25 Their territory included Jazer, all the cities of Gilead, and half of Ammonite territory as far as Aroer near Rabbah. 13:26 Their territory ran from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir. 13:27 It included the valley of Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, and the rest of the realm of King Sihon of Heshbon, the area east of the Jordan to the end of the Sea of Kinnereth. 13:28 The land allotted to the tribe of Gad by its clans included these cities and their towns.
13:29 Moses assigned land to the half-tribe of Manasseh by its clans. 13:30 Their territory started at Mahanaim and encompassed all Bashan, the whole realm of King Og of Bashan, including all sixty cities in Havvoth Jair in Bashan. 13:31 Half of Gilead, Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities in the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were assigned to the descendants of Makir son of Manasseh, to half the descendants of Makir by their clans.
13:32 These are the land assignments made by Moses on the plains of Moab east of the Jordan River opposite Jericho. 13:33 However, Moses did not assign land as an inheritance to the Levites; their inheritance is the Lord God of Israel, as he instructed them.
Judah’s Tribal Lands
14:1 The following is a record of the territory assigned to the Israelites in the land of Canaan by Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the Israelite tribal leaders. 14:2 The land assignments to the nine-and-a-half tribes were made by drawing lots, as the Lord had instructed Moses. 14:3 Now Moses had assigned land to the two-and-a-half tribes east of the Jordan, but he assigned no land to the Levites. 14:4 The descendants of Joseph were considered as two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites were allotted no territory, though they were assigned cities in which to live, along with the grazing areas for their cattle and possessions. 14:5 The Israelites followed the Lord’s instructions to Moses and divided up the land.
14:6 The men of Judah approached Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said about you and me to Moses, the man of God, at Kadesh Barnea. 14:7 I was forty years old when Moses, the Lord’s servant, sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy on the land and I brought back to him an honest report. 14:8 My countrymen who accompanied me frightened the people, but I remained loyal to the Lord my God. 14:9 That day Moses made this solemn promise: ‘Surely the land on which you walked will belong to you and your descendants permanently, for you remained loyal to the Lord your God.’ 14:10 So now, look, the Lord has preserved my life, just as he promised, these past forty-five years since the Lord spoke these words to Moses, during which Israel traveled through the wilderness. Now look, I am today eighty-five years old. 14:11 Today I am still as strong as when Moses sent me out. I can fight and go about my daily activities with the same energy I had then. 14:12 Now, assign me this hill country which the Lord promised me at that time! No doubt you heard at that time that the Anakites live there in large, fortified cities. But, assuming the Lord is with me, I will conquer them, as the Lord promised.” 14:13 Joshua asked God to empower Caleb son of Jephunneh and assigned him Hebron. 14:14 So Hebron remains the assigned land of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this very day because he remained loyal to the Lord God of Israel. 14:15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba. Arba was a famous Anakite.) Then the land was free of war.
15:1 The land allotted to the tribe of Judah by its clans reached to the border of Edom, to the Wilderness of Zin in the Negev far to the south. 15:2 Their southern border started at the southern tip of the Salt Sea, 15:3 extended south of the Scorpion Ascent, crossed to Zin, went up from the south to Kadesh Barnea, crossed to Hezron, went up to Addar, and turned toward Karka. 15:4 It then crossed to Azmon, extended to the Stream of Egypt, and ended at the sea. This was their southern border.
15:5 The eastern border was the Salt Sea to the mouth of the Jordan River.
The northern border started north of the Salt Sea at the mouth of the Jordan, 15:6 went up to Beth Hoglah, crossed north of Beth Arabah, and went up to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 15:7 It then went up to Debir from the Valley of Achor, turning northward to Gilgal (which is opposite the Pass of Adummim south of the valley), crossed to the waters of En Shemesh and extended to En Rogel. 15:8 It then went up the Valley of Ben Hinnom to the slope of the Jebusites on the south (that is, Jerusalem), going up to the top of the hill opposite the Valley of Ben Hinnom to the west, which is at the end of the Valley of the Rephaites to the north. 15:9 It then went from the top of the hill to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, extended to the cities of Mount Ephron, and went to Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim). 15:10 It then turned from Baalah westward to Mount Seir, crossed to the slope of Mount Jearim on the north (that is Kesalon), descended to Beth Shemesh, and crossed to Timnah. 15:11 It then extended to the slope of Ekron to the north, went toward Shikkeron, crossed to Mount Baalah, extended to Jabneel, and ended at the sea.
15:12 The western border was the Mediterranean Sea. These were the borders of the tribe of Judah and its clans.
15:13 Caleb son of Jephunneh was assigned Kiriath Arba (that is Hebron) within the tribe of Judah, according to the Lord’s instructions to Joshua. (Arba was the father of Anak.) 15:14 Caleb drove out from there three Anakites – Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, descendants of Anak. 15:15 From there he attacked the people of Debir. (Debir used to be called Kiriath Sepher.) 15:16 Caleb said, “To the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher I will give my daughter Acsah as a wife.” 15:17 When Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, captured it, Caleb gave Acsah his daughter to him as a wife.
15:18 One time Acsah came and charmed her father so that she could ask him for some land. When she got down from her donkey, Caleb said to her, “What would you like?” 15:19 She answered, “Please give me a special present. Since you have given me land in the Negev, now give me springs of water. So he gave her both upper and lower springs.
