Joshua 14:6-15 (He Wholly Followed the Lord God of Israel)

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson.

Joshua 14:6-15
He Wholly Followed the Lord God of Israel

A big question for you to answer in your head is, “When was Caleb ‘saved?’” When I say “saved,” I mean it in the sense of who he typologically pictures, the Gentiles. You’ve heard the sermon verses and you can easily deduce that the answer is, “When he wholly followed the Lord.”

He believed. The other spies with him did not. The entire context of the passage was faith in the word of the Lord. No commandment was ever given. Instead, he demonstrated faith. That is the conclusion made in Hebrews 3:18 where the author uses the word “obey” synonymously with “belief.”

When did that happen? It was back in Numbers. This is said several times in several ways in the passage. And yet, it is now many years later that he is actually being granted his inheritance, even though it was promised so long before.

Are you getting a hint of yourself in this? Some of you were saved when you were young. Others a little later in life. Some may have been saved just a short while ago. But for each of us, there is the same thing to consider. We have been saved and promised an inheritance, and yet we are waiting for our inheritance to be realized.

Think on this as we continue through the verses. Maybe before we get to the explanation of them, you’ll already be able to see the meaning of much of what is being presented.

Text Verse: “For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Galatians 3:18

Going back to when Caleb was “saved.” There was a law at the time, but nobody had lived it out. Israel was under the law and headed to Canaan, but Caleb did something other than observe the law in order to be given the promise spoken of in our passage today. And, for sure, it wasn’t law observance. Numbers 13 and 14 make that absolutely clear.

Abraham was promised the inheritance before the law came about. Caleb was promised the inheritance apart from the law, even if he was among Israel who was under the law. Those Jews being bit by serpents were saved apart from any law observance. What is the common theme among them all? Faith. Caleb’s deeds followed his faith. They were not the basis of it.

Even during the time of the law, the precept of salvation by grace through faith was clearly and precisely detailed. And it wasn’t demonstrated once or twice, but countless times. Pay heed to these things. Your walk with the Lord is to be one based on faith. So, have faith in all you do, and you will be pleasing to God.

This is a marvelous truth that is to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. And Joshua Blessed Him (verses 6-15)

The introductory note in verse 14:1 indicated that what follows would be the division of the land in Canaan proper. This would be for the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The verses remembered that Moses had given two tribes and the half-tribe an inheritance east of the Jordan. From there it specifically noted that no land grant was given to Levi, except cities to dwell in with their common lands.

With those points explicitly detailed, the contents of verse 14:1 concerning the division of the land of Canaan is now to be dealt with. And yet, within that division, there is a matter to be resolved based upon a promise made back in Numbers 14. The fulfillment of that promise is now realized…

Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal.

va’yig’shu bene yehudah el Yehoshua ba’gilgal – “And approached sons Judah, unto Joshua, in the Gilgal.” The matter to be resolved involves the tribe of Judah.

To help you understand what is being conveyed, translating the meaning of the names, it would literally state: “And approached sons Praise, unto the Lord is Salvation, in the Liberty.” With that, the words continue, saying…

6 (con’t) And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him:

More precisely, it reads, “And said to him, Caleb, son Jephunneh the Kenizzite.” The reason for these words is twofold. The first is because the promise was made to Caleb. As such, that promise must be dealt with at some point. The second is that Caleb is the leader of Judah designated to administer the land division for Judah –

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 ‘These are the names of the men who shall divide the land among you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun. 18 And you shall take one leader of every tribe to divide the land for the inheritance. 19 These are the names of the men: from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.’” Numbers 34:16-19

Hence, the sons of Judah approaching Joshua is intended to resolve both matters, but the primary one is the fulfillment of the promise to Caleb. In fact, this process will take all the remaining verses in Chapter 14 and then all of Chapter 15 to complete.

Of the names mentioned here, Caleb means “Dog.” Yephunneh means “He will be beheld.” He is also identified as a Kenizzite, a descendant of Canaan, or a son of Kenaz, which is an Edomite name.

Later in Joshua, his brother Othniel is identified as a son of Kenaz. Thus, he is of foreign birth but brought into the people of Israel and the tribe of Judah. The reference to him being a Kenizzite is to show his Gentile heritage. Of this name, Kenizzite, Abarim provides an interesting analysis worth citing –

“The name Kenizzite means Hunter or Trapper but is a name like Fisherman or Troglodyte or Tanner or Metallurgist or Technician (which was the profession of Jesus and Joseph; τεκτων, tekton). It doesn’t describe physical descent but an occupational niche that would ultimately be absorbed into the worldwide market of human trade. Since the Bible is only interested in the evolution of the wisdom tradition (rather than politics or biological descent) the nature of Kenizzite should be understood to relate to wisdom.

Just like Jesus taught his disciples to be ‘fishers of men’, so should the Kenizzite be understood to be a ‘hunter of men’, and just like the legendary Nimrod was a ‘mighty hunter before YHWH’ so were the Kenizzites known for their contribution to the greater world of human interaction and exchange that would ultimately form the crib within which the Word of God could assume human form.”

6 (con’t) “You know the word which the Lord said

Rather than “said,” it uses the word “spoke.” There is also an emphasis in his words: atah yadata eth ha’davar asher dibber Yehovah – “YOU know the word which spoke Yehovah.” This spoken word was…

6 (con’t) to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea.

el Mosheh ish ha’elohim al odothai v’al odotekha b’qadesh barnea – “unto Moses, man the God, upon my sake and upon your sake in Kadesh Barnea.” The specific reference comes from Numbers 14. The twelve spies had returned searching out Canaan. Upon their return, ten of them spread a bad report about the land, but Caleb and Joshua repudiated their report –

“But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.’” Numbers 14:6-9

In response to this, the Lord spoke to Moses concerning them –

“Then the Lord said: ‘I have pardoned, according to your word; 21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord— 22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.” Numbers 14:20-24

With this in mind, Caleb next says…

was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land,

The Hebrew form of speaking is more poetic: “Son forty years, I, in sending Moses, servant Yehovah, me from Kadesh Barnea to foot the land.” This is an important point in determining the biblical timeline when it is united with his words of verse 10. Caleb gives his age and the details of what occurred at that time.

In considering what is presented here, remember that Numbers 14 is when Israel failed to enter the promise by faith. It was a typological picture of Israel’s failure to receive Jesus as their Messiah. Despite that, Caleb – a Gentile by descent – did. The typology of that is obvious.

Kadesh Barnea means “Holy Purifying Wanderings.” It is at this location that Caleb proved himself a man of faith…

7 (con’t) and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart.

va’ashev oto davar ka’asher im l’vavi – “and returned to him word according to which with to my heart.” Despite being beautifully said in the Hebrew, the words look to a theological truth that will be explained later, but which you may already have discerned.

Caleb searched out the land, saw that it was good, and returned with a word according to the state of his heart. On the contrary…

Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt,

v’akhai asher alu imi him’siv eth lev ha’am – “And my brothers who went up with me dissolved heart the people.” It is a new word, masah, signifying to melt, liquify, or dissolve. The idea then is that the collective heart of the people vanished. In complete contrast to that, Caleb says…

8 (con’t) but I wholly followed the Lord my God.

v’anokhi milethi akhare Yehovah elohai – “And I, I filled after Yehovah my God.” The meaning is to be taken as if Yehovah was walking on a path and Caleb literally stepped into His footprints, filling them as he went. It is a note of absolute devotion to the Lord’s ways in a walk of faith.

While Israel’s heart dissolved, Caleb “filled after Yehovah,” and his heart was set with a proper and pleasing response when he returned with the other spies. The contrast is remarkable. Because of this…

So Moses swore on that day, saying,

There is no direct mention of Moses swearing in this manner, only the Lord. And more, there is no mention of a specific piece of land being promised to Caleb. But this doesn’t mean neither happened.

The Lord’s words to Moses were, “But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it” (Numbers 14:24). From there, Moses referred to this in Deuteronomy 1 –

“And the Lord heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and took an oath, saying, 35 ‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, 36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the Lord.’” Deuteronomy 1:34-36

The Lord promised that Caleb would enter and inherit. Moses repeated that. It is unnecessary for the word to record what Caleb now claims. Caleb has stated it to Joshua, and if it were not true, Joshua would have known. A similar example of this is Solomon’s right to the throne.

In 1 Kings 1:17, Bathsheba stated that David had sworn to her that Solomon would reign as king after him, and yet that is not recorded elsewhere. Obviously, she would not have made the claim if it wasn’t true. She was speaking to the person who made the statement! This is the same situation now being conveyed by Caleb to Joshua. Hence, Caleb continues…

9 (con’t) ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever,

More precisely, it reads, “if not – the land which has trodden your foot, in her, to you shall be to inheritance, and to your sons, until everlasting.” Caleb’s feet filled after the Lord, and so Moses promised that where his feet had trodden, that would be his everlasting inheritance. And this is…

9 (con’t) because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’

ki miletha akhare Yehovah elohai – “for you filled after Yehovah my God.” Moses confirmed that Caleb had rightly pursued the Lord. Hence, Caleb was able to claim that he had done so as well. He simply repeated to Joshua what Moses had already stated. The words he speaks here were specifically stated by Moses in Deuteronomy 1 that we just cited a moment ago.

With that affirmed, Caleb then completes giving the timeline of events for us to logically know what year this is…

10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years,

Rather than “said,” the word is “spoke.” Other than that, it is close enough. The Lord spoke and it was as good as done. And now, it has come to pass. Caleb carried this word with him…

10 (con’t) ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness;

The words are precise: me’az diber Yehovah eth ha’davar ha’zeh el Mosheh asher halak Yisrael ba’midbar – “From that time spoke Yehovah the word, the this, unto Moses, which walked Israel in the wilderness.” Rather than “while Israel wandered,” it is from the beginning of the time that Israel wandered. While all of Israel was faithless, Caleb demonstrated faith. As a result, he was promised the inheritance at that time…

10 (con’t) and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old.

The Hebrew has more excitement coming from Caleb – “and now, behold, I – the day – son of five and eighty years.” The words of Caleb provide the necessary information to understand the continued biblical timeline.

As explained in Joshua 11, the people left Mount Sinai on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year after the exodus (Numbers 10:11). Moses then says in Deuteronomy 2 –

“And the time we took to come from Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the Valley of the Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the Lord had sworn to them.” Deuteronomy 2:14

Entry into Canaan happened at the beginning of the forty-first year since leaving Egypt (Joshua 4:19). In Numbers 13, the spies went to look over Canaan. From there we come to the words of this verse and deduce that he was forty years old in the second year after leaving Egypt.

Being eighty-five at the end of the campaign, it means he was 39 when departing Egypt and 79 when entering Canaan. Thus, the campaign to subdue Canaan went somewhere between six and seven years. With that revealed, Caleb continues…

11 As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in.

The translation gets the point across sufficiently. In verse 13:1, it said that Joshua was old, advanced in years. That implies that he had not simply aged in years, but that he was aged from the years. On the contrary, Caleb’s physical strength had essentially gone unchanged for the whole span of time.

Now that it’s time to draw out the inheritances, Caleb wanted what was promised to him to be identified first. But his choice of land would not be an inheritance ready to be inhabited. Rather, it would require a man of war to subdue it. This is the reason why he mentions his abilities as he does. That is then made explicitly known with his next words…

12 Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day;

The “mountain” means the mountainous country around Hebron. These words now give definitive evidence that even though nothing was recorded of this specific promise, it was made, nonetheless. Caleb is reminding Joshua of what was spoken by the Lord at that time.

In Numbers 13:22, the Hebrew went from the 3rd person plural to the 3rd person singular, saying “And they went up through the Negev and he came to Hebron.” This indicates that Caleb is the one who reconnoitered this area and he really loved what he saw.

The narrative specifically noted this so that we would remember that this is the land Caleb had walked through. The spies all went up through the Negev. Caleb branched off and went to Hebron while others searched out other towns.

In this manner, they were able to cover much more land by dividing among cities within geographical areas. As a part of his report, he recalls the next words…

12 (con’t) for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified.

As can be seen, there is more than one city in “the mountain” that is being referred to. Thus, Hebron is the main city, but it is a general area that Caleb is referring to. And more, in Chapter 10, we saw Joshua took Hebron. Hence, Hebron was either reoccupied, and there was at least one other city also reoccupied in the area or the accounts are not chronological. Either way, this is seen in Chapter 15 –

“Now to Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a share among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the Lord to Joshua, namely, Kirjath Arba, which is Hebron (Arba was the father of Anak). 14 Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak from there: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. 15 Then he went up from there to the inhabitants of Debir (formerly the name of Debir was Kirjath Sepher).
16 And Caleb said, ‘He who attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give Achsah my daughter as wife.’”

A note concerning multiple cities in this area is seen at the time of David as well –

“So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. And David brought up the men who were with him, every man with his household. So they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.” 2 Samuel 2:2, 3

The Anakim dwelt there, and they continued to dwell and they are still there. But Caleb had faith that they, along with the other inhabitants, would be cleared out…

12 (con’t) It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”

Rather than “as the Lord said,” it reads “as the Lord spoke.” As before, the Lord spoke, and it was as if it was already accomplished. Hence, Caleb’s words do not indicate any doubt in his mind.

Rather, he is making a pious but confident statement that it would come to pass. Today, we might say, “No doubt about it. If the Lord is with me, I will get it done.” With his continued vigor, and the Lord’s presence with him, the Anakim will be dispossessed.

13 And Joshua blessed him,

This could mean either a verbal blessing followed by the gift, or the words could simply anticipate the next clause, the gift being the blessing. Probably both are combined in thought: a blessing of words accompanied by the blessing of the grant. Therefore, Joshua blessed him…

13 (con’t) and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance.

This is the third note that a verbal promise was made to Caleb concerning the granting of a specific area. Caleb never explicitly mentioned Hebron, only “the mountain.” But Joshua perfectly understood the meaning and granted it to Caleb as an inheritance.

Caleb had longed for the area for forty-five years and it is now his own possession. As for the name Hebron, it means Alliance. It is the general name given to a city as well as an entire area of cities allied together.

14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day,

With these words, the area belonged to Caleb. Despite this, it is included in the overall land grant of Judah, as seen in Joshua 15. Also, the main city of Hebron will be designated as a Levitical city in Joshua 21:11. Despite these things, the general mountainous area that falls under the designation “Hebron” became Caleb’s possession…

14 (con’t) because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.

yaan asher mile akhare Yehovah elohe Yisrael – “because which he filled after Yehovah God Israel.” This same sentiment has now been repeated numerous times.

The Lord said it in Numbers 14:24. Moses repeated it in Deuteronomy 1:36. Caleb said it in verse 8 of this chapter and cited Moses saying it in verse 9. Now, the author of the book restates it again. It is an absolute testimony to the character of the man and his willingness to be wholly faithful to the Lord.

With that, it next says…

15 And the name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath Arba

The first mention of Hebron is in Genesis 13:18. After that, it is called Kirjath Arba in Genesis 23:2, but it qualifies that saying it is Hebron. The name Kirjath Arba is repeated in Genesis 35:27 where it was again qualified as Hebron.

Because of this, it was probably always known as Hebron, but it was eventually conquered by Arba and was renamed after him, but it still retained its original name in the memory of the people. The name Hebron is mostly used from this point on, but the last time the area is mentioned in chronological time is at the time of Nehemiah where it is again called Kirjath Arba. That is supposing it is referring to the same city.

The name Kirjath Arba means City of Four. That is then explained with the words…

15 (con’t) (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim).

The clause is more succinct: ha’adam ha’gadol ba’anaqim hu – “the man the great in the Anakim, he.” In other words, it appears Arba is the name of a man for whom the city is named. As odd as the name “Four” might sound, it is not unique in Scripture.

In Numbers 31:8, there is a person named Reba, meaning Fourth. And in Romans 16:3, Quartus is mentioned. His name is Latin meaning “Fourth.” The reason for giving such a name is as simple as being the fourth one born in a family or as a servant in a house. For this, or some other reason, Arba, or Four, was considered the greatest man among the Anakim. With that noted, the chapter ends with…

*15 (fin) Then the land had rest from war.

