The land that Israel had not yet taken

3. The extent of the blessing

The land that Israel had not yet taken – Joshua 13:1-7

Chapter 13

v1 Joshua was very old and he had lived for many years. The *Lord said to him, ‘You are old. There is still a lot of land that you have not taken. This is the land that *Israel still has to take. v2 There is all the land of the Philistines and Geshurites v3 and of the Avvim on the south. (The *Canaanites had the land from the Shihor river east of Egypt and as far north as Ekron’s land. The Philistines lived in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron.) v4 You must take all the land of the *Canaanites and Mearah, (which belonged to the people from Sidon). This is the land as far as Aphek, next to the land of the Amorites. v5 You have to take the land of the Gebalites and all of Lebanon to the east. That is from Baal Gad below Hermon mountain to Lebo Hamath.’

v6 The *Lord said to Joshua, ‘I, myself will deliver the land called Sidon to the *Israelites. The people in Sidon will leave the mountains of Lebanon as far as Misrephoth Maim. So, give this land to *Israel, as I have told you to do. v7 Each of the 9 *tribes, and half of the *tribe of Manasseh shall have its own part.’

Verse 1 We cannot be sure how old Joshua was. Caleb was 85 (see Joshua 14:10). Joshua was probably older.

Joshua 11:23 says ‘Then the country was at peace.’ Joshua 12:1 says, ‘There is still a lot of land that you have not taken.’ These two verses do not appear to agree. But there is an explanation.

Joshua had taken all the main towns and cities. He had defeated all the kings. But the *Israelites did not possess all the land. They still needed to take the rest of the land. They did not need to fight for it. God would do it for them (see verse 6). The *Israelites had to trust God.

This is like the Christian life. Jesus has defeated the enemy for us. He did this when he took the punishment for our *sins on the cross. God still has other good things for us. He wants to give them to us. ‘God promises all these things to us, my dear friends. So we must keep ourselves morally good. We must keep away from things that make our bodies or our thoughts morally bad. Let us show our love for God. Let us always live in a *clean way’ (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Verses 2-7 This is a list of the lands that *Israel had not yet taken.

Verse 7 Only half of the *tribe of Manasseh made their home on the east side of Jordan. They lived near the *tribes of Reuben and Gad. See Notes on Joshua 1:12-15 above.

The other half of the *tribe of Manasseh stayed with the rest of *Israel’s people.

The land that Moses gave to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh – Joshua 13:8-33

v8 Moses had already given land to the Reubenites, Gadites and the other half of Manasseh. This land was east of the Jordan, as Moses, the servant of God, had said.

v9 It was from Aroer, which was next to the Arnon valley. And it was from the town that was in that valley.

It included

·           all the flat land of Medeba to Dibon,

·           v10 all the towns of Sihon, king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon. It went to the edge of the land of the Amorites,

·           v11 the land of Gilead, and the land of the people from Geshur and Maacah,

·           all of Hermon mountain and Bashan as far as Salecah. v12 (That was the *kingdom of Og in Bashan.)

Og had ruled Ashtaroth and Edrei. He was one of the last of the Rephaim. Moses had won a fight with them and he had taken their land. v13 But the *Israelites did not send away the people from Geshur and Maacah. And so these people still live there among the *Israelites.

Verses 8-13 This is a description of the land east of the river Jordan. It was the land that the *tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh lived in. It was good land for cows and sheep. These *tribes looked after cows, sheep and goats. They needed this good land.

Verse 13 These *Israelites did not defeat all the people in the land. Neither did some other of the *tribes. This caused them a lot of trouble later.

Christians must defeat all their enemies. Christians have many different kinds of enemies. Enemies are often not people. Sometimes our enemies are the wrong things that we do. We must stop doing them. God will bless us when we stop.

v14 Moses had given no land to the *tribe of Levi. This was because God had made a promise to them. He had said that the other *tribes must give them the burnt *sacrifices for the *Lord God of *Israel. This was the part for the *Levites.

Verse 14 Chapter 21 tells us more about the *Levites.

v15 This is the part of the land that Moses gave to the families of the Reubenites.

v16 It was the land from Aroer, which was next to the Arnon valley. And it was from the town that was in that valley.

v17 And he gave them

·           all of the flat land past Medeba in Heshbon,

·           It included Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon,

·           v18 Jahaz and Kedemoth. And it included Mephaath,

·           v19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah and Zereth Shahar, (Zereth was on a hill in the middle of the valley),

·           v20 Beth Peor, and the sides of Pisgah mountain and Beth Jeshimoth town,

·           v21 all the towns on the flat land,

·           all the land of Sihon, king of the Amorites. Sihon had ruled from Hebron. But Moses had won the fight with him, and with the Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba. These kings had lived in that place, and they ruled with Sihon. v22 The *Israelites killed many soldiers in that battle. And they also killed Balaam, son of Beor, who used magic.

v23 The end of the land of the Reubenites was by the river Jordan.

Moses gave these towns and their villages to the *tribe of Reuben to live in. Each family received its own land.

Verses 15-23 Moses gave this land to the *tribe of Reuben. It was in the south of the country, east of the river Jordan.

Verse 22 You can read more about Balaam in Numbers chapters 22-24. Balaam wanted to *curse *Israel. But God would not allow Balaam to *curse *Israel. So, Balaam had to bless *Israel. This verse tells us that Balaam did not continue to serve God. Instead, Balaam used *spirit magic. The Bible says that this is evil (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

v24 This is the land that Moses gave to the *tribe of Gad. Each family received its own land.

v25 He gave to them

·           the land of Jazer, the towns of Gilead and half the land of the Ammonites. v26 This was from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim. It was from Mahanaim to the land of Debir,

·           v27 and he gave to them the towns in the valley: Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth and Zaphon,

·           the rest of the land of Sihon, king of Heshbon. (This was on the east of the Jordan, to the end of the sea of Kinnereth.)

v28 Moses gave these towns and villages to the *tribe of Gad to live in. Each family received its own land.

Verses 24-28 Moses gave this land to the *tribe of Gad. It was in the middle of the country east of the river Jordan.

v29 This is the land that Moses gave to half the *tribe of Manasseh. That is, half the families of the sons of Manasseh. Each family received its own land.

v30 He gave them

·           the land from Mahanaim,

·           the land of Bashan,

·           all the land ruled by Og, king of Bashan,

·           all the 60 towns of Jair in Bashan,

·           v31 half of Gilead, Ashtaroth and Edrei. (These were the cities that belonged to Og in Bashan.)

This was for half the sons of Makir, son of Manasseh. Each family received its own land.

v32 Moses gave land to these *tribes across the Jordan. It was the flat land of Moab, east of Jericho.

Verses 29-32 Moses gave this land to half of the *tribe of Manasseh. It was in the north of the country east of the river Jordan.

v33 Moses gave no land to the *tribe of Levi. The *Lord, the God of *Israel, was their part. This is what he had promised to do for them.

Verse 33 Chapter 21 tells us more about the *Levites.