Joshua 19

Joshua 19,
Monday, April 23, 2018

After all the delays for the exceptions – 7 lots for 7 tribes in one chapter!  Look on your map, and see where they lie in relation to the others.  Some are down south, tucked into Judah, on the edge of desert.  Others are up north, in areas never fully occupied by those tribes – all the way to Tyre and Sidon.
Why are these nearly leftovers, after all the buildup?  You might trace the legends of their ancestral fathers.  Simeon, or Shimon, offended his father early on with real genocide, unauthorized, provoked by the rape of Dinah – then later, he slept with his father’s maid/wife.  He also comes off badly in the story of seeling Joseph.
Another set are the sons of the maids, Bilhah and Zilpah, offered up by Rachel and Leah to Jacob for the kind of breeding now famous from The Handmaids Tale.  Here, it’s etiological legend to explain how these are frontier territories, never cleanly held by these half-brothers of Leah’s 4 and Rachel’s 2 sons.
If you are hearing this recital, in 1000 BCE, 900 BCE in Solomon’s court, in 650 in Josiah’s reform, or in 500BCE in the Second Temple, you likely identify with one of the tribes already described.  The recital just rounds out the claim to Canaan.
As we start a last week of reading Joshua, do we hear less detail and passion in the claims for land outside the heartland of Judea, or at least acquiescence to other claims on these lands?  I think so.  Joshua, like Caleb before him, the 2 scout/spies that were firsts to recognize the attainable promise, gets his rest in Ephraiim, last, after everybody else has been satisfied and paid for their service.
What’s left for the week?
The second lot came out for Simeon,
 for the tribe of Simeon, 
according to its families; 
its inheritance lay
within the inheritance
 of the tribe of Judah.
 2It had for its inheritance
Beer-sheba, Sheba, Moladah,
 3Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem,
 4Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah,
 5Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah,
 6Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen—
thirteen towns with their villages;
 7Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan—
four towns with their villages; 
8together with all the villages
 all around these towns
as far as Baalath-beer, 
Ramah of the Negeb. 
This was the inheritance
 of the tribe of Simeon
according to its families
. 9The inheritance of the tribe of Simeon
formed part of the territory of Judah; 
because the portion of the tribe of Judah
was too large for them,
 the tribe of Simeon obtained an inheritance
within their inheritance.
10 The third lot came up for the tribe of Zebulun, 
according to its families.
 The boundary of its inheritance reached as far as Sarid;
 11then its boundary goes up westwards, 
and on to Maralah, and touches Dabbesheth,
 then the wadi that is east of Jokneam;
 12from Sarid it goes in the other direction
eastwards towards the sunrise
to the boundary of Chisloth-tabor;
 from there it goes to Daberath,
 then up to Japhia;
 13from there it passes along on the east
towards the sunrise to Gath-hepher, 
to Eth-kazin,
 and going on to Rimmon
it bends towards Neah;
 14then on the north the boundary
makes a turn to Hannathon, 
and it ends at the valley of Iphtah-el;
 15and Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem
—twelve towns with their villages.
 16This is the inheritance of the tribe of Zebulun,
 according to its families—
these towns with their villages.
17 The fourth lot came out for Issachar, 
for the tribe of Issachar, 
according to its families. 
18Its territory included Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem,
 19Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 
20Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez,
21Remeth, En-gannim, En-haddah, Beth-pazzez;
 22the boundary also touches Tabor,
 Shahazumah, and Beth-shemesh,
 and its boundary ends at the Jordan
—sixteen towns with their villages.
 23This is the inheritance of the tribe of Issachar, 
according to its families—
the towns with their villages.
24 The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher
according to its families.
25Its boundary included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph,
 26Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal; 
on the west it touches Carmel and Shihor-libnath,
27then it turns eastwards, 
goes to Beth-dagon, 
and touches Zebulun
and the valley of Iphtah-el
northwards to Beth-emek and Neiel; 
then it continues in the north to Cabul,
 28Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, Kanah, 
as far as Great Sidon
; 29then the boundary turns to Ramah,
 reaching to the fortified city of Tyre;
 then the boundary turns to Hosah,
 and it ends at the sea; 
Mahalab,* Achzib, 
30Ummah, Aphek, and Rehob
—twenty-two towns with their villages.
 31This is the inheritance of the tribe of Asher
according to its families
—these towns with their villages.
32 The sixth lot came out for the tribe of Naphtali, 
for the tribe of Naphtali, 
according to its families
. 33And its boundary ran from Heleph, 
from the oak in Zaanannim,
 and Adami-nekeb, and Jabneel,
 as far as Lakkum; 
and it ended at the Jordan;
 34then the boundary turns westwards
to Aznoth-tabor, 
and goes from there to Hukkok, 
touching Zebulun at the south, 
and Asher on the west,
 and Judah on the east at the Jordan.
 35The fortified towns
are Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth,
 36Adamah, Ramah, Hazor,
 37Kedesh, Edrei, En-hazor
, 38Iron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh
—nineteen towns with their villages.
 39This is the inheritance of the tribe of Naphtali
according to its families
—the towns with their villages.
40 The seventh lot came out for the tribe of Dan, 
according to its families
.41The territory of its inheritance
 included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh,
42Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 
43Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 
44Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath,
 45Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon,
 46Me-jarkon, and Rakkon
 at the border opposite Joppa.
 47When the territory of the Danites was lost to them,
 the Danites went up
and fought against Leshem, 
and after capturing it and putting it to the sword, 
they took possession of it
and settled in it,
 calling Leshem, Dan, 
after their ancestor Dan. 
48This is the inheritance of the tribe of Dan, 
according to their families
—these towns with their villages.
49 When they had finished
distributing the several territories of the land
as inheritances, 
the Israelites gave an inheritance among them
to Joshua son of Nun. 
50By command of the Lor
d they gave him the town that he asked for,
 Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim; 
he rebuilt the town, 
and settled in it.
51 These are the inheritances
 that the priest Eleazar and Joshua son of Nun
and the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites
distributed by lot at Shiloh before the Lord, 
at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 
So they finished dividing the land.