Welcome to Expound, a verse-by-verse study of God's word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God, by explaining the word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Would you turn in your Bibles-- did you bring one? Book of Joshua, we're marshaling our way through. We're in chapter 15 of that book tonight. Joshua in your Old Testament, chapter 15. We're in the middle of the exciting part of Joshua, the real estate contract given to the tribes of Israel. Let's see what the Lord has for us though.
Father, we want to commit the evening to you, and we pray that no matter what our week has been, what our day has been, what's going on inside of our body physically, what's going on inside of our lives spiritually, you are still on that throne. We acknowledge your greatness, your sovereignty over our lives. We're grateful that our lives are in your hands and we make that declaration by faith, that you're going to feed us tonight through your word, and that you have a sure word from heaven to give to us here in this place at this time in our lives.
I pray, Father, that you would increase our desire to be filled with the knowledge of spiritual things, to even know some of the background and the history, so that the New Testament makes sense to us, because so much is based upon the Old Testament. But Father, we thank you as we explore the old covenant. We're grateful that we're part of the new one. That it's not about our works, it's not about us settling land allotments for our tribe, but that we have a home reserved in heaven because of what Jesus did for us. So we thank you. We just pray that you'd strengthen us and speak to us in Jesus' name. Amen.
I was reading a little article about the top heroes, and they regarded the top heroes purely by votes. People voted of all the people in history that were their heroes, who were they. And there were probably-- I saw hundreds of names on these pages. So the top heroes, by public acclamation and by voting. Number one, Abraham Lincoln. I'll give you the first eight. Abraham Lincoln was the top hero on this list, followed by Nelson Mandela number two, followed by Leonardo da Vinci number three, and then William Shakespeare, then Mahatma Gandhi, then George Washington, followed by Sir Isaac Newton, and finally number eight, Martin Luther King Jr. All heroes by popular acclaim in people's hearts and minds.
I want to add two more to that list. One is Joshua, the son of Nun. We want to get that pronunciation right so we don't mess it up for our friends who might think he is Joshua the son of a nun, he is not. Nun. And then Caleb. We read about him last week, and we're going to read a little bit more about him tonight. Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite. Two old dudes who loved God, were men of faith, men of courage, and passed that faith on, lived out that faith to the next generation. And I say that they passed it on because, you know, faith is contagious. It is. When you see somebody full of faith, boy I tell you what, that's a magnetic personality. And it is contagious, it rubs off. Unbelief is also contagious. Fear is also contagious. But when you find a man or a woman of faith, you want to be around them. You want just the leftover of what's spilling off of those people.
So those two, I'm adding to the hero list, because they weren't content, even in their older age, to sit back and just collect retirement. They weren't about retiring, they were about restructuring. Joshua was about 100 years old at this point, Caleb was in his 80s. 85 years of age and he wanted the mountain to conquer. Joshua's 100 and he's old, and God comes to him, we saw last week, and said, you're old. Get over it. You're advanced in years. So he's not going to retire, but he is restructuring, meaning he's not fighting the battles anymore, he's going to give that to the new generation. Telling them their land allotments, now they will go in and they will fight the battles. What he will do is he will manage the land allotment of those tribes who will go in and then settle the land, which includes fighting the battles. That's the restructuring part.
Caleb, however, he wants another battle. He wants the battle he didn't get 45 years before, because of unbelief that kept them out, and he had to wander through the desert for 40 some years with the rest of them. But now he's back and he's advancing in a land that the Lord gave to him. We saw last week in a period of our study together, and it was the area of Hebron down in Judah that he was given. His name will be mentioned again, we'll see it in just a little bit.
When we get to chapter 15, that's where we are tonight-- now here's my aim. Here's my desire. This is what's in my heart. I want to cover 15, 16, and 17. Now before you laugh at that, before you say not going to happen, nothing is impossible with God. I've prayed for this. And I'm not going to read all the crazy names that are in these chapters, OK. If you have read this in advance, you know exactly what I mean. There are some weird names of cities and territories, and these are real estate contracts. I'm just going to sum it up, give you the highlights, have you notice a few of these cities and we're going to move on, because this is the allotment that is given.
