Chapter 34


Boundaries of the Promised Land

    • The Lord told Moses to give the Israelites instructions regarding the borders of their inheritance in the land of Canaan:

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Chapter 34 gives the borders of the land of Canaan, which Israel was to settle according to the guidelines in 26:52-56. Ever since the call of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-7), the Promised Land of Canaan has stood at the heart of the OT story… Here, God reviewed the plan and identified the boundaries of the Promised Land in an idealized form.” These borders for the land of Canaan agree with ancient records. The same source continues, “…these borders describe the province of Canaan as generally defined by Egyptian texts dating 1500-1200 BC (the period of the Hebrew invasion).”

      • The east end of your southern border will begin on the east end of the Dead Sea. From there it will run south past Scorpion Pass continuing toward Zin, and ending at its southernmost point just south of Kadesh-barnea. From that point it will go to Hazar-addar and continue on to Azmon. From Azmon, the border will turn, proceeding to the Brook of Egypt and ending at the Mediterranean Sea.”

        • Guzik notes, “There is some debate about the identity of the Brook of Egypt; is it the Nile river, or a smaller stream towards the south? This would determine whether or not God gave the greater Sinai region to Israel as part of the Promised Land.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible takes the following position on the Brook of Egypt, “…(not to be confused with the Nile) designates the wadi that separates the land of Canaan from Egypt; it drains toward the Mediterranean Sea (cp 1 Kings 8:65).”

      • Your western border will be the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.”

      • To mark your northern border, draw a line from the coast of the Mediterranean straight to Mount Hor, then from Mount Hor continue that line to Lebo-hamath, then on through Zedad, then through Ziphron, ending at Hazar-enan.”

      • To mark your eastern border draw a line from Hazar-enan to Shepham. From Shepham, the line will continue downward to Riblah (on the eastern side of Ain). From here in will continue down along the eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee. Then, the line will proceed down along the Jordan River and end at the Dead Sea. These are the boundaries of your land.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Its (the Sea of Galilee) eastern edge (literally shoulder) is the ridge that rises rather abruptly from its eastern shoreline…The natural eastern border of Canaan followed the Jordan River down to the Dead Sea. As part of the Great Rift Valley, the Jordan and the Dead Sea were formidable, though not impassable, barriers. This boundary excluded the lands east of the Jordan that were occupied by Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Those settlements were not part of Canaan per se and stood outside the Promised Land as originally defined.”

    • Then Moses told the Israelites, “The land within these boundaries is the land that you are to receive by lot according to the Lord. It will be divided up among nine and a half tribes because the Reubenites, Gadites, and half of the tribe of Manasseh have taken their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho.”

Leaders for Distributing the Land

    • The Lord told Moses that He had chosen Eleazar (the priest) and Joshua (Nun’s son) to divide the land up among the people. He also told Moses to task one leader from each tribe with helping Eleazar and Joshua. The men the Lord appointed to do this work were the following:

      • From the tribe of Judah: Caleb (Jephunneah’s son)

      • From the tribe of Simeon: Shemuel (Ammihud’s son)

      • From the tribe of Benjamin: Elidad (Kislon’s son)

      • From the tribe of Dan: Bukki (Jogli’s son)

      • From the tribe of Manasseh (Joseph’s son): Hanniel (Ephod’s son)

      • From the tribe of Ephraim (Joseph’s son): Kemuel (Shiphtan’s son)

      • From the tribe of Zebulun: Elizaphan (Parnach’s son)

      • From the tribe of Issachar: Paltiel (Azzan’s son)

      • From the tribe of Asher: Ahihud (Shelomi’s son)

      • From the tribe of Naphtali: Pedahel (Ammihud’s son)