This is a letter-for-letter repeat of Joshua 11:23. The word translated as “rest” signifies to be quiet or undisturbed. It comes from a primitive root signifying to repose. Hence, one can think of idleness or being undisturbed. Rather than Israel, it is the land itself that is spoken of in this manner. With the enemy subdued, there is a sense of calm and idleness left for the people to enjoy.

Why this is stated here is not readily seen. But it is included just prior to the land divisions of the tribes, signifying that the major battles were complete.

And so, even though Caleb is the main focus of this narrative, and he is the one who will be the interested figure in subduing Hebron, it is actually a campaign that was under the authority of Joshua. That seems perfectly evident when the two accounts are placed side by side –

Joshua 11: And at that time Joshua came and cut off the Anakim from the mountains: from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel; Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. 22 None of the Anakim were left in the land of the children of Israel; they remained only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod.
23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.

Joshua 14: Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”
13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. 14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. 15 And the name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath Arba (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim).
Then the land had rest from war.

In this, we see that the accounts are not at all chronological but categorical. Joshua completed the battles, but before that occurred, Caleb came to make his claim upon the land. Hence, when the land was to be divided, it would already be understood that Caleb had claim to Hebron.

Have faith in your walk and you will do well
It will bring you life and joy in the presence of the Lord
It is the necessary thing to keep you from hell
This is what is shown to us in the word

But misdirected faith is wasted faith, it is true
So have your faith directed as God has revealed
Look unto Jesus, this is what you are to do
And when you do, you too, will be sealed

God asks us to believe the gospel; nothing else will do
Believe what Jesus has done and in His presence you will dwell
In your believing, God who is faithful and true
Will save your soul, so His word does tell

II. An Explanation of the Typology

The account here, as I said a minute ago, is obviously not chronological. It fills in details of something that has already been shown as complete from Chapter 11. There, it said that the land had rest from war, and that sentiment is repeated again here.

As such, it is like Genesis 2 which fills in details not stated in Genesis 1. In Genesis 1, the creation account is completed in six days. In Genesis 2, it goes back to fill in the details about the creation of man on the sixth day. This is what is happening here. It is a common biblical style of writing.

It is important for a couple reasons. The first is that Caleb was given the promise by the Lord many years earlier and in order to not interfere with the inheritances of the tribes, his land is determined first.

Also, it needs to be dealt with before the division of the land because the Levites are given cities within Israel to minister to the people. That occurs after the divisions of the land. Thus, it is appropriate to have Caleb’s land determined first, then the tribal divisions, and then the Levitical cities. When looked at this way, what is detailed here makes all the sense in the world.

Also, nothing is said when the land divisions in Chapter 15 will be decided. As this is so, it could be that they were determined earlier. If so, then Caleb’s claim would be a part of Judah’s land and thus they would be interested parties in the division.

Even if not, Caleb is the main figure in this process of division and so it is right that Judah should accompany him when he approached Joshua. But there is also typology being conveyed here.

The account of the Gibeonites in Joshua 9 showed us how Gentiles are brought fully and completely into the New Covenant. But this account shows us that Gentiles are also included in the inheritance of that covenant. That may seem obvious, but it could be argued that they had no inheritance by someone with an agenda.

Caleb, meaning Dog, anticipates Gentiles. Along with his name, his repeated designation as a Kenizzite reveals this as well. This would explain verse 6 that said the sons of Judah approached Joshua in the Gilgal (the Liberty).

Think of Jews coming to Jesus, curious if Gentiles are included in the inheritance. This account resolves that. His name, Dog, son of He Will be Beheld, gives us a nice picture of a Gentile beholding the Lord. The inheritance is not something reserved to Jews alone.

As for the name Kenizzite, or Hunter, as Abarim noted, it is a name based on a profession, similar to many of our own names. Hence the name symbolizes someone who seeks a form of wisdom as would a person in any such profession. A number of verses from the New Testament could be used to explain this thought, such as –

“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31

With this remembered, Caleb spoke emphatically that Joshua knew the word of the Lord spoken “to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea.”

Think of the words of the law, “You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:5). Joshua stands as Jesus here, testifying to the state of Caleb.

He knows that Caleb fulfilled the law through faith as was so carefully detailed in Numbers 13 and 14. Moses (the law) testified to this in Kadesh Barnea, or Holy Purifying Wanderings. Where Israel had failed and would remain under law, Caleb had trusted and that was credited to him for righteousness.

Verse 7 noted that Caleb was forty when he was sent from Kadesh Barnea. According to Bullinger, forty signifies “a period of probation, trial, and chastisement—(not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people). It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8).”

The Gentiles went through such a period and at the end of it received grace leading to and ending in revival and renewal. Think of Gentile salvation. This is seen in the words of Caleb, “and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart.” It is exactly what occurs when a person is saved –

“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:8-10

It would be hard to find a better statement by Caleb to match the events that occurred as they were recorded in Numbers 14, which matches what Paul says. He believed in his heart, he confessed, and he was saved.

Verse 8 spoke of the people’s (Israel’s national) rejection of the Lord, even when the Gentiles believed. As he said, “And I, I filled after Yehovah my God.” The Gentiles believed Jesus is the incarnate Lord, even when national Israel did not. They walked after Him in faith. Caleb’s words are reflective of Paul’s words –

“And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.” Romans 4:11, 12

It must be recalled that every person that approached Joshua with Caleb was saved only later, typologically seen in their having crossed the Jordan. All those in the wilderness twenty years old and above had died. National Israel’s salvation comes after Gentile salvation.

Verse 9 revealed Moses’ concurrence with Caleb’s right to the inheritance as spoken by the Lord. The law testifies to Gentile salvation because it reveals Christ’s vicarious sacrifice, fulfillment of the law, and the imputation of His righteousness to those who believe. In this case, to “fill after Yehovah” is to follow Him as Paul states –

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3, 4

Verse 10 noted that Caleb had been kept alive forty-five years more. It is the product of nine and five. Nine is “significant of the conclusion of a matter.” Five is “the number of grace.” It would be hard to think up anything more appropriate to the settling of an inheritance than those two thoughts.

The Gentiles were given the promise and the Lord will sustain them in salvation until the conclusion of the matter. The inheritance is guaranteed because the Lord has spoken.

With that, Caleb added the two numbers (40 & 45) together and essentially boasted that he was now eighty-five. What a cool number, because it is the product of five (grace) and seventeen, a number Bullinger was excited about. It is the seventh of the prime numbers. Hence –

“…it partakes of and intensifies the significance of the number seven. Indeed, it is the combination or sum of two perfect numbers—seven and ten—seven being the number of spiritual perfection, and ten of ordinal perfection. Contrasted together the significance of these two numbers is clear; and when united in the number seventeen we have a union of their respective meanings, viz., spiritual perfection, plus ordinal perfection, or the perfection of spiritual order.”

As such, it speaks of eternal salvation. One of several examples he gives is that of Romans 8. It…

“concludes the first great division of that all-important Epistle, and sums up the blessings of those who are dead and risen in Christ. First we have a series of seven, then a series of ten. The seven are marked off by being put in the form of a question, while the ten are given as the answer to it.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall

Tribulation, 1
Or distress, 2
Or persecution, 3
Or famine, 4
Or nakedness, 5
Or peril, 6
Or sword? 7
as it is written, For Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that,

Neither death (1),
Nor life (2),
Nor angels (3),
Nor principalities (4),
Nor things present (5),
Nor things to come (6),
Nor powers (7),
Nor height (8),
Nor depth (9),
Nor any other creature (10),
shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Thus is set forth the spiritual and eternal perfection of the believer’s standing in Christ.” EW Bullinger

This is just what is being conveyed by Caleb in typology. Caleb’s spiritual strength (in Christ and for his inheritance) was not diminished. It is at this point that he anticipates his inheritance and asks for it, noting the Anakim in the process.

To get the full meaning of the name Anakim, one would have to go back and review the Numbers sermons. In short, the word from which Anakim is derived means neck, or necklace, but that comes from the word anaq which means being fitted out with supplies, and thus furnished liberally, just as a necklace is generally made up of many pieces.

Hence, obtaining the inheritance of Anak signifies the believer is one who is furnished liberally by God for every necessary work to which he is appointed. Seeing this, verse 13 said, “and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance.”

In type, it is giving an Alliance to the Gentile, the son of “He Will Behold.” In other words, the Gentile inheritance is no less than that of the Jew. With that, the author of the narrative (the Lord is the ultimate Author) proclaimed one last time that Caleb “filled after Yehovah God of Israel.” Caleb was a man of faith, and he was granted the inheritance.

Verse 15 noted the previous name of Hebron, Kirjath Arba, City of Four. Four “is emphatically the number of Creation; of man in his relation to the world as created … It is the number of things that have a beginning, of things that are made, of material things, and matter itself. It is the number of material completeness. Hence it is the world number, and especially the ‘city’ number” according to Bullinger.

In this case, Four is then noted as “the man, the great in the Anakim.” Wycliff bizarrely translated these words, “Adam, moost greet there in the loond of Enachym was set.”

But maybe his odd thoughts give us a clue as to the meaning of the otherwise difficult to pin down words. In type, I will speculate that this is referring to the second Adam (the second Man of 1 Corinthians 15:47).

If so, it typologically means that the inheritance of the Gentiles is that of the greatest Man, the One furnished most liberally of all by God for every necessary work to which He was appointed. This would then match the words of Paul –

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:11, 12

Paul, writing to Gentiles, notes “we who first trusted.” This would include the believing Jews as well as believing Gentiles, even before national Israel believes, which is exactly the pattern seen in these verses from Joshua.

The promise was made to Caleb in Numbers, the land is still not subdued in Joshua, and yet Caleb is granted the inheritance of the new creation before national Israel because of the work of Christ. With that, it noted that the land had rest from war. This is the same set of words from Joshua 11, and they show that Caleb’s inheritance came prior to that time, and thus prior to national Israel’s.

In the story of the five kings that came against Gibeon, there had to be a resolution as to how the Gentiles were brought into the covenant that was given to Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31:31). Likewise, there had to be the clarification that Christ fulfilled all of the law, not just a portion of it. That was dealt with in the slaying of the five kings.

This account is not unlike that. Despite Gentiles being brought into the commonwealth of Israel, there needed to be a presentation of what that meant concerning the inheritance. It is explained by Paul in the New Testament, but it is typologically seen way back here in Joshua.

Every t is dotted and every i is crossed (wait, reverse that) so that we don’t have to later argue about what Paul is telling us. Understanding the typology in Joshua puts to rest many points of bad doctrine and even heresy. This is the beauty of traveling through these passages together.

For now, we will close with the thought that God has everything laid out, it was told us in advance, and then it is explained elsewhere. It is absolutely certain that this came from God and not from the minds of Jewish writers. They never would have penned such things as we continuously see in Joshua.

It is a real boost to our surety in the reliability of the word of God to see these types. As this is so, be sure to trust what is explicitly stated concerning Jesus. He is the One and the Only path to restoration with God. Be wise, be discerning, and be sure to call on Him today.

Closing Verse: “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” Colossians 1:9-12

Next Week: Joshua 15:1-12 Knowing the symbolism will put you in a great moodah… (The Borders of the Land of Judah) (31st Joshua sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

He Wholly Followed the Lord God of Israel

Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal
And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him:
“You know the word which the LORD said to Moses
———-the man of God
Concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea when times
———-were a bit grim

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD
Sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land
And I brought back word to him as it was in my heart
But things didn’t go as I planned

Nevertheless my brethren
Who went up with me (their thinking was flawed)
Made the heart of the people melt
But I wholly followed the LORD my God

So Moses swore on that day, saying
‘Surely the land where your foot had trod
Shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever
Because you have wholly followed the LORD my God

And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive
As He said, these forty-five years. Yes, just as He told
Ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel
———-wandered in the wilderness
And now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old

As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me
Just as my strength was then – any battle I could win
So now is my strength for war
Both for going out and for coming in

Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD
———-spoke in that day
For you heard in that day how the Anakim were there
And that the cities were great and fortified
That means next to nothing; I couldn’t care

It may be that the LORD will be with me – those dudes
———-are already dead
And I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said

And Joshua blessed him (maybe he did a happy dance)
And gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance

Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb
The son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day
Because he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel
This is how he was. Yes, just that way

And formerly Kirjath Arba was Hebron’s name
(Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim), so was his fame
Then the land had rest from war
That’s the end of the chapter; there ain’t no more

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him: “You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. 12 Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”

13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. 14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. 15 And the name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath Arba (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim).

 

 

Joshua 14:1-5 (No Part to the Levites)

Artwork by Doug Kallerson.

Joshua 14:1-5
No Part to the Levites

In 1972, the Miami Dolphins, under coach Don Shula, had what became known as “the Perfect Season.” They went 14-0. Many of the players became household names. I remember watching them and being excited about the team despite not really caring much about sports. One can kind of get caught up in something like that.

But despite having a perfect season, each player was imperfect, and each game had its own flaws. There were fumbles, there were interceptions, and so on. And so, there is the dichotomy between the imperfect team and their perfect season. The two are seemingly at odds with one another, and yet they really aren’t. Out of imperfection, perfection arose.

The Bible shows us what is perfect and what is flawed. At times, it shows us this explicitly, and at times it does so in veiled ways. It also shows us how something that is seemingly imperfect can be made perfect. We’ll see something along those lines in our verses today.

Text Verse: “How then can man be righteous before God?
Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?
If even the moon does not shine,
And the stars are not pure in His sight,
How much less man, who is a maggot,
And a son of man, who is a worm?” Job 25:4-6

Despite often not speaking rightly about the Lord, the questions of Bildad the Shuhite are still valid. How can man, who is by nature unrighteous, be considered righteous before God? In understanding the work of Christ, we can know that with God, it is possible.

How can a person who is born of a woman be pure? Being a human implies bearing sin, simply because sin is transmitted from father to child. So, how can one who is born of a woman be pure? With God in Christ, that too is possible.

As for stars not being pure in the sight of God, that depends on the nature and meaning of the word “star.” One thing that is tainted and impure can be emblematic of another thing that is not. We have seen that in typology innumerable times in our study of the Old Testament.

For example, Joshua may have been a fallen, sinful man, but he could still anticipate and picture the perfect, unblemished Lord Jesus. Likewise, despite the imperfection of the individual members of the team, the Miami Dolphins were still able to have the perfect season

This sermon is entitled No Part to the Levites, but that is only in relation to a tribal land grant, one that reveals imperfection. And yet, in the imperfection of the land inheritance of the tribes of Israel, there is still a note of a double measure of spiritual perfection. How? Well, stick around and we will evaluate the matter.

Nifty things such as this are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. And They Divided the Land (verses 1-5)

These are the areas which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan,

After designating the inheritance east of the Jordan to the three-and-one-half tribes, the narrative now turns to the inheritance in the land of Canaan proper. This is the land…

1 (con’t) which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel distributed as an inheritance to them.

It is of note that Eleazar (God Has Helped) is placed prior to Joshua. The reason for this goes back to Joshua’s inauguration –

“And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. 20 And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.’” Numbers 27:18-21

Eleazar is the one to determine the will of the Lord. He then conveys that will to Joshua. One must know the will of the Lord prior to abiding by that will. In the case of the division of the land, it will come from the Lord through the hand of Eleazar.

From there Joshua will oversee the process and direct it through the fathers of the tribes. The word translated as tribe, mateh, signifies the genealogical aspect of the tribe rather than the political aspect.

As for the fathers of the tribes, it is rather surprising that they have already been named and designated for this purpose in Numbers 34:16-28. Although that passage was not too long before entrance into Canaan, the narrative now follows after seven years of war within the land.

And yet, it can be assumed that they have all survived in order to receive their inheritance and portion it out to their tribes. Were it not so, a replacement would have been named.

