3075.) Joshua 20

January 29, 2021

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” –Psalm 46:1

Joshua 20   (NRSV)

The Cities of Refuge

Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, 2“Say to the Israelites, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, 3so that anyone who kills a person without intent or by mistake may flee there; they shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood.

4“The slayer shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city, and explain the case to the elders of that city; then the fugitive shall be taken into the city, and given a place, and shall remain with them. 5And if the avenger of blood is in pursuit, they shall not give up the slayer, because the neighbor was killed by mistake, there having been no enmity between them before. 6The slayer shall remain in that city until there is a trial before the congregation, until the death of the one who is high priest at the time: then the slayer may return home, to the town in which the deed was done.’”

After being declared innocent of murder by the proper authorities, and after the death of the standing high priest, the slayer could go back to his home and be protected against the wrath of the avenger of blood.

7So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. 9These were the cities designated for all the Israelites, and for the aliens residing among them, that anyone who killed a person without intent could flee there, so as not to die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until there was a trial before the congregation.

Note the even geographical distribution:  three cities east of the Jordan, and three west of the Jordan. In both cases the cities were located in the northern, central, and southern regions. The cities were places of refuge for those who had killed another person under such circumstances that the killing was not considered a capital crime (like modern day third degree murder, or manslaughter), to protect them from revenge by the victim’s relatives.



HERE  is “You Are My Refuge.”

The Maranatha! Singers is a 50-person-strong choir comprised mostly of University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College students.  Originally founded in 1970, the group is part of the University Methodist Church and Student Center, Gainesville, FL.


The cities of refuge as a picture of Jesus.

The Bible applies this picture of the city of refuge to the believer finding refuge in God on more than one occasion:

Psalm 46:1: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. More than 15 other times, the Psalms speak of God as our refuge.

Hebrews 6:18: That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are within easy reach of the needy person; they were of no use unless someone could get to the place of refuge.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are open to all, not just the Israelite; no one needs to fear that they would be turned away from their place of refuge in their time of need.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge became a place where the one in need would live; you didn’t come to a city of refuge in time of need just to look around.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are the only alternative for the one in need; without this specific protection, they will be destroyed.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge provide protection only within their boundaries; to go outside means death.
  • With both Jesus and the cities of refuge, full freedom comes with the death of the High Priest.
  • The cities of refuge only helped the innocent, but the guilty can come to Jesus and find refuge.

–David Guzik


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.

Images courtesy of:
safety at a city of refuge (first published in 1901).    http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1902/joshua20.jpg
cities of refuge map.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/refuge.gif

3074.) Joshua 19

January 28, 2021

Josh19 be strong
Joshua 19   (NRSV)



Beautiful music today!  As the Israelites move into their new land, we listen to Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, known as the New World Symphony, the first part of Movement 2, Largo.  His most popular symphony, it was composed in 1893 during his visit to the United States.  Played  HERE  by the Dublin Philharmonic.


The Territory of Simeon

Simeon’s land is in the dry and rocky Negev desert.

The second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of Simeon, according to its families; its inheritance lay within the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. 2It had for its inheritance Beer-sheba, Sheba, Moladah, 3Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem, 4Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, 6Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen—thirteen towns with their villages; 7Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan—four towns with their villages; 8together with all the villages all around these towns as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negeb. This was the inheritance of the tribe of Simeon according to its families. 9The inheritance of the tribe of Simeon formed part of the territory of Judah; because the portion of the tribe of Judah was too large for them, the tribe of Simeon obtained an inheritance within their inheritance.

The Territory of Zebulun

Not this Bethlehem!  No, the birthday town is within the territory of Judah.

10The third lot came up for the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families. The boundary of its inheritance reached as far as Sarid; 11then its boundary goes up westward, and on to Maralah, and touches Dabbesheth, then the wadi that is east of Jokneam; 12from Sarid it goes in the other direction eastward toward the sunrise to the boundary of Chisloth-tabor; from there it goes to Daberath, then up to Japhia; 13from there it passes along on the east toward the sunrise to Gath-hepher, to Eth-kazin, and going on to Rimmon it bends toward Neah; 14then on the north the boundary makes a turn to Hannathon, and it ends at the valley of Iphtah-el; 15and Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem—twelve towns with their villages.

16This is the inheritance of the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families—these towns with their villages.

The Territory of Issachar

Mt. Tabor rises abruptly some 1,600 feet above the surrounding plains, with no other mountains nearby.  It is a limestone mountain.

17The fourth lot came out for Issachar, for the tribe of Issachar, according to its families. 18Its territory included Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem, 19Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21Remeth, En-gannim, En-haddah, Beth-pazzez; 22the boundary also touches Tabor, Shahazumah, and Beth-shemesh, and its boundary ends at the Jordan—sixteen towns with their villages.

23This is the inheritance of the tribe of Issachar, according to its families—the towns with their villages.

The Territory of Asher

Tyre is one of the world’s oldest cities, home to Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans — above is the reconstructed ancient Roman Triumphal Arch — and is today a UNESCO World Heritage site in Lebanon.

