Judges Chapter 2

This chapter continues the introduction into the book of Judges. It is good to note that the book of Judges is not in chronological order starting from the events in the book of Joshua. Before this point, at least, each of the tribes had received their inheritance in the promised land, except for the Levites, who were given the responsibility of serving the Lord in his tabernacle. With the settling of their own lands, the people of Israel would begin to succumb to temptations if they did not strictly obey the commandments and guidance they had been given.

1 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?
3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
5 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord.

Israel is rebuked by an angel of the Lord, because they had not listened to the words of the Lord. They had not fully served the Lord, and had not done away with those things that would lead them to worship false gods. The host of Israel wept and made sacrifices to the Lord.

6 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.
7 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel.
8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

Joshua died when he was 110 years old. After Joshua and the generation that had inherited the land with him passed away, the newer generation did not know the Lord and the things He had done for Israel. If we do not strive to raise our own children with a knowledge of the Lord and His commandments, they will not know these things when we are gone. This is part of the reason that it is so important for us to remember to do the simpler things with our families each day. Praying, studying the scriptures, having family home evening, attending church and the temple regularly, will establish traditions of good in our homes. Hopefully, these things will carry over as good traditions, into the lives of our children and grandchildren.

11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim:
12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.
13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

This new generation forsook the Lord, and begin to serve Baal (Baalim) and Ashtaroth. This was a fulfillment of the warning that their fathers had been given.

14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.

The Lord allowed the Israelites to fall into the hands of their enemies because of their weaknesses. His promise had been, that if they did not worship Him alone, He would no longer protect them from their enemies. They failed to keep the laws and worship God, so they suffered at the hands of their enemies.

16 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so.
18 And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

The Lord raised up judges, to deliver the Israelites out of the hand of their enemies. The people would not listen to the judges, but continued to sin against the Lord. When the judges were righteous, the Lord was with the people in protecting them from their enemies. When the righteous judges died, the people would return to wickedness even more then previous generations.

20 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;
21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:
22 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
23 Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

The Lord promised that he would not drive out anymore of the Canaanites from the land, which had been there when Joshua first brought them into the land. He did this to test Israel and see if they could prove that they were able to keep the commandments of the Lord.

The book of Judges, shows a time when the Israelites had truth, guidance and direction from the Lord. They were blessed greatly and then in their time of peace they would forget the Lord and turn to the ways of the world around them. The Lord would be ever merciful and patient, allowing them many opportunities to return to Him. The Lord was long-suffering with the Israelites, just as he is with us. Our lives are not so different from the people of old. We can have blessings of peace and prosperity in times when we strive to do what is right. We are also vulnerable to the temptations of the world. If we allow ourselves to become ungrateful, apathetic, or comfortable with our standing with the Lord, we will also be at risk of falling into the ways of the world. Our choices will lead to the Lord chastening us, and then feelings of sorrow and sadness. On the other hand, if we are continually striving to do what is right, the Lord will be with us and protect us from the dangers of the world. We are here to be tested and to prove ourselves willing and able to follow the commandments of the Lord. I know that we can and will be greatly blessed for our efforts in living righteously. I know that greater blessings will come if we share what we learn and know with other, especially with our loved ones.

Judges Chapter 1

When Moses was preparing the people for his death, the Lord called Joshua as the next prophet and leader of Isreal. Joshua had the duty of leading the people into the land of Canaan, and dividing the inheritances among the tribes, as well as reminding them of the laws God had given to them. As he neared his own death, the Lord did not call a new prophet to take his place as both a prophet and leader. In the bible dictionary, a description is given for the book of Judges, which reads, “This book and Ruth contain all the Jewish history that has been preserved to us of the times between the death of Joshua and the birth of Samuel.” (See Bible Dictionary) The first 3 chapters are described as an introduction. Chapter 1 begins as follows:

1 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
2 And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
3 And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.
4 And Judah went up; and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.
5 And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
6 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.
7 And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.
8 Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.

The children of Israel asked the Lord, who should be the first to fight against the remaining Canaanites. Before his passing, Joshua had been promised that the host of Israel would continue to fight against the Canaanites, and that he was to divide the land because he was in his old age. If this was made known to the host of Israel, they knew that they needed to continue to fight after Joshua had died. The Lord told them, that the tribe of Judah was to fight, and that the land had been delivered to them by the Lord. The tribe of Judah asked for help from the tribe of Simeon, and they were able to destroy the people in Bezek, but the king fled. They caught him and took him to Jerusalem where he died. Jerusalem had been taken and set on fire.

9 And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley.
10 And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
11 And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher:
12 And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.
13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.
14 And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou?
15 And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.

