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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 18

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-10

5. Survey of the remaining land 18:1-10

After the process of assigning land to the three Cisjordanian tribes mentioned above (those on the western side of the Jordan River), Israel’s attention turned to relocating the tabernacle in a more central location (Joshua 18:1). God undoubtedly made the choice of Shiloh (lit. rest; cf. Deuteronomy 12:11). [Note: See Israel Finkelstein, "Shiloh Yields Some, But Not All, of Its Secrets," Biblical Archaeology Review 12:1 (January-February 1986):22-41.] The name of this town was significant because of Jacob’s prophecy of Shiloh (Genesis 49:10) and the association of God’s name with the Israelites’ rest. God’s people could find rest where He abode. The tabernacle stood at Gilgal (Joshua 5:10;.Joshua 10:15; Joshua 10:43), Shiloh (Joshua 18:1; Joshua 18:9-10), Bethel (Judges 20:18-28; Judges 21:1-4), Shiloh (1 Samuel 1:3), Mizpah (1 Samuel 7:5-6), Gilgal (1 Samuel 10:8; 1 Samuel 13:8-10; 1 Samuel 15:10-15), Nob (1 Samuel 21:1-9; 1 Samuel 22:11; 1 Samuel 22:19), and finally at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39-40; 1 Chronicles 21:29; 1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chronicles 1:3). These may not be all the places where it stood, but these are the places that the text names. Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem then replaced it.

Perhaps the break in the allotment proceedings plus continuing Canaanite intimidation influenced the leaders of the remaining tribes to delay distributing the rest of the land. Joshua had to scold them for procrastinating (Joshua 18:3). He then appointed a special group of men, three from each of the seven remaining tribes, to act as a surveying crew. These men studied the land and divided it into seven parts. This may be the earliest instance of land surveying on record. [Note: See Bush, p. 174.] This may have been the same method they used to determine the earlier allotments, though the writer did not state this in the text. The casting of lots proceeded when this work was complete (Joshua 18:10). This evidently took place at the tabernacle (i.e., before the LORD, Joshua 18:6).

"For the Christian, the establishment of a sanctuary and centre at Shiloh testifies to how God fulfils his promises. God has given his people the blessing of his presence among them. They must respond in obedience by occupying the land and living according to the divine covenant. The fundamental importance of the sanctuary is illustrated by its central position among the tribes (in the central hill country) and by its position in the midst of the allotments of Joshua 13-21. Christians are also called upon to see the worship of God as central to their lives. As with the gatherings at the Shiloh sanctuary so regular meetings for worship are a chief means to provide unity and common encouragement for faithful living (Hebrews 10:25)." [Note: Hess, p. 264.]

Verses 11-28

The inheritance of Benjamin 18:11-28

Benjamin shared its territorial boundaries (Joshua 18:11-20) with Judah on the south and Ephraim on the north. On the east the Jordan River formed Benjamin’s border. On the west, about half way to the Mediterranean Sea, Israel’s leaders drew a border separating Benjamin from Dan.

The towns of Benjamin (Joshua 18:21-28) fell into two groups. Twelve towns stood in the eastern part of the territory (Joshua 18:21-24) and 14 in the western (Joshua 18:25-28).

Verses 11-51

6. The inheritance of the remaining tribes 18:11-19:51

First the two and one-half tribes east of the Jordan received their land. Then Judah, the primary recipient of Jacob’s patriarchal blessing, and Joseph, the recipient of Jacob’s patriarchal birthright, received their allotments (chs. 15-17). Finally the remaining tribes received their inheritances in the land.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Joshua 18". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/joshua-18.html. 2012.
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