Look Before You Leap

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 22:10-20.  Let’s go!

Joshua 22:10-20 (NIV) 
10  When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan. 
11  And when the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side, 
12  the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them. 
13  So the Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead–to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 
14  With him they sent ten of the chief men, one for each of the tribes of Israel, each the head of a family division among the Israelite clans. ……

On verses 10-20:  The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh (whom I’ll call collectively, “Team RGM”) are traveling on their way back to Gilead, their lands located east of the Jordan River.  On their way to Gilead they stop and build a huge altar on the western or “Israelite” side of the Jordan River (v10).  When the rest of the tribes see the huge altar that Team RGM have built, they immediately assume that Team RGM were worshiping another god. 

Until We Go Home

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 22:1-9.  Let’s go!

Joshua 22:1-9 (NIV) 
1  Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh
2  and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded.
3  For a long time now–to this very day–you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you.
4  Now that the LORD your God has given your brothers rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan….

On verses 1-9:  The Reubenites, Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh (whom I call collectively “Team RGM”) had already received their God-given inheritance, that being the lands east of the Jordan River.  But in obedience to God and out of love and loyalty toward their fellow Israelites, team RGM decided not to go home until they helped their fellow Israelites gain their land inheritance as well.  Only when they had finished helping their fellow Israelites did Team RGM go back home at Joshua’s command.

Rest on Every Side

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:34-45.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:34-42 (NIV) 
34  The Merarite clans (the rest of the Levites) were given: from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam, Kartah, 
35  Dimnah and Nahalal, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 
36  from the tribe of Reuben, Bezer, Jahaz, 
37  Kedemoth and Mephaath, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 
38  from the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Mahanaim, 
39  Heshbon and Jazer, together with their pasturelands–four towns in all. 
40  All the towns allotted to the Merarite clans, who were the rest of the Levites, were twelve. 
41  The towns of the Levites in the territory held by the Israelites were forty-eight in all, together with their pasturelands.
42  Each of these towns had pasturelands surrounding it; this was true for all these towns.

On verses 34-42:  These verses conclude the list of towns that were given to the tribe of Levi, ending with the Merarite clans. “Merari” literally means “bitter”. The fact that these Levites could receive these towns as well as pasturelands, and this despite the sin that their forefather had committed in Genesis 34, is a pretty sweet deal made possible by God’s grace. 

When God Changed Your Destiny

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:23-33.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:23-33 (NIV) 
23  Also from the tribe of Dan they received Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 
24  Aijalon and Gath Rimmon, together with their pasturelands–four towns. 
25  From half the tribe of Manasseh they received Taanach and Gath Rimmon, together with their pasturelands–two towns. 
26  All these ten towns and their pasturelands were given to the rest of the Kohathite clans. 
27  The Levite clans of the Gershonites were given: from the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan (a city of refuge for one accused of murder) and Be Eshtarah, together with their pasturelands–two towns; 
28  from the tribe of Issachar, Kishion, Daberath, 
29  Jarmuth and En Gannim, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 
30  from the tribe of Asher, Mishal, Abdon, 
31  Helkath and Rehob, together with their pasturelands–four towns; 
32  from the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Hammoth Dor and Kartan, together with their pasturelands–three towns. 
33  All the towns of the Gershonite clans were thirteen, together with their pasturelands.

On verses 23-33:  These verses continue to describe the towns given to the Levites.  In verses 23-26 we read of the towns given to the rest of the Kohathites (v23-26).  Then in verses 27-33 we read of the towns given to the descendants of Levi’s oldest son Gershon, known as the Gershonites. 

Where Saint and Sinner Meet

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:13-22.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:13-22 (NIV) 
13  So to the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Libnah, 
14  Jattir, Eshtemoa, 
15  Holon, Debir, 
16  Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh, together with their pasturelands–nine towns from these two tribes. 
17  And from the tribe of Benjamin they gave them Gibeon, Geba, 
18  Anathoth and Almon, together with their pasturelands–four towns. 
19  All the towns for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were thirteen, together with their pasturelands. 
20  The rest of the Kohathite clans of the Levites were allotted towns from the tribe of Ephraim: 
21  In the hill country of Ephraim they were given Shechem (a city of refuge for one accused of murder) and Gezer, 
22  Kibzaim and Beth Horon, together with their pasturelands–four towns.

On verses 13-22:  These verses continue to describe the towns given to the Kohathite division of the Levites, starting with the descendants of Aaron (v13-19) and then moving onto to the rest of the Kohathites (v20-22).  Notice that these Levites are given two cities of refuge, Hebron (v13) and Shechem (v21).  As discussed in Joshua 20, cities of refuge were towns where a person accused of murder could flee to for safety until he received a fair trial. 

Your Share in the Inheritance

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 21:1-12.   Let’s go!

