Joshua 18

Land Distribution at Shiloh

1 The entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh where it set up the tent of meeting there; the land had been subdued by them.
2 Seven tribes among the Israelites were left who had not divided up their inheritance.
3 So Joshua said to the Israelites, "How long will you delay going out to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, gave you?
4 Appoint for yourselves three men from each tribe, and I will send them out. They are to go and survey the land, write a description of it for the purpose of their inheritance, and return to me.
5 Then they are to divide it into seven portions. Judah is to remain in its territory in the south, and Joseph's family in their[a] territory in the north.
6 When you have written a description of the seven portions of land and brought it to me, I will cast lots for you here in the presence of the Lord our God.
7 But the Levites among you do not get a portion, because their inheritance is the priesthood of the Lord. Gad, Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh have taken their inheritance beyond the Jordan to the east, which Moses the Lord's servant gave them."
8 As the men prepared to go, Joshua commanded them[b] to write down a description of the land, saying, "Go and survey the land, write a description of it, and return to me. I will then cast lots for you here in Shiloh in the presence of the Lord."
9 So the men left, went through the land, and described it by towns in a document of seven sections. They returned to Joshua at the camp in Shiloh.
10 Joshua cast lots for them at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord where he distributed the land to the Israelites according to their divisions.

Benjamin's Inheritance

11 The lot came up for the tribe of Benjamin's descendants by their clans, and their allotted territory lay between Judah's descendants and Joseph's descendants.
12 Their border on the north side began at the Jordan, ascended to the slope of Jericho on the north, through the hill country westward, and ended at the wilderness of Beth-aven.
13 From there the border went toward Luz, to the southern slope of Luz (that is, Bethel); it then went down by Ataroth-addar, over the hill south of Lower Beth-horon.
14 On the west side, from the hill facing Beth-horon on the south, the border curved, turning southward, and ended at Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), a city of the descendants of Judah. This was the west side [of their border].
15 The south side began at the edge of Kiriath-jearim, and the border extended westward; it went to the spring at the Waters of Nephtoah.
16 The border descended to the foot of the hill that faces the Valley of Hinnom at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. It ran down the Valley of Hinnom toward the south Jebusite slope and downward to En-rogel.
17 It curved northward and went to En-shemesh and on to Geliloth, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, and continued down to the Stone of Bohan, Reuben's son.
18 Then it went north to the slope opposite the Jordan Valley[c][d][e]and proceeded into the valley.[f]
19 The border continued to the north slope of Beth-hoglah and ended at the northern bay of the Dead Sea, at the southern end of the Jordan. This was the southern border.
20 The Jordan formed the border on the east side. This was the inheritance of Benjamin's descendants, by their clans, according to its surrounding borders.

Benjamin's Cities

21 These were the cities of the tribe of Benjamin's descendants by their clans: Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz,
22 Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel,
23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah,
24 Chephar-ammoni, Ophni, and Geba-12 cities, with their villages;
25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth,
26 Mizpeh,[g] Chephirah, Mozah,
27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah,
28 Zela, Haeleph, Jebus[h] (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah, and Kiriath[i]-14 cities, with their villages. This was the inheritance for Benjamin's descendants by their clans.

Joshua 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

The tabernacle set up at Shiloh. (1) The remainder of the land described and divided. (2-10) The boundaries of Benjamin. (11-28)

Verse 1 Shiloh was in the lot of Ephraim, the tribe to which Joshua belonged, and it was proper that the tabernacle should be near the residence of the chief governor. The name of this city is the same as that by which Jacob prophesied of the Messiah, Ge. 49:10 . It is supposed by some that the city was thus called, when it was chosen for the resting-place of the ark, which typified our great Peace-maker, and the way by him to a reconciled God.

Verses 2-10 After a year or more, Joshua blamed their slackness, and told them how to proceed. God, by his grace, has given us a title to a good land, the heavenly Canaan, but we are slack to take possession of it; we enter not into that rest, as we might by faith, and hope, and holy joy. How long shall it be thus with us? How long shall we thus stand in our own light, and forsake our own mercies for lying vanities? Joshua stirs the Israelites up to take possession of their lots. He is ready to do his part, if they will do theirs.

Verses 11-28 The boundaries of each portion were distinctly drawn, and the inheritance of each tribe settled. All contests and selfish claims were prevented by the wise appointment of God, who allotted the hill and the valley, the corn and pasture, the brooks and rivers, the towns and cities. Is the lot of any servant of Christ cast in affliction and sorrow? It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good. Are we in prosperity and peace? It is from above. Be humbled when you compare the gift with your own unworthiness. Forget not Him that gave the good, and always be ready to resign it at his command.

Footnotes 9

Chapter Summary


This chapter informs us of the setting up of the tabernacle at Shiloh, Jos 18:1; of the notice Joshua took, that seven tribes had not received their inheritance, Jos 18:2; of the instructions he gave them to send three men out of each tribe, and describe the land not yet disposed of, and bring the account to him, which was accordingly done, Jos 18:3-9; and then he cast lots for them, and the first lot came up for Benjamin, Jos 18:10,11; the borders of whose lots are described, Jos 18:12-20; and the several cities in it enumerated, Jos 18:21-28.

Joshua 18 Commentaries