Joshua 12-14

Good morning! Today’s passage (Joshua 12-14) gives us a break from heavy battle or in-depth narratives, favoring instead lists of battle victories and the division of conquered territories to the east and west of the Jordan River. Chapter 12 opens with a litany of kings who were conquered by Moses, then a list of those conquered by Joshua. What’s striking here (so to speak) is that Joshua’s list is much longer than that of Moses. This is unusual since Moses is such a vaunted leader, but perhaps (if we take this at face value) the small cities in Canaan weren’t very difficult to defeat, especially not with Joshua’s experienced fighting force.

Joshua 13 and 14 describe what happens after major fighting is done—the division of territories. Joshua and Caleb are both described as old men now who have struggled valiantly. Though much remains unconquered (and we’ll hear about the pesky Philistines for many chapters still to come), the land is secure enough that they can start to divide it. Territory to the east of the Jordan is given to the 2.5 tribes who requested land there, and the western territories are given to the other landed tribes. It’s curious to me that the statement of nothing given to the Levites is repeated three times in close succession—was this perhaps in conflict later on? The only other narrative bit in chapter 14 is when the fighter Caleb “cashes in” a promise from Moses to get the city of Hebron in the southern hill country that he first spied out so many years earlier, before the long wilderness “cleansing”. If you (like me) could use a break from deep reading, feel free to skim these chapters. Happy reading!

Read Joshua 12-14.

Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Joshua 15-17. Thanks for reading!

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