I am having trouble understanding Joshua 21:41-43, which states that God gave to Israel the entire land that He swore to their fathers, and all of the good things that God spoke came to pass.

How do we understand verse 43 that reads:

Not a thing was lacking from all the good things that the Lord spoke to the house of Israel; all came to pass.

With the prophecies that God would increase the boundary of Israel in the messianic era, and that Genesis 15:18-21 lists 10 tribes.

If only 7 were given, did not all come to pass? What then are "all the good things that God spoke"?

  • 1
    where did you get that verse from? Verse 43 reads as follows: וַיִּתֵּ֤ן ה' לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶ֨ת־כׇּל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖ע לָתֵ֣ת לַאֲבוֹתָ֑ם וַיִּרָשׁ֖וּהָ וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ בָֽהּ - Israel was given the whole country that G-d had sworn to their fathers to assign them; they took possession of it and settled in it.
    – Dov
    Sep 3, 2023 at 6:54
  • Also, you said "Genesis 15:18-21 lists 10 tribes...only 7 were given". Could you provide a reference for "only 7 were given"?
    – 1Sam1223
    Sep 3, 2023 at 8:05
  • @Dov I think he is referring to the last verse of ch. 21. It seems like different editions have 2 verses added/missing in the chapter.
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 3, 2023 at 15:59
  • 2
    I think that when it talks about "all the good things that the Lord spoke to the house of Israel", it's referring to what He promised their fathers (plural) when they where in the desert, not what He promised Abraham personally, before anybody actually became [the house of] Israel.
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 3, 2023 at 16:08
  • @1Sam1223 Joshua 24:11?
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 3, 2023 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


Indeed, as mentioned in the comments, the lands of the remaining three tribes were promised to Abraham alone, and were not mentioned later in the promises specified to the children of Israel, (only the Midrash says they will be given to the children of Israel in the Messianic era), and as Rashi writes (Deuteronomy 2:5) in the name of the Midrash Rabbah, that one of those lands was given to the children of Esau, and other two were given to the children of Ammon and Moav, who were the sons of Abraham’s nephew Lott.

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