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THE ISRAELITES have crossed the Jordan and defeated the giant clans in two separate campaigns through the hill countries of Judah and Israel. Today we look at the division of Canaan among the 9-1/2 tribes still waiting to occupy their inheritance. (Remember, Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh took their shares east of the Jordan.)
We struggle through long lists of Hebrew names as we read the catalog of cities and kings that would be subject to the Israelites. We also discuss the faith of Caleb in asking for Hebron, a city owned by the Anakim (descendants of the Nephilim), as his family’s portion, and contrast that with the complaints of the tribe of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh, who were apparently unhappy with their allotment because the Canaanites in the lowlands had iron chariots and the hill country was full of trees.
For great maps to help visualize the locations described in the Bible, see this collection of maps in the public domain and these high-resolution Bible study maps.
MOSES CONTINUES his review of the Law and the history of the Israelites from the time Yahweh brought them out of Egypt. We discuss the land of Bashan and its evil reputation, the hints in the text that argue for its authenticity (like Moses complaining to the people that “the Lord was angry with me because of you”), and the prophecy of Deuteronomy 4, which foreshadows Israel’s future dispersal among the nations.
The Brazen Serpent on Mount Nebo
We also detour into a brief discussion of Mount Nebo, from which Moses would see the Promised Land, and prophecies in Amos 9 and Jeremiah 30 that show God’s unconditional promise to restore Israel to the land someday.
PEOPLE BEING what we are, the Lord had to set rules for dealing with the shedding of human blood, both accidental and premeditated. So six “cities of refuge” were established among the land given to the Israelites, and the Lord established the role of the avenger of blood, a designated executioner to take vengeance on those guilty of purposely killing another.
We discuss the avenger of blood, the kinsman-redeemer, and the parallels with the role Jesus Christ, the Messiah, plays in redeeming us from our sins, and his future role as the Avenger of Blood on all who reject his offer of salvation by grace.