|Joshua divides the Israelites' inheritance by lot. www.freebibleillustrations.com|
More Dividing the Spoils (Joshua 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20) - Damn! A large chunk of the Book of Joshua is just dividing up the spoils of war to the various Israelite tribes.
Chapter 16 through 19 are basically the same thing. "These guys get this lot of land, those guys get that lot of land." The only thing notable about these chapters is that in 16 and 17, we see that Yahweh yet again failed on His promises to drive out everyone the Israelites encounter. Apparently, there was a little bit of difficulty with the Canaanites (and the Jebusites earlier, remember?).
Another interesting development happens in 18 and 19, where the last seven tribes who still need their inheritance draw lots for the land - thereby gambling. Fortunately, it isn't until later in the Bible that gambling is seen in a bad light. In their defense though, there had to be some method in which to designate who gets what.
It isn't until Chapter 20 that the story changes. I was starting to get a little worried that the Book of Joshua was just going to be one long story of dividing up lots of land to the different tribes. Chapter 20 brings up the "avenger of the blood" again. If you don't remember, the avenger of the blood is a relative of a murder victim who is seeking to kill the murderer.
Chapter 20 designates refuge cities where the alleged murderer can run to and not be expected to be killed by the avenger of the blood. The alleged murderer essentially has something akin to probation here. It's an interesting idea for their time, but still the murderer is basically free. All they've done is give him refuge from the "avenger of the blood".