Now back in the book of Numbers chapter 26, there was a principle that Moses laid down, that Joshua is following this principle. The principle is simple. For a larger tribe, you give a larger inheritance. For a smaller tribe, you give a smaller inheritance. If there's a lot of people, you give more land, if there's fewer people you give them less land. And they would draw these allotments out by lot, they would draw lots, they would cast lots. And that would determine the general areas of the country, but the size of those areas were determined by the size of the tribe. We get that back in the book of Numbers, we're not going to go back and chase that down.
Now where we are in the book of Joshua is this. The 12 tribes that settled in this new land, most of them settled on the West Bank of the Jordan River. From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, that's the land of Canaan. They cross the Jordan, they enter in, they settle. However, 2 1/2 tribes wanted to settle east. We covered their land allotment, for the most part, last week. Now we're dealing with the 9 1/2 tribes on the west side of the Jordan River.
First on the list in the land of Canaan is the tribe of Judah. Now that's a little odd because typically when you give land allotments out in a family, you begin with the firstborn. Judah was not the first born, Judah was the fourth born. Reuben was the first born, but he-- we already saw in Genesis 49 last week-- he by his behavior really lost the right of the birthright and the idea of having a double portion, so he doesn't get that. Now Judah is interesting. Judah, though he is the fourth tribe and fourth of the sons of Jacob, Judah is the first to go on a march. When the tribes break down and march, Judah goes first. They camp to the east of the Tabernacle. And Judah was the first that was called to war.
Now you may wonder why that is, so I'm going to refresh your memory. I know we haven't even jumped into 15 yet, but don't worry, we're not going to read all those names, remember? So Genesis 49. If you have your Bible, you can turn there, you can probably find it really quick. If not, I'll just read it to you. This is Jacob giving to his sons on his death bed a prophetic word. And he says to Judah, Judah, you are he, whom your brothers shall praise. The name Judah is the Hebrew word for praise, that's what his name means, it's a beautiful name. Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise. Now his name means praise, but it was in that tribal allotment of Judah, eventually, where the temple will end up. And that is the central place of praise as well. It's where the praise of the nation will take place, in the tribal allotment of Judah.
Your hands shall be on the neck of your enemies. Your Father's children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion's whelp from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion, as a lion who will rouse him. The scepter shall not depart from Judah. Nor a law giver from between his feet until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the people. The prediction is that the tribe of Judah would be a warrior tribe and a kingly tribe. A warrior tribe like a lion, one whose enemies will fear him. And so he is the first to march, first to go to war, but also the kingly tribe. The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a law giver from between his feet until Shiloh comes. Ancient rabbis regarded that as a messianic prophecy. Shiloh, a term for the Messiah.
So-- and I love this-- when the Romans settled in Judah, the tribal allotment of Judah, and took away their right to adjudicate in capital cases, the right to execute a person for a capital offense, when that happened, the Jewish Sanhedrin, according to the Babylonian-- or excuse me, the Jerusalem Talmud-- the Sanhedrin put on sackcloth and ashes, paraded through the streets of Jerusalem, and they said this-- the scepter has departed from Judah, but Shiloh has not come. They were mourning publicly the fact that God, they thought, broke his promise to Judah, because the promise is the scepter will not depart from Judah. The rule, the right to rule, the tribal identity to adjudicate and rule will not depart from Judah, until Messiah comes, Shiloh comes, the one to whom it belongs, that's what Shiloh means.
So in Jerusalem, they're parading and lamenting that God has broken his promise. The scepter has departed, the Messiah has not come. A few miles away, growing up in Nazareth, was a young boy named Yeshua, Joshua, Jesus, about to lay down his carpenter's tools and march into Jerusalem within a few short years. The scepter did depart from Judah, yes, but Shiloh had come. The lion of the tribe of Judah was about to march on the city of Jerusalem and the tribal allotment of Judah.
So here we have chapter 15, verse one. The boundaries for that tribe. This, then, was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families. The border of Edom at the wilderness of Zin, southward was the extreme southern boundary, and their southern border began at the shore of the salt sea, that's the Dead Sea, from the bay that faces southward. Now I'll show you a map so you can get the tribal allotments. We had this up last week. So you can see the big green area in the south. Simeon is right in the middle of that, I'll bring that up in a moment. See how big Judah is? That shows you the boundaries that were theirs.
