Bible study 199 – Joshua 13

The Isrealites have yet to conquer the farthest reaches of the promised land (which stretches farther to the north, and in some descriptions all the way to the Euphrates river), but Joshua is too old to continue the conquest. He therefore starts parceling out the conquered lands. In this chapter, he distributes the lands east of the Jordan to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh.

The Oxford Bible includes a map of the final borders of the twelve tribes at the end of chapter 19, but I wanted to create my own, to map the progress in each chapter. The problem is that the Oxford Bible map seems clearly inconsistent with the text in several places. While I’m sure they have great reasons for placing Debir far away from the border to Benjamin, and making Ephraim landlocked, I don’t understand those reasons, and don’t feel comfortable reproducing their borders. So I instead spent hours studying this and the next seven chapters, comparing them with the Oxford Bible map, and reading Wikipedia, to produce my own interpretation of the borders. But I will also upload the Oxford Bible map in chapter 19; it is probably far more technically accurate.

Joshua 13:30
Their territory extended from Mahanaim, through all Bashan, the whole kingdom of Jair, which are in Bashan, sixty towns, (…).

Full text.


Note that any borders that do not touch the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, another country’s borders, or is near a major city, is extremely arbitrary. I have no idea how far east Manasseh’s borders are supposed to go, and neither does anyone else (and there has probably never been an accurate answer anyway).


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