Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Covenant Liturgy

Daily Readings
Psalm 81 + Joshua 24 + Hosea 3 + I Timothy 3

Quote of the Day
Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:
God was revealed in flesh,vindicated in spirit,seen by angels,
proclaimed among Gentiles,believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory. I Timothy 3:16

Daily Text: Joshua 24:1-4a, 19-21, 31
Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. 2And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors--Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor--lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. 3Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac; 4and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. 19But Joshua said to the people, "You cannot serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good." 21And the people said to Joshua, "No, we will serve the LORD!" 31Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the LORD did for Israel.

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Covenant Liturgy
The dialogical form of Chapter 24 is so apparent, that the reader may easily pencil notes observing the change back and forth between the LORD, Joshua and the people. Scholars indicate that this script was probably utilized many times through the centuries. Certainly its message is a timeless one. YHWH was to be the only God that Israel served, and the people commit to that.

Joshua’s remarkable leadership in this must be noted. We have every reason from the book of Joshua to believe that the people served YHWH faithfully during the life of Joshua, but the faithful leader sees the possibility and anticipating a falling away after his passing, challenges the people so radically (vs. 19) that they commit to a written witness (vs. 26,27) of their covenant promise. And, in fact, verse 31 attests that the generation that remembered Joshua and the LORD’s work for Israel, faithfully served the LORD throughout their lifetimes. The remarkable matter here is that Joshua did not have to become a prophet. He anticipated a falling away and acted before it occurred to keep the people faithful following his demise. That is leadership! Joshua’s leadership is probably the high water mark of leadership in all of the biblical record. With the exception of his failure to ask God for direction concerning Gibeon (chapter 9), Joshua’s record is flawless when it comes to his service to the God of Moses. Not known for the faith of Abraham, or the courage of Moses, Joshua should be remembered for being a godly leader of people. Surely our God could use more like him. His ringing challenge to the people, “choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD,” has been preserved as an individual and corporate goal from that day to this.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Joshua At Schechem
Charles Reznikoff

You Hebrews are too snug in Ur,
said God; wander about waste paces,
north and south leave your dead;
let kings fight against you,
and the heavens rain fire and brimstone
on you. And it was so.
and God looked again and saw
the Hebrews with their sons and daughters
rich in flocks and herds,
with jewels of silver
and jewels of gold.
And God said, Be slaves
to Pharaoh. And it was so.
And God looked again and saw
the Hebrews at the fleshpots,
with fish to eat,
cucumbers and melons.
And God said, Be gone
into the wilderness by the Red Sea
and the wilderness of Shur and the wilderness
of Shin; let Amalek come upon you,
and fiery serpents bite you. And it was so.
And God looked again and saw in a land of brooks
and springs and fountains,
wheat and barley, the Hebrews,
in a land on which they did not labor,
in cities which they did not build,
eating of vineyards and olive trees
which they did not plant.
And God scattered them—
through the cities of the Medes,
beside the waters of Babylon;
they fed before Him into Egypt
and went down to the sea in ships;
the whale swallowed them,
the birds brought word of them to the king;
the young men met them with weapons of war,
the old men with proverbs—
and God looked and saw the Hebrews
citizens of the great cities,
talking Hebrew in every language under the sun.
395:177

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Friday, June 03, 2005

State of the Nation

Daily Readings
Psalm 80 + Joshua 23 + Hosea 2 + I Timothy 2

Quote of the Day
And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the LORD. Hosea 2:19, 20

Daily Text: Joshua 23:1-3, 6, 11, 14-16
A long time afterward, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies all around, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years, 2Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders and heads, their judges and officers, and said to them, "I am now old and well advanced in years; 3and you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the LORD your God who has fought for you. 6Therefore be very steadfast to observe and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right nor to the left,
11 Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God. 14"And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you; all have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed. 15But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the bad things, until he has destroyed you from this good land that the LORD your God has given you. 16If you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he enjoined on you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land that he has given to you."

