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Joshua 15:1 - Judges 3:27Common English Bible (CEB)

Border of Judah

15 The land determined by lot for the clans of the Judahite tribe ran southward to the border of Edom. The Zin wasteland was the southern limit. Their south border ran from the end of the Dead Sea, from the bay that faces south. It went south from the ascent of Akrabbim, passed on to Zin, and went up south of Kadesh-barnea. It passed on to Hezron, went up to Addar, and turned toward Karka. It passed on to Azmon and went by the border[a] of Egypt. The border ended at the sea. This will be their south border.

The east border was the Dead Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan.

The border on the north side ran from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan. The border went up to Beth-hoglah and passed north of Beth-arabah. The border went up to the Stone of Bohan (Reuben’s son). The border went up to Debir from the Achor Valley, turning north to Gilgal. Gilgal was opposite the ascent of Adummim, which was south of the ravine. The border passed on to the waters of En-shemesh and ended at En-rogel. The border went up by the valley of Ben-Hinnom to the slope of the Jebusite city, Jerusalem, on the south. The border went up to the top of the mountain that is opposite the Hinnom Valley on the west, which is at the north end of the Rephaim Valley. The border turned from the top of the mountain to the waters of Nephtoah Spring and went to the cities of Mount Ephron. The border turned toward Baalah (that is, Kiriath-jearim). 10 The border turned westward from Baalah to Mount Seir. It passed on to the slope of Mount Jearim on the north (that is, Chesalon), went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed by Timnah. 11 The border went to the slope of Ekron on the north. The border turned toward Shikkeron, passed on to Mount Baalah, and went to Jabneel. The border ended at the sea.

12 The west border was the Mediterranean Sea and its shoreline. This was the border surrounding the clans of the Judahites.

Caleb and Achsah

13 In agreement with the Lord’s command to him, Joshua gave a portion among the Judahites to Caleb, Jephunneh’s son. It was Kiriath-arba, that is, Hebron (Arba was the father of Anak). 14 Caleb removed the three sons of Anak from there: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. They were the offspring of Anak. 15 Then he went up from there against the population of Debir. Debir used to be called Kiriath-sepher. 16 Caleb said, “I will give Achsah my daughter in marriage to whoever strikes Kiriath-sepher and captures it.” 17 So Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, captured it, and Caleb gave him Achsah his daughter in marriage.

18 Now when she arrived, she prodded Othniel into asking for a field from her father. After she got down off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What do you want?”

19 She said, “Give me a blessing. Since the land you’ve given me is in the arid southern plain, you should also give me springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

Cities of Judah

20 This is the legacy for the clans of the tribe of the people of Judah. 21 The outlying cities of the tribe of the people of Judah ran down to the border of Edom.

In the arid southern plain: Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25 Hazor-hadattah, Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, Beth-pelet, 28 Hazar-shual, Beer-sheba and its dependent cities,[b] 29 Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon. In total: twenty-nine cities and their surrounding areas.

33 In the lowlands: Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34 Zanoah, En-gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 36 Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, and Gederothaim. In total: fourteen cities and their surrounding areas.

37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal-gad, 38 Dilan, Mizpeh, Jokthe-el, 39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40 Cabbon, Lahmam, Chitlish, 41 Gederoth, Beth-dagon, Naamah, and Makkedah. In total: sixteen cities and their surrounding areas.

42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah. In total: nine cities and their surrounding areas.

45 Ekron, its dependent cities and surrounding areas. 46 From Ekron toward the sea, everything that was near Ashdod and its surrounding areas. 47 Ashdod, its dependent cities and surrounding areas. Gaza, its dependent cities and surrounding areas as far as the border of Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea and its shoreline.

48 In the highlands: Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49 Dannah, Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir), 50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51 Goshen, Holon, and Giloh. In total: eleven cities and their surrounding areas.

52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53 Janim, Beth-tappuah, Aphekah, 54 Humtah, Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior. In total: nine cities and their surrounding areas.

55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57 Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah. In total: ten cities and their surrounding areas.

58 Halhul, Beth-zur, Gedor, 59 Maarath, Beth-anoth, and Eltekon. In total: six cities and their surrounding areas.

Tekoah, Ephrathah (that is, Bethlehem), Peor, Etam, Koulon, Tatam, Sores, Karem, Gallim, Bether, and Manahath. In total: eleven cities and their surrounding areas.[c]

60 Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim) and Rabbah. In total: two cities and their surrounding areas.

61 In the desert: Beth-arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62 Nibshan (the Salt City), and En-gedi. In total: six cities and their surrounding areas.

63 But the people of Judah couldn’t remove the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem. So today the Jebusites still live along with the people of Judah in Jerusalem.

Ephraim

16 The land determined by lot for the people of Joseph went out from the Jordan near Jericho eastward to the waters of Jericho. It went up by the desert from Jericho to the Bethel highlands. It goes from Bethel to Luz and passes on to the border of the Archites at Ataroth. It goes down westward to the border of the Japhletites as far as the border of Lower Beth-horon and as far as Gezer. It ends at the sea. The people of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their legacy.

