A long chapter (51 verses), but similar to 16 and 17 in that it was mostly a list of villages, which doesn’t take as long to read in Japanese because it’s all foreign words in katakana anyway.
At first this all seemed pretty dry, until I decided to look at the map my NOAB provides in the back alongside the census from Numbers 26. Then things start to look unfair. Judah, for example, is the largest tribe, if you divide up the tribe of Joseph, but it still accounts for only 12.7% of the population. It’s not even twice the population of Benjamin, yet they get substantially more land – very disproportionate to their size.
So what land division not just area, but also quality? The smaller areas are often near rivers and lakes that would have provided better farmland, so maybe that makes up for the fact that Judah, Manasseh, and Ephraim seem to have way too much land.
But that’s just a theory, because I’m not familiar enough with the climate and geography of the Near East more than two thousand years ago. Another possibility is that, well, the numbers in Numbers are wrong, that Judah and Joseph were always the dominant nations.
Still, this chapter does seem to at least partially acknowledge the discrepancy, as it notes that Judah’s portion “was too large for them” (v 9), so some of their land and villages were given to Simeon, the smallest tribe.
Other little side notes include Dan losing its territory. A fairly large tribe, Dan supposedly controlled the southern Mediterranean coast until they “lost” the land, migrated north, and took territory in Lebanon. It’s not mentioned how they lost it, but my NOAB says it happens in Judges. Yet more evidence that Joshua wasn’t written immediately after the events it describes – it describes events that take place long after the events it describes!
The chapter ends with Joshua retiring to a town he rebuilds in the hill country. The land has now been divided up, but there’s still two more geographical chapters as it has to cover the cities of refuge and the cities where Levites live and raise their livestock.
The Japanese: hete “via” (v 22).
Yes, really only one word! I look forward to that being “zero” someday. This chapter was very repetitive, and almost all the vocabulary were words I’ve encountered recently enough to remember them. Reading this has been a more interesting way of doing flashcards. Words repeat enough that, while I don’t necessarily remember them the second time they appear, by the tenth, I’m starting to get them down. Chapters now go much faster than they did back when I began this project.