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

State of the Nation
Joshua addresses the theological state of the nation in this section. It is thought that the theology here is a summary of all that the Deuteronomist, that late compiler of the Joshua texts, believed. God has fulfilled all of his promises. The people have inherited their promised land, they have rest from their enemies and they have the ability with God to rule over any that remain. The key is to love and obey God. That is the crux of their task. It is so hopeful.

But with this hopeful message comes the threat of curse. Fail to love and obey and the hammer falls. They will not be able to conquer enemies, they will not keep their land, and God will abandon them to their own choices. This curse passage functions like a prophecy of the future history of this people, although one’s sense of it is that it was simply the negative casting of the positive message. Love and obey and all will be well; forget and disobey and you will rue the day. They certainly did. But the simplicity of
this message could not fail to be understood by the exiles. Like a child who tests his limits, the people of Israel did also, and they discovered that the limits were real. Knowing this the generation of the exiles see clearly once again, as clearly as did the people in Joshua 22 who remembered with the consequences of the sin of Achan.

In our own time, those who remember Viet Nam were not ready for an adventure in Iraq, but a generation of young voters simply do not have the memory. “Never again” in the minds of the generation who knew the duplicity of our leaders in Viet Nam was simply absent in the experience of young voters in the 21st century.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

The Stone
Henry Vaughan

I have it now:
But where to act, that none shall know,
Where I shall have no cause to fear
An eye or ear,
What man will show?
If nights, and shades, and secret rooms,
Silent as tombs,
Will nor conceal nor assent to
My dark designs, what shall I do?
Man I can bribe, and woman will
Consent to any gainful ill,
But these dumb creatures are so true,
No gold nor gifts can them subdue.
‘Hedges have ears,’ said the old sooth,
‘And every bush is something’s booth;’
This cautious fools mistake, and fear
Nothing but man, when ambushed there.

But I (Alas!)
Was shown one day in a strange glass
That busy commerce kept between
God and his creatures, though unseen.

They hear, see, speak,
And into loud discoveries break,
As loud as blood. Not that God needs
Intelligence, whose spirit feeds
All things with life, before whose eyes,
Hell and all hearts stark naked lies.
But *he that judgeth as he hears,
He that accuseth none, so steers
His righteous course, that though he knows
All that man doth, conceals or shows,
Yet will not he by his own light
(Though both all-seeing and all right,)
Condemn men; but will try them by
A process, which even man’s own eye
Must needs acknowledge to be just.

Hence sand and dust
Are shaked for witnesses, and stones
Which some think dead, shall all at once
With one attesting voice detect
Those secret sins we least suspect.
For know, wild men, that when you err
Each thing turns scribe and register,
And in obedience to his LORD,
Doth your most private sins record.

The Law delivered to the Jews,
Who promised much, but did refuse
Performance, will for that same deed
Against them by a stone** proceed;
Whose substance, though ‘tis hard enough,
Will prove their hearts more stiff and tough.
But now, since God on himself took
What all mankind could never brook,
If any (for he all invites)
His easy yoke rejects or slights,
The Gospel then (for ‘tis his word
And not himself*** shall judge the world)
Will by loose dust that man arraign,
As one than dust more vile and vain.
395:179
*John chap. 5 ver. 30. 45. [Vaughn’s note.]
**Joshua 24:26
***St. John, chap. 12. ver. 47, 48 [Vaughn’s note.]

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Civil War Averted

Daily Readings
Psalms 79 + Joshua 22 + Hosea 1 + I Timothy 1

Quote of the Day
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane…. I Timothy 1:8, 9a

Daily Text: Joshua 22:1-4, 10-12, 26-29
Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, 2and said to them, "You have observed all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed me in all that I have commanded you; 3you have not forsaken your kindred these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the LORD your God. 4And now the LORD your God has given rest to your kindred, as he promised them; therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan.
10 When they came to the region near the Jordan that lies in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of great size. 11The Israelites heard that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had built an altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region near the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the Israelites. 12And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh, to make war against them. 26Therefore we said, 'Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27but to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, that we do perform the service of the LORD in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and offerings of well-being; so that your children may never say to our children in time to come, "You have no portion in the LORD."' 28And we thought, If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we could say, 'Look at this copy of the altar of the LORD, which our ancestors made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.' 29Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn away this day from following the LORD by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle!"

