Daybreak: Joshua 13:1-33
“All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.” (Joshua 13:7)
My father moved to the United States from the Middle East, where he came from a long line of landowners. The land primarily held vineyards. I am sure that generation after generation had passed the land down to their children, and those who inherited the land took care of it. Although my father initially came to the United States to study, he stayed and later married my mother.
Not long after I was born, my father died. While I do not remember much about him because I was so young, I do remember hearing about “the land.” My uncle would discuss “our land” with my older brother. The point of discussion was usually whether we should keep it or sell it.
How did it become “our land”? When my grandfather divided up his land, he gave each of his children a portion. My father’s portion became ours when he died. The land was something we had inherited. It was something that we, through my father, had been promised.
All of chapter 13 of Joshua is about “promised” land. Some of the land had already been conquered, but some still needed to be claimed. Joshua was to divide that land among those to whom it had been promised. The division of the land was then recorded to avoid confusion.
Not all of us have land that is waiting for us to claim, but we do have spiritual victories that God has promised to us. Unlike the land that Joshua was dividing, we can all share fully in the blessings God bestows. Healing is not limited to the Jones’ family, or salvation only to the Jacob’s. Each promise God has in His Word is meant for everyone. All we have to do is believe! The knowledge of these promises is an inheritance we can pass down to our children, just as it was passed down to us.
This chapter starts out with the Lord stating: “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed ” (Joshua 13:1). Many estimate that Joshua was approaching one hundred years of age at this point. He was 110 years old when he died.
Although not all the land had been conquered, God directed Joshua to divide up all the land — as if to say, “It will be yours.”
It is mentioned twice in this chapter that land would not be given to the tribe of Levi. This tribe was dedicated to serving God — God was their inheritance. The Levites needed the time and ability to move, which would be hindered as landowners. God instructed the other tribes to meet the Levites’ needs through donations.
Joshua 13:13 clearly identifies the reason the Israelites had so many problems settling the land. They failed to conquer fully the land and drive out all its inhabitants. The presence of the remaining pagan peoples of Canaan was like a disease, causing unending difficulties for the Israelites.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The land divided
A. The instructions to apportion the land (13:1-7)
B. The apportionment of Transjordan (13:8-33)
1. The dimensions of the land (13:8-14)
2. The assignment to Reuben (13:15-23)
3. The assignment to Gad (13:24-28)
4. The assignment to Manasseh (13:29-30)
5. Conclusion (13:31-33)
A Closer Look
- Why was Joshua so specific in dividing the land?
- Why did those in the tribe of Levi not receive a land inheritance?
- How can you apply the concept of claiming an inheritance to your spiritual life?
This chapter gives us a clear explanation of what land each tribe was to inherit. The Bible gives us many promises of blessings that we can inherit as a child of God.