Over the next few days you’ll notice a resemblance to Numbers, with lists of conquered cities and boundary markers. While this might seem tedious to us – and it’s certainly tempting to skim – the meaning for this generation, and future generations, cannot be overstated. Since in Numbers 36 the LORD commanded that “the inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another,” the borders established here would govern inheritances for hundreds of years.
The author takes care to make sure you know that the land was allotted according to what the LORD had commanded Moses. It seems throughout that “Moses” and “The LORD” are interchangeable subjects in allotting the land. Joshua is barely mentioned, except where he’s fulfilling Moses’ commands. This expresses a great reverence for the leader, even in the decades after his death.
One time that Joshua does need to act is when Caleb reemerges and reminds Joshua that he was promised “the land on which your foot has trodden.” He comes to Joshua a spritely 85 years old, “still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me,” and ready to take the hill country. “For you heard on that day how the Anakim – the giants – were there…It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.”
Caleb is the headliner for the distribution to the tribe of Judah in chapter 15. Specific geographic markers are listed, including the western boundary of the Salt Sea, what we now call the Dead Sea. You’ll also hear that the Jebusites still possess Jerusalem, and they “dwell with the people of Judah there to this day.” So not only does this date the writing of the passage – at some point before Jerusalem is taken – it also foreshadows that more effort will be required to subdue the land.
Our verse for this week is Hebrews 11:30: By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
Joshua chapters 13 through 15. Now let’s read it!
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.