15:20 This is the land assigned to the tribe of Judah by its clans: 15:21 These cities were located at the southern extremity of Judah’s tribal land near the border of Edom: Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 15:22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 15:23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 15:24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 15:25 Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor), 15:26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 15:27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshbon, Beth Pelet, 15:28 Hazar Shual, Beer Sheba, Biziothiah, 15:29 Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 15:30 Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, 15:31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 15:32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon – a total of twenty-nine cities and their towns.
15:33 These cities were in the lowlands: Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 15:34 Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 15:35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 15:36 Shaaraim, Adithaim, and Gederah (or Gederothaim) – a total of fourteen cities and their towns.
15:37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad, 15:38 Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 15:39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 15:40 Cabbon, Lahmas, Kitlish, 15:41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah, and Makkedah – a total of sixteen cities and their towns.
15:42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 15:43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 15:44 Keilah, Aczib, and Mareshah – a total of nine cities and their towns.
15:45 Ekron and its surrounding towns and settlements; 15:46 from Ekron westward, all those in the vicinity of Ashdod and their towns; 15:47 Ashdod with its surrounding towns and settlements, and Gaza with its surrounding towns and settlements, as far as the Stream of Egypt and the border at the Mediterranean Sea.
15:48 These cities were in the hill country: Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 15:49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir), 15:50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 15:51 Goshen, Holon, and Giloh – a total of eleven cities and their towns.
15:52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 15:53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 15:54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior – a total of nine cities and their towns.
15:55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 15:56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 15:57 Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah – a total of ten cities and their towns.
15:58 Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, 15:59 Maarath, Beth Anoth, and Eltekon – a total of six cities and their towns.
15:60 Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah – a total of two cities and their towns.
15:61 These cities were in the desert: Beth Arabah, Middin, Secacah, 15:62 Nibshan, the city of Salt, and En Gedi – a total of six cities and their towns.
15:63 The men of Judah were unable to conquer the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. The Jebusites live with the people of Judah in Jerusalem to this very day.
Joseph’s Tribal Lands
16:1 The land allotted to Joseph’s descendants extended from the Jordan at Jericho to the waters of Jericho to the east, through the desert and on up from Jericho into the hill country of Bethel. 16:2 The southern border extended from Bethel to Luz, and crossed to Arkite territory at Ataroth. 16:3 It then descended westward to Japhletite territory, as far as the territory of lower Beth Horon and Gezer, and ended at the sea.
16:4 Joseph’s descendants, Manasseh and Ephraim, were assigned their land. 16:5 The territory of the tribe of Ephraim by its clans included the following: The border of their assigned land to the east was Ataroth Addar as far as upper Beth Horon. 16:6 It then extended on to the sea, with Micmethath on the north. It turned eastward to Taanath Shiloh and crossed it on the east to Janoah. 16:7 It then descended from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, touched Jericho, and extended to the Jordan River. 16:8 From Tappuah it went westward to the Valley of Kanah and ended at the sea. This is the land assigned to the tribe of Ephraim by its clans. 16:9 Also included were the cities set apart for the tribe of Ephraim within Manasseh’s territory, along with their towns.
16:10 The Ephraimites did not conquer the Canaanites living in Gezer. The Canaanites live among the Ephraimites to this very day and do hard labor as their servants.
17:1 The tribe of Manasseh, Joseph’s firstborn son, was also allotted land. The descendants of Makir, Manasseh’s firstborn and the father of Gilead, received land, for they were warriors. They were assigned Gilead and Bashan. 17:2 The rest of Manasseh’s descendants were also assigned land by their clans, including the descendants of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These are the male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph by their clans.
17:3 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Makir, son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters. These are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 17:4 They went before Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, “The Lord told Moses to assign us land among our relatives.” So Joshua assigned them land among their uncles, as the Lord had commanded. 17:5 Manasseh was allotted ten shares of land, in addition to the land of Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan, 17:6 for the daughters of Manasseh were assigned land among his sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh.
17:7 The border of Manasseh went from Asher to Micmethath which is near Shechem. It then went south toward those who live in Tappuah. 17:8 (The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah, located on the border of Manasseh, belonged to the tribe of Ephraim.) 17:9 The border then descended southward to the Valley of Kanah. Ephraim was assigned cities there among the cities of Manasseh, but the border of Manasseh was north of the valley and ended at the sea. 17:10 Ephraim’s territory was to the south, and Manasseh’s to the north. The sea was Manasseh’s western border and their territory touched Asher on the north and Issachar on the east. 17:11 Within Issachar’s and Asher’s territory Manasseh was assigned Beth Shean, Ibleam, the residents of Dor, En Dor, the residents of Taanach, the residents of Megiddo, the three of Napheth, and the towns surrounding all these cities. 17:12 But the men of Manasseh were unable to conquer these cities; the Canaanites managed to remain in those areas. 17:13 Whenever the Israelites were strong militarily, they forced the Canaanites to do hard labor, but they never totally conquered them.
17:14 The descendants of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you assigned us only one tribal allotment? After all, we have many people, for until now the Lord has enabled us to increase in number.” 17:15 Joshua replied to them, “Since you have so many people, go up into the forest and clear out a place to live in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites, for the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you.” 17:16 The descendants of Joseph said, “The whole hill country is inadequate for us, and the Canaanites living down in the valley in Beth Shean and its surrounding towns and in the Valley of Jezreel have chariots with iron-rimmed wheels.” 17:17 Joshua said to the family of Joseph – to both Ephraim and Manasseh: “You have many people and great military strength. You will not have just one tribal allotment. 17:18 The whole hill country will be yours; though it is a forest, you can clear it and it will be entirely yours. You can conquer the Canaanites, though they have chariots with iron-rimmed wheels and are strong.”
