Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 59

Joshua 13–15, Acts 13–15

Bible text(s)

The Land Still to be Taken

1Joshua was now very old. The LORD said to him, “You are very old, but there is still much land to be taken: 2all the territory of Philistia and Geshur, 3as well as all the territory of the Avvim to the south. (The land from the stream of Shihor, at the Egyptian border, as far north as the border of Ekron was considered Canaanite; the kings of the Philistines lived at Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron.) 4There is still all the Canaanite country, and Mearah (which belonged to the Sidonians), as far as Aphek, at the Amorite border; 5the land of the Gebalites; all of Lebanon to the east, from Baalgad, which is south of Mount Hermon, to Hamath Pass. 6This includes all the territory of the Sidonians, who live in the hill country between the Lebanon Mountains and Misrephoth Maim. I will drive all these peoples out as the people of Israel advance. You must divide the land among the Israelites, just as I have commanded you to do. 7Now then, divide this land among the other nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh, for them to possess as their own.”

The Division of the Territory East of the Jordan

8The tribes of Reuben and Gad and the other half of the tribe of Manasseh had already received the land that Moses, the LORD's servant, had given them; it was on the east side of the River Jordan. 9Their territory extended to Aroer (on the edge of the Arnon Valley) and the city in the middle of that valley and included all the plateau from Medeba to Dibon. 10It went as far as the border of Ammon and included all the cities that had been ruled by the Amorite king Sihon, who had ruled at Heshbon. 11It included Gilead, the regions of Geshur and Maacah, all Mount Hermon, and all of Bashan as far as Salecah. 12It included the kingdom of Og, the last of the Rephaim, who had ruled at Ashtaroth and Edrei. Moses had defeated these people and driven them out. 13However, the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur and Maacah; they still live in Israel.

14Moses had given no land to the tribe of Levi. As the LORD had told Moses, they were to receive as their possession a share of the sacrifices burnt on the altar to the LORD God of Israel.

The Territory Assigned to Reuben

15Moses had given a part of the land to the families of the tribe of Reuben as their possession. 16Their territory extended to Aroer (on the edge of the Arnon Valley) and the city in the middle of that valley and included all the plateau round Medeba. 17It included Heshbon and all the cities on the plateau: Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baalmeon, 18Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zerethshahar on the hill in the valley, 20Bethpeor, the slopes of Mount Pisgah, and Beth Jeshimoth. 21It included all the cities of the plateau and the whole kingdom of the Amorite king Sihon, who had ruled at Heshbon. Moses defeated him, as well as the rulers of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. All of them had ruled the land for King Sihon. 22Among those whom the people of Israel killed was the fortune teller Balaam son of Beor. 23The Jordan was the western border of the tribe of Reuben. These were the cities and towns given to the families of the tribe of Reuben as their possession.

The Territory Assigned to Gad

24Moses had also given a part of the land to the families of the tribe of Gad as their possession. 25Their territory included Jazer and all the cities of Gilead, half the land of Ammon as far as Aroer, which is east of Rabbah; 26their land extended from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpeh and Betonim, from Mahanaim to the border of Lodebar. 27In the Jordan Valley it included Beth Haram, Bethnimrah, Sukkoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of King Sihon of Heshbon. Their western border was the River Jordan as far north as Lake Galilee. 28These were the cities and towns given to the families of the tribe of Gad as their possession.

The Territory Assigned to East Manasseh

29Moses had given a part of the land to the families of half the tribe of Manasseh as their possession. 30Their territory extended to Mahanaim and included all of Bashan — the whole kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, as well as all sixty of the villages of Jair in Bashan. 31It included half of Gilead, as well as Ashtaroth and Edrei, the capital cities of Og's kingdom in Bashan. All this was given to half the families descended from Machir son of Manasseh.

32That is how Moses divided the land east of Jericho and the Jordan when he was in the plains of Moab. 33But Moses did not assign any land to the tribe of Levi. He told them that their possession was to be a share of the offerings to the LORD God of Israel.

