5 May. Joshua 13:1-8,14:1-4,18:1

5 May. Canaan is divided among the twelve tribes of Israel

“When Joshua was very old, the LORD said to him, ‘Joshua, you have grown old, but there is still much land [in Canaan] for you to take. This is what is left: the regions of Geshur and of the Philistines; the area from the Shihor River at the border of Egypt to Ekron in the north, which belongs to the Canaanites; the five Philistine leaders at Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the Avvites, who live south of the Canaanite land; the Gebalites, and the area of Lebanon east of Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.”

“The Sidonians are living in the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, but I will force all of them out ahead of the Israelites. Be sure to remember this land when you divide the land among the Israelites, as I told you.”

“Now divide the land among the nine tribes and West Manasseh. East Manasseh and the tribes of Reuben and Gad had received their land. The LORD’s servant Moses had given them the kand east of the Jordan River…”

“Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of all the tribes of Israel decided what land to give to the people in the land of Canaan. The LORD had commanded Moses long ago how he wanted the people to choose their land. The people of the nine-and-a-half tribes threw lots to decide which land they would receive.”

“Moses had already given the two-and-a-half tribes their land east of the Jordan River. But the tribe of Levi was not given any land like the others. The sons of Joseph had divided into two tribes – Manasseh and Ephraim. The tribe of Levi was not given any land. It was given only some towns in which to live and pastures for its animals…”

“All the tribes of Israel gathered together at Shiloh where they set up the Meeting Tent. The land was now under their control.”

          (Joshua 13:1-8, 14:1-4, 18:1)



After the invasion of Canaan in c.1406BC, the conquered land was divided between the twelve tribes of Israel (see the map).

The Ark of the Covenant and the Tent of the LORD’s presence (see Genesis 26:1) were set up at Shiloh between Bethel and Shechem (see the map). This became the principal sanctuary during the time of the Judges. Samuel's parents, for example, joined the annual pilgrimage to Shiloh (see 1 Samuel 1:3) and God called Samuel at the sanctuary at Shiloh (see 1 Samuel 3:1-18).

The land east of the Jordan, in Gilead and Bashan, captured earlier from King Sihon and King Og (see Numbers 21:23-35) was allocated, as agreed by Moses, to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh (see Numbers 32:1-19).

The other nine and a half tribes drew lots to divide the land on the west bank of the River Jordan (see Joshua 14:2 & 18:1-10). The tribe of Levi was not allocated a separate territory as they were given land throughout Canaan wherever they served their fellow Israelites as priests and Levites. On the other hand, the descendants of Joseph were divided into two tribes named after his eldest sons Manasseh and Ephraim.

Ephraim received the lightly wooded territory in the central hill country near Shiloh (later referred to as the Forest of Ephraim), while Manasseh took over the hilly land to the north in the area around Mt Gerizim, Mt Ebal and the Vale of Shechem (see Joshua 16:1-17:18). In addition, Joshua was personally rewarded with the town of Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim (see Joshua 19:49-50).

Further north, land around the Vale of Jezreel was allocated to the tribe of Issachar (see Joshua 19:17-23), while the tribes of Asher, Zebulon and Napthali were granted territory stretching from the coastal foothills near Tyre to the inland basin occupied by the Lake of Kinnereth (the Sea of Galilee) (see Joshua 19:10-16 & 24-39).

On the southern boundary of Canaan, the tribe of Simeon received the semi-arid foothills of the Negev Desert between Beersheba and Kadesh Barnea (see Joshua 19:1-9), while the tribe of Judah gained the hill country between Beersheba, Bethlehem and Jerusalem (see Joshua 15:1-63). In addition, the city of Hebron was allocated to Caleb in recognition of his faithfulness to God after spying out the ‘promised land’ forty years earlier (see Joshua 14:6-15).

The most controversial allocations of territory were made to the tribes of Benjamin and Dan. Benjamin received land bounded on the south by the Jebusite fortress of Jebus (Jerusalem) (which remained a Canaanite stronghold for the next four hundred years until conquered by King David in 1004 BC) (see Joshua 18:11-28 & 15:63).

Dan was allocated land on the coastal plain of Philistia, but was never able to wrestle this lowland territory from the Philistines. As a result, the tribe later conquered land in the far north around the city of Leshem (Laish), which was renamed Dan after it was captured (see Joshua 19:40-48 & Judges 18:1-31).

The map shows the boundaries of the lands allocated to the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

You can see a photo of the remains of the Israelite gateway at Tel Dan @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/27-the-israelites-move-into-canaan/canaan-is-divided-among-the-twelve-tribes/

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