The Tribes Meet at Shiloh
18:1 The entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh and there they set up the tent of meeting. Though they had subdued the land, 18:2 seven Israelite tribes had not been assigned their allotted land. 18:3 So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long do you intend to put off occupying the land the Lord God of your ancestors has given you? 18:4 Pick three men from each tribe. I will send them out to walk through the land and make a map of it for me. 18:5 Divide it into seven regions. Judah will stay in its territory in the south, and the family of Joseph in its territory in the north. 18:6 But as for you, map out the land into seven regions and bring it to me. I will draw lots for you here before the Lord our God. 18:7 But the Levites will not have an allotted portion among you, for their inheritance is to serve the Lord. Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have already received their allotted land east of the Jordan which Moses the Lord’s servant assigned them.”
18:8 When the men started out, Joshua told those going to map out the land, “Go, walk through the land, map it out, and return to me. Then I will draw lots for you before the Lord here in Shiloh.” 18:9 The men journeyed through the land and mapped it and its cities out into seven regions on a scroll. Then they came to Joshua at the camp in Shiloh. 18:10 Joshua drew lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord and divided the land among the Israelites according to their allotted portions.
Benjamin’s Tribal Lands
18:11 The first lot belonged to the tribe of Benjamin by its clans. Their allotted territory was between Judah and Joseph. 18:12 Their northern border started at the Jordan, went up to the slope of Jericho on the north, ascended westward to the hill country, and extended to the desert of Beth Aven. 18:13 It then crossed from there to Luz, to the slope of Luz to the south (that is, Bethel), and descended to Ataroth Addar located on the hill that is south of lower Beth Horon. 18:14 It then turned on the west side southward from the hill near Beth Horon on the south and extended to Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim), a city belonging to the tribe of Judah. This is the western border. 18:15 The southern side started on the edge of Kiriath Jearim and extended westward to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah. 18:16 The border then descended to the edge of the hill country near the Valley of Ben Hinnom located in the Valley of the Rephaites to the north. It descended through the Valley of Hinnom to the slope of the Jebusites to the south and then down to En Rogel. 18:17 It went northward, extending to En Shemesh and Geliloth opposite the Pass of Adummim, and descended to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 18:18 It crossed to the slope in front of the Arabah to the north and descended into the Arabah. 18:19 It then crossed to the slope of Beth Hoglah to the north and ended at the northern tip of the Salt Sea at the mouth of the Jordan River. This was the southern border. 18:20 The Jordan River borders it on the east. These were the borders of the land assigned to the tribe of Benjamin by its clans.
18:21 These cities belonged to the tribe of Benjamin by its clans: Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, 18:22 Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 18:23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 18:24 Kephar Ammoni, Ophni, and Geba – a total of twelve cities and their towns.
18:25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 18:26 Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah, 18:27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 18:28 Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah, and Kiriath – a total of fourteen cities and their towns. This was the land assigned to the tribe of Benjamin by its clans.
Simeon’s Tribal Lands
19:1 The second lot belonged to the tribe of Simeon by its clans. 19:2 Their assigned land included Beer Sheba, Moladah, 19:3 Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem, 19:4 Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, 19:5 Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah, 19:6 Beth Lebaoth, and Sharuhen – a total of thirteen cities and their towns, 19:7 Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan – a total of four cities and their towns, 19:8 as well as all the towns around these cities as far as Baalath Beer (Ramah of the Negev). This was the land assigned to the tribe of Simeon by its clans. 19:9 Simeon’s assigned land was taken from Judah’s allotted portion, for Judah’s territory was too large for them; so Simeon was assigned land within Judah.
Zebulun’s Tribal Lands
19:10 The third lot belonged to the tribe of Zebulun by its clans. The border of their territory extended to Sarid. 19:11 Their border went up westward to Maralah and touched Dabbesheth and the valley near Jokneam. 19:12 From Sarid it turned eastward to the territory of Kisloth Tabor, extended to Daberath, and went up to Japhia. 19:13 From there it crossed eastward to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin and extended to Rimmon, turning toward Neah. 19:14 It then turned on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtah El. 19:15 Their territory included Kattah, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem; in all they had twelve cities and their towns. 19:16 This was the land assigned to the tribe of Zebulun by its clans, including these cities and their towns.
Issachar’s Tribal Lands
19:17 The fourth lot belonged to the tribe of Issachar by its clans. 19:18 Their assigned land included Jezreel, Kesulloth, Shunem, 19:19 Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 19:20 Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 19:21 Remeth, En Gannim, En Haddah and Beth Pazzez. 19:22 Their border touched Tabor, Shahazumah, and Beth Shemesh, and ended at the Jordan. They had sixteen cities and their towns. 19:23 This was the land assigned to the tribe of Issachar by its clans, including the cities and their towns.