The tribe of Judah fought against those in the mountain, in the south, and in the valley. They destroyed the people there. Caleb promised the hand of his daughter, Achsah, to whomever took the land of Kirjath-sepher (later known as Debir). Caleb’s nephew, Othniel, took the land and received Achsah to wife. Achsah asked Caleb for a blessing, and he gave her the upper and nether springs. (see also Joshua 15)

16 And the children of the Kenite, Moses’ father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.
17 And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.
18 Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.
19 And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
20 And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak.
21 And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.

The tribe of Judah, who had the Lord with them, and the help of the tribe of Simeon, fought against their enemies in Zephath, Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron. The people in the mountains were expelled, but they were not able to drive out those who were in the valley because of their chariots. It seems that those who had chariots, had the upper hand in battles of that time. The Jebusites were not driven out of Jerusalem by the tribe of Benjamin, but remained in Jerusalem.

22 And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Beth-el: and the Lord was with them.
23 And the house of Joseph sent to descry Beth-el. (Now the name of the city before was Luz.)
24 And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy.
25 And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.
26 And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day.

The tribe of Joseph was also able to fight, with the help of the Lord. They sent spies to city of Beth-el, who learned where the entrance to the city was by offering mercy to a man and his family for telling them. They destroyed the city, and the man who had helped them founded the city of Luz in the Hittite land.

27 Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.

The tribe of Manasseh did not drive out all of the Canaanites in their land, but allowed some to remain and pay tribute to Israel.

29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.

Some Canaanites among the tribe of Ephraim were also allowed to stay.

30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.

The tribe of Zebulun allowed some to stay as well, and they made them pay tribute.

31 Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob:
32 But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out.

Likewise, the tribe of Asher did not drive out all of the Canaanites in their land. Interestingly, it reads here that the tribe of Asher dwelt among the Canaanites, which sounds like there were greater number of the other nations, then of the tribe of Asher.

33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth-anath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became tributaries unto them.
34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley:
35 But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries.
36 And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.

The tribe of Naphtali were also unable to drive the Canaanites out of the land, and so their people lived among the Canaanites, but were able to make them pay tribute. The tribe of Dan could not take their land from the Canaanites, and were forced into the mountain. Because the house of Joseph, the Amorite people paid the Israelites tribute.

The commandment given to the Israelites, was to destroy the people of the land, because this was the land of promise. For one reason or another, they did not do this completely. The Israelites had been warned, and they would need to heed these warnings. In his parting words, Joshua gave them the message from the Lord, that they were not to join themselves with the nations that could possibly remain among them. They were not to mention or turn to their false gods or marry their people, because these choices would separate them from the Lord and eventually bring destruction upon the tribes of Israel. Joshua 23:13 reads, “Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.” I’m not sure why the Israelites were not able to drive all the nations out of the land, but in leaving so many other nations among themselves, they made their chances of eventual failure that much greater. The temptations to follow the ways of these other people, would have been great.

There are many things that we are warned about in our own day. It takes great courage, to truly remove the temptations from our lives, and I think that sometimes we leave just enough to tempt us and cause us to fall back into our old ways. I know that if we have the courage to remove the negative influences around us, the Lord will be there to help us overcome our temptations. He can truly make us strong and He will bless us for our courageous choices.

Joshua Chapter 24

This is the final sermon of the prophet Joshua, to the Israelite people. Joshua had been one who had walked with Moses during the wanderings in the wilderness. He had remained to see and enter the promised land while the rest of his generation had passed away. He was a man of faith and courage, and was called to be the prophet to conquer and settle the promised land. He trusted the Lord, and the Lord was there to help him. His words to the Israelites follow:

1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
7 And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:
10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
11 And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.
12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

Joshua gathered the people to hear his words, and then called the elders of Israel and other leaders, to present themselves. He begins to speak to them of their history. The family of Abraham had lived in a foreign land and worshipped the gods of that land. Abraham was led away from the idolatry, by the Lord, to the land of Canaan and was blessed with his son Isaac. The Lord blessed Isaac with two sons, even Jacob and Esau. He told them how Jacob’s family went to Egypt, and that the Lord sent Moses and Aaron and gave plagues there. Then the Israelites were led out of Egypt by the Lord. Then when they were chased by the Egyptians, the Lord protected them and destroyed their enemy in the sea. Then they wandered in the wilderness, and the Lord led them into the land of the Amorites and delivered their enemies into their hands. The Lord stopped Balaam from cursing the Israelites, and caused that he should bless them instead. Finally, the Israelites were led into the land of Canaan, to Jericho, and the Lord delivered their enemies into their hands again. The Lord helped them to gain the promised land, where they had plenty, but they had not prepared it for themselves.

