約書亞記 18

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1 其餘的地分給七個支派以色列全體會眾聚集在示羅,把會幕豎立在那裡,因為那地在他們面前被征服了。

2 以色列人個支派還沒有得著產業。

3 約書亞對以色列人:“耶和華你們列祖的你們的地,你們遲遲不去佔領,要到幾時呢?

4 你們每支派要選出個人,我要派他們去;他們要起程走遍那地,把各支派的產業描繪下,然後回到我這裡。

5 他們要把地業分作份,猶大方他們的境界內;約瑟家北方他們的境界內。

6 你們要把地劃分份,然後把圖樣拿給我;我要在這裡,在耶和華我們的面前,為你們抽籤。

7 利未人在你們中間沒有業分,因為耶和華祭司的職分就是他們的產業。迦得支派、流本支派和瑪拿西個支派,已經在約旦河東得了產業,就是耶和華的僕人摩西他們的。”

8 那些人起程前去的時候,約書亞吩咐那些前去繪畫那地的人說:“你們要去,走遍那地,繪畫地形,然後回到我這裡來,我要在示羅這裡,在耶和華面前,為你們抽籤。”

9 那些人就去了,走遍那地,並繪畫下,把眾城分作份記在冊子上,然後回到示羅中約亞那裡。

10 約書亞就在示羅,在耶和華面前為他們抽籤;約書亞在那裡按著他們的支派把地分給以色列人

11 便雅憫支派的分地與城鎮便雅憫支派按著家族抽了籤;他們抽籤所得的境界,是在猶大子孫和約瑟子孫中間。

12 他們的疆界,邊是從約旦河起,向上到耶利哥邊,又向西上到地,直到伯.亞文的曠野。

13 又從那裡向南經過路斯,路斯就是伯特利,再到亞他綠.亞達,靠近伯.和崙邊的地;

14 又從那裡伸延,繞到西邊再向南,從伯.和崙邊對面的起,直到猶大人的城基列.巴力,基列.巴力就是基列.耶琳;這是西方的疆界。

15 方的疆界是從基列.耶琳的邊緣起,向西伸展,去到尼弗多亞的泉;

16 到欣嫩子前面的邊,就是利乏音面的;再到欣嫩,去到耶布斯人的邊,又去隱.羅結;

17 再轉向北,伸展至隱.示麥,去到亞都冥斜坡對面的基利錄,又到流本的兒子波罕的磐那裡;

18 又經過亞拉巴對面山坡的邊,直到亞拉巴;

19 又經過伯.曷拉的邊,直通到灣,約旦河端;這是方的疆界。

20 東方的疆界是約旦河。這就是便雅憫各家族所得的產業四圍的疆界。

21 便雅憫支派按著家族所得的城就是:耶利哥、伯.曷拉、伊麥.基悉、

22 伯.亞拉巴、洗瑪蓮、伯特利

23 亞文、巴拉、俄弗拉、

24 基法.阿摩尼、俄弗尼、迦巴,共十座城,還有屬於這些城的村莊

25 又有基遍拉瑪、比錄、

26 米斯巴、基非拉、摩撒、

27 利堅、伊利毗勒、他拉拉、

28 洗拉、以利弗、耶布斯(耶布斯就是耶路撒冷)、基比亞、基列,共十四座城,還有屬於這些城的村莊。這就是便雅憫人按著家族所得的產業。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 約書亞記 18      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 18: The rest of the land is divided up among the 7 remaining tribes, and the tribe of Benjamin receives its lot.

After several chapters covering the allocation of the land for Reuben, Gad, Judah, Ephraim and Manasseh, there were still seven tribes to be provided for. Before this was done, Joshua gathered these seven tribes together and told them to choose three men from each tribe. These men went and surveyed the region, divided up all the land and cities into seven parts, and recorded everything in a book. Then they came back to Joshua, who cast lots to decide where the seven remaining tribes would live.

The first of the seven allocations was for the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin was the youngest of the sons of Jacob, and he was a full brother to Joseph. Their mother, Rachel, whom Jacob had loved so much, died giving birth to Benjamin.

The city of Jerusalem was first allocated to Benjamin, but in time became more associated with Judah. In fact, these were the two tribes which later made up the kingdom of Judah, as opposed to the ten northern tribes forming the kingdom of Israel. Benjamin’s territory included the cities of Jericho, Ai and Gibeon, all of which had been significant soon after Israel crossed the River Jordan. Saul, the first king of Israel, was a Benjamite.

This story about surveying the land represents our need to know things as they truly are. This could mean many things: for example, exploring the idea of heaven, or hell, or life in this world, or a spiritual teaching such as providence. It might be to learn about justice and compassion, or true freedom. It may be our need to look honestly within ourselves and recognize some of our self-centred ways (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 1612).

The Israelite’s findings about the land were recorded in a book, which really would have been a scroll. This is like our ‘book of life’, in which everything about us down to the least detail is preserved so that in eternity, we shall know who we are (see Swedenborg’s Apocalypse Explained 199). Joshua drew lots so the Lord’s will would be clear to the people of Israel.

The spiritual meaning of Benjamin needs some careful explanation. Technically, it means ’the spiritual of the celestial’, and this is our ability to understand the reason for the most loving experiences we can have. It is heightened thinking joining with heightened feeling. Benjamin was the youngest son, the special brother of Joseph, who stands for the Lord (Arcana Caelestia 4585).

With this in mind, it is useful to know that Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born, lay in the territory of Benjamin. Bethlehem’s name means ‘house of bread’ giving us the idea of nourishment for our physical and our spiritual lives. God came into the world to bring us the food of heaven and nourishment from the Word, so that we may fight our evils and choose what is good (Arcana Caelestia 6247, 4594).

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