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Joshua 14-16

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Joshua Chapter 14

Along with the Eastern Tribal Lands which were composed of two and one-half tribes of Israel east of The Jordan River, nine and one-half tribes settled west of the Jordan in the traditional "Dan to Beesheba, Jordan to the Mediterranean" borders of Israel. The Levites were dispersed through all of the other tribes because they served as the priesthood.


"And these are the inheritances which the people of Israel received in The Land Of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest [see The Lines Of Eleazar and Ithamar], and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the people of Israel distributed to them. Their inheritance was by lot, as The Lord had commanded Moses for the nine and one-half tribes. For 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. For the people of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim; and no portion was given to the Levites in the land, but only cities to dwell in, with their pasture lands for their cattle and their substance. The people of Israel did as The Lord commanded Moses; they allotted the land." (Joshua 14:1-5 RSV)

Caleb, along with Joshua himself, was among the very few remaining from the adult generation that left Egypt in the Exodus (see A Journey Without A Destination). Now at the age of 85, while still very strong and healthy, Caleb asked for a place of his own in the land. He surely had earned it, and was given Hebron, a key town (see Bible Places) in Bible History (see the Fact Finder question below). It was natural of Caleb, who was of the tribe of Judah, to settle there, since Hebron was within Judah's tribal territory in the south (Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim, and so he settled in the central area of the land of Israel, in the area that, ironically, in later years became the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel after Israel was divided into two kingdoms, "Israel" and "Judah" - see Israelite Monarchy - The Division Of Israel, Israelite Monarchy - The Northern Kingdom and Israelite Monarchy - The Southern Kingdom)

"Then Joshua blessed him; and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. So Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed The Lord, the God of Israel. Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba; this Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. And the land had rest from war." (Joshua 14:13-15 RSV)

Joshua Chapter 15

The tribe of Judah was destined to become the best-known of the tribes of Israel - "Jew" is an abbreviation of Judah (see Who Was The First Jew?). Their allotted territory was in the southern area around Jerusalem, which very ironically, was not yet regarded by them as anything special i.e. Jerusalem, as it later became known, was then still known as "the Jebusite city" (although not entirely - see Melchizedek) after the Jebusites who occupied it (and continued to do so for many more years, until it was taken by King David).


"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. And their south boundary ran from the end of The Salt Sea, from the bay that faces southward; it 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, turns about to Karka, passes along to Azmon, goes out by the Brook of Egypt, and comes to its end at the sea. This shall be your south boundary."

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

And the east boundary is the Salt Sea, to the mouth of the Jordan. And the boundary on the north side runs from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan; and the boundary goes up to Beth-hoglah, and passes along north of Beth-arabah; and the boundary goes up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben; and 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 Enshemesh, and ends at Enrogel; then the boundary goes up by the valley of the son of Hinnom at the southern shoulder of the Jebusite, that is, Jerusalem; and the boundary goes up to the top of the mountain that lies over against the valley of Hinnom [see The Valley Of Hell], on the west, at the northern end of the valley of Rephaim; then the boundary extends from the top of the mountain to the spring of the Waters of Nephtoah, and from there to the cities of Mount Ephron; then the boundary bends round to Baalah, that is, Kiriath-jearim; and the boundary circles west of Baalah to Mount Seir, passes along to the northern shoulder of Mount Jearim, that is, Chesalon, and goes down to Beth-shemesh, and passes along by Timnah; the boundary goes out to the shoulder of the hill north of Ekron, then the boundary bends round to Shikkeron, and passes along to Mount Baalah, and goes out to Jabneel; then the boundary comes to an end at the sea.

And the west boundary was the Great Sea with its coast-line [i.e. The Mediterranean Sea]. This is the boundary round about the people of Judah according to their families." (Joshua 15:1-12 RSV)

Joshua Chapter 16

The tribe of Joseph (see The Israelite Patriarchs - Joseph) was made into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, each with their own tribal territory.

Israelite Tribal Lands

"The allotment of the descendants of Joseph 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; then going from Bethel to Luz, it passes along to Ataroth, the territory of the Archites; then 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. The people of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance." (Joshua 16:1-4 RSV)

Unlike the territory of Manasseh which was on both sides of the Jordan River (see map), Ephraim was entirely west of the Jordan.

"The 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, and the boundary goes thence to the sea; on the north is Mich-methath; then on the east the boundary turns round toward Taanath-shiloh, and passes along beyond it on the east to Jan-oah, then it goes down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, and touches Jericho, ending at the Jordan. From Tappuah the boundary goes westward to the brook Kanah, and ends at the sea. Such is the inheritance of the tribe of the Ephraimites by their families, together with the towns which were set apart for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites, all those towns with their villages." (Joshua 16:5-9 RSV)

Fact Finder: Where are the graves of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah?
See The Tombs Of Hebron

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