When You Feel Small

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 18:21-28.  Let’s go!

Joshua 18:21-28 (NIV) 
21  The tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, had the following cities: Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, 
22  Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 
23  Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 
24  Kephar Ammoni, Ophni and Geba–twelve towns and their villages. 
25  Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 
26  Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah, 
27  Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 
28  Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath–fourteen towns and their villages. This was the inheritance of Benjamin for its clans.

On verses 21-28:  Here we get a list of the cities that were included in the land that the tribe of Benjamin received.  Benjamin was one of the smaller tribes of Israel and the amount of land it was given reflected its smaller size.  Yet notice that this small tribe was given “the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem)” (v28), which centuries later would become the capital and most important city in Israel.  Also, later on God would select Saul, the first king of Israel, from this land and this tribe of Benjamin, “the smallest tribe of Israel” (1 Samuel 9:21).   It’s a reminder to me that size is not necessarily an indicator of importance, and that God is able to use, honour and exalt you regardless of your size or background.

Your Buffer Zone

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 18:11-20.  Let’s go!

Joshua 18:11-20 (NIV) 
11  The lot came up for the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan. Their allotted territory lay between the tribes of Judah and Joseph:
12  On the north side their boundary began at the Jordan, passed the northern slope of Jericho and headed west into the hill country, coming out at the desert of Beth Aven.
13  From there it crossed to the south slope of Luz (that is, Bethel) and went down to Ataroth Addar on the hill south of Lower Beth Horon…….

On verses 11-20:  According to scholars, the tribes of Judah and Joseph were rivals, even though they were all part of the nation of Israel.  Interestingly, the lot is cast and Benjamin ends up getting the land right “between the tribes of Judah and Joseph” (v11).  In this way the tribe of Benjamin acted as a buffer between the two rivaling tribes, Judah and Joseph.

It reminds me of the role that Jesus plays in our lives.  When we were enemies of God because of our sin, Jesus stepped in the middle and acted as the buffer between us and God. 

Take Initiative and Fight for God’s Best

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 18:1-10.  Let’s go!

Joshua 18:1-10 (NIV) 
1  The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control,
2  but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.
3  So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?……

On verses 1-10:  The Tent of Meeting was a portable tent that was set up as a place where God could meet with the people of Israel.  The Tent of Meeting is set up at Shiloh (v1) and there Joshua speaks to the entire assembly of Israelites, saying “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (v3)  At this point 7 tribes of Israel had still not received their allotments and had been waiting to take over some land in the promised land.  So Joshua sends 21 surveyors, 3 from each of the remaining 7 tribes that did not have land, to survey the remaining land (v4-9).  Joshua then cast lots to see which tribes would get what land (v10).

It’s All in the Approach

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s GAME passage is Joshua 17:11-18.  Let’s go!

Joshua 17:11-18 (NIV) 
11  Within Issachar and Asher, Manasseh also had Beth Shan, Ibleam and the people of Dor, Endor, Taanach and Megiddo, together with their surrounding settlements (the third in the list is Naphoth). 
12  Yet the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. 
13  However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely. ……

On verses 11-18:  The tribe of Manasseh was supposed to drive out the Canaanites from the land they had been allotted, but the Canaanites were too strong for them (v12).  Eventually when they are able to subdue the Canaanites, rather than driving them out as Deuteronomy 20:16-18 commanded, they subjected them to forced labour instead (v13).  Then the people of Joseph (i.e. the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim together) approach Joshua, complaining that Joshua has given them too little land for a people as numerous as them (v14).  Joshua turns their complaint into a challenge for them:  “if you are so numerous, then go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there” (v15).  The people of Joseph further complain to Joshua that they are scared of the Canaanites who live in that area and their iron chariots (v16).  Joshua encourages them, telling them that they are numerous, powerful and capable of taking that land (v17-18).

The Blessing of Taking Initiative

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 17:1-10.  Let’s go!

Joshua 17:1-2 (NIV) 
1  This was the allotment for the tribe of Manasseh as Joseph’s firstborn, that is, for Makir, Manasseh’s firstborn. Makir was the ancestor of the Gileadites, who had received Gilead and Bashan because the Makirites were great soldiers.
2  So this allotment was for the rest of the people of Manasseh–the clans of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida. These are the other male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph by their clans.

On verses 1-2:  As we discussed in previous chapters of Joshua, Manasseh had the distinction of being the only tribe in Israel that was given land on both sides of the Jordan River. The descendants of Manasseh’s firstborn son Makir received land on the east side of the Jordan River, namely Gilead and Bashan (v1; see also Joshua 13:29-31).  The rest of the tribe of Manasseh would receive land on the west side of the Jordan.  Before we read of what land they would get on the west side of the Jordan, verses 3-6 tell us an interesting story.

