Study Notes

Joshua 13:1-19:51

13:1 Joshua Was Old

At the age of somewhere between 90 and a hundred years, Joshua is old, but his work is far from over. Much of the land that God had given to Israel still hadn't been possessed by the Israelites.

And no matter how old you are tonight, no matter how many years you've been walking with the Lord, there still remains so much more in the victorious Christian life to be possessed by you.

(13:2-5) The Land That Remains

Now in these verses, God describes the boundaries and borders of the land that still remained unconquered.

13:6-7 Land For The Tribes

There were still many idolatrous and blasphemous peoples to drive out of the land. God promises to drive the Sidonians out - all of them from Lebanon to Mis-ref-OHTH MAH-yim. Their land would be apportioned out to the 9 1/2 tribes that were settling on the west side of the Jordan.

13:8 Land For The 2 1/2 Tribes

Of course the 2 1/2 tribes - who, back in Numbers 32, had requested to stay on the other side of the Jordan - received their land.

(13:9-13) The Land's Coverage

Verses 9 through 13 describe the extent of their inheritance east of the Jordan River.

13:14 Levi Receives No Inheritance Of Land

The Levites - the tribe that served in the tabernacle, received no inheritance of land. They were provided for by being given the offerings to the Lord.

(13:15-31) Land Given East Of The Jordan

The rest of this chapter describes the land east of the Jordan divided up between the 2 1/2 tribes.

Verses 15-23 describe the land given to Reuben, verses 24-28 describes the land given to Gad, and verse 29-31 describe the land given to the half-tribe of Manasseh.

13:32-33 The Lord Is Levi's Inheritance

Again, it is mentioned that Levi's inheritance is the Lord Himself. Although they would have some cities and fields, their portion is God. This is how we should be living life and perceiving our inheritance. The Word of God tells us,

1Pet. 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.

We are just pilgrims passing through. We are travelers on our way to eternity. And good travelers pack light. They don't need a lot of stuff, they don't lay foundations and put down roots. They keep moving towards their point of destination, and don't get tied down.

Hebrews 11 describes great people of faith like Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham. And then it says,

Hebr. 11:13-16 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that {country} from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better {country} , that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

What country do you have citizenship in? Is it the USA? Have you established yourself for a nice long stay here, settling down to be as comfortable as possible? Or are you groaning over the wickedness of the society we live in, eagerly anticipating and expecting Christ's return? We are no longer citizens of this wicked place. Remember,

Col. 1:13 ...He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son

Let's live as travelers - packing light and knowing that our inheritance lies in another country.

14:1-5 The Division Of The Land

This next section of the book of Joshua will describe the land that the 9 1/2 tribes west of the Jordan will receive by lot. Remember that Moses only gave portions to the 2 1/2 tribes east of the Jordan because he died before they cross over into the Promised Land. The rest of them were still waiting to receive their inheritances.

14:6-14 Caleb Asks For The Hill Country

You should remember that Caleb the son of Yef-oon-NEH was one of the twelve spies sent into Canaan to spy out the land. He was one of only two who came back with faith rather than fear.

The Israelites sided with the fearful ten, and spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness until everyone over 20 years old died off. Everyone, that is, except the two spies: Joshua and Caleb.

Now Caleb comes to Joshua and says, "Remember that back in Kaw-DASHE bar-NAY-ah God talked to Moses about the two of us. He said that we would inherit the land where our feet had trodden. Well, I spied out the hill country of Kheb-RONE where the Anakim were, and I want it. I'm 85 years old and just as strong as I was 45 years ago when I was there last time."

So Joshua said, "Caleb, you're absolutely right - it's yours." Verse 14 tells us that he inherited that land...

Josh. 14:14 ...because he followed the LORD God of Israel fully.

Caleb didn't follow God only when it was convenient. Caleb didn't obey the commandments of God only when he felt like it. Caleb didn't believe the promises of God only when they seemed like there was a chance. He followed the Lord fully, completely, and always.

This is where we should be directing our walks. This is how to get the inheritance of the victorious Christian life that you've been waiting for. Fully follow the Father.

14:15 The Anakim

This city was called Keer-YATH Ar-BAH, meaning "city of Arba." He was the greatest, largest, highest man among the Anakim. We've read of Goliath, who was 9 1/2 feet tall. We've read of Og, king of Bashan, whose bed was 13 1/2 feet long. But Arba was bigger than these guys!

When Caleb conquered it, they renamed it Hebron, which means, "an alliance," or "an association." Notice the change in emphasis. The ungodly glorified one man - the tallest, strongest, largest among them. But Caleb says, "we're not going to glorify man. We got this city by being a people aligned with the Lord. Our alliance with Him is what has given us this city. It is our association with God that has given us the victory."

(15:1-12) The Lot For Judah

These first 12 verses of Joshua 15 describe the land chosen by lot to give to the tribe of Judah.

15:13-15 Caleb's Victories

Caleb drives out the Anakim, the three remaining giants, sons of Anak: Shay-SHAH-ee, Akh-ee-MAWN, and Tal-MAH-ee.

