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proved them for their fears, assuring them that they would be fully equal to the enterprise.
Before the remaining tribes had their portions assigned them, the Israelites, under the divine direction, removed to Shiloh, and there set up the tabernacle of the Lord. This place being within the borders of the tribe of Ephraim, about twenty miles north of Jerusalem, and in the very centre of Canaan, was a convenient position for Joshua to occupy in the further arrangements that were necessary to be made. Here the ark remained for more than three hundred and fifty years, till it was taken by the Philistines in the time of the high priest Eli. At Shiloh Samuel began to prophesy; and it was the residence of the prophet Ahijah in the reign of Jeroboam. Seven tribes had not yet received their inherit
There is reason to believe that the spirit of prompt obedience to the command of God, in taking entire possession of the promised land, was declining very fast among the Israelites. Enriched with the spoils of their enemies, and living at their ease in the midst of an abundance of provisions, the fruits of their late victories, they were but little disposed to enter upon new wars, and encounter still greater hardships and dangers.
Joshua had to rouse them from their apathy. "How long," said he, "are ye slack to go to
possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you ? Give out from among you three men for each tribe;" (twenty-one in all ;) "and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them, and they shall come again to me. And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coast on the north. Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.”
The survey was made and brought to Joshua, who immediately divided the land by lot among the seven remaining tribes. In making this division it was found that the tribe of Judah, already provided for, had a disproportionate share of territory, and that to adjust the distribution fairly, it would be necessary for one of the other tribes to be located within its borders. The cast. ing of the lot decided that Simeon was to be this tribe, and thus, by the providence of God, a remarkable prophecy was fulfilled.
The patriarch Jacob had predicted on his dying bed, that Simeon and Levi, on account of their iniquitous conduct, in the massacre of the Shechemites, should be divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel. And so it proved to be the
case, more than two hundred years afterwards. Levi was "scattered” throughout all the land, being without any inheritance, and having only certain " cities to dwell in;" while the Simeon. ites were
" divided” by receiving no distinct portion, but only a district dismembered from the tribe of Judah, with some other lands which they overrun in the mountains of Seir, and in the desert of Gedor.
The final accomplishment of this distribution of their inheritance among the Israelites, according to their respective tribes, was owing to the fidelity and inflexible perseverance of Joshua. While they shrunk back, in a timid and unbelieving, a slothful and procrastinating manner, from the achievement of the enterprise, which God had commanded them to prosecute, and in doing which he had promised them his almighty aid, his servant Joshua was true to his trust, and by his zealous obedience, saved his countrymen from the loss to which their own folly and guilt exposed them.
Jesus saves his people from the loss of a far richer inheritance. The heavenly Canaan must be won by great self-denial and severe conflicts with hosts of spiritual enemies. The christian, too, often shrinks from this contest, and gives himself up to the ease and self-indulgence to which the world invites him. He is in danger of being satisfied with his past attainments, and is in still greater danger of forgetting that heaven is his home, and of taking up with the portion that this life alone affords him.
Jesus must come to his rescue, and rouse him from his stupidity. He speaks to him by his providence, by his Word, and by his Spirit. He admonishes, he reproves, he chastens him. He delivers him from the force of temptation and the wiles of the adversary, and brings him once more to endure hardness in that warfare by which heaven is to be obtained. My young friend, without Christ thou canst do nothing.
Joshua has a portion. Cities of refuge, and those of the
Levites. The two and a half tribes return, and build an altar on the other side of the Jordan. An embassy is sent to inquire why this is done.
After the division of the land among the va. rious tribes was completed, Joshua had a parti. cular inheritance assigned him, in accordance with the divine direction. This was undoubtedly done in fulfillment of a promise made at the same time with that which Caleb received, and to testify, as in his case, the approbation of Jeho. vah for the fidelity of Joshua when acting as a spy to search out the promised land, and make report concerning it. This appears from what Caleb said to Joshua, in preferring his claim for Kirjath-arba. "Thou knowest," said he, "the things that the Lord said unto Moses, the man of God, concerning me and thee in Kadesh barnea."
The place assigned to Joshua was Timnathserah, a city in mount Ephraim, which became the place of his residence, and where he was afterwards buried.
His next step was to appoint the cities of refuge; whither the manslayer who killed any one unawares might flee, and be secure against the avenger of blood. He was to stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and make known the circumstances of the case to the proper officers. They would afford him, after suitable examination, the necessary protection, if he was entitled to it, by admitting him to dwell there in safety, until the death of the high priest. Then he was to undergo another trial before a higher tribunal, and if found innocent, be permitted to return, and live unmolested, in his own city and home.