Numbers Chapter 34

The Israelites were encamped to the East of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Moses had been instructed to give the people the final details of preparations, before they entered the promised land. This included instructions on how they were to divide the lands of inheritance in Canaan. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and a portion of the tribe of Manasseh, had already taken the lands they desired. This chapter begins:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:)
3 Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward:
4 And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadesh-barnea, and shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass on to Azmon:
5 And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.
6 And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.
7 And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor:
8 From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:
9 And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar-enan: this shall be your north border.
10 And ye shall point out your east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham:
11 And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward:
12 And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about.

A portion of Bible Map 2

A portion of Bible Map 2

In Genesis 17:8, we read of the covenant and promise made with Abraham, that his posterity would inherit the land of Canaan. “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” In part of the fulfillment of this, Moses was given the specific borders of the land of inheritance. This included borders of the Salt Sea and the Great Sea (the Mediterranean Sea). The South border I think was in the wilderness of Zin, from the side or border of the land of Edom to the River of Egypt. The Northern border was perhaps a little above the Northern part of the Salt Sea, where they would be crossing the Jordan to enter the land.

13 And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot, which the Lord commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half tribe:
14 For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance:
15 The two tribes and the half tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan near Jericho eastward, toward the sunrising.
16 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
17 These are the names of the men which shall divide the land unto you: Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun.
18 And ye shall take one prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.
19 And the names of the men are these: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
20 And of the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud.
21 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon.
22 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki the son of Jogli.
23 The prince of the children of Joseph, for the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel the son of Ephod.
24 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan.
25 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan the son of Parnach.
26 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel the son of Azzan.
27 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud the son of Shelomi.
28 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud.
29 These are they whom the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance unto the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.

Moses was given the names of the princes, or leaders of the tribes, which would be responsible for dividing the land. Eleazar, the high priest, and Joshua, who would lead them after Moses left, were to help divide the land. The princes were, Caleb of Judah, Shemuel of Dan, Elidad of Benjamin, Bukki of Dan, Hanniel of Manasseh (half of the tribe), Kemuel of Ephraim, Elizaphan of Zebulun, Paltiel of Issachar, Ahihud of Asher, and Pedahel of Naphtali.

This is a step in the process of the Lord giving the land of inheritance to the people. Something I get from reading this chapter, is that the Lord prepares us with our faith in action. It would have been simple for the Lord to remove the existing people from the land of Canaan and He could have placed each of the tribes where they would have the best fit. This is not the way that the Israelites would learn to have greater faith in the Lord. They had been given the promise and the Lord would help them by giving them instruction and commandments to follow. However, in order to gain greater understanding, the Israelites needed to do the work of removing the people, and dividing the land according to the instructions that had been given to them. If they acted in faith to the words of the Lord, they would have greater blessings. This is how the Lord works for us in our lives as well. There are times, when we could easily be taken care of by the Lord. Instead, He allows us the opportunity to grow from our own choices and experiences. Like the Israelites, if we can live faithful to the promptings of the spirit and the teachings of the gospel, we will receive greater blessings than we can even imagine.


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