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21
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES

Thus from Mount Hermon on the north to the wilderness of the wandering on the south, the whole land had been swept over and reduced to impotence by the Hebrew invader. It was time to apportion it now to the several tribes. This was accomplished under the direction of Joshua and Eleazar. Judah and Joseph, the two strongest tribes, were assigned, the one to the south and the other to the north of the main mountain mass. Levi's inheritance was to be "the Lord," that is, the religious tithes, and his dwelling was to be "among his brethren," that is, in designated towns throughout all the land. A commission of three representatives from each of the seven other western tribes divided the rest of the conquered territory into seven fairly equal parts. These then were assigned to the seven tribes by lot at the tabernacle at Shiloh. As for the eastern tribes, when they returned to their homes across the Jordan, they built an altar at the ford, as a permanent "witness" to the unity of all the sons of Jacob, however the deep gorge of the Jordan might cut them off from one another.

At Shechem, where Abraham built his first altar in Canaan, Joshua had renewed the covenant between the people and their God as soon as he had secured control of Mount Ephraim, the middle highlands. He had not only read the Law of Moses to all the people here, but also inscribed it on stones for the sake of permanence and publicity. And now, when the conquest was complete and Joshua was nearing his end, he reassembled the people at the same spot, to remind them there of that solemn covenant, and to leave with them his final charge of fidelity to their God and his one central sanctuary.

QUESTIONS ON LESSON V

1 . How was Joshua specially fitted to succeed Moses as leader of Israel?

2. Which tribes received their inheritance east of the Jordan? How did these show their sense of the unity of all Israel (a) at the beginning, and (b) at the close of the conquest?

3. What justification can be urged for the stern measures which Israel took with the Canaanites and their possessions?

4. What was the plan of Joshua's campaign, and what relation did the capture of Jericho and Ai bear to it?

5. How did the men of Gibeon deceive Joshua, and why? What lasting damage was caused by his treaty with them?

6. Locate on a map the inheritance of each of the tribes.