Now, from chapter 14 on through the end of chapter 19 we have the land of Canaan being distributed.
The first 5 verses serve as an introduction to the section. Now, you may wonder how we get 12 tribes when Levi didn’t get an inheritance of land. It’s in these verses that we’re told that Ephraim and Manasseh both get a separate inheritance in Canaan. So instead of Joseph being viewed as one tribe, he was actually divided up into two tribes. That’s how we can lose one tribe and still have 12 total groups inheriting land.
So, some tribe needs to receive its land first. Who will it be? The answer is in verse 6 – Judah! And really we see Judah being discussed from 14:6 to 15:63! Almost two whole chapters devoted to Judah. And much of that we’ll skim through and get the main points. But I do want us to read the first portion here in verses 6 through 15.
[Joshua 14:6 ¶ Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea. 7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. 9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God. 10 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. 12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said. 13 ¶ And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.]
So Caleb, an 85 year old man whose strength and vigor has not abated is ready to take his land. Yes, there are Anakim there – which makes me think this happened sometime before Joshua is said to have come through and wiped them out – yes, it’s hill country terrain and difficult to penetrate. But Caleb was going to do it! “Maybe the Lord will be with me” he faithfully says. He’s looking to God’s promise to help Israel drive out the Canaanites. And he’s claiming God’s promise and putting it into action! Now, keep this scene in mind as we move on. We’ll revisit it.