14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;
17 For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
18 And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.
19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.
22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.
24 And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Joshua called the people to honor and serve the Lord, and to put away the practice of worshipping false gods, or idolatry, as their ancestors had. He reminded the people that they were free to choose whom they would serve, but they needed to make their choice. Joshua, their prophet and leader, declared that he had chosen to serve the Lord. In response, the people spoke of the commandment God had given them to serve Him alone and to forsake other gods. The congregation of Israel recognized the hand of the Lord in bringing them out of bondage, and preserving them in their wanderings. They knew that the Lord had delivered their enemies into their hands and had driven them out of the land. The Israelites chose to serve the Lord as well. Joshua told them that if they would follow after other gods, they could not serve the Lord and would not be forgiven of their transgressions or sins. The Lord would destroy them if they turned against Him. The people wanted to choose the Lord still, and so Joshua said they were witnesses against themselves, which they agreed to. He called on them again, to put away other gods and turn to the Lord, to which they made a covenant to serve and obey the Lord.

We have the same obligation to choose if we will strive to serve the Lord, or if we will serve other gods. We cannot stand on both sides of the fence, but if we choose to serve the Lord, we will be held to His standard. It is our privilege, to be able to stand and firmly say we will serve the Lord. When we make covenants of baptism, we promise to serve the Lord all our days. If after making covenants, we go against the Lord, destruction will eventually come upon us as well. I hope to be able to remain steadfast and firm all the days of my life, and continually serve God.

26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.
27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.

A record was made of these things, and a stone was raised as a reminder to the people, of the covenant they had made with the Lord. Then all the people were sent back to their homes.

29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
31 And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.

Joshua died at the age of 110. In the days of Joshua, the host of Israel had server the Lord, as well as in the days of all the elders that served with him.

32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

The bones of Joseph were buried in the land that his father Jacob had purchased many years before. This was a fulfillment of the request of Joseph which he made while in Egypt, because he knew that God would one day deliver the people of Israel and led them to the land of promise. Then, Eleazar, the priest and son of Aaron, died and was buried in the land of his son, Phinehas.

Idolatry was a sin which plagued the children of Israel in their time. This is why there was a need to continually remind them to love and serve the Lord alone. In our time, we have idolatry of other forms, which plague our generation. We need to be continually reminded to live in the world, but not be of the world. I feel like the greatest reminder we have from our current prophets, is that our focus must be on the family or Satan will destroy us. The strength of the Lord’s people, as a whole, depends upon the strength of our family units. If we allow Satan to break down the family, we will each stand alone and we will fall. It was so important for the congregation of Israel to heed the words of the prophet Joshua, as they heeded the words of Moses before him. Is is just as important for us to heed the words of our own modern prophets, because they speak the word of the Lord for us today. I am so grateful for the prophets which the Lord has called in our day. I am grateful for times when I can hear their words and apply them to my life. I know that they are true and can help us to be strong and courageous in our day.

(If you are interested in listening to the modern prophets and apostles, you can watch or listen to the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here for more information.)

Joshua Chapter 23

The role of a prophet, in ancient times as well as today, has been to “act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will.” (see Bible Dictionary: Prophet) What we read of Joshua up to this point, includes the directions he gave from the Lord, to fight their enemies, and to settle the promised land. I am sure that along the way, Joshua was frequently delivering messages of doctrine to the Israelites as well, but those words would most likely be found in the laws and commandments given through the prophet Moses. In this chapter, I believe we receive the parting words of the prophet Joshua to the people. It reads as follows:

1 And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:
3 And ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you.
4 Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.
5 And the Lord your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the Lord your God hath promised unto you.
6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:
8 But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
9 For the Lord hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.
10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.
11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.
12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:
13 Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.
14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.
16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

I believe that the tradition of the time, was for a man to gather his family together before he passed away, to deliver a final message to his posterity, and oftentimes to leave them with a blessing. It seems that this same tradition occurred with the prophets to the people of the Lord as well. Joshua grew old when Israel had received rest in the promised land. In his age, he gathered the elders and leaders of Israel together. First, he reminds them of the blessings from the Lord. It was the Lord, who had given them this land by subduing their enemies and delivering them into the hands of Israel. They are reminded that the land had been divided and given to them for an inheritance, and also, that the Lord would continue to dispel their enemies so that they might continue to gain the land of promise. However, this is not without an expectation of the people of Israel.

