Bible Commentaries
Joshua 18

Layman's Bible CommentaryLayman's Bible Commentary

Verses 1-51

Allotment to the Remaining Tribes (18:1-19:51)

The previous allotments are said to have been made at Gilgal (14:6). The scene now shifts to Shiloh, the place of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant in the period of the Judges.

Joshua reproves the remaining tribes for their lack of zeal in claiming and occupying their future homelands, in contrast to Judah and the Joseph tribes which are represented as settled in theirs (vs. 5). Three men from each of the seven remaining tribes are to survey the land yet available, divide it into seven portions, and return to Joshua for decision concerning assignment. This is to be made by lot "before the LORD" (vs. 6).

Benjamin is assigned a small piece of land between Ephraim and Judah, bounded on the east by the Jordan and extending only halfway to the Mediterranean on the west. Jerusalem lay just within its southern border.

Simeon is assigned to a portion of the large area given to Judah: to the area around Beer-sheba (19:1-9). It seems strange that two tribes should be promised some of the same areas. By the time the lists used here were drawn up, Simeon probably had been absorbed into the tribe of Judah.

Zebulun is assigned to a small area within the territory later known as Galilee, with Issachar to the southeast, Asher to the west (western Galilee and the Phoenician coast), and Naphtali to the east and north.

Dan fares badly. It is given a small piece west of Benjamin and between Ephraim and Judah in the low hill country west of Jerusalem. Verse 47 relates that Dan, unable to capture its territory, subsequently migrated northward to Leshem (at the head-waters of the Jordan), where it dispossessed the inhabitants and settled down (see Judges 1:34; ch. 18).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Joshua 18". "Layman's Bible Commentary".