Benjamin's Territory (Joshua 18) August 26
Now that Ephraim's territory has been assigned, Joshua (an Ephraimite) and the children of Israel relocate the tabernacle and central gathering point from Gilgal to Shiloh, some 15-20 miles to the northwest, in the midst of the new land of Ephraim. In verse 5, Joshua points out that Judah has the territory in the south, conquered in chapter 10, and Joseph the northern territory, conquered in chapter 11. While we think of this territory and these tribes as being divided when the monarchy splits, in fact, the Bible records they always maintained a sort of independence from one another. Even during the united monarchy, Saul and David had to deal with the two factions (compare 1 Samuel 11:8; 17:52; 18:16; 2 Samuel 2:10; 3:9-10; 5:5; 19:9-43; 20:1-22).
The remainder of the land is apportioned out at Shiloh to the remaining seven tribes based on the results of a land survey conducted by three members of each tribe. Seven parcels are described, and the lots cast to determine where God wanted each tribe located. The first parcel went to Benjamin. A narrow strip of land sandwiched between Ephraim and Judah, it became a very significant piece of real estate. Jerusalem was on the south, right next to the border with Judah. North of there was Gibeah, where Saul would have his home, and Ramah where Samuel would live, and Mizpeh and Gibeon. Even Jericho was part of Benjamin's territory. Bethel is also listed, and was at least a border town with the territory of the Ephraimites, who conquered it in Judges 1:22-26 and kept it when the land was divided.