Now the area of Judah, also known as Judea, the southern portion, because eventually, the kingdom is going to split into two southern tribes and 10 northern tribes. So Judah or Judea was and is a beautiful piece of land. It's very hilly and it's terraced over the years. Perfect for growing grapes. This is the area that the children of Israel sent their 12 spies into, to look at the land and see what was up with it. Joshua was there, Caleb was there, 10 other guys went into Judah, that area that they would settle eventually.
And they went to the town of Hebron that Caleb took over, we saw last week. And they went to a particular valley in Judah called the Valley of Eshcol, and what they noted was the grapes were humongous. I know that word isn't in the Bible, but they were large. And they brought back a yield of grapes that had to be carried between two men on their shoulders carried on a pole. Just to show how good the land was, they came from the land of Judah from the area of Hebron, and from the valley of Eshcol in Judah, on some of those terraced areas of vineyards, and they brought back the fruit of the land.
So let's go down, because the tribal boundaries are told to us. Verse seven. Then the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor-- I want you just to make note of that valley-- and it turned northward toward Gilgal, which is before the ascent of Adummim. If we were in Israel, I could point that out to you. We're not they're, not going to bother even trying to describe it. Which is on the south side of the valley, the border continued toward the waters of En-shemesh and ended at En-rogel.
OK. You see that little valley called the Valley of Achor? Achor means trouble. It was named after a guy in chapter seven of Joshua named Achan. Achan also means trouble. And you know, whenever he would walk down the street, it's here comes trouble. Right? Here comes trouble. That was his name, trouble. And he troubled Israel and he was buried in the valley of trouble. That's the valley of Achor, that is the valley that is mentioned here. I bring this to your attention to just encourage you to slip that in one of the crevices, the folds of your gray matter. Just store it away. Valley of Achor. Because by the time we get to the book of Hosea-- which at our pace, could be some time away-- when we get to Hosea chapter 2, the valley of Achor is mentioned, where God says, I will allure her, the children of Israel, and bring her out into the wilderness. I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope.
What was a place of trouble, what was a place of defeat, the promise of the prophet is that it will become a door of hope. So instead of here comes trouble, one day we could say, here comes triumph. And the prophecy is of the millennial kingdom in the future, God is going to change their history from trouble to triumph, from defeat to delight, from vanquish to victory. And so you hold onto that promise and you connect the valley of Achor with the valley of Achor mentioned in Hosea, because God says I'm going to change all that. Even the failures of the past are going to be something of the past only. But in the future, the valley of Achor will become a door of hope.
Then it says in verse 8, and the border-- this is all Judah-- the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom to the southern slope of the Jebusite city, which is Jerusalem. If we were standing in Jerusalem right now, and we were standing-- let's say in the City of David, or on the Temple Mount-- you can look down right in front of you on the eastern side, and you can see a valley. And then you can see a hill. The hill is the Mount of Olives.
The valleys come together sort of like a triangle. And that one valley, the Kidron valley, it is called, it's the valley Jesus walks over into the city of Jerusalem, is met by another valley called the Valley of Gehenna, or the valley of the son of Hinnom It becomes a synonym in the Bible for hell. Why? Because they will take the Jerusalemites, the Jebusites followed by the Jewish population of Jerusalem eventually, will bury their garbage and burn their garbage in that valley. And there was always a fire going on, it was always burning all the time. The flame never died out in the valley of Gehenna. So that becomes a synonym for eternal punishment. This is the border of Judah. If you cross over that valley, you are in the tribe of Benjamin.
Now why am I bringing this up? Because you may wonder later on when the tribes split, right, after Solomon, there's Rehoboam and Jeroboam, and they fight each other. And 10 tribes go to the kingdom of Israel, two tribes are down south, the kingdom of Judea. That's Judah and Benjamin. They're so closely united, so much so that Jerusalem is technically in Benjamin, not in Judah. Part of it is in Judah, part of it is in Benjamin. So they share this city as their border.
