Numbers 34


‘The LORD said to Moses, “Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance is to have these boundaries: “‘Your southern side will include some of the Desert of Zin along the border of Edom. Your southern boundary will start in the east from the southern end of the Dead Sea, cross south of Scorpion Pass, continue on to Zin and go south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it will go to Hazar Addar and over to Azmon, where it will turn, join the Wadi of Egypt and end at the Mediterranean Sea. “‘Your western boundary will be the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This will be your boundary on the west. “‘For your northern boundary, run a line from the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Hor and from Mount Hor to Lebo Hamath. Then the boundary will go to Zedad, continue to Ziphron and end at Hazar Enan. This will be your boundary on the north. “‘For your eastern boundary, run a line from Hazar Enan to Shepham. The boundary will go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain and continue along the slopes east of the Sea of Galilee. Then the boundary will go down along the Jordan and end at the Dead Sea. “‘This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side.’” Moses commanded the Israelites: “Assign this land by lot as an inheritance. The LORD has ordered that it be given to the nine and a half tribes, because the families of the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance. These two and a half tribes have received their inheritance east of the Jordan across from Jericho, toward the sunrise.” Numbers 34:1-15

Boundaries Of Canaan

This chapter begins with God setting out the boundaries of the land that Israel would possess.

The south began at the southern end of the Dead Sea, which borders extended to Edom and Kadesh-Barnea. From Kadesh-Barnea it extended along the river of Egypt, it was a dry river called ‘Wadi El-Arish’. It then extended to the Mediterranean Sea.

The western border was the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, but we don’t know far north this border extended.

The northern border reached from the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Hor, and then to Hamath, Zedad and Hazar-Enan.

The eastern border ran from Hazar-Enan south to the Sea of Galilee, south along the Jordan River, and eventually to the Dead Sea.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It should be particularly noted that the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had requested their inheritance altogether outside the boundaries of the sacred land God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. According to the boundaries here, the eastern bank of the Jordan was the eastern boundary of the Land of Promise.’

What is significant about these borders is that Israel for centuries never truly possesses all this land. The borders are mentioned in Joshua 15-19 / Ezekiel 47:13-20 / Ezekiel 48:28-29.

‘The LORD said to Moses, “These are the names of the men who are to assign the land for you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun. And appoint one leader from each tribe to help assign the land. These are their names: Caleb son of Jephunneh, from the tribe of Judah; Shemuel son of Ammihud, from the tribe of Simeon; Elidad son of Kislon, from the tribe of Benjamin; Bukki son of Jogli, the leader from the tribe of Dan; Hanniel son of Ephod, the leader from the tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph; Kemuel son of Shiphtan, the leader from the tribe of Ephraim son of Joseph; Elizaphan son of Parnak, the leader from the tribe of Zebulun; Paltiel son of Azzan, the leader from the tribe of Issachar; Ahihud son of Shelomi, the leader from the tribe of Asher; Pedahel son of Ammihud, the leader from the tribe of Naphtali.” These are the men the LORD commanded to assign the inheritance to the Israelites in the land of Canaan.’ Numbers 34:16-29

When we think about how long Israel had to wait to possess the Promised Land, when they finally did and divided the land, it would truly be a historic moment in their history.

Joshua and Eleazar were appointed to divide the land and notice the Lord asked twelve men to allot the land inheritance to each tribe according to the size of each tribe.

Lockyer, in his commentary, gives the following meaning of each of the men’s names.

The name Eleazar means God is helper.

The name Joshua means Jehovah is salvation.

The name Caleb means Bold, also ‘dog’ as applied to animals.

The name Shemuel means Heard of God.

The name Elidad means God has loved.

The name Bukki means Mouth of Jehovah.

The name Hanniel means Grace of God.

The name Kemuel means Congregation of God.

The name Elizaphan means God is protector.

The name Paltiel means Deliverer of the Lord.

The name Ahihud means Brother of honour.

The name Pedahel means God has saved.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘None of these names is connected with a pagan god, and what a contrast this affords with the days of the monarchy under Saul when two of the king’s sons were Esh-Baal and Meri-Baal, named after the Canaanite pagan god, Baal.’

Go To Numbers 35


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."