Joshua 17

Joshua 17 continues with the passing out of the assignments in the Promised Land.  Joshua runs into a few stumbling blocks as people are positioning to get more land.  The people of Manasseh come and receive their place.  Remember that they got half their inheritance on the other side of the Jordan.  Manasseh was the firstborn of Joseph and Machir was a man of war.  But down the line a ways came Zelophehad who had “no sons, but only daughters” and he wanted to be sure they were not left out.

So “they approached Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the leaders” asking for an inheritance as well.  Joshua grants them a piece of land and they moved in.  But “the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land”.  We’ve seen this before.  The folks who lived in the land that God gave as the Promised Land were pretty intent on staying.  So as in other areas, the Canaanites were put “to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out”.

Then Joshua is approached by another group – the people of Joseph.  “Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the Lord has blessed me”?  Not happy with their land – they are back asking for more.  Doesn’t that sound a little too close to home?  We tend to always want more than we have.  We aren’t necessarily content with what we have been given.  They come to Joshua and expect him to reassign some of the boundaries since they are special.  Oh how often we try to play that “special” card.

Joshua is pretty creative.  He offers to give them more land, but they have to take it and clear it and make it useful on their own.  “If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest…..clear ground for yourselves….you shall clear it….possess it….drive out the Canaanites”.  What a great response.  He doesn’t say no.  He gives them the option.  Here is some forest land – it is yours if.  If you do the work to make it useful.  You clear it, you possess it, you drive the locals out.  Joshua had given what he felt he owed them.  Now there is a chance for a bonus but it required them to do the heavy lifting.  Joshua wasn’t going to put that on all the rest of the folks.  It was going to require their sweat and blood.  Wise leadership from a very wise leader.

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