And so more tribal allotment is given. Verse 12. The west border was the coastline of the Great sea. That is the Mediterranean. So they had a nice swath of beautiful beach area, good surfing there. This is the boundary of the children of Judah all around, according to their families. Now-- verse 13-- now to Caleb. That's one of our heroes. The son of Jephunneh, he gave a portion among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the Lord, to Joshua namely, Kiriath Arba, which is Hebron.
And it says Arba was the Father of Anak. Now Arba happens to be a name of a local giant in that area, one of the Anakim. But Arba is also the number four in Hebrew. So in Hebrew, Kiriath is village of, or settlement of. Arba is four. Echad, shtaim, shalosh, arba. That's number four in Hebrew. So it's called the village of the four. And the Hebrews, to this day, like to refer to it as the village of the four or the city of the four, because four notable people are buried there. They say Adam is buried there. There's no real proof of that, but they say Adam is buried there. We know that Abraham is buried there. Isaac is buried there and Jacob is buried there. The four. Village of the four. That's where their cave is.
Now the way they got that cave, do you remember how back in Genesis Sarah died? And Abraham was looking for a place around that area. Mamre, it was called, then Hebron, or Kiriath Arba. Out He was looking for a place to bury his wife. There was a cave. It was owned by a guy named Machpelah. He bought the Cave of Machpelah, there he buried Sarah. Eventually he was buried there. And to this day, you can visit Hebron and visit the tombs of the patriarchs buried in Hebron, they're still there to this day. And I've visited them. I don't necessarily recommend you just go willy nilly because they've had a lot of problems in that area, a lot of riots, a lot of terrorist activity. But at one time, great place to visit. God willing in the future, we'll pull it off again.
Enough said on that. Look what it says. Caleb, verse 14. Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak from there. Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. Remember, in the previous chapter he says, give me this mountain. He's 85 and he goes, I'm as strong today for going in and coming out for war as I was 45 years ago. Give me this mountain. Look at the old man go. He's 85 and chasing giants. I love it. I just love his tenacity. I love his expression of faith, even at this age. Then he went up from there to the inhabitants of Debir. Formerly, the name of Debir was Keriath-sephir. And Caleb said, he who attacks Keriath-sephir and takes it, I will give him Achsah, my daughter, as wife.
So Othniel, the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it and he gave him Achsah, his daughter, as wife. Now it was so. When she came to him, she persuaded him to ask her Father for a field. So she dismounted from her donkey and Caleb said to her, what do you wish? And she answered, give me a blessing. Since you have given me land in the south, give me also springs of water. So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
Now remember a couple of moments ago, I said, they've reached an age where they're not retiring, their restructuring. So the way he restructures his life he still fights giants, but there's another town to take, and he's not going to take that one. He's going to get somebody else to do the fighting for him. That's smart going. He offers his daughter, who is of marriageable age, as the prize, so to speak. You say, well that's a horrible thing for a father to do. She doesn't seem to mind in the story. According to that custom, she's OK with it. Othniel, the guy who does it, Othniel is a godly leader. How do we know this? Because by the time we get to the very next book of the Bible, which is the book of-- what's after Joshua? Judges. OK. Judges. In chapter three, his name appears again. He is the first in the list of the judges, and it says the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. And he delivered Israel. When the Mesopotamian kings was fighting hard against them, he was the one that was the judge, was the deliverer. So this is that same Othniel who will become the first judge in the book of Judges during that difficult time.
Now the way it works, the way it seemed to work is that the daughter who married Othniel, Achsah, said, look, you ask my dad for some land, more land, and I'll ask him for the water rights. So he probably said, can I have the land? No problem, because she said you've given me the land, now I need water. Dad gives above and beyond. Upper springs and lower springs, down in the desert regions that was very important. Now there's a list of the cities given, in chapter 15. We're not going to read them all. It would be quite a feat to be able to read them all and not make a mistake on pronunciation. And the greatest challenge would not to be bored as we read them all. And I think the greatest challenge is to be able to find them today, because they're extinct anymore.