24The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher according to its families. 25Its boundary included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal; on the west it touches Carmel and Shihor-libnath, 27then it turns eastward, goes to Beth-dagon, and touches Zebulun and the valley of Iphtah-el northward to Beth-emek and Neiel; then it continues in the north to Cabul, 28Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, Kanah, as far as Sidon the Great; 29then the boundary turns to Ramah, reaching to the fortified city of Tyre; then the boundary turns to Hosah, and it ends at the sea; Mahalab, Achzib, 30Ummah, Aphek, and Rehob—twenty-two towns with their villages.

31This is the inheritance of the tribe of Asher according to its families—these towns with their villages.

The Territory of Naphtali

The archaeological findings at Tel Hazor are among the richest in all Israel.  Joshua burned Hazor to the ground (see chapter 11), but later it was rebuilt and became a significant city under Solomon.

32The sixth lot came out for the tribe of Naphtali, for the tribe of Naphtali, according to its families. 33And its boundary ran from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim, and Adami-nekeb, and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum; and it ended at the Jordan; 34then the boundary turns westward to Aznoth-tabor, and goes from there to Hukkok, touching Zebulun at the south, and Asher on the west, and Judah on the east at the Jordan. 35The fortified towns are Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37Kedesh, Edrei, En-hazor, 38Iron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh—nineteen towns with their villages.

39This is the inheritance of the tribe of Naphtali according to its families—the towns with their villages.

The Territory of Dan

Looking from the old city of Joppa to the modern city of Tel Aviv. Jonah sailed from Joppa, and Peter raised Dorcas from the dead here.

40The seventh lot came out for the tribe of Dan, according to its families. 41The territory of its inheritance included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh, 42Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon, 46Me-jarkon, and Rakkon at the border opposite Joppa. 47When the territory of the Danites was lost to them, the Danites went up and fought against Leshem, and after capturing it and putting it to the sword, they took possession of it and settled in it, calling Leshem, Dan, after their ancestor Dan.

48This is the inheritance of the tribe of Dan, according to their families—these towns with their villages.

Joshua’s Inheritance

Joshua received what was promised to him by God, but in remarkable humility, he receives his portion last. This is the kind of humble service and concern for others that makes Joshua such a wonderful picture of Jesus Christ.

–David Guzik

49When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the Israelites gave an inheritance among them to Joshua son of Nun. 50By command of the Lord they gave him the town that he asked for, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim; he rebuilt the town, and settled in it.

51These are the inheritances that the priest Eleazar and Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites distributed by lot at Shiloh before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

Proverbs 16:33 (New American Standard Bible)

The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.

So they finished dividing the land.


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.

Images courtesy of:
be strong.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/26/60/1b/26601b833721f838a7a77c5b350a11a6.jpg
sign for Beer-sheba.    http://www.snydertalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Sign-in-the-Arava-to-Beersheba-Beer-Sheva.jpg
Bethlehem.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/bethlehem.gif
Mt. Tabor.    http://www.shawnthebaptist.org/images/2006/12/MtTabor.jpg
Arch in Tyre.    https://www.wikiwand.com/nl/Tyrus
Hazor.    http://israelapu08.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/hazor-37.jpg
Joppa and Tel Aviv.     http://ferrelljenkins.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/joppa_telaviv_sm1.jpg
Thy will be done.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/thywillbedone-sunsetcopy28web29.jpg

3073.) Joshua 18

January 27, 2021

The “Promised Land” is now reality! With the close of these chapters, all the tribes know which part of the Promised Land is theirs. Alongside ownership comes responsibility and privilege — how will it go for them?

Joshua 18   (NRSV)

The Territories of the Remaining Tribes

Then the whole congregation of the Israelites assembled at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them.

2There remained among the Israelites seven tribes whose inheritance had not yet been apportioned. 3So Joshua said to the Israelites, “How long will you be slack about going in and taking possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?

Joshua has had five other tribes step up to the plate, so to speak, and get going with the work that needed to be done to possess their portion of the land.  But these guys are just sitting on the bench!  What do they think will happen while they just wait around?!

Was the task too large?  Were they tired?  Was their vision clouded?  Was their enthusiasm dimmed?

And I cannot evade the next question:  What of God’s gifts to me am I reluctant, for any reason, to pursue?  Oh, Lord, let me not be slack in these things, but rather confident in Your grace, for “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

4Provide three men from each tribe, and I will send them out that they may begin to go throughout the land, writing a description of it with a view to their inheritances. Then come back to me. 5They shall divide it into seven portions, Judah continuing in its territory on the south, and the house of Joseph in their territory on the north. 6You shall describe the land in seven divisions and bring the description here to me; and I will cast lots for you here before the Lord our God. 7The Levites have no portion among you, for the priesthood of the Lord is their heritage; and Gad and Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan eastward, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them.”

8So the men started on their way; and Joshua charged those who went to write the description of the land, saying, “Go throughout the land and write a description of it, and come back to me; and I will cast lots for you here before the Lord in Shiloh.” 9So the men went and traversed the land and set down in a book a description of it by towns in seven divisions; then they came back to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh, 10and Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord; and there Joshua apportioned the land to the Israelites, to each a portion.

The Territory of Benjamin

The city of Jerusalem is located in the territory that was allotted to Benjamin.  This is a picture of a street in the Old City.

