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Dividing up the land: Joshua 12–15

Although age had no limits for Caleb, at least for a while, Joshua eventually ran out of youthful energy:

Joshua 13:1, 6-7 When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, ‘You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered. … I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites. So be sure to give this land to Israel as a special possession, just as I have commanded you. Include all this territory as Israel’s possession when you divide this land among the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.’

On the face of it, the Israelites were being asked to allocate land they hadn’t yet occupied. They seemed to accept it, even though the discrepancy was quite large:

Israel: territory taken in the initial invasion and final allocation of land to the 12 tribes

Israel: Estimated territory taken in the initial invasion (black outline) and final allocation of land to the 12 tribes (coloured areas). Source: Adapted from The Atlas of Ancient and Classical Geography by Samuel Butler (Map 17) and Muir’s Atlas of Ancient and Classical History (from here)

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