Joshua gives and exhortation to the elders, that they lead the people in righteousness. He tells them to be courageous and keep the commandments. He tells them that they need to avoid being part of the other nations that still remained in the land. They should not mention or worship the gods of those other nations, but they should continue to love the Lord by cleaving to Him. He reminds them, that they have been promised that the Lord would fight for them and make them mighty and strong. No nation could stand against even one man with God on His side. They needed to love the Lord wholly, or else they would turn to the false gods of other nations. If they did this, they would begin to marry people of these other nations, even those that remained among them. If they chose that path, the Lord would no longer fight for them. Instead, the Lord would allow those nations to be a temptation in their lives, until the Israelites were removed from the land. Joshua reminded the elders, that God had fulfilled all that He had promised them. All the good that they had been promised, had been given to them. Because they knew this, they could know that everything bad that had been promised if they would be disobedient, would also be given to them.

It takes courage to keep the commandments of God, especially when the ways of the world are so far from them. It takes courage to follow the prophets called to lead us today. I believe as time passes and we draw nearer to the second coming of the Savior and the millennium, that it will take greater courage than ever before. We are preparing for the day when all the wicked will be done away, and the Lord will reign on this earth. Only those who can live in this world, but avoid becoming part of the world, will be able to stand at that day. This message for the ancient Israelites, is the message that all of us need to hear. If we desire to be called the people of the Lord, we must be willing to give up the pleasures of the world and give our whole hearts to the Lord. If we do not follow His commandments and love Him, He will allow us to experience greater temptations. I think that I have enough temptation in my life now, and hope to be able to have the courage to do what is right, so that the Lord will help me to fight my personal enemies.

Joshua Chapter 22

When the tribes of Israel had conquered the land on the eastern side of the Jordan, across from Jericho, they took some time to encamp there. It was a good land for cattle and herds, and the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh, decided they would like that land for their inheritance. The Lord allowed them to have what they wanted, as long as the promised to help the rest of the children of Israel in gaining the land of their inheritance. They agreed and left their families in their lands while they helped fight. Now that all of Israel had found rest, these tribes had fulfilled their promise.

1 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,
2 And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:
3 Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God.
4 And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan.
5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
6 So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh, were released from their service and told to return to their homes in their own land. They were given instruction to heed the commandments of the Lord, which Moses had given to them. Then they were given a blessing by Joshua and left to go home.

I think that the instruction given to them here is so important. They were not just told to keep the commandments, but were told to “take diligent heed to do”. The word diligent is defined as “careful and persistent work or effort”, and the word heed means “careful attention”. They were being instructed to be carefully persistent in their attention to the law and commandments. The Lord knew that they would need to be actively engaged every day of their lives, if they were going to remain faithfully His people. Likewise, we must be watchful every day, and be persistent in living the gospel of the Lord. One decision can put us on the path that leads away from God and our own promised blessings. If we take diligent heed to follow the commandments, we will be greatly blessed and have the honor of being called the people of the Lord.

7 Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them,
8 And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.

The remainder of the tribe of Manasseh, was also given a blessing by Joshua and told them to share the spoil from their enemies.

9 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.
10 And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh, had obeyed the Lord and served their brethren by fighting for a long time. They had left their homes and families to do this, and had not returned, even though I am sure the temptation was there for some. They had faithfully fulfilled their oath to the tribes of Israel and were only now being able to return to their homes. They returned to their lands on the eastern side of the Jordan. On their way, they stopped by the Jordan and built and altar.

11 And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel.
12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.
13 And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,
14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

The other tribes of Israel, heard about the altar that they built, and prepared to fight against these tribes for it. They believed that these tribes had chosen to go against the commandments of the Lord. Phinehas, Eleazar’s son, was sent with ten of the princes of Israel.

It would have been so destructive, if they were indeed building an altar in order to perform sacrifices, because it would have been directly against the word of the Lord. Many of the host of Israel, had been destroyed for this type of disobedience, in their journey to the promised land. It was the duty of the rest of Israel, to get rid of any such disobedience among them.

15 And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying,
16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the Lord, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the Lord?
17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord,
18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the Lord? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the Lord, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.
19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the Lord, wherein the Lord’s tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the Lord, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God.
20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.

These men went to the tribes who had built the altar and asked why they had trespassed against the Lord by building the altar. They accused them of coming out in open rebellion against God. They supposed that if they did not repent of this thing, the Lord would bring his anger against the entire host of Israel, as had been done in the past when one man or group had trespassed against the Lord.

21 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel,
22 The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us not this day,)
23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the Lord, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the Lord himself require it;
24 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel?
25 For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the Lord.
26 Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice:
27 But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the Lord before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord.
28 Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you.
29 God forbid that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn this day from following the Lord, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the Lord our God that is before his tabernacle.

They responded by telling them that this altar was not made for burnt offerings or sacrifice, but to witness that they were children of the Lord as well, even though the Jordan separated them from the rest of Israel. They knew that they could not make an altar for sacrifice when the altar at the tabernacle had been dedicated for that purpose. They also knew that God would know what the purpose was, and they were well aware that He would not let them live, if they did this things against Him.