11The lot of the tribe of Benjamin according to its families came up, and the territory allotted to it fell between the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Joseph.

12On the north side their boundary began at the Jordan; then the boundary goes up to the slope of Jericho on the north, then up through the hill country westward; and it ends at the wilderness of Beth-aven. 13From there the boundary passes along southward in the direction of Luz, to the slope of Luz (that is, Bethel), then the boundary goes down to Ataroth-addar, on the mountain that lies south of Lower Beth-horon.

14Then the boundary goes in another direction, turning on the western side southward from the mountain that lies to the south, opposite Beth-horon, and it ends at Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), a town belonging to the tribe of Judah. This forms the western side.

15The southern side begins at the outskirts of Kiriath-jearim; and the boundary goes from there to Ephron, to the spring of the Waters of Nephtoah; 16then the boundary goes down to the border of the mountain that overlooks the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is at the north end of the valley of Rephaim; and it then goes down the valley of Hinnom, south of the slope of the Jebusites, and downward to En-rogel; 17then it bends in a northerly direction going on to En-shemesh, and from there goes to Geliloth, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim; then it goes down to the Stone of Bohan, Reuben’s son; 18and passing on to the north of the slope of Beth-arabah it goes down to the Arabah; 19then the boundary passes on to the north of the slope of Beth-hoglah; and the boundary ends at the northern bay of the Dead Sea, at the south end of the Jordan: this is the southern border.

20The Jordan forms its boundary on the eastern side. This is the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin, according to its families, boundary by boundary all around.

21Now the towns of the tribe of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz, 22Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24Chephar-ammoni, Ophni, and Geba—twelve towns with their villages: 25Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah, 27Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28Zela, Haeleph, Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath-jearim—fourteen towns with their villages.

This is the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin according to its families.



HERE  is a hymn to Jerusalem. Little did the tribe of Benjamin understand, as they were taking the territory, how important it would be — that one city in their tribal allotment would become known for centuries as the center of the earth, that it would see the Lord of the universe give his life for the world, that it would become a synonym for Heaven.

1 Jerusalem the golden,
descending from above,
the city of God’s presence,
the vision of God’s love –
I know not, oh, I know not
What joys await us there,
What radiancy of glory,
What bliss beyond compare!

2 They stand, those halls of Zion,
all jubilant with song,
so bright with many an angel,
And all the martyr throng.
The Prince is ever in them,
the daylight is serene;
the tree of life and healing
has leaves of richest green.

3 There is the throne of David,
And there, from pain released,
the shout of those who triumph,
The song of those who feast.
And all who with their leader
Have conquered in the fight,
Forever and forever
Are robed in purest white.

4 How lovely is that city,
the home of God’s elect!
How beautiful the country
that eager hearts expect!
O Christ, in mercy bring us
to that eternal shore
where Father, Son, and Spirit
are worshiped evermore.


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.

Images courtesy of:
map.  http://www.jesuswalk.com/gideon/images/12tribes_map250x389.gif
baseball players on the bench.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903461104576458452857567060
Jerusalem.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/18-jlem.jpg

3072.) Joshua 17

January 26, 2021

 Josh17 large map
Joshua 17   (NRSV)

The Other Half-Tribe of Manasseh (West)

Then allotment was made to the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. To Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, were allotted Gilead and Bashan, because he was a warrior. 2And allotments were made to the rest of the tribe of Manasseh, by their families, Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida; these were the male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph, by their families.

“Five Sisters”  by Paula DiLeo

3Now Zelophehad son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh had no sons, but only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 4They came before the priest Eleazar and Joshua son of Nun and the leaders, and said, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance along with our male kin.” So according to the commandment of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among the kinsmen of their father. 5Thus there fell to Manasseh ten portions, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is on the other side of the Jordan, 6because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance along with his sons.

This is noted in the text because it was unusual for women to receive an inheritance.  But it was more important that the land remain in the ancestral families than it was to follow this custom. Therefore the daughters of Zelophehad could inherit their father’s land. Actually, this is the implementation of a decision arrived at by Moses in Numbers 27:1-11.

–David Guzik

The land of Gilead was allotted to the rest of the Manassites.

7The territory of Manasseh reached from Asher to Michmethath, which is east of Shechem;

Modern Shechem and Mount Gerizim, with the ruins of ancient Shechem in the foreground.

then the boundary goes along southward to the inhabitants of En-tappuah. 8The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but the town of Tappuah on the boundary of Manasseh belonged to the Ephraimites. 9Then the boundary went down to the Wadi Kanah. The towns here, to the south of the wadi, among the towns of Manasseh, belong to Ephraim. Then the boundary of Manasseh goes along the north side of the wadi and ends at the sea. 10The land to the south is Ephraim’s and that to the north is Manasseh’s, with the sea forming its boundary; on the north Asher is reached, and on the east Issachar.

11Within Issachar and Asher, Manasseh had Beth-shean and its villages, Ibleam and its villages, the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, the inhabitants of En-dor and its villages, the inhabitants of Taanach and its villages, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages (the third is Naphath). 12Yet the Manassites could not take possession of those towns; but the Canaanites continued to live in that land. 13But when the Israelites grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out.

