How Did Joshua Divide the Land of Canaan?


Joshua was the new leader commissioned to bring the Israelite into the land of Canaan after the death of Moses. Joshua became the army commander and lead the Israelite into battle to conquer the towns in Canaan. Joshua did not manage to conquer all the land of Canaan. Many places in Canaan are still not conquered and possessed by the Canaanites. Even though many lands are conquered in Canaan, the Israelite did not get rid of all the Canaanites as God commanded them. As a result, these Canaanites lead the Israelite into committing idolatry sins afterwards which brings about God’s punishment.

The land is to be divided according to the number of people in the tribes. A larger tribe will receive more land than a smaller tribe (Numbers 26:54). A second rule is that the land is to be distributed by lot. This means that the portion of the land may be determined by God’s will because the land of the earth belongs to him. God has already instructed Moses how to divide the land of Canaan along with their boundaries. The division of the land east of the Jordan can be found in Joshua 13. The division of the land west of the Jordan can be found in Joshua 14:1-5.

The tribe of Reuben and Gad and half tribe of Manasseh chose to settle in Gilead. Gilead is located on the wwest side of Canaan, with the Jordan River separating them. They wanted to settle in Gilead because they had a large number of livestock. Moses let the tribe of Reuben, Gad and half tribe of Manasseh settle in Gilead on account that they promise to help the other tribes to conquer the land of Canaan. They promised that they will go with the other tribes of Israel to conquer the land after building sheepfolds and cities for their people. They promised Moses they will not return homes until the other tribes of Israel have gained their inheritance. Thus, the tribe of Reuben, Gad and half tribe of Manasseh occupied the kingdom of Sihon of the Amorites and king Og of Bashan including the land and its cities with their territories, the cities of the land throughout the country (Numbers 32:33-34)

Caleb also got hold of his own inheritance by asking Joshua permission to let him conquer and take Hebron. Caleb remembered God’s promise when he was sent as one of the 12 spies from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land of Canaan. At that time, he was 40 years old. Now, after 45 years, he is 85 years old. He still believed in God’s promise and he was still very strong to fight in war. Caleb successfully conquered Hebron. Hebron used to belong to Arba, the hero of the Anakite tribe. Kiriath Arba was renamed to Hebron after Caleb conquered it. God gave Caleb the land of Hebron because he believed in God and walked in his commandments.

The Israelite were able to conquer the land of Canaan with the help of God. God was on their side and he helped them won wars against the Canaanites because they were obedient in walking in his commandments. God’s presence is important in order to succeed in all that you do. If you want to God to be on your side, you must be obedient in walking in his commandments.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15 KJV)

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46 KJV)

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16 KJV)

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 KJV)

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22 KJV)

And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22 KJV)

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8 KJV)

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19 KJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 KJV)

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 KJV)

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (1 John 3:22 KJV)

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:13 KJV)

And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. (1 Samuel 15:29 KJV)

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6 KJV)