30 And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spake, it pleased them.
31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the Lord is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the Lord: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord.

Phinehas and the princes, were pleased with this explanation and agreed that they had not trespassed against the Lord. They knew this was right, because they could tell that the presence of the Lord was still with the host of Israel. When we are doing what is right, we can also have this confirmation. I am reminded now, of the times when I have suspected one of my children has been dishonest with me, and I confront them because I feel the withdrawal of the spirit. Quite often, I confront them based on these feelings, and once they confess and apologize, I can feel the presence of the spirit, letting me know that things are right among us. Feeling the impressions and companionship of the spirit, is a very important tool to knowing that we are doing what the Lord would have us do.

32 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again.
33 And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.
34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God.

They returned to Canaan and told the rest of the host of Israel what had been done. The desire to fight was gone, and the host of Israel blessed God instead.

When our own lives are affected by the actions of others or the circumstances that they might put us in, it is our duty, as it was for the tribes of Israel, to make what we can right. In the areas, in which we can make changes or influence for good, we should do so. This is the only way for us to continue to have the influence of the spirit of God in our lives. If we allow ourselves to be denied the influence of God, because of what someone else has done, we choose to separate ourselves from God and the blessings He has in store for us. I am grateful, every day, for the companionship of the spirit. I thank God for His presence in my life and for the confirmation that even though I make mistakes, I am still on the right path and can be a more righteous person with His help.

Joshua Chapter 21

When the children of Israel were promised an inheritance in the land of Canaan, the tribe of Levi were not included. This was because, this tribe was chosen by the Lord and dedicated to the service of the Lord. Their inheritance would come from the other tribes, and as long as the children of Israel were righteous and faithful in their devotions, the Levites would be provided for by the Lord and through the offerings of the people. This chapter covers the giving of land to the Levites. It begins:

1 Then came near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar the priest, and unto Joshua the son of Nun, and unto the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel;
2 And they spake unto them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, The Lord commanded by the hand of Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for our cattle.
3 And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the Lord, these cities and their suburbs.
4 And the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites: and the children of Aaron the priest, which were of the Levites, had by lot out of the tribe of Judah, and out of the tribe of Simeon, and out of the tribe of Benjamin, thirteen cities.
5 And the rest of the children of Kohath had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Ephraim, and out of the tribe of Dan, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh, ten cities.
6 And the children of Gershon had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities.
7 The children of Merari by their families had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.
8 And the children of Israel gave by lot unto the Levites these cities with their suburbs, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.

The leaders of the Levites, went to Joshua and Eleazar in Shiloh, where the tabernacle was raised. They spoke of the commandment given through Moses, that the tribes were to give a portion of their lands to the Levites for their homes and cattle (see Numbers 35). They then received 48 cities with suburbs, from the tribes of Israel.

9 And they gave out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, these cities which are here mentioned by name,
10 Which the children of Aaron, being of the families of the Kohathites, who were of the children of Levi, had: for theirs was the first lot.
11 And they gave them the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, with the suburbs thereof round about it.
12 But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession.

The first land went to the children of Aaron, the Kohathites, who received the city of Arba and a portion of the land around it.

13 Thus they gave to the children of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs,
14 And Jattir with her suburbs, and Eshtemoa with her suburbs,
15 And Holon with her suburbs, and Debir with her suburbs,
16 And Ain with her suburbs, and Juttah with her suburbs, and Beth-shemesh with her suburbs; nine cities out of those two tribes.
17 And out of the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with her suburbs, Geba with her suburbs,
18 Anathoth with her suburbs, and Almon with her suburbs; four cities.
19 All the cities of the children of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their suburbs.

The city of Hebron was given as a city of refuge, to the children of Aaron, as well as 12 other cities for dwelling.

20 And the families of the children of Kohath, the Levites which remained of the children of Kohath, even they had the cities of their lot out of the tribe of Ephraim.
21 For they gave them Shechem with her suburbs in mount Ephraim, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Gezer with her suburbs,
22 And Kibzaim with her suburbs, and Beth-horon with her suburbs; four cities.
23 And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her suburbs,
24 Aijalon with her suburbs, Gath-rimmon with her suburbs; four cities.
25 And out of the half tribe of Manasseh, Tanach with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon with her suburbs; two cities.
26 All the cities were ten with their suburbs for the families of the children of Kohath that remained.

The next land given to the Levites, in particular the families of the children of Kohath, came from the tribe of Ephraim and half of Manasseh. These included 10 cities and their suburbs.