Joshua 21:1-12 (NIV) 
1  Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel
2  at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, “The LORD commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock.”
3  So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance:

On verses 1-12:  When Moses was still alive and leading the Israelites, God had commanded that upon taking possession of the promised land, the Israelites were to give the tribe of Levi towns to live in and to possess.  God even commanded that these towns and pasturelands for the Levites be taken from the Israelites’ own inheritance (see Numbers 35:1-5).  This was quite an act of grace and mercy toward Levi and his descendants.  That’s because when Levi was alive, he was notorious for a vengeful series of killings that he and his brother Simeon committed in Genesis 34.  Levi and Simeon’s sins had the effect of disqualifying their descendants from owning large areas of land for themselves (see Genesis 49:5-7).  By commanding the rest of the Israelite tribes to give towns and pasturelands to the Levites, God was showing great grace and mercy to Levi and his descendants.

Jesus > Cities of Refuge

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 20:1-9.  Let’s go!

Joshua 20:1-9 (NIV) 
1  Then the LORD said to Joshua:
2  “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses,
3  so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.
4  “When he flees to one of these cities, he is to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state his case before the elders of that city. Then they are to admit him into their city and give him a place to live with them…….

On verses 1-9:  When Moses was still leading the Israelites, long before Joshua and the Israelites stepped foot onto the promised land, God gave instructions to the Israelites to set up six towns as “cities of refuge” (v2, see also Numbers 35).  What was the purpose of “cities of refuge”?   Keep in mind that the Jewish law was based on the principle of “an eye for an eye”. Thus, according to the Jewish law, if one person killed another, the killer himself would need to be killed.   The “avenger of blood” (v5) was the individual officially appointed to kill the killer.  However, if the killer killed his victim unintentionally, the killer could run to a city of refuge for safety.  As long as the killer was within the boundaries of the city of refuge, the avenger of blood could not touch him, until such time as he was put on trial and declared guilty of murder.

When Making Big Decisions

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 19:40-51.  Let’s go! 

Joshua 19:40-48 (NIV) 
40  The seventh lot came out for the tribe of Dan, clan by clan. 
41  The territory of their inheritance included: Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir Shemesh, 
42  Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 
43  Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 
44  Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 
45  Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon, 
46  Me Jarkon and Rakkon, with the area facing Joppa. 
47  (But the Danites had difficulty taking possession of their territory, so they went up and attacked Leshem, took it, put it to the sword and occupied it. They settled in Leshem and named it Dan after their forefather.) 
48  These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Dan, clan by clan.

On verses 40-48:  The final tribe to receive its land allotment was the tribe of Dan.  Originally the Danites were assigned a fairly sizable area, located right by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, next to the tribe of Judah (v41-46).  However, the Danites had difficulty taking possession of their assigned land.  So they gave up and instead travel to the northernmost part of the promised land where they attack a city called Leshem and settle there, renaming the city Dan.  The land that was originally supposed to be for the Danites would be occupied by the Philistines, long time enemies of the Israelites.

Honoured By His Presence

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 19:24-39.  Let’s go!

Joshua 19:24-39 (NIV) 
24  The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher, clan by clan.
25  Their territory included: Helkath, Hali, Beten, Acshaph,
26  Allammelech, Amad and Mishal. On the west the boundary touched Carmel and Shihor Libnath.
27  It then turned east toward Beth Dagon, touched Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtah El, and went north to Beth Emek and Neiel, passing Cabul on the left.
28  It went to Abdon, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, as far as Greater Sidon.
29  The boundary then turned back toward Ramah and went to the fortified city of Tyre, turned toward Hosah and came out at the sea in the region of Aczib,
30  Ummah, Aphek and Rehob. There were twenty-two towns and their villages.
31  These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Asher, clan by clan.

On verses 24-31:  These verses describe the territory given to the tribe of Asher.  Asher’s long territory ran along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.

Planted by the Water

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Joshua 19:10-23.  Let’s go!

Joshua 19:10-16 (NIV) 
10  The third lot came up for Zebulun, clan by clan: The boundary of their inheritance went as far as Sarid.
11  Going west it ran to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, and extended to the ravine near Jokneam.
12  It turned east from Sarid toward the sunrise to the territory of Kisloth Tabor and went on to Daberath and up to Japhia.
13  Then it continued eastward to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin; it came out at Rimmon and turned toward Neah.
14  There the boundary went around on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtah El.
15  Included were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem. There were twelve towns and their villages.
16  These towns and their villages were the inheritance of Zebulun, clan by clan.

On verses 10-16:  These verses describe the land allotment given to the tribe of Zebulun.

Nearing his death, Jacob spoke these prophetic words over his son Zebulun in Genesis 49:13: “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.”  We see the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophetic words here, as the land given to Zebulun extends to the Mediterranean Sea on the west and the Sea of Galilee on the east.  Though not a large land, this region would later on be graced by the presence of the Lord Jesus, who would spend significant time around the Sea of Galilee (see Isaiah 9:1).