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Deeper Commentary

Jos 16:1 The lot came out for the children of Joseph from the Jordan at Jericho, at the waters of Jericho on the east, even the wilderness, going up from Jericho through the hill country to Bethel-
Significantly, the road to Jericho which features in the parable of the good Samaritan was the very dividing line between Judah and Ephraim (Josh. 16:1). The significance of this may be in the implication within the parable that Israel fell among thieves, needing the Messianic grace and rescue, as a result of their division into two kingdoms. And so many other spiritual lives have been shipwrecked over the rocks of division. Indeed, the Greek words for "division" and "stumbling block" are related; divisions are a stumblingblock to so many, even if they externally remain within their faith communities.

Jos 16:2 It went out from Bethel to Luz, and passed along to the border of the Archites to Ataroth-
Although Luz was called Bethel (Gen. 35:6; Jud. 1:23), Josh. 16:2 implies a difference between them. Perhaps Luz was the city, and "Bethel" refers specifically to the altar of Jacob there. But Keil suggests Bethel refers to the "southern range of mountains belonging to Bethel, from which the boundary ran out to the town of Luz, so that this town, which stood upon the border, was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin (Josh. 18:22)". 

Jos 16:3 and it went down westward to the border of the Japhletites, to the border of Beth Horon the lower as far as Gezer; and ended at the sea-
The sea is the Mediterranean.

Jos 16:4 The children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance-
There was a difference between Joshua capturing land by defeating local kings, and the people actually taking it for inheritance, or possessing it. Here it is stated by grace and imputed righteousness that Manasseh and Ephraim took their inheritance, they did actually possess the inheritance; although we learn from Judges that there were areas where they failed to. And see on :10.

Jos 16:5 This was the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families. The border of their inheritance eastward was from Ataroth Addar to Beth Horon the upper-
The law of Moses reasons as if each family of Israel had a specific inheritance which was not to be sold or moved outside the family. Hence the sin of Ahab in obtaining Naboth's vineyard. It would seem that there was some unrecorded list made of each family and which land they were to be given. This looks forward to our very personal and unique inheritance in God's Kingdom, possibly based around spiritual family units.

Jos 16:6 The border went out westward at Michmethath on the north. The border turned about eastward to Taanath Shiloh, and passed along it on the east of Janoah-

Is. 60:2 speaks of the sun rising upon Zion- as if Zion was the whole earth to God. Ps. 89:12 shows how God reckons the points of the compass with reference to Jerusalem: "The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor  and Hermon shall rejoice". Likewise "the sea" is often used to show that the west is intended, the Mediterranean being to the west of Jerusalem (Num. 2:18; Josh. 16:5,6; Ez. 42:19). "The east" is put for Persia, Media and the lands east of Jerusalem (Ez. 25:4; Mt. 2:1); "the south" for Egypt, south of Canaan (Jer. 13:19; Dan. 11:5), or for the Negev, the hill country south of Jerusalem (Gen. 12:9; 13:1,3; Ez. 20:46,47). God reveals Himself as being centered in His orientation around His people.

Jos 16:7 It went down from Janoah to Ataroth, to Naarah, reached to Jericho, and went out at the Jordan-
Their border “went down” due to how it descended down the slopes towards the Jordan valley. This is another example of how these divisions of land were clearly written from God's bird's eye perspective, and could not have been written by man at that time, lacking satellite imagery.

Jos 16:8 From Tappuah the border went along westward to the brook of Kanah and ended at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim according to their families-
This describes the western half of the northern border, which ended at the sea between Joppa and Caesarea.

Jos 16:9 together with the cities which were set apart for the children of Ephraim in the midst of the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages-
This is another example of where the inheritances were recalculated. This could have been for many reasons. The lack of living room perceived by some of the tribes was unnecessary- had they driven out the Canaanites and cleared the land (:10). But God makes concessions to human weakness, and allowed them to inherit in other areas. He is similarly flexible with His people today.

Jos 16:10 They didn’t drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell in the midst of Ephraim to this day, and became servants to do forced labour-
"Drive out" is s.w. "possess". We must note the difference between the  Canaanite peoples and their kings being "struck" and their land "taken" by Joshua-Jesus; and the people of Israel permanently taking possession. This is the difference between the Lord's victory on the cross, and our taking possession of the Kingdom. Even though that possession has been "given" to us. The word used for "possession" is literally 'an inheritance'. The allusion is to the people, like us, being the seed of Abraham. The Kingdom was and is our possession, our inheritance- if we walk in the steps of Abraham. But it is one thing to be the seed of Abraham, another to take possession of the inheritance; and Israel generally did not take possession of all the land (Josh. 11:23 13:1; 16:10; 18:3; 23:4). The language of inheritance / possession is applied to us in the New Testament (Eph. 1:11,14; Col. 3:24; Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Pet. 1:4 etc.). Israel were promised: "You shall possess it" (Dt. 30:5; 33:23). This was more of a command than a prophecy, for sadly they were "given" the land but did not "possess" it. They were constantly encouraged in the wilderness that they were on the path to possessing the land (Dt. 30:16,18; 31:3,13; 32:47), but when they got there they didn't possess it fully.

The whole of Solomon’s kingdom was built on the backs of slave labour- firstly, of the Gentiles in the land (2 Chron. 8:8 RV), and then later of God’s own people. The Gentiles should either have been put to death, or welcomed into the brotherhood of Israel- but to put them to slave labour was only repeating a classic mistake and sin of his forefathers (Josh. 16:10 RV). There was something rotten about all his achievements from the very beginning. 

I would consider the book of Joshua to have largely been written by Joshua, under Divine inspiration, although edited [again under Divine inspiration] for the exiles. And the book of Judges likewise. For the exiles too were set to reestablish God's Kingdom in the land and to inherit it again as the Israelites first did. The phrase "to this day" occurs several times in Joshua / Judges, and appears to have different points of historical reference (Josh. 4:9; 5:9; 6:25; 7:26; 8:28,29; 9:27; 10:27; 13:13; 14:14; 15:63; 16:10; 22:3; 23:8,9; Jud. 1:26; 6:24; 10:4; 15:19; 18:12). I would explain this by saying that the book was edited a number of times and the remains of those edits remain in the text. For God's word is living and made relevant by Him to every generation.