Joshua 13 (NRSV)
The Parts of Canaan Still Unconquered
Now Joshua was old and advanced in years; and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land still remains to be possessed. 2This is the land that still remains: all the regions of the Philistines, and all those of the Geshurites 3(from the Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron, it is reckoned as Canaanite; there are five rulers of the Philistines, those of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron), and those of the Avvim, 4in the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians, to Aphek, to the boundary of the Amorites, 5and the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the east, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo-hamath, 6all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, even all the Sidonians. I will myself drive them out from before the Israelites; only allot the land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you.
7Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.”
Each tribe was responsible to possess its own land completely.
The Territory East of the Jordan
8With the other half-tribe of Manasseh the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the Lord gave them: 9from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Wadi Arnon, and the town that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland from Medeba as far as Dibon; 10and all the cities of King Sihon of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the boundary of the Ammonites; 11and Gilead, and the region of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah; 12all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the survivors of the Rephaim); these Moses had defeated and driven out. 13Yet the Israelites did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maacathites; but Geshur and Maacath live within Israel to this day.
14To the tribe of Levi alone Moses gave no inheritance; the offerings by fire to the Lord God of Israel are their inheritance, as he said to them.
The Levites are not being slighted here. The time required to support their responsibilities at the Tabernacle and rendering service to God on behalf of the other tribes would preclude them from managing farms, fields, and livestock. In chapter 21 we will see the towns, scattered throughout the land, that were assigned to the Levites.
The Territory of Reuben
15Moses gave an inheritance to the tribe of the Reubenites according to their clans. 16Their territory was from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Wadi Arnon, and the town that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland by Medeba; 17with Heshbon, and all its towns that are in the tableland; Dibon, and Bamoth-baal, and Beth-baal-meon, 18and Jahaz, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath, 19and Kiriathaim, and Sibmah, and Zereth-shahar on the hill of the valley, 20and Beth-peor, and the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth, 21that is, all the towns of the tableland, and all the kingdom of King Sihon of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses defeated with the leaders of Midian, Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, as princes of Sihon, who lived in the land. 22Along with the rest of those they put to death, the Israelites also put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination.
I was on the wrong road
And in the wrong road the Angel took her stand
To stand in my way and right my journey
I would not see her though she stood before me
My friends opened their eyes and saw
Saw her flaming sword
And flaming eyes
And terrible countenance
And said Friend do not go that way for the Angel of the Lord
Is there and will smite you
For the path you walk is the wrong path
I was angry with my friends
And berated them
And pushed them aside
Saw them foolish
Struck those who would not move from my path
Struck them as many as three times
Why do you strike us, they asked
Are we not your friends who love you
Who have guided you rightly
If your eyes are closed
Can we not be your eyes for you
In rage I lifted my arm to strike them again
To strike them down to dust
And trample them
Dust to dust
The Lord’s Angel rose in fury
And shone before my eyes
So brightly that even my closed eyes burned with brightness
The Angel made a sound like a great wind
And the dust rose and cut my face
And filled my nose and parched my tongue
Then the wind stopped and my eyes opened
The Angel stood there still
Now without a sword
And opened her arms
Beckoned me to her bosom
I came to her and wept
Wept as she held me
Wept for my blindness
Wept for the blows laid on my friends
Wept for the wrong road and all the wrong roads
Wept for the wrong turns and all the wrong turns
Held in her bosom
I asked her to forgive
To forgive me my blows and blindness
She held me
No she said
Open your eyes
Signs are there to see
Open your heart
Signs are there to follow
Open your ears
For the Word that is before any word
For the Word that is after every word
For the Word that is within every word
For the silent Word heard over forty days and nights
In the desert
For the Word in the wind
For the Word before the wind and after the wind
For the sound of the Word spoken in silence
Before the beginningby Forrest Hainline, 2007
23And the border of the Reubenites was the Jordan and its banks. This was the inheritance of the Reubenites, according to their families with their towns and villages.
The Territory of Gad
24Moses gave an inheritance also to the tribe of the Gadites, according to their families. 25Their territory was Jazer, and all the towns of Gilead, and half the land of the Ammonites, to Aroer, which is east of Rabbah, 26and from Heshbon to Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir, 27and in the valley Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of King Sihon of Heshbon, the Jordan and its banks, as far as the lower end of the Sea of Chinnereth, eastward beyond the Jordan. 28This is the inheritance of the Gadites according to their clans, with their towns and villages.
The Territory of the Half-Tribe of Manasseh (East)
29Moses gave an inheritance to the half-tribe of Manasseh; it was allotted to the half-tribe of the Manassites according to their families. 30Their territory extended from Mahanaim, through all Bashan, the whole kingdom of King Og of Bashan, and all the settlements of Jair, which are in Bashan, sixty towns, 31and half of Gilead,
Remember this place!
It will be the scene of the battle between Gideon and the Midianites.
It will be the home of the prophet Elijah.
It became famous for its spices and balm:
Jeremiah 8:22 —
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing
for the wound of my people?
and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, the towns of the kingdom of Og in Bashan; these were allotted to the people of Machir son of Manasseh according to their clans—for half the Machirites. 32These are the inheritances that Moses distributed in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan east of Jericho.
33But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, as he said to them.
Amazing! After all the years in the wilderness, and all the years fighting for the land, at last they are at home and mostly at peace! Lots of work yet to be done, of course, but what a joy to look back and see all that God has done! This sounds a lot like my life, and probably yours, too! HERE is Guy Penrod singing “Count Your Blessings” and I commend the practice to you!
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.