Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
TRIBES AND A
1. these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in
the land of Canaan--This chapter forms the introduction to an account
of the allocation of the land west of Jordan, or Canaan proper, to the
nine tribes and a half. It was also made by lot in presence of a select
number of superintendents, appointed according to divine directions
given to Moses
In everything pertaining to civil government, and even the division of
the land, Joshua was the acknowledged chief. But in a matter to be
determined by lot, a solemn appeal was made to God, and hence Eleazar,
as high priest, is named before Joshua.
4. The children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim--As two
and a half tribes were settled on the east Jordan, and the Levites had
no inheritance assigned them in land, there would have been only eight
and a half tribes to provide for. But Ephraim and Manasseh, the two
sons of Joseph, had been constituted two tribes
and although Levi was excluded, the original number of the tribes of
Israel was still preserved.
5. the children of Israel . . . divided the land--that is, they made
the preliminary arrangements for the work. A considerable time was
requisite for the survey and measurement.
6-11. Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb
. . . said--This incident is recorded here because it occurred while
the preparations were being made for casting the lots, which, it
appears, were begun in Gilgal. The claim of Caleb to the mountains of
Hebron as his personal and family possessions was founded on a solemn
promise of Moses, forty-five years before
to give him that land on account of his fidelity. Being one of the
nominees appointed to preside over the division of the country, he
might have been charged with using his powers as a commissioner to his
own advantage, had he urged his request in private; and therefore he
took some of his brethren along with him as witness of the justice and
propriety of his conduct.
12. give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day--this
for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there--The report
of the spies, who tried to kindle the flame of sedition and discontent,
related chiefly to the people and condition of this mountain district,
and hence it was promised as the reward of Caleb's truth, piety, and
13, 14. Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb Hebron for an
inheritance--Joshua, who was fully cognizant of all the circumstances,
not only admitted the claim, but in a public and earnest manner prayed
for the divine blessing to succor the efforts of Caleb in driving out
the idolatrous occupiers.
15. Kirjath-arba--that is, the city of Arba, a warrior among the
native race remarkable for strength and stature.
the land had rest from war--Most of the kings having been slain and
the natives dispirited, there was no general or systematic attempt to
resist the progress and settlement of the Israelites.