Joshua 18

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1 And all the company of the sons of Israel are assembled [at] Shiloh, and they cause the tent of meeting to tabernacle there, and the land hath been subdued before them.

2 And there are left among the sons of Israel who have not shared their inheritance, seven tribes,

3 and Joshua saith unto the sons of Israel, `Till when are ye remiss to go in to possess the land which He hath given to you, Jehovah, God of your fathers?

4 Give for you three men for a tribe, and I send them, and they rise and go up and down through the land, and describe it according to their inheritance, and come in unto me,

5 and they have divided it into seven portions -- Judah doth stay by its border on the south, and the house of Joseph do stay by their border on the north --

6 and ye describe the land [in] seven portions, and have brought [it] in unto me hither, and I have cast for you a lot here before Jehovah our God;

7 for there is no portion to the Levites in your midst, for the priesthood of Jehovah [is] their inheritance, and Gad, and Reuben, and the half of the tribe of Manasseh received their inheritance beyond the Jordan eastward, which Moses servant of Jehovah gave to them.'

8 And the men rise and go; and Joshua commandeth those who are going to describe the land, saying, `go, and walk up and down through the land, and describe it, and turn back unto me, and here I cast for you a lot before Jehovah in Shiloh.'

9 And the men go, and pass over through the land, and describe it by cities, in seven portions, on a book, and they come in unto Joshua, unto the camp, [at] Shiloh.

10 And Joshua casteth for them a lot in Shiloh before Jehovah, and there Joshua apportioneth the land to the sons of Israel, according to their divisions.

11 And a lot goeth up [for] the tribe of the sons of Benjamin, for their families; and the border of their lot goeth out between the sons of Judah and the sons of Joseph.

12 And the border is to them at the north side from the Jordan, and the border hath gone up unto the side of Jericho on the north, and gone up through the hill-country westward, and its outgoings have been at the wilderness of Beth-Aven;

13 and the border hath gone over thence to Luz, unto the side of Luz (it [is] Beth-El) southward, and the border hath gone down [to] Atroth-Addar, by the hill that [is] on the south of the lower Beth-Horon;

14 and the border hath been marked out, and hath gone round to the corner of the sea southward, from the hill which [is] at the front of Beth-Horon southward, and its outgoings have been unto Kirjath-Baal (it [is] Kirjath-Jearim), a city of the sons of Judah: this [is] the west quarter.

15 And the south quarter [is] from the end of Kirjath-Jearim, and the border hath gone out westward, and gone out unto the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah;

16 and the border hath come down unto the extremity of the hill which [is] on the front of the valley of the son of Hinnom, which [is] in the valley of the Rephaim northward, and hath gone down the valley of Hinnom unto the side of Jebusi southward, and gone down [to] En-Rogel,

17 and hath been marked out on the north, and gone out to En-Shemesh, and gone out unto Geliloth, which [is] over-against the ascent of Adummim, and gone down [to] the stone of Bohan son of Reuben,

18 and passed over unto the side over-against Arabah northward, and gone down to Arabah;

19 and the border hath passed over unto the side of Beth-Hoglah northward, and the outgoings of the border have been unto the north bay of the salt sea, unto the south extremity of the Jordan; this [is] the south border;

20 and the Jordan doth border it at the east quarter; this [is] the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin, by its borders round about, for their families.

21 And the cities for the tribe of the sons of Benjamin, for their families, have been Jericho, and Beth-Hoglah, and the valley of Keziz,

22 and Beth-Arabah, Zemaraim, and Beth-El,

23 and Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah,

24 and Chephar-Haammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities and their villages.

25 Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,

26 and Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah,

27 and Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah,

28 and Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi (it [is] Jerusalem), Gibeath, Kirjath: fourteen cities and their villages. This [is] the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin, for 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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