And The Land Had Rest

Joshua 14:1-15
1These are the inheritances that the people of Israel received in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel gave them to inherit. Their inheritance was by lot, just as the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses for the nine and one-half tribes. For Moses had given an inheritance to the two and one-half tribes beyond the Jordan, but to the Levites he gave no inheritance among them. For the people of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. And no portion was given to the Levites in the land, but only cities to dwell in, with their pasturelands for their livestock and their substance. The people of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses; they allotted the land. Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. 12 So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.” 13 Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba. (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.) And the land had rest from war.

As Joshua continues the distribution of The Promised Land, we are given insight into what was given to some specific people in this grand drama. First all, each of the sections of land given to the tribes is called an inheritance from the Lord. This is significant, for the word “inherit” emphasize that the tribal lands are gifts from the Lord because of his promise. Israel has not earned them. God freely gives them to his people by his grace. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Everything we receive from the Lord is a gift, from the land given to the tribes to our very salvation through Jesus Christ. We have done nothing to earn it. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

This chapter also deals with Caleb. While there are no amazing stories where Caleb is the central character, we are invited into his life briefly here as he is granted his inheritance. He reviews for Joshua (who hardly needed a review, as he was there with Caleb all along – but to tell the story again is the Hebrew way) what happened as he entered Canaan for the first time with the other eleven spies, one of whom was Joshua. He reminds Joshua that the two of them were the only ones who trusted in God and believed God would give them the land, but the other ten disagreed and won the nation of Israel 40 years of wilderness wandering. Now he is 85 years old and still feels like he did in his youth. This man of God wants a challenge to use his gifts. He requests for his inheritance not a secure and lazy valley, but the hill country around Hebron where he must deal with the fearsome “Anakim … and large fortified cities”. Hebron is about 25 miles south of Jerusalem and bears historical significance for Israel, as it is where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are buried in the cave of Machpelah. Joshua is amenable to this request and give Hebron to Caleb.

Now we see that the land had rest from war and God’s people are able to settle down for a time. As we will find, there is still work to do, but in 7 years (the number of completion) God’s people have taken the land that He promised to them, for God always keeps His promises.