Their inheritance was by lot,

b’goral nakhalatam – “In lot their inheritance.” This is now the first of twenty-six times that the goral, or lot, will be mentioned in Joshua. The word comes from an unused root meaning to be rough, such as a stone. Hence, it is a pebble used for the purpose of determining lots. At times, it is used to indicate a portion or destiny, such as “this is my lot in life.”

2 (con’t) as the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe.

This is what was specifically detailed in Numbers 34:16-29 and which was summed up with the words, “These are the ones the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance among the children of Israel in the land of Canaan” (Numbers 34:29).

Hence, the narrative now is given to show strict obedience to the words set forth by the Lord through Moses. Notably in those verses, however, there is no mention of Reuben, Gad, or the other half-tribe of Manasseh. The reason for that is…

For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe on the other side of the Jordan;

This was specifically stated in Numbers 34:14, 15. Their land had been subdued and the inheritance was given, provided they helped the other tribes to subdue their inheritances west of the Jordan.

What is notable concerning these stated allotments is that though there are twelve tribes recorded as receiving an inheritance, there are actually thirteen land allotments:

Two and one-half east of the Jordan = 3
Nine and one-half west of the Jordan = 10

The number thirteen in Scripture signifies “rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration, revolution, or some kindred idea” (Bullinger). This is pretty much the constant theme of Israel throughout their years. The number of their inheritances forms a picture of their attitude and their conduct before the Lord.

Despite this, there is one more tribe to consider…

3 (con’t) but to the Levites he had given no inheritance among them.

This defines the fourteenth division which is spread among the thirteen divisions. This is the third time in just two chapters that this has been stated. Levi is given no land inheritance. However –

“Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance; the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said to them” (13:14).

“But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them” (13:33).

“…but to the Levites he had given no inheritance among them” (14:3).

And so, despite there being no land inheritance for Levi, there actually is an inheritance for them. As such, the number of inheritances now extends to fourteen, the number Bullinger defines as “a double measure of spiritual perfection” and “the number associated with the incarnation.”

One can see that despite Israel’s rebellion and apostasy in the earthly realm, because of Levi, the Lord has placed His stamp upon them in the spiritual realm. The wisdom of God is carefully revealed in everything that is seen in these tribal allotments.

Next, the note of how one tribe became two is stated again…

For the children of Joseph were two tribes: Manasseh and Ephraim.

If this were not detailed in Scripture, there would be an imperfection of division, both as tribes and in land grants. However, Jacob adopted the two sons of Joseph, thus giving him a double portion of land. But this then brings in another multiple of fourteen. Though there are twelve natural sons of Jacob, there are fourteen reckoned to Israel –

Twelve: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

Fourteen: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph (and Manasseh and Ephraim), and Benjamin.

This then corresponds to twelve/fourteen apostles –

Twelve: Simon/Peter, Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Lebbaeus (Thaddaeus), Simon the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot.

Fourteen: Simon/Peter, Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Lebbaeus/Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot (replaced by Matthias), Saul/Paul.

As for the imperfection of the land inheritance for Israel, that is seen in the next words…

4 (con’t) And they gave no part to the Levites in the land,

This is based upon what has already been repeatedly said and which was noted again in verse 3. No tribal land inheritance is given to the tribe of Levi because they will be spread out among the tribes as those who minister the law among the people.

This was first prophesied by Jacob in Genesis 49 –

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place.
Let not my soul enter their council;
Let not my honor be united to their assembly;
For in their anger they slew a man,
And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
And scatter them in Israel
.” Genesis 49:5-7

Because of what they did in Genesis 34 by killing the males in Shechem, Jacob prophesied over these two sons that they would be divided and scattered.

Though seemingly a negative, the reason for their scattering within Israel occurs for Levi because of their bravery before the Lord at the time when Israel made the golden calf to worship –

“Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27 And he said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.”’ 28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, ‘Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.’” Exodus 32:25-29

Levi took up arms against his own brothers. This was reckoned to them as the reason for a particular blessing from the Lord which is that He would be their inheritance. To understand that, one must then understand how this came about.

At the Exodus, the Lord killed the firstborn of Egypt, including both man and beast. As He spared them in Israel, the law of the firstborn was enacted –

“And it shall be, when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you, 12 that you shall set apart to the Lord all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the Lord’s. 13 But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem14 So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:11-16

The firstborn of all belonged to the Lord and was to be sacrificed to Him. To avoid the obvious difficulties of such a situation, the firstborn males were to be redeemed.

Next, in Numbers, the selection of the Levites in place of the firstborn of Israel was made. Hence, they would belong solely to the Lord and not be reckoned for a tribal land inheritance –

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. Then let them take a young bull with its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another young bull as a sin offering. And you shall bring the Levites before the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall gather together the whole congregation of the children of Israel. 10 So you shall bring the Levites before the Lord, and the children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites; 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord like a wave offering from the children of Israel, that they may perform the work of the Lord. 12 Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the young bulls, and you shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to the Lord, to make atonement for the Levites.
13 ‘And you shall stand the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and then offer them like a wave offering to the Lord. 14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine. 15 After that the Levites shall go in to service the tabernacle of meeting. So you shall cleanse them and offer them like a wave offering. 16 For they are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel; I have taken them for Myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel. 17 For all the firstborn among the children of Israel are Mine, both man and beast; on the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them to Myself. 18 I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the children of Israel. 19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the work for the children of Israel in the tabernacle of meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel when the children of Israel come near the sanctuary.’” Numbers 8:5-19

At that time, it still has not been recorded that Levi would receive no land inheritance. That is first seen in Numbers 18 –

“Then the Lord said to Aaron: ‘You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
21 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting. 22 Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. 23 But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’” Numbers 18:20-24

As is seen there, it is Aaron – meaning the priestly class – who was told that he would receive no land inheritance and Levi would be attached to them in the service of the Lord. The Levites were to stand between the people and the priests in the service of the tabernacle while the priests ministered between the people and the Lord.

Because of this service, those tithes that were presented to the Lord as a heave offering, meaning the third-year tithes, were to belong to the Levites. These tithes were considered the Lord’s portion. As such, it is said that the Lord is Levi’s inheritance.

From this tithe of the land, the Levites were then to offer up a tenth of that for the priests –

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 ‘Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the Lord, a tenth of the tithe. 27 And your heave offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the fullness of the winepress. 28 Thus you shall also offer a heave offering to the Lord from all your tithes which you receive from the children of Israel, and you shall give the Lord’s heave offering from it to Aaron the priest. 29 Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the Lord, from all the best of them, the consecrated part of them.’ 30 Therefore you shall say to them: ‘When you have lifted up the best of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and as the produce of the winepress. 31 You may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward for your work in the tabernacle of meeting. 32 And you shall bear no sin because of it, when you have lifted up the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy gifts of the children of Israel, lest you die.’” Leviticus 18:25-32

What is presented to the Levites is a tithe to the Lord. What is then presented to the priests, the tithe of the tithe, is reckoned as if it was the actual produce of the Levites, even though they had no land inheritance. Therefore, even though they had no land grant, those tithes from the third-year tithes are given as if they had their own land.

With this understood, the reason for their receiving no land inheritance is more perfectly seen. Their siding with the Lord at the incident of the golden calf became the defining moment which fulfilled the prophecy of Jacob, and which allowed them to receive the Lord as their inheritance.

Moses spoke of this as he blessed the tribes before his death. In his blessing upon Levi, a portion of his words said –

“Who says of his father and mother,
‘I have not seen them’;
Nor did he acknowledge his brothers,
Or know his own children;
For they have observed Your word
And kept Your covenant.” Deuteronomy 33:9

To more perfectly understand Moses’ words, those lines from Deuteronomy concerning Levi should be reexamined…

*Who says of his father and mother,

Levi is referred to by a verb prefixed by an article: ha’omer l’aviv u-l’imo – “The sayer to his father and to his mother.” Here, it is referring to Levi as if he is an individual, a collective in the singular. He says…

*‘I have not seen them’;

It is singular: lo’reitiv – “Not I have seen him.” The mother is the wife of the father and so the singular stands for both. The father and the mother are there, but it is as if they are not seen, and they are not regarded. The same attitude is again seen in the next words…

*Nor did he acknowledge his brothers,

v’eth ekhav lo hikir – “And his brothers no regard.” Moses says that even though Levi had brothers, his mind was not on them when called to do what he must do. Moses is making a point about Levi’s priorities. Moses next says…

*Or know his own children;

v’eth banav lo yada – “And sons no know.” Any children of Levi are as if they are not even his when he is called to act. Levi doesn’t see the parents before him, doesn’t regard the brothers around him, and he doesn’t know his own sons.

Despite them being the closest of family relationships, Moses speaks of Levi’s priorities. What is it that Levi has put first? To tell us, Moses slips into the plural…

*For they have observed Your word

ki shameru imratekha– “For they have heeded Your word.” The plural now speaks of the people of the tribe. They are Levi, but they are also Levites. The actions of the people are being highlighted.

The word of the Lord takes precedence over even the closest of family relationships. If parents, siblings, or even children come between a person and the Lord, they are to be overlooked, disregarded, and treated as a stranger. Nothing can come between the faithful and the word of the Lord. Levi accepted the premise and applied it…

*And kept Your covenant.

uberitekha yintsoru – “And Your covenant they have guarded.” The covenant of the Lord, which is based upon the word of the Lord, must take priority. To not heed it is to find death. To heed it is to find life. All family relations will end, but the covenant and the word remain. Levi was presented with a choice at the time of the golden calf, and they chose the side of the Lord.

Levi put the word of the Lord, and His covenant, first. They went throughout the camp without recognizing faces, and they slew any who came before them. Because of this, they and those attached to them were granted the high honor of the priestly class.

Their zeal for the Lord was a highlight among all of the failings of Israel, and – indeed – all the failings of Levi, including those of Moses and Aaron. What they did was a demonstration of what the Lord finds pleasing above all else, meaning faith in Him and attendance to His word.

It is for this reason that Levi was particularly chosen to not receive any land inheritance. There is a perfection in the numbering of the tribes (14) and an imperfection in the number of earthly land grants (13) that only becomes perfect when the Lord is included in the inheritance, revealed through the spiritual inheritance of Levi.

One might ask, “How can perfection come from imperfection?” Indeed, it was essentially the question implied in the Red Heifer sacrifice, and that is implied here again in the designation of land grants. The answer is, “When the Lord is involved, that which is imperfect can be perfected.”

In this case, it is because of the separation of Levi and yet the inclusion of Levi. They were not counted for a land grant. However, they were given property…

4 (con’t) except cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for their livestock and their property.

This is dealt with several times, but the provision for Levitical cities is found in Numbers 35 –

“And the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, saying: ‘Command the children of Israel that they give the Levites cities to dwell in from the inheritance of their possession, and you shall also give the Levites common-land around the cities. They shall have the cities to dwell in; and their common-land shall be for their cattle, for their herds, and for all their animals. The common-land of the cities which you will give the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all around. And you shall measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, on the south side two thousand cubits, on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits. The city shall be in the middle. This shall belong to them as common-land for the cities.’” Numbers 35:1-5

And again, in the next verses, the Lord designated some of their cities as cities of refuge, and then designated the total number of cities to be given them –

“Now among the cities which you will give to the Levites you shall appoint six cities of refuge, to which a manslayer may flee. And to these you shall add forty-two cities. So all the cities you will give to the Levites shall be forty-eight; these you shall give with their common-land. And the cities which you will give shall be from the possession of the children of Israel; from the larger tribe you shall give many, from the smaller you shall give few. Each shall give some of its cities to the Levites, in proportion to the inheritance that each receives.” Numbers 35:6-8

All of these cities will be named and appointed in the coming chapters of Joshua. However, the fact that they receive no individual tribal inheritance is most appropriately dealt with now, before the division of the lands to the other tribes.

With that noted and understood, this section is complete with the words…

*5 (fin) As the Lord had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did; and they divided the land.

This is a preemptory statement anticipating the actual division of the land as recorded in the coming chapters. Each step of the process is logical and necessary to first lay the framework for what is anticipated and to then actually comply with the command that was given by the Lord through Moses.

You shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary
Upon Your priesthood, it shall fall
Those who are unclean but who come to Me
You shall bear it for one and all

And You shall attend to the duties of the Sanctuary
And the duties of the altar, that terrible cross
That no wrath may come upon those who belong to Me
You shall bear it, and of them, there shall be no loss

Behold, I have taken You from among all the firstborn
Only You are the First-begotten of Me
Your body shall be bruised, and it shall be torn
But through it, You shall make holy those for My Sanctuary

II. Pictures of Christ

The division of the land is an obvious anticipation of Christ’s dividing the inheritance to the saints. The dividing is said to be by Eleazar (Whom God Helps), Joshua (The Lord is Salvation) the son of Nun (Propagate, or Increase), and the fathers of the tribes.

In Numbers 27, it noted that Eleazar would inquire before the Lord for Joshua at the judgment of the Urim, meaning Lights. Although it cannot be known for certain, it seems likely based on that Numbers passage that this is what is used as the lot for determining the land divisions.

In type, Jesus is both the High Priest of the New Covenant and the Leader of the people of God, filling both roles. It indicates that He is the One who obtains the revelation from God and who then exercises the authority over what God has determined.

Once the will of the Lord is known, Jesus in His Mediatorial Role, then Jesus, in His role as the Savior, carries through with the action. And both of these anticipate Christ in His deity who both knows and then performs the counsels of God.

As noted in verse 3, the combination of the tribes east and west of Jordan comes to thirteen land allotments. The number reflects the state of the people, steeped in rebellion, apostasy, and so on. However, in the same verse, the Levites are mentioned, noting that they have no inheritance among Israel.

And yet, that must be taken in light of the other verses that indicate they do have an inheritance, just not a land inheritance. Their inheritance is the Lord. Within Levi are the priests and the Levites. The priests anticipate Christ in His priestly role. The Levites anticipate Christ representing the Firstborn.

The offerings to (and of) the tabernacle have all been seen to anticipate Christ, He is the first and best of all of those things offered. In Christ, God has given them as a gift to the world. Levi, being the fourteenth inheritance, is like the glue that makes everything else bind together.

In Levi, as Bullinger noted, is the double measure of spiritual perfection and the anticipation of the incarnation. As noted in verse 3, despite Israel’s rebellion and apostasy in the earthly realm, because of Levi, the Lord has placed His stamp upon Israel in the spiritual realm.

This is only an anticipation of Jesus who actually performs these functions. He is the One who makes the inheritance both possible and complete for Israel, and thus for all people.

In verse 4, it mentioned Joseph being divided into two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. In remembering the meaning of the names, the anticipations of Christ are seen.

Joseph is derived from two words that indicate “He Shall Add” and “Take Away.” Joseph then anticipates Christ who takes away man’s reproach and then adds him to God’s people. He is then divided into Manasseh and Ephraim.

Manasseh means “To Forget” but it also means “From a Debt.” He pictures Christ who came to pay Adam’s debt and who, in the process, allows that debt to be forgotten before God.

Ephraim means “Twice Fruitful”, but it also means “Ashes.” He pictures Jesus. He is twice fruitful in the land of His affliction, prevailing over the law and thus becoming the Savior of both Jew and Gentile, but His work also meant that sin was judged in Him; thus the ashes, signifying His afflictions.

The specific inclusion of the names of Joseph and his sons is given as a reminder of what the Lord has done and how it is revealed in the assignment of the tribal inheritances. Without this reminder, the perfection of the numbering of the tribes for the land inheritance would not be properly aligned as it should be.

But with its inclusion, the typology for our own spiritual inheritances is revealed. And then it immediately gave the reminder that Levi had no part in the land. Because Levi, who anticipates Christ, has the Lord as their inheritance, there is no need for a land grant.

Likewise, the only thing Christ is said to inherit is found in Hebrews 1:4 where “He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” This is a note that through His resurrection, He has proved that He is the Son of God and thus the full inheritance of the Father belongs to Him.

