1 Now it came about when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land, 2 that he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. 3 Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 “Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel.” 5 So the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought against it.
6 Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us.” 7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors. 8 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.” 9 So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal. 10 And the Lord confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.
The promised land of Canaan was not a barren land that the Israelites easily took over. Ten tribes resided in Canaan, and the promised people of God had to battle these ten tribes in order to possess the promised land. The process of conquering and dividing the land took 16 years, from 1406 BC - 1390 BC (6 years of war; 10 years of allotting the land). God ratified the covenant of the torch with Abraham in 2082 BC, and it was fulfilled 692 years later in 1390 BC, when the Israelites took full possession of the land and Joseph’s bones were buried in Shechem. Through the allotment of the land and the conquest of Canaan, the covenant of the torch was fulfilled. The land of Canaan was not divided all at once but in three stages.
1. The Allotment of Land at the Plains of Moab Through Moses
Three tribes wanted to settle on the east side of Jordan because it was comfortable and good for living: Reuben (Josh 13:15-23), Gad (Josh 13:24-28), and half the tribe of Manasseh (Josh 13:29-31). This displeased God (Num 32; 34:14-16). God promised the land of Canaan, but they stopped short of God’s promised by not crossing the Jordan River. There was an argument between the tribes (Num 32:1-7) and it was displeasing to Moses and to the rest of the Israelites. We must not be like the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh, who didn’t want to obey God’s Word for their own comfort. We must go forward, cross the Jordan River, fight and conquest the land so that we can take up the inheritance that God has given to us. However, during times of war, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh went across the river and fought. They promised to do so, and in return they could gain inheritance of the land they wanted. However, Moses told them in Numbers 32:23 that if they break their promise, their sin will surely find them. Keep your promises in worshipping, tithing, and in all other things that you promise to God, otherwise your sin will find you.
2. The Allotment of Land at Gilgal
After crossing the Jordan River, they set up the tabernacle in Gilgal (1406 - 1400 BC), the center of worship and the community of Israel. They conquered both the southern and northern regions. After the six years of war ended, the three tribes of Judah, Ephraim, and the half tribe of Manasseh were given this land in Gilgal. Altogether, five tribes were given their inheritance in either the Plains of Moab or Gilgal. Judah received the largest land (Deut 21:17) because the firstborn receives double portions, and he was the firstborn according to the genealogy of Jesus. However, there were seven more tribes of Israel that had yet to divide their inheritance (Josh 18). Therefore, the tabernacle moved Shiloh.
Shiloh became the headquarters for all of Israel from 1400 BC until the Philistines took the ark of the covenant in 1102 BC (298 years). Caleb was the representative for the tribe Judah and asked for the land of Hebron, where the Anek giants lived. We must have this kind of faith that faces giants, believing that God is fighting for us with His terror and majesty. Simeon received some land in the southern part of Judah. Dan received a portion of land next to Ephraim and Benjamin. Zebulun, Issachar, and Asher were given portions as well. The tribe of Judah yielded a portion of its land to the tribe of Benjamin, much like an older brother taking care of his younger brother. This small act of kindness came back as a blessing to the tribe of Judah, when the nation was split and the tribe of Benjamin stood by them (1 Kgs 18:21), forming the Southern Kingdom of Judah. We also have times when we fight over space, land, and possessions. Be kind and yield, and it will return as a blessing to you.
We must not live with a passive, comfortable faith like the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. We must cross the Jordan. Although it might be difficult, have no fear, for God told us to take courage and take the land that He has given to us. Just as the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan, we must conquer this world by boldly proclaiming of the Word and evangelizing to the people of this world.