Asher’s Tribal Lands
19:24 The fifth lot belonged to the tribe of Asher by its clans. 19:25 Their territory included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Acshaph, 19:26 Alammelech, Amad, and Mishal. Their border touched Carmel to the west and Shihor Libnath. 19:27 It turned eastward toward Beth Dagon, touched Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtah El to the north, as well as the Valley of Emek and Neiel, and extended to Cabul on the north 19:28 and on to Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, and Kanah, as far as Greater Sidon. 19:29 It then turned toward Ramah as far as the fortified city of Tyre, turned to Hosah, and ended at the sea near Hebel, Aczib, 19:30 Umah, Aphek, and Rehob. In all they had twenty-two cities and their towns. 19:31 This was the land assigned to the tribe of Asher by its clans, including these cities and their towns.
Naphtali’s Tribal Lands
19:32 The sixth lot belonged to the tribe of Naphtali by its clans. 19:33 Their border started at Heleph and the oak of Zaanannim, went to Adami Nekeb, Jabneel and on to Lakkum, and ended at the Jordan River. 19:34 It turned westward to Aznoth Tabor, extended from there to Hukok, touched Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west, and the Jordan on the east. 19:35 The fortified cities included Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Kinnereth, 19:36 Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 19:37 Kedesh, Edrei, En Hazor, 19:38 Yiron, Migdal El, Horem, Beth Anath, and Beth Shemesh. In all they had nineteen cities and their towns. 19:39 This was the land assigned to the tribe of Naphtali by its clans, including the cities and their towns.
Dan’s Tribal Lands
19:40 The seventh lot belonged to the tribe of Dan by its clans. 19:41 Their assigned land included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir Shemesh, 19:42 Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 19:43 Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 19:44 Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 19:45 Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon, 19:46 the waters of Jarkon, and Rakkon, including the territory in front of Joppa. 19:47 (The Danites failed to conquer their territory, so they went up and fought with Leshem and captured it. They put the sword to it, took possession of it, and lived in it. They renamed it Dan after their ancestor.) 19:48 This was the land assigned to the tribe of Dan by its clans, including these cities and their towns.
Joshua Receives Land
19:49 When they finished dividing the land into its regions, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun some land. 19:50 As the Lord had instructed, they gave him the city he requested – Timnath Serah in the Ephraimite hill country. He built up the city and lived in it.
19:51 These are the land assignments which Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the Israelite tribal leaders made by drawing lots in Shiloh before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing up the land.
Israel Designates Cities of Refuge
20:1 The Lord instructed Joshua: 20:2 “Have the Israelites select the cities of refuge that I told you about through Moses. 20:3 Anyone who accidentally kills someone can escape there; these cities will be a place of asylum from the avenger of blood. 20:4 The one who committed manslaughter should escape to one of these cities, stand at the entrance of the city gate, and present his case to the leaders of that city. They should then bring him into the city, give him a place to stay, and let him live there. 20:5 When the avenger of blood comes after him, they must not hand over to him the one who committed manslaughter, for he accidentally killed his fellow man without premeditation. 20:6 He must remain in that city until his case is decided by the assembly and the high priest dies. Then the one who committed manslaughter may return home to the city from which he escaped.”
20:7 So they selected Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 20:8 Beyond the Jordan east of Jericho they selected Bezer in the desert on the plain belonging to the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead belonging to the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan belonging to the tribe of Manasseh. 20:9 These were the cities of refuge appointed for all the Israelites and for resident foreigners living among them. Anyone who accidentally killed someone could escape there and not be executed by the avenger of blood, at least until his case was reviewed by the assembly.
21:1 The tribal leaders of the Levites went before Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and the Israelite tribal leaders 21:2 in Shiloh in the land of Canaan and said, “The Lord told Moses to assign us cities in which to live along with the grazing areas for our cattle.” 21:3 So the Israelites assigned these cities and their grazing areas to the Levites from their own holdings, as the Lord had instructed.
21:4 The first lot belonged to the Kohathite clans. The Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest were allotted thirteen cities from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 21:5 The rest of Kohath’s descendants were allotted ten cities from the clans of the tribe of Ephraim, and from the tribe of Dan and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 21:6 Gershon’s descendants were allotted thirteen cities from the clans of the tribe of Issachar, and from the tribes of Asher and Naphtali and the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan. 21:7 Merari’s descendants by their clans were allotted twelve cities from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun. 21:8 So the Israelites assigned to the Levites by lot these cities and their grazing areas, as the Lord had instructed Moses.
21:9 They assigned from the tribes of Judah and Simeon the cities listed below. 21:10 They were assigned to the Kohathite clans of the Levites who were descendants of Aaron, for the first lot belonged to them. 21:11 They assigned them Kiriath Arba (Arba was the father of Anak), that is, Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with its surrounding grazing areas. 21:12 (Now the city’s fields and surrounding towns they had assigned to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his property.) 21:13 So to the descendants of Aaron the priest they assigned Hebron (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter), Libnah, 21:14 Jattir, Eshtemoa, 21:15 Holon, Debir, 21:16 Ain, Juttah, and Beth Shemesh, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of nine cities taken from these two tribes. 21:17 From the tribe of Benjamin they assigned Gibeon, Geba, 21:18 Anathoth, and Almon, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities. 21:19 The priests descended from Aaron received thirteen cities and their grazing areas.
21:20 The rest of the Kohathite clans of the Levites were allotted cities from the tribe of Ephraim. 21:21 They assigned them Shechem (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter) in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer, 21:22 Kibzaim, and Beth Horon, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities. 21:23 From the tribe of Dan they assigned Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 21:24 Aijalon, and Gath Rimmon, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities. 21:25 From the half-tribe of Manasseh they assigned Taanach and Gath Rimmon, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of two cities. 21:26 The rest of the Kohathite clans received ten cities and their grazing areas.