Then (at 85 years old, remember), he goes up against Keer-YATH-say-fer, a name which means "city of the books," referring to the occultic engravings of their pagan culture. It is renamed it Deb-EER, meaning, "sanctuary."

15:16-19 Othniel Marries Caleb's Daughter

Caleb offers his daughter Ak-SAW's hand in marriage to whomever will conquer Keer-YATH-say-fer. Othniel, who will become one of the judges of Israel, as we read in the book of Judges, goes to the task. He conquers the city and then marries Ak-SAW.

Ak-SAW persuades her new husband Othniel to ask Caleb for a field. Caleb gave the NEH-gheb to the married couple. Located in the south, it was a dry, arid place. When she found out what they'd received, she hopped off the donkey and went to her father, asking,

Josh. 15:19 ..."Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water."

Her father had blessed them with the field, and she asked for water as well. He gave her more than enough: both the upper and lower springs.

I see in this a picture of prayer: how we are to ask our heavenly Father for what we need, acknowledging the blessings that He has already bestowed. It delights Him to answer prayer - even exceeding abundantly beyond what we asked.

(15:20-62) Towns Of Judah

These 42 verses detail the towns that the tribe of Judah inherited, along with what families were where.

15:63 The Jebusites

At the end of this list, there is this unfortunate piece of information: that Judah could not drive out the Jebusites. Though the tribe of Judah captured the city and set it on fire (Judges 1:8), the Jebusites were not driven out because they were protected in the stronghold of Zion. This was a mighty fortress that seemed impenetrable. Indeed, even in the days of David, we read,

2Sam. 5:6-7 Now the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, and they said to David, "You shall not come in here, but the blind and lame shall turn you away"; thinking, "David cannot enter here." Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David.

It was such a stronghold that the Jebusites' blind and lame could have protected it. It was seemingly invincible to the tribe of Judah, but not to David. Why? For the same reason some are able to tear down spiritual strongholds in their lives, but others are not:

2Cor. 10:3-4 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

If you war according to the flesh, you will not conquer the strongholds in your life. But if you war in the Spirit, you will have victory. Put on the full armor of God, and use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and you will have victory. But if you war in your flesh, using your own wisdom, your own strength, your own ability, your own willpower, that stronghold will remain.

(16:1-9) The Lot For Joseph

These first nine verses of chapter 16 describe the boundaries of the land inherited by the sons of Joseph, who were the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim.

16:10 The Canaanites

Again, we see that not all of the enemies were driven out. In this area, the Canaanites who lived in GHEH-zer were not completely destroyed. The tribe of Ephraim made them slaves instead. Why is this bad? It is in direct contradiction to the commandment of God, and complete blindness to the warning of God.

Num. 33:55 'But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them {will become} as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land in which you live.

Oh, how deceived we are when we think that rather than completely obliterating sin in our lives, we can just keep it around under control! Jesus said,

Matt. 5:29-30 "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.

If you think you can keep sin under control in your life by keeping it around in subjection, you're wrong. It will rear its ugly head again and cause you grief. Yes, it is painful to utterly destroy and completely remove sin from your life, but it must be done. The pain of removal is much less than the pain that sin will bring to your life.

(17:1-13) The Lot For Manasseh

These 13 verses describe Manasseh's inheritance.

17:14-18 Clear The Forest

Manasseh and Ephraim, being the sons of Joseph, complained to Joshua that their lot of land was too small - truly, there were not the vast farming plains and great cities in their land that had been in the other tribes' portions.

Joshua told them that their land wasn't too small, it was just that they had work to do. They needed to clear the forest and drive out the Canaanites.

If you pardon the pun, each of us has also been given our "lot" in life. Some seem to have it so easy, others seem to have to work so much. And it's easy to look at those who have more money and superior circumstances, and get jealous and bitter. But this is not how we should be. God has granted to each of us our lot in life. Instead, we should be thankful for what we have been given. David wrote in Psalm 16,

Ps. 16:2, 6 I said to the LORD, "Thou art my Lord; I have no good besides Thee." The (boundary) lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

If God has arranged it so we've got it more difficult than someone else, praise Him! He knows what we have need of!

18:1-10 Survey The Land

Seven tribes were left that hadn't yet received their inheritance of land. Joshua confronted them, saying, "How long are you going to put off entering in?" He ordered that the rest of the land be surveyed and divided into seven portions, then he would cast lots to determine which tribe got which land.

(18:11-27) Allotment For Benjamin

(19:1-9) Allotment For Simeon

(19:10-16) Allotment For Zebulun

(19:17-23) Allotment For Issachar

(19:24-31) Allotment For Asher

(19:32-39) Allotment For Naphtali

(19:40-48) Allotment For Dan

19:49-51 Allotment For Joshua

Once everyone was provided for, Joshua got his inheritance. I see in this that Joshua's servant heart has never departed from him. He is the godly man who waits for his reward in due season.

How patient are you in waiting today? Let the words of Psalm 37 minister to you this evening:

Ps. 37:4-9 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret, {it leads} only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.

The city Joshua inherited was Tim-nath-SEH-rakh, which means "abundant portion." You too will receive an abundant portion if you delight yourself in the Lord, commit your way to Him, trust Him, and wait patiently for Him.

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