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Civil War Averted
The Transjordan tribes gave five years or more to assisting their companion tribesmen in pacifying the Promised Land. On this occasion Joshua sends them home with a blessing and his praises for their faithful support ringing in their ears. Just before crossing the Jordan river, perhaps near Gilgal they erect a huge altar as memorial to their commitment to the God of Israel. Immediately, the Israelites read that as a declaration of ending relationship with Israel and the God of Israel, and they ready themselves for war. Their fear seems to be that such an action would bring the wrath of God upon them all. They send ambassadors to have conversation with Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh and find them completely flummoxed by the misunderstanding, for they are as committed as ever to Israel and the God of Israel, though they realize that the Jordan River divides them in a major way. They are not in the Promised Land, and they fear that the next generation will not continue to understand their position as descendants of Jacob and worshippers of the one true God.

It is amazing how quickly conflict can erupt between brothers. Misunderstanding is easier than understanding, and if there had been any motivation toward war, war there would have been. In human experience that is almost always the case. Fortunately, Joshua had the wisdom to send a party to clarify intentions before war was declared. This story must have brought renewed hope to the community in exile in the fifth century, for the promise was that wherever one was willing serve God, God was willing to be their God. God was in the middle of the Transjordan community as readily as in the Cisjordan community. And the altar did stand as a witness that Yahweh truly is God.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Is It A Dream?
G. A. Studdert-Kennedy
1883-1929

Is it a dream, and nothing more—this faith
That nerves our brains to thought, our hands to work
For that great day when wars shall cease, and men
Shall live as brothers in a unity
Of love—live in a world made splendid?

Is it a dream—this faith of ours that pleads
And pulses in our hearts, and bids us look,
Through mists of tears and time, to that great day
When wars shall cease upon the earth, and men,
As brothers bound by love of man and God,
Shall build a world as gloriously fair
As sunset skies, or mountains when they catch
The farewell kiss of evening on their heights?

In our hearts this question, in our minds
The haunting echoes of the song of war;
When will the nations cure the itching palm?
Change curse of pride to love of peace?
How long before such peace can pass our lips,
Can claim our minds and drive out all distrust?
When shall our fingers dare to drop the sword,
While with unquestioning eyes we reach two hands
In open comradeship to all the world?
407:1786


Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Shalom

Daily Readings
Psalm 78:40-72 + Joshua 21 + Amos 9 + Philemon

Quote of the Day
Not one of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. Joshua 21:45

Daily Text: Joshua 21:1-3, 41-45

Then the heads of the families of the Levites came to the priest Eleazar and to Joshua son of Nun and to the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites; 2they said to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, "The LORD commanded through Moses that we be given towns to live in, along with their pasture lands for our livestock." 3So by command of the LORD the Israelites gave to the Levites the following towns and pasture lands out of their inheritance. 41The towns of the Levites within the holdings of the Israelites were in all forty-eight towns with their pasture lands. 42Each of these towns had its pasture lands around it; so it was with all these towns.
43 Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to their ancestors that he would give them; and having taken possession of it, they settled there. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their ancestors; not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. 45Not one of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Shalom
Following God’s command to set up cities of refuge, the Levites come and ask for their cities of residence. Note that they have to ask, and two, they do not ask for their inheritance for they are to receive none. They have been promised only cities within which to reside and grazing rights. Their work is to be that of priest, acolyte and teacher in the communities of Israel. So restricted were the rights of the Levites in these cities that they were not even given agricultural rights, only pasture for their animals. They evidently were to live from the offerings of their fellow citizens to the worship of YHWH.

The six cities of refuge are also named as levitical cities. That is, those cities, Hebron, Shechem, Golan, Kedesh, Bezer and Ramoth serve triple duty. They belong to the clan and tribe assigned, and they serve as a city of refuge and one of the forty-eight levitical cities. In this way they became even more prominent than they were initially. For example, Hebron was the single major city given to Caleb. He would have retained possession, but its significance increased overnight by its being named as a city of refuge and levitical place of residence.