21:27 They assigned to the Gershonite clans of the Levites the following cities: from the half-tribe of Manasseh: Golan in Bashan (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter) and Beeshtarah, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of two cities; 21:28 from the tribe of Issachar: Kishon, Daberath, 21:29 Jarmuth, and En Gannim, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities; 21:30 from the tribe of Asher: Mishal, Abdon, 21:31 Helkath, and Rehob, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities; 21:32 from the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter), Hammoth Dor, and Kartan, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of three cities. 21:33 The Gershonite clans received thirteen cities and their grazing areas.
21:34 They assigned to the Merarite clans (the remaining Levites) the following cities: from the tribe of Zebulun: Jokneam, Kartah, 21:35 Dimnah, and Nahalal, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities; 21:36 from the tribe of Reuben: Bezer, Jahaz, 21:37 Kedemoth, and Mephaath, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities; 21:38 from the tribe of Gad: Ramoth in Gilead (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter), Mahanaim, 21:39 Heshbon, and Jazer, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities. 21:40 The Merarite clans (the remaining Levites) were allotted twelve cities.
21:41 The Levites received within the land owned by the Israelites forty-eight cities in all and their grazing areas. 21:42 Each of these cities had grazing areas around it; they were alike in this regard.
21:43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had solemnly promised to their ancestors, and they conquered it and lived in it. 21:44 The Lord made them secure, in fulfillment of all he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could resist them. 21:45 Not one of the Lord’s faithful promises to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; every one was realized.
Lord, You brought Your people into the promised land just as you said You would. May I trust in Your every promise to me. Your preference was that the Israelites completely purge the promised land of the pagan people and influences, but some of the Israelites fell-short – yet their victories far outnumbered their occasional incomplete occupation – and every victory came from You. May I remember that You provide but I am responsible to do all I am instructed to do – completely – or else live with the consequences. When You assign a task to Your people You expect it to be done thoroughly and not incompletely. May You find me faithful in completing what You assign to me. You told Moses what You expected of the Israelites, in Your New Testament – Your New Covenant - You have also told us what You expect of us. May I study and strive to be obedient to Your expectations of me as a Christian.
Scripture In Perspective
The Lord God spoke to Joshua, reminding him that the entirety of the promised land had not yet been conquered.
The text does not explicitly say so but the implication is that as the assignments were made, the lands were then conquered. [Look at 14:11-15 and ahead to Joshua 15:63]
Caleb requested and was granted the assignment of the hill country of the Anakites. He declared that although he was in his 80’s he could still march and fight with the best of his men, but then he qualified that it would be the Lord who would make victory possible.
The text of Joshua 14 concluded “Then the land was free of war.”
While the Israelites occupied the entire promised land they had failed to completely remove the prior residents from it, thus those residents (and their pagan practices and traditions) continued to dwell among them.
Caleb gave his wife in marriage to his nephew for taking a city in the hill country of the Anakites and later gave her two springs in response to her request of him.
The descendants of Joseph had grown in number and asked for more land, they protested when Caleb offered them land occupied by the Canaanites, but Caleb assured them that they could overcome the Canaanites.
Joshua, at the prompting of the Lord God, challenged the people of Israel. He drew a distinction between “subduing” and “occupying” the promised land.
Joshua directed them to assign men to survey all of the land.
Joshua then reported the completion of the documented assignments and occupation of the promised land.
The Lord God challenged the Israelites to fulfill His mandate of cities of refuge and reiterated their purpose, distribution, and design.
The Lord God also challenged the Israelites to establish the Levitical cities.
The book of Joshua records that once these tasks had been completed that all that God had promised about the promised land had been fulfilled.
Interact With The Text
The promised land was divided by the Lord God, first using Moses and then Joshua and others. God had a detailed plan, and excellent reasons for every part of it. The taking of the promised land was an incredible event in history yet for a variety of reasons some of the Israelite tribes failed to remove all of the prior occupants; the text hints at fatigue, fear, and laziness as possible explanations. While the Israelites had defeated all of the significant enemies within the promised land they had not completed the task of distributing the tribes into the areas assigned to them – this placed them at-odds with fulfilling the instructions of God. The cities of refuge were designed to promote a civilized manner of dealing with the violent death of people; rather than primitive rage-driven revenge, reason and justice would prevail.
Does it make you smile to read that Caleb, at 85 years old was not only still healthy and strong but still fearless-in-the-Lord? After all that they had seen the Lord God do for them why would the descendants of Joseph doubt their capacity to take the land still occupied by the Canaanites? Is it any surprise that the history of the Israelites carelessness about full obedience led God to prompt Joshua to challenge them? How important was it to the Israelites, and to everyone who has believed in and followed God since, to know that God always keeps His promises?
Caleb, fearless the first time he and Joshua pleaded with the people to enter the promised land, and still fearless as they – 40 years later – actually did so, was not in the least deterred by the challenge of dispossessing the Anakites who boasted of famous warriors and strong forts in the hill country. What may have been the negative influence of pagan people dwelling among the Israelites? Even though the Israelites could have spread out and settled they had not yet bothered to do so – despite God’s promise and provision and all of the effort they invested to subdue the land. The Levites invested themselves in the sacrificial system and the system of justice in service of their fellow Israelites and God made sure that they were well-provided for.