Their failure here is after the same pattern as the failure of the tribe of Ephraim in the previous chapter.

The Tribe of Joseph Protests

14The tribe of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, since we are a numerous people, whom all along the Lord has blessed?”

15And Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest, and clear ground there for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.”

16The tribe of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us; yet all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.”

17Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are indeed a numerous people, and have great power; you shall not have one lot only, 18but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.”

What a difference between Caleb’s attitude in the Promised Land — and these guys! Caleb asked for a mountain, he asked to fight giants, he was confident God was able to make His promises come true. The two tribes of Joseph’s sons, however, after being given rich land and a large amount of it, were not satisfied with their lot. (See the map at the top of the chapter.) They whined about the work it would entail to take full possession of it. Joshua praises them as a large tribe with plenty of power, when in reality they are more like slackers. Now, Self, be honest — which attitude is more often mine?

God of grace and God of glory,
On thy people pour thy power.
Crown thy ancient Church’s story,
Bring her bud to glorious power.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
For the living of this hour,
For the living of this hour.



HERE  is a vivacious Paul Manz organ arrangement of “God of Grace and God of Glory.” Manz (1919-2009) was a composer, recitalist, teacher, and worship leader par excellence. From Wikipedia:

“As a performer, Manz was most famous for his celebrated hymn festivals. Instead of playing traditional organ recitals, Manz would generally lead a “festival” of hymns from the organ, in which he introduced each hymn with one of his famously creative organ improvisations based on the hymn tune in question. The congregation would then sing the hymn with his accompaniment.”


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.

Images courtesy of:
map.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/ad503-mapjos1617.jpg
DiLeo.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/18-dileo.gif
Shechem.    http://www.bibleplaces.com/images/Mt_Gerizim_from_Shechem,_tbn011300l.jpg
Whine and cheese.     http://images.cafepress.com/image/32833087_400x400.jpg
Take courage.    https://suyun2710.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/take-courage1.jpg

3071.) Joshua 16

January 25, 2021
“Although Joseph was one of Jacob’s 12 sons, he did not have a tribe named after him. This was because Joseph, as the oldest son of Jacob’s wife Rachel, received a double portion of the inheritance.  This double portion was given to Joseph’s two sons. Ephraim and Manasseh, whom Jacob considered as his own.” — from The Life Application Bible

Joshua 16   (NRSV)

The Territory of Ephraim

The allotment of the Josephites went from the Jordan by Jericho, east of the waters of Jericho, into the wilderness, going up from Jericho into the hill country to Bethel; 2then going from Bethel to Luz, it passes along to Ataroth, the territory of the Archites; 3then it goes down westward to the territory of the Japhletites, as far as the territory of Lower Beth-horon, then to Gezer, and it ends at the sea. 4The Josephites—Manasseh and Ephraim—received their inheritance.



What a wonderful feeling, to look at a place and call it home!

HERE  Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger sing  “This Land Is Your Land.”


5The territory of the Ephraimites by their families was as follows: the boundary of their inheritance on the east was Ataroth-addar as far as Upper Beth-horon, 6and the boundary goes from there to the sea; on the north is Michmethath; then on the east the boundary makes a turn toward Taanath-shiloh, and passes along beyond it on the east to Janoah, 7then it goes down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, and touches Jericho, ending at the Jordan.

The Old Red Mill in Jericho, Vermont, dates back to the 1850’s.

8From Tappuah the boundary goes westward to the Wadi Kanah, and ends at the sea. Such is the inheritance of the tribe of the Ephraimites by their families, 9together with the towns that were set apart for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites, all those towns with their villages. 10They did not, however, drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer:

Their failure to completely drive out the Canaanites is typical of all the tribes. Even within the Promised Land there remains important work to do and battles to fight.

–David Guzik

so the Canaanites have lived within Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor.

Ephraim, Wisconsin, is located in beautiful Door County.
Ephraim, Wisconsin, is located in beautiful Door County.

The Israelites did not fully conquer for two reasons. First, they wanted peace at any cost. Second, they wanted wealth. For the sake of ease and money, they disobeyed God and fell short of what He had for them. Do we do the same thing today?

–David Guzik


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.

Images courtesy of:
map of the land of the twelve tribes.    http://www.jesuswalk.com/gideon/images/12tribes_map250x389.gif
Jericho, VT.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/16-jericho-vt.jpg
Ephraim, WI.     https://growlermag-media.s3.amazonaws.com/Ephraim-Fall1.jpg

3070.) Joshua 15

January 22, 2021

Revelation 5:1-5 (NLT)

Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?”  But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it.

Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it.  But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”


Joshua 15   (NRSV)

The Territory of Judah

The lot for the tribe of the people of Judah according to their families reached southward to the boundary of Edom, to the wilderness of Zin at the farthest south.

All this may seem tedious to us, but it certainly was not tedious to those who would possess this land. They would want to know every detail.

2And their south boundary ran from the end of the Dead Sea, from the bay that faces southward; 3it goes out southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, passes along to Zin, and goes up south of Kadesh-barnea, along by Hezron, up to Addar, makes a turn to Karka, 4passes along to Azmon, goes out by the Wadi of Egypt, and comes to its end at the sea. This shall be your south boundary.

