約書亞記 18

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1 以色列的會眾聚集在示羅,把會幕設立在那裡,那地已經被他們制伏了。

2 以色列人中其個支派還沒有分給他們地業。

3 約書亞對以色列人耶和華─你們列祖的所賜你們的地,你們耽延不去得,要到幾時呢?

4 你們每支派當選舉個人,我要打發他們去,他們就要起身走遍那地,按著各支派應得的地業明(或作:畫圖),就回到我這裡

5 他們要將地分做分;猶大仍在方,住在他的境內。約瑟家仍在北方,住在他的境內。

6 你們要將地分做分,明了拿到我這裡。我要在耶和華─我們面前,為你們拈鬮。

7 利未人在你們中間沒有分,因為供耶和華祭司的職任就是他們的產業。迦得支派、流便支派,和瑪拿西支派已經在約但河東得了地業,就是耶和華僕人摩西他們的。

8 劃地勢的人起身去的時候,約書亞囑咐他們說:你們去走遍那地,劃明地勢,就回到我這裡來。我要在示羅這裡,耶和華面前,為你們拈鬮。

9 他們就去了,走遍那地,按著城邑分做分,在冊子上,回到示羅中見約亞。

10 約書亞就在示羅,耶和華面前,為他們拈鬮。約書亞在那裡,按著以色列人的支派,將地分給他們。

11 便雅憫支派,按著宗族拈鬮所得之地,是在猶大、約瑟子孫中間。

12 他們的界是從約但河起,往上貼近耶利哥邊;又往西通過地,直到伯亞文的曠野;

13 從那裡往接連到路斯,貼近路斯(路斯就是伯特利),又到亞他綠亞達,靠近伯和崙邊的

14 從那裡往西,又向南,從伯和崙對面的,直達到猶大人的城基列巴力(基列巴力就是基列耶琳);這是西界。

15 界是從基列耶琳的儘邊起,往西達到尼弗多亞的源;

16 到欣嫩子對面的儘邊,就是利乏音邊的;又到欣嫩,貼近耶布斯的邊;又到隱羅結;

17 又往通到隱示麥,達到亞都冥坡對面的基利綠;又到流便之子波罕的磐

18 又接連到亞拉巴對面,往到亞拉巴;

19 又接連到伯曷拉的邊,直通到汊,就是約但河的頭;這是界。

20 東界是約但河。這是便雅憫人按著宗族,照他們四圍的交界所得的地業。

21 便雅憫支派按著宗族所得的城邑就是:耶利哥、伯曷拉、伊麥基悉、

22 伯亞拉巴、洗瑪臉、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、伊利毘勒、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,還有屬城的村莊。這是便雅憫人按著宗族所得的地業。

  

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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