Warning: Do not read this section of Joshua without a MAP!!!
The only reason this chapter (and the chapters that will follow) made sense to me was because I could reference the places mentioned on a Bible Atlas.
I got an app on my iPad that has a Bible maps sampler on it. It’s a life saver. It’s called “Accordance.” Check it out.
The Allotment of the Land
Buckle in folks. We are going to be doing this for a while. The next several chapters chronicle in extreme detail the allotment of the land to the tribes of Israel.
It is thrilling reading. Believe me.
So what do you do with these sections of the Bible? I’m going to try a few things.
1) Ask Why It Is There
Why does Joshua contain this stuff? I thought this was an action book.
Why would the tribes of Israel need a list of all the places that belonged to them as their inheritance?
When you stop and think about it, this makes Joshua (however improbably) a very practical book. Their sacred text settles once and for all any and all land disputes between the tribes.
2) Look for the Stories.
I didn’t know this before starting this blog, but the dry parts of Scripture often contain little stories that can be really interesting.
Joshua 15 has three such stories.
One is about Caleb and his conquest of the land that would belong to his family. He gets it all done himself but leaves the last city open. Whoever takes it gets his daughter’s hand in marriage. That’s kind of a cool story, if you don’t mind the fact that his nephew wins. Whatever, it wasn’t weird back then.
But immediately after that comes this little nugget:
When she came to him (her new husband), she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she dismounted from her donkey, Caleb said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Give me a present; since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, give me springs of water as well.’ So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
She urged her husband to ask her father for land.
And he didn’t do it. She did. And it worked.
I don’t know why that story is there, but I like it.
The third story comes from the end of the chapter. Apparently, the tribe of Judah had some trouble driving out the Jebusites. These people lived (and continued to live at the time of the writing) in Jerusalem. I wonder if anything interesting will happen in that city.
Here is my thought: Jerusalem is where Melchizedek was from. He seemed like an ok guy and blessed Abraham way back in the day. Is it possible that God is still honoring that blessing?
Just a thought.
Those of you who read this chapter on your own: How was it? Aren’t you super-duper excited for the next one?