In other words, just as the Lord is Levi’s inheritance, so the Lord is Jesus’ inheritance. What belonged to the Lord from Israel passed to and through Levi. What belongs to the Lord from redeemed humanity passes to and through Jesus.

In verse 4, it noted that despite not having a land inheritance, Levi was given cities to dwell in. This was detailed in Numbers 35. These cities are interspersed throughout all of Israel on both sides of the Jordan.

As seen, the allocation of these will be detailed later in Joshua, but the sense of this is that if Levi anticipates Christ in so many ways, this must as well. And that is stated by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6, which says –

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

The actual residing of Levi among Israel was to keep the people’s focus, understanding, and thoughts concentrated on the Lord. They were to minister to the people in the things of the Lord, keeping them properly educated in the law and so forth. Someday the fulfillment of that will be seen when we dwell in heaven and Christ dwells in us and walks among us.

Everything mentioned about Levi throughout the books of Moses and now into Joshua is given to help us understand the work of Christ on our behalf and then to point us to our relationship with God because of Him.

Every detail concerning Levi, as a tribe, their duties, concerning their inheritance, all of it, is given in anticipation of Christ to come. It is an incredible thing to consider, but it is not unexpected. God used this imperfect tribe that is a portion of the imperfect people known as Israel to reveal to us the perfection of Christ Jesus.

What an amazing thing He has done and is doing in His word as we travel through it. From one turn of the page to the next, there is a continuous stream of wonder and delight. Thank God for His precious word and thank God for Jesus Christ who is revealed in that word. Indeed, thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord.

Closing Verse: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” Romans 3:21, 22

Next Week: Joshua 14:6-15 What is recorded in the Bible about Joshua is pretty swell… (He Wholly Followed the Lord God of Israel) (30th Joshua sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

No Part to the Levites

These are the areas which the children of Israel
Inherited in the land of Canaan, land where they could
———-sing and dance
Which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of
———-the fathers of the tribes
Of the children of Israel distributed to them as an inheritance

Their inheritance was by lot
As the LORD had commanded, so he did prescribe
By the hand of Moses
For nine tribes plus Manasseh’s half-tribe

For Moses had given the inheritance
Of the two tribes and the half-tribe for their livin’
On the other side of the Jordan
But to the Levites he had no inheritance among them given

For the children of Joseph were formed tribes:
———-Manasseh and Ephraim
And they gave no part to the Levites in the land
Except cities to dwell in, with their common lands
For their livestock and their property, just as was planned

As the LORD had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did
And they divided the land laying out the grid

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the areas which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel distributed as an inheritance to them. Their inheritance was by lot, as the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe. For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe on the other side of the Jordan; but to the Levites he had given no inheritance among them. For the children of Joseph were two tribes: Manasseh and Ephraim. And they gave no part to the Levites in the land, except cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for their livestock and their property. As the Lord had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did; and they divided the land.

 

 

 

Joshua 13:15-33 (An Inheritance by Jericho, Eastward)

Artwork by Doug Kallerson.

Joshua 13:15-33
An Inheritance by Jericho, Eastward

In Chapters 1-12, Israel’s entrance into Canaan and subduing of the land were detailed. Within those chapters, there were several logical divisions of what was taking place. As a whole, those chapters should be taken as the first major division of the historical aspect of the book.

The next major division began at verses 13:1-14. That defined the scope of the land to be inherited and the people groups who possessed the land prior to Israel on both sides of the Jordan.

This major section is to go from Chapter 13 through chapter 22. It is long, and the structure is often difficult. If we can just remember that this lengthy division of the land is all picturing the Lord’s distribution of His inheritance to His people, it will take away much of the tedium that we may otherwise feel.

Think of our position in Christ. We have received Christ’s completed work. We have been given the pledge of the Spirit, the guarantee of our salvation, and yet, we have actually not fully received the inheritance that has been granted.

Think of it as a will that cannot be revoked. A son is given his land inheritance. It has been guaranteed by the legal document, but he has to live out his life while waiting for the actual bestowal of it.

There is also a condition in the will that things will be added to the inheritance (rewards) or taken away from it (losses) based on how he lives his life while waiting for the inheritance.

Text Verse: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

Our inheritance is absolutely guaranteed, and it cannot be revoked. However, the quality of the inheritance is up to the one who is receiving it to act in accordance with whatever instructions are given.

Israel has attained the promise, but how it handles the conditional portion is up to them. Look to how God has dealt with national Israel and you will more fully understand how God will deal with you as an individual. Keep thinking on these lines as we go through these pages.

The meticulous nature of defining each inheritance assures us that God is being equally meticulous in His dealings with us. The excitement of the first conquests of Joshua remains true for what we are now going through if we can just remember this.

The passage today may seem overloaded with names and information. There is certainly a ton of typology in what is presented, and delving into speculation on the minutiae would lead us away from the main theme. God is revealing His plan to us in a manner that reveals Christ. Keep that in mind.

This great truth continues to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Land of Reuben (verses 15-23)

In Joshua 13:8-14 that were looked at last week, an overall description of the land east of the Jordan was detailed. With that complete, the parceling out of that land to the two-and-one-half tribes will now take place.

Each step is methodically detailed to ensure that an accurate accounting of each inheritance is recorded. The land has already been briefly described in Number 32 –

“So Moses gave to the children of Gad, to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land with its cities within the borders, the cities of the surrounding country. 34 And the children of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer, 35 Atroth and Shophan and Jazer and Jogbehah, 36 Beth Nimrah and Beth Haran, fortified cities, and folds for sheep. 37 And the children of Reuben built Heshbon and Elealeh and Kirjathaim, 38 Nebo and Baal Meon (their names being changed) and Shibmah; and they gave other names to the cities which they built.
39 And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were in it. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh, and he dwelt in it. 41 Also Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its small towns, and called them Havoth Jair. 42 Then Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and he called it Nobah, after his own name.” Numbers 32:33-42

As for the divisions being documented in Joshua, the tribes would be able to refer back to these writings if there was ever a dispute concerning the land. This parceling out of the land begins with…

15 And Moses had given to the tribe of the children of Reuben an inheritance according to their families.

Reuben is the firstborn son of Israel, and his inheritance is detailed first. His name means See a Son. The words, “according to their families” mean that the overall parcel is given based on their tribal inheritance and from there it will be more precisely divided by those within Reuben in a fair and equitable manner.

It is Moses who granted this land with the stipulation that they would go with Israel into battle in order to subdue the land of Canaan. Once that was accomplished, the grant would be considered permanent. As for the overall area of Reuben…

16 Their territory was from Aroer, which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the ravine, and all the plain by Medeba;

The Hebrew reads “border” instead of “territory.” The land is being defined by the southern border and moving north according to their cities. Further, the land is the southernmost portion of all the land east of the Jordan. It borders the land of Moab. This border was almost identically described in verse 13:9. The cities of this land include…

17 Heshbon and all its cities that are in the plain: Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon,

Just for reference, the names of these locations mean: Hesbon – Intelligence; Dibon – Pining; Bamoth Baal – High Places of Baal or Great High Place of Baal; Beth Baal Meon – House of the Master of the Hideout. As an interesting point of history, the famous Mesha Stele, or Moabite Stone, was found in Dibon.

18 Jahaza, Kedemoth, Mephaath,

In sloppy fashion, the translation here and in the coming verses leaves out the conjunctions: v’yahtsah, u-qedemoth, u-mephaath – “And Jahaza, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath.” Jahaza is a variant spelling of Jahaz. It is where the battle between Israel and Sihon took place as is recorded in Numbers 21:23. It means Trodden Down.

Kedemoth means Ancient Times, Antiquity, or Beginnings. Mephaath is first seen here. It means something like Place of Radiance. Joshua 21 shows that all three of these will become Levitical cities.

19 Kirjathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the mountain of the valley,

Again, each location is preceded by a conjunction which is left off by the translators. Kirjathaim means Twin Cities or Double Cities. Sibmah may mean Spice. The third city is tsereth ha’shakhar b’har ha’emeq, or “Zereth the Shahar in mountain the valley.” It is found only here in the Bible.

The meaning is hard to pin down. It may mean Splendor of the Dawn, but the word specialists at Abarim seem to stretch the meaning, saying it might point to an eclipse. They call it Distress at a Solar Eclipse or Darkness at Midday. They then say that “These events are obviously mimicked in the Biblical accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection.”

That would be incorrect. There was no eclipse at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. The moon is full at the Passover, so it is seen at night and is hidden during the day. Therefore, the moon cannot eclipse the sun at that time of month.

The most probable meaning is Splendor of the Dawn. As Zereth Shahar is believed by some to border the Dead Sea, the beautiful coloring of the landscape would be resplendent, and especially so at the dawn.

20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth— 

Again, and to be precise, each location is preceded by the word “and.” Beth Peor means “House of Peor.” Peor comes from the verb paar, meaning “to open.” Thus, it is the House of the Opening. The next location is ashdoth ha’pisgah, or Ashdoth of the Pisgah, meaning Slopes of the Cleft. Beth Jeshimoth means House of the Desolations.

21 all the cities of the plain and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon,

This means all of the other cities that were in the realm of Sihon and which extended out over the open and flat plain, the mishor, that was mentioned in Joshua 13:9. This land is very suitable for grazing. All of this was the land of Sihon…

21 (con’t) whom Moses had struck 

The battle was detailed in Numbers 21, and it has been referred to numerous times since. It next says…

21 (con’t) with the princes of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba,

oto v’eth n’siye midyan eth evi, v’eth reqem, v’eth tsur, v’eth khur, v’eth reva – “with and with princes Midian, with Evi, and with Rekem, and with Zur, and with Hur, and with Reba.” This does not mean that they were killed in the same battle with Sihon, but in the same manner.

Rather, they had conspired against Israel by seducing them and so the Lord instructed Moses to take vengeance on them as is seen in Numbers 31. Here, they are called nasiy’ or “princes.” Literally, “exalted ones.” The word comes from nasa, to lift up. Hence, they were raised up to serve under Sihon.

Their names as best as can be determined mean – Evi – Desirous; Reqem – Many Colored; Tsur – Rock; Khur – White; Reva – Fourth. Of them, it next says…

21 (con’t) who were princes of Sihon dwelling in the country

n’siyke sikhon yosheve ha’arets – “consecrated Sihon dwellers the land.” Sihon had taken the land he possessed from Moab. Because they were dwelling in the Moabites territory when it was taken over, Midianite men were appointed as vassals under him over a portion of the territory.

Here, instead of prince, the word n’siyke is used. This speaks of a libation that is poured out or a molten image. Hence, it signifies something like pouring out authority or consecrating to serve in a particular position. Along with killing these vassals, it says…

22 The children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam the son of Beor,

The slaying of Balaam and the five men just mentioned is recorded in Numbers 31:8. So infamous is Balaam, that he will be named two more times in Joshua and also in Nehemiah and Micah. In the New Testament Peter, Jude, and Revelation also discuss his deeds. He was…

22 (con’t) the soothsayer, among those who were killed by them.

The word used to describe Balaam is the verb qasam. It signifies to practice divination or act as a soothsayer. It is also used of the witch of En Dor where she acts as a conjuror.

The biblical narrative does not tell how he ended up among these vassals. At the end of the account in Numbers 24:25, it said that he “departed and returned to his place.” The meaning could be that he “turned to his place,” but never got there, instead stopping at the dwelling of these Midianites and dying there.

Or he could have returned to his home after giving advice to Midian about how to handle Israel. When they took his advice, he may have returned there to receive his wages and been killed. No matter what, he was found among these men and was slain by the sword.

23 And the border of the children of Reuben was the bank of the Jordan.

The Hebrew is difficult, but it reads similarly to Numbers 34:6 and Joshua 15:12: vay’hi gebul bene Reuven ha’yarden u-gebul – “And was border sons Reuben the Jordan and his border.” The most likely meaning is that Reuben’s border is formed by the natural border of the Jordan.

The bank of the Jordan, or the Descender, is said to be the western border of the land given to Reuben. But this is only in the very northern extremity. Almost all of their western border lay on the eastern edge of the Dead Sea. Because of this, it can be seen that the Dead Sea is actually thought of as a final portion of the Jordan River.

23 (con’t) This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben according to their families, the cities and their villages.

Reuben desired this land outside of Canaan and it was granted to him. Rather than agriculture, the land is mostly suitable for pasturing flocks. Of their history in the Bible, Cambridge notes, “In the chief struggle of the nation Reuben never took part. No judge, no prophet, no hero of the tribe is handed down to us.” Thus, the history of their tribe is almost one of obscurity.

There is an inheritance that is coming to us
And it has already been granted, the deal is done
We have received the promise because of Jesus
It is based on His work alone; that of God’s own Son 

There is no need to worry if we will enter glory
It is guaranteed because we believed what was told to us
We heard the word of faith, the gospel story
And we believed on the glorious name of Jesus

The inheritance is given to all who are sanctified
It has been granted because of what God has done
It has come through the blood of Jesus, He who died
And who rose again! In Him the victory is won

II. The Land of Gad (verses 24-28)

24 Moses also had given an inheritance to the tribe of Gad, to the children of Gad according to their families.

Gad is the seventh son of Israel, and his inheritance is the second to be detailed. His name means Fortune. Like Reuben, his parcel of land came from the direction of Moses. As for the overall area of Gad…

25 Their territory was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead,

Jazer, or yatser, means Helpful or He Shall Help. The words “all the cities of Gilead” do not mean that they possessed all of that land. Rather, half of the Gilead is given to Manasseh as will be indicated in verse 13:31. And yet, no cities are mentioned in that half. Hence, “all the cities of Gilead” means that there were no inhabitable cities in the other half of the Gilead that went to Manasseh. Along with that…

25 (con’t) and half the land of the Ammonites as far as Aroer, which is before Rabbah,

The Hebrew reads “and half land sons Ammon.” What this means is that it was originally Ammonite land that was taken by Sihon. When Israel defeated Sihon, it then became the property of Israel. The importance of this is that Israel was told by the Lord –

“And when you come near the people of Ammon, do not harass them or meddle with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the descendants of Lot as a possession.” Deuteronomy 2:19

This land will later be contested by Ammon in Judges 11. However, Israel’s right to it was firm because Ammon lost possession of it to Sihon and Sihon lost possession of it to Israel. The name Rabbah means Great or Populus. The description continues with…

26 and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the border of Debir,

Heshbon signifies an explanation of things or Intelligence. ramath ha’mitspeh or Ramath the Mizpah means something like Height of the Watchtower. This is the area where Jacob and Laban set up their heap of stones as a witness between them as was seen in Genesis 31.

Betonim is found only here in the Bible and it probably means Pistachios. Although it could come from beten, a womb, and thus mean Hollows. This would still fit with Pistachios which form two hollows when split open and the nut is removed. Mahanaim means Two Camps.

As for the last name, the Hebrew reads Lidbir. Most translations equate it to Debir which means Place of the Word. However, it may be the same as Lo Debar which is first seen in 2 Samuel 9:4. If this is so, then it literally means “No Word.” As such, the intended meaning could go from No Pasture to Nothing. It is used in a pun in Amos 6:13 –

“You who rejoice over Lo Debar,
Who say, ‘Have we not taken Karnaim for ourselves
By our own strength?’” Amos 6:13

In this, it means “You who rejoice over nothing.” The idea then is that of stupidity. Next…

27 and in the valley Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon,

Beth Haram is found only here in Scripture, but it is certainly the same place known as Beth Haran found in Numbers 32:36. It means Mountain House or House of the Lofty. Beth Nimrah means House of the Leopard or House of Clean Water.

Succoth means Tabernacles. The location received its name in Genesis 33:17 when Jacob built himself a house and made tabernacles for his livestock. Hence, it was thereafter called Succoth.

Zaphon means North, but also Concealed because the north is the hidden direction in the northern hemisphere.