This was the territory for the clans of the people of Ephraim. The border of their legacy ran from Ataroth-adar on the east as far as Upper Beth-horon. The border goes to the sea. Michmethath is on the north. The border turns east of Taanath-shiloh and passes along beyond it east of Janoah. It goes down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, touches Jericho, and goes to the Jordan. From Tappuah the border goes westward by the Kanah Valley. It ends at the sea. This is the legacy for the clans of the Ephraimite tribe. It included cities set apart for the people of Ephraim within the legacy of the people of Manasseh, all the cities and their surrounding areas. 10 But they didn’t remove the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. So today the Canaanites, who were used for forced labor, still live within Ephraim.

Manasseh

17 Land was determined by lot for the tribe of Manasseh, who was actually Joseph’s oldest son. Gilead and Bashan belonged to Machir, who was Manasseh’s oldest son and Gilead’s father. This was because he was a warrior. So an allotment took place for the rest of the clans of the people of Manasseh—for the people of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These were the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the male descendants by their clans.

Zelophehad was Hepher’s son, Gilead’s grandson, Machir’s great-grandson and Manasseh’s great-great-grandson. Zelophehad had no sons, only daughters, who were named Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. The daughters approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua, Nun’s son, and the leaders. They said, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us a legacy along with our male relatives.” So in agreement with the Lord’s command, they were given a legacy along with their uncles. Manasseh had ten parcels in addition to the land of Gilead and Bashan on the other side of the Jordan. This was because the daughters of Manasseh received a legacy along with his sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the people of Manasseh.

The border of Manasseh ran from Asher to Michmethath, which is opposite Shechem. The border went south to the population of En-tappuah. The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh. But Tappuah itself belonged to the people of Ephraim, even though it was on the border of Manasseh. The border went down by the Kanah Valley. South of the ravine are those cities that belong to Ephraim, even though they are located among the cities of Manasseh. The border of Manasseh lay on the north side of the ravine and ended at the sea. 10 What lay south of the border belonged to Ephraim, and what lay north of it belonged to Manasseh. The sea was its border. The territory bordered Asher on the north and Issachar on the east.

11 Belonging to Manasseh in Issachar and in Asher were Beth-shean and its dependent cities, Ibleam and its dependent cities, the population of Dor and its dependent cities, the population of En-dor and its dependent cities, the population of Taanach and its dependent cities, and the population of Megiddo and its dependent cities. (The third one is Naphath.)[d] 12 The people of Manasseh couldn’t take over these cities, and the Canaanites were determined to live in this land. 13 When the Israelites grew strong, they subjected the Canaanites to hard labor but didn’t remove them.

Future expansion for Joseph

14 The tribe of Joseph spoke to Joshua: “Why have you only given us a single lot and a solitary parcel for a legacy? We are a numerous people whom the Lord has blessed so richly.”

15 Then Joshua said, “Yes, you are a numerous people. So go up to the forest and clear ground for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaim, because the Ephraimite highland is too small for you.”

16 The people of Joseph said, “The highland isn’t enough for us. But all the Canaanites who live in the valley region have iron chariots, both those in Beth-shean and its dependent cities and those in the Jezreel Valley.”

17 Joshua then said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and to Manasseh, “You are a numerous people and possess great strength. You will have more than a single lot. 18 The highland will belong to you. Because it is a forest, you can clear it. Its farthest limits will be yours. You will definitely remove the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and are strong.”

Remainder of the land

18 The whole community of the Israelites assembled at Shiloh and set up the meeting tent there. The conquered land lay before them. Among the Israelites, seven tribes were left that had not yet received their legacy. Joshua said to the Israelites, “How long will you avoid going to take over the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you? Pick out three men for each tribe. I will send them out, and they will go up and travel throughout the land. They will write a description of it as the basis for determining their legacy. Then they will come back to me. They will divide up the land among themselves into seven portions. Judah will stay on its territory to the south. The house of Joseph will stay on their territory to the north. But you will write a report in seven parts and bring the report back here to me. Then I will cast the lot for you here, before the Lord our God. However, there won’t be a portion among you for the Levites because their legacy is the priesthood of the Lord. Gad, Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh have already received their legacy on the east side of the Jordan. Moses the Lord’s servant gave it to them.”

When the men had prepared to go, Joshua gave orders to those going to write a description of the land. “Go and travel around the land, write about it, and return to me. I will cast the lot for you before the Lord here in Shiloh.” So the men went and passed through the land and wrote about it in a document, city by city, in seven sections. They came back to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh. 10 Then Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord. There Joshua divided up the shares of the land for the Israelites.

Border of Benjamin

11 The lot for the clans of the Benjaminite tribe appeared first. The border of their allotment went out between the people of Judah and the people of Joseph. 12 Their border on the north side ran from the Jordan. The border went up to the slope of Jericho on the north. It went up westward in the highlands and ended at the wasteland of Beth-aven. 13 The border passed on from there to Luz, to the slope of Luz on the south (that is, Bethel). The border went down to Ataroth-adar on the mountain that is south of Lower Beth-horon. 14 The border turned and came around southward on the west side, running from the mountain that is opposite Beth-horon on the south. It ended at Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), a city of the people of Judah. This was its west side.

