And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.
After all overt resistance was overcome, the tabernacle with its sacred contents was removed from its place of safety at Gilgal, in a corner of the land near the Jordan, to a central place, Shiloh, the modern Scilun, which is two or three miles east of the main road, and rather more than half way between Jerusalem and Nablous. Its choice as the national sanctuary may indeed have been determined by Joshua, no doubt under divine direction Deuteronomy 12:11, because of its insignificance, in order to avoid local jealousies, as well as because of its position in the very center of the whole land, and perhaps also because of its seclusion. Its very name ("rest") was probably bestowed at this juncture when God had given the people rest from their enemies. The tabernacle with its contents continued at Shiloh during the whole period of the Judges, until its capture by the Philistines. Shiloh 1 Samuel 4:3-4 seems to have fallen into desolation at an early date Jeremiah 7:12; Jeremiah 26:6.
And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.
Two tribes and a half had already received their portions on the east of Jordan; Judah, Ephraim, and the remaining half of Manasseh had also been provided for Joshua 15-17. Thus there remained still seven tribes out of the twelve to be settled in their homes.
And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?
This backwardness probably arose from the indisposition of the people to abandon the nomad life in which they had been born and bred, and to settle in fixed abodes, and perhaps also from a dislike of the exterminating warfare incidental to a complete dispossessing of the Canaanites.
Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.
Three men for each tribe - i. e. 21 in all. Their duty would be to describe the land, especially with reference to the cities it contained Joshua 18:9, that Joshua might have the means of making a first apportionment among the tribes according to their varying numbers.
And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.
Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.
But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave them.
And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the LORD in Shiloh.
And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh.
And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.
Cast lots - See the Joshua 14:2 note.
And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.
See the marginal references. There are many indications found in this and the next chapter that the text is in great disorder, and many of the places are still unknown.
And their border on the north side was from Jordan; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, and went up through the mountains westward; and the goings out thereof were at the wilderness of Bethaven.
And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is Bethel, southward; and the border descended to Atarothadar, near the hill that lieth on the south side of the nether Bethhoron.
And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, from the hill that lieth before Bethhoron southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter.
And compassed the corner ... - Render "and turned on the west side southward." The meaning is, that at lower Beth-horon the northern boundary-line of Benjamin curved round and ran southward - Beth-horon being its extreme westerly point.
And the south quarter was from the end of Kirjathjearim, and the border went out on the west, and went out to the well of waters of Nephtoah:
And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to Enrogel,
And was drawn from the north, and went forth to Enshemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben,
And passed along toward the side over against Arabah northward, and went down unto Arabah:
And the border passed along to the side of Bethhoglah northward: and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the salt sea at the south end of Jordan: this was the south coast.
And Jordan was the border of it on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, by the coasts thereof round about, according to their families.
Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Bethhoglah, and the valley of Keziz,
The "Valley of Keziz," or "Emek-Keziz," is perhaps the "Wady el Kaziz," at no great distance east of Jerusalem.
And Betharabah, and Zemaraim, and Bethel,
Zemaraim, i. e. "two wooded hills," is supposed to be the ruins called "Es-Sumrah," on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.
And Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah,
Ophrah (Joshua 15:9 note), to be distinguished here and in 1 Samuel 13:17 from the Ophrah of Judges 6:11, is probably the Ephrain of 2 Chronicles 13:19, and the Ephraim of John 11:54. It is conjecturally identified with "Et-Taiyibeh," on the road from Jerusalem to Bethel.
And Chepharhaammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages:
Gaba - This name, like Gibeah, Gibeon, etc. Joshua 9:3, indicates a town placed on a hill, and occurs repeatedly in various forms in the topography of Palestine. Gaba is the Gibeah (if 1 Samuel 13:15-16; 1 Samuel 14:5, where the Hebrew has גבע Geba‛, which is undoubtedly the correct reading throughout. The city was one of those assigned to the Levites Joshua 21:17, and lay on the northern border of Judah. It is identified with the modern "Jeba," lying on the side of a deep ravine opposite to Michmash ("Mukhmas"). The famous "Gibeah of Saul," or "Giheah of Benjamin" (the Gibeath of Joshua 18:28) lay at no great distance southwest of Geba, on the high road from Jerusalem to Bethel, and is probably to be looked for in the lofty and isolated "Tulcil-el-Ful."
Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,
Ramah - i. e. "lofty;" probably the native town and abode of Samuel 1 Samuel 1:19; 1 Samuel 25:1. Its exact site is uncertain.
And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah,
Mizpeh - See Joshua 11:3. Not the Mizpeh of Joshua 15:38, but the place where Samuel judged the people and called them together for the election of a king 1 Samuel 7:5-16; 1 Samuel 10:17. In the Chaldaean times it was the residence of Gedaliah 2 Kings 25:22; Jeremiah 40:14. Its site is identified with "Neby Samwil," about five miles northwest of Jerusalem.
And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah,
And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families.