So we're not going to read them, but I'm going to draw your attention to just a couple of things. And that is look at verse 32. Lebaoth. Shilhim, Ain, and 20 are 29. Now all of the cities that he counts in this region, from 20 down to verse 32, it says are 29 cities with their villages. Now here's the problem. It says there are 29. If you were to count them one by one, you would count 36. And this is one of those areas where people go Ah-ha. Those dudes in the Bible couldn't even count. What a bunch of numbskulls. The Bible's full of mistakes. Well they should read a few chapters, because by the time we get to chapter 18, we'll discover that Judah gives to Simeon seven cities. And so they're numbered here as 29, even though you could count 36. Those seven will belong to Simeon, as anybody, including the skeptic, would have known if they had kept reading.
Verse 33. In the lowland, Eshtaol, Zorah, and Ashnah. Now you'll notice the word lowlands. I'm drawing your attention to that because this is one of the key geographical spots in the Holy Land. The Hebrew word for lowland is shephelah. That's the Hebrew word, shephelah or lowland. So this is how Israel looks. If you took a cross section of it, you begin with the Mediterranean Sea coast. Along the coast in ancient times, there were hardly any cities at all for one important reason. There were no harbors, no navigable harbors. Ships couldn't really land. There was a little harbor at Joppa, and you had to go all the way up into Lebanon to get to the next one.
So in the Old Testament era, there were no navigable harbors, so you didn't have any population along the coastal plain. But when you get into the lowlands, the shephelah, which is in between the sea coast and the mountain regions, there were many more cities that developed along this area. Why? Because the soil was good, fertile soil. Then you climb up into the mountain ridges, the mountain range. Jerusalem is in the central mountain range. Lots of little villages, lots of towns, lots of cities were in the mountain areas for one important reason, because it could be protected. The mountainous terrain provided natural defenses from enemies. You couldn't attack because-- if you go to Jerusalem, you'd see it. In fact, one of the Psalms say, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people.
And so in that mountainous region, a lot of towns, because of the natural fortifications, sprung up. Then again, we're looking at the cross section. So you go from the coast land to the shuffle of the lowlands to the mountain range. Then it drops off below sea level and gets to the Jordan Rift valley, where it's barren. The valley of Achor is in that valley. It's at least 10 miles wide, all the way to the Jordan River before it rises up again to a large and tall plateau on the east side of the Jordan River. But that Jordan River valley, that Rift valley is all below sea level, from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. So that's what it would look like. And the lowlands are mentioned because it was one of the geographical peculiarities of that ancient land.
Now go all the way down to verse 62, and let's close off the chapter. Nibshan, the city of salt, and En Gedi, six cities with their villages. Still counting the villages of Judah. The city of salt is believed by some scholars to be the ancient name for what would become, around the New Testament era and before the New Testament era, Qumran. The area of Qumran are the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, placed and discovered by this community. This is believed to be the ancient name of that city. It's down by the Dead Sea area, and it's referred to here as the city of salt. And then let's close out chapter 15, verse 63. As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out. But the Jebusites dwell with the children of Israel at Jerusalem to this day.
OK. If you were to count all of the cities and villages mentioned given to Judah, you'd come up with 122. They took them all, but they had a problem with one, and that's Jerusalem. It does not get taken, it does not get conquered until not the first, but the second King of Israel, King David. It takes all of that time, it's never settled. It says, they could not drive them out. Is it that they could not drive them out or they would not drive them out? Maybe they could not because they would not. I think that's sometimes our problem. I can't do this. We;; you can't do it because you won't do it. God said you'll be able to do it. God's given you the land, he's given you the strength, he said take it. The fact that it says you can't do it, it probably is because you won't do it. They wouldn't do it, they wouldn't advance. So now they will wait till the second King.
And King David, 2 Samuel chapter 5 will come to Jebus, the Jebusite city, ancient Jerusalem. And he'll say to his men, hey, whoever climbs up the water shaft and takes the city-- because the Jebusties said, the blind and the lame can fight any army that comes against the city. Because again, it rose precipitously at the City of David, natural fortifications of mountains, not easy to scale the walls. So they just said, we'll just put the blind then lay them up here, they'll drop rocks into you guys and you'll never take it.