15 The south side ran from the limits of Kiriath-jearim. The border went out westward. It then proceeded to the waters of Nephtoah Spring. 16 The border went down to the foot of the mountain that is opposite the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is in the north part of the Rephaim Valley. It went down through the Hinnom Valley to the slope of the Jebusite city on the south. It then went down to En-rogel. 17 It turned northward. Then it went to En-shemesh and then to Geliloth, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim. It went down to the Stone of Bohan (Reuben’s son). 18 It passed on to the slope of Beth-arabah[e] on the north and went down into the desert plain. 19 The border passed on to the slope of Beth-hoglah on the north. The border ended at the north bay of the Dead Sea, at the southern mouth of the Jordan. This was the southern border. 20 The Jordan bordered it on the east side. This is the legacy of the Benjaminite clans according to its borders.

Cities of Benjamin

21 The cities of the clans of the Benjaminite tribe are Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz, 22 Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24 Chephar-ammoni, Ophni, and Geba. In total: twelve cities and their surrounding areas.

25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26 Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah, 27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28 Zela, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeath, and Kiriath. In total: fourteen cities and their surrounding areas. This is the legacy of the Benjaminite clans.

Simeon

19 The second lot fell to Simeon. The legacy of the clans of the Simeonite tribe lay inside the legacy of the people of Judah. They had in their legacy: Beer-sheba, Sheba, Moladah, Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem, Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen. In total: thirteen cities and their surrounding areas. Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan. In total: four cities and their surrounding areas. In addition were all the areas that surround these cities as far as Baalath-beer and Ramah of the arid southern plain. This is the legacy of the clans of the Simeonite tribe. Some of the portion of the people of Judah belonged to the legacy of the people of Simeon. This was because the portion of the people of Judah was too large for them. So the people of Simeon received a legacy inside Judah’s legacy.

Zebulun

10 The lot turned up third for the clans of Zebulun. The border of their legacy ran as far as Sarid. 11 Their border went up westward to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, and touched the ravine that is opposite Jokneam. 12 It reversed from Sarid eastward toward the east to the border of Chisloth-tabor. It went to Daberath and then up to Japhia. 13 From there it passed on the east side, running eastward to Gath-hepher and Eth-kazin. Going to Rimmon, it bent toward Neah. 14 The border turned north of Hannathon and ended at the Iphtah-el Valley. 15 They also owned Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem; in total: twelve cities and their surrounding areas. 16 These cities and their surrounding areas are the legacy of Zebulun’s clans.

Issachar

17 The lot went out fourth for the clans of Issachar. 18 Their border ran toward Jezreel. They also owned Chesulloth, Shunem, 19 Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20 Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21 Remeth, En-gannim, En-haddah, and Beth-pazzez. 22 The border touched Tabor, Shahazumah, and Beth-shemesh. Their border ended at the Jordan; in total: sixteen cities with their surrounding areas. 23 These cities and their surrounding areas are the legacy for the clans of the Issachar tribe.

Asher

24 The lot went out fifth for the clans of the tribe of Asher. 25 Their border included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26 Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal. It touched Carmel on the west and Shihor-libnath. 27 The border reversed eastward to Beth-dagon. It touched Zebulun and the Iphtah-el Valley on the north, also Beth-emek and Neiel. It went to Cabul on the north, 28 as far as Great Sidon. They also owned Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, and Kanah. 29 The border turned around to Ramah as far as the fortified city of Tyre. The border turned around to Hosah and ended at the sea. They also owned Mahalab,[f] Achzib, 30 Ummah, Aphek, and Rehob; in total: twenty-two cities and their surrounding areas. 31 These cities and their surrounding areas are the legacy for the clans of the Asher tribe.

Naphtali

32 For the people of Naphtali, the lot went out sixth. For the clans of Naphtali 33 their border ran from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim and Adami-nekeb and Jabneel as far as Lakkum. It ended at the Jordan. 34 The border reversed westward to Aznoth-tabor. It went from there to Hukkok. It touched Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west, and Judah at the Jordan on the east. 35 They also owned the fortified cities Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36 Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37 Kedesh, Edrei, En-hazor, 38 Iron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh; in total: nineteen cities and their surrounding areas. 39 These cities and their surrounding areas are the legacy for the clans of the Naphtali tribe.

Dan

40 The lot went out seventh for the clans of the Danite tribe. 41 The territory of their legacy was Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh, 42 Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43 Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44 Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45 Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon, 46 Me-jarkon, and Rakkon, along with the territory opposite Joppa. 47 But the territory of the people of Dan was lost to them. So the people of Dan went up and attacked Leshem and captured it. They struck it down without mercy. They took it over and settled it. Then they named Leshem as Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor. 48 These cities and their surrounding areas are the legacy for the clans of the Danite tribe.

Legacy for Joshua

49 So when they finished assigning the borders of the land, the Israelites gave to Joshua, Nun’s son, a legacy among them. 50 By the Lord’s command, they gave him the city that he asked for. This was Timnath-serah in the highlands of Ephraim. He built a city and lived in it. 51 These are the legacies that Eleazar the priest, Joshua, Nun’s son, and the heads of the families of the Israelite tribes assigned by lot at Shiloh. They did this before the Lord at the entrance of the meeting tent and finished dividing up the land.

