Dave Burnette's Commentary

Joshua Chapter 18

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Joshua 
Date Penned: (1406-1370 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel in the Promised Land (c 1-24)
Theme: Dividing the Promised Land (c 13-24)
Message: Scouts Survey the Unconquered Territory (v 1-28)

Joshua 18 Commentary

(18:1-2) The Tabernacle is Moved to Shiloh - With most of the conquest behind them, the Israelites moved their religious center from Gilgal (see the note on 5:8-9) to Shiloh. This was probably the first permanent location for the tabernacle. Its central location in the land made it easier for the people to attend the special worship services and yearly feasts. Later, the family of Samuel, a great priest and prophet, would travel annually to Shiloh, and on one trip when Samuel was a small boy, he would be left there to stay with Eli the priest (1 Samuel 1:3, 22). The tabernacle would remain in Shiloh through the period of the judges (about 300 years). Apparently the city was destroyed by the Philistines when the ark of the covenant was captured (1 Samuel 4-5). Shiloh never lived up to its reputation as Israel's religious center, for later references in the Bible point to the wickedness and idolatry in the city (Psalm 78:56-60; Jeremiah 7:12-15)

(18:2-10) The Other Seven are Given their Land - Seven of the tribes had not yet been assigned their land. They gathered at Shiloh, where Joshua cast lots to determine which areas would be given to them. Using this sacred lottery, the choice would be made by God, not Joshua or any other human leader. By this time, the Canaanites had, in most places, become so weakened that they were no longer a threat. However, instead of fulfilling God's command to destroy the remaining Canaanites, these seven tribes would often take the path of least resistance. As nomadic people, they may have been reluctant to settle down, preferring to depend economically on the people they were supposed to eliminate. Others may have feared the high cost of continued warfare. Trading for goods was easier and more profitable than destroying the suppliers and having to provide for themselves. The hesitancy of the remaining seven tribes is a good metaphor for how we can sometimes treat our own lives. Instead of seizing the moment, we can be lazy or afraid, so we wait around and question what God really wants for us. Usually, the good things God has promised us already--like a deep relationship with him and freedom from what weighs us down-are there for the taking, and we simply need to step out in faith to take possession of them.

(18:3-6) A Sign of Procrastination - Joshua asked why some of the tribes were putting off the job of possessing the land. Often we delay doing work that seems overwhelming, difficult, boring, or disagreeable. Work we don't enjoy can require concentration, teamwork, time, encouragement, and accountability. But to continue putting it off shows lack of discipline, poor stewardship of time, and, in some cases, disobedience to God. Remember this when you are tempted to procrastinate or give up.

(18:8) God Distributes the Other Land - Making decisions by casting lots was a common practice among the Hebrews. Little is known about the actual method used in Joshua's day. A type of dice may have been used. Another possibility is that two urns were used, one containing tribal names and the other the divisions of the land. Drawing one name from each urn matched a tribe to a region. The Urim and Thummim (explained in the note on Leviticus 8:8) may also have been used. No matter how it was done, the process removed human choice from the decision making and allowed God to match tribes and lands as he saw fit.

(18:11-20) The Tribe of Benjamin Given Land -The tribe of Benjamin was given a narrow strip of land that served as a buffer zone between Judah and Ephraim, the two tribes that would later dominate the land.

(18:16) Judgement on Hinnom - The valley of the son of Hinnom became associated with the worship of the Ammonite god Molech in Jeremiah's time. The terrible worship rites involved sacrificing children. Later the valley was used for burning garbage and the corpses of criminals and animals. Thus its name became a synonym for hell.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Being Diligent

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Joshua with Chapter 18 and we see the Dividing of the Promised land. Today we see the beginning of the remaining land to be distributed to the remaining 7 tribes by the casting of lots. What catches my eye is Joshua asking some of the tribes why they were not possessing the land they were given. In this section, it wasn't a lack of faith but rather a slothfulness to do the work needed to accomplish what was instructed of them. In making application we see the need to be diligent and not slothful when it comes to our Christian lives. We must act on opportunities as the Lord opens doors. It reminds me of many I counsel that have lost their jobs due to the down economy. They tell me they pray and have faith but when it comes to filling out applications, making contacts, sending resumes they tend to have a lack of activity. We must have faith but also follow the principals of seeking and knocking to find answers when it comes to seeing the Lord work in our lives. How about you? Are you diligent in following the instruction of the Lord? Let us learn from today's text and be diligent in following the instruction of our Lord.


Joshua 18

Joshua 18

 1And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.

 2And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.

 3And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?

 4Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.

 5And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.

 6Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.

 7But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave them.

 8And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the LORD in Shiloh.

 9And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh.

 10And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.

 11And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.

 12And their border on the north side was from Jordan; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, and went up through the mountains westward; and the goings out thereof were at the wilderness of Bethaven.

 13And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is Bethel, southward; and the border descended to Atarothadar, near the hill that lieth on the south side of the nether Bethhoron.

 14And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, from the hill that lieth before Bethhoron southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter.

 15And the south quarter was from the end of Kirjathjearim, and the border went out on the west, and went out to the well of waters of Nephtoah:

 16And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to Enrogel,

 17And was drawn from the north, and went forth to Enshemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben,

 18And passed along toward the side over against Arabah northward, and went down unto Arabah:

 19And the border passed along to the side of Bethhoglah northward: and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the salt sea at the south end of Jordan: this was the south coast.

 20And Jordan was the border of it on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, by the coasts thereof round about, according to their families.

 21Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Bethhoglah, and the valley of Keziz,

 22And Betharabah, and Zemaraim, and Bethel,

 23And Avim, and Pharah, and Ophrah,

 24And Chepharhaammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages:

 25Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,

 26And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah,

 27And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah,

 28And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families.