So David figured out a way to get in. There is a shaft of water from the area of the Gihon Spring that goes up into the city. What's interesting is you can still see that water shaft in the present day. You can go to the City of David and you can look down or look up, depending on which side you're on. And you can see the water shaft that David referred to. Whoever climbs that up and gets into the city, you know, I'll make them chief of my armies. The guy that did it was Joab. Joab monkeyed his way up there, got in, and breached the city. And that city fell. Verse 63, it didn't fall until 2 Samuel 5.
Now chapter 16 and 17 are allotments given to two tribes. Both of them are the descendants of Joseph. Remember, Joseph is one of the sons of Jacob. Joseph his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Reuben, the first born, does not get the right of the birthright, the first born, the double portion. Joseph gets the double portion, Joseph gets the birthright. So that Joseph gets two tribal allotments, Ephraim, his son gets one, Manasseh gets another. Now they get a large section, because they get what's on the east side of the Jordan River. Remember, 2.5 tribes, Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh get that eastern side. And now we're dealing with the Western side.
Verse 1, the lot fell to the children of Joseph, from the Jordan by Jericho to the waters of Jericho on the east side. To the wilderness that goes up from Jericho through the mountains to Bethel-- that's up in the mountain range section, the Central mountains-- then went down from Bethel to laws passed along the border of the Arkites at Ataroth and went down westward to the boundary of the Japhletites as far as the boundary of lowered Beth Horon to Gezer, and it ended up at the sea. So the children of Joseph and Manasseh, Joseph Eph-- Manasseh and Ephraim took their inheritance. The border of the children of Ephraim, according to their families, lies with this, and the borders are now given.
So from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea just above Judah-- let's refer to the map-- you can see Ephraim. You see above Benjamin? Judah, Benjamin, right in the middle is Ephraim in green, right above that, Manasseh, right? I just want you to see how much land they have, and they have good land. They have some of the best area, the central portion of the land of Israel. And in fact, in Ephraim, one of the chief cities, Shiloh, is there. It's mentioned here. We don't have time to go through all the cities, as I mentioned, but Shiloh is interesting because the Tabernacle will be erected in Shiloh, not Jerusalem, because it hadn't fallen yet. Until David's time, David will move it to Jerusalem. It will stay in Shiloh for 300 years within that tribal allotment of Ephraim.
Go down to verse 10, we'll finish out chapter 16. And they did not drive out the Canaanites, who dwell in Gezer, but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day, and have become forced laborers. Verse 1, chapter 17. There was also the law for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the first born of Joseph. Namely, for Makir, the first born of Manasseh, the Father of Gilead, because he was a man of war, therefore he was given Gilead and Bashan. Shonn And there was a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh.
What we just read means the dude that's mentioned, the chief dude here, he gets the east side, Bashan, way up north on the east side of the Jordan River. But now we're dealing with the west side settlement and the rest of the half tribe of Manasseh. Verse 3, let's go down there. But Zelophehad-- talk about weird names here-- Zelophehad, the son of Hepher , the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh had no sons, but only daughters.
And these are the names of his daughters. So if you have babies and you're looking for girls' names, I know a lot of people, it's popular to select Bible names. Try these on for size. Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah, and Tirzah. I guess, you know how it is, some people will name their kids all with the same beginning letter, like all j's or all m's or all d's, well it seems like this family, Zelophehad, decided that he would name them to the rhyming last syllable. So all the ah's, and they were all his kids.
They came near before Eleazar, the priest, before Joshua the son of Nun. Before the ruler, saying, the Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers. Therefore, according to the commandment of the Lord, He gave them an inheritance among their father's brothers. 10 portions fell to Manasseh besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which are on the other side of the Jordan, because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons, and the rest of Manasseh's sons had the land of Gilead.
The story of Zelophehad does not begin here. It begins in the book of Numbers, chapter 27. When the daughters were younger and they come before Moses, their dad had died in the wilderness. He had no sons, and his daughters understood that the tribes and the land allotments will go from father to son, that it was a patriarchal society. She says-- one of them said, well, we've got a problem. We're a family of all girls. Dad is dead., he had no sons. And so Moses, in Numbers 27, gave them the same rights as sons would be given. I just want you to make note of this, because it's mentioned in Numbers 26, Numbers 27, and here in the book of Joshua. The daughters of Zelophehad are given an inheritance equal to what sons would get. So they could marry, but they had to marry within the tribe, so that the allotment doesn't go outside the tribe, it maintains its tribal identity.