5And the east boundary is the Dead Sea, to the mouth of the Jordan.

“Visiting tourists covered with rejuvenating mineral mud relax during a hot summer day at the Dead Sea,” said the picture caption.  Do you suppose the ancient Israelites played around like this?  🙂

And the boundary on the north side runs from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan; 6and the boundary goes up to Beth-hoglah, and passes along north of Beth-arabah; and the boundary goes up to the Stone of Bohan, Reuben’s son; 7and the boundary goes up to Debir from the Valley of Achor, and so northward, turning toward Gilgal, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south side of the valley; and the boundary passes along to the waters of En-shemesh, and ends at En-rogel; 8then the boundary goes up by the valley of the son of Hinnom at the southern slope of the Jebusites (that is, Jerusalem); and the boundary goes up to the top of the mountain that lies over against the valley of Hinnom, on the west, at the northern end of the valley of Rephaim; 9then the boundary extends from the top of the mountain to the spring of the Waters of Nephtoah, and from there to the towns of Mount Ephron; then the boundary bends around to Baalah (that is, Kiriath-jearim); 10and the boundary circles west of Baalah to Mount Seir, passes along to the northern slope of Mount Jearim (that is, Chesalon), and goes down to Beth-shemesh, and passes along by Timnah; 11the boundary goes out to the slope of the hill north of Ekron, then the boundary bends around to Shikkeron, and passes along to Mount Baalah, and goes out to Jabneel; then the boundary comes to an end at the sea.

12And the west boundary was the Mediterranean with its coast. This is the boundary surrounding the people of Judah according to their families.

When completed in 2005, the Ashkelon Desalination Plant was by far the world’s largest and most advanced desalination facility. With a huge capacity of up to 330,000 m3/day and with extremely high efficiency levels, the Ashkelon plant achieved one of the world’s lowest ever prices for desalinated water. In 2010, due to the unmatched success of the plant, it was expanded by nearly 20% to 392,000 m3/day, providing clean water for more than a million people.

This plant is located on Mediterranean coastal land that was allotted to the tribe of Judah.



HERE  is “The Lion of Judah”  performed by Paul Wilbur.

You’re the Lion of Judah, the Lamb that was slain,
You ascended to heaven and ever more will reign;
At the end of the age when the earth You reclaim,
You will gather the nations before You.
And the eyes of all men will be fixed on the Lamb
Who was crucified,
For with wisdom and mercy and justice You’ll reign
At Your Father’s side.

And the angels will cry: ‘Hail the Lamb
Who was slain for the world, Rule in power.’
And the earth will reply: ‘You shall reign
As the King of all kings
And the Lord of all lords.’

There’s a shield in our hand and a sword at our side,
There’s a fire in our spirits that cannot be denied;
As the Father has told us for these You have died,
For the nations that gather before You.
And the ears of all men need to hear of the Lamb
Who was crucified,
Who descended to hell yet was raised up to reign
At the Father’s side.


Caleb Occupies His Portion

13According to the commandment of the Lord to Joshua, he gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion among the people of Judah, Kiriath-arba (Arba was the father of Anak), that is, Hebron .

“The World’s Largest Porch Swing” is located in Hebron, Nebraska. It will seat 16 adults, or 24 children, or 128 babies.

Have you been to Hebron?

Hebron, Nebraska —was hit by a tornado in May 1953. The storm wrecked two-thirds of the town’s buildings and injured 69 people.

Hebron, Connecticut — describes itself as “a quaint Connecticut town.” It was formerly known for its apple orchards.

Hebron, New York — marketed their local “Beauty of Hebron” potato to London in the early 1880’s; this potato helped restock the British Isles after the Irish Potato famine.

14And Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak. 15From there he went up against the inhabitants of Debir; now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher. 16And Caleb said, “Whoever attacks Kiriath-sepher and takes it, to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife.” 17Othniel son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it; and he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife.

18When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she dismounted from her donkey, Caleb said to her, “What do you wish?”

“Since you gave me land in the desert, give me also springs of water.” — by Israeli artist Nurit Tzarfati

19She said to him, “Give me a present; since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, give me springs of water as well.” So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

The Towns of Judah

20This is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Judah according to their families:

21The towns belonging to the tribe of the people of Judah in the extreme South, toward the boundary of Edom, were Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25Hazor-hadattah, Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor), 26Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, Beth-pelet, 28Hazar-shual, Beer-sheba, Biziothiah, 29Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah, 31Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon: in all, twenty-nine towns, with their villages.

33And in the Lowland, Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34Zanoah, En-gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 36Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, Gederothaim: fourteen towns with their villages. 37Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal-gad, 38Dilan, Mizpeh, Jokthe-el, 39Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40Cabbon, Lahmam, Chitlish, 41Gederoth, Beth-dagon, Naamah, and Makkedah: sixteen towns with their villages. 42Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah: nine towns with their villages. 45Ekron, with its dependencies and its villages; 46from Ekron to the sea, all that were near Ashdod, with their villages. 47Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; to the Wadi of Egypt, and the Great Sea with its coast.