27 And unto the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out of the other half tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Beesh-terah with her suburbs; two cities.
28 And out of the tribe of Issachar, Kishon with her suburbs, Dabareh with her suburbs,
29 Jarmuth with her suburbs, En-gannim with her suburbs; four cities.
30 And out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal with her suburbs, Abdon with her suburbs,
31 Helkath with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs; four cities.
32 And out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Hammoth-dor with her suburbs, and Kartan with her suburbs; three cities.
33 All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their suburbs.

The Levites of the Gershon family, received 13 cities and suburbs to dwell in, with 2 cities of refuge among them. These came from the tribes of Manasseh, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali.

34 And unto the families of the children of Merari, the rest of the Levites, out of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with her suburbs, and Kartah with her suburbs,
35 Dimnah with her suburbs, Nahalal with her suburbs; four cities.
36 And out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer with her suburbs, and Jahazah with her suburbs,
37 Kedemoth with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs; four cities.
38 And out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Mahanaim with her suburbs,
39 Heshbon with her suburbs, Jazer with her suburbs; four cities in all.
40 So all the cities for the children of Merari by their families, which were remaining of the families of the Levites, were by their lot twelve cities.
41 All the cities of the Levites within the possession of the children of Israel were forty and eight cities with their suburbs.
42 These cities were every one with their suburbs round about them: thus were all these cities.

The Levite children of Merarri received land from the tribes of Zebulun, Reuben, and Gad. They received 12 cities, with 1 city of refuge among them.

43 And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.
44 And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.
45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

Finally, the entire nation of Israel, had been given land and the Lord gave them rest as their fathers had been promised. No enemies remained in the land and all the promises that the Lord had made to the Israelites, had come to pass.

This must have been a time of joy and rejoicing for the people of Israel. They were finally in their place of rest and hopeful peace. Now was the time, when they could establish their lives in one place and they were no longer facing enemies and the hardships of journeying. The greatest thing, was that the Lord had fulfilled the covenant he had made with the Israelites, that their enemies would be delivered into their hands and they would be victorious in gaining the promised land. The promise remained still, that they would need to be faithful to the laws of God, if they were to be blessed in the land. God will fulfill the covenants that we make with Him as well, and if we are faithful, we will receive all the promised blessings that He has in store for us.

Joshua Chapter 20

Moses was given direction from the Lord, as to how the land of promise would be divided by the children of Israel. We read the fulfillment of those directions in the book of Joshua. At this point, the tribes of Israel, had received the inheritances they were promised. There were a few things that were still left to determine, one of those was where the cities of refuge would be located (see Numbers 35). This chapter goes over this item.

1 The Lord also spake unto Joshua, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.
5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.
6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

Joshua was given the direction, to appoint the cities of refuge. These were cities for those who were guilty of manslaughter, or killing another unintentionally. In having these cities, they would be spared from revenge of the family members, and the family would not be tempted to intentionally kill them and bring a greater sin upon themselves. Those who sought refuge there, would be given a place to live, and would be protected there until they faced judgment, or until the high priest died. At that point, that person would return back to his homeland.

7 And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.
8 And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.
9 These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.

Six cities were appointed throughout the land of the Israelites for this purpose. These cities were to be a blessing and a protection to those who had need of them.

This chapter is one of the many, which shows that God delivers on his promises and directions to his people. These instructions had been given to Moses years prior, and at this point Joshua receives the same directions in order to fulfill them. The Lord has given us many revelations from the prophets of old, which teach of these latter days. I believe in continuing revelation through the Lord’s prophets, and that we have prophets on the earth today, who are receiving the revelations necessary to fulfill the words of the Lord for our day. The work of the Lord continues to go forth, and great blessings will come to those who are faithful in living righteously.

Joshua Chapter 19

The tribes of Israel were to receive inheritances in the land of Canaan.

Division of the Tribes of Israel

Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, Ephraim, Judah and Benjamin had already received their inheritances at this point. Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh, received lots on the eastern side of the Jordan, which they were promised to have as long as they helped the rest of the children of Israel to gain the remainder of the land. The remaining part of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah, were given their portions of the land next. Joshua was commanded by the Lord to cast lots for the remaining tribes, and the first one recorded, went to the tribe of Benjamin in the previous chapter. The tribe of Levi, was not to receive an inheritance, because they had been called to be in the service of the Lord in his tabernacle. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.
2 And they had in their inheritance Beer-sheba, or Sheba, and Moladah,
3 And Hazar-shual, and Balah, and Azem,
4 And Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormah,
5 And Ziklag, and Beth-marcaboth, and Hazar-susah,
6 And Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages:
7 Ain, Remmon, and Ether, and Ashan; four cities and their villages:
8 And all the villages that were round about these cities to Baalath-beer, Ramath of the south. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families.
9 Out of the portion of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them.