When have you interacted with an older believer whose energy and faith in the Lord was both surprising and encouraging? When have you been on your way to victory with God yet were dissuaded or distracted and failed to complete the task? What were the negative consequences? When have you had the opportunity to benefit from an opportunity and not followed through? When have you trusted a promise of God because you had read so many times in the Bible of the promises He had kept to others?
Faith In Action
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a tough challenge that He has set before you and which He intends you to undertake with confidence in Him, to show you where you need to finish a work once-begun with Him, to reveal to you an unfinished work in your life, and to reveal to you a moment in your life where God has fulfilled a promise. (Perhaps one where you had some doubts, perhaps in a moment of crisis, or from something another person had said.)
Today I will prayerfully prepare and begin the journey that God has set before me. The journey may be to overcome a sin in my life, to confront unrighteousness in my fellowship, to reach out with God’s truth to those who are considering-Christ (as the Holy Spirit leads), or some other challenge. I will ask a fellow believer to pray in-agreement for courage and wisdom. I will prayerfully assess what it is that I have left uncompleted and I will ask a fellow believer to pray in-agreement and to hold me accountable to see it through. I will thank the Holy Spirit for the opportunity to complete a work in my life in partnership with Him. I will either ask a fellow believer to pray in-agreement and to hold me accountable, or one who is Biblically qualified as an elder, as is most appropriate to the level of accountability and access to wisdom. I will share the story of God’s faithfulness in my life with a fellow believer, as a celebration and encouragement to them, and as-appropriate with someone who is considering-Christ as a testimony to His trustworthiness.
Be Specific _____________________________________________
Saturday (Joshua 22 - 24)
Joshua Sends Home the Eastern Tribes
22:1 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh 22:2 and told them: “You have carried out all the instructions of Moses the Lord’s servant, and you have obeyed all I have told you. 22:3 You have not abandoned your fellow Israelites this entire time, right up to this very day. You have completed the task given you by the Lord your God. 22:4 Now the Lord your God has made your fellow Israelites secure, just as he promised them. So now you may turn around and go to your homes in your own land which Moses the Lord’s servant assigned to you east of the Jordan. 22:5 But carefully obey the commands and instructions Moses the Lord’s servant gave you. Love the Lord your God, follow all his instructions, obey his commands, be loyal to him, and serve him with all your heart and being!”
22:6 Joshua rewarded them and sent them on their way; they returned to their homes. 22:7 (Now to one half-tribe of Manasseh, Moses had assigned land in Bashan; and to the other half Joshua had assigned land on the west side of the Jordan with their fellow Israelites.) When Joshua sent them home, he rewarded them, 22:8 saying, “Take home great wealth, a lot of cattle, silver, gold, bronze, iron, and a lot of clothing. Divide up the goods captured from your enemies with your brothers.” 22:9 So the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites in Shiloh in the land of Canaan and headed home to their own land in Gilead, which they acquired by the Lord’s command through Moses.
Civil War is Averted
22:10 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan and built there, near the Jordan, an impressive altar. 22:11 The Israelites received this report: “Look, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the entrance to the land of Canaan, at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side.” 22:12 When the Israelites heard this, the entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh to launch an attack against them.
22:13 The Israelites sent Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 22:14 He was accompanied by ten leaders, one from each of the Israelite tribes, each one a family leader among the Israelite clans. 22:15 They went to the land of Gilead to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them: 22:16 “The entire community of the Lord says, ‘Why have you disobeyed the God of Israel by turning back today from following the Lord? You built an altar for yourselves and have rebelled today against the Lord. 22:17 The sin we committed at Peor was bad enough. To this very day we have not purified ourselves; it even brought a plague on the community of the Lord. 22:18 Now today you dare to turn back from following the Lord! You are rebelling today against the Lord; tomorrow he may break out in anger against the entire community of Israel. 22:19 But if your own land is impure, cross over to the Lord’s own land, where the Lord himself lives, and settle down among us. But don’t rebel against the Lord or us by building for yourselves an altar aside from the altar of the Lord our God. 22:20 When Achan son of Zerah disobeyed the command about the city’s riches, the entire Israelite community was judged, though only one man had sinned. He most certainly died for his sin!’”
22:21 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered the leaders of the Israelite clans: 22:22 “El, God, the Lord! El, God, the Lord! He knows the truth! Israel must also know! If we have rebelled or disobeyed the Lord, don’t spare us today! 22:23 If we have built an altar for ourselves to turn back from following the Lord by making burnt sacrifices and grain offerings on it, or by offering tokens of peace on it, the Lord himself will punish us. 22:24 We swear we have done this because we were worried that in the future your descendants would say to our descendants, ‘What relationship do you have with the Lord God of Israel? 22:25 The Lord made the Jordan a boundary between us and you Reubenites and Gadites. You have no right to worship the Lord.’ In this way your descendants might cause our descendants to stop obeying the Lord. 22:26 So we decided to build this altar, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, 22:27 but as a reminder to us and you, and to our descendants who follow us, that we will honor the Lord in his very presence with burnt offerings, sacrifices, and tokens of peace. Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to our descendants, ‘You have no right to worship the Lord.’ 22:28 We said, ‘If in the future they say such a thing to us or to our descendants, we will reply, “See the model of the Lord’s altar that our ancestors made, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a reminder to us and you.”‘ 22:29 Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord by turning back today from following after the Lord by building an altar for burnt offerings, sacrifices, and tokens of peace aside from the altar of the Lord our God located in front of his dwelling place!”
