The Division of the Land among the Tribes[a]
The Division Commanded by the Lord.1 When Joshua had grown old and was well advanced in years, the Lord said to him, “You have grown old, and there is still quite a bit of the land that you must conquer.[b] 2 This is the part of the land that still remains: the territory of the Philistines and all of Geshur 3 from Sihor which lay near Egypt, to the territory of Ekron in the north (all of which is Canaanite). This is the territory of the five lords of the Philistines: of the Gazathites, of the Ashdodthites, of the Ash-kalonites, of the Gittites, of the Ekronites, that is, the Avites. 4 From the south, it includes all of the land of the Canaanites and Mearah, that belongs to the Sidonians, up to Aphek, to the boundary with the Amorites, 5 and it includes the land of the Gebalites and all of Lebanon to the east, from Baal-gad beneath Mount Hermon up to the entrance to Lebo-hamath. 6 There are also all of the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon up to Misrephoth-maim, that is, the land of the Sidonians. I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. You are to divide it among the Israelites as an inheritance as I have commanded you. 7 Divide this land as an inheritance among the nine tribes and one-half of the tribe of Manasseh.”
The Eastern Tribes. 8 The other half, the Reubenites and the Gadites, had already received their inheritance from Moses on the other side of the Jordan, to the east. Moses, the servant of God, gave it to them. 9 It began at Aroer on the banks of the Arnon River, from the city itself which is in the middle of the river, and it included the whole plain of Medeba as far as Dibon, 10 all of the cities of Sihon, the king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, up to the boundary with the Ammonites, 11 Gilead, the territory of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, all of Mount Hermon, all of Bashan up to Salecah, 12 and all of the kingdom of Og in Bashan who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei (he was the last of the Rephaim). Moses defeated them and cast them out.
13 The Israelites did not cast out the Geshurites or the Maachathites. The Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites up to the present.[c]
14 He did not give any inheritance to the tribe of Levi. The burnt offerings made to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he had told them.
15 The Tribe of Reuben. Moses had given an inheritance to the Reubenites dividing it according to their clans. 16 Their territory included Aroer on the banks of the Arnon River, from the city itself which is in the middle of the river, as well as the whole plain of Medeba, 17 Heshbon and all of its dependent towns in the plain: Dibon, Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon, 18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth-shahar on the mountain of the valley, 20 Beth-peor, the slopes of the Pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth. 21 These were all the cities of the plain, the entire kingdom of Sihon, the king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon. Moses had struck him down along with the princes of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, who were princes of Sihon dwelling in that land. 22 Among those who were slain was also Balaam, the son of Beor, whom the Israelites put to the sword. 23 The boundary of the Reubenites was the banks of the Jordan. These towns and villages are the inheritance of the Reubenites, divided according to its clans.
24 The Tribe of Gad. Moses gave an inheritance to the Gadites, dividing it according to their clans. 25 It included the territory of Jezer, all of the cities of Gilead, and half of the land of the Ammonites that ran from Aroer near Rabbah 26 and Heshbon to Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the boundary of Debir, 27 and Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon in the valley, and the rest of the kingdom of Sihon, the king of Heshbon, with the boundary running along the banks of the Jordan up to the shores of the Sea of Chinnereth (on the eastern side of the Jordan). 28 These cities and towns were the inheritance of the Gadites, divided according to its clans.
29 The Half-tribe of Manasseh. This is what Moses gave to one of the halves of the tribe of Manasseh, that is, the tribe of half of the descendants of Manasseh, divided according to its clans. 30 The territory started in Mahanaim and included all of Bashan, the entire territory of Og, the king of Bashan, and all of the town in Jair in Bashan, sixty towns in all, 31 as well as half of Gilead, and Ashtaroth and Edrei, the royal cities of Og in Bashan. This was for the descendants of Machir, the son of Manasseh, for one-half of the descendants of the Machirites, divided according to its clans.
32 These are the inheritances that Moses distributed in the plains of Moab on the other side of the Jordan, to the east of Jericho. 33 But Moses did not give an inheritance to the tribe of Levi. The Lord, the God of Israel, was their inheritance, just as he had told them.
- Joshua 13:1 In the way in which they were distributed throughout Palestine and in their life there (chs. 13–22), the tribes saw the fulfillment of a promise and plan of God.
The special situation of the tribe of Levi is noteworthy. The editor several times emphasizes the point that this tribe is dedicated to the conduct of worship: the Lord is their portion.
- Joshua 13:1 Although Joshua was well over 80 years of age, the Lord continued to use him to fulfill his plan begun by Moses 40 years before.
- Joshua 13:13 Because the Israelites did not drive out the people in the lands they occupied, they will continue to wage battle against their pagan customs and culture.