Chapter 14


Land Divided West of the Jordan (14:1-19:51)

          • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The allotment of land to the tribes on the west side of the Jordan describes what God intended for each tribe to possess. The narrator frames this section with the assignment of land to Caleb at the beginning (14:6-15) and to Joshua at the end (19:49-51). Only Caleb and Joshua had expressed faith in God that Israel could conquer the land (Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9).”

      • The rest of the Israelites received their allotment of land in Canaan from Eleazar the priest, Joshua (Nun’s son), and the clan leaders of the tribes. The inheritances of the nine and a half tribes were determined by lot just as the Lord had commanded through Moses. Moses had already given the two and a half tribes their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan, but the Levites did not receive an inheritance among them. Joseph’s descendants were separated into two tribes- Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites were not allotted a portion of land, but they were given cities to live in, surrounded by pastureland for their livestock and their possessions. The Israelites distributed the land just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

        • HCSB adds, “…the allocation of the land…was to be determined by casting lots (perhaps the Urim and the Thummim of the high priest (Leviticus 8:8) for which parcel of land each tribe should inherit. This was according to the Lord’s directive for the allotment of land (Numbers 26:55-56; 33:54). Use of the lot by Eleazar, the high priest, was not a matter of chance; it was a matter of obedience to the Lord’s instruction. God was responsible for the outcome of the casting of the lot (Joshua 18:6-10; Proverbs 16:33).”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Joseph, the elder son of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel, received a double portion of land through his sons Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 48:5-7).”

      • The same source continues, “Because the Levites did not receive a separate tribal territory (Joshua 13:14), the total number of tribes with land remained at twelve.”

      • Guzik breaks down the numbers to clarify, “We commonly think and speak of the ‘twelve tribes of Israel’ but actually there were thirteen, because although there were twelve sons of Jacob (Israel), the descendants of one of his sons, Joseph, divided into two tribes (Manasseh and Ephraim)…This explains why you can have two and one-half tribes on the east side of the Jordan river, nine and one-half tribes on the west side of the Jordan river, and one tribe with no province as their inheritance.”

Caleb’s Request and Inheritance

      • The people of the tribe of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb (son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite) said to Joshua, “You know what the Lord told Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was 40 years old when the Lord’s servant, Moses, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to scout out the land. I brought back an honest report, but my brothers who had gone with me frightened the people. However, I remained true to the Lord my God. That day Moses swore to me saying, ‘The land where you set foot will be an inheritance for you and your descendants forever because you have remained true to the Lord my God.’”

        • The NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Only Caleb and Joshua were faithful to God at the first opportunity to enter the land, so God promised them that they would possess it (Numbers 14:24).”

        • The same source makes this interesting note, “The Kenizzite people were not originally Israelites (Genesis 15:19); how they became attached to Judah is unknown.”

      • Caleb continued, “Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive just as He promised for these 45 years since He spoke these words to Moses, and while Israel journeyed in the wilderness. I am 85 years old now and still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out to scout. My strength for war and daily activities now is just as it was then. So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You heard that day that the Anakim were there, with large fortified cities. If the Lord will be with me, I will drive them out just as He said.

        • Guzik writes, “Though he is advanced in age, his strength is undiminished. At eighty-five he was out leading the fight, and not against just any foe, but against the Anakim…In fact, Caleb wants the fight. He could have asked for an easy place, but he knows that these foes must be faced and figures that he may as well be the one to do it. He doesn’t leave the work to someone else, though he could have, especially at his age.”

    • Then Joshua blessed Caleb, Jephunneh’s son, and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. Hebron has belonged to Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, as his inheritance to this day because he remained true to the Lord, the God of Israel. Hebron’s name used to be Kiriath-arba. Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then, the land had rest from war.