Stories are fascinating, and yet the truth often lies in the facts that are so easily ignored. The Bible documented many historical facts in details, because God does everything with a purpose. It is a pity that people of the overlook the details. While reading Joshua 13, people tend to just quickly go through the process of dividing the land; as for how and what land was divided, we hardly pay attention to it. Our lives are not changed because we fail to read the scriptures close enough to realize the truth God wants to reveal to us.
The tribe of Judah and Joseph inherited the land first at Gilgal, at the west side of the Jordan, and the Israelites divided the land among other tribes afterwards at Shiloh. The borders of the land assigned to the tribe of Judah are recorded in verses 1-12. God is very specific and He cares about the details. Even the Wadi of Egypt was listed, which is the borderline between Egypt and Israel. Today, it is still called the Wadi of Egypt. Thousands years later, God’s words haven’t been changed.
Verses 13-19 is the story of a man who would appear again in Judges. He was the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother (so he was Caleb’s nephew). Kenaz had more than one son, but only this one was involved in the work of God, and thus the only one recorded here. His name was Othniel.
Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) was mentioned many times in the Bible, because it is important. It is the land Caleb would attack! Hebron was a hill country, and in the mountain, Debir (Kiriath Sepher) was very hard to take. Caleb announced, “I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.”
Othniel attacked and took Kiriath Sepher, and then Aksah became his help. Aksha was wise, and she advised Othniel to ask Caleb for a field. God’s blessings are twofold, so Othniel got more than a field; he got the upper and lower springs as well. He also became the first Judge of Israel.
Therefore, wives should love God, and pray constantly for their husbands. In this case, husbands would feel safe to let their wives handle financial affairs, and wives would feel safer too. In the long run, husbands and wives would love each other more. Husbands would also be able to focus more on serving God, and both family and church would be blessed.
The inheritance of the tribe of Judah is at the south of Canaan. All the towns are documented in verses 20-63. There were five kinds of towns. There were 21 verses about the southernmost towns and 33 verses about the towns on foothill and highland. There were actually 36 towns near the boundary of Edom, but only 29 were recorded.
There is no mistake in the Bible, so we need to look into the meaning of the differences in the numbers. 7 towns were given to Simeon in Joshua 19:1, hence, the inheritance of the tribe of Simeon goes further south than Judah’s inheritance.
The Israelites did not take all the towns on the highland. There were 14 towns on the highland from verse 33-36, which were inhabited by the Philistines. The towns were later given to the tribe of Dan. Finally, there was a very special place: Jerusalem. It was inhabited by the Jebusites (Amorites) until King David took the town.
God recorded all these in detail for one purpose. Every town’s name is important, because every the town must have a governor, and God wants the tribes of Judah to guard these town with extreme care!
The world is in chaos, and Lord Jesus is coming back soon. Therefore, while the number of people attending Sunday service is important, the love for God is more important still. People who truly love Jesus can change his/her family and church! Our names are on the book of life ever since we are baptized, so we are all responsible for the spreading of the Gospel.