Land Still to Be Conquered
13 Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the LORD said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess. This is the land that yet remains: all the regions of the Philistines, and all those of the Geshurites (from the Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron, it is counted as Canaanite; there are five rulers of the Philistines, those of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron), and those of the Avvim, in the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians, to Aphek, to the boundary of the Amorites, and the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrise, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo-hamath, all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, even all the Sidonians. I myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel. Only allot the land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you. Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.”
The Inheritance East of the Jordan
With the other half of the tribe of Manasseh the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them: from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland of Medeba as far as Dibon; and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the boundary of the Ammonites; and Gilead, and the region of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah; all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); these Moses had struck and driven out. Yet the people of Israel did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maacathites, but Geshur and Maacath dwell in the midst of Israel to this day.
To the tribe of Levi alone Moses gave no inheritance. The offerings by fire to the LORD God of Israel are their inheritance, as he said to him.
And Moses gave an inheritance to the tribe of the people of Reuben according to their clans. So their territory was from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland by Medeba; with Heshbon, and all its cities that are in the tableland; Dibon, and Bamoth-baal, and Beth-baal-meon, and Jahaz, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath, and Kiriathaim, and Sibmah, and Zereth-shahar on the hill of the valley, and Beth-peor, and the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth, that is, all the cities of the tableland, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses defeated with the leaders of Midian, Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the princes of Sihon, who lived in the land. Balaam also, the son of Beor, the one who practiced divination, was killed with the sword by the people of Israel among the rest of their slain. And the border of the people of Reuben was the Jordan as a boundary. This was the inheritance of the people of Reuben, according to their clans with their cities and villages.
Moses gave an inheritance also to the tribe of Gad, to the people of Gad, according to their clans. Their territory was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the Ammonites, to Aroer, which is east of Rabbah, and from Heshbon to Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir, and in the valley Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, having the Jordan as a boundary, to the lower end of the Sea of Chinnereth, eastward beyond the Jordan. This is the inheritance of the people of Gad according to their clans, with their cities and villages.
And Moses gave an inheritance to the half-tribe of Manasseh. It was allotted to the half-tribe of the people of Manasseh according to their clans. Their region extended from Mahanaim, through all Bashan, the whole kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, sixty cities, and half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. These were allotted to the people of Machir the son of Manasseh for the half of the people of Machir according to their clans.
These are the inheritances that Moses distributed in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan east of Jericho. But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the LORD God of Israel is their inheritance, just as he said to them.
Joshua 13 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Now Joshua was old and advanced in years when the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed.”Joshua 13:1
In light of Joshua and all the years he had been faithful to God, all the difficulties he faced when as a younger man he stood alongside Moses and proclaimed they could take the land, only to be shot down by the entire Israelite people, he was faithful.
Even though the Israelite’s lack of faith kept them in the desert for 40 years, Joshua remained steadfast. When the baton was passed, he did so much for the glory of God. He seemingly did not waver in his calling or appointment by God. Now as the winter years of human life have dawned, God reveals there is still work for him to do.
If we’re honest, we all face days and sometimes weeks or months of feeling weary. From the moment our feet hit the floor there are many things piled on us that need accomplished or simply our presence is required even somewhere. We wrestle through so much in prayer about things concerning us personally to the people we love. It’s the same thing just a different day. We grow weary. We’re tired. Passion is certainly not in the mix.
Yet, here we are. Facing another day, possibly with no change to our circumstances. We’re called to endure. We’re called to move forward. We’re called to hold our ground. We’re called to remain faithful.
Even if Joshua at his age was tired or burned out, God was clear there was much work to yet be done. Commentators believe he was between 85-100 years old.
The same is true for each and every child of God. No matter what our age, no matter how thick in a battle we have been, no matter how weary we may grow – God still has work for us to do.
For each of us, we must renew our commitment each morning. It may be a different day but we must get up and suit up in our spiritual armor for what battles may be ahead. For Joshua it was the reminder there were still unconquered lands ahead. He still had a role in God’s plan.
What are the unconquered lands we face?
Where is God still calling us, even if battle tired or simply weary at the moment? Where is He telling us to be strong and courageous, fight for the land and take possession? Until God takes us home or releases us from the assignment, we have work to do.
Dig deep into His word each morning if you are feeling the effects of your mission. Renew your strength in Him through prayer. Seek wisdom and discernment and suit up for what calling He has for you.
Joshua 13 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
As you read through the inheritance distributed to the different tribes, you will notice that the Levites receive no land. It is mentioned twice in this chapter.
Only to the tribe of Levi he did not give an inheritance; the offerings by fire to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He spoke to himJoshua 13:14
But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.Joshua 13:33
This is not a snub of the Levites, but rather, a privilege. They were chosen for special ministry in the tabernacle and were assigned adjacent lands scattered around the tribes in 48 different places. Their inheritance would not be the land, but the sacrifices brought to God. By scattered them among the cities, they would be easily accessible to all tribes.
Even more fascinating is the fact that this duty of sacrifice was coupled alongside having the Lord himself be their inheritance. It plainly says, “the God of Israel is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.”
As Christians, we can find great significance in this. From a worldly perspective, the Levites would be the poorest of all the tribes. From a spiritual perspective, they would be rich beyond comprehension. They had a calling and a duty so important that their inheritance was a direct relationship with God himself. This is truly a foreshadowing of what we have today as Christians. As Paul writes in Ephesians 1…
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.Ephesians 1:9-12 NASB
We have obtained an inheritance in Christ, and have now been given an administration suitable to the fullness of the times. Namely, making Jesus Christ known to all people! This is an amazing connection where we can see the consistent nature of God. Rejoice knowing that you, like the Levites, have been given Christ as your inheritance.