Josh 18.1-28 tells us about the setting up of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) at Shiloh and that seven tribes had not been allotted their inheritance yet. He sends out three people (three is the number of resurrection alluding to the fact that they must be a believer to serve God) from each tribe to scout out the land and then give a report to Joshua. This speaks of what the believer will experience when he stands before another Joshua to give a report at the judgment seat. After that, they will cast lots for the land. Casting lots shows us that it was the Lord who apportioned these lands to the respective tribe who took possession of them. This left out any arguing among the tribes. They were to discover the richness of their own inheritance. If the inheritance had water, trees and land, that was easy to see. But some of the land was desert and barren, and so the blessing was not as easy to see. They had to look for it.
Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh have taken possession of their allotted land on the east side of the Jordan. The east (away from God) side speaks of earthly blessings. Judah, Ephraim and the other half of Manasseh were on the west (approaching God) side. This speaks of spiritual blessings. So, five tribes (five is the number of responsibility) have their inheritance. This alludes to the believers who are responsible to walk in obedience before God. The land will not be totally subdued before them until David. There are seven (number of completion) tribes to receive their inheritance. This speaks of the complete and perfect word of God that must be divided to fit the needs of the people.
So the men arose and spread out and walked about the land and described it by cities in seven divisions in a book, and then come to Joshua and then will cast lots at Shiloh (peace). Yeshua is our captain and the believer is an heir, and it is in “a book” (Mal 3.16; Phil 4.3 Rev 3.5, 13.8 20.12,15, 21.27) and our inheritance will bring peace. Like Abraham, our inheritance is spread out before us in his word (Gen 13.17).
Now, let’s go over some concepts related to the Mishkan and the bamot (high places). There were two types of bamot. The first one was dedicated to pagan gods and the other one was dedicated to Yehovah. We see the prophets offering korbanot on altars, like Samuel for instance. However, here is a principle. When the Mishkan was at Gilgal the bamot were permitted because the Ark was not there, it was with the army conquering the land. Shiloh with the Ark the high places were forbidden because the Ark was in the Mishkan. All offerings were to be brought there. When the Ark was at Nob the bamot were permitted because there was no Ark (1 Sam 4). When the Mishkan was at Gibeon the bamot were permitted because there was no Ark. It was in a tent in Jerusalem. Once the Ark was in the Temple in Jerusalem the bamot would be forever banned because they have entered into the inheritance of Deut 12.19.
Now the boundaries and cities of Benjamin are discussed in the rest of the chapter. The border on the north side began at the Jordan (a type of death…our inheritance begins there). Ephraim (fruitful) was its border and north is the direction of intelligence, fruitfulness goes with intelligence. Then the border went west and it ended at the wilderness of Beth-aven (house of the stone). Our journey west toward God ends in the “house of the stone” (Messiah).
From there the border continued to Luz (almond tree) to Bethel (house of God) southward (direction of faith) and the border went down to Ataroth-adar (crowns of glory), near the hill on the south of lower Beth-horon (house of caverns). The almond tree speaks of resurrection (Aaron’s rod budded almonds) and it is called the “hastening tree” because it is the first to bud in the spring. We will be resurrected and enter the house of God because we have faith in God. We will receive crowns of Glory and avoid the caverns and burial places of this world.
The border extended from there and turned on the west side southward, from the hill before Beth-horon southward, and it ended at Kiriath-baal (city of Baal/Lord…Baal means husband and can be a name for the Lord-Hos 2.16) or Kiriath-jearim (city of forests…trees are a type of the believer), a city of the house of Judah (praise). This was the west side. Spiritually, believers (forests) move towards God and the city of their husband offering praise (Judah).
Then the south side (speaks of faith) was from the edge of Kiriath-jearim (city of forests) and the border went west (towards God) to the waters of Nephtoah (open spring). Faith in believers (the forests) cannot survive without insight into the water of the word of God. Then the border went down to the edge of the hill in the valley of Hinnom (drowsy) which is in the valley of Rephaim (giants) northward. It went down to the valley of Hinnom to the slope of the Jebusites (trodden down) to En-rogel (fountain of the traveler). It extended northward (direction of intelligence) and went to En-shemesh (fountain of the sun) and then to Geliloth (circles/eternal) which is opposite the ascent of Adummim (related to the word Adam meaning blood). It went down to the stone of Bohan (thumb). A believer has risen out of death because of the knowledge of God and comes to the fountain of the traveler and the sun (Messiah), which is the word of God. He does not “trample/trodden down” the word of God. We live in God’s borders (Torah) and his love is eternal (circles) to the blooded ones who have life (life in the blood).
The border continued to the side in front of the Arabah (desert wilderness) northward (the world is full of human intelligence) and then went down to the Arabah. It continued to the side of Beth-hoglah (house of the partridge) northward and the border ended at the north bay of the Salt Sea at the south end of the Jordan. This was the south border. This tells us that the Salt Sea and the Jordan are linked. Human wisdom will get you death (Jordan) and the Lake of Fire (Salt Sea). The Jordan (death) was its border on the east side (away from God). This was the inheritance of Benjamin.
In Josh 18.21-28 we have a list of the cities of the tribe of Benjamin so let’s see what they are saying to us. We begin with Jericho (fragrance), then Beth-hoglah (house of the partridge), Emek-keziz (valley of the cutting off), Beth-arabah (desert house), Zemaraim (double fleece of wool, or holiness both inside and out-Isa 1.18, Rev 1.14), Bethel (house of God), Avvim (perverters-Acts 20.30), Parah (heifer.. alludes to red heifer), Ophrah (dustiness). Pervertedness and dustiness can only be changed by Yeshua (the heifer). Other cities include Chephar-ammon (book of the son of the people), Ophni (mouldy), Geba (hill), Gibeon (the hill), Ramah (height), Beeroth (well of living water). The last four sites allude to the fact that Messiah has lifted us and is the well of living water. Then we come to Mizpeh (watch tower), Chephirah (little lioness), Mozah (unleavened), Rekem (vain pictures), Irpeel (God heals), Taralah (release the curse-Rev 22.3), Zelah (rib, side), Haeleph (thousand), Gibeah (hill), Kiriath (city).
We will pick up in Josh 19 in Part 11.