The tribe of Simeon, received their inheritance of land that was surrounded by the tribe of Judah. The land of Judah had been too large for the number of people, so a portion of this land was given to the tribe of Simeon.

10 And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families: and the border of their inheritance was unto Sarid:
11 And their border went up toward the sea, and Maralah, and reached to Dabbasheth, and reached to the river that is before Jokneam;
12 And turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrising unto the border of Chisloth-tabor, and then goeth out to Daberath, and goeth up to Japhia,
13 And from thence passeth on along on the east to Gittah-hepher, to Ittah-kazin, and goeth out to Remmon-methoar to Neah;
14 And the border compasseth it on the north side to Hannathon: and the outgoings thereof are in the valley of Jiphthah-el:
15 And Kattath, and Nahallal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and Beth-lehem: twelve cities with their villages.
16 This is the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.

The land inherited by the tribe of Zebulun, the third given by casting lots, is described here.

17 And the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families.
18 And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem,
19 And Hapharaim, and Shion, and Anaharath,
20 And Rabbith, and Kishion, and Abez,
21 And Remeth, and En-gannim, and En-haddah, and Beth-pazzez;
22 And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Beth-shemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.
23 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their families, the cities and their villages.

The inheritance for the children of Issachar, was given next. I was bordered on one side by the Jordan River.

24 And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.
25 And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph,
26 And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihor-libnath;
27 And turneth toward the sunrising to Beth-dagon, and reacheth to Zebulun, and to the valley of Jiphthah-el toward the north side of Beth-emek, and Neiel, and goeth out to Cabul on the left hand,
28 And Hebron, and Rehob, and Hammon, and Kanah, even unto great Zidon;
29 And then the coast turneth to Ramah, and to the strong city Tyre; and the coast turneth to Hosah; and the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to Achzib:
30 Ummah also, and Aphek, and Rehob: twenty and two cities with their villages.
31 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.

The fifth lot cast, was given to the tribe of Asher. Their land included mount Carmel and the city of Tyre to the north. They were located on the coast of the sea and were bordered by the tribe of Zebulun.

32 The sixth lot came out to the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families.
33 And their coast was from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum; and the outgoings thereof were at Jordan:
34 And then the coast turneth westward to Aznoth-tabor, and goeth out from thence to Hukkok, and reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and reacheth to Asher on the west side, and to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising.
35 And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth,
36 And Adamah, and Ramah, and Hazor,
37 And Kedesh, and Edrei, and En-hazor,
38 And Iron, and Migdal-el, Horem, and Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.
39 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.

The next lot was cast for the tribe of Naphtali. They also bordered the Jordan River. They were bordered by Zebulun on the south and Asher on the west. They inherited some fortified cities as well.

40 And the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families.
41 And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Ir-shemesh,
42 And Shaalabbin, and Ajalon, and Jethlah,
43 And Elon, and Thimnathah, and Ekron,
44 And Eltekeh, and Gibbethon, and Baalath,
45 And Jehud, and Bene-berak, and Gath-rimmon,
46 And Me-jarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before Japho.
47 And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.
48 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.

The final lot was cast for the tribe of Dan. Originally, they inherited the land within the borders of the other tribes. The borders were not large enough for their tribe, so they went North, to fight against the people in the land of Leshem and were victorious in claiming the land, which they then called the land of Dan.

49 When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them:
50 According to the word of the Lord they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnath-serah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein.
51 These are the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. So they made an end of dividing the country.

Joshua was then given an inheritance from the children of Israel, according to the instruction of the Lord. He took a city in mount Ephraim, called Timnath-serah. This completed the commandment given to Joshua, to divide the land for the people.

What a blessing it would have been for the whole family of Israel, to receive the land of promise where they could now rest. After hundreds of years in Egypt, 40 years of wandering, and a long time fighting, they were all able to have a home to call their own. I think that most people seek rest and peace in this life. The Lord promises to give us rest if we will be faithful to him. The Israelites were His people and because they followed his instructions at this time in history, they received rest in this life. We don’t have to wait until after this life, to find our own rest or peace, if we will follow the direction and council that the Lord gives to us as well.

Joshua Chapter 18

Near the end of Joshua’s life, the Israelites had taken the land of Canaan from their enemies and the lots of inheritance were being divided among the tribes of Israel. Joshua was given this responsibility by the Lord, as the prophet of that time. In the midst of receiving the inheritances, the Israelites were gathered together. This chapter begins:

1 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.
2 And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.
3 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?
4 Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.
5 And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.
6 Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.
7 But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them.

The people gathered at Shiloh, north of Jericho and on the western side of the Jordan, and the tabernacle of the congregation was set up there. I believe that this means, that the ark of the covenant was placed there, and they continued to have the presence of the Lord among them. This would be where the people of Israel could bring their sacrifices and offerings to the Lord. I believe the tabernacle would remain there, until the Lord named the place for his temple.

