Joshua – Lesson 14 - Joshua Chapter 14



Last week we saw Joshua in the latter years of his life being told by God that much of the land of Canaan was still remaining to be possessed. And God gave him instructions to go on in and to take the rest of the land, but in Chapter 13 we found that some of the people were not driven out. That was sad, because if the people had but obeyed the Lord, he promised to drive them out of the land. We open Chapter 14 with the people having conquered the land and the strongholds destroyed. But many of the lands were still in the hands of the original inhabitants. Joshua had led the people to slay the kings and take over the important cities, and now Israel was to go forth and to divide the land for an inheritance.


I. How the Land was Divided

Josh 14:1 And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them.

Josh 14:2 By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.

The land was to be divided by their inheritance according to the size of the tribe. Moses had received instruction from God on how to give the larger amount of land to the tribes with more people.

Num 26:53 Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.

Num 26:54 To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him.

We see that the ones with more were to receive a greater inheritance, while those with few members received less.

Num 26:55 Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.

We see a second rule was placed that the land was to be divided by lot. In this, we see God choosing the size and amount of land. Joshua was not given a free hand to decide how much each tribe was to receive, neither was Eleazar nor any of the heads of the tribes. The final location of each tribe was in the hand of God. As I put this together last night, I thought of how this is in our own lives. Many times we may think we have a lot to do with what happens in our lives, but in reality, we have very little besides the free choice to make good or bad decisions. The ultimate amount of blessings and trials are all in God's hands.

Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

The bible asks if we can add one cubit to our stature, and the answer is no. We are at the mercy of a loving Heavenly Father, and I am so glad He cares so much for us.

Josh 14:3 For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them.

Josh 14:4 For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance.

Josh 14:5 As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.

By God being the one to divide the land, this left out the ability for man to be partial and to give some who might deserve less too much. Also, this would leave no room for murmuring from the people.

Lev 25:23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.

Lev 25:24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land.

Lev 25:25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.

Lev 25:26 And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it;

Lev 25:27 Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.

Lev 25:28 But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.

We see in Leviticus that the land belonged to God. The first time that the word lot was mentioned in the bible was in Lev 16:8

Lev 16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.

We see the term LOT here mentioned is associated with Israel's High Priest, and it showed the determining will of God. So many think that their life is a hit or miss, by luck or by chance proposition. That is so far from the truth. Our very existence, our destiny is planned out by one so great that He knows us even better than we know ourselves. God is not limited by time like you and I, and 20 years ago or 10,000 years ago, he knew who would be in the services of the church this morning. An awesome thought, but God is omniscient and eternal. He knows all things, and he has existed before time began and will continue without end. How? I don't know. But by faith, we are to trust God and to go on to greater levels of maturity.

2 Tim 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

2 Tim 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

2 Tim 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

2 Tim 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Paul told young Timothy to avoid foolish and unlearned questions because all they do is cause strife. And in Titus, he warned against it again.

Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

In verse 1 of this chapter, we see that Eleazar, the priest is mentioned in connection with the dividing of the land. The lot was for the purpose of giving a judgment or an infallible decision.

Josh 19:51 These are the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. So they made an end of dividing the country.

We see in this verse that the dividing of the land took place at the door of the tabernacle. We can also see that the heads of the tribes were present when the land was divided. This was in accord with the words of Moses in Numbers.

Num 34:18 And ye shall take one prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.

The leader was to be witness that everything had been done fairly in the distribution of the land according to the size of the tribe and the casting of the lot. God chose those men, known as princes, during the life of Moses and named them and kept them alive through all the fighting that Israel went through.

We should learn from this lesson that whatever our lot is in life, we should take it to heart and just trust God. God chooses for us, and when we look to him with the honor and glory he should command, we will know that everything in this life has a purpose. Not all things are good, but he can work all things to our good. Even when we are our very best, and following the leading of our hearts, sometimes we will be wrong. But God's way is never wrong.

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jer 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

When we let God choose our vocation, our partner for life, our church, even the smallest of matters in life, we find that it is all for our best. Those who let God do the leading and choosing in this life never find cause to repent of their lot. Can you ever remember going to church and leaving, and having a feeling that you wasted your time? I never have. Now Satan sometimes has stirred me up because my sin was mentioned and I might not have wanted to hear about it, but when my heart has been right with God, I have always come away from God's house rejoicing that He let me attend the services.

But when I've left God out of my plans and not consulted Him, and went my own way, many, many times I have gotten into trouble.

Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Jer 10:24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.


II. Caleb Claims the Mountain Moses Promised Him

Josh 14:6 Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea.

Josh 14:7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.

Josh 14:8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.

Josh 14:9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.

Josh 14:10 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.

Josh 14:11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

Josh 14:12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.

Josh 14:13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.

Josh 14:14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.

Josh 14:15 And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.

We see in these verses that the lot was cast to determine the portions of the tribes. Caleb came before those in charge of that business and presented his claim unto Hebron for his possession. We know that Caleb was the man that God had chosen.

Num 34:19 And the names of the men are these: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.

In J. Vernon McGee's commentary on Joshua, he said that he thought Caleb found the fountain of youth in Canaan. Not a physical fountain, but he found youth in 3 things.

1.) Faith to forget the failures of the past 2.) Faith to face facts 3.) Faith to face the future. All of us need to be so youthful minded when we grow old. Never to old to dwell on failures or refuse to accept the facts, but willing to go on to newer and greater things in our service for the Lord. Of all the spies sent out to spy out the promised land, only two came back with a positive report. And all the others except those that were grown fighting men died before this time, but not Caleb and Joshua. What a blessing to be allowed to live and enter into the blessings God had promised. Oh to have the strength of mind and body to be like a Joshua or a Caleb. We saw last week that Joshua was now old and stricken in years, but not so Caleb. It says in verse 11 that he was still as strong as he was in the days of Moses. Many of those feared the giants in the land, but Caleb viewed them from the eyes of God, and that cut them down to size. As Martin Luther said, a man and God is a majority.

God had made the promise of the land to Caleb, and like Paul in the New Testament, he believed God.

Deu 1:36 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.

We see that this promise was from God, therefore his life was in the hand of God through all of the years in the wilderness. Since it was already written, there was no need to cast the lot to find Caleb's inheritance. Note that it says in verse 10 "That the Lord kept me alive." All of us need to come to that realization about our own lives.


III. Hebron and its Meaning

Josh 14:14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.

Josh 14:15 And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.

Hebron signified fellowship.

It is possible that it was named this because of the communion which Abraham had with God there.

Gen 13:18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.

Of course, this being a place dedicated to God, a place of fellowship, you know Satan would do everything possible to keep God's people away from this place. Ever notice how many things Satan can bring up to occupy your time when Church time comes around. Friends and relatives may start dropping in, or some great sports game may be coming on right when the services are scheduled. But we must be like Caleb, Joshua, Abraham, and all the great men of faith. They put God first, and that is so pleasing to the Savior.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

We certainly can see that Hebron was the suitable place for Caleb. There could be no greater inheritance than to be in the place of fellowship, the place where God was honored. And that was where Caleb would want to be. God's people desire to be in the place of service to God where He dwells. And to be around the people like-minded who love and serve Jesus.

Psa 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

And in the end, the land had rest from war. We know in Ecclesiastes, the Bible says there is a time for peace, and a time for war. We should be thankful when we are in the time of peace. But peace down here does not last, but one day it will. When Jesus returns and sets up His Millennial kingdom, the land will truly have rest from war.


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