Joshua 21: Promises, Promises

Doesn’t everyone love it when someone else makes good on a promise? Don’t you feel good? Don’t you feel like all is right in the world?

That is kind of the feel of the end of Joshua. What emotions come to mind while you read these few verses?

 Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to their ancestors that he would give them; and having taken possession of it, they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their ancestors; not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Doesn’t that just give you the warm fuzzies?

I’ve always thought that the end of Deuteronomy marked a significant “chapter” break in Israel’s story. And to be sure, there are many changes that happen at the end of that book.

But I wonder if maybe we ought to consider Joshua as the true end to that chapter. After all, it is the end of a story that began in Genesis 13. God promised the land. Now God has given it. He has made good on his promises.

But that’s not all I noticed.

None of the Tribes begin with the same letter.

Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, Asher, Levi, Naphtali, Dan, Gad.

Does anyone else think that is really interesting? I wonder if that is why God didn’t give Joseph a tribe and instead gave tribes to his sons.

“Sorry Joseph. I know, there isn’t really a good reason for me to not give you a tribe, but I have this thing going here and I just can’t have you and Judah and your “J’s” breaking it up. It’s nothing personal. You understand.”

I tried to come up with an acronym for the tribes but only having three vowels out of thirteen letters makes it really difficult.

RSJZIEMALNDGB

Just be glad you’ve never had that combination on Words With Friends! Though if you can come up with a good acronym, let me know. I’ll give you a little shout out.

The Levites Control the Cities of Refuge

When the Bible gives you a boring list of towns or names, it is always a good practice to notice what things are different.

In this particular list, where the Levites are given their towns from the towns of the other tribes, you will notice that all six cities of refuge from the previous chapter are given to them (though only five are explicitly stated as such. Not sure why.).

Now isn’t that interesting?

Cities designated to give shelter to accidental murderers are run by the priestly tribe.

Clergy provide space for people to come and be free from condemnation. Free from revenge. Free from retaliation.

It is there they receive grace and mercy.

I like that.

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