Joshua 13

Land still unconquered

1 Now Joshua had reached old age. The LORD said to him, “You have reached old age, but much of the land remains to be taken over.
2 This is the land that remains: All the districts of the Philistines and all those of the Geshurites.
3 (The land stretching from the Shihor near Egypt northward as far as the Ekron territory is considered to be Canaanite. There are five rulers of the Philistines, for Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron.) The land of the Avvites
4 in the south. The whole land of the Canaanites, along with Mearah, which belongs to the Sidonians, as far as Aphek and as far as the Amorite border.
5 The land of the Gebalites and the whole Lebanon eastward, stretching from Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon to Lebo-hamath.
6 "I myself will remove the entire population of the highlands from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim before the Israelites, that is, all the Sidonians. You have only to allot it to Israel as a legacy exactly as I commanded you.
7 So now divide up this land as a legacy for the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh. You will give it out from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Mediterranean Sea is the border."

Land east of the Jordan

8 As for the other half of the tribe of Manasseh, the Reubenites and Gadites together with it had already taken their legacy that Moses had given them on the east side of the Jordan. It was exactly what Moses the LORD's servant had given them.
9 It ran from Aroer by the rim of the Arnon Valley and the city in the middle of the valley through the whole Medeba plateau as far as Dibon.
10 It included all the cities of the Amorites' King Sihon, who ruled in Heshbon, as far as the Ammonite border.
11 It also included Gilead and the territory of the Geshurites and Maacathites, all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan as far as Salecah—
12 the entire kingdom of Og in Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth and in Edrei. He survived as the last of the Rephaim. Moses had struck down and removed them.
13 But the Israelites didn't remove the Geshurites or the Maacathites. So Geshur and Maacath still live among Israel today.
14 It was only to the tribe of Levi that he gave no legacy. Their legacy consists of the fire offerings for the LORD, the God of Israel, exactly as he had promised them.

For Reuben

15 Moses provided for the clans of the Reubenite tribe.
16 Their territory ran from Aroer by the rim of the Arnon Valley and the city in the middle of the ravine, and the whole plateau as far as Medeba.
17 It included Heshbon and all its cities that are on the plateau: Dibon, Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon,
18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath,
19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, the Zereth-shahar highlands,
20 Beth-peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth-jeshimoth.
21 It included all the cities of the plateau and the whole kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon. Moses had struck him down, along with Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the leaders of Midian. They had lived in the land as princes of Sihon.
22 In addition to those others slain, the Israelites killed the fortune-teller Balaam, Beor's son, with the sword.
23 The border of the people of Reuben was the Jordan and the territory next to it. This was the legacy of the people of Reuben—for their clans, their cities, and their settlements.

For Gad

24 Moses provided for the clans of the Gadite tribe.
25 Their territory was Jazer, all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the Ammonites as far as Aroer near Rabbah.
26 It also ran from Heshbon as far as Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim as far as the territory of Lidebir.
27 In the valley were Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon. This was the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon. It included the Jordan and the territory next to it up to the tip of the Chinnereth Sea on the east side of the Jordan.
28 This was the legacy of the Gadites—for their clans, their cities, and their settlements.

For half of Manasseh

29 Moses provided for half the tribe of Manasseh. It was for the clans in half the tribe of the people of Manasseh.
30 Their territory ran from Mahanaim, all Bashan, the whole kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all sixty of the tent villages of Jair that are in Bashan.
31 Half of Gilead along with Ashtaroth and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, belonged to the people of Machir son of Manasseh. It belonged to the clans for half of the people of Machir.
32 Moses assigned these territories when he was in the Moab plains on the other side of the Jordan, east of Jericho.
33 But Moses gave no legacy to the tribe of Levi. The LORD God of Israel is their legacy, exactly as he promised them.

Joshua 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

Bounds of the land not yet conquered. (1-6) Inheritance of Reuben. (7-33)

Verses 1-6 At this chapter begins the account of the dividing of the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel by lot; a narrative showing the performance of the promise made to the fathers, that this land should be given to the seed of Jacob. We are not to pass over these chapters of hard names as useless. Where God has a mouth to speak, and a hand to write, we should find an ear to hear, and an eye to read; and may God give us a heart to profit! Joshua is supposed to have been about one hundred years old at this time. It is good for those who are old and stricken in years to be put in remembrance of their being so. God considers the frame of his people, and would not have them burdened with work above their strength. And all people, especially old people, should set to do that quickly which must be done before they die, lest death prevent them, ( Ecclesiastes 9:10 ) . God promise that he would make the Israelites masters of all the countries yet unsubdued, through Joshua was old, and not able to do it; old, and not likely to live to see it done. Whatever becomes of us, and however we may be laid aside as despised, broken vessels, God will do his own work in his own time. We must work out our salvation, then God will work in us, and work with us; we must resist our spiritual enemies, then God will tread them under our feet; we must go forth to our Christian work and warfare, then God will go forth before us.

Verses 7-33 The land must be divided among the tribes. It is the will of God that every man should know his own, and not take that which is another's. The world must be governed, not by force, but right. Wherever our habitation is placed, and in whatever honest way our portion is assigned, we should consider them as allotted of God; we should be thankful for, and use them as such, while every prudent method should be used to prevent disputes about property, both at present and in future. Joshua must be herein a type of Christ, who has not only conquered the gates of hell for us, but has opened to us the gates of heaven, and having purchased the eternal inheritance for all believers, will put them in possession of it. Here is a general description of the country given to the two tribes and a half, by Moses. Israel must know their own, and keep to it; and may not, under pretence of their being God's peculiar people, encroach on their neighbours. Twice in this chapter it is noticed, that to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance: see ( Numbers 18:20 ) . Their maintenance must be brought out of all the tribes. The ministers of the Lord should show themselves indifferent about worldly interests, and the people should take care they want nothing suitable. And happy are those who have the Lord God of Israel for their inheritance, though little of this world falls to their lot. His providences will supply their wants, his consolations will support their souls, till they gain heavenly joy and everlasting pleasures.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. LXX; MT lacks You will give it out from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Mediterranean Sea is the border.
  • [b]. LXX; MT lacks As for the other half of the tribe of Manasseh.

Chapter Summary


In this chapter Joshua is informed by the Lord, or put in mind, that
part of the land of Canaan remained unconquered, and which it was; and
is directed to divide the whole land among the nine tribes, and the
half tribe of Manasseh, Jos 13:1-9; and since the two tribes of Reuben
and Gad, and the other half tribe of Manasseh, had received their
inheritance on the other side Jordan, Jos 13:8; that is described in
general, Jos 13:9-14; and, then the particular portion of Reuben,
Jos 13:15-23; and of Gad, Jos 13:24-28; and of the half tribe of
Manasseh, Jos 13:29-33.

Joshua 13 Commentaries

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