-The last six territories: Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan are covered in this explanatory chapter of Scripture. These areas were all appointed before the LORD by lot and extensive descriptions are given to each tribe’s boundaries and borders. Simeon was in the midst of Judah including major cities like Beersheba. They had close to 20 cities with their villages in the hill country/desert region to the south (Joshua 19:1-9). Zebulun was situated in the middle of the country just north of Manasseh and basically directly west of the Sea of Galilee, although it had no major water areas. They had twelve cities with their villages including Bethlehem, but this was a different city than the one where Jesus was born in Judah (Joshua 19:10-16). Issachar had the Jezreel Valley under their control over to the Jordan River with the southern border near Beth-she’an, a cross point city where the Jezreel Valley and Jordan Valley meet. Issachar had 16 cities with their villages as an inheritance (Joshua 19:17-23). The territory of Asher fell to the far west along the Mediterranean Sea from south of Dor way up to past Tyre in the north. They had fortified cities and included Mt. Carmel, where Elijah would one day battle the prophets of Baal with the Almighty God’s power. There were, in all, 22 cities and villages in Asher (Joshua 19:24-31). Naphtali had the sixth lot fall to it and received the fertile areas west and north of the Sea of Galilee. They bordered Issachar and Zebulun on the south all the way to the Jordan in the east and Asher to the west. Naphtali had nineteen cities with their villages in the land that Jesus would day do most of His earthly ministry (Joshua 19:32-39). The territory of Dan was the last allotted and fell primarily to the middle western region to the south of Manasseh and to the north of Judah. Ephraim bordered Dan to the northeast and Benjamin also bordered Dan to the east. The Word says that the territory of Dan “proceeded beyond them; for the sons of Dan went up and fought with Leshem and captured it.” They possessed this area to the far north of the territory of Israel between Naphtali and the eastern Manasseh to north of the Sea of Galilee. Therefore, they inhabited two distinct areas of the country (Joshua 19:40-48). The southern portion of Dan included the modern day areas of Jaffa (ancient Joppa where Jonah took off from and where Peter had his vision on Simon the Tanner’s roof, Jonah 1:3, Acts 10:1-23) and Tel Aviv. There is also a well preserved Tel Dan in the north where ancient Leshem apparently was. “When they finished apportioning the land for inheritance by its borders, the sons of Israel gave an inheritance in their midst to Joshua the son of Nun. In accordance with the command of the LORD they gave him the city for which he asked, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. So he built the city and settled in it.” Therefore, Eleazar the priest and Joshua had distributed the land properly under the guidance of the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting in Shiloh (Joshua 19:49-51). The job was finished in regards to the sons of Israel’s inheritance.
-*Application* Proper borders and boundaries are essential in life. If you don’t believe me, go out on a major highway and try to make up your own road rules with no regard to lanes and limits. A crash is inevitable if we don’t have our proper place and abide in that sanctuary. Where has the LORD placed us by His divine lot? Are we cultivating and conquering in that land of inheritance He has blessed us with? Tend to the call and don’t worry about going outside of it unless He guides in that direction. We may at times have a Leshem to vanquish. God may proceed us out of an area, but make sure that that is His will and direction. Only then will He be with us for assured victory.
Verse to Memorize: Joshua 19:49