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4.10 Joshua -- Conquest of the Land

Josh 10-12 recounts the battles of Israel against numerous local kings, 31 in all.  In each case, "no survivors were left."  Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still, so that Israel could defeat the Amorites (Josh 10:12-14).
         For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses (Josh 11:20).

         This was the same action God took with Pharaoh in Egypt, "hardening his heart" against letting the Israelites go free (Ex 4:21).

As Israel took over the territories of the conquered cities, each tribe was given its portion of the land (Josh 15-21).  The inheritances were assigned by lot (Josh 14:2).  Two and a half tribes settled on the west bank of the Jordan, nine and a half in Canaan proper. 


There were some special distributions as well:

        a.  Joshua was given a city in the allotment of Ephraim (Josh 19:49-50).
        b.  6 cities were designated cities of refuge, where a man who accidentally killed another man could flee and find sanctuary (Josh 20).  Aliens were protected by this law, too (Josh 20:9).  "This justice was not rooted in the notion of a superior people but in the character of God; therefore, it pertained to all men" (Schaeffer, p. 192).
        c. The Levites were scattered among Israel according to their three main divisions: the families of Kohath, Gershon and Merari (Josh 21).  48 towns were allotted to the Levites, some of which were also cities of refuge (Josh 20:41).  Here we have a rudimentary government, since the priests administered the laws of God and judged disputes among the people.  Yet there was no provision for a central administration.

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