22:30 When Phinehas the priest and the community leaders and clan leaders who accompanied him heard the defense of the Reubenites, Gadites, and the Manassehites, they were satisfied. 22:31 Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, said to the Reubenites, Gadites, and the Manassehites, “Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not disobeyed the Lord in this. Now you have rescued the Israelites from the Lord’s judgment.”
22:32 Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the priest, and the leaders left the Reubenites and Gadites in the land of Gilead and reported back to the Israelites in the land of Canaan. 22:33 The Israelites were satisfied with their report and gave thanks to God. They said nothing more about launching an attack to destroy the land in which the Reubenites and Gadites lived. 22:34 The Reubenites and Gadites named the altar, “Surely it is a Reminder to us that the Lord is God.”
Joshua Challenges Israel to be Faithful
23:1 A long time passed after the Lord made Israel secure from all their enemies, and Joshua was very old. 23:2 So Joshua summoned all Israel, including the elders, rulers, judges, and leaders, and told them: “I am very old. 23:3 You saw everything the Lord your God did to all these nations on your behalf, for the Lord your God fights for you. 23:4 See, I have parceled out to your tribes these remaining nations, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the nations I defeated. 23:5 The Lord your God will drive them out from before you and remove them, so you can occupy their land as the Lord your God promised you. 23:6 Be very strong! Carefully obey all that is written in the law scroll of Moses so you won’t swerve from it to the right or the left, 23:7 or associate with these nations that remain near you. You must not invoke or make solemn declarations by the names of their gods! You must not worship or bow down to them! 23:8 But you must be loyal to the Lord your God, as you have been to this very day.
23:9 “The Lord drove out from before you great and mighty nations; no one has been able to resist you to this very day. 23:10 One of you makes a thousand run away, for the Lord your God fights for you as he promised you he would. 23:11 Watch yourselves carefully! Love the Lord your God! 23:12 But if you ever turn away and make alliances with these nations that remain near you, and intermarry with them and establish friendly relations with them, 23:13 know for certain that the Lord our God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. They will trap and ensnare you; they will be a whip that tears your sides and thorns that blind your eyes until you disappear from this good land the Lord your God gave you.
23:14 “Look, today I am about to die. You know with all your heart and being that not even one of all the faithful promises the Lord your God made to you is left unfulfilled; every one was realized – not one promise is unfulfilled! 23:15 But in the same way every faithful promise the Lord your God made to you has been realized, it is just as certain, if you disobey, that the Lord will bring on you every judgment until he destroys you from this good land which the Lord your God gave you. 23:16 If you violate the covenantal laws of the Lord your God which he commanded you to keep, and follow, worship, and bow down to other gods, the Lord will be very angry with you and you will disappear quickly from the good land which he gave to you.”
Israel Renews its Commitment to the Lord
24:1 Joshua assembled all the Israelite tribes at Shechem. He summoned Israel’s elders, rulers, judges, and leaders, and they appeared before God. 24:2 Joshua told all the people, “Here is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘In the distant past your ancestors lived beyond the Euphrates River, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor. They worshiped other gods, 24:3 but I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates and brought him into the entire land of Canaan. I made his descendants numerous; I gave him Isaac, 24:4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I assigned Mount Seir, while Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. 24:5 I sent Moses and Aaron, and I struck Egypt down when I intervened in their land. Then I brought you out. 24:6 When I brought your fathers out of Egypt, you arrived at the sea. The Egyptians chased your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. 24:7 Your fathers cried out for help to the Lord; he made the area between you and the Egyptians dark, and then drowned them in the sea. You witnessed with your very own eyes what I did in Egypt. You lived in the wilderness for a long time. 24:8 Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought with you, but I handed them over to you; you conquered their land and I destroyed them from before you. 24:9 Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, launched an attack against Israel. He summoned Balaam son of Beor to call down judgment on you. 24:10 I refused to respond to Balaam; he kept prophesying good things about you, and I rescued you from his power. 24:11 You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The leaders of Jericho, as well as the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites, fought with you, but I handed them over to you. 24:12 I sent terror ahead of you to drive out before you the two Amorite kings. I gave you the victory; it was not by your swords or bows. 24:13 I gave you a land in which you had not worked hard; you took up residence in cities you did not build and you are eating the produce of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.’
24:14 Now obey the Lord and worship him with integrity and loyalty. Put aside the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and worship the Lord. 24:15 If you have no desire to worship the Lord, choose today whom you will worship, whether it be the gods whom your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family will worship the Lord!”
24:16 The people responded, “Far be it from us to abandon the Lord so we can worship other gods! 24:17 For the Lord our God took us and our fathers out of slavery in the land of Egypt and performed these awesome miracles before our very eyes. He continually protected us as we traveled and when we passed through nations. 24:18 The Lord drove out from before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. So we too will worship the Lord, for he is our God!”
24:19 Joshua warned the people, “You will not keep worshiping the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God who will not forgive your rebellion or your sins. 24:20 If you abandon the Lord and worship foreign gods, he will turn against you; he will bring disaster on you and destroy you, though he once treated you well.”
24:21 The people said to Joshua, “No! We really will worship the Lord!” 24:22 Joshua said to the people, “Do you agree to be witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to worship the Lord?” They replied, “We are witnesses!” 24:23 Joshua said, “Now put aside the foreign gods that are among you and submit to the Lord God of Israel.”
