Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 14:5 As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.
These verses are an introduction to the rest of this chapter and the following chapters that detail the division of the land among the tribes of Israel. It is noted that Eleazar the priest, Joshua and the chief leader of each of the tribes superintended the division. We were told the names of these leaders in our study of Numbers 34.
Divisions were decided by lot, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. It was recognized that the LORD controlled the process.
Numbers 26:52–55 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names. 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. Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.”
Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.”
Since he was the high priest, Eleazar had possession of the Urim and Thummim, and it is likely that these were used in the process in some way.
Numbers 27:21 “And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD….”
The focus is on the 9.5 tribes that would inherit west of the Jordan River since the 2.5 tribes had received their inheritances east of Jordan. Again we are reminded that the Levites will receive no specific inheritance; however, they will be given cities in which to live and the surrounding suburbs throughout the whole of the land to provide for their livestock.
Beautiful words to read—the people obeyed the LORD. They divided the land according to the instruction of Moses as commanded by God.
Reminder: Joseph was to receive a double portion since Jacob had adopted his two sons—Ephraim and Manasseh. So, even though the Levites received no inheritance, the land was divided among 12 tribes.
Genesis 48:3–5 “And Jacob said unto Joseph….thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.”
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
The children of Judah came with Caleb, son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, to meet with Joshua in Gilgal. He addressed Moses first on his own behalf. He reminded Joshua that Moses, the man of God, had made a specific promise to both him and Joshua after they had served as spies at Kadeshbarnea. He reminded Joshua that he had spoken what was in his heart to encourage the people to begin to take possession of the land at that time. The report of all the other spies, except Joshua, had caused the people to ignore their good report. Caleb points out that he never wavered in his confidence that the LORD “my God” would lead them to victory. Caleb went on to remind Joshua that because of his faith Moses swore that he and his children would receive a permanent inheritance in the land of promise.
I loved the continued reference to Moses as the “man of God” and “the servant of the LORD.” My desire is to be known as a “woman of God” and “the servant of the LORD.”
I also love that Caleb references the LORD as “my God.” He could only make such an assertion because his life gave testimony to its truth. He followed the LORD “wholly”—totally, completely, to the exclusion of anyone else. Again, my desire is to do the same.
I couldn’t help but think of the promise in scripture that we, as followers of the LORD Jesus, can also approach the LORD boldly with our requests in the spirit of Caleb. The difference being that our standing before the LORD is in righteousness that is a gift from our Savior.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 14:13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Caleb goes on to note how the LORD had kept him alive for the last 45 years in light of His promise. He was 85 years old at this time, yet he was still as strong as he was when Moses sent them out as spies. He was just as fit for war now as he was then.
Finally Caleb gets to the point. He asked that Joshua give him Hebron as his inheritance. Even though Anakim, descendants of the giants, were said to occupy the land, he wasn’t afraid because he knew that with God on his side he was assured the victory.
Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him what he requested.
Joshua notes that Hebron had previously been known as Kirjatharba in honor of Arba, one of the greatest among the Anakims.
He then notes that the land had rest from war.