Text summary and highlights
Chapter 13 - There is land yet to be conquered (!)! Divide it to the tribes (7). Eastern tribes have their land (8-33). Levites get no land inheritance (14, 33)
Chapter 14 - There are still 12 tribes: Levi dropped, but Joseph becomes two (1-5). Caleb asks for the Anakim-infested mountain of Hebron (6-15)
Chapter 15 - Judah receives their inheritance first, as the new leader of Israel. They led the march in the desert (Numbers 2:3), and Jacob blessed them over their older brothers (Genesis 49:3-10). Caleb takes the land he was given (13-19).
Chapters 16-17 - Ephraim and Manasseh receive their inheritance. In contrast to Caleb, they complain about their land, and don't have the will to drive out the inhabitants (17:13-18).
1. Levites who get no land are like ministers fully supported by the church today. Both are supported by tithes to teach the word to the people (Malachi 2:7).
2. Specific and obscure borders and cities. Each of us has a different life situation, little known to others, that God has given us. These are the resources and circumstances we are to steward profitably for His Kingdom.
3. God keeps His promises in His Word. Joshua and Israel consider what happened at the end of the Pentateuch to be God's Words and deeds.
a. The daughters of Zelophehad requested an inheritance with their brothers, Moses granted the request, and Joshua gave them the land (17:3).
b. Caleb argued for taking the Anakim 45 years ago (Numbers 13:21-22, 30), and now asks for the same thing, still believing God will give it to him, though he is now 85 years old! (14:7-14)
c. Jacob foretold Judah's rise to prominence in Genesis 49:8-10, and it comes to pass.
4. Incomplete Victory
At the end of each tribe being given land, often people or cities NOT taken are listed. The promise is not fully realized. This was partly not their fault: they COULD not drive them out. (See Exodus 23:28-30 for why.) And it partly WAS their fault: once they were able to, they did not and would not (Joshua 17:13). We must possess our promised possessions, and not let them lie dormant out of laziness or compromise with sin. What do we have in Christ? The Spirit and all His gifts, fellow believers, assurance, joy, etc. Do not neglect the gifts within you!