The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Joshua 13

Jos 13:1

Jos 13: "This chapter commences a new section in the record of Joshua. The great pioneer had brought tremendous zeal to his work, defeating Jericho, overcoming the trial of Ai and the judgment against Achan, upholding the covenant of the Gibeonites, and bringing the defeat of the powerful Canaanite kings to a successful conclusion. Small pockets of resistance still remain, but it now was the responsibility of the individual tribes and families of Israel. The army of Israel could now be disbanded.

"Each man was required to 'go in and obtain' his inheritance. In a spiritual sense, to 'work out his own salvation.' Joshua, like the Lord Yahshua, had done his work in leading the way and making possible each individual inheritance. But there are two verses remarkably significant. The first is Josh 13:14, in which the Levites are given no inheritance with the other Israelites. Their inheritance is Yahweh Elohim Yizrael.

"And further, the inheritance is a sacrifice 'made by fire.' Jericho was such a offering. It was to be 'accursed' (Josh 6:17), but the word means 'devoted' (as in the mg). It was devoted by fire, for fire is one of the three purifying principles in the Word. So the city was 'burnt with fire' (v 24), and now the Levites were similarly to be an offering of fire (Josh 13:14). The offering of fire was found in every part of the Tabernacle service. The lampstand was fired by oil (The Word); the table of shewbread was graced by the fire of frankincense (Activity), the golden altar was fired by the coals of incense (Prayer). Thus the Levites were to show a fire of a unique character: The 'zeal of mine House hath eaten him up'; 'the zeal of Yahweh Tzvaoth shall do this'; 'he was clad with zeal as with a cloke.' The second reference is in Josh 13:33. The Levites were to find their inheritance in Yahweh Elohim Tzvaoth and all that this majestic Name means. A grand inheritance awaits the true Levites, for what we now do, not only points to the sacrifice of Christ, but to the joy of a future in which we will abide for evermore" (GEM).

Jos 13:3

There were 5 major Philistine cities (1Sa 6:17; Josh 13:3), but in later days the prophets carefully leave Gath out of the picture (Amo 1:6-8; Zeph 2:4; Jer 25:20; Zech 9:5,6). Why? Uzziah, in his war against the Philistines, smashed up Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod (2Ch 26:6). The last of these was evidently strategic enough to warrant rebuilding (Isa 20:1), but the other two disappeared from history -- and from prophecy also.

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