Men from each tribe, were sent to survey the land and plan how they would be divided. Then, they were to bring their suggestions back to Joshua, for him to casts lots. Those who had already received their inheritances, as well as the Levites who would not receive an inheritance, were not included in this part of the division. This was because their blessings came from their priesthood service to the Lord.

8 And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the Lord in Shiloh.
9 And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh.

The men who had been chose, went out into the land and brought back the plans for seven parts, to Joshua and the rest of the Israelites.

10 And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.

Joshua divided the land by casting lots for the remaining tribes.

Division of the Tribes of Israel

11 And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.
12 And their border on the north side was from Jordan; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, and went up through the mountains westward; and the goings out thereof were at the wilderness of Beth-aven.
13 And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is Beth-el, southward; and the border descended to Ataroth-adar, near the hill that lieth on the south side of the nether Beth-horon.
14 And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, from the hill that lieth before Beth-horon southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjath-baal, which is Kirjath-jearim, a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter.
15 And the south quarter was from the end of Kirjath-jearim, and the border went out on the west, and went out to the well of waters of Nephtoah:
16 And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to En-rogel,
17 And was drawn from the north, and went forth to En-shemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben,
18 And passed along toward the side over against Arabah northward, and went down unto Arabah:
19 And the border passed along to the side of Beth-hoglah northward: and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the salt sea at the south end of Jordan: this was the south coast.
20 And Jordan was the border of it on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, by the coasts thereof round about, according to their families.
21 Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Beth-hoglah, and the valley of Keziz,
22 And Beth-arabah, and Zemaraim, and Beth-el,
23 And Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah,
24 And Chephar-haammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages:
25 Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,
26 And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah,
27 And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah,
28 And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families.

The tribe of Benjamin were given their inheritance by lot. A description of the land with its borders is given here. The city of Jerusalem, was located in the land inherited by the tribe of Benjamin.

It is important to know that the tabernacle was once again established in the land where they dwelled. The Lord would continue to be with the people of Israel, if they would follow His commandments. The tabernacle was a symbol of the Lord’s presence in that day. Likewise, the temples of today are a symbol of the Lord’s presence in our lives. If we live the standards that will make us worthy to be in the temples of the Lord, we can have the spirit of the Lord in our lives. I am very grateful for temples and for the reminder that His spirit is here.

Joshua Chapter 17

This part of the book of Joshua, reviews the inheritances of the tribes of Israel.

Division of the Tribes of Israel

The tribes of Joseph, which are Manasseh and Ephraim, are the line which were to receive a double-portion of the inheritance. This was because Reuben, who was the firstborn, had lost the right to the double-portion through transgression against his father. This chapter begins as follows:

1 There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.
2 There was also a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families.

The posterity of Manasseh included Machir, Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida. The inheritance would go to the male children of their family.

3 But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
4 And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father.
5 And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan;
6 Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.

The daughters of Zelophehad, had no brothers for the inheritance to pass on to. According to the commandment given to Moses (see Numbers 27), the inheritance would go to the daughters because their was no son and no one to provide for them. An additional ten portions of the inheritance went to the tribe of Manasseh, aside from the inheritance that had already been claimed on the eastern side of the Jordan.

7 And the coast of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethah, that lieth before Shechem; and the border went along on the right hand unto the inhabitants of En-tappuah.
8 Now Manasseh had the land of Tappuah: but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim;
9 And the coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river: these cities of Ephraim are among the cities of Manasseh: the coast of Manasseh also was on the north side of the river, and the outgoings of it were at the sea:
10 Southward it was Ephraim’s, and northward it was Manasseh’s, and the sea is his border; and they met together in Asher on the north, and in Issachar on the east.
11 And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Beth-shean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries.
12 Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
13 Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.
14 And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto?
15 And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.
16 And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Beth-shean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.
17 And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:
18 But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.

The lands of Manasseh and Ephraim were described here. Some of the Canaanites continued to live in the land where the tribe of Manasseh lived. They caused the Canaanites to pay them tribute, or serve them. Because the tribes of Joseph were great, they also received the portion of land in the mountain, or hill country. Joshua told them to cut down the forest for their land, and promised them that they could drive the Canaanites out of the mountain in spite of their enemy’s strength and chariots. The tribe of Joseph had been promised strength in the blessings of their father, Jacob. The wisdom of men, brought fear into their hearts when facing the giants of those days, with their chariots and strength. But the Lord would be with his faithful people. He continues to be with the faithful today, and will strengthen each of us in our own trials, if we trust in him and not in the arm of the flesh.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

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