27 (con’t) with the Jordan as its border, as far as the edge of the Sea of Chinnereth, on the other side of the Jordan eastward.

ha’yarden u-gebul ad qetseh yam kinereth ever ha’yarden mizrakhah: “the Jordan and border to extremity sea Chinnereth, side the Jordan eastward.” This defines the westernmost area of the land grant which is the eastern side of the Jordan River and reaching to the very southern tip of the Sea of Galilee.

28 This is the inheritance of the children of Gad according to their families, the cities and their villages.

Gad desired to join with Reuben in the land outside of Canaan and it was granted to them. Taken together, the land of Reuben and Gad cover all of the kingdom that belonged to Sihon.

The Spirit is the guarantee of the inheritance
Given by God because of faith in His Son
Will He take it back? Of this, there is no  chance
We have gone from death to life – the victory is won

 And so, let us live out our lives as we should
Anticipating the inheritance given to us
Living in holiness is right, that is understood
Living according to the glory of our Lord Jesus

Thank You, O God, for the promise that lies ahead
Help us to live in faith, and faithfully too
May we conform to all that Your word has said
And may our lives and our hearts be loyal, pure, and true

III. The Land of the Half Tribe of Manasseh (verses 29-32)

29 Moses also had given an inheritance to half the tribe of Manasseh; it was for half the tribe of the children of Manasseh according to their families:

The wording is precise in this verse, but it is something that cannot be discerned from the English translation. The first occurrence of the word “tribe” is the word shevet. The second is the word mateh.

Both words are commonly translated as “tribes,” and they both signify a type of staff or rod. Further, both come from roots signifying to branch off.

Though very similar in intent, shevet looks to a political stem and branch, whereas mateh looks more to a genealogical one. For example, the first word, shevet, was seen eighteen times in Deuteronomy while mateh never was.

Likewise, shevet is used 33 times in Joshua while mateh is used 17 times, but only from Joshua 13-22.

So to understand what is being said, we can translate this verse as: “And gave Moses to half polity, Manasseh. And it was to half descended sons Manasseh according to their families.”

Manasseh is an adopted son of Israel, being the firstborn son of Joseph. Both sons of Joseph were to be given an inheritance along with the other sons of Israel. The land now to be detailed is the final parcel of land to be portioned out east of the Jordan.

The name Manasseh has a dual meaning of He Shall Forget and From a Debt. Like Reuben and Gad, this parcel of land came from the direction of Moses seen in Numbers 32 –

“And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were in it. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh, and he dwelt in it. 41 Also Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its small towns, and called them Havoth Jair. 42 Then Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and he called it Nobah, after his own name.” Numbers 32:39-42

As for the overall area of this half of Manasseh…

30 Their territory was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair which are in Bashan, sixty cities;

Because Machir dispossessed the Amorites in this area, Moses bestowed this land to half the tribe as an inheritance. This parcel nicely lines up with the parcel belonging to the other half of Manasseh west of the Jordan so that the two comprise one enormous swath of land that covers both sides.

When looking at them on a map, it almost looks like two arms stretching out, one to the east and one to the west. The territory of this half tribe goes from Mahanaim on its south, which is on Gad’s northern border, and it covers all of the area of the Bashan as well as all the towns of Jair, or khavoth yair, meaning Villages of the Enlightener.

As a side note, Jair will be listed in the genealogy of the tribe of Judah in 1 Chronicles –

“Now afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he married when he was sixty years old; and she bore him Segub. 22 Segub begot Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead.” 1 Chronicles 2:21-22

Despite this, he is reckoned as being a son of Manasseh in Numbers 32:41 and again in the next verse. In 1 Chronicles 2:21, 22 it said that he is a descendant of Manasseh through Machir’s daughter, her son Segub, and then through Jair. Thus, Manasseh is reckoned as his great, great-grandfather.

The surprising part of his genealogy is his being reckoned as a son of Manasseh, rather than a son of Judah, and this despite Machir’s daughter having married Hezron, a grandson of Judah. This is because the reckoning of a person in Scripture is through the father.

However, this could be because Hezron was old when he married her and already had other children. He may not have wanted this son to interfere with the inheritance rights of his other children, so their son was reckoned through Manasseh.

As far as the number of villages making up Jair, it changes from time to time in Scripture. Depending on the account, it may be twenty-three villages, thirty, or even sixty. The reason for the difference is based upon the context of what is being said.

For example, Moses spoke of the sixty towns of Jair in Deuteronomy 3. When he did, it was referring to everything in a wider sense that was taken by both Jair and a man named Nobah. That included its daughter villages. In Numbers, it was referred to in its stricter sense, meaning only the cities captured by Jair.

An example for understanding would be to say that Charlie Brown owns 15 McDonald’s franchises in Sarasota. Those are Charlie’s McDonald’s. However, there are 25 total McDonald’s in Sarasota. One might say, I’m going to Charlie’s for lunch, while actually going to one that isn’t Charlie’s. The term is simply used for the whole. Later in Judges 10, it will say –

“After him arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years. Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys; they also had thirty towns, which are called “Havoth Jair” to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. And Jair died and was buried in Camon.” Judges 10:3-5

There is no contradiction. The sons of Jair were given thirty of the sixty towns in this area to rule, and they were called by the name of their father within the wider sense of the term mentioned above. Though a bit confusing, with a bit of research, it all makes complete sense.

As far as this land, it was the first recorded granting of land to any people of Israel, as noted in Numbers 32:42. That is rather interesting, especially when considering that it is also the first land the inhabitants were to be permanently dispossessed from. In 1 Chronicles 5, this is recorded –

“So the children of the half-tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land. Their numbers increased from Bashan to Baal Hermon, that is, to Senir, or Mount Hermon. 24 These were the heads of their fathers’ houses: Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah, and Jahdiel. They were mighty men of valor, famous men, and heads of their fathers’ houses.
25 And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan to this day.” 1 Chronicles 5:23-26

The first of these tribes who are granted land were also the first to be dispossessed from it later in Israel’s history. The majority of the people of these tribes disappeared into obscurity. As far as their cities…

31 half of Gilead,

This is the half of the Gilead to the north of what Gad received. No cities are listed in this area…

31 (con’t) and Ashtaroth and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, 

Ashtaroth is believed to signify Union of Instructions, and thus One Law. Edrei means something like Mighty. These…

31 (con’t) were for the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, for half of the children of Machir according to their families.

This means that those who descend from Machir received land on both sides of the Jordan. As this is so, it is speculated that Machir was the only son of Manasseh. Machir means, Salesman. 1 Chronicles 7:14 says that Manasseh bore him by a concubine from Aram. The same place from which Machir’s son was named – because of the union between his father and mother, Manasseh and Manasseh’s Aramitiss concubine – became their possession. This may explain why he then named his own son Gilead.

Gilead means, Perpetual Fountain, or Heap of Booty. It is the border area between Syria and Canaan, and Machir may have called him Gilead to honor the union between the two people groups he came from. This also explains why it said in Numbers 32 that he went to Gilead and took it and dwelt there.

32 These are the areas which Moses had distributed as an inheritance

Rather than which, it is probably better translated as whom. In other words, rather than referring to the land, it is referring to the people: elleh asher nikhal mosheh – “These whom caused to inherit, Moses.” This then would correspond to the verses which opened each section of the passage –

And gave Moses to tribe (mateh) sons Reuben (13:15).
And gave Moses to tribe (mateh) Gad (13:24).
And gave Moses to half tribe (shevet) Manasseh, and it was to half tribe (mateh) sons Manasseh (13:29).
These whom caused to inherit, Moses (13:32).

This inheritance was granted by Moses…

32 (con’t) in the plains of Moab on the other side of the Jordan, by Jericho eastward.

b’arvoth moav me’ever l’yarden y’rikho mizrakhah – “in plains Moab from side to Jordan, Jericho, eastward.” These words refer to that action of Moses which explains the location of the inheritance as stated in Numbers 34. Putting the two side by side will show this –

The location of the inheritance:
“For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and the half-tribe of Manasseh has received its inheritance. 15 The two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance on this side of the Jordan, across from Jericho eastward, toward the sunrise.” Numbers 34:14, 15

The action of Moses:
“These whom caused to inherit, Moses, in plains Moab from side to Jordan, Jericho, eastward.”

The action was accomplished in the same place where the grant was made. Using the words of this verse and translating them in typology, it would say, “These whom caused to inherit, He Who Draws Out, in pledge From Father from side to Descender, Place of Fragrance, eastward.”

This would signify that in Christ’s fulfillment of the law, the pledge from the Father is given in Christ’s first Advent and in anticipation of the heavenly promise. Next…

33 But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance;

Here it turns to the political entity: u’l’shevet ha’levi lo nathan mosheh nakhalah – “And to tribe [polity] the Levite, no gave inheritance.” The Levites, meaning the polity of Levites, were set apart for the service of the Lord. Hence, no inheritance is given to them out of the land grants. But this does not mean they did not possess an inheritance. Rather…

33 (con’t) the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them.

Yehovah elohe Yisrael hu nakhalatam ka’asher dibber lahem – “Yehovah, God Israel, HE, their inheritance according to which spoke to them.” The Levites, who include the priestly class, received from the land of the people the Lord’s portion, the tithe. Hence, He is their inheritance.

As we have previously seen, they picture Christ in the service of the law, administering it, mediating it, fulfilling it and finally bringing it to its end.

This finishes the land grant including the cities given to Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, all of which is east of the Jordan. The book is being very precise in what it is presenting. And think of it! This is only for an earthly inheritance of land that will be filled with a group of people that may or may not care at all about the Lord.

But He promised that they would receive it and so the account is meticulously detailing every bit of what is being given. If God is going into such detail over something like this and for a group of people that He has already labeled as stiff-necked, imagine how carefully he is recording the details of our inheritance.

Are we stiff-necked? He is recording that. Are we expending ourselves in His service? That is being recorded. Above all, are we living as people of faith in His presence? This is the key to everything else we do, and it is the main point upon which every reward or loss will be based.

It is faith that brought us to Jesus. It is faith that secured our salvation. And it is faith by which our deeds will be reckoned. So, in all you do, have faith. Be thankful. That is demonstrating faith. Pray and ask God for His guidance. That is demonstrating faith. Spend your time talking to the Lord. That too is demonstration of faith.

The closer you align your thoughts to the thought that God is always with you, the greater your faith will be. The inheritance awaits. Let us live in faith until the day we are brought into it and receive it in all its fulness. And may that day be soon.

Closing Verse: “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:9, 10

Next Week: Joshua 14:1-5 To a different inheritance, they have the rights… (No Part to the Levites) (29th Joshua sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

An Inheritance by Jericho, Eastward

And Moses had given to the tribe of the children of Reuben
An inheritance according to their families as we have seen
Their territory was from Aroer, which is on the bank of
———-the River Arnon
And the city that is in the midst of the ravine

And all the plain by Medeba
Heshbon and all its cities that are in the plain as well:
Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon
Jahaza, Kedemoth, Mephaath – as the record does tell

Kirjathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar
On the mountain of the valley
Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth
And that’s not the final tally

All the cities of the plain and all the kingdom of Sihon
———-king of the Amorites
Who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses had struck in one spree
With the princes of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba
Who were princes of Sihon dwelling in the country

The children of Israel
Also killed with the sword, without haw or hem
Balaam the son of Beor the soothsayer
Among those who were killed by them

And the border of the children of Reuben
Was the bank of the Jordan, yes it’s true
This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben
According to their families, the cities and their villages too

Moses also had given an inheritance to the tribe of Gad
To the children of Gad according to their families was the score
Their territory was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead
And half the land of the Ammonites as far as Aroer

Which is before Rabbah
And from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim
And from Mahanaim to the border of Debir
And in the valley Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon
———-a lot of land it would seem

The rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon
With the Jordan as its border
As far as the edge of the Sea of Chinnereth
On the other side of the Jordan eastward, so was the order

This is the inheritance of the children of Gad, so the record
———-does tell
According to their families, the cities and their villages as well

Moses also had given an inheritance to half the tribe of Manasseh
It was for half the tribe of the children of Manasseh
———-according to their families, it is so
Their territory was from Mahanaim
All Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, so the record
———-does show

And all the towns of Jair which are in Bashan, sixty cities
Half of Gilead, Ashtaroth and Edrei, cities of the kingdom
———–of Og in Bashan, as we know
Were for the children of Machir the son of Manasseh
For half of the children of Machir according to
———-their families, it is so

These are the areas which Moses
Had distributed as an inheritance on that day
In the plains of Moab on the other side of the Jordan
By Jericho eastward, so the records say

But to the tribe of Levi
Moses had given no inheritance, it was so
The LORD God of Israel was their inheritance
As He had said to them, and as they came to know

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 And Moses had given to the tribe of the children of Reuben an inheritance according to their families. 16 Their territory was from Aroer, which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the ravine, and all the plain by Medeba; 17 Heshbon and all its cities that are in the plain: Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 18 Jahaza, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19 Kirjathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the mountain of the valley, 20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth— 21 all the cities of the plain and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses had struck with the princes of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, who were princes of Sihon dwelling in the country. 22 The children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer, among those who were killed by them. 23 And the border of the children of Reuben was the bank of the Jordan. This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben according to their families, the cities and their villages.

24 Moses also had given an inheritance to the tribe of Gad, to the children of Gad according to their families. 25 Their territory was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the Ammonites as far as Aroer, which is before Rabbah, 26 and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the border of Debir, 27 and in the valley Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, with the Jordan as its border, as far as the edge of the Sea of Chinnereth, on the other side of the Jordan eastward. 28 This is the inheritance of the children of Gad according to their families, the cities and their villages.

29 Moses also had given an inheritance to half the tribe of Manasseh; it was for half the tribe of the children of Manasseh according to their families: 30 Their territory was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair which are in Bashan, sixty cities; 31 half of Gilead, and Ashtaroth and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were for the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, for half of the children of Machir according to their families.

32 These are the areas which Moses had distributed as an inheritance in the plains of Moab on the other side of the Jordan, by Jericho eastward. 33 But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them.

 

Joshua 13:1-14 (Now Therefore, Divide this Land)

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson.

Joshua 13:1-14
Now Therefore, Divide This Land

Of the words of Joshua, Arthur Stanley, from his book Sinai and Palestine in Connection With Their History, dated 1883, says –

“There is one document in the Hebrew Scriptures to which probably no parallel exists in the topographical records of any other ancient nation. In the Book of Joshua we have what may without offence be termed the [Doomsday] Book of the conquest of Canaan. Ten chapters of that Book are devoted to a description of the country, in which not only are its general features and boundaries carefully laid down, but the names and situations of its towns and villages enumerated with a precision of geographical terms which encourages and almost compels a minute investigation.”

In other words, because of the precision of what is stated in the chapters detailing the land of Israel, it begs the naysayer of Scripture to prove it wrong. There isn’t just a smattering of detailed information, but an overwhelming amount of it.

And it is so comprehensive and precise that either the author knew exactly what he was writing so that anyone at any time could pinpoint the locations with a bit of effort, or it is a completely flawed description of the markings and borders he has laid out.

As time has marched on and things have been buried or removed, some locations may be harder to pinpoint, but there is enough of what is written that can be substantiated, even 3000+ years later, that the correctness of the other locations when they were written down is assured.

As we go through the verses today, we’ll see that many of these names were not only written down once, but several times. And they were not just written down by being copied one account from another. Rather, they were written down in a way that would ensure that any disputes about the details could be resolved by a review of the details of a secondary account.

Text Verse: “Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:25-27

The reliability of Old Testament Scripture is put to the test even in the New Testament. Again and again, the word “Scripture” is cited by Jesus or the apostles when referring to the Old Testament. At other times, Jesus or an apostle will simply make a point from Scripture, such as –

“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24: 38, 39

Jesus presents the flood as a literal occurrence. He speaks of Abel as a literal human. If there was an Abel, then there was an Adam who begot Abel. Jesus tells us that Moses (meaning the Torah, the five books of Moses) and the prophets speak of Him. The entire Bible, the word of God, calls forth with the words, “Test me! See if I am what I have presented.” If we do test it, we will be assured of its veracity.