The Division of the Territory West of the Jordan

1What follows is an account of how the land of Canaan west of the Jordan was divided among the people of Israel. Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of the families of the Israelite tribes divided it among the population. 2As the LORD had commanded Moses, the territories of the nine and a half tribes west of the Jordan were determined by drawing lots. 3-4Moses had already assigned the land east of the Jordan to the other two and a half tribes. (The descendants of Joseph were divided into two tribes: Manasseh and Ephraim.) However, Moses gave the Levites no portion of the territory. Instead, they received cities to live in, with fields for their cattle and flocks. 5The people of Israel divided the land as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Hebron is Given to Caleb

6One day some people from the tribe of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. One of them, Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, said to him, “You know what the LORD said in Kadesh Barnea about you and me to Moses, the man of God. 7I was forty years old when the LORD's servant Moses sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out this land. I brought an honest report back to him. 8The men who went with me, however, made our people afraid. But I faithfully obeyed the LORD my God. 9Because I did, Moses promised me that my children and I would certainly receive as our possession the land which I walked over. 10But now, look. It has been 45 years since the LORD said that to Moses. That was when Israel was going through the desert, and the LORD, as he promised, has kept me alive ever since. Look at me! I am 85 years old 11and I'm just as strong today as I was when Moses sent me out. I am still strong enough for war or for anything else. 12Now then, give me the hill country that the LORD promised me on that day when my men and I reported. We told you then that the race of giants called the Anakim were there in large walled cities. Maybe the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out, just as the LORD said.”

13Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him the city of Hebron as his possession. 14Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, because he faithfully obeyed the LORD, the God of Israel. 15Before this, Hebron was called the city of Arba. (Arba had been the greatest of the Anakim.)

There was now peace in the land.

The Territory Assigned to Judah

1The families of the tribe of Judah received a part of the land described as follows:

The land reached south to the southernmost point of the wilderness of Zin, at the border of Edom. 2This southern border ran from the south end of the Dead Sea, 3went southwards from the Akrabbim Pass and on to Zin. It ran south of Kadesh Barnea, past Hezron and up to Addar, turned towards Karka, 4went on to Azmon, and followed the stream on the border of Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea, where the border ended. That was the southern border of Judah.

5The eastern border was the Dead Sea, all the way up to the inlet where the Jordan empties into it.

The northern border began there, 6extended up to Beth Hoglah, and went north of the ridge overlooking the Jordan Valley. Then it went up to the Stone of Bohan (Bohan was a son of Reuben), 7from Trouble Valley up to Debir, and then turned north towards Gilgal, which faces Adummim Pass on the south side of the valley. It then went on to the springs of Enshemesh, out to Enrogel, 8and up through the Valley of Hinnom on the south side of the hill where the Jebusite city of Jerusalem was located. The border then proceeded up to the top of the hill on the west side of the Valley of Hinnom, at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. 9From there it went to the Springs of Nephtoah and out to the cities near Mount Ephron. There it turned towards Baalah (or Kiriath Jearim), 10where it circled west of Baalah towards the hill country of Edom, went on the north side of Mount Jearim (or Chesalon), down to Beth Shemesh, and on past Timnah. 11The border then went out to the hill north of Ekron, turned towards Shikkeron, past Mount Baalah, and on to Jamnia. It ended at the Mediterranean Sea, 12which formed the western border.

Within these borders lived the people of the families of Judah.

