Summary of Joshua 15:
The allotment of land for the tribe of Judah is laid out, which includes Hebron, the land Joshua gave to Caleb as his reward. Caleb drove out the Anakites from Hebron. He gave his daughter in marriage to whoever captured Kiriath Sepher in Debir. This was Othniel, son of Caleb’s brother. Judah cannot drive out the people in Jerusalem.
Summary of Joshua 16:
The allotment of land for Ephraim and Manasseh is laid out. However, they could not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer who became forced labor for the Israelites instead.
Summary of Joshua 17:
A continuation of the allotment of the land for the tribe of Manasseh. The daughters of the tribe of Manasseh also received an inheritance because there were no male heirs born. Again, the Israelites were unable to drive out the Canaanites in a few pockets, but did eventually force them into labor. Here, we see the first complaint as the people of Joseph (whose sons were Ephraim and Manasseh) claimed their portion of land given was too small. Joshua said to go and clear the forests then in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.
The people complained again about how these people were superiorly armed with iron chariots. Joshua told them to quite underestimating their power. They have a huge army and can easily drive out the Canaanites in the forested hill country.
Summary of Joshua 18:
A gathering took place at Shiloh at the Tent of Meeting to divide up the rest of the land amongst the remaining tribes. Joshua appearing a bit aghast, asks those remaining why they haven’t taken over their share yet? Joshua is dividing the land into 7 parts once surveys are taken and will cast lots before God to divide them up. The tribe of Benjamin receives their lot.
Summary of Joshua 19:
The allotment of the land for the tribes of Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, and Joshua are assigned. The Simeon’s inheritance was taken from Judah’s since Judah’s portion was huge and more than they needed. The Danites had trouble defeating the Canaanites in their territory alloted so they took Leshem instead, thus dividing themselves in the land.
Finally, Joshua himself received his inheritance–the town of Timnath Serah in Ephraim.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 3: Skim Joshua 15-19:
6) God includes these detailed lists of land boundaries, so there would be no doubt and no disputes amongst the Israelites in the future. It shows how God keeps His promises to His people by giving them the land He promised hundreds of years before. We see God reward both Caleb and Joshua with land for being the only two men of faith.
7) Caleb gives his daughter to the strongest warrior, ensuring a strong husband and her protection in the future. His daughter, Acsah, asked Caleb for land, and he gave it to her as well. The Lord also put in provisions for when a man does not have a son (see also Numbers 27:1-11 & Numbers 36), which would ensure the father’s name would not vanish. The daughters also had to marry within the clan so the land would stay within the original tribe’s hands. This ensures that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of his fathers. The Lord provides for those who ask and seek Him (Matthew 7:7).
8 ) The Manassites’ complained that their portion of land given was too small. Joshua said to go and clear the forests then in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites. The people complained again about how these people were superiorly armed with iron chariots. Joshua told them to quite underestimating their power. They have a huge army and can easily drive out the Canaanites in the forested hill country. In essence, they did not want to fight for the land; all they wanted was a free hand out.
Caleb, on the other hand, wanted to fight for his inheritance and his land and instead of asking for an unoccupied piece of land, Caleb asked for the hill country where the feared Anakites dwelled so he could drive them out himself. He relied on the Lord to do whole-heartedly what God said He would do.
Nothing is impossible with God. Have faith. He will guide you through the impossible every step of the way like He did with Caleb. God wants us to choose the good fight for Him and use God’s strength to spread the word and give God the glory. If we do, our rewards will be riches.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 3: Joshua 15-19:
We see God keep His promises, but the people still must do their part and continue to kick out the Canaanites. We see the difference in gratitude and ingratitude to what the people have been given with Caleb’s example and the example of the tribe of Manasseh and the tribe of Dan. Great reminder for us that although God provides, He doesn’t want us to sit idly by and not do anything.
[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 3: Joshua 15-19:
Caleb was not only a man of great and bold deeds (the driving out of the children of Anak), but also a man who encouraged others to great and bold deeds as we saw with the giving of his daughter in marriage. Anyone bold enough to conquer a city for a woman is in love indeed. Caleb’s daughter inherited his boldness. We see her asking for blessing and choice springs. You cannot receive unless you ask. (Matthew 7:7)
We begin to see and in Judges 1 how pockets of Canaanites remain. Albeit Jerusalem is on a hill, Judah should have been able to drive them out if they had had faith in God. Instead, David must do so (2 Samuel 5:6-10). These unconquered tribes will become thorns in Israel’s side.
We see again how within the Promised Land important work remains to be done and battles still to be fought (like in our own lives) as the Canaanites live in the land of Ephraim. Perhaps the Israelites wanted forced labor (to be lazy and not do the work themselves in essence). This does not justify their disobedience to God. If you can subject people to work for you, you can certainly conquer them completely, especially since Gezer was a city that Joshua had already conquered (Joshua 10:33 and Joshua 12:12).
Compromising God’s word and picking and choosing what to obey and not to obey is a sin. It’s the beginning of so much more and worse sins such as idolatry and immoral worship. This came to the people of Israel and the Canaanites are the reason why we see so many struggles in the days of the Judges.
Why did the Israelites allow some Canaanites to stay?
- They wanted peace at any cost. Remember it took 7 long years to conquer the Promised Land. I’m sure many are weary of fighting.
- They wanted wealth.
What do we Learn from the Israelites’ incomplete possession of the Promised Land?
- Obeying God is a marathon. It’s hard. It’s unglamourous. It’s a lot of work.
- The Israelites fell short of what God had for them – Will you fall short as well?
It was highly unusual for women to receive an inheritance and why it’s mentioned here. It was more important that the land remain in the ancestral families than it was to follow this custom. Therefore, the daughters of Zelophehad could inherit their father’s land. This is a decision arrived at by Moses (Numbers 27:1-11) and expounded on by God (Numbers 36).
Manasseh failed like Ephraim to drive out the Canaanites (Joshua 16:10). The Israelites lacked determination and fortitude to do so.
Manasseh and Ephraim, large tribes, complain about the amount of land allotted to them. They have plenty of land, Joshua says. You just have to go and work to have it (clear the forests, etc). Joshua was a direct descendant of Joseph and one of them, so perhaps they thought he would show them favor.
Theme of Joshua 17: If you desire more, have faith first in where God has placed you and in what He has given you. More will surely come if you do so.
Why would the Israelites hesitate to take the Promised Land?
Note the hesitation on the Israelites part to go and take the land. Probably they are afraid; afraid of change. Maybe even a bit incredulous: really? This is all ours? Also, remember these people have been wandering the wilderness for 40 years with never a real home, living out of tents and nomadic, so the idea of living in a real “home” is a foreign (and perhaps scary) concept for them.
Joshua received his share but at the very end. He received humbly and after everyone else was taken care of–just like Christ.