Joshua 12 – Joshua The Defeated Kings of Canaan
Joshua 13:1-7 – The Areas Yet to be Conquered
Joshua 13:8-33 – The Land Assigned by Moses to the Tribes in Transjordan
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One Reply to “Canaan Kings Defeated, Transjordan Revisited”
Chapter 12 provides a detailed list of those kings defeated by the Israelites under the leadership of Moses, east of the Jordan (Joshua 12:2-6) and Joshua, west of the Jordan (12:7-24). Joshua 12:6 reaffirms the Transjordan Agreement (see Numbers 32).
Chapter 13 reveals a list of regions that have yet to be conquered, work to be done, yet Joshua “had grown old” (13:1). The Lord speaks to Joshua, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over…I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance” (13:2, 6).
Again, the land east of the Jordan, the Transjordan Agreement, is ratified. This must have been something really special since it is talked about in several areas. Perhaps we should pay attention to the details. Reuben, one of the tribes in the Transjordan, is credited with killing Balaam in battle: “In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination” (13:22).
The Levites receive no inheritance, for their task is to serve the Lord in the tabernacle, the temple, as priests for the Lord and for the people. The clergy are dependent on the people for support, no Plan B for the Levites. “Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them” (13:33).
It’s difficult to appreciate the narrative here. After wandering through the wilderness, re-learning who God is, the Israelites finally cross over the Jordan and into the vast land where they can settle down (after dispensing with the current inhabitants–not a trivial point). Finally, the men and women could rest, they could setup a homestead and sit in the rocking chair on the front porch and watch the sunset. Finally, it was within reach. It makes me pause for a minute to consider the significance of the moment.
We’ll read through the rest of Joshua and see how the land is divided in the coming chapters, but the key point here is the Israelites are home. I wonder what that’s like? We moved last year, but somehow it doesn’t feel like we are home. More like the Levites, we are content that the Lord is our inheritance and we will continue to seek his heart. Rather than sitting, we are seeking. I’ve said many times before, when I see the Lord in Glory, I want to be out of breath, running to the end, completely exhausted and assured that I gave it all to the very end. Some days are easier than others, but I truly pray that I will be used up by God while I have air in my lungs.
The Promised Land for the Israelites was vast and no doubt amazing for them to see. Beulah Land is waiting for us, a country we’ve never seen before, a promise even greater than that for our Israelite ancestors. We live in hope to see that land eternally.