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Joshua Eighteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Joshua 18:1 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.

Shiloh. Shiloh was a town in the territory assigned to Ephraim, which was Joshua's tribe (Numbers 13:8). This became both the political and religious center of Israel during its early years in the land. Since the name essentially means “rest,” and had been applied by Jacob as a name of the promised Savior (Genesis 49:10), it seems possible that its name was given by Joshua, who thought it would be an appropriate location for the tabernacle. There is no obvious connection with the Shiloh of Jacob's prophecy, unless the town was named in reference to this Messianic prophecy.

tabernacle. The tabernacle had been carried from place to place during the forty-year wilderness wanderings. It had remained with the camp at Gilgal until Joshua moved it to Shiloh. It remained at Shiloh all during the period of the judges, until Shiloh was finally overthrown by the Philistines in the days of Eli, and the Ark of the Covenant carried away (1 Samuel 4:10, 11).

Joshua 18:2 And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.

Joshua 18:3 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?

Joshua 18:4 Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.

three men for each tribe. Five of the tribes had already been awarded their lots (Judah, Ephraim, Manasseh, Reuben, Gad), so presumably only the seven tribes remaining were represented on this committee. It is obvious that the seven subdivisions which they described were not equal in geographical area, so they presumably tried to take other factors into consideration in arriving at their optimum divisions.

Joshua 18:5 And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.

Joshua 18:6 Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.

Joshua 18:7 But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave them.

Joshua 18:8 And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the LORD in Shiloh.

describe the land. They were to survey and divide the land.

Joshua 18:9 And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh.

seven parts in a book. The scientific art of surveying is very ancient. The Egyptians had practiced it, but long before that the sons of Noah and their descendants used it to divide the lands for their nations in the earth after the Flood (Genesis 10:32).

Joshua 18:10 And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.

Joshua 18:11 And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.

children of Benjamin. The portion that fell to Benjamin was adjacent to Judah on the north, with the city of Jerusalem (still occupied by Jebusites) right on the boundary between. Benjamin, of course, later remained with Judah when the nation of Israel was divided at the time of Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:20, 21).

Joshua 18:12 And their border on the north side was from Jordan; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, and went up through the mountains westward; and the goings out thereof were at the wilderness of Bethaven.

Joshua 18:13 And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is Bethel, southward; and the border descended to Atarothadar, near the hill that lieth on the south side of the nether Bethhoron.

Joshua 18:14 And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, from the hill that lieth before Bethhoron southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter.

Joshua 18:15 And the south quarter was from the end of Kirjathjearim, and the border went out on the west, and went out to the well of waters of Nephtoah:

Joshua 18:16 And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to Enrogel,

Joshua 18:17 And was drawn from the north, and went forth to Enshemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben,

Joshua 18:18 And passed along toward the side over against Arabah northward, and went down unto Arabah:

Joshua 18:19 And the border passed along to the side of Bethhoglah northward: and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the salt sea at the south end of Jordan: this was the south coast.

Joshua 18:20 And Jordan was the border of it on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, by the coasts thereof round about, according to their families.

Joshua 18:21 Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Bethhoglah, and the valley of Keziz,

Joshua 18:22 And Betharabah, and Zemaraim, and Bethel,

Joshua 18:23 And Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah,

Joshua 18:24 And Chepharhaammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages:

Joshua 18:25 Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,

Joshua 18:26 And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah,

Joshua 18:27 And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah,

Joshua 18:28 And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families.