Joshua 19

Lots of Lots for Allotments


And the second lot came out for Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon . . . So they had as their inheritance Beersheba, and Sheba (Joshua 19:1-2).

Beersheba is listed as part of Simeon’s inheritance. This city had a long history with the people of Israel, and particularly with the three Patriarchs. Beersheba was also the southernmost major city of the Israelites. It was often paired with the northern city of Dan, with the two cities cited as a way to indicate the entire land “from Dan to Beersheba” (e.g., Judg 20:1, 1 Sam 3:20).


And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families. And the border of their inheritance was as far as Sarid (Joshua 19:10).

Zebulun’s allotment was in the northern portion of Israel’s inheritance; its territory included part of the Jezreel Valley and land in the hillier region of Galilee to the north. Sarid was a town in the valley that demarcated Zebulun’s border with Issachar to the southeast. It has been identified with Tell Shadud, a site which has not yet been systematically excavated.


The fourth lot came out for Issachar, even for the children of Issachar according to their families. And their border was to Jezreel (Joshua 19:17-18).

Issachar was also allotted land in the Jezreel Valley, but to the east of Asher. One of their cities was Jezreel, which sits on a natural hill at the western end of Mount Gilboa, overlooking the valley. It acts as a sentinel guarding the passage from the Jezreel Valley eastward into the Harod Valley and beyond to the Jordan Valley. It also guards the descent from the hills of Samaria north into the Jezreel Valley.


And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families . . . And the border turned to Ramah, and to the fortified city of Tyre (Joshua 19:24-29).

The territory of Asher lies along the Mediterranean coast. Its prescribed border ran near Tyre, one of the best-known and most powerful Phoenician coastal cities. In antiquity Tyre was situated on an island off the coast. It was not until Alexander the Great besieged the island and built a mole from the mainland to the island that it became connected to land. Excavations at Tyre have been fairly limited because of the modern city built over the remains.


The sixth lot came out for the children of Naphtali . . . And the fortified cities were Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth (Joshua 19:32-35).

The territory assigned to the tribe of Naphtali was to the east of Asher, north of the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar. It includes a large portion of the Galilean hill country, as well as shoreline along the Sea of Galilee. Located on the northwestern side of the lake, Tell el-‘Oreimeh is identified as biblical Chinnereth. It is located on the main road (the so-called “International Highway”) leading to Syria and it has remains from the Early Bronze Age through the Hellenistic period.


The seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families . . . When the territory of Dan was lost they went out . . . and fought against Leshem (Joshua 19:40-47).

The territory allotted to the tribe of Dan was in the center of the land, west of what was assigned to the tribe of Benjamin. During the time of the judges of Israel, part of the tribe left this region and settled instead at the city of Laish (here called Leshem) in the upper Jordan Valley, which they subsequently named after themselves.

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