|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-6 At this chapter begins the account of the dividing of the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel by lot; a narrative showing the performance of the promise made to the fathers, that this land should be given to the seed of Jacob. We are not to pass over these chapters of hard names as useless. Where God has a mouth to speak, and a hand to write, we should find an ear to hear, and an eye to read; and may God give us a heart to profit! Joshua is supposed to have been about one hundred years old at this time. It is good for those who are old and stricken in years to be put in remembrance of their being so. God considers the frame of his people, and would not have them burdened with work above their strength. And all people, especially old people, should set to do that quickly which must be done before they die, lest death prevent them, Ec 9:10. God promise that he would make the Israelites masters of all the countries yet unsubdued, through Joshua was old, and not able to do it; old, and not likely to live to see it done. Whatever becomes of us, and however we may be laid aside as despised, broken vessels, God will do his own work in his own time. We must work out our salvation, then God will work in us, and work with us; we must resist our spiritual enemies, then God will tread them under our feet; we must go forth to our Christian work and warfare, then God will go forth before us.
Verse 2. - This is the land which yet remaineth. The powerful league of the Philistines, as well as the tribes near them, remained unsubdued. In the north, likewise, the neighbourhood of Sidon, and the territory of Coele, Syria, which lay between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, was as yet in the hands of the enemy. Rabbis Kimchi and Solomon Jarchi translate by "borders." Masius suggests the