Verses 43-45 may be the primary theological summary for the book of Joshua. Everything following is appendix. The LORD had completed all of his promises covenanted with Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not only that in a practical sense God had given them the ‘rest’ he always intended for the children of men. This rest was a complete trust in His promises. Israel should have no doubt that YHWH meant what he said when he said it. Not only that, but ‘rest’ was also rest from war—the land had been pacified, their enemies placed within their power. That Israel failed to follow the LORD’s commands to drive out those enemies was not God’s responsibility. They could have done so.

Two matters here for Christians. The first has to do with the support of its own ‘levites,’ that is, those in ordained ministry. From this time on there has been a cadre of minister’s understood to deserve support for the ministry they have with the congregation, and support comes from the gifts, tithes and offerings of the people given in response to their own covenant with God. This works well when the people carry out their own responsibility. It may well be that the Levites often took on government responsibilities in Israel, because the people were not faithful in their relationship to God. Christians simply fail to complete the ministries God has called them to when they fail to live up to the divine expectation of tithes and offerings. Having precedents in Israel should provide no comfort. The second matter has to do with the complete trust we too could have in the LORD’s provision through Jesus Christ. We too could be ‘at rest’ if we trusted enough to live out God’s expectations for us. For if we do, all of God’s promises will come to pass and we will enjoy the peace, the shalom, the rest of God, for which we all long.

O God, in Restless Living
Harry Emerson Fosdick

O God, in restless living
We lose our spirits’ peace.
Calm our unwise confusion,
Bid Thou our clamor cease.
Let anxious hearts grow quiet,
Like pools at evening still,
Till Thy reflected heavens
All our spirits fill.

Teach us, beyond our striving,
The rich rewards of rest.
Who does not live serenely
Is never deeply blest.
O tranquil, radiant Sunlight,
Bring Thou our lives to flower,
Less wearied with our effort,
More aware of power.

Reeptive make our spirits,
Our need is to be still;
As dawn fades flickering candle
So dim our anxious will.
Reveal thy radiance through us,
Thine ample strength release.
Not ours but Thine the triumph
In the power of peace.

We grow not wise by struggling,
We gain but things by strain.
We cease to water gardens,
When comes Thy plenteous rain.
O, beautify our spirits
In restfulness from strife;
Enrich our souls in secret
With abundant life.
407:1461

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Penal Practice

Feast of the Visitation

Daily Readings
Psalms 78:1-39 + Joshua 20 + Amos 8 + Luke 1:39-49

Quote of the Day
…let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the LORD. Jeremiah 9:24

Daily Text: Joshua 20:7-9
7 So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. 9These were the cities designated for all the Israelites, and for the aliens residing among them, that anyone who killed a person without intent could flee there, so as not to die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until there was a trial before the congregation.

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Penal Practice
The cities of refuge are one of the pillars of society in Israel. Provided for in Exodus and Numbers and Deuteronomy, they are set in motion in Joshua. Two of these cities are within the tribal framework of Joshua and Caleb. Fascinating. Coincidental?

While the community is the primary focus, individual rights are paramount. Can you imagine committing a heinous crime inadvertently and being loose in a society where family/clan vengeance was the law? These cities of refuge were necessary to individual protection, though the protection was both boon and bane for in order to remain safe one had to be confined in that small city, sometimes for years. Most likely those provided this refuge were bound over to the priest and worked out their own keep more or less as an indentured servant. However, Soggin suggests “…the guest of a city of refuge might have found that they were not only a place of refuge, but also the means of subsistence which an ordinary sanctuary would have refused him. If this explanation is valid, we would have here one of the numerous examples of an advanced social conscience, typical of the whole world of the Old Testament [418:198].

