Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Mar 16, Jos 19-21

Today's readings are Jos 19-21.

Look at Jos 19:1-9. Like all the other allotments, Simeon's is well defined and detailed. It all happens by the casting of lots.  But the lots are in harmony with what has been promised as well. In Simeon's case, Jacob prophesied their allotment in Gen 49:7 when he said Levi and Simeon would be “divided in Jacob" and "scattered in Israel.” Simeon is allotted land within the land of Judah. Levi will have no land but will be distributed among the cities of Israel. This shows that God is not only in authority over the final destination of His people, but all of the details of how they get there and where they will live once they arrive.

Similarly, our final destination is assured. God has a place for us. Like the Hebrews, we may resist His blessing by our disobedience and unfaithfulness, but our Father will get us to the place He has promised, heaven. He has told us as much, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Heb 13:5).

We see cities of refuge established in Josh 20. The sentence of execution for a killing can be avoided if the perpetrator's heart is right, the death was not premeditated, and he doesn't delay, but it can be resolved only in the manner prescribed by the Lord. There's a bigger lesson here. Eventually, it will be revealed that there is only one way to avoid eternal death and it will be by God's sole provision in His only Son, Jesus Christ. We see that God is laying the groundwork for His plan of redemption. He is teaching His people that obedience with a right heart has its reward. The ultimate blessing will be Salvation through a right heart toward Jesus Christ. 

In Jos 21, The Levites are given cities to oversee. They are also given pasturelands (Jos 21:3). Note, the cities are not their possession, they are places for the Levites to live. In the ancient Hebrew culture, the pastures surrounding the city were common areas and not subject to inheritance laws, everyone owned them. So the Levites have homes and pastures to graze their flocks, but no inheritance to pass down.

Many of the Levitical cities are near the borders. The geographic locations ideally place them where they can most effectively do what they are called to do, protect God's people and provide them with spiritual leadership.


  1. Jos 20:7 and 21:21 describe Shechem as "in the hill country of Ephraim", yet your maps position it in Manasseh.

  2. Good question, Wayne. "The Hill Country of Ephraim" describes a region that extends beyond the tribal allotment for Ephraim we see in Jos 16. Here's what the commentary, "The History of Israel" says, "The hill country of Ephraim played host to much of the Old Testament. The term would come to encompass much more than just the boundaries of the tribe of Ephraim. In fact, the name Ephraim came to represent much more than simply the tribe, but also the entire northern kingdom of Israel."