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. 5 The eastern boundary is the Salt Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan. The northern boundary started from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan, 6 went up to Beth Hoglah and continued north of Beth Arabah to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 7 The boundary then went up to Debir from the Valley of Achor and turned north to Gilgal, which faces the Pass of Adummim south of the gorge. It continued along to the waters of En Shemesh and came out at En Rogel. 8 Then it ran up the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem). From there it climbed to the top of the hill west of the Hinnom Valley at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. 9 From the hilltop the boundary headed toward the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, came out at the towns of Mount Ephron and went down toward Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim). 10 Then it curved westward from Baalah to Mount Seir, ran along the northern slope of Mount Jearim (that is, Kesalon), continued down to Beth Shemesh and crossed to Timnah. 11 It went to the northern slope of Ekron, turned toward Shikkeron, passed along to Mount Baalah and reached Jabneel. The boundary ended at the sea. 12 The western boundary is the coastline of the Great Sea. These are the boundaries around the people of Judah by their clans.
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). According to some scholars, the land given to Judah had some fertile parts, but also large parts that were barren.
What can we learn from this? Life is a lot like the land allotted to Judah, with its shares of peaks and valleys, refreshing parts and dry parts. While we often can’t control what is given to us, we can control how we respond to what is given to us. May you make the most of what you have been given by taking stock of what you have, choosing an attitude of gratitude, and putting what you have to work. Forat the end of your life, God will not ask you “What did you do with what I gave [name someone that you think has more than you do]?” Rather God will ask, “What did you do with what I gave you?”
Heavenly Father, thank You that the land You have given me is a good land. Please give me wisdom and courage to make the most of what I have, even the dry and rocky parts that I think are hard to use. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!