describes the Old Testament concept of land allocation either by God or by lot.
The allotment of the land of Canaan to the tribes of Israel is recorded in
Numbers 32:1 and
Joshua 13-19. God directed the process through the lot of the priest (Joshua 14:1-2). See Lots. The tribes of Reuben and Gad, along with half the tribe of Manasseh, requested land east of the Jordan (Numbers 32:33). Reuben occupied a southern tract on the northeast shore of the Dead Sea, bordered by Moab, Ammon, and the Arnon Valley. Gad settled immediately north of Reuben and was bordered on the east by Ammon. Manasseh claimed a vast territory even farther north, stretching from Mahanaim to Mt. Hermon, and eastward into the hill country of Gilead.
The remaining tribes settled west of the Jordan. Judah claimed all land west of the Dead Sea from Kadesh-barnea and the wilderness of Zin to the Sorek valley, including the cities of Beth-shemesh, Ekron, and Timnah. Simeon received land within the southernmost portion of Judah's territory, including Beer-sheba and Ziklag. Benjamin and Dan settled in a narrow strip of land north of Judah. Benjamin included the cities of Bethel, Jericho, and Jebus, and extended to the Jordan, while Dan reached to the Mediterranean. Ephraim lay just north of Dan and Benjamin, bordered on the east by the Jordan and on the north by the brook Kanah. The second half of Manasseh lay north of Dan and Ephraim, extending from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Manasseh's southern boundary included Michmethath and the brook Kanah. Cities within Zebulun and Issachar also were claimed by Manasseh. Issachar and Zebulun dwelt in small inland tracts north of Manasseh. Issachar reached eastward to the Jordan, while Zebulun had neither the Mediterranean nor the Jordan for a boundary. Asher inhabited the northernmost corner of Canaan, claiming much seacoast and reaching as far as Sidon the Great. Naphtali lay between Asher, Zebulun, Isaschar, and Manasseh, and claimed Hazor and Beth-shemesh. Dan also occupied a small portion of land to the far north, between Manasseh and Naphtali. This territory was taken after the first allotment was lost.
Ezekiel 48:1 also contains a version of the allotment of the land for the Jews after the Exile, revised so that each tribe received an equal share.
Ronald E. Bishop