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Joshua 16-20 Common English Bible (CEB)


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.


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.)[a] 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[b] 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.


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.


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.


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.


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,[c] 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.


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.


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[d] 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.


  1. Joshua 17:11 Heb uncertain
  2. Joshua 18:18 LXX and Josh 15:6; MT slope opposite the desert plain
  3. Joshua 19:29 LXX; MT Mehebel
  4. Joshua 20:6 Heb uncertain
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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