Blessings for Generations to Come

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 16:1-10.  Let’s go!

Joshua 16:1-4 (NIV) 
1  The allotment for Joseph began at the Jordan of Jericho, east of the waters of Jericho, and went up from there through the desert into the hill country of Bethel. 
2  It went on from Bethel (that is, Luz), crossed over to the territory of the Arkites in Ataroth, 
3  descended westward to the territory of the Japhletites as far as the region of Lower Beth Horon and on to Gezer, ending at the sea. 
4  So Manasseh and Ephraim, the descendants of Joseph, received their inheritance.

On verses 1-4:  Verses 1-4 describe the territory allotted to the tribe of Joseph, which was located in the centre of Canaan.  According to scholars, the land allotted to Joseph was arguably the most fertile and the most beautiful part of the promised land.   In the verses that follow (verses 4-10 as well as all of Joshua 17) we read of how this land was divided between Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph’s two sons whose descendants are treated as two separate tribes of Israel named after Manasseh and Ephraim. 

Let Jesus Take It Over

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 15:45-63.  Let’s go!

Joshua 15:45-63 (NIV) 
45  Ekron, with its surrounding settlements and villages;
46  west of Ekron, all that were in the vicinity of Ashdod, together with their villages;
47  Ashdod, its surrounding settlements and villages; and Gaza, its settlements and villages, as far as the Wadi of Egypt and the coastline of the Great Sea.
48  In the hill country: Shamir, Jattir, Socoh,
49  Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir),

On verses 45-63:  These verses conclude the list of towns and villages given to the tribe of Judah.  When I read this list the following things jump out at me:

1.     Ekron, Ashdod and Gaza (v45-47) were all cities occupied by the Philistines (see Joshua 13;3), but they are allotted here to Judah.  Judah would need to go in and take over these cities.

2.     Jerusalem was one of the cities that was allotted to Judah.  But notice what  verse 63 says: “Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.” 

Known By What He Did

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 15:20-44.  Let’s go!

Joshua 15:20-44 (NIV) 
20  This is the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, clan by clan: 
21  The southernmost towns of the tribe of Judah in the Negev toward the boundary of Edom were: Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 
22  Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 
23  Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 
24  Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, ……

On verses 20-44:  Here we start to get a list of the towns and villages that were included in the southlands and western foothills given to the tribe of Judah.   While some of these towns are only ever mentioned here in Joshua 15 and not anywhere else in the Bible, other towns would become famous because of what David would later do in these towns.  For example, when King Saul was on a hunt to kill David, David went into hiding in the Desert of Ziph (v24; see 1 Samuel 23:14).  When running away from Saul, David found favour with the Philistines and was given control of the town of Ziklag (v31), which at the time was under Philistine control (1 Samuel 27:6).   When Keilah (v44) was under attack by the Philistines, David inquired of the Lord and then went with his men to rescue Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1-5).

Ask Big, Dream Big

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 15:13-19.   Let’s go!

Joshua 15:13-19 (NIV) 
13  In accordance with the LORD’s command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah–Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) 
14  From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites–Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai–descendants of Anak. 
15  From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 
16  And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 
17  Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage. 
18  One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?” 
19  She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

On verses 13-19:  I get a kick out of watching Caleb and his family.  Not once but twice (once in Joshua 14 and again here in Joshua 15), the book of Joshua describes how land is being distributed to the various tribes of Israel when this very formal process seems to be informally interrupted by Caleb and his family suddenly appearing and asking for land.  

Make the Most of What You’ve Been Given

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 15:1-12.  Let’s go!

Joshua 15:1-12 (NIV) 
1  The allotment for the tribe of Judah, clan by clan, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south. 
2  Their southern boundary started from the bay at the southern end of the Salt Sea, 
3  crossed south of Scorpion Pass, continued on to Zin and went over to the south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it ran past Hezron up to Addar and curved around to Karka. 
4  It then passed along to Azmon and joined the Wadi of Egypt, ending at the sea. This is their southern boundary. ……

On verses 1-12:  Having allotted land east of the Jordan River to 2.5 tribes of Israel (Joshua 14:1-5), here starting in Joshua 15 we read of how Joshua divided the land west of the Jordan River among the remaining 9.5 tribes of Israel.  We start with the tribe of Judah in verses 1-12.  According to historians, Judah, being the largest tribe in Israel, received the largest portion of the promised land.   Notice that the land given to Judah was flanked on different sides by water (for example, its eastern boundary was the Salt Sea (v5), its northern boundary was the bay at the mouth of the Jordan River (v5), and its western boundary was the “Great Sea”, or the Mediterranean Sea (v12)).  However, the land also had its share of deserts, like the Desert of Zin in verse 1.   The land had plenty of mountains and hills (v9-11) and also many valleys (v7-8).