Refuge cities

20 The Lord spoke to Joshua: “Say to the Israelites, ‘Set up refuge cities for yourselves. I spoke to you about these through Moses. Anyone who kills by striking down someone unintentionally or by mistake may flee there. These places will be a refuge for you from any member of the victim’s family seeking revenge. The killer will flee to one of these cities, stand at the entrance of the city gate, and explain their situation to the elders of that city. The elders are to let the killer into the city and provide a place of refuge for the killer to live with them. If a member of the victim’s family follows, seeking revenge, they won’t hand the killer over. This is because the killer struck down the neighbor by accident and hadn’t been an enemy in the past. The killer will live in that city until there can be a trial before the community or[g] until the death of the one who is high priest at that time. Then the killer may return home, back to the city from which the flight began.’”

So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the highlands of Naphtali, Shechem in the highlands of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the highlands of Judah. On the other side of the Jordan east of Jericho, they set up Bezer in the wasteland on the plateau from the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. These cities were the ones designated for all the Israelites and for immigrants residing among them. Anyone who struck down a person by mistake could flee there and escape death at the hand of some member of the victim’s family seeking revenge, until there could be a trial before the community.

Cities for the Levites

21 The heads of the levitical families approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua, Nun’s son, and the heads of the families of the Israelite tribes. They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan: “The Lord gave a command through Moses to give us cities to live in and their pasturelands for our cattle.” So the Israelites gave the Levites the following cities and their pasturelands out of their own legacy. This was in agreement with the Lord’s command.

The lot went out for the clans of the Kohathites. The descendants of Aaron the priest from among the Levites acquired thirteen cities by lot from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. The rest of the descendants of Kohath acquired ten cities by lot from the clans of the tribes of Ephraim, Dan, and half of Manasseh. The descendants of Gershon acquired thirteen cities by lot from the clans of the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and the half of Manasseh located in Bashan. The descendants of Merari acquired twelve cities for their clans from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun. So the Israelites gave these cities and their pasturelands to the Levites by lot, exactly as the Lord had commanded through Moses.

They gave the following cities, identified here by name, from the tribe of the Judahites and the tribe of the Simeonites. 10 The cities belonged to the descendants of Aaron, one of the Kohathite clans of the Levites, because the lot had fallen to them first. 11 They gave them Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the highlands of Judah and the pastures around it. (Arba was the father of Anak.) 12 But they had already given the fields of the city and its surrounding areas to Caleb, Jephunneh’s son, as his property. 13 To the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave: Hebron, the refuge city for a killer, and its pastures; Libnah and its pastures; 14 Jattir and its pastures; Eshtemoa and its pastures; 15 Holon and its pastures; Debir and its pastures; 16 Ain and its pastures; Juttah and its pastures; and Beth-shemesh and its pastures. Total from these two tribes: nine cities. 17 From the tribe of Benjamin: Gibeon and its pastures, Geba and its pastures, 18 Anathoth and its pastures, and Almon and its pastures. In total: four cities. 19 This is the total of all the cities of the priests descended from Aaron: thirteen cities with their pastures.

20 Other clans from the levitical descendants of Kohath still remained from among the descendants of Kohath. Some of their allotted cities were from the tribe of Ephraim. 21 They gave them: Shechem, the refuge city for a killer, and its pastures in the highlands of Ephraim; Gezer and its pastures; 22 Kibzaim and its pastures; and Beth-horon and its pastures; in total: four cities. 23 From the tribe of Dan: Elteke and its pastures, Gibbethon and its pastures, 24 Aijalon and its pastures, Gath-rimmon and its pastures; in total: four cities. 25 From half the tribe of Manasseh: Taanach and its pastures, and Gath-rimmon and its pastures; in total: two cities. 26 This is the total of all cities for the clans of the remaining descendants of Kohath: ten cities with their pastures.

27 To the descendants of Gershon, one of the clans of the Levites, from half the tribe of Manasseh: Golan in Bashan, the refuge city for a killer, and its pastures; and Beeshterah and its pastures; in total: two cities. 28 From the tribe of Issachar: Kishion and its pastures, Daberath and its pastures, 29 Jarmuth and its pastures, En-gannim and its pastures; in total: four cities. 30 From the tribe of Asher: Mishal and its pastures, Abdon and its pastures, 31 Helkath and its pastures, and Rehob and its pastures; in total: four cities. 32 From the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee, the refuge city for the killer, and its pastures; Hammoth-dor and its pastures; and Kartan and its pastures; in total: three cities. 33 This is the total of all cities of the Gershonites for their clans: thirteen cities with their pastures.

34 To the clans of the descendants of Merari, the rest of the Levites, from the tribe of Zebulun: Jokneam and its pastures, Kartah and its pastures, 35 Dimnah and its pastures, Nahalal and its pastures; in total: four cities. 36 From the tribe of Reuben: Bezer and its pastures, Jahaz and its pastures, 37 Kedemoth and its pastures, and Mephaath and its pastures; in total: four cities.[h] 38 From the tribe of Gad: Ramoth in Gilead, the refuge city for a killer, and its pastures; Mahanaim and its pastures; 39 Heshbon and its pastures; Jazer and its pastures; in total: four cities. 40 As for the cities of the descendants of Merari for their clans, the remaining clans of the Levites, their total allotment was twelve cities.

