Joshua 18

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1 καὶ ἐξεκκλησιάσθη πᾶσα συναγωγὴ υἱῶν ισραηλ εἰς σηλω καὶ ἔπηξαν ἐκεῖ τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ μαρτυρίου καὶ ἡ γῆ ἐκρατήθη ὑπ' αὐτῶν

2 καὶ κατελείφθησαν οἱ υἱοὶ ισραηλ οἳ οὐκ ἐκληρονόμησαν ἑπτὰ φυλαί

3 καὶ εἶπεν ἰησοῦς τοῖς υἱοῖς ισραηλ ἕως τίνος ἐκλυθήσεσθε κληρονομῆσαι τὴν γῆν ἣν ἔδωκεν κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν

4 δότε ἐξ ὑμῶν τρεῖς ἄνδρας ἐκ φυλῆς καὶ ἀναστάντες διελθέτωσαν τὴν γῆν καὶ διαγραψάτωσαν αὐτὴν ἐναντίον μου καθὰ δεήσει διελεῖν αὐτήν καὶ ἤλθοσαν πρὸς αὐτόν

5 καὶ διεῖλεν αὐτοῖς ἑπτὰ μερίδας ιουδας στήσεται αὐτοῖς ὅριον ἀπὸ λιβός καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ ιωσηφ στήσονται αὐτοῖς ἀπὸ βορρᾶ

6 ὑμεῖς δὲ μερίσατε τὴν γῆν ἑπτὰ μερίδας καὶ ἐνέγκατε πρός με ὧδε καὶ ἐξοίσω ὑμῖν κλῆρον ἔναντι κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν

7 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν μερὶς τοῖς υἱοῖς λευι ἐν ὑμῖν ἱερατεία γὰρ κυρίου μερὶς αὐτοῦ καὶ γαδ καὶ ρουβην καὶ τὸ ἥμισυ φυλῆς μανασση ἐλάβοσαν τὴν κληρονομίαν αὐτῶν πέραν τοῦ ιορδάνου ἐπ' ἀνατολάς ἣν ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς μωυσῆς ὁ παῖς κυρίου

8 καὶ ἀναστάντες οἱ ἄνδρες ἐπορεύθησαν καὶ ἐνετείλατο ἰησοῦς τοῖς ἀνδράσιν τοῖς πορευομένοις χωροβατῆσαι τὴν γῆν λέγων πορεύεσθε καὶ χωροβατήσατε τὴν γῆν καὶ παραγενήθητε πρός με καὶ ὧδε ἐξοίσω ὑμῖν κλῆρον ἔναντι κυρίου ἐν σηλω

9 καὶ ἐπορεύθησαν καὶ ἐχωροβάτησαν τὴν γῆν καὶ εἴδοσαν αὐτὴν καὶ ἔγραψαν αὐτὴν κατὰ πόλεις αὐτῆς ἑπτὰ μερίδας εἰς βιβλίον καὶ ἤνεγκαν πρὸς ἰησοῦν

10 καὶ ἐνέβαλεν αὐτοῖς ἰησοῦς κλῆρον ἐν σηλω ἔναντι κυρίου

11 καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ κλῆρος φυλῆς βενιαμιν πρῶτος κατὰ δήμους αὐτῶν καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὅρια τοῦ κλήρου αὐτῶν ἀνὰ μέσον ιουδα καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν υἱῶν ιωσηφ

12 καὶ ἐγενήθη αὐτῶν τὰ ὅρια ἀπὸ βορρᾶ ἀπὸ τοῦ ιορδάνου προσαναβήσεται τὰ ὅρια κατὰ νώτου ιεριχω ἀπὸ βορρᾶ καὶ ἀναβήσεται ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος ἐπὶ τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ ἔσται αὐτοῦ ἡ διέξοδος ἡ μαδβαρῖτις βαιθων

