Benjamin was the baby of Jacob’s family and full brother to Joseph. I always remember that those boys were both born of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. Jacob’s love and devotion to her was always a precious part of that story for me. It was a sad day when Rachel died young, leaving her young sons to be brought up by another.
While Joseph was Jacob’s favorite, it was Benjamin that Joseph thought of when he reunited with his brothers in Egypt all those years later. While Benjamin’s portion is smaller than some of the other brothers, it has Jerusalem which has such a rich history of faith.
What kind of emotions do you think these seven tribes were feeling still being “homeless?” Anxious? Bored? Curious? Impatient? Certainly, life was way different for the Israelites than for us today. We can only apply our own “filters” on their situation. I always like to put myself in the moment the best I can.
I can just imagine the hush, or collective gasp, that occurred over the masses of people at Shiloh when they were told to go pick their land and God would bless it. Joshua seemed a little surprised that he had to bring up the subject of land division as if he was wondering, “what are they waiting for?” Joshua said to them, “Select three men from each tribe, and I will send them out to explore the land and map it out. They will then return to me with a written report of their proposed divisions of their new homeland.”
I got out my pen and paper to try and map out the relations of Joseph mentioned in this reading. I’m afraid that didn’t really help. I even turned to a commentary and decided that rather than get caught up in these details, I would look for the message to me. That’s always a good thing when we read God’s Word. If something doesn’t make sense, and the Spirit isn’t opening up any sort of revelation, pray for the message.
The message I’m taking away today is be twofold. Be careful what you ask God for and be grateful to God for what he gives you. I’m curious what spoke to you today? Let me explain what I am reflecting on today.
Growing up, I always thought my brother was the favorite child. It seemed I always got in trouble, and he didn’t. Years later, he shared with me how he always learned from my mistakes and was better at not getting caught! You might remember the story of Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph. His brothers were extremely jealous of how their father favored Joseph.
As that story played out, we know that Joseph went on to be great in the land of Egypt. Eventually, it was Joseph who saved his family from a severe famine that was killing many. I suppose we could speculate that is why his descendants are now getting a double portion of land. God wanted to reward Joseph in this way.
Now that was a longer reading than normal. If you’re like me, you got a bit lost in all of the directions and names of the towns. When you’re not familiar with an area, it’s hard to visualize what it looks like. While this whole chapter speaks to Judah’s clan and their inheritance, I did find a MAP showing the 12 tribes.Hopefully that will help you, too (just click).
Judah does get a big portion of land. And, of course, our last reading introduced Caleb as one of the “heros” who came back with a favorable report to Moses years ago. I thought it only fitting that he gets a nod here. We hear a little more of his story, too, amidst all the assignments. Is there a message for us in this nugget of history?