41 This is the total of all the cities of the Levites within the property of the Israelites: forty-eight cities with their pastures. 42 Each of these cities had its pastures around it. This was the case for all these cities.

Summary of the conquest

43 The Lord gave to Israel all the land he had pledged to give to their ancestors. They took it over and settled there. 44 The Lord gave them rest from surrounding danger, exactly as he had pledged to their ancestors. Not one of all their enemies held out against them. The Lord gave all their enemies into their power. 45 Not one of all the good things that the Lord had promised to the house of Israel failed. Every promise was fulfilled.

Eastern tribes go home

22 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh. He said to them, “You obeyed everything that Moses the Lord’s servant commanded you. You have also obeyed me in everything that I have commanded you. During these many years, you never once deserted your fellow Israelites. You faithfully obeyed the command of the Lord your God. The Lord your God has now given rest to your fellow Israelites, exactly as he promised them. So turn around and go back home. Go to the land where you hold property, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on the other side of the Jordan. Just be very careful to carry out the commandment and Instruction that Moses the Lord’s servant commanded you. Love the Lord your God. Walk in all his ways and obey his commandments. Hold on to him and serve him with all your heart and being.” Then Joshua blessed them. He sent them away, and they went home.

Moses had provided for half of the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan. But Joshua provided for the other half on the west side of the Jordan along with their fellow Israelites. When he sent them back home, Joshua also blessed them. He said to them, “Return home with great wealth and many cattle, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with much clothing. Divide the spoil taken from your enemies among your own people.”

Disagreement about an altar

So the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh went back. They left the Israelites at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. They went to the land of Gilead, to the land that they owned. They had settled there at the Lord’s command given by Moses. 10 They came to the districts[i] of the Jordan that are in the land of Canaan. The people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the Jordan, an altar that appeared to be immense. 11 Then the Israelites heard a report: “Look. The people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the far edge of the land of Canaan. It lies in the districts of the Jordan on the Israelite side!” 12 When the Israelites heard this, the entire Israelite community assembled at Shiloh to go up to war against them.

13 Then the Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest to the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh in the land of Gilead. 14 They sent with him ten leaders, one leader from each important family among the tribes of Israel. Each was the head of an important family among the military units of Israel. 15 They came to the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh in the land of Gilead and spoke with them. 16 They said, “Here is what the Lord’s entire community says: ‘What’s this disrespectful thing that you’ve done to the God of Israel? Today you’ve turned away from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar as an act of rebellion against the Lord. 17 Wasn’t the offense of Peor enough for us? Even today we still haven’t cleansed ourselves from that sin, when there was a plague on the Lord’s community! 18 Today you are turning away from following the Lord. If you rebel against the Lord today, he will be angry with the entire community of Israel tomorrow. 19 If your own property is unclean land, then cross over into the land of the Lord’s property and settle among us. That’s where the dwelling of the Lord stands. But don’t rebel against the Lord. And don’t involve us in rebellion[j] by building an altar for yourselves other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 Didn’t Achan, Zerah’s son, do such a disrespectful thing with the items reserved for God? Wrath came on the entire community of Israel. And he wasn’t the only one to die for his crime.’”

21 Then the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh answered the heads of the military units of Israel: 22 “The Lord is God of gods! The Lord is God of gods! He already knows, and now let Israel also know it! If we acted in rebellion or in disrespect against the Lord, don’t spare us today. 23 If we’ve built ourselves an altar to turn away from following the Lord or to offer on it an entirely burned offering or gift offering, or to perform well-being sacrifices on it, let the Lord himself seek punishment. 24 No! The truth is we did this out of concern for what might happen. In the future your children might say to our children, ‘What have you got to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 The Lord has set the Jordan as a border between us and you people of Reuben and Gad. You have no portion in the Lord!’ So your children might make our children stop worshipping the Lord. 26 As a result we said, ‘Let’s protect ourselves by building an altar. It isn’t to be for an entirely burned offering or for sacrifice.’ 27 But it is to be a witness between us and you and between our descendants after us. It witnesses that we too perform the service of the Lord in his presence through our entirely burned offerings, sacrifices, and well-being offerings. So in the future your children could never say to our children, ‘You have no portion in the Lord.’ 28 We thought, If in the future they ever say this to us or to our descendants, we could say, ‘Look at this replica of the altar of the Lord that our ancestors made. It isn’t for entirely burned offerings or for sacrifice but to be a witness between us and you.’ 29 God forbid that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away today from following the Lord by building an altar for an entirely burned offering, gift offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his dwelling!”

30 Phinehas the priest, the leaders of the community, and the heads of the military units of Israel who were with him heard the words that the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh spoke and approved them. 31 So Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, “Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you haven’t done a disrespectful thing against the Lord. Now you’ve delivered the Israelites from the power of the Lord.” 32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest and the leaders left the people of Reuben and Gad in the land of Gilead and came back to the Israelites in the land of Canaan. They brought word back to them. 33 The Israelites agreed and blessed God. They no longer spoke of going to war against them to destroy the land where the people of Reuben and Gad were living. 34 The people of Reuben and Gad referred to the altar in this way: “It is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Joshua’s word of warning

23 A long time passed. The Lord had given rest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua had grown very old. Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders, their heads, their judges, and their officers. He said to them, “I’ve grown very old. You’ve seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you. It is the Lord your God who fights for you. Look. I’ve allotted to you these remaining nations as a legacy for your tribes, along with all the nations I have destroyed. They stretch from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. The Lord your God will force them out before you and remove them from you. Then you will take over their land, exactly as the Lord your God has promised you. Be very strong. Carefully obey everything written in the Instruction scroll from Moses. Don’t deviate a bit from it either to the right or to the left. Don’t have anything to do with these nations that remain with you. Don’t invoke the names of their gods or take oaths by them. Don’t serve them or worship them. Hold on to the Lord your God instead, exactly as you’ve done right up to today.