Women's rights have long been an issue, and are an issue even today in this country. It has been fought by some, who are not clear thinking, that the Bible is against women. And nothing could be farther from the truth. Now if you look at ancient cultures and if you look at ancient Semitic cultures, and you look at modern Muslim cultures, which are based on these ancient cultures, you will notice a stark difference between how women are treated in those ancient cultures and those that are treated in God's economy.
Here, God opens something up for women that was unheard of in that ancient culture. Even today, if you went to Yemen in a strictly Muslim community, in a Muslim country, women are not educated. They're not literate in Yemen, and not even a fourth of the women are even in the workforce in that country. They're not allowed. If you went down to Saudi Arabia, women are completely covered, women cannot vote in that country, they cannot run for public office. Women's rights don't exist in Saudi Arabia. If you went over to Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood that once ran Egypt and would love to run that whole area believe that a woman should never be seen nor heard in public, sequestered away.
You compare that to this, or you compare that to opening up the New Testament and read the genealogical record of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you'll notice there are four women mentioned in the genealogy. Furthermore, Paul the Apostle, who has interestingly been accused of being a male chauvinist, said these words. There is neither male nor female, Scythian bond, nor free. We are all one in Christ. That barrier was broken down by Jesus Christ. He didn't come to enslave women, but to give them their freedom. They're in his genealogy. Paul the Apostle opens the doors in a very strict set of cultures that were around him, and here, the daughters of Zelophehad are given their portion.
Verse 7, the territory of Manasseh was from Ashur to all these names and all the boundaries. Look at verse 11. And in Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth Shean and it's towns, Ibleam and it's towns, the inhabitants of Dor and it's towns, the inhabitants of Indor and its towns, the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, the inhabitants of Meggido-- you get the term Armageddon from Megiddo-- and its towns, three hilly regions.
If we were on the road today and we got out of our tour bus, around Beth Shean, right at the junction as it goes down to Jerusalem or westward toward the Mediterranean, if we got out, I could show you the three hilly regions. On one side, you have Mount Gilboa, where David-- where Saul and his sons died in a battle against the Philistines. If you look all the way down, you can see the hill of Meggido, and to the right, you would see the hill of Moreh, and that is where Endor was located. Endor is the place where Saul will ask a medium to give him insight into the future. The witch at Endor, it's one of those towns.
Beth Shean was one of the principal cities. And in the New Testament, you're going to read of the Decapolis, the 10 cities. Beth Shean is the capital. Will become the capital of the Decapolis. So it has a long and storied history. And some of the best archeological ruins in antiquity are still today at Beth Shean. Just wanted you to notice that as we're driving past it here in the text.
Yet the children of Israel, verse 12, could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities. But the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land, and it happened when the children of Israel grew strong. Notice this. They grew strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out. And that's not what I expect to read here. I expected to read like this. And when they became strong, they drove them out. But it says when they became strong, they thought, hmm, we can make some money off these people. We can put them to forced labor. We can use this. We don't need to get rid of them like Moses and Joshua told us to do. Let's use this for our financial advantage. So they settle for second best.
And I feel that God has for us a grand plan. But some of us want to stop short of it and settle for second best. You know, Jesus said, I have come, that they might have life and have it to the max, or more abundantly. To the full. Jesus said, out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water. This he spoke, John said, of His Holy Spirit, which was not yet given. And I think the Lord says, here is my plan for your life. Now God will do, will take you to the highest level you allow him to take you. He'll do the best for you at that level. But here's a situation, an example, where they did not allow the Lord to bring them to the highest level according to his perfect plan, they settled for second best. And it will turn around later on. These people, in the book of Judges will become a snare to them.