As for the contents of our passage, Charles Ellicott makes a marvelous point about those who claim the books of Moses and Joshua were actually penned at a much later date. If that were so, there would be some real inconsistencies of thought. Using the law as his example, he says –

“We are also able to understand more clearly why so much stress was laid upon the necessity of adherence to the Book of the Law in Joshua’s commission (Joshua 1:6-8). The fact that these rules are not what human nature would be at all disposed to obey continuously and as a matter of set practice (have they ever been observed yet in any conquest recorded in history?) is worth noting, as a proof of the undesigned veracity of the story. It is a mark of thorough consistency between the law and the history of Israel. And if the authorship of Deuteronomy belonged to the late date which some claim for it, how could we account for the insertion of a law which was never kept, and could not be kept at the time when some suppose it was written? From the days of Solomon and thenceforward, the relation of the remnant of the conquered Canaanites to Israel was fixed. The Phœnicians and Philistines maintained a separate national existence to the last.”

His point is well stated. If these things were written much later, even as late as 300BC as so many claim, it would make no sense to include items which proved a total failure on Israel’s part. This might be the case in a fictional story, but it would never be the case in writings that claimed to be historical, accurate, and indeed holy.

Trust the word, even if you don’t always understand it. When the Bible says there was a city, a well, or an altar in a certain spot, you can bet that someone will go there, pull out his spade, and hear the tink of the metal hitting rock which is what he was looking for. It has happened innumerable times in history, and it continues to occur regularly today.

Archaeology is only one of a host of sciences that validates the pages of Scripture. Evolution schmevoltion. I don’t have enough faith to believe we evolved, and neither should you. There is not one bone on the planet that has yet proved that inane “theory,” which is – by the way – why it is still called a “theory.” Trust the word of God. It is, after all, God’s word.

And great things are always to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. This Is the Land That Yet Remains (verses 1-7)

Now Joshua was old, advanced in years.

This is more a paraphrase. The Hebrew says: vihoshua zaqen ba ba’yamim – “And Joshua old, entering in the days.” Despite being a type of the Lord, Joshua was also a man, a historical figure, who led Israel, but who also aged and eventually died. However, the events of his life are used to convey truths about the work of the Lord and the ongoing story of redemptive history.

1 (con’t) And the Lord said to him:

There are times in the narrative that the Lord obviously spoke to Joshua personally, such as during the battle of Ai when He instructed Joshua to act in the heat of battle. Whether this is the case now, or whether the Lord speaks to him through a prophet, priest, or some other way is not recorded. But the Lord does speak to him…

1 (con’t)  “You are old, advanced in years,

atah zaqantah bata ba’yamim – “You old, entering in the days.” There are things to consider about these words. Joshua isn’t nearly as old as Moses was at the time of his death. It is likely that Joshua was around a hundred years old.

Moses was one hundred and twenty when he died and “his eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished.” Despite being aged, he was not “old.” On the other hand, Joshua will die at the same age Joseph did, one hundred and ten (Joshua 24:29). Some years before that, he is already considered as “old.”

Therefore, being old is not so much dependent on the actual number of years a person lives, but the state of the person at any given time. In 1 Kings 1:15, it says that David was “very old,” and yet he was only about seventy when he died.

The state of Joshua demands that certain things must be done. The conquests he made have established a foothold in the land that is great enough so that it can be divided among the tribes. And yet, there are many people groups that have not yet been subdued in the land; some never will be.

Despite this, the instructions found in the law intended for the land to be solely the possession of Israel. Therefore, the division of the land, even before it is wholly subdued, now falls to Joshua…

1 (con’t) and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.

v’ha’arets nisharah harbeh meod l’rishtah – “and the land left much, very, to possess.” Despite his great successes in the many conquests he led, a significant amount of land remained outside of the control of Israel. This is unlike the land east of the Jordan which was wholly subdued under Moses.

It is a marvelous parallel to the state of things for those who come to Christ. In Him, the inheritance is secured because of Christ’s fulfillment and ending of the law. And yet, there are battles to be won and enemies to be subdued after coming to Him.

There is no contradiction in this at all. It is exactly how the New Testament portrays the state of things. There is total victory and assured salvation in Christ, and yet there is a constant war being waged against those who are in Christ.

Anyone who doesn’t get this either feels he must earn his salvation (Christ’s victory was not total), which is impossible to do, or he feels he can lose his salvation (the struggles of life in Christ can overcome what He has done), which is likewise impossible.

As for the literal history of Israel’s unconquered land…

This is the land that yet remains:

zot ha’arets ha’nishareth – “This the land, the remaining.” This clause introduces what will be said through verse 7. As such, this is a parenthetical thought which terminates with the words of verse 7 –

2: This is the land

2-6: Naming the land.

7: Now therefore, divide this land.

2 (con’t) all the territory of the Philistines and all that of the Geshurites,

kal g’liloth ha’p’lishtim v’kal ha’geshuri – “all circles the Philistines and all the Geshuri.” A new word is introduced here, gelilah. It comes from galal, meaning to roll. Thus, it is a region, like a circle, as if encircled by borders.

As for the people groups, the name Philistine comes from, palash, signifying to roll in the dust as an act of mourning. They are the Grievers. The name Geshur comes from an unused root meaning to join. Thus, it may mean Bridge.

Some think that these from Geshur are the same as those mentioned in Joshua 12:5, being in the northeast area of Canaan. Others think they may be the same people group, but a portion of them settled in the south. That seems more likely for two reasons.

The first is that the Geshuri is mentioned in 1 Samuel 27:8 and it is clearly in the southern area of Canaan. Also, it is because the region of these groups is next described. That region is…

from Sihor, which is east of Egypt,

min ha’sikhor asher al pene mitsraim – “from the Sikhor which upon face Egypt.” The Sikhor probably derives its name from shakhar, to be black. If so, it is a dark, turbid river. It is The Turbid. This is the same river known as the Wadi of Egypt in Joshua 15:4. Today, it is known as the Wadi el Arish that flows into the Mediterranean Sea from the Sinai Peninsula. The border goes…

3 (con’t) as far as the border of Ekron northward

v’ad gebul eqron tsaphonah – “and unto border Ekron northward.” Ekron comes from aqar, to pluck up or uproot. But that is from the same as eqer, an offshoot or descendant. Hence, the name could mean either Offshoot or Uprooted. Zephaniah will make a play on the name later in Scripture, saying, “Ekron shall be Uprooted” (Zephaniah 2:4).

Ekron is the most northern of the five cities of the Philistines.

3 (con’t) (which is counted as Canaanite);

la’kenaani tekhashev – “to the Canaanite reckoned.” The words could be referring to the previous clause when speaking of Ekron. However, it is more likely tied to the next clauses. This would mean that the named people groups are regarded as Canaanites, even if they are not specifically descendants of Canaan. In other words, they are subject to conquest. They are…

3 (con’t) the five lords of the Philistines—

khameshet sarne p’lishtim – “five lords Philistines.” The word seren is introduced here. It signifies a lord, but also an axle. Hence, the word may indicate the lord is the central point upon which the city turns. These five lords, plus one people group, are…

3 (con’t) the Gazites, the Ashdodites, the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites;

The names are all in the singular, not the plural. And the word “also” is not in the text. As for their names, Gaza (Azah) means Strong. Ashdod means Ravager. Ashkelon comes from shaqal, to weigh, as in weighing money. Hence it is the Market. Gath means Winepress. Ekron was named in the previous verse. These are the five groups of Philistines.

Along with them are named the Avites. Their name comes from avah, to bend or twist, but also a distortion or ruin, or even perversity or moral evil. They may be the Ruiners, but I would think the name could extend to Mischief-makers. They are included here because of what is said in Deuteronomy 2:23 –

“And the Avim, who dwelt in villages as far as Gaza—the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and dwelt in their place.”

Apparently, they continued to exist in limited number even if mostly destroyed and driven out. The details continue with…

from the south, all the land of the Canaanites,

The actual division of the verses is debated. Some place the words. “from the south” with the previous clause. Some place them with the words following. The Greek, instead of saying mi’teman, or “from the South,” says “from Teman,” which is the proper name of a location belonging to Edom.

No matter which, it immediately follows with the land of the Canaanites. That extends northward…

4 (con’t) and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians as far as Aphek, to the border of the Amorites;

u-m’arah asher la’tsidonim ad apheqah ad gebul ha’emori – “and Mearah which to the Sidonians unto Aphek unto border the Amorite.” Mearah means Cave. It is a region with a cave near Lebanon. Several possible sites have been suggested.

Sidon comes from tsud, to hunt. Thus, it is Hunting Place. As it is on the coast, it means to hunt fish and thus Fishery. Aphek comes from aphaq, meaning to hold or to be strong, and so it means Fortress. And Amorite signifies Renown.

The idea here is all of the area of the Canaanites from Ekron north to Sidon and then eastward to Aphek which may be the northern area of Bashan, and which extends to the area of Mount Hermon. However, there are at least three different locations known as Aphek, and so this is a bit of guesswork.

the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrise, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon as far as the entrance to Hamath;

Depending on the root word, Gebal means either Boundary or Hill of God. Lebanon means White One or even Mountain of Snow. Baal Gad means Lord of Fortune with a secondary meaning of Lord of the Invasion. Hermon means Sacred. Hamath means Defense or Citadel.

Gebal is also known as Byblos and is a city on the Mediterranean north of Sidon (even north of Beirut), It is seen in 1 Kings 5:18 and Ezekiel 29:9. The borders mentioned go eastward and extend to Mount Hermon and even northward to Hamath, which was the northern location spied out by the twelve spies in Numbers 13. It was recorded as the northern border in Numbers 34.

all the inhabitants of the mountains from Lebanon as far as the Brook Misrephoth, and all the Sidonians—

The Brook Misrephoth, or Misrephoth Mayim, means Burning of Waters. It was seen in Joshua 11:8. This explains the people who live in those areas. It is inclusive of the Sidonians and Phoenicians. What is said about all these people and the named locations is, obviously, conditional.

These areas were never fully cleansed of the inhabitants, even if they were controlled by Israel such as during the time of David and Solomon. Therefore, what the Lord next says is only assured if Israel itself acted…

6 (con’t) them I will drive out from before the children of Israel;

It is emphatic and it refers to all of the peoples and places mentioned since verse 2, “I will drive them out.” The Lord promises to do so, but Ellicott is right in how he presents it, saying, “…the promise of driving them out from before the children of Israel, supposes that the Israelites must use their own endeavours, must go up against them. If Israel, through sloth or cowardice, let them alone, they are not likely to be driven out. We must go forth in our Christian warfare, and then God will go before us.”

He is right about this in both that which is promised to Israel and our own situation as believers. It is as common as wind gusts in a hurricane for Christians to claim success in something, but then never put forward any effort in order to obtain what they have claimed.

But more directly, we are told about the spiritual warfare we are in; and yet, without the proper tools to wage that war, one cannot triumph. In Ephesians 6, Paul writes of truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, surety of salvation, and the employment of the word of God.

Each one of these things finds its basis in knowing the word and applying it to our lives. Israel may have known how to fight but failed to engage the battle. Or Israel may have faced a battle and not known how to fight. Are we any different in our spiritual walk? Not in the least.

What we are seeing in Joshua is a reflection of what we are called to in our own lives. This is something that was already perfectly stated in Number 33 –

“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places; 53 you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 54 And you shall divide the land by lot as an inheritance among your families; to the larger you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give a smaller inheritance; there everyone’s inheritance shall be whatever falls to him by lot. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. 55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. 56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’” Numbers 33:51-56

The Lord will clear out the inhabitants if Israel will act in driving out the inhabitants. The Lord will go before us in our spiritual battles if we are simply willing to follow and be set for the battles we are to face. As for Joshua, the Lord continues, saying…

6 (con’t) only divide it by lot to Israel as an inheritance, as I have commanded you.

This is more an explanation than a translation. It reads: raq hapileha l’yisrael b’nakhalah ka’asher tsivitikha – “only, cause it to fall to Israel in inheritance according to which I commanded you.” The inheritance will fall by lot, but only because Joshua will cause the lots to fall. With that, the parenthetical thought in verses 2-6 is complete and the closing thought of the section is provided…

Now therefore, divide this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.”

The meaning is “all of the land just named,” not just that which is subdued. In other words, the land is to be divided and those areas not yet subdued were to be handled by the tribe who received the particular allotment. That is exactingly seen in Joshua 17.

The main kings and fortifications had been subdued. The structure of the societies within Canaan had been sufficiently destroyed so that those remaining would find it difficult to organize against Israel. And so, the land was now to be parceled up and granted to those who had not received an inheritance east of the Jordan.

For example, Judah and Simeon will receive their allotment in Joshua 15 and 19, but then it will say this in Judges 1:3 –

“So Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me to my allotted territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I will likewise go with you to your allotted territory.” And Simeon went with him.”

These tribes were willing to put forth the effort, “and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand” (Judges 1:4). Other tribes failed to obey, and they never did drive out the inhabitants. That will be seen in just a few verses.

It is time to get about dividing the land
It is ready to be inhabited, so get it done
Enough battles have been fought to understand
That the rest of the battles you face will be won

I will drive out the rest if you will just get started
And you cannot fail if you will get up and get going
Do not be afraid, dismayed, or downhearted
Be confident in My word; great things I will be showing

If you sit idly about, you cannot expect a victory
But if you head out confident in the truth of My word
Then you shall prevail; test Me in this and you will see
Just have trust and faith in what you have heard

II. Nevertheless (verses 8-14)

There is a ton of repetition from previous sermons in these verses set before us. It even closely mirrors much of what was said in Joshua 12:1-6. It may seem tedious and redundant. “Haven’t we just heard this?”

This will continue throughout the allotment to each individual tribe. But the specificity is necessary. There is not only typology for us to consider, but it is also a set of actual inheritances that had to be precisely detailed for a group of people that actually existed.

Just as we have extremely precise descriptions in the legal recordings of our land deeds, Israel also needed to maintain such records. Thus, we need to be patient as we go through these allotments, understanding that there was a need for precision in order to ensure harmony within and among the tribes of Israel.

With the other half-tribe the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance,

As an explanatory paraphrase, the NKJV adds in words that are not in the text. It says:  imo ha’reuveni v’ha’gadi laqehu nakhalatam – “With him the Reubenite and the Gadite took their inheritance.” The words here need to be taken with the last words of verse 7.

There it referred to Manasseh. As such, the “With him” is referring to Manasseh. One half of him was divided east of the Jordan while the other half was west of the Jordan.

8 (con’t) which Moses had given them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the Lord had given them:

The Hebrew reads more precisely: “which had given to them Moses, in side the Jordan eastward, according to which had given to them Moses, servant Yehovah.” In other words, the land had been given to them by Moses, meaning the two- and one-half tribes, and then it had been divided by Moses among them.

It wasn’t just that they all had been given the expanse of land and could settle wherever they wanted, but that they had been given the expanse of land which was then carefully – even meticulously – described and apportioned out. In other words, these tribes together had received their inheritance and then each tribe individually had received its inheritance. The entire expanse was…

from Aroer which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and the town that is in the midst of the ravine, and all the plain of Medeba as far as Dibon;

The land described in verses 9 and 10 is the southern area of the land grant east of the Jordan. It comprises the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites.

As a reminder, Aroer means Stripped, Bare, or Naked. Arnon means Roaring Stream. The type of ravine is a nakhal, signifying a wadi. The word comes from the verb nakhal signifying “to take possession.”

