Revisiting the Division of Ownership in the Book of Joshua and Old Babylonia

  • Susandra J. van Wyk North-West University
Keywords: Book of Joshua, undivided inheritance, Old Babylonia, division, lot-casting, firstborn-share


At first glance, the division and allocation of ownership portrayed in the book of Joshua and the legal corpora of Old Babylonia seem to be a general division with shared features. A class of co-owners agree to, or the original owner consents to, the division and allocation of shared property and may apply two of an array of elective practices, i.e., lot-casting and firstborn share. My focus shifts away from such a general classification. I will show that at least two types of divisions—the tribal division from Yahweh in the book of Joshua, and the family division from the estate of a deceased owner in Old Babylonia—do not exhibit a shared standardised pattern. Each division has its own requisites, a distinct raison d’être, and even the elective lot-casting and firstborn share practices hold different functions in the two types of divisions.

Author Biography

Susandra J. van Wyk, North-West University

Post-doctoral fellow

Faculty of Humanities, School of Basic Sciences