Joshua 12

The Word Made Fresh

1Here is a list of the kings the Israelites defeated and the territories they occupied east of the Jordan from the Arnon wadi to Mt. Hermon, including the whole of the east side of the Arabah:

2Sihon, king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon and ruled from Aroer beside the Arnon wadi, across the valley to the Jabbok River which served as the boundary of Ammon and included half of Gilead; 3then from the Arabah east toward lake Chinneroth, and from Beth-Jeshimoth to the Dead Sea, then south to the base of Mt. Pisgah.

4Og, king of Bashan, who was one of the remaining Rephaim, lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5He ruled over Mt. Hermon and Salecah, including Bashan to the boundary of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and more than half of Gilead to the boundary of king Sihon.

6Moses and the Israelites defeated them. Moses, the LORD’s servant, gave their lands to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh.

7Here is a list of the kings Joshua and the Israelites defeated west of the Jordan, from Baal-Gad in the Lebanon valley to Mt. Salek toward Seir. Joshua gave their lands to the tribes of Israel, 8including the hill country, the lowlands, the slopes of the mountain ranges, the Arabah, the wilderness, and the Negeb: all the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

Here is the list of their conquests: 9the kings of Jericho, Ai next to Bethel, 10Jerusalem, Hebron, 11Jarmuth, Lachish, 12Eglon, Gezer, 13Debir, Geder, 14Hormah, Arad, 15Libnah, Adullam, 16Makkedah, Bethel, 17Tappuah, Hepher, 18Aphek, Lasharon, 19Madon, Hazor, 20Shimron-Merom, Achshaph, 21Taanach, Megiddo, 22Kedesh, Jokneam in Carmel, 23Dor in Nahath-Dor, Goiim in Gilgal, 24and Tirzah – thirty-one kings in all.

Commentary

The chapter is in two parts:

Verses 1-6 lists the victories on the east side of the Jordan that were taken under Moses’ leadership, and resulted in the settlement of that land by the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. Manasseh is often referred to as a half-tribe along with Ephraim. Manasseh and Ephraim were the sons of Joseph. Since the tribe of Levi was set apart for religious service, the number of tribes to settle the land was kept at twelve by dividing Joseph into Manasseh and Ephraim.

Verses 7-24 lists all the kings Joshua defeated as he went about the conquest of the land of Canaan west of the Jordan River.

Takeaway

The names are difficult to pronounce. Just do your best, and you’ll probably be pretty close. The ancient Hebrew alphabet contained twenty-two letters, all consonants, no vowels. So, the pronunciations were passed down by word of mouth for over 1000 years until a group of Jewish scholars called the Masoretes in the 6th century A.D. devised a system of markings representing vowel sounds. There really is no way to tell how accurate they are, since Jewish people in different parts of the Holy Land and beyond spoke with slightly different accents, and there are probably several different pronunciations for many of the names of people and places.