The Berean Expositor
Volume 27 - Page 55 of 212
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A superficial reading of these two verses has led quite a number of critics to conclude
that there is a mistake here. It is assumed that every city must have been actually taken
or destroyed and every individual Canaanite slain, before it could be truly said: "Joshua
took the whole land." But this is not a true interpretation. The taking of the land by
Joshua is said to be "according to all that the Lord said unto Moses". In Josh. 23: we
"Ye have seen all that the Lord God hath done unto all these nations because of you;
for the Lord your God is He that hath fought for you. Behold, I have divided unto you by
lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the
nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. And the Lord your God, He
shall expel them from before you" (Josh. 23: 3-5).
It is evident from this passage that the taking of the land, the giving of the land for an
inheritance, and the dividing of the land by lot, must not be confused with actual
"possession". After the statement of 11: 23 where we read "Joshua took all the land",
we read in 13: 1 that there was very much land still to be "possessed". Surely we can
perceive the truth here.  The Lord had given the land, Joshua had subdued all his
opponents, and even though much yet remained to be "possessed", the whole land was
theirs. Is there no parallel here with the fact of "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places"
being ours in Christ, and its relation to our experimental "possession" of them? Yet, is it
right for a member of the Body to limit the gift of God by his own experiences?
The statement, "According to all that the Lord said unto Moses" takes us back to
Exod. 23::
"I will send My fear before thee, and will destroy all the people TO WHOM THOU
SHALT COME, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee."
This is what the Lord had said unto Moses, and this was fulfilled. The promise
"I will not drive them out from before thee IN ONE YEAR; lest the land become
desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. BY LITTLE AND LITTLE
I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased and inherit the land"
(Exod. 23: 27-30).
Instead, therefore, of any discrepancy existing between Josh. 11: 23 and 13: 1 all is
exactly in line with the promise of God.
Joshua, whose age is remarked upon in 13: 1, was reminded that he need not wait
until all the land was "possessed" before it was "divided" (verse 7). There are parallels in
N.T. doctrine to the principle manifested here that should be carefully traced. For
example, the "old man" was crucified with Christ, as Rom. 6: 6 testifies, and there are
those who teach from this passage the complete eradication of sin in the believer. This is
confusing the gift of the land in the promise of God, and the actual possession of it at any
one time. If Joshua had assumed the complete eradication of all his foes, he would