24:24 The people said to Joshua, “We will worship the Lord our God and obey him.”
24:25 That day Joshua drew up an agreement for the people, and he established rules and regulations for them in Shechem. 24:26 Joshua wrote these words in the Law Scroll of God. He then took a large stone and set it up there under the oak tree near the Lord’s shrine. 24:27 Joshua said to all the people, “Look, this stone will be a witness against you, for it has heard everything the Lord said to us. It will be a witness against you if you deny your God.” 24:28 When Joshua dismissed the people, they went to their allotted portions of land.
An Era Ends
24:29 After all this Joshua son of Nun, the Lord’s servant, died at the age of one hundred ten. 24:30 They buried him in his allotted territory in Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 24:31 Israel worshiped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and as long as the elderly men who outlived him remained alive. These men had experienced firsthand everything the Lord had done for Israel.
24:32 The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the part of the field that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred pieces of money. So it became the inheritance of the tribe of Joseph.
24:33 Eleazar son of Aaron died, and they buried him in Gibeah in the hill country of Ephraim, where his son Phinehas had been assigned land.
Lord, You taught Your people to be careful for their own choices and those of their brothers. May I be found attentive in my choices – that they honor You. You provide for us and ask that we demonstrate our gratefulness by not selling-out to the enemies of truth. May I be found faithful to God and God alone. You raised up a role model for faithfulness in Joshua. May I learn from him and choose to emulate him in my own life.
Scripture In Perspective
Joshua thanked the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh for keeping their word to stand with their brothers through the subduing and occupying of the promised land.
He rewarded them with a large quantity of what had been gathered from sacking the land and sent them home.
The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh build a large altar and the other tribes presumed it was to make sacrifices apart from the one location established by the Lord. They sent a delegation to challenge them because they feared that the Lord God would punish them all for the actions of the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh explained that they had no intention of making sacrifices but that it was only intended as a symbolic reminder to both sides that they all shared a common standing with God and a right to access to the common place of sacrifice and worship.
The delegates were satisfied and returned with a good report.
Joshua reminded the people of what God had done and that He was still ready to fight for them. He warned them to not compromise with the pagan people around them.
Joshua described in some detail the consequences of compromising with the pagans as disastrous.
Joshua observed that he was about to die and was very concerned that the people understand that their adherence to the covenant of the Lord God was necessary to their blessing. Joshua presented the Lord God’s review of His provision for the people from Abraham to the present, then he challenges them to make a decision; would they worship the pagan gods of their past, or follow only the Lord God, then he declared that no matter what they decided – his family would serve to the Lord..
The people declared that they would follow the Lord but Joshua challenged them on the truth of that – followed by a reminder of the consequence that offending the Lord God though rebellion would trigger His jealous response.
Joshua wrote for them on The Scroll of Law their agreement to follow the Lord God and the rules and regulations of their civilization, set up a large stone as a symbolic witness of their agreement, then sent them home.
Joshua died and the obedience of the people continued as long as there were still elders in the land who remembered the great things that God had done.
Interact With The Text
The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had served alongside their brothers for a very long time – sacrificing time at home with their families – keeping their word to Moses and Joshua and to the Lord God. Joshua had walked with his people from the Exodus to the promised land and had a huge personal investment in their long-term well-being. The history of God’s provision and protection from Abraham to the promised land was an incredible legacy for the Israelites.
Given God’s past discipline of the Israelites was it any surprise that they were fearful when they heard that the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had acted in rebellion by building what appeared to be a second sacrificial altar? Why would Joshua worry that the Israelites might compromise with the pagan people around them? The Israelites had apparently continued to drift back into their old pagan ways but given their promised to God, His faithfulness to them, and the prophesied consequences for rebellion – why would Joshua be so concerned that they would still drift backwards into paganism?
There was a profound contrast between the blessing of God and the curse of God and the people owned the consequences based on the choices they would make. As long as there were elders present among the people to remind them of God’s powerful provision and protection they kept their eyes on Him.
The tribes of Israel had finally learned that they had an enlightened self-interest in keeping their brothers in right-standing before the Lord God. When have you done something with good intention, but not thought it necessary to explain yourself, only to be confronted and challenged to explain yourself to others who had misunderstood your intentions? When have you observed a fellowship that compromised with the world and suffered negative consequences? When have you experienced or heard of the power of retelling God’s faithfulness to keep a fellowship moving forward in faithfulness to Him?
Faith In Action
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place where you may need to clarify your intentions, to reveal to you a place where a choice ahead of you will result in the receipt of a blessing or not, and to remind you again of God’s faithfulness in your life, and/or that of your fellowship.
Today I will ask a mature fellow believer, perhaps one fully qualified according to Biblical standards as an elder, to prayerfully reflect with me as to anywhere that my actions may be misunderstood by fellow believers. I agree to communicate a clarification so that potential conflict is avoided. I will ask a fellow believer to pray in-agreement for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and clarity in consulting the Word as He guides me to the correct decision. I will gather together with one or more fellow believers and we will share our stories of God’s faithfulness. We will celebrate together and pray earnestly that we will never forget and never drift backward from the place of grateful faithfulness to Him where we now find ourselves.
Be Specific _________________________________________________
All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org
Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.
Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.
Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study. Prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in August of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.