Joshue 18

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1 Congregatique sunt omnes filii Israël in Silo, ibique fixerunt tabernaculum testimonii, et fuit eis terra subjecta.

2 Remanserant autem filiorum Israël septem tribus, quæ necdum acceperant possessiones suas.

3 Ad quos Josue ait : Usquequo marcetis ignavia, et non intratis ad possidendam terram, quam Dominus Deus patrum vestrorum dedit vobis ?

4 Eligite de singulis tribubus ternos viros, ut mittam eos, et pergant atque circumeant terram, et describant eam juxta numerum uniuscujusque multitudinis : referantque ad me quod descripserint.

5 Dividite vobis terram in septem partes : Judas sit in terminis suis ab australi plaga, et domus Joseph ab aquilone.

6 Mediam inter hos terram in septem partes describite : et huc venietis ad me, ut coram Domino Deo vestro mittam vobis hic sortem :

7 quia non est inter vos pars Levitarum, sed sacerdotium Domini est eorum hæreditas. Gad autem et Ruben, et dimidia tribus Manasse, jam acceperant possessiones suas trans Jordanem ad orientalem plagam : quas dedit eis Moyses famulus Domini.

8 Cumque surrexissent viri, ut pergerent ad describendam terram, præcepit eis Josue, dicens : Circuite terram, et describite eam, ac revertimini ad me : ut hic coram Domino, in Silo, mittam vobis sortem.

9 Itaque perrexerunt : et lustrantes eam, in septem partes diviserunt, scribentes in volumine. Reversique sunt ad Josue in castra Silo.

10 Qui misit sortes coram Domino in Silo, divisitque terram filiis Israël in septem partes.

11 Et ascendit sors prima filiorum Benjamin per familias suas, ut possiderent terram inter filios Juda et filios Joseph.

12 Fuitque terminus eorum contra aquilonem a Jordane : pergens juxta latus Jericho septentrionalis plagæ, et inde contra occidentem ad montana conscendens et perveniens ad solitudinem Bethaven,

13 atque pertransiens juxta Luzam ad meridiem, ipsa est Bethel : descenditque in Ataroth Addar in montem qui est ad meridiem Beth-horon inferioris :

14 et inclinatur circuiens contra mare ad meridiem montis qui respicit Beth-horon contra Africum : suntque exitus ejus in Cariath-baal, quæ vocatur et Cariathiarim, urbem filiorum Juda. Hæc est plaga contra mare, ad occidentem.

15 A meridie autem ex parte Cariathiarim egreditur terminus contra mare, et pervenit usque ad fontem aquarum Nephtoa.

16 Descenditque in partem montis, qui respicit vallem filiorum Ennom : et est contra septentrionalem plagam in extrema parte vallis Raphaim. Descenditque in Geennom (id est, vallem Ennom) juxta latus Jebusæi ad austrum : et pervenit ad fontem Rogel,

17 transiens ad aquilonem, et egrediens ad Ensemes, id est, fontem solis :

18 et pertransit usque ad tumulos, qui sunt e regione ascensus Adommim : descenditque ad Abenboën, id est, lapidem Boën filii Ruben : et pertransit ex latere aquilonis ad campestria : descenditque in planitiem,

19 et prætergreditur contra aquilonem Beth Hagla : suntque exitus ejus contra linguam maris salsissimi ab aquilone in fine Jordanis ad australem plagam :

20 qui est terminus illius ab oriente. Hæc est possessio filiorum Benjamin per terminos suos in circuitu, et familias suas.

21 Fueruntque civitates ejus, Jericho et Beth Hagla et vallis Casis,

22 Beth Araba et Samaraim et Bethel

23 et Avim et Aphara et Ophera,

24 villa Emona et Ophni et Gabee : civitates duodecim, et villæ earum.

25 Gabaon et Rama et Beroth,

26 et Mesphe et Caphara, et Amosa

27 et Recem, Jarephel et Tharela,

28 et Sela, Eleph, et Jebus, quæ est Jerusalem, Gabaath et Cariath : civitates quatuordecim, et villæ earum. Hæc est possessio filiorum Benjamin juxta familias suas.


Exploring the Meaning of Joshue 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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