The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control,
but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.
So Joshua said to the Israelites: "How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?
Appoint three men from each tribe. I will send them out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, according to the inheritance of each. Then they will return to me.
You are to divide the land into seven parts. Judah is to remain in its territory on the south and the house of Joseph in its territory on the north.
After you have written descriptions of the seven parts of the land, bring them here to me and I will cast lots for you in the presence of the LORD our God.
The Levites, however, do not get a portion among you, because the priestly service of the LORD is their inheritance. And Gad, Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have already received their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan. Moses the servant of the LORD gave it to them."
As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, "Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the LORD."
So the men left and went through the land. They wrote its description on a scroll, town by town, in seven parts, and returned to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh.
Joshua then cast lots for them in Shiloh in the presence of the LORD, and there he distributed the land to the Israelites according to their tribal divisions.
The lot came up for the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan. Their allotted territory lay between the tribes of Judah and Joseph:
On the north side their boundary began at the Jordan, passed the northern slope of Jericho and headed west into the hill country, coming out at the desert of Beth Aven.
From there it crossed to the south slope of Luz (that is, Bethel) and went down to Ataroth Addar on the hill south of Lower Beth Horon.
From the hill facing Beth Horon on the south the boundary turned south along the western side and came out at Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim), a town of the people of Judah. This was the western side.
The southern side began at the outskirts of Kiriath Jearim on the west, and the boundary came out at the spring of the waters of Nephtoah.
The boundary went down to the foot of the hill facing the Valley of Ben Hinnom, north of the Valley of Rephaim. It continued down the Hinnom Valley along the southern slope of the Jebusite city and so to En Rogel.
It then curved north, went to En Shemesh, continued to Geliloth, which faces the Pass of Adummim, and ran down to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben.
It continued to the northern slope of Beth Arabah and on down into the Arabah.
It then went to the northern slope of Beth Hoglah and came out at the northern bay of the Salt Sea, at the mouth of the Jordan in the south. This was the southern boundary.
The Jordan formed the boundary on the eastern side. These were the boundaries that marked out the inheritance of the clans of Benjamin on all sides.
The tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, had the following cities: Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz,
Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel,
Avvim, Parah, Ophrah,
Kephar Ammoni, Ophni and Geba--twelve towns and their villages.
Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth,
Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah,
Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah,
Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath--fourteen towns and their villages. This was the inheritance of Benjamin for its clans.
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,
for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Be joyful always;
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
do not treat prophecies with contempt.
Test everything. Hold on to the good.
Avoid every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
Brothers, pray for us.
Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you
and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The second lot came out for the tribe of Simeon, clan by clan. Their inheritance lay within the territory of Judah.
It included: Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah,
Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem,
Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah,
Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah,
Beth Lebaoth and Sharuhen--thirteen towns and their villages;
Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan--four towns and their villages--
and all the villages around these towns as far as Baalath Beer (Ramah in the Negev). This was the inheritance of the tribe of the Simeonites, clan by clan.
The inheritance of the Simeonites was taken from the share of Judah, because Judah's portion was more than they needed. So the Simeonites received their inheritance within the territory of Judah.
The third lot came up for Zebulun, clan by clan: The boundary of their inheritance went as far as Sarid.
Going west it ran to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, and extended to the ravine near Jokneam.
It turned east from Sarid toward the sunrise to the territory of Kisloth Tabor and went on to Daberath and up to Japhia.
Then it continued eastward to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin; it came out at Rimmon and turned toward Neah.
There the boundary went around on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtah El.
Included were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem. There were twelve towns and their villages.
These towns and their villages were the inheritance of Zebulun, clan by clan.
The fourth lot came out for Issachar, clan by clan.
Their territory included: Jezreel, Kesulloth, Shunem,
Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath,
Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez,
Remeth, En Gannim, En Haddah and Beth Pazzez.
The boundary touched Tabor, Shahazumah and Beth Shemesh, and ended at the Jordan. There were sixteen towns and their villages.
These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Issachar, clan by clan.
The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher, clan by clan.
Their territory included: Helkath, Hali, Beten, Acshaph,
Allammelech, Amad and Mishal. On the west the boundary touched Carmel and Shihor Libnath.
It then turned east toward Beth Dagon, touched Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtah El, and went north to Beth Emek and Neiel, passing Cabul on the left.
It went to Abdon, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, as far as Greater Sidon.
The boundary then turned back toward Ramah and went to the fortified city of Tyre, turned toward Hosah and came out at the sea in the region of Aczib,
Ummah, Aphek and Rehob. There were twenty-two towns and their villages.
These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Asher, clan by clan.
The sixth lot came out for Naphtali, clan by clan:
Their boundary went from Heleph and the large tree in Zaanannim, passing Adami Nekeb and Jabneel to Lakkum and ending at the Jordan.
The boundary ran west through Aznoth Tabor and came out at Hukkok. It touched Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west and the Jordan on the east.
The fortified cities were Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Kinnereth,
Adamah, Ramah, Hazor,
Kedesh, Edrei, En Hazor,
Iron, Migdal El, Horem, Beth Anath and Beth Shemesh. There were nineteen towns and their villages.
These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Naphtali, clan by clan.
The seventh lot came out for the tribe of Dan, clan by clan.
The territory of their inheritance included: Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir Shemesh,
Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah,
Elon, Timnah, Ekron,
Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath,
Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon,
Me Jarkon and Rakkon, with the area facing Joppa.
(But the Danites had difficulty taking possession of their territory, so they went up and attacked Leshem, took it, put it to the sword and occupied it. They settled in Leshem and named it Dan after their forefather.)
These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Dan, clan by clan.
When they had finished dividing the land into its allotted portions, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them,
as the LORD had commanded. They gave him the town he asked for--Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he built up the town and settled there.
These are the territories that Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel assigned by lot at Shiloh in the presence of the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. And so they finished dividing the land.
Then the LORD said to Joshua:
"Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses,
so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.
"When he flees to one of these cities, he is to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state his case before the elders of that city. Then they are to admit him into their city and give him a place to live with them.
If the avenger of blood pursues him, they must not surrender the one accused, because he killed his neighbor unintentionally and without malice aforethought.
He is to stay in that city until he has stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then he may go back to his own home in the town from which he fled."
So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.
On the east side of the Jordan of Jericho they designated Bezer in the desert on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh.
Any of the Israelites or any alien living among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.