Joshua 15

Joshua 15,
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Finally, a first lot is drawn, for Judah.  You could accept the outcome of an actual lottery conducted at Gilgal by Joshua. Or you could guess that Judah, or Yehuda, is the big, successful province of Israel in Solomon’s time, in Josiah’s time, and in Second Temple time.   Not coincidentally, it is also the tribe from which David’s line comes.
In Genesis, Judah is the fourth son of Jacob and Leah.   The tribe of the eldest, Reuben, has already got land in Transjordan.  The tribe of Levi gets priesthood instead of turf.  Simeon’s lot falls later – but you might recall bits of his story of genocidal revenge for the rape of Dinah, and later sleeping with his father’s wife.  Judah comes off a bit better in these stories than his full brothers do.
Take a moment with a map to trace the boundaries of Judah’s patrimony, all the way south to Edom and Zin.  This is the southern trade route to the Gulf, traditional trading partners and competitors associated with Esau in the Genesis narrative.  From the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean on the way to Egypt is a wide southern border.
The east side is easier and shorter, along the Dead Sea up to the mouth of the Jordan near Jericho, contiguous with Reuben’s turf already granted to the east.  Most important to us, the boundary wandering west again to the Mediterranean coast includes Jerusalem.  You don’t likely need more than that picture for now, and the west boundary is the sea, down toward Egypt.
Verses 13-19 revisit the exception of Caleb’s Hebron turf in the midst of Judah.  In particular, in Caleb’s battles with the Anakites, his best leader gets married off to his daughter. Yes, it’s treating women – and soldiers – as pawns.  It’s also community interest in alliances of the able leaders, and it is Achsah, not Othniel, who shrewdly demands more key oases and springs be attached to their land swinging down into the Negeb fit only for shepherding.  (Spoiler alert – Othniel is coming back as one of the Judges).
Our eyes cross at the lists of places – but you could count them, to find that they don’t match the summary numbers for each sub-region, and you could compare the places and lists with other biblical texts, and discover lots more nuances of meaning. 
However, at the end of my word limit for the day – Joshua 14 ends with the bald admission that we always shared Jerusalem, and could
The lot for the tribe of the people of Judah
according to their families
 reached southwards to the boundary of Edom, 
to the wilderness of Zin at the farthest south.
 
 2And their southern boundary ran
from the end of the Dead Sea, from the bay that faces southwards;
 3it goes out southwards of the ascent of Akrabbim, 
passes along to Zin, 
and goes up south of Kadesh-barnea, along by Hezron, up to Addar, 
makes a turn to Karka, 
4passes along to Azmon,
 goes out by the Wadi of Egypt,
 and comes to its end at the sea. 
This shall be your southern boundary.
 
5And the eastern boundary is the Dead Sea,
 to the mouth of the Jordan. 
And the boundary on the north side
 runs from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan;
 6and the boundary goes up to Beth-hoglah,
 and passes along north of Beth-arabah; 
and the boundary goes up to the Stone of Bohan, 
Reuben’s son; 
 
7and the boundary goes up to Debir from the Valley of Achor, 
and so northwards, turning towards Gilgal, 
which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, 
which is on the south side of the valley; 
and the boundary passes along to the waters of En-shemesh, and ends at En-rogel;
 8then the boundary goes up by the valley of the son of Hinnom
at the southern slope of the Jebusites (that is, Jerusalem); 
and the boundary goes up to the top of the mountain
that lies over against the valley of Hinnom, 
on the west, at the northern end of the valley of Rephaim;
 
 9then the boundary extends from the top of the mountain
to the spring of the Waters of Nephtoah,
 and from there to the towns of Mount Ephron; 
then the boundary bends around to Baalah
 (that is, Kiriath-jearim); 
 
10and the boundary circles west of Baalah to Mount Seir, 
passes along to the northern slope of Mount Jearim
(that is, Chesalon), 
and goes down to Beth-shemesh, 
and passes along by Timnah;
 
 11the boundary goes out to the slope of the hill north of Ekron,
 then the boundary bends around to Shikkeron, 
and passes along to Mount Baalah, 
and goes out to Jabneel; 
then the boundary comes to an end at the sea.
 
12And the western boundary
 was the Mediterranean
with its coast. 
This is the boundary
surrounding the people of Judah
 according to their families.
 
13 According to the commandment of the Lord to Joshua,
 he gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh
 a portion among the people of Judah, 
Kiriath-arba, that is, Hebron
(Arba was the father of Anak). 
 
14And Caleb drove out from there
the three sons of Anak: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai,
 the descendants of Anak.
 
15From there he went up against the inhabitants of Debir;
 now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher.
 
 16And Caleb said, 
‘Whoever attacks Kiriath-sepher and takes it, 
to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife.’ 
 
17Othniel son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it;
 and he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife.
 
 18When she came to him, 
she urged him to ask her father for a field. 
As she dismounted from her donkey, 
Caleb said to her, ‘What do you want?’
 
 19She said to him, ‘Give me a present; 
since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, 
give me springs of water as well.’
So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
 
20 This is the inheritance
of the tribe of the people of Judah
according to their families. 
 
21The towns belonging to the tribe of the people of Judah
 in the extreme south, 
towards the boundary of Edom,
 were Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur,
 22Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah,
 23Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan,
 24Ziph, Telem, Bealoth,
 25Hazor-hadattah, Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor),
26Amam, Shema, Moladah,
 27Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, Beth-pelet,
28Hazar-shual, Beer-sheba, Biziothiah,
 29Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 
30Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah,
 31Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah,
 32Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon:
 in all, twenty-nine towns, 
with their villages.
33 And in the lowlands, 
Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 
34Zanoah, En-gannim, Tappuah, Enam,
 35Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah,
 36Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, Gederothaim:
 fourteen towns with their villages.
 
37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal-gad, 
38Dilan, Mizpeh, Jokthe-el,
39Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon,
 40Cabbon, Lahmam, Chitlish,
 41Gederoth, Beth-dagon, Naamah, and Makkedah: 
sixteen towns with their villages.
 
42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan,
 43Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib,
 44Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah:
 nine towns with their villages.
 
45 Ekron, with its dependencies and its villages;
 46from Ekron to the sea, 
all that were near Ashdod, 
with their villages.
 
47 Ashdod, its towns and its villages;
 Gaza, its towns and its villages;
 to the Wadi of Egypt, 
and the Great Sea with its coast.
 
48 And in the hill country, 
Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 
49Dannah, Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir),
 50Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 
51Goshen, Holon, and Giloh:
eleven towns with their villages.
 
52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan,
 53Janim, Beth-tappuah, Aphekah,
 54Humtah, Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior: 
nine towns with their villages.
 
55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 
56Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah,
 57Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah:
 ten towns with their villages.
 
58 Halhul, Beth-zur, Gedor,
 59Maarath, Beth-anoth, and Eltekon:
 six towns with their villages.
 
60 Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim) and Rabbah:
 two towns with their villages.
 
61 In the wilderness, 
Beth-arabah, Middin, Secacah, 
62Nibshan, the City of Salt, and En-gedi:
 six towns with their villages.
 
63 But the people of Judah
could not drive out the Jebusites,
the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 
so the Jebusites live with the people of Judah
 in Jerusalem
to this day.