Joshua 13

Joshua 13 begins with a statement from God that we need to keep in perspective.  “Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess”.  There is no clear definition of exactly how old Joshua was when he took Moses’ place in leading the people of Israel.  Scholars do seem to agree that he was somewhere between 80-90 years old.  We know he died when he was 110, and the things he did took 20-30 years to accomplish.

However you look at it, Joshua was no spring chicken when he stepped into the leadership role.  This chapter has him dividing up the land among the tribe.  But God is clear that there is far more work to be done and more land to be conquered.  It would seem to be a growing problem, except for God’s promise.  “I myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel”.  The battle is the Lord’s, just as it has been since the day they left Egypt over 40 years ago.  Joshua needed to hear that to know that he could continue to conquer what God had promised them.

Remember that Moses had given three tribes – Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh – their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan.  That was determined well before Moses died.  But the other nine and a half tribes are now getting their allotment.  “Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh”.  Each tribe had their own specific area, except for the Levites.  Remember their role is to serve all the tribes as priests and ministers, so they got no land.

But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, just as he said to them”.  And Joshua didn’t change that as he divided the land.  The Levites were to be free of the care or concern of having land to oversee, so they could focus on serving the rest of the Israelites and meet their spiritual needs.  So we have a somewhat elderly man leading the people and making the outcome of the covenant that had been put in place generations earlier come to fruition.  God works in mysterious ways.  But He always equips those He calls to lead and gives them what they need to get the job done!

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