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Joshua - Chapter 18
Land Still Unallotted, vs. 1-10
The time of the event now under consideration occurred when the war of conquest had ended and the tribes of Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh had received their allotments. Shiloh was chosen as the permanent site of the tabernacle, now that the wilderness wandering is at an end and the land is being divided. Shiloh was near the center of the land on the west of Jordan, in the tribe of Ephraim, near the border of Manasseh.
There remained seven tribes which had not taken up their inheritance. The implication from the text is that they were not greatly concerned that they had not received their inheritance. It would seem that they had grown used to camping around the tabernacle and were satisfied with that mode of living. Joshua accuses them of slackness in going into their inheritance, and with this rebuke instructs them to prepare to decamp.
This they would do first, by choosing three men of each of the seven tribes to travel over the unallotted lands, surveying and describing them, subject to their assignment by lot.
Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh and the three and a half tribes on the east of Jordan were not involved in this. The survey parties are to bring back their descriptions to Joshua, at Shiloh, and there he would cast lots to determine which tribe received each allotment.
He emphasized once again the unique allotment of the Levites. It could not be over-emphasized that this tribe had a very important place, scattered in various cities. throughout all the tribes, of maintaining’ worship of the Lord according to His law.
So the twenty-one surveyors for the seven tribes walked through the land, making a description of it and its cities, which they recorded in a book. This was returned to Joshua at Shiloh, and he made the allotment to each of the tribes according as its lot came up. That record now follows.
Benjamin’s Lot, vs. 11-28
The first lot of the seven car a out for Benjamin. The allotment of this tribe was located between the north border of Judah and the south border of Ephraim. It was a relatively small area compared to the earlier allotments. However, it was a prime area in other respects and capable of supporting more people because of its goodness.
Benjamin’s north border began at the Jordan, north of Jericho, and followed the line of Ephraim’s south boundary westward to is juncture with Judah and Dan.
Its western terminus was near Beth-horon on the north and Kirjathjearim on the south. See comments on Joshua, chapter 16, for the tracing of this boundary.
From this terminus in the west the southern border of Benjamin was drawn eastward along the line of Judah’s north border. The same place names along the boundary, with few exceptions, are the same as those delineated in describing the borders of Judah in Joshua 15:5-9. Comments on this border can be found in the author’s discussion of those versed above.
The Jordan river was the east border of Benjamin.
Within the tribe of Benjamin were several of the most notable cities of Israel. They included Jericho, Bethel, Ophrah (Gideon’s home), Gibeon (the city which deceived Joshua and the elders, Joshua, chapter 9), and Jerusalem. These are in two groups of twelve (verses 21-24) and fourteen (verses 25-28).
The first group were in the northern part of the tribal possession, while the second was in the south. Gibeath, which is better known as Gibeah, was the city of Saul, the first king of Israel, and the chief city of Benjamin at that time.
We learn from chapter 18 not to be slack in doing the Lord’s work, that when a task is to be done, we should not delay, (Psalms 119:60).
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Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Joshua 18". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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