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Daily Devotional

March 8


by Henry T. Vriesen

Joshua 14–19

By the help of God the conquest of Canaan was accomplished. Nevertheless, there were still a few cities held by the Canaanites, but Israel had the rule over the country. Now the time had come to divide the land. Two tribes and a half—Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh—had already received their portion on the east side of the river Jordan; so there were nine and one-half tribes that had not yet received their portion. By the command of the Lord Joshua and the high priest, Eleazar, took care of this matter. Judah, one of the largest tribes, received the hill country west of the Dead Sea; Simeon received a portion south of this toward the desert; Benjamin’s portion was north of Judah on the east towards the Jordan; and Dan’s portion was north of Judah to the west, extending to the Great Sea. The middle of the country, around the city of Shechem, was allotted to Ephraim (son of Joseph). The second half of Manasseh was north of Ephraim, from the river Jordan to the Great Sea. North of Manasseh were Zebulun and Asher, their land extending to the Great Sea. Issachar and Naphtali received the territory that extended to the Jordan river and to the sea of Kinnoreth (Sea of Galilee). The tribe of Levi, who should serve as priests and Levites, did not receive any portion, but only a number of cities. The dividing of the land took place at Shiloh. After all the years of wandering the people certainly were glad that now they could settle down and have their own home in various parts of the country. At that time it could be said, “And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.”

The tabernacle had been at Gilgal ever since Israel crossed the river Jordan. The time had now come to move it to a permanent place. Shiloh was chosen for its location. This place was located near the center of the land of Israel. All the people were commanded to come to this sanctuary three times every year to worship the Lord. They were to appear for the great feasts that they should observe at the tabernacle: the first was the Feast of the Passover, to remind Israel of the sparing of the firstborn at the departure from Egypt; the next was the Feast of Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover, it was a harvest festival to remind the people that God is the giver and fountain of all good; and the last was the Feast of Tabernacles, in the fall of the year, when for a week they slept in huts built of twigs and boughs, to remind them of the long years when they lived in tents in the wilderness. Some of the priests and some of the Levites stayed at Shiloh to take care of the worship of the tabernacle.

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