Caleb Conquers Hebron and Debir

(Judg 1.11–15)

13As the LORD commanded Joshua, part of the territory of Judah was given to Caleb son of Jephunneh, from the tribe of Judah. He received Hebron, the city belonging to Arba, father of Anak. 14Caleb drove the descendants of Anak out of the city — the clans of Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. 15From there he went to attack the people living in Debir. (This city used to be called Kiriath Sepher.) 16Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Achsah in marriage to the man who succeeds in capturing Kiriath Sepher.” 17Othniel, the son of Caleb's brother Kenaz, captured the city, so Caleb gave him his daughter Achsah in marriage. 18On the wedding day Othniel urged her to ask her father for a field. She got down from her donkey, and Caleb asked her what she wanted. 19She answered, “I want some pools of water. The land you have given me is in the dry country.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

The Cities of Judah

20This is the land that the families of the tribe of Judah received as their possession. 21The cities farthest south that belonged to them, those that were near the border of Edom, were Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (or Hazor), 26Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Bethpelet, 28Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah, 31Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon: 29 cities in all, along with the towns round them.

33The cities in the foothills were Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34Zanoah, Engannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 36Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, and Gederothaim: fourteen cities, along with the towns round them.

37There were also Zenan, Hadashah, Migdalgad, 38Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 39Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40Cabbon, Lahmam, Chitlish, 41Gederoth, Bethdagon, Naamah, and Makkedah: sixteen cities, along with the towns round them.

42There were also Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah: nine cities, along with the towns round them.

45There was Ekron with its towns and villages, 46and all the cities and towns near Ashdod, from Ekron to the Mediterranean Sea.

47There were Ashdod and Gaza, with their towns and villages, reaching to the stream on the border of Egypt and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

48In the hill country there were Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49Dannah, Kiriath Sepher (or Debir), 50Anab, Eshtemoa, Anim, 51Goshen, Holon, and Giloh: eleven cities, along with the towns round them.

52There were Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 54Humtah, Hebron, and Zior: nine cities, along with the towns round them.

55There were Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah: ten cities, along with the towns round them.

58There were Halhul, Bethzur, Gedor, 59Maarath, Bethanoth, and Eltekon: six cities, along with the towns round them.

60There were Kiriath Baal (or Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah: two cities, along with the towns round them.

61In the desert there were Beth Arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62Nibshan, the city of Salt, and Engedi: six cities, along with the towns round them.

63But the people of Judah were not able to drive out the Jebusites, who lived in Jerusalem. The Jebusites still live there with the people of Judah.

Barnabas and Saul are Chosen and Sent

1In the church at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (called the Black), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the governor), and Saul. 2While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, to do the work to which I have called them.”

3They fasted and prayed, placed their hands on them, and sent them off.

In Cyprus

4Having been sent by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to Seleucia and sailed from there to the island of Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues. They had John Mark with them to help in the work.

6They went all the way across the island to Paphos, where they met a certain magician named Bar-Jesus, a Jew who claimed to be a prophet. 7He was a friend of the governor of the island, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor called Barnabas and Saul before him because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But they were opposed by the magician Elymas (that is his name in Greek), who tried to turn the governor away from the faith. 9Then Saul — also known as Paul — was filled with the Holy Spirit; he looked straight at the magician 10and said, “You son of the Devil! You are the enemy of everything that is good. You are full of all kinds of evil tricks, and you always keep trying to turn the Lord's truths into lies! 11The Lord's hand will come down on you now; you will be blind and will not see the light of day for a time.”

At once Elymas felt a dark mist cover his eyes, and he walked about trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw what had happened, he believed; for he was greatly amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Antioch in Pisidia

13Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14They went on from Perga and arrived in Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law of Moses and from the writings of the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message: “Brothers and sisters, we want you to speak to the people if you have a message of encouragement for them.” 16Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and began to speak:

“Fellow-Israelites and all Gentiles here who worship God: hear me! 17The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors and made the people a great nation during the time they lived as foreigners in Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt by his great power, 18and for forty years he endured them in the desert. 19He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and made his people the owners of the land. 20All this took about 450 years.

“After this he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21And when they asked for a king, God gave them Saul son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king for forty years. 22After removing him, God made David their king. This is what God said about him: ‘I have found that David son of Jesse is the kind of man I like, a man who will do all I want him to do.’ 23It was Jesus, a descendant of David, whom God made the Saviour of the people of Israel, as he had promised. 24Before Jesus began his work, John preached to all the people of Israel that they should turn from their sins and be baptized. 25And as John was about to finish his mission, he said to the people, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the one you are waiting for. But listen! He is coming after me, and I am not good enough to take his sandals off his feet.’

