Notes on Joshua 13 verses 15-33

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

15 And Moses gave unto the tribe of the children of Reuben (inheritance) according to their families. 16 And their coast was from Aroer, that (is) on the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that (is) in the midst of the river, and all the plain by Medeba; 17 Heshbon, and all her cities that (are) in the plain; Dibon, and Bamothbaal, and Bethbaalmeon, 18 And Jahazah, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath, 19 And Kirjathaim, and Sibmah, and Zarethshahar in the mount of the valley, 20 And Bethpeor, and Ashdothpisgah, and Bethjeshimoth, 21 And all the cities of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses smote with the princes of Midian, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, (which were) dukes of Sihon, dwelling in the country.

All this was given to the tribe of Reuben as their inheritance.

22 Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.

Balaam’s story is told in Numbers 22-24. He was contacted and requested to curse Israel, by the king of Moab, but God intervened. The requests for curses became blessings instead!
Balaam returned to his home place (Mesopotamia) after his encounter with Balak king of Moab, but paid with his life later on (Num. 31:8).

23 And the border of the children of Reuben was Jordan, and the border (thereof). This (was) the inheritance of the children of Reuben after their families, the cities and the villages thereof.

The Jordan formed a natural boundary between the east and west sides of that river. The other nine and a half tribes would later settle on the western side. Gad and half- (East-) Manasseh were given the land on the eastern side.

24 And Moses gave (inheritance) unto the tribe of Gad, (even) unto the children of Gad according to their families. 25 And their coast was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon, unto Aroer that (is) before Rabbah; 26 And from Heshbon unto Ramathmizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim unto the border of Debir; 27 And in the valley, Betharam, and Bethnimrah, and Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, Jordan and (his) border, (even) unto the edge of the sea of Chinnereth on the other side Jordan eastward. 28 This (is) the inheritance of the children of Gad after their families, the cities, and their villages.

Gad received the land north of Reuben up to the Sea of “Chinnereth (Galilee)”. Some of these cities are mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament (e.g. Mahanaim, Gen. 32:1-2). Rabbah was the capital of Ammon and was the site of several battles between Ammon and Israel (2 Sam 11 & 12, e.g.).

29 And Moses gave (inheritance) unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and (this) was (the possession) of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families. 30 And their coast was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which (are) in Bashan, threescore cities: 31 And half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, (were pertaining) unto the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, (even) to the one half of the children of Machir by their families. 32 These (are the countries) which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward.
Machir seems to be the leader of this half-tribe of Manasseh.

They received the northernmost section of the land east of Jordan.

33 But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not (any) inheritance: the LORD God of Israel (was) their inheritance, as he said unto them.

As has been mentioned before (verse 14, see also references listed there).

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)

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