Joshua 18



1 And all the congregation of the sons of Israel assembled at Shiloh, and they caused the tent of congregation to abide there. And the land was subdued before them.

2 And there remained among the sons of Israel seven tribes, that had not parted their inheritance.

3 And Joshua said to the sons of Israel, How long will you make yourselves slack to come·​·in to possess the land which Jehovah, the God of your Fathers has given to you?

4 Give out for you three men for a tribe; and I will send them, and they shall rise and walk through the land, and write about it according to* their inheritance; and they shall come unto me.

5 And they shall part it for themselves into seven parts; Judah shall stand on his border to the south, and the house of Joseph shall stand on his border in the north.

6 And you shall write about the land in seven parts, and bring· that ·in to me hither, and I will throw the lot for you here before Jehovah our God.

7 But there shall be no part for the Levites among you; for the priesthood of Jehovah is his inheritance; and Gad and Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh have taken their inheritance from across the Jordan toward the sunrise, which Moses the servant of Jehovah gave to them.

8 And the men rose·​·up and went; and Joshua commanded those who walked to write about the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and write about it and return unto me, and I will cast the lot for you before Jehovah in Shiloh.

9 And the men went and passed·​·through the land, and wrote about it according to the cities in seven parts in a book, and came·​·in unto Joshua to the camp at Shiloh.

10 And Joshua cast the lot for them in Shiloh before Jehovah; and Joshua there parted the land unto the sons of Israel according to their parts.

11 And the lot of the tribe of the sons of Benjamin came·​·up according to their families; and the border of their lot came·​·out between the sons of Judah and the sons of Joseph.

12 And they had a border for the quarter toward the north from the Jordan; and the border went·​·up to the shoulder of Jericho from the north, and went·​·up on the mountain toward the sea; and the outgoings thereof were toward the wilderness of Beth-aven.

13 And the border crossed·​·over from there to Luz, to the shoulder of Luz toward the south, that is Bethel; and the border went·​·down·​·to Ataroth-addar, by the mountain which is to the south of Beth-choron the lower.

14 And the border was marked·​·out and turned·​·around to the quarter of the sea southward, from the mountain which is before Beth-choron southward; and the goings out thereof were unto Kiriath-baal, that is Kiriath-jearim, a city of the sons of Judah; this was the quarter toward the sea.

15 And the quarter toward the south was from the end of Kiriath-jearim, and the border went·​·out toward the sea, and went·​·out unto the fountain of waters of Nephtoah.

16 And the border went·​·down to the end of the mountain which is before the ravine of the son of Hinnom, which is in the valley of the Rephaim northward, and it went·​·down·​·to the ravine of Hinnom to the shoulder of the Jebusite southward, and went·​·down·​·to En-rogel.

17 And it was marked·​·out from the north, and went·​·out to En-shemesh, and went·​·out to Geliloth, which is opposite the going·​·up of Adummim, and it went·​·down to the stone of Bohan, the son of Reuben.

18 And it crossed·​·over to the shoulder next·​·to the desert northward, and went·​·down toward the desert.

19 And the border crossed·​·over to the shoulder of Beth-choglah northward; and the outgoings of the border were toward the tongue of the Salt Sea northward; to the end of the Jordan southward; this was the south border.

20 And Jordan bordered it on the quarter toward the east. This was the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin, by the borders thereof all around, according to their families.

21 And the cities of the tribe of the sons of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Beth-choglah, and the valley of Keziz,

22 and Beth-arabah, and Zemaraim, and Bethel,

23 and Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah,

24 and Kephar-haammonai, and Ophni, and Gibea; twelve cities and their villages.

25 Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,

26 and Mizpeh, and Kephirah, and Mozah,

27 and Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah.

28 And Zela, and Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, Kiriath; fourteen cities and their villages. This is the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin according to their families.


Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 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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Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.