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Joshua 15





SCRIPTURE: Joshua 15


Author:  Joe Ligon


After the fulfillment of God’s promise to Caleb was resolved in the previous chapter, Joshua gets back to the business of allotting the land in Canaan to the eight and one-half tribes.  The first tribe that was drawn by lot was Judah which was the largest tribe.  The section of land that was drawn by lot was also the largest piece. 


One of the interesting things about the piece of land allotted to Judah is it was surrounded by fierce enemies.  This would mean that Judah would be in battle mode for a long time even through the time that David would become king.  Another interesting thing is Judah was the tribe from which the Messiah would come.


Beginning in verse 13 we are taken back to the story of Caleb.  We are given more detail about what Caleb accomplished including driving out three of the giants: Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman.  It was as Caleb continued to fight for the land that he was given that we are introduced to his daughter and her soon to be husband, Othniel.  Othniel was actually Caleb’s nephew but he would become his son-in-law.  Remember this really wasn’t Arkansas.


Even after the difficult fight Caleb had to capture the land he had been given, his true character came out.  He was generous to his new son-in-law.  He gave him a field.  And then he gave his daughter the upper and lower springs.  The water in these springs would have made this place most valuable.  And yet we see the generosity of a warrior when Caleb gave her this prime real estate.


I know the boundaries of the land allotted to Judah are difficult for us to follow.  Undoubtedly we wonder why such was included in Scripture.  For one reason, there needed to be a written account in the same way that we want legal papers, an abstract, and a deed for any land that we have.  But it is also evidence that God was true to His Word when He promised long before this chapter ever happened to give this land to His people.  It is also evidence that God is a God of order and not confusion.  If He had not put this process in place, the tribes of Israel would surely have come to blows fighting for what they thought was the best land.


I thought it might be helpful to include a map of what historians believe the allotment process produced.  Maybe this will give you a visual reference for the next few chapters:

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Joshua 14





SCRIPTURE: Joshua 14

 Author:  Joe Ligon

 This chapter begins with an interesting account of how the land in Canaan was distributed among the nine and one-half tribes that would be living in the Promised Land.  We are reminded that one of the tribes – the tribe of Levi – was not given an allotment of land in the Promised Land.  They were instead given cities and the pasture lands around them.  They were also given the offerings that people brought to the Tabernacle. 

 But for the other eight and one-half tribes that would be living in Canaan, a very different method was used.  What land each tribe received was determined by lot.  Jewish tradition holds that the names of the tribes were drawn from one urn and the boundaries lines of the different pieces of land was drawn from another urn.  From our perspective that might look like they were relying on blind chance to determine which tribe would live where.  But Proverbs 16:33 tells us that God dictated the choices made by the casting of lots or drawing of names.  (That verse says “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”) 

 In other words, God dictated and directed the process that determined which tribe would live where.  Among other things that means the people could not blame others for what land they received and what land they didn’t get. 

 Verse 6 seems to indicate that Judah was drawn first and met Joshua at Gilgal.  At that point, Caleb inserted himself into the conversation.  He reminded them that 45 years before, he and Joshua stood against the report of the other 10 spies that Moses sent in to check out the Promised Land.  The other 10 spies talked about how great the land was but they were convinced Israel could not take it because there were giants living there.  Caleb agreed with the evaluation of the land and even agreed that there were giants there.  But he was convinced that with the Lord’s help they could take the land.

 God allowed Caleb to live another 45 years.  He finished the wanderings in the wilderness.  He had been a part of the 7 years campaign to conquer Canaan.  Now he was 85 years old and is asking for Joshua to give him what God had promised him.

 At 85 years old, it would have been understandable for Caleb to look for the easy way out and finish his years on this earth in ease.  But instead he asked for the land inhabited by the giants.  In fact, he got the land specifically led by a king named Arba who was the greatest of the Amelikites or Anakites.  In other words, Arba was the giantest giant.  From the end of the chapter, we can only assume Caleb was successful.

 There is much we can learn from this chapter.  One, you should always trust God.  What He has said, He will do.  Two, you should always remember the promise of God, even if the fulfillment is 45 years later.  What God has promised, He will perform.  Three, you should never take yourself off of the front line.  Whom God has called, He will equip.  There are entirely too many people who have taken themselves off the front line of ministry either because of their age, their fear, or their lack of confidence in God.  As a result the New Testament Church is hamstrung and incredibly important work never gets done simply because there are not enough people to get it accomplished.

 We all need to get up and step up to the work the Lord has put before us.

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