48And in the hill country, Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49Dannah, Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir), 50Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51Goshen,

Goshen College is a Mennonite liberal arts school. Pictured above are the members of their praise and worship team.

Goshen. You know!

Goshen, Indiana — is home to Goshen College and to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, the second-largest county fair in the United States.

Goshen, New Hampshire — has a tranquil lake known for its good canoeing and bird-watching.  Local residents call the lake “the Goshen Ocean.”

Goshen, Connecticut — was incorporated in 1739.  The town was a center for the manufacture of musket rifles during the Revolutionary War.

Goshen, Massachusetts — is a tiny rural town, population 921.

Goshen, Kentucky — is known for its thoroughbred breeding farms.

Goshen, New York — has a harness racing museum.

Goshen, Oregon — was originally a stage coach stop and now serves lumber mills in the area.

Holon, and Giloh: eleven towns with their villages. 52Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53Janim, Beth-tappuah, Aphekah, 54Humtah, Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior: nine towns with their villages. 55Maon, Carmel,

“Beach View:  Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.”  Photography by George Oze.

And you remember Carmel!

Carmel, California — officially Carmel-by-the-Sea, is known for its natural beauty and rich artistic tradition. It also has a law that prohibits the wearing of high heeled shoes unless the wearer has a permit, which can be obtained at no charge from City Hall.

Carmel, Indiana — had one of the first automatic traffic signals in the country installed at the intersection of Main Street and Range Line Road. This was in 1924.

Ziph, Juttah, 56Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah: ten towns with their villages. 58Halhul, Beth-zur, Gedor, 59Maarath, Beth-anoth, and Eltekon: six towns with their villages. 60Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), and Rabbah: two towns with their villages.

61In the wilderness, Beth-arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62Nibshan, the City of Salt, and En-gedi: six towns with their villages. 63But the people of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so the Jebusites live with the people of Judah in Jerusalem to this day.

Whitetail deer in Jerusalem, Ohio.

O, Jerusalem!

I have read that there are towns named “Jerusalem” in 12 states.


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.

Images courtesy of:
Lion of Judah (read his mane!).    http://teezine.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/lion-of-judah-detail.jpg
LIFE at the Dead Sea.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/15-life-dead-sea.jpg
Ashkelon desalination plant.   http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/new-desalination-technology-help-solve-worlds-water-shortage
world’s largest porch swing.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hebron_porch_swing.jpg
Tzarfati.     http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/tanach/albom/pictures/45.htm
Goshen College worship team.    http://www.goshen.edu/news/pressarchive/photos/08-parables.jpg
Oze.    http://fineartamerica.com/images-medium/beach-view-carmel-by-the-sea-california-george-oze.jpg
deer.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/deerherd_00.jpg

3069.) Joshua 14

January 21, 2021

Josh14 mountain
Joshua 14   (NRSV)

The Distribution of Territory West of the Jordan

These are the inheritances that the Israelites received in the land of Canaan, which the priest Eleazar, and Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites distributed to them. 2Their inheritance was by lot, as the Lord had commanded Moses for the nine and one-half tribes. 3For Moses had given an inheritance to the two and one-half tribes beyond the Jordan; but to the Levites he gave no inheritance among them. 4For the people of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim; and no portion was given to the Levites in the land, but only towns to live in, with their pasture lands for their flocks and herds. 5The Israelites did as the Lord commanded Moses; they allotted the land.

We commonly think and speak of the “twelve tribes of Israel” but actually there were thirteen, because although there were twelve sons of Jacob (later re-named Israel), the descendants of one of his sons, Joseph, divided into two tribes (Manasseh and Ephraim).

–David Guzik

Hebron Allotted to Caleb

Numbers 14:24 (ESV)

“But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.”

6Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal; and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 7I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land; and I brought him an honest report. 8But my companions who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.

Caleb, from the tribe of Judah, was one of the twelve spies who scouted out the land of Canaan some forty-five years before when Israel first was on the threshold of the Promised Land (Numbers 13:1-25).

Caleb was one of the only two spies to come back with a good report, a report of faith, believing that God had given Israel the land and would enable them to conquer it (Numbers 13:26-14:9). The other ten spies believed that Israel would be destroyed in the attempt to take Canaan, and Israel believed the ten doubting spies.

The other faithful spy was none other than Joshua. The ten faithless spies measured the giants against their own strength, but Joshua and Caleb measured the spies against God’s strength.

This was the cause of Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness; God would not allow that generation of unbelief to enter in, so He waited for them to die in the desert (Numbers 14:26-38). The only ones of age at the time of the rejection who actually entered the Promised Land were Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies.

So, it is fitting as Judah is the first tribe to receive its allotment on the west side of the Jordan, that Caleb be the first among the people of Judah to receive his inheritance.

–David Guzik

9And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’

10“And now, as you see, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel was journeying through the wilderness; and here I am today, eighty-five years old. 11I am still as strong today as I was on the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war, and for going and coming. 12So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day; for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as the Lord said.”

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Caleb’s faith in God never wavered though everyone around him doubted. God convinced Caleb that the children of Israel should enter the Promised Land, but the people were intimidated by giants and fortified cities (Numbers 13:28-33). Their disbelief forced Caleb to wait forty years in the wilderness before he finally entered the Promised Land. Even after all those years, Caleb was as confident as ever in God’s power.

