|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:7-24 We have here the limits of the country Joshua conquered. A list is given of the kings subdued by Israel: thirty-one in all. This shows how fruitful Canaan then was, in which so many chose to throng together. This was the land God appointed for Israel; yet in our day it is one of the most barren and unprofitable countries in the world. Such is the effect of the curse it lies under, since its possessors rejected Christ and his gospel, as was foretold by Moses, De 29:23. The vengeance of a righteous God, inflicted on all these kings and their subjects, for their wickedness, should make us dread and hate sin. The fruitful land bestowed on his chosen people, should fill our hearts with hope and confidence in his mercy, and with humble gratitude.
Verse 23. - The nations of Gilgal. Or the nations that belong to Gilgal. This is identified by Yandevelde and Conder with Jiljulieh in the plain of Jordan, north of Antipatris, and is therefore, if this identification be correct, a third Gilgal. The word "nations" most probably signifies a diversity of tribes of various races gathered together under the headship of the king of Gilgal, much in the same way that the kingdom of Mercia arose in England from a confused mass of various tribes, gathered together on the marches, or military frontiers, between Britons, Saxons and English, or in the same way that the Austrian and Turkish empires have been formed out of a congeries of various nationalities. So we read of "Tidal king of nations" in Genesis 14:1. But others regard the "nations" (Goim) mentioned there as equivalent to the Gutinm of the Babylonian tablets - i.e., Semitic tribes imperfectly organised, then dwelling in Babylonia, and prefer the LXX. reading, Θαργάλ, in Genesis 14:1, which Sir Henry Rawlinson considers equivalent to the Accadian Tur Gal, or "great chief." So Sayce, 'Babl. Lit.,' p. 23; Tomkins, 'Studies on the Time of Abraham.' See Introduction III.
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The king of Dor, in the coast of Dor, one,.... Of which see Joshua 11:2; it fell to the lot of Manasseh, but never was possessed by them, as were not Taanach and Megiddo, before mentioned, Joshua 17:11 Judges 1:27,
the king of the nations of Gilgal, one; not the place where Joshua encamped after he had passed Jordan, for that was then no city; the Septuagint version renders it the land of Galilee; and Dr. Lightfoot (s) is of opinion that Galilee is meant, and in the Apocrypha:"Who went forth by the way that leadeth to Galgala, and pitched their tents before Masaloth, which is in Arbela, and after they had won it, they slew much people.'' (1 Maccabees 9:2)Galgala is spoken of as near to Arbel, a city in Galilee: Jerom (t) takes this to be the same with Glagulis, which in his time was a village six miles from Antipatris to the north.
(s) Chorograph. Cent. c. 88. (t) De loc. Heb. fol. 92. B.
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