Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thursday - Joshua 19 - Six

Genesis 35:23-26 seems to reflect strongly upon the overall order of the dividing of the land of Canaan to the tribes of Israel. It is impossible for me not to notice the relationship of the tribes to each other when comparing the geographical and chronological pattern of the land assignments to their fathers' order of birth and who belonged to which wife of Jacob. Among other things, this reminds me that our choices today have the potential of affecting people for MANY years.  Jacob had been dead for centuries, but his life was still impacting his many descendants.

Now, Jacob's first wife, Leah, birthed these sons to him in this order: Reuben, Simeon, and Levi & Judah. Reuben had been guilty of incest (Genesis 35:22). Simeon & Levi had been guilty of troubling their father greatly (Genesis 34:30). Judah became the blessed son above all of the others. Joseph and Benjamin were favorites of their father as the offspring of his first love, Rachel. So, it does seem to fit loosely that up to this point all of the more "privileged" sons of Jacob knew their inheritance (with the addition of Gad), except for Simeon. So, Simeon came next and was give land right in the middle of the section that had already been given to Judah (partially because the tribe of Judah wasn't large enough to use all of the land that had been allotted to them). Although the plots of land (to the last 7 tribes) were given randomly, there was still a pecking order that was esteemed by Joshua related to the levels of respect that evidently existed among them way back half of a millennium prior to this.

Zebulon & Issachar were next in line as the remaining sons of Leah - they received portion numbers 3 & 4 that day. Asher was Gad's only full brother and was the younger son of Leah's servant, Zilpah.  Asher got the 5th slot out of the 7. Lastly (except for Joshua's land, he took his very last - in the style of exemplary servant-leadership), the sons of Rachel's servant, Bilhah, received their land. Dan & Naphtali were indeed last, but there was still plenty of land overall for the expansion of any of the tribes.  Since Dan wouldn't fit in their one section on the coast of the Mediterranean, they took another piece of real estate in the far north. Dan and Manasseh were therefore the only 2 tribes with geographically divided tribal populations.

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