Following the settlement of Canaan, brilliantly outlined and executed by Joshua, Moses' associate and successor, plans had to be made for the government of the loosely knit Israelite tribes, which at this stage of their development were still largely family units, bearing allegiance to the memory and leadership of the patriarch Jacob. During the wilderness period, Moses had encouraged them, but also held them in check, establishing their basic laws and recalling them constantly to loyalty toward their God.
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