13 καὶ διελεύσεται ἐκεῖθεν τὰ ὅρια λουζα ἐπὶ νώτου λουζα ἀπὸ λιβός αὕτη ἐστὶν βαιθηλ καὶ καταβήσεται τὰ ὅρια μααταρωθορεχ ἐπὶ τὴν ὀρεινήν ἥ ἐστιν πρὸς λίβα βαιθωρων ἡ κάτω

14 καὶ διελεύσεται τὰ ὅρια καὶ περιελεύσεται ἐπὶ τὸ μέρος τὸ βλέπον παρὰ θάλασσαν ἀπὸ λιβὸς ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους ἐπὶ πρόσωπον βαιθωρων λίβα καὶ ἔσται αὐτοῦ ἡ διέξοδος εἰς καριαθβααλ αὕτη ἐστὶν καριαθιαριν πόλις υἱῶν ιουδα τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ μέρος τὸ πρὸς θάλασσαν

15 καὶ μέρος τὸ πρὸς λίβα ἀπὸ μέρους καριαθβααλ καὶ διελεύσεται ὅρια εἰς γασιν ἐπὶ πηγὴν ὕδατος ναφθω

16 καὶ καταβήσεται τὰ ὅρια ἐπὶ μέρους τοῦ ὄρους ὅ ἐστιν κατὰ πρόσωπον νάπης ονναμ ὅ ἐστιν ἐκ μέρους εμεκραφαϊν ἀπὸ βορρᾶ καὶ καταβήσεται γαιεννα ἐπὶ νώτου ιεβουσαι ἀπὸ λιβὸς καὶ καταβήσεται ἐπὶ πηγὴν ρωγηλ

17 καὶ διελεύσεται ἐπὶ πηγὴν βαιθσαμυς καὶ παρελεύσεται ἐπὶ γαλιλωθ ἥ ἐστιν ἀπέναντι πρὸς ἀνάβασιν αιθαμιν καὶ καταβήσεται ἐπὶ λίθον βαιων υἱῶν ρουβην

18 καὶ διελεύσεται κατὰ νώτου βαιθαραβα ἀπὸ βορρᾶ καὶ καταβήσεται

19 ἐπὶ τὰ ὅρια ἐπὶ νώτου βαιθαγλα ἀπὸ βορρᾶ καὶ ἔσται ἡ διέξοδος τῶν ὁρίων ἐπὶ λοφιὰν τῆς θαλάσσης τῶν ἁλῶν ἐπὶ βορρᾶν εἰς μέρος τοῦ ιορδάνου ἀπὸ λιβός ταῦτα τὰ ὅριά ἐστιν ἀπὸ λιβός

20 καὶ ὁ ιορδάνης ὁριεῖ ἀπὸ μέρους ἀνατολῶν αὕτη ἡ κληρονομία υἱῶν βενιαμιν τὰ ὅρια αὐτῆς κύκλῳ κατὰ δήμους

21 καὶ ἐγενήθησαν αἱ πόλεις τῶν υἱῶν βενιαμιν κατὰ δήμους αὐτῶν ιεριχω καὶ βαιθεγλιω καὶ αμεκασις

22 καὶ βαιθαβαρα καὶ σαρα καὶ βησανα

23 καὶ αιιν καὶ φαρα καὶ εφραθα

24 καὶ καραφα καὶ κεφιρα καὶ μονι καὶ γαβαα πόλεις δέκα δύο καὶ αἱ κῶμαι αὐτῶν

25 γαβαων καὶ ραμα καὶ βεηρωθα

26 καὶ μασσημα καὶ μιρων καὶ αμωκη

27 καὶ φιρα καὶ καφαν καὶ νακαν καὶ σεληκαν καὶ θαρεηλα

28 καὶ ιεβους αὕτη ἐστὶν ιερουσαλημ καὶ πόλεις καὶ γαβαωθιαριμ πόλεις τρεῖς καὶ δέκα καὶ αἱ κῶμαι αὐτῶν αὕτη ἡ κληρονομία υἱῶν βενιαμιν κατὰ δήμους αὐτῶν

  

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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