The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Joshua 18

Jos 18:1

"Preparations are set for the seven remaining of the tribes as they seek establishment in the Promised Land. Headquarters are established at Shiloh: vv 1,2. Apparently the camp had assembled previously at Gilgal (Josh 14:6), but Shiloh is conveniently established in approximately the centre of the land, about 35 miles north of Jerusalem. It is situated in a valley plentifully watered by springs. The word means 'Peace' or 'Tranquility.' The tabernacle remained here until the Philistines took the ark. Joshua exhorts the people to go in and possess the Land (vv 3-7). The land is surveyed (vv 8,9), and the results were recorded in a book which would include charts and divisions, with geographic data of immense importance. It is obvious by the way that the countries of the ancient world and journeyings of Israel are recorded, that the principles of geography and mathematics were well known to the Hebrews. Lots are cast (vv 10-28). This established by divine control the proper division of the land" (GEM).

Jos 18:3

"Having spent many years wandering in the wilderness -- during which time the older generation died -- the younger generation of Israelites now found themselves on the western side of Jordan, in the Promised Land. Yet, despite years of privation and hardship, many Israelites were prepared to lightly cast aside their new-found inheritance.

"Seven tribes indicated that they were tired of fighting. They had fought the Canaanites for seven years -- a long and protracted war. Now, their earlier dedication had waned. Their faith in Yahweh and zeal for His cause had dissipated.

"They had fought valiantly; and now -- poised on the brink of final and complete victory -- they had given up the struggle. They were 'slack to go to possess the land' [v 3].

"This was a tragic state of affairs: not merely because of the inactivity of the people but because of their disposition.

"At the Judgment Seat of Christ, how many will be found to have started out on their walk towards the Kingdom full of zeal and wholehearted dedication, fired by a love of Yahweh and His saving Truth -- only to surrender to pressures from within and without, and never gain the final victory. Satisfaction or compromise with the existing worldly environment; divided loyalties; a general attitude of indolence, or lack of faith... are influences which may lead men and women of faith to desert the cause they have espoused, and fall by the wayside" (UJos 193,194).

Jos 18:11

Jos 18:11--Jos 19:48: The seven remaining tribes receive their inheritances according to lot: Benjamin (Jos 18:11-28); Simeon (Jos 19:1-9); Zebulun (Jos 19:10-16); Issachar (Jos 19:17-23); Asher (Jos 19:24-31); Naphtali (Jos 19:32-39); and Dan (Jos 19:40-48). "These are the territories that Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel assigned by lot at Shiloh in the presence of the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. And so they finished dividing the land" (v 51).

Jos 18:16

Note: Jerusalem lay on border between Benjamin and Judah.

VALLEY OF REPHAIM: Consistently translated in NIV. AV has "valley of the giants" (Jos 15:18; 18:16; Isa 17:5) or "valley of the Rephaim" (2Sa 5:18,22; 23:13; 1Ch 11:15; 14:9; Isa 17:5).

Previous Index Next