Joshua 16-18…More allotments and inheritances.
Just as Judah received most of the southern region of Canaan, Ephraim and the other half-tribe of Manasseh get most of the central region, with the Jordan on the east and the Mediterranean on the west. The border descriptions are not as precise as those for Judah. Also, no list of cities is given for either tribe, enhancing the difficulty of defining their boundaries. The text appears to draw the southern border of the tribes roughly parallel to but north of the border of Judah; in the space between them, Benjamin and Dan will receive land later. Ephraim’s limits are then spelled out. In this initial survey, its land touches the Jordan and Mediterranean, but later tribal allotments will take away some of its territory and leave it landlocked south of Manasseh, cut off from the river and the sea, and confined to the fruitful hills. However, the tribe apparently does receive some of the cities initially given to Manasseh.
Ephraim did not obey God’s command to drive the Canaanites out. That meant that idol worshiping pagans lived in their midst, and their hearts were soon led astray. We often cannot foresee the negative consequences of disobedience and unbelief in God’s Word. We are certainly called to live in the world, and to develop relationships with those who do not know the Lord. However, these chapters serve as warnings against unbelievers in our communities of fellowship. We want to welcome non-christians to attend, listen, and learn at our weekly gatherings. But, for the sake of God’s glory, and His powerful corporate witness, we cannot allow them to partake in the benefits of fellowship, or let them associate themselves with the body of believers.