The noting of the city which is in the midst of the ravine is most probably speaking of Aroer, the same city just mentioned. It is both on the bank of the ravine and within the ravine. Hence, it is a double city. If this is correct, then Isaiah refers to this double city –

“The cities of Aroer are forsaken; They will be for flocks Which lie down, and no one will make them afraid.” Isaiah 17:2

Next, ha’mishor, or “the plain,” is a word that signifies a level place. Thus, it figuratively speaks of uprightness. It is “the place of uprightness.” Medeba means something like Waters of Rest. And Dibon means Pining. Also included are…

10 all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the border of the children of Ammon;

Sihon means something like Tempestuous or Warrior. Heshbon means Intelligence. Ammon means A People. Everything that belonged to the kingdom of Sihon was subdued and the inhabitants were completely destroyed, even right up to the border of the land. Also included in this large tract was…

11 Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan as far as Salcah;

The land described in verses 11 and 12 is the northern area of the land grant east of the Jordan. It comprises the kingdom of Og in the Bashan. With this in mind, Gilead means Perpetual Fountain.

The Gushurite possessed a small area in the northeast corner of Bashan. It was adjoined to the area of Argob (Deuteronomy 3:14), and to the kingdom of Aram (Syria) as seen in 2 Samuel 15:8. As we saw earlier, Geshur means Bridge.

The Maachthite dwelt on the southwest area of Mount Hermon where the Jordan finds its source. Maacah means Oppression. Also, Bashan is prefixed by an article, the Bashan. It means The Place of Fertile Soil. Salcah means Walking. With these borders defined, it next says this is…

12 all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei,

As we saw in the last chapter, Og comes from uggah, which is a round baked cake. That comes from ug, to bake. His reign was from both of these cities, probably having a palace in each. Ashtaroth is believed to signify Union of Instructions, and thus One Law. Edrei means something like Mighty.

12 (con’t) who remained of the remnant of the giants; for Moses had defeated and cast out these.

The wording is rather precise: hu nishar mi’yeter ha’rephaim va’yakem mosheh va’yorishem – “He remained from remnant the Rephaim. And struck them Moses and dispossessed them.” It is two separate thoughts. Og alone remained of the Rephaim. Moses both destroyed Og and those he reigned over.

If you compare the corresponding verses in Chapters 12 and 13, you can see the similarities and the differences –

The other king was Og king of Bashan and his territory, who was of the remnant of the giants, who dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, and reigned over Mount Hermon, over Salcah, over all Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and over half of Gilead to the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.” Joshua 12:4, 5

“Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan as far as Salcah; 12 all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants; for Moses had defeated and cast out these.” Joshua 13:11, 12

Though it is essentially the same thing being said, it is purposefully restructured as if to ensure that what is said in one place is fully understood by saying it again a bit differently in another place. Therefore, if one was to be twisted or incorrectly analyzed, the other would provide support to correct the error.

The same is true with the previous verses concerning Sihon and his territory. There are some larger differences in the description of his kingdom, but together they form a full picture for the tribes to ensure that the scope of the entire land, as well as that of the individual parcels, is perfectly understood.

With that, a curious negative note is entered into the account…

13 Nevertheless the children of Israel did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maachathites, but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day.

The word translated as “Nevertheless” is simply “And.” Also, the names are in the singular in the first clause and they are stated by their principal name in the second clause – “And the sons of Israel did not dispossess the Geshurite and the Maacahthite. And Geshur and Maakath dwell in the midst of Israel until this day.”

The curiosity of saying this comes from the fact that these two people groups were not a part of the kingdom of Og. Rather, they dwelt on his border as noted in verse 12:5. However, the matter is resolved by the fact that they were located within the borders specified by the Lord as belonging to Israel. Other such notes of failure will be seen as the Bible continues.

14 Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance;

This is explicitly stated now while referring to the land east of the Jordan to explain why Levi is not included in any land inheritance there. This is repeated in the allotment to Manasseh on the east side in verse 13:33 and concerning all other allotments west of the Jordan in verse 14:4.

It will then be addressed as the main subject of Chapter 21. The narrative is being extremely precise in dealing with the Levites, as in the book of Numbers does in particular, but elsewhere in Scripture as well.

*14 (fin) the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said to them.

The translation is rather poor. It was copied from the KJV which got much of it wrong. It is emphatic and reads: ishe Yehovah elohe Yisrael hu nakhalato ka’asher diber lo – “Fire offerings of Yehovah, God of Israel, IT his inheritance as He said to him.”

First, not all offerings are sacrifices. Second, there is an emphasis on the fact that the offerings are Levi’s inheritance. As they belong to the Lord, and so the Lord is then Levi’s inheritance –

“Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God promised him.” Deuteronomy 10:9

Also, the words appear as if the Lord was speaking directly to Levi, “as He said to him.” The Levites are uniquely set apart as the Lord’s, and it was by the word of the Lord that this came about.

As for the typology of what is presented in these verses, it has been explained, and in some cases, re-explained several times. Since we just went through much of it at the beginning of chapter 12, there is no point in going through it all again.

It is true that there are minor differences that could be evaluated for typology, but the overall message of the presentation shouts out details that we know refer to Jesus. He is the focal point of all that is given.

And yet, we cannot ignore the fact that these details were also minutely provided to ensure Israel would have exact guidelines and particulars to avoid any land conflict later in their own history. Hence, the reiteration of the details will allow for those who might argue to reference another account to overcome any disputes that might arise.

As for our own surety of what is presented, remember what was said by Arthur Stanley and Charles Ellicott as we opened today. What the Bible presents calls out to be tested and verified. And for thousands of years, this is exactly what people have done.

They have tried to prove it is in error and they have failed. They have found supposed contradictions and then these were proven wrong. They have tested it for accuracy, and it has passed at the turn of every page.

It is certain that not everything in the Bible has been proven true, but it is also certain that nothing in the Bible has been proven false. There is a great difference between the two. The latter removes any reason to ever read it again. The former challenges us to continue seeking out what it says, knowing that it has been proven right. This allows us to be confident that it will continue to be right in everything else that is still unknown.

Trust the word of God. It is a faithful friend that will never let you down. And above all, trust Jesus who is the focal point of the entire word. I can tell you with one hundred percent confidence that He will never (No, never ever!) let you down.

Closing Verse: “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14, 15

Next Week: Joshua 13:15-33 It is where we are set to go, so we are headed toward… (An Inheritance by Jericho, Eastward) (28th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Now Therefore, Divide This Land

Now Joshua was old, advanced in years
And the LORD said to him, yes, Joshua He addressed
“You are old, advanced in years
And there remains very much land yet to be possessed

This is the land that yet remains:
All the territory of the Philistines and all that of the Geshurite
From Sihor, which is east of Egypt
As far as the border of Ekron northward (which is counted
———-as Canaanite)

The five lords of the Philistines—
The Gazites, the Ashdodites
The Ashkelonites, the Gittites
And the Ekronites; also the Avites – so many “-ites”

From the south
All the land of the Canaanites
And Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians as far as Aphek
To the border of the Amorites

The land of the Gebalites
And all Lebanon, toward the sunrise
From Baal Gad below Mount Hermon
As far as the entrance to Hamath, where Hamath lies

All the inhabitants of the mountains from Lebanon
As far as the Brook Misrephoth, so the record does tell
And all the Sidonians
Them I will drive out from before the children of Israel

Only divide it by lot to Israel as an inheritance, so you shall do
As I have commanded you

Now therefore, divide this land as an inheritance, divide it this way
To the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh

With the other half-tribe the Reubenites and the Gadites
Received their inheritance, measured out by cord
Which Moses had given them, beyond the Jordan eastward
As had given them, Moses, the servant of the Lord

From Aroer which is on the bank of the River Arnon
And the town that is in the midst of the ravine
And all the plain of Medeba as far as Dibon
All the land that is there seen

All the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites
Who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the border
———-of the children of Ammon
Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites
All Mount Hermon

And all Bashan as far as Salcah
All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth
———-and Edrei too
Who remained of the remnant of the giants
For Moses had defeated and cast out these, their land he did accrue

Nevertheless the children of Israel
Did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maachathites
———-so they did not obey
But the Geshurites and the Maachathites
Dwell among the Israelites until this day

Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance
The sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel
Made by fire are their inheritance
As He said to them – as He did tell

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed. This is the land that yet remains: all the territory of the Philistines and all that of the Geshurites, from Sihor, which is east of Egypt, as far as the border of Ekron northward (which is counted as Canaanite); the five lords of the Philistines—the Gazites, the Ashdodites, the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites; from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians as far as Aphek, to the border of the Amorites; the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrise, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon as far as the entrance to Hamath; all the inhabitants of the mountains from Lebanon as far as the Brook Misrephoth, and all the Sidonians—them I will drive out from before the children of Israel; only divide it by lot to Israel as an inheritance, as I have commanded you. Now therefore, divide this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.”

With the other half-tribe the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses had given them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the Lord had given them: from Aroer which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and the town that is in the midst of the ravine, and all the plain of Medeba as far as Dibon; 10 all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the border of the children of Ammon; 11 Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan as far as Salcah; 12 all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants; for Moses had defeated and cast out these.

13 Nevertheless the children of Israel did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maachathites, but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day.

14 Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance; the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said to them.

 

 

Joshua 12:7-24 (An Inheritance Seward)

Joshua 12:7-24
An Inheritance Seaward

At times, the typology in the book of Joshua can be rather hard to pin down. The more names of people and locations there are, the more difficult it can become to decipher the typology. And there are a lot of parts of Joshua that heap on the names.

As you saw last week, and as we will see again this week, that is certainly the case with chapter 12. I will be honest, I am not even going to attempt to try to give you the meaning of every name given.

I will give enough info to demonstrate what this account is telling us about the work of Christ, but I am not going to start making unfounded conclusions just to tickle your ears. It is easy to make anything say anything. That does not interest me at all.

However, I do believe every word that is given, including every name, has a purpose. By contrast, Jamieson-Faucet-Brown comes to a different conclusion. For example, from their commentary on verse 7 –

“Baal-gad … even unto … Halak—(See on [188]Jos 11:17). A list of thirty-one chief towns is here given; and, as the whole land contained a superficial extent of only fifteen miles in length by fifty in breadth, it is evident that these capital cities belonged to petty and insignificant kingdoms. With a few exceptions, they were not the scenes of any important events recorded in the sacred history, and therefore do not require a particular notice.” JFB

Text Verse: “Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5, 6

It should be noted that the distance concerning the length of Israel that was given by Jamieson-Faucet-Brown is about one hundred and fifteen miles, not fifteen. Also, to say that these locations “do not require a particular notice” when that is exactly why God has included them in His word is a bit troubling to me.

There may not be a lot of commentary that can be derived from these names, but they are there for a reason and so they should be given particular notice. Many of the names will be mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, so it is good to understand how these locations fit into the overall layout of the land.

And more, like all things in Scripture, the names are given to alert us to other truths that God has tucked away in the word. Despite that, it is complicated to sit down and derive everything one can about such a passage. Rather, it is the kind of thing that someone might do after pondering the passage over months or years.

I have a bit more than 10 hours on any given Monday to research the contents of a passage for a sermon. It can be tiring, even mentally debilitating, but it is also amazingly joyous to do. Today’s passage is not unimportant, except in how we may treat it. Let us not have that attitude toward God’s word.

Let us do our best to draw out what the word is telling us. I hope and pray what is presented here today accomplishes that end, even if it does not fully answer the meaning of what every name given is intended to reveal.

Great things such as marvelous hidden types and pictures of Christ are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Possession According to Their Divisions (verses 7, 8)

And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel conquered

The narrative details all of the kings conquered in the campaign to take Canaan. The words of this verse are in accord with what has already been recorded in chapters 10 and 11 –

“So Joshua conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded. 41 And Joshua conquered them from Kadesh Barnea as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even as far as Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:40-42

&

“Thus Joshua took all this land: the mountain country, all the South, all the land of Goshen, the lowland, and the Jordan plain—the mountains of Israel and its lowlands, 17 from Mount Halak and the ascent to Seir, even as far as Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings, and struck them down and killed them.” Joshua 11:16, 17

Those are the areas and even specific locations taken by Joshua. The kings who were taken are to be named now. They are those…

7 (con’t) on this side of the Jordan, on the west,

More literally, it reads: b’ever ha’yarden yamah – “in side the Jordan, seaward.” It is on a particular side of the Jordan and that is the westward, or seaward, side, as it is looking toward the Mediterranean Sea. The word yam signifies both “sea” and “west.” The extent of the area goes…

7 (con’t) from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon as far as Mount Halak and the ascent to Seir,

It is the same locations noted in Joshua 11:17, but they are listed from north to south here instead of south to north: mibaal gad b’biqat ha’l’vanon v’ad ha’har he’khalaq ha’oleh seirah – “from Baal Gad in valley the Lebanon and unto the mount, the Smooth, the ascender Seir.”

As was noted then, the name Baal Gad means “Lord of Fortune” with a secondary meaning of “Lord of the Invasion.” This is because Gad (Fortune) comes from gadad meaning to cut or invade. Baal simply means “master.” Hence it is one with authority.

Lebanon means White One or even Mountain of Snow. However, it is derived from lavan, meaning white. This is identical to lavan, or brick, because bricks turn white when fired. That word carries the connotation of works because bricks imply the work of man as opposed to stone which is fashioned by God.

The type of valley here, biqat, comes from baqa, meaning to cleave, rend, or rip open. Hence, it is a valley that is a split between mountains. That is the northern demarcation. It then goes to the south, to the mount, the Smooth.” This is the second and last time this is mentioned. As seen in chapter 11, the name comes from khalaq, meaning “smooth.” For example, it was used in Genesis 27:11, saying –

“And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned [khalaq] man.’”

The word is used figuratively in Proverbs and Ezekiel when speaking in a flattering manner because of the smooth tongue that is so employed.

This mount is described next as “the ascender Seir.” As was noted, Seir means hairy, coming from sa’iyr, hairy. For example, it was used in Genesis 27:11, saying –

“And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Look, Esau my brother is a hairy [sa’iyr] man, and I am a smooth-skinned man.’”

By analogy, it also speaks of a he-goat because the he-goat is a hairy animal. That is the animal used as a sin offering, such as on the Day of Atonement and elsewhere. These borders then are named in order to define all of the area…

7 (con’t) which Joshua gave to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions,

The words are similar to those of Joshua 11:23, with a few differences. Also, they are actually their own clause in the Hebrew: v’yitenah Yehoshua l’shivte Yisrael yerushah k’makh’l’qotam – “and gave Joshua to tribes Israel inheritance according to their divisions.”

This anticipates the actual description of the division of the land coming up in Joshua 13. The kings are disinherited in order for Israel to then inherit the land. The rule of these kings is next noted by the various topographical indicators, saying…

in the mountain country,

As in Joshua 11, the land is next divided into seven divisions. Six are by location. The seventh division is for the six named people groups. This is the first division: ba’har – “in the mountain.” It means in the mountainous areas.

8 (con’t) in the lowlands,

The second division: u-ba’sh’phelah – and in the Shephelah, meaning the transitional region of soft-sloping rolling hills in south-central Israel stretching about 6 to 9 miles in length. The word comes from shaphel, to become low or abased. It is the lowland.

8 (con’t) in the Jordan plain,

The third division: u-ba’aravah – “and in the Aravah.” This is the plain that extends about one hundred miles south from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba forming a border between Israel and Jordan. The word comes from arav, to grow dark or become evening.

This is because of the darkness of the terrain. However, that is identical to arav, meaning to take or give in pledge.

8 (con’t) in the slopes,

The fourth division: u-ba’ashedoth – “and in the slopes.” The word ashedah comes from eshed, meaning a foundation, bottom, or lower part. That comes from a root signifying to pour. As such, some translations say “springs.” But this is more likely the slopes of the mountains. Cities built on them would be fortified and thus ideally located.

8 (con’t) in the wilderness,

The fifth division: u-ba’midbar – “and in the wilderness.” It signifies an area that is very dry and barren and thus sparsely inhabited. In Scripture, the wilderness is equated to a place of testing and trial. This would predominantly be in the areas of Judah and Benjamin. It is an area noted in the New Testament, such as in Matthew 3:1 and elsewhere.