26“My fellow-Israelites, descendants of Abraham, and all Gentiles here who worship God: it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent! 27For the people who live in Jerusalem and their leaders did not know that he is the Saviour, nor did they understand the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Yet they made the prophets' words come true by condemning Jesus. 28And even though they could find no reason to pass the death sentence on him, they asked Pilate to have him put to death. 29And after they had done everything that the Scriptures say about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from death, 31and for many days he appeared to those who had travelled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now witnesses for him to the people of Israel. 32-33And we are here to bring the Good News to you: what God promised our ancestors he would do, he has now done for us, who are their descendants, by raising Jesus to life. As it is written in the second Psalm:

‘You are my Son;

today I have become your Father.’

34And this is what God said about raising him from death, never to rot away in the grave:

‘I will give you the sacred and sure blessings

that I promised to David.’

35As indeed he says in another passage:

‘You will not allow your faithful servant to rot in the grave.’

36For David served God's purposes in his own time, and then he died, was buried with his ancestors, and his body rotted in the grave. 37But this did not happen to the one whom God raised from death. 38-39We want you to know, my fellow-Israelites, that it is through Jesus that the message about forgiveness of sins is preached to you; and that everyone who believes in him is set free from all the sins from which the Law of Moses could not set you free. 40Take care, then, so that what the prophets said may not happen to you:

41‘Look, you scoffers! Be astonished and die!

For what I am doing today

is something that you will not believe,

even when someone explains it to you!’ ”

42As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to come back the next Sabbath and tell them more about these things. 43After the people had left the meeting, Paul and Barnabas were followed by many Jews and by many Gentiles who had been converted to Judaism. The apostles spoke to them and encouraged them to keep on living in the grace of God.

44The next Sabbath nearly everyone in the town came to hear the word of the Lord. 45When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; they disputed what Paul was saying and insulted him. 46But Paul and Barnabas spoke out even more boldly: “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. But since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we will leave you and go to the Gentiles. 47For this is the commandment that the Lord has given us:

‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

so that all the world may be saved.’ ”

48When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the Lord's message; and those who had been chosen for eternal life became believers.

49The word of the Lord spread everywhere in that region. 50But the Jews stirred up the leading men of the city and the Gentile women of high social standing who worshipped God. They started a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and threw them out of their region. 51The apostles shook the dust off their feet in protest against them and went on to Iconium. 52The believers in Antioch were full of joy and the Holy Spirit.

In Iconium

1The same thing happened in Iconium: Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of Jews and Gentiles became believers. 2But the Jews who would not believe stirred up the Gentiles and turned them against the believers. 3The apostles stayed there for a long time, speaking boldly about the Lord, who proved that their message about his grace was true by giving them the power to perform miracles and wonders. 4The people of the city were divided: some were for the Jews, others for the apostles.

5Then some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to ill-treat the apostles and stone them. 6When the apostles learnt about it, they fled to the cities of Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia and to the surrounding territory. 7There they preached the Good News.

In Lystra and Derbe

8In Lystra there was a man who had been lame from birth and had never been able to walk. 9He sat there and listened to Paul's words. Paul saw that he believed and could be healed, so he looked straight at him 10and said in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” The man jumped up and started walking around. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they started shouting in their own Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!” 12They gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and Paul the name Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of the god Zeus, whose temple stood just outside the town, brought bulls and flowers to the gate, for he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice to the apostles.

14When Barnabas and Paul heard what they were about to do, they tore their clothes and ran into the middle of the crowd, shouting, 15“Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human beings like you! We are here to announce the Good News, to turn you away from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven, earth, sea, and all that is in them. 16In the past he allowed all people to go their own way. 17But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness.” 18Even with these words the apostles could hardly keep the crowd from offering a sacrifice to them.