The penal system in any country is one with which citizens should concern themselves, and certainly Christians should be concerned. The protection of the community is the first concern of penal law and provision, however individual prisoners are part of that community and deserve the continued interest of it. Certainly, we should not stand back and allow government or institutional servants to abuse prisoners or the systems that house them. These folk continue to reflect the image of God no matter how imperfectly and the nature of society seems usually to allow those who abuse most egregiously to escape the demands of the law altogether, perhaps because they are the wealthiest, the most powerful, and often the most respected. By definition those confined within a penal system are the powerless, the oppressed, and the racially disadvantaged. These are always the concern of God, the prophets, Jesus and human-being-willing the Church.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Prologue to Morning
Hermann Hagedorn

Watchman, what of the night?
The night has no stars and the winds are rising.
Watchman, what of the sea?
The sea is wild, and the shores are strewn with ships.
Watchman—
I hear.
What of the hearts of men?
They are as the night, and as the sea.
Watchman, I am Everyman, and I am troubled.
Where is my hope?
Your hope is where it has been.
Watchman, your answer is dark.
To your mind, but not to your heart. Let the heart
Listen and it will hear,
Though the winds cry and the seas break.
My heart is open.
What does it hear?
Storm.
What else?
A crying, as of a child lost in the dark.
A crying?
A fury, as of a child destroying his toys.
No more?
A Voice.
A Voice?
A Voice that cries, Think!
What else?
A Voice that calls, Aspire!
What more?
A Voice that whispers, Believe!
Bow down, and hear!
A Voice that commands, Dare!
Lift up your eyes!
Watchman, what have I heard?
You have heard God speaking to Moses and to Socrates;
To Jesus in the lonely places,
To Isaiah and Amos and Micah,
And Peter and John and Paul and Francis and Joan.
You have heard God speaking to all His saints
Who have fought for the recognition of His glory,
And for liberation, and the expansion of the imprisoned, the dwarfed spirit.
You have heard God speaking
To the men who dared the seas to build a new nation,
To Franklin and Washington and Jefferson
And all the makers of the immortal Declaration
That utters the hunger for life, for liberty and the right of man tobe
free of the chain, the bars, and the whip.
You have heard God speaking to Abraham Lincoln—
And to you.
To me? What am I that the God Who spoke to these
Should speak to me?
What does the Voice say, the Voice in the heart?
The Voice says, You are of the great succession.
Men have torn down, men have broken, men have destroyed.
It is yours to build, says the Voice, yours to build.
Out of the disaster of hate to bring the miracle of love.
Out of the fury of destruction to bring a new creation.
By men has the world been brought low.
By men shall the world again be lifted up.
By men and the Voice of God.
The Voice of God is calling through the world!
It is calling to me.
I hear!
What does the Voice say, the Voice in the heart?
The Voice says, Everyman,
I have a burden for you and a splendor.
You are the end of things—
Or a new world.
Think!
Believe!
Aspire!
Dare!
What more?
The Voice says, Day and night, let your heart listen.
What is your answer, Everyman?
My heart is listening….
Then the new world is born.
407:1523

Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Divine Care

Daily Readings
Psalms 77 + Joshua 19 + Amos 7 + Colossians 4:2-18

Quote of the Day
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

Daily Text: Joshua 19:49-51
49 When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the Israelites gave an inheritance among them to Joshua son of Nun. 50By command of the LORD they gave him the town that he asked for, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim; he rebuilt the town, and settled in it. 51These are the inheritances that the priest Eleazar and Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites distributed by lot at Shiloh before the LORD, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.

Divine Care
The distribution of the land is complete. As a way of showing appreciation Joshua is given an inheritance also, one he has requested, a town in the midst of his tribe Ephraim in the hill country. Interesting that both Caleb and Joshua wanted land in the hill country.

In vs. 51 Eleazar is mentioned as having been part of the distribution, though he has gone unmentioned earlier in the distribution. Was he present all of the time, and simply not mentioned or has a later editor put him there for consistency’s sake? The important element here is that the distribution is complete. In peace this work is done and the tribes as aggregates of the whole people are blessed with the reception of land. The individuals, Joshua and Caleb, are blessed as well illustrating for the whole congregation for all time that even the individual who serves God wholeheartedly receives God’s blessing. While the community is primary, the individual is not forgotten.

He Cares
Kabir (India)
1450-1518

Why so impatient, my heart?
He who watches over birds, beasts and insects,
He who cared for you while you were yet unborn,
Think you he will not care for you now that you have come forth?
O my heart, how could you turn away from the smile of your Lord
And wander so far from him?
407:247