“The Lord has removed great and powerful nations before you. To this day, no one has stood up to you. 10 A single one of you puts a thousand to flight. This is because the Lord your God fights for you, exactly as he promised you. 11 For your own sake, be very careful to love the Lord your God. 12 But if you should turn away and join the rest of these nations that remain with you, intermarry with them, and associate with each other, 13 then know for certain that the Lord your God won’t keep on removing these nations before you. Instead, they will be a snare and a trap for you. They will be a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you vanish from this fertile land that the Lord your God has given you.

14 “Look. I’m now walking on the road to death that all the earth must take. You know with all your heart and being that not a single one of all the good things that the Lord your God promised about you has failed. They were all fulfilled for you. Not a single one of them has failed. 15 But in the same way that every good thing that the Lord your God promised about you has been fulfilled, so the Lord could bring against you every bad thing as well. He could wipe you out from this fertile land that the Lord your God has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you to keep, and go on to serve other gods and worship them, then the Lord will be furious with you. You will quickly vanish from the fertile land that he has given you.”

What God has done

24 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders of Israel, its leaders, judges, and officers. They presented themselves before God. Then Joshua said to the entire people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the Euphrates. They served other gods. Among them was Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor. I took Abraham your ancestor from the other side of the Euphrates. I led him around through the whole land of Canaan. I added to his descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave Mount Seir to Esau to take over. But Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. Then I sent Moses and Aaron. I plagued Egypt with what I did to them. After that I brought you out. I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the sea. The Egyptians chased your ancestors with chariots and horses to the Reed Sea.[k] Then they cried for help to the Lord. So he set darkness between you and the Egyptians. He brought the sea down on them, and it covered them. With your own eyes you saw what I did to the Egyptians. You lived in the desert for a long time.

“Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived on the other side of the Jordan. They attacked you, but I gave them into your power, and you took over their land. I wiped them out before you. Then Moab’s King Balak, Zippor’s son, set out to attack Israel. He summoned Balaam, Beor’s son, to curse you. 10 But I wasn’t willing to listen to Balaam, so he actually blessed you. I rescued you from his power. 11 Then you crossed over the Jordan. You came to Jericho, and the citizens of Jericho attacked you. They were Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites. But I gave them into your power. 12 I sent the hornet[l] before you. It drove them out before you and did the same to the two kings of the Amorites. It wasn’t your sword or bow that did this. 13 I gave you land on which you hadn’t toiled and cities that you hadn’t built. You settled in them and are enjoying produce from vineyards and olive groves that you didn’t plant.

Challenge to be faithful

14 “So now, revere the Lord. Serve him honestly and faithfully. Put aside the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and serve the Lord. 15 But if it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Choose the gods whom your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But my family and I will serve the Lord.”

16 Then the people answered, “God forbid that we ever leave the Lord to serve other gods! 17 The Lord is our God. He is the one who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. He has done these mighty signs in our sight. He has protected us the whole way we’ve gone and in all the nations through which we’ve passed. 18 The Lord has driven out all the nations before us, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”

19 Then Joshua said to the people, “You can’t serve the Lord, because he is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won’t forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you leave the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn around and do you harm and finish you off, in spite of having done you good in the past.”

21 Then the people said to Joshua, “No! The Lord is the one we will serve.”

22 So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”

They said, “We are witnesses!”

23 “So now put aside the foreign gods that are among you. Focus your hearts on the Lord, the God of Israel.”

24 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and will obey him.”

Joshua makes a covenant

25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people and established just rule for them at Shechem. 26 Joshua wrote these words in God’s Instruction scroll. Then he took a large stone and put it up there under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 Joshua said to all the people, “This stone will serve here as a witness against us, because it has heard all the Lord’s words that he spoke to us. It will serve as a witness against you in case you aren’t true to your God.” 28 Then Joshua sent the people away to each one’s legacy.

Three important graves

29 After these events, Joshua, Nun’s son, the Lord’s servant, died. He was 110. 30 They buried him within the border of his own legacy, in Timnath-serah in the highlands of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash. 31 Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua. They had known every act the Lord had done for Israel.

32 The Israelites had brought up the bones of Joseph from Egypt. They buried them at Shechem in the portion of field that Jacob had purchased for one hundred qesitahs from the descendants of Hamor the father of Shechem. They became a legacy of the descendants of Joseph.

33 Eleazar son of Aaron died. They buried him at Gibeah, which belonged to his son Phinehas. It had been given to him in the highlands of Ephraim.

The tribes and their military conflicts

After Joshua’s death, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who should go up first to fight for us against the Canaanites?”