Then verse 14. Then the children of Joseph spoke to Joshua saying, why have you given us but one lot and one portion to inherit, since we are a great people, in as much as the Lord has blessed us until now? Joshua answered them, if you're so great, then go up to the forest country and clear a place for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and the giants, since the mountains of Ephraim are too confined for you. But the children of Joseph said, the mountain country's not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron. Both those who are in Beth Shean and its towns and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.
It seems that to whom much is given, the same complaineth much. It is odd that the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph's are saying, we don't have enough land. Look again at the map. Look at Manasseh. See the big red dot in the middle? Ephraim below it, those are the children of Joseph. Then go to the other side of the river. See up to the top top on the right, in the orange, Manasseh?
So look at Manasseh, look at Manasseh, look at Ephraim. They got the lion's share of the land and they don't even have as many people as Judah. But they're going, you know what, we're awesome. We are like so great. And I think what they mean is, don't you know who we are? Our ancestor is Joseph. He was the prime minister of Egypt. You know, we got two portions because he was faithful to the Lord and saved everybody, including Israel, from a famine. So we're like totally awesome. And then he says, we don't have enough land. He's going, uh, I think you do. If you're so great, cut down some trees and build stuff and drive the enemy out. And they go, well they have like iron chariots and stuff.
What a difference between Caleb and these guys. Caleb goes, just give me the hard part, just that mountain. Just Hebron, I'm good. Let me at those giants. These guys are going, we need more land because those giants and those people are mean. And they just are complaining. And so, tactfully, Joseph spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, you are a great people and have great power. You shall not have one lot only. In other words, the land you are occupying shouldn't just be that lot. You should expand and take and settle in all that you have been given. You're not doing that yet. But the mountain country shall be yours. That was part of their tribal allotment. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its far this extent shall be yours.
So here's the deal. And here's the deal with us. It's one thing to have the title, deed of the land. It's another thing to take the land. They owned it, they didn't occupy it. It's one thing to own it, to have the title deed to it, but then to possess your possessions. Part of our problem is we don't possess our possessions. We don't take all that the Lord would want us to have. And why is that? Fear. One of the most constricting human emotions is fear. It debilitates you. It stops you from reaching what God has for you. Fear and faith are opposites. I said that faith is contagious, so is fear. So if you're fearful, find somebody filled with faith. There's a lot of F's in that sentence. And faith will cancel out fear. You can't-- if you have faith, it'll banish fear. If you have fear, it'll banish faith.
So Joshua says, go get it, go take it. You shall drive out-- verse 18-- the Canaanites. Though they have iron chariots and are strong. How will they do that? Well David said it. The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? 10,000 will fall at my side. Caleb had the right idea. He's an old man, but he's like, you know what? I'm not going to be the one doing the battle, God is, it's his battle. I'm just going to live by faith and watch it happen. Give me some giants, I'm bored. I want to chase me down some giants. This whole tribe with all of this land is skittish to even settle what God has given them.
So here we are. Running the race of faith. Some of us are running to win the race. That's what we're about. We want to win, we want to finish strong. Others aren't about winning the race, you're more about slowing the pace. Hey, I'm telling you, find those running shoes and put them back on. Get back on the track and keep going. If you're just hanging loose in the spirit or vegging out in the spirit, that's not what the New Testament tells us to do. Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Take the land God has given you. He says, you shall drive out the Canaanites though they have iron chariots and are strong.
Let's pray. Father, I pray that if any of us have come to a place where like these tribes, we are unsatisfied with our own lot in life, we're thinking that we need more this or more that. Lord, help us just to look at what you have given us, our sphere of influence, our unique gift mix, where you have placed us, and live right there to the fullest capacity. And then, Lord, let you add as you see fit or subtract as you see fit. May we just give our all to whatever situation we believe to be the will of God.
Lord, I pray that if we're feeling weak, that we would think about how strong you are. If habits or situations seem gigantic to us, that we would see those giants as easy targets, because we have a great God. We may have big problems, but we have a bigger God. We may have great issues, but we have a greater Redeemer. And Lord, I pray that our eyes would be fixed on him, and we too would take what you have given to us, walking in the spirit. Taking the land, the riches, as Paul said in Ephesians, that have been given us in Christ Jesus. We ask that in his name. Amen.
For more resources from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org.