When God was dividing the land among the Israelites, the people were asking for the lush valleys and grassy plains. Caleb asked for a mountain. The Israelites had driven their enemies into the mountains, where they had built fortresses. This did not intimidate Caleb—he asked for a challenge! He did not trust in his own strength but in God’s presence. Caleb longed to see God work in power, and he knew he would be less likely to rely on God if he dwelt in the easy places. He chose a situation in which he would have to trust in God. Caleb knew his inheritance from God was on the mountain. He refused to allow the difficulty of gaining it to stop him from enjoying all that God had promised him.

If you always choose the easy way, asking for the peaceful valleys, you will never see God’s power displayed to enable you to take a mountain. Seek out the mountains, and you will witness God doing things through your life that can be explained only by His mighty presence.



HERE  is “Climb Every Mountain” by Norwegian soprano Sissel. Let this song be an encouragement to us not to grow weaker in our work for the Lord as we grow older — like Caleb!


13Then Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14So Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. 15Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba; this Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.

And the land had rest from war.

Today:  The West Bank city of Hebron, a frequent flashpoint of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, is home to about 600 religious Jewish settlers living in heavily guarded enclaves among some 215,000 Palestinians. Clashes are common.


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.

Images courtesy of:
“Give me this mountain.”    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/0da06-caleb-give-me-this-mountain.jpg
Caleb.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/oldtestamentwarriors.gif
mountain shopping.    http://www.gbcdecatur.org/files/MountainShopping.jpg
Hebron.    https://www.bordersofadventure.com/visiting-hebron-west-bank-palestine/

3068.) Joshua 13

January 20, 2021

“Promised Land” photography by Rolando Polo

Joshua 13   (NRSV)

The Parts of Canaan Still Unconquered

The land has been entered and much of it conquered. Joshua’s leadership in war has concluded. Now the land will be divided and assigned to the twelve tribes. 

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

Josh13 map

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
Forgive yourself

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 beginning

by 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 Jordan River, south of the Sea of Galilee, was part of the territory given to the tribe of Gad.

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,

Gilead is a hilly region, a good place for grazing animals.

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.

Images courtesy of:
Polo.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/13-polo-promised-land.jpg
map.    http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/joshua13-21map.jpg
Balaam, the donkey, and the angel.     http://www.biblebios.com/balaam/balaam.jpg
the Jordan River.    http://bibleencyclopedia.com/placesjpeg/Jordan_River_south_of_Sea_of_Galilee,_tb040300.jpg
Gilead goats.    http://www.bibleplaces.com/images/Gilead%20goats2,%20tb%20n031701.jpg

3067.) Joshua 12

January 19, 2021

Many kings in our reading today!  Currently, 44 nations in the world have monarchs as heads of state.  Jesus is the King of Kings, over (for example) King Harald V of Norway.

Joshua 12   (NRSV)

The Kings Conquered by Moses

Psalm 138:4-5 (NIV)

May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD,
when they hear the words of your mouth.

May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.

Now these are the kings of the land, whom the Israelites defeated, whose land they occupied beyond the Jordan toward the east, from the Wadi Arnon to Mount Hermon, with all the Arabah eastward:

2King Sihon of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Wadi Arnon, and from the middle of the valley as far as the river Jabbok, the boundary of the Ammonites, that is, half of Gilead, 3and the Arabah to the Sea of Chinneroth eastward, and in the direction of Beth-jeshimoth, to the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, southward to the foot of the slopes of Pisgah;

Jesus is the King of Kings -- King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Jesus is the King of Kings — King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

4and King Og of Bashan, one of the last of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei 5and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan to the boundary of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and over half of Gilead to the boundary of King Sihon of Heshbon.

6Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites defeated them; and Moses the servant of the Lord gave their land for a possession to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

The Kings Conquered by Joshua

Psalm 33:16-19 (NIV)

No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

7The following are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the Israelites defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir (and Joshua gave their land to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their allotments, 8in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arabah, in the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the Negeb, the land of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites):

Jesus is the King of Kings — the king of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn.

9the king of Jericho one

the king of Ai, which is next to Bethel one

10the king of Jerusalem one

the king of Hebron one

11the king of Jarmuth one

the king of Lachish one

12the king of Eglon one

the king of Gezer one

Jesus is the King of Kings — King Letsie III of Lesotho.

13the king of Debir one

the king of Geder one

14the king of Hormah one

the king of Arad one

15the king of Libnah one

the king of Adullam one

16the king of Makkedah one

the king of Bethel one

Jesus is the King of Kings — Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei.

17the king of Tappuah one

the king of Hepher one

18the king of Aphek one

the king of Lasharon one

19the king of Madon one

the king of Hazor one

20the king of Shimron-meron one

the king of Achshaph one

Jesus is the King of Kings, even over Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll.

21the king of Taanach one

the king of Megiddo one

22the king of Kedesh one

the king of Jokneam in Carmel one

23the king of Dor in Naphath-dor one

the king of Goiim in Galilee, one

24the king of Tirzah one

—thirty-one kings in all.