8 (con’t) and in the South—

The sixth division: u-ba’negev – “and in the Negev.” Negev means “south,” but it is also the designation of a specific location and is thus a proper noun – “the South.” It comes from an unused root meaning to be parched, and the Negev is a very parched land. All of this is the land of…

8 (con’t) the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:

The seventh division, which is naming the people groups rather than a location: Each of these names is stated in the singular, not the plural. The names mean: Hittite – Terror, Terrible, Fearsome; Amorite – Talkers (active) or Renown (passive); Canaanite – Humiliated, Humbled, or even Subdued; Perizzite – A Breach or Irruption; Hivite – Villagers, or maybe more specifically, Tent Villagers; Jebusite – Treading Down (active) or Trodden Underfoot (passive).

With the borders defined, the areas identified, and the people groups named, the listing next details the kings of the individual cities that were disinherited…

There is a land to be subdued, ruled by many kings
But just one Leader will defeat them all
Because of His victories, my heart sings
Yes, the enemies have all seen their downfall

Our Leader gained the victory because He is great
None can stand against Him; not now, not ever
What was their land, now belongs to His estate
And He offers it to “whosoever”

If you will believe in Him, accepting His victory
You too can share in the inheritance of the saints
By faith alone it comes, works would be contradictory
So be sure to cast off the law’s restraints

II. Thirty-one Kings (verses 9-24)

the king of Jericho, one;

The listing is generally given in the order of the battles. The first location was Jericho, meaning Place of Fragrance. It has a secondary meaning of Place of the Moon.

9 (con’t) the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one;

melekh ha’ay asher mi’tsad beit el ekhad – “king the Ai which from side Bethel, one.” The Ai means The Ruins. It is said to be located from the side of Bethel, meaning House of God.

10 the king of Jerusalem, one;  the king of Hebron, one;

Of these kings, Albert Barnes notes, “Those enumerated in Joshua 12:10-18 either belonged to the league of the southern Canaanites (Joshua 10:1 ff), the power of which was broken in the battle of Beth-horon, or were at any rate conquered in the campaign following that battle.”

The name Jerusalem has many possible meanings. For simplicity, it is Foundation of Peace. Hebron means Alliance.

11 the king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one;

Jarmuth means Elevation. Lachish means Obstinate.

12 the king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;

Eglon means Heifer-like. Gezer means Part or Portion.

13 the king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one;

Debir means Place of the Word. Geder is found only here in Scripture. It comes from gadar, meaning to wall up or around. Hence, it means Wall.

14 the king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one;

Hormah is a name given in Numbers 21:3. It means Anathema. Arad is mentioned in Numbers 21:1, in the same account as Hormah. Arad comes from either an unused root meaning to sequester, and thus a fugitive, or from a root which signifies untamed, such as the wild donkey. Either way, the result is the same – it carries the sense of One who is Unrestrained.

To understand the significance of these locations, a review of the Numbers 21 sermon would be a good thing to do in your free time.

15 the king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one;

Libnah means Whiteness. However, that comes from lavan, a verb meaning to make whiter or make bricks because bricks whiten when they are made. Adullam is first seen here. It means Refuge or The Justice of the People.

16 the king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one;

Makkedah means Place of Shepherds. Bethel means House of God.

17 the king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one;

Tapuakh is introduced here and will be seen six times. It comes from naphakh, signifying to breathe or blow. It means Love Apple, being identical to tapuakh found in Proverbs 25:11 and several times in the Song of Solomon. Its name is derived from its fragrance. Khepher means either Well (from dig) or Shame. It could be a combination of the two – Well of Shame.

18 the king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one;

melekh aphek ekhad melekh la’sharon ekhad – “King Aphek, one; king to the Sharon, one.” The words “to the Sharon” would indicate the district of Sharon. Aphek is first seen here. It comes from aphaq, meaning to contain, refrain, or be strong. Hence, it is Fortress. Sharon is also introduced here. It signifies Great Plain, but also Body Armor.

19 the king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one;

Of the rest of the verses, Albert Barnes notes, “Those mentioned in Joshua 12:19-24 were in like manner connected with the northern confederates (Joshua 11:1 ff), who were defeated at the Waters of Merom.” Madon means Contention or Strife.

Khatsor has various meanings based on its root that signifies “to begin to cluster or gather.” It may mean Village, Trumpet, Leek, Enclosure, etc.

20 the king of Shimron Meron, one; the king of Achshaph, one;

Shimron Meron was mentioned in Joshua 11:1 simply as Shimron. Shimron means Watching or Vigilant Guardian. The word Meron comes from a word signifying well fed or fat. Hence, this would mean Vigilance and Prosperity. Achshaph signifies Fascination or Bewitched.

21 the king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;

Both locations are introduced here. The meaning of Taanakh is completely uncertain. Some think it is derived from an Egyptian word; others from an Arabic word. There is no corresponding root word found in Scripture. Meggido comes from gadad, to penetrate or cut. Hence it signifies Invading or Intruding.

22 the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam in Carmel, one;

melekh qedesh ekhad melekh yaq’noam la’karmel ekhad – “king Kadesh one; king Jokneam to the Carmel, one.” Kedesh means Sanctuary or Sacred Place, coming from qodesh, meaning holy.

Jokneam is first found here and then only twice more in Joshua. It means either People will be Lamented or Let the People Acquire. It is said to be “to the Carmel,” meaning in the district of Carmel. That means Plantation or Orchard.

23 the king of Dor in the heights of Dor, one;

The “heights of Dor” is literally “the sieves of Dor.” The meaning is that as a sieve is raised, it pours out. Hence it can signify heights or borders of an area. Dor means To Dwell, but it is identical to the word translated as generation, as in the time period of one’s dwelling.

23 (con’t) the king of the people of Gilgal, one;

melekh goyim l’gilgal ekhad – “king nations to Gilgal, one.” This is not the Gilgal where Joshua and Israel encamped. There is a lot of speculation where this was or what the real meaning of the words is. Gilgal means Rolling Away, a Wheel, or Circle of Stones. Metaphorically, it means Liberty.

24 the king of Tirzah, one—

Tirtsah means Delight or Pleasantness.

*24 (fin) all the kings, thirty-one.

This is the total number of kings subdued on the west side of the Jordan River. Bullinger uses Hebrew gematria to define the meaning of the number. The number comes from the letters aleph/1 and lamed/30. It is the number of El or God. Hence, he defines it as Deity.

Combining them with the two from the east side, and the total number of kings is thirty-three. The number is derived from 3, signifying “that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire,” and 11, which “is the number that marks disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration.” Hence, 3 and 11 are two seemingly contradictory numbers.

Thirty-one kings met their end in the war
Because God Himself fought for us
This is the victory of which He swore
And it has come about through the giving of Jesus

Thirty-one kings; all have met their end
And the inheritance is now offered to us
To our helpless state He did attend
God heard our voice and sent the Lord Jesus

Great is God to His people Israel
And we have come to know what He has done for us
Of His great deeds, we shall all the world tell
Because we now have come to know the Lord Jesus

III. Pictures of Christ

There are obviously a lot of names of both people and places in this section. Hence, to fit everything in typology correctly may be beyond what is possible, but I will give my best analysis. We have to look at things from the perspective that the book of Joshua is given to highlight the victories of the Lord.

The first half of the chapter was a picture of those who had come to Christ prior to national Israel’s salvation. Hence, it would logically follow that this is picturing the same for Israel as a nation now. That is seen with the words “in side the Jordan seaward.” It is that area west of the Jordan.

The sea is the place furthest west. In Revelation 4, we see the throne of God and before Him is a sea of glass. Hence, John would have been east of both the sea and the throne. I note this so you can get the sense. The Biblical idea is that man approaches God from the east and always anticipates Him as he moves west. This is seen, for example, in the layout of the tabernacle and the temple.

With this understanding, the borders of the land here in Joshua 12 are defined as those on the north and the south. The meaning would be the same as was previously given in the Joshua 11 sermon. Therefore, the words “from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon” would typologically mean “from Lord of the Invasion in the cleaving of the works.”

In other words, Christ came as a Man aware of the consequences of sin. He accomplished all that was necessary under the law to bring man to God. It is His works that make it possible. All other works are insufficient to accomplish the purpose.

The words “as far as Mount Halak and the ascent to Seir,” look to the sinless Jesus who came in the appearance of sinful man. Mount Halak is the smooth mountain, representing a sinless nature. Hair in Scripture speaks of awareness, especially awareness of sin.

Jesus came knowing no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), pictured by the smooth mountain. But He came in the likeness of sinful man (Hebrews 2:17), pictured by the hairy mountain, in order to accomplish His work. Hence, these borders define His nature and the scope of his work.

This is highlighted by the words of verse 7 noting Joshua gave this land to the tribes of Israel. Simply change Joshua (The Lord is Salvation) in the earthly sense to Jesus (the Lord who is “Salvation”) in the spiritual sense.

From there, the six types of land divisions were named. In chapter 11, these six divisions are each referring to Christ. They are the mountain, the lowland,  the Aravah, the slopes, the wilderness, and the South (negev).

He is 1) the gatherer of God’s people; 2) the One who abased Himself in order to bring the humbled to God; 3) the One through whom the pledge, meaning the Holy Spirit, is given; 4) the Foundation upon which all else is built (1 Corinthians 3:11); 5) the One who was tested and tried and yet who prevailed; and 6) the Giver of water (life through the word) in the otherwise parched world.

The seventh division, that of the six people groups, anticipates Christ’s victory over those who each group represents. They are the same listing of people mentioned in Joshua 3:10, 9:1, & 11:3.

With that noted, the account then turned to the defeat of the thirty-one kings, naming their locations. As the kings are unnamed but the locations are named, it would indicate the land which is inherited by Israel.

It is certain that each location tells its own story, and every location is a part of the whole. However, were I to attempt to define each, I would have to make things up as I went – something I refuse to do. This is especially so when the meaning of one of the locations, Taanach, is wholly unknown. The names that can be found for it in various references are simply best guesses.

I will give you the best meaning I can from my studies in one quick list:

Place of Fragrance
The Ruins (from side of Bethel)
Foundation of Peace
Alliance
Elevation
Obstinate
Heifer-like
Portion
Place of the Word
Wall
Anathema
Untamed
Whiteness (works)
Refuge (or Justice of the People)
Place of Shepherds
House of God
Love Apple
Well (or Shame)
Fortress
To the Great Plain (or Body Armor)
Contention
To Begin to Cluster or Gather
Vigilance and Prosperity
Fascination
?
Invading
Sacred Place
Let the People Acquire (in) Orchard
Generation in the Sieves (heights) of Generation
Nations of Liberty
Delight

Some of the meanings are obvious. We know from previous sermons in Deuteronomy and Joshua that Jericho, the Place of Fragrance, anticipates Christ’s restoration of us to paradise, meaning access to heaven. Ai, the Ruins, represented Christ’s victory over the law.

Jerusalem, or Foundation of Peace, seems obvious as anticipating the peace offered through Jesus. That can be more fully seen in New Testament references, such as Galatians 4 and Hebrews 12. We might be able to equate Sharon (Body Armor) with Paul’s words concerning putting on the whole armor of God which is given by Christ. And so on.

But there is a point where we can make anything say anything. I don’t desire to do that. We can be satisfied that God knows exactly why each location is listed and that each has its own typological anticipation of Christ.

Someone may be able to do a more thorough job on a listing than me, and that would be great. But I would recommend anyone making such a list to provide the references for each name and how they came to their conclusions. Otherwise, such a list would be pick and choose. We should not go there.

As for the final words of the chapter, Bullinger approached the meaning of the number 31 in a different manner than he normally does by defining it based on gematria. That is a valid science, but it can be easily manipulated as well.

His conclusion of the meaning of 31 beautifully matches the domain conquered by Joshua. As he anticipates Christ Jesus, and as Christ is El, God, Canaan anticipates the victory of God in Christ over all His foes and the granting of the full inheritance to His people.

Finally, and because there are those of the inheritance on both sides of the Jordan, the total number of defeated kings, 33, would presumably have meaning as well. As I noted, the number is derived from 3, signifying “that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire,” and 11, which “is the number which marks disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration.”

Together, these two seemingly contradictory numbers would appear to look to the state of the world, even during the millennium after Israel has come to Christ, as still lacking its final restoration. Hence, the need for a new heaven and a new earth as promised in Revelation.

This can be seen in the words of Hebrews 2 –

“For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying:
‘What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:5-9

What Christ has done is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire, and yet, there will remain a mark of disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration on this earth until it finds its final and forever renewal.

There is no reason to dismiss this as either speculation or stretching the meaning to fit a hoped-for outcome. The definitions provided by Bullinger beautifully match the state of things in the world as they are and as they will be until the final consummation of the redemptive scenario laid out in Scripture.

The chapter has concluded logically with what has come before it in the winning of the battles, the marking out of the territory, and how all of it anticipates the victories of the Lord on behalf of His people.

It is also a chapter of assurance for each of us in our own battles. Consider that God was so attentive to the needs of Israel that He watched over them and gave them victory after victory. As these victories anticipate the victories of Christ Jesus to secure our salvation and that of Israel as a nation, then we can be assured that He is watching over us just as closely when we belong to Him.

It would be contradictory and perverse to think that God saved us through all of the trials and troubles that Christ faced, for Him to then say, “Ok, you’re on your own in this life.” Rather, in reading Joshua, and indeed all of Scripture, we can be even more assured that God has the best plan for us in the lives we lead.

So hold on to that thought and be reassured by it. When we are in Christ, we are God’s children. As He is the perfect Father, we can know that He is perfectly attentive to us from moment to moment. Thank God for Jesus Christ who made this possible.

Closing Verse: “He gave them the lands of the Gentiles,
And they inherited the labor of the nations,
45 That they might observe His statutes
And keep His laws.” Psalm 105:44, 45

Next Week: Joshua 13:1-14 Getting one’s inheritance sure is grand… (Now Therefore, Divide This Land) (27th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

An Inheritance Seaward

And these are the kings of the country
Which conquered Joshua and the children of Israel
On this side of the Jordan, on the west
From Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon, as the record does tell

As far as Mount Halak
And the ascent to Seir without any noted revisions
Which Joshua gave to the tribes of Israel as a possession
According to their divisions

In the mountain country, in the lowlands, in the Jordan plain
In the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the South, yes those sites
The Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites
The Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:

The king of Jericho, one
The king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one
The king of Jerusalem, one
The king of Hebron, one – isn’t this fun!

The king of Jarmuth, one
The king of Lachish, one
The king of Eglon, one
The king of Gezer, one – we’ll make it rhyme with the word pun

The king of Debir, one
The king of Geder, one
The king of Hormah, one
The king of Arad, one – we’ll be done before the setting of the sun

The king of Libnah, one
The king of Adullam, one
The king of Makkedah, one
The king of Bethel, one – a few more before the list is done

The king of Tappuah, one
The king of Hepher, one
The king of Aphek, one
The king of Lasharon, one – this is a ton of fun!

The king of Madon, one
The king of Hazor, one
The king of Shimron Meron, one
The king of Achshaph, one – one is more than none

The king of Taanach, one
The king of Megiddo, one
The king of Kedesh, one
The king of Jokneam in Carmel, one – his city got overrun

The king of Dor in the heights of Dor, one
The king of the people of Gilgal, one
The king of Tirzah, one
All the kings, thirty-one – and now we’re done

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel conquered on this side of the Jordan, on the west, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon as far as Mount Halak and the ascent to Seir, which Joshua gave to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions, in the mountain country, in the lowlands, in the Jordan plain, in the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the South—the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: the king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one; 10 the king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one; 11 the king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one; 12 the king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one; 13 the king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one; 14 the king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one; 15 the king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one; 16 the king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one; 17 the king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one; 18 the king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one; 19 the king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one; 20 the king of Shimron Meron, one; the king of Achshaph, one; 21 the king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one; 22 the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam in Carmel, one; 23 the king of Dor in the heights of Dor, one; the king of the people of Gilgal, one; 24 the king of Tirzah, one—all the kings, thirty-one.