Story Five

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Joshua 14:1, to 19:51
THE great war for the conquest of Cā́ năan was now ended, though in the land some cities were still held by the Cā́ năan-ītes people. Yet the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes were now the rulers over most of the country, and Jŏsh́u-ȧ prepared to divide the land among the tribes of Ĭś̝ ra-el.
One day the rulers of the tribe of Jū́ dah came to Jŏsh́ u-ȧ's tent at Ḡĭĺ găl, and with them came an old man, Caleb, whom you remember as one of the twelve spies sent by Mṓ s̝es̝ from Kā́ desh=bäŕ ne-ȧ, to go through the land of Cā́ năan. This had, been many years before, and Caleb was now, like Jŏsh́ u-ȧ, an old man, past eighty years of age. He said to Jŏsh́ u-ȧ:
"You remember what the Lord said to Mṓ s̝es̝, the mail of God, when we were in the desert at Kā́ desh=bäŕ ne-ȧ, and you and I with the other spies brought back our report. I spoke to Mṓ s̝es̝ the word that was in my heart, and I followed the Lord wholly, when the other spies spoke out of their own fear, and made the people afraid. On that day, you remember that Mṓ s̝es̝ said to me, `The land where your feet have trodden and over which you have walked shall be yours, because you trusted in the Lord.'
"That was forty-five years ago," Cā́ leb went on to say, "and God has kept me alive all those years. To-day, at eighty-five years of age, I am as strong as I was in that day. And now I ask that the promise made by Mṓ s̝es̝ be kept, and that I have my choice of the places in the land.”
"Well," said Jŏsh́ u-ȧ, "you can take your choice in the land. What part of it will you choose?”
And Cā́ leb answered:
"The place that I will choose is the very mountain on which we saw the city with the high walls, where the giants were living then, and where other giants, their sons, are living now, the city of Hḗ bron. I know that the walls are high, and the giants live there. But the Lord will help me to take the cities, and to drive out the people who live in them. Let me have the city of Hḗ bron.”
This was very bold in so old a man as Cā́ leb, to choose the city which was not yet taken from the enemies, and one of the hardest cities to take, when he might have chosen some rich place already won. But Caleb at eighty-five showed the same spirit of courage, and willingness to war, and faith in God, that he had shown in his prime at forty years of age. Then Jŏsh́ u-ȧ said to Cā́ leb, "You shall have the city of Hḗ bron, with all its giants, if you will gather together your men, and take it." And the old soldier brought together his men, and led them against the strong city of Hḗ bron, where was the tomb of Ā́ bra-hăm, Ī́ s̝aac, and Jā́ cob. By the help of the Lord, Caleb was able to drive out the giants, tall and mighty as they were. They fled from Cā́ leb's men and went down to the shore on the west of the land, and lived among the people of that region, who were called the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝; while Cā́ leb, and his children, and his descendants long after him, held the city of Hḗ bron in the south of the land.
After this, by command of the Lord, Jŏsh́ u-ȧ divided the land among the tribes. Two tribes and half of another tribe had already received their land on the east of Jôŕ dan; so there were nine tribes and a half tribe to receive their shares. Jū́ dah, one of the largest, had the mountain country west of the Dead Sea, from Hḗ bron to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm; Sĭḿ e-on was on the south toward the desert; Bĕń ja-mĭn was north of Jū́ dah on the east, toward the Jôŕ dan, and Dăn north of Jū́ dah on the west, toward the Great Sea.
In the middle of the country, around the city of Shḗ chem, and the two mountains, Ḗ bal and Ḡĕŕ ĭ˗zĭm, where Jŏsh́ u-ȧ had read the law to the people, was the land of the tribe of Ḗ phră-ĭrn. This was one of the best parts of all the country, for the soil was rich and there were many springs and streams of water. And here, near Mount Ḗ bal, they buried the body of their tribe-father Jṓ s̝eph, which they had kept in its coffin of stone, unburied, ever since they left Ḗ ġy̆pt, more than forty years before. As Jŏsh́ u-ȧ himself belonged to the tribe of Ḗ phră-ĭm, his home was also in this land.
North of Ḗ phră-ĭm, and reaching from the river Jôŕ dan to the Great Sea, was the land of the other half of the tribe of Mā̇-năś-seh. Both tribes of Ḗ phră-ĭm and Mā̇-năś seh had sprung from Jṓ s̝eph. So Jṓ s̝eph's descendants had, two tribes, as had been promised by Jā́cob when he was about to die.
The northern part of the land was divided among four tribes. Ĭś sa-cher was in the south, Asher on the west beside the Great Sea, Zĕb́ u-lŭn was in the middle among the mountains, and Năph́ ta-lī was in the north, and by the lake afterward called the Sea of Găĺ ĭ-lee. At that time this lake was called the Sea of Kĭń no-rĕth, because the word "kinnor" means "a harp"; and as they thought that this lake was shaped somewhat like a harp, they named it "the Harp-shaped Sea.”
But although all the land had been divided, it had not all been completely conquered. Nearly all the Cā́ năan-īte people were there, still living upon the land, though in the mountain region they were under the rule of the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ĭtes. But on the plain beside the Great Sea, on the west of the land were the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝, a very strong people whom the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes had not yet met in war, though the time was coming when they would meet them, and suffer from them.
And even among the mountains were many cities where the Cā́ năan-īte people still lived, and in some of these cities they were strong. Years afterward, when Jŏsh́ u-ȧ the great warrior was no longer living, many of these people rose up to trouble the Ĭś̝ ra˗el-ītes. The time came when the tribes of Ĭś̝ ra-el wished often that their fathers had driven out or entirely destroyed the Cā́ năan˗ĭtes, before they ceased the war and divided the land.
But when Jŏsh́ u-ȧ divided the land, and sent the tribes to their new homes, peace seemed to reign over all the country. Up to this time we have spoken of all this land as the land of Cā́ năan, but now and henceforth it was to be called "The Land of Ĭś̝ er-el," or "The Land of the Twelve Tribes," for it was now their home.