These descriptions are also important because they make it clear that these things happened in real time, and in real space. These are not fairy tales that begin with “once upon a time,” this is history that begins with specific places and people and rulers.

As well, it was a way that Israel could forever remember the great things God had done for them. “Sometimes in the course of human experience it is good to sit down and reflect on what has been conquered by the grace of God.” (Redpath)

–David Guzik

“King of Kings and Lord of Lords” by Rex and Carlene Morache

Revelation 19:11-16 (New International Version)

The Rider on the White Horse
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:




HERE  is “O Worship the King!”  I love this hymn for its many names of God, its vivid imagery, its listing of many of God’s attributes.


With this portion, we finish the first half of Joshua.  It has been an account of action: of preparation (chapters 1-5) and of conquest (chapters 6-12).  Reading it as a military campaign, we can certainly see Joshua as a great commander.  But Scripture makes it clear that his wisdom came from God.  Joshua lived his life in the full obedience that Paul advised to Timothy:

1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


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.

Images courtesy of:
King of Norway.    http://www.topnews.in/files/King-Harald-Norway301.jpg
King of Saudi Arabia.    http://www.themiddleeastmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/saudi1-getty-v2.jpg
King of Thailand.    https://apnews.com/article/db42d2620fb14c34aac10e3a607933f6
King of Lesotho.    https://www.summerhill.co.za/blog/category/Lesotho+Horse+Racing
Sultan of Brunei.    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/08/22/article-1047990-050066E50000044D-762_224x305.jpg
Elvis Presley.    http://irom.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/elvis-presley-poster-311708.jpg
Jesus on a white horse.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/12-jesus-revelation1.jpg
sword and shield.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/logo3.gif

3066.) Joshua 11

January 18, 2021

Map for Joshua’s northern campaign:  the country comes together, piece by piece.

Joshua 11   (NRSV)

The United Kings of Northern Canaan Defeated

When King Jabin of Hazor heard of this, he sent to King Jobab of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, 2and to the kings who were in the northern hill country, and in the Arabah south of Chinneroth, and in the lowland, and in Naphoth-dor on the west, 3to the Canaanites in the east and the west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites under Hermon in the land of Mizpah. 4They came out, with all their troops, a great army, in number like the sand on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5All these kings joined their forces, and came and camped together at the waters of Merom, to fight with Israel.

The southern portion of the land has been conquered, so now the northern kings unite against Joshua. This will be a harder fight — the Israelites face a large number of soldiers and many horses and chariots.

6And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will hand over all of them, slain, to Israel; you shall hamstring their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.”

7So Joshua came suddenly upon them with all his fighting force, by the waters of Merom, and fell upon them. 8And the Lord handed them over to Israel, who attacked them and chased them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim, and eastward as far as the valley of Mizpeh. They struck them down, until they had left no one remaining. 9And Joshua did to them as the Lord commanded him; he hamstrung their horses, and burned their chariots with fire.

chariots:  These advanced implements of war were not used by the armies of Israel until the time of Solomon (see 1 Kings 9:22; 10:26-29).

–notes in the NIV Study Bible

10Joshua turned back at that time, and took Hazor, and struck its king down with the sword. Before that time Hazor was the head of all those kingdoms. 11And they put to the sword all who were in it, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed, and he burned Hazor with fire.

“The Burning of Hazor” by Avi Katz

12And all the towns of those kings, and all their kings, Joshua took, and struck them with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13But Israel burned none of the towns that stood on mounds except Hazor, which Joshua did burn. 14All the spoil of these towns, and the livestock, the Israelites took for their booty; but all the people they struck down with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, and they did not leave any who breathed. 15As the Lord had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.



Now the Israelites have their own land! They have fought for it, yes, but they also know that it is a gift from God for themselves and their descendants. The alternate national anthem for the United States puts those very thoughts to music.  HERE  school children sing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”


Summary of Joshua’s Conquests

16So Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negeb and all the land of Goshen and the lowland and the Arabah and the hill country of Israel and its lowland, 17from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, as far as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He took all their kings, struck them down, and put them to death. 18Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.  (note:  some scholars say about seven years) 19There was not a town that made peace with the Israelites, except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon; all were taken in battle. 20For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts so that they would come against Israel in battle, in order that they might be utterly destroyed, and might receive no mercy, but be exterminated, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

We are told that in part, this judgment on the Canaanites was accomplished when God did harden their hearts against Israel. The hardening of men’s hearts is when God gives man up to the sin that is in his heart (Romans 1:24-28).

–David Guzik

21At that time Joshua came and wiped out the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel; Joshua utterly destroyed them with their towns. 22None of the Anakim was left in the land of the Israelites; some remained only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod. 23So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments.

And the land had rest from war.

“The Gift Outright”
by Robert Frost

(Perhaps you remember watching it on television:  the old poet wrapped up in heavy coat and scarf, reciting this poem from memory at John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inauguration.)

The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people.  She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.


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.

Images courtesy of:
map of the northern campaign.    http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/joshua11-12map.jpg
Katz.     http://www.avikatz.net/bible/joshua/joshua11-burning.jpg
Robert Frost and John F. Kennedy.    http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1564