19Some Jews came from Antioch in Pisidia and from Iconium; they won the crowd over to their side, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. 20But when the believers gathered round him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia. 22They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught. 23In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

24After going through the territory of Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25There they preached the message in Perga and then went to Attalia, 26and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the place where they had been commended to the care of God's grace for the work they had now completed.

27When they arrived in Antioch, they gathered the people of the church together and told them about all that God had done with them and how he had opened the way for the Gentiles to believe. 28And they stayed a long time there with the believers.

The Meeting at Jerusalem

1Some men came from Judea to Antioch and started teaching the believers, “You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised as the Law of Moses requires.” 2Paul and Barnabas got into a fierce argument with them about this, so it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others in Antioch should go to Jerusalem and see the apostles and elders about this matter.

3They were sent on their way by the church; and as they went through Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported how the Gentiles had turned to God; this news brought great joy to all the believers. 4When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, to whom they told all that God had done through them. 5But some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses.”

6The apostles and the elders met together to consider this question. 7After a long debate Peter stood up and said, “My brothers and sisters, you know that a long time ago God chose me from among you to preach the Good News to the Gentiles, so that they could hear and believe. 8And God, who knows the thoughts of everyone, showed his approval of the Gentiles by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he had to us. 9He made no difference between us and them; he forgave their sins because they believed. 10So then, why do you now want to put God to the test by laying a load on the backs of the believers which neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were able to carry? 11No! We believe and are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”

12The whole group was silent as they heard Barnabas and Paul report all the miracles and wonders that God had performed through them among the Gentiles. 13When they had finished speaking, James spoke up: “Listen to me, my brothers and sisters! 14Simon has just explained how God first showed his care for the Gentiles by taking from among them a people to belong to him. 15The words of the prophets agree completely with this. As the scripture says:

16‘After this I will return, says the Lord,

and restore the kingdom of David.

I will rebuild its ruins

and make it strong again.

17And so all the rest of the human race will come to me,

all the Gentiles whom I have called to be my own.

18So says the Lord, who made this known long ago.’

19“It is my opinion,” James went on, “that we should not trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write a letter telling them not to eat any food that is ritually unclean because it has been offered to idols; to keep themselves from sexual immorality; and not to eat any animal that has been strangled, or any blood. 21For the Law of Moses has been read for a very long time in the synagogues every Sabbath, and his words are preached in every town.”

The Letter to the Gentile Believers

22Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, decided to choose some men from the group and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose two men who were highly respected by the believers, Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, 23and they sent the following letter by them:

“We, the apostles and the elders, your brothers, send greetings to all our brothers of Gentile birth who live in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. 24We have heard that some who went from our group have troubled and upset you by what they said; they had not, however, received any instruction from us. 25And so we have met together and have all agreed to choose some messengers and send them to you. They will go with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We send you, then, Judas and Silas, who will tell you in person the same things we are writing. 28The Holy Spirit and we have agreed not to put any other burden on you besides these necessary rules: 29eat no food that has been offered to idols; eat no blood; eat no animal that has been strangled; and keep yourselves from sexual immorality. You will do well if you take care not to do these things. With our best wishes.”

30The messengers were sent off and went to Antioch, where they gathered the whole group of believers and gave them the letter. 31When the people read it, they were filled with joy by the message of encouragement. 32Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, spoke a long time with them, giving them courage and strength. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off in peace by the believers and went back to those who had sent them.

35Paul and Barnabas spent some time in Antioch, and together with many others they taught and preached the word of the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit our brothers and sisters in every town where we preached the word of the Lord, and let us find out how they are getting on.” 37Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, 38but Paul did not think it was right to take him, because he had not stayed with them to the end of their mission, but had turned back and left them in Pamphylia. 39There was a sharp argument, and they separated: Barnabas took Mark and sailed off for Cyprus, 40while Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the care of the Lord's grace. 41He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

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