The Lord said, “The tribe of Judah will go up. I’ve handed over the land to them.”

So the tribe of Judah said to the tribe of Simeon, their brothers, “Come up with us into our territory, and let’s fight against the Canaanites. Then we’ll go with you into your territory too.” So Simeon went with them.

When Judah went up, the Lord handed them the Canaanites and Perizzites. They defeated ten thousand men at Bezek. There they found Adoni-bezek at Bezek, fought against him, and defeated the Canaanites and Perizzites. Adoni-bezek fled, but they chased after him, captured him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes. He said, “Seventy kings with severed thumbs and big toes used to pick up scraps under my table, so God has paid me back exactly for what I did.” They brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. The people of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it. They killed its people with their swords and set the city on fire.

Afterward, the people of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the highlands, the southern plain,[m] and the western foothills.[n] 10 Judah moved against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron, known before as Kiriath-arba, and they defeated Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. 11 From there they moved against those who lived in Debir, known before as Kiriath-sepher. 12 Caleb said, “I’ll give my daughter Achsah as a wife to the one who defeats and captures Kiriath-sepher.” 13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it; so Caleb gave him his daughter Achsah as a wife. 14 When she arrived, she convinced Othniel to ask her father for a certain piece of land. As she got down from her donkey, Caleb said to her, “What do you want?”

15 Achsah said to Caleb, “Give me a gift. Since you’ve given me land in the southern plain, give me springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

16 The descendants of Moses’ father-in-law the Kenite went up with the people of Judah from Palm City into the Judean desert, which was in the southern plain near Arad. They went and lived with the Amalekites.[o] 17 Then the Judahites went with the Simeonites, their brothers, and they defeated the Canaanites who lived in Zephath, and they completely destroyed it. So the city was called Hormah.[p] 18 Judah also captured Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and all their territories. 19 Thus the Lord was with the tribe of Judah, and they took possession of the highlands. However, they didn’t drive out those who lived in the plain because they had iron chariots. 20 They gave Hebron to Caleb, just as Moses had commanded, and they drove out from there the three sons of Anak. 21 But the people of Benjamin didn’t drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem. So the Jebusites still live with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem today.

22 In the same way, Joseph’s household went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 When they sent men to spy on Bethel, previously named Luz, 24 the spies saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, “Show us the way into the city, and we’ll be loyal to you in return.” 25 So he showed them the way into the city. They killed the city’s people with their swords, but they let that man and all his relatives go. 26 The man went to the land of the Hittites and built a city. He named it Luz, which is still its name today.

27 The tribe of Manasseh didn’t drive out the people in Beth-shean, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, or any of their villages. The Canaanites were determined to live in that land. 28 When Israel became stronger they forced the Canaanites to work for them, but they didn’t completely drive them out. 29 The tribe of Ephraim didn’t drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, so the Canaanites kept on living there with them.

30 The tribe of Zebulun didn’t drive out the people living in Kitron or Nahalol. These Canaanites lived with them but were forced to work for them. 31 The tribe of Asher didn’t drive out the people living in Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob. 32 The people of Asher settled among the Canaanites in the land because they couldn’t drive them out. 33 The tribe of Naphtali didn’t drive out the people living in Beth-shemesh or Beth-anath but settled among the Canaanites in the land. The people living in Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath were forced to work for them.

34 The Amorites pushed the people of Dan back into the highlands because they wouldn’t allow them to come down to the plain. 35 The Amorites were determined to live in Har-heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim, but Joseph’s household became strong, and the Amorites were forced to work for them. 36 The border of the Amorites ran from the Akrabbim pass, from Sela, and upward.

The Lord’s messenger condemns

The Lord’s messenger came up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, “I brought you up from Egypt and led you into the land that I had promised to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you are not to make a covenant with those who live in this land. You should break down their altars.’ But you didn’t obey me. What have you done? So now I tell you, I won’t drive them out before you, but they’ll be a problem[q] for you, and their gods will be a trap for you.” When the Lord’s messenger spoke these words to all the Israelites, they raised their voices and cried out loud. So they named that place Bochim,[r] and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord there.

Death of Joshua and his generation

When Joshua dismissed the people, the Israelites each went to settle on their own family property in order to take possession of the land. The people served the Lord throughout the rest of Joshua’s life and throughout the next generation of elders who outlived him, those who had seen all the great things that the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua, Nun’s son and the Lord’s servant, died when he was 110 years old. They buried him within the boundaries of his family property in Timnath-heres in the highlands of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash. 10 When that whole generation had passed away, another generation came after them who didn’t know the Lord or the things that he had done for Israel.

Israel’s pattern of sin and punishment

11 Then the Israelites did things that the Lord saw as evil: They served the Baals; 12 and they went away from the Lord, their ancestors’ God, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods from among the surrounding peoples, they worshipped them, and they angered the Lord. 13 They went away from the Lord and served Baal and the Astartes. 14 So the Lord became angry with Israel, and he handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He let them be defeated by their enemies around them, so that they were no longer able to stand up to them. 15 Whenever the Israelites marched out, the Lord’s power worked against them, just as the Lord had warned them. And they were very distressed.

16 Then the Lord raised up leaders[s] to rescue them from the power of these raiders. 17 But they wouldn’t even obey their own leaders because they were unfaithful, following other gods and worshipping them. They quickly deviated from the way of their ancestors, who had obeyed the Lord’s commands, and didn’t follow their example.

18 The Lord was moved by Israel’s groaning under those who oppressed and crushed them. So the Lord would raise up leaders for them, and the Lord would be with the leader, and he would rescue Israel from the power of their enemies as long as that leader lived.

19 But then when the leader died, they would once again act in ways that weren’t as good as their ancestors’, going after other gods, to serve them and to worship them. They wouldn’t drop their bad practices or hardheaded ways. 20 So the Lord became angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated my covenant that I required of their ancestors and hasn’t obeyed me, 21 I in turn will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died.” 22 As a test for Israel, to see whether they would carefully walk in the Lord’s ways just as their ancestors had done, 23 the Lord left these nations instead of driving them out immediately or handing them over to Joshua.

Nations remaining in the land

These are the nations that the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had no firsthand knowledge of the wars of Canaan. They survived only to teach war to the generations of Israelites who had no firsthand knowledge of the earlier wars: the five rulers of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, Sidonians, and Hivites who lived in the highlands of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath. They were to be the test for Israel, to find out whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had made to their ancestors through Moses. So the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. But the Israelites intermarried with them and served their gods.

Othniel, the model judge

The Israelites did things that the Lord saw as evil, and they forgot the Lord their God. They served the Baals and the Asherahs.[t] The Lord became angry with Israel and gave them over to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim. The Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. But then they cried out to the Lord. So the Lord raised up a deliverer for the Israelites, Othniel, Kenaz’s son, Caleb’s younger brother, who rescued them. 10 The Lord’s spirit was in Othniel, and he led Israel. When he marched out for war, the Lord handed over Aram’s King Cushan-rishathaim. Othniel overpowered Cushan-rishathaim, 11 and the land was peaceful for forty years, until Othniel, Kenaz’s son, died.

Ehud

12 The Israelites again did things that the Lord saw as evil, and the Lord put Moab’s King Eglon in power over them, because they did these things that the Lord saw as evil. 13 He convinced the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, defeated Israel, and took possession of Palm City. 14 So the Israelites served Moab’s King Eglon eighteen years.

15 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord. So the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud, Gera’s son, a Benjaminite, who was left-handed. The Israelites sent him to take their tribute payment to Moab’s King Eglon. 16 Now Ehud made for himself a double-edged sword that was about a foot and a half long, and he strapped it on his right thigh under his clothes. 17 Then he presented the tribute payment to Moab’s King Eglon, who was a very fat man. 18 When he had finished delivering the tribute payment, Ehud sent on their way the people who had carried it. 19 But he himself turned back at the carved stones near Gilgal, and he said, “I have a secret message for you, King.”

So Eglon said, “Hush!” and all his attendants went out of his presence. 20 Ehud approached him while he was sitting alone in his cool second-story room, and he said, “I have a message from God for you.” At that, Eglon got up from his throne. 21 Ehud reached with his left hand and grabbed the sword from his right thigh. He stabbed it into Eglon’s stomach, 22 and even the handle went in after the blade. Since he did not pull the sword out of his stomach, the fat closed over the blade, and his guts spilled out.[u] 23 Ehud slipped out to the porch, and closed and locked the doors of the second-story room behind him.

24 After Ehud had slipped out, the king’s servants came and found that the room’s doors were locked. So they thought, He must be relieving himself in the cool chamber. 25 They waited so long that they were embarrassed, but he never opened the doors of the room. Then they used the key to open them, and there was their master lying dead on the ground!

26 Ehud had gotten away while they were waiting and had passed the carved stones and escaped to Seirah. 27 When he arrived, he blew the ram’s horn in the Ephraim highlands. So the Israelites went down from the highlands with Ehud leading them.

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua 15:4 Or Wadi, traditionally Brook; LXX their south border; MT your south border
  2. Joshua 15:28 LXX and Neh 11:27; Heb Biziothiah
  3. Joshua 15:59 LXX; MT lacks Tekoa, Ephrathah … surrounding areas.
  4. Joshua 17:11 Heb uncertain
  5. Joshua 18:18 LXX and Josh 15:6; MT slope opposite the desert plain
  6. Joshua 19:29 LXX; MT Mehebel
  7. Joshua 20:6 Heb uncertain
  8. Joshua 21:37 LXX and 1 Chron 6:78-79 (Heb 6:63-64); some Heb manuscripts lack 21:36-37.
  9. Joshua 22:10 Heb Geliloth
  10. Joshua 22:19 Or rebel against us
  11. Joshua 24:6 Or Red Sea
  12. Joshua 24:12 Heb uncertain
  13. Judges 1:9 Heb negeb
  14. Judges 1:9 Heb shephelah
  15. Judges 1:16 LXX (cf 1 Sam 15:6); MT people
  16. Judges 1:17 Or destruction
  17. Judges 2:3 Heb uncertain
  18. Judges 2:5 Or weepers or weeping
  19. Judges 2:16 Or judges
  20. Judges 3:7 Heb asherim; perhaps objects or a pole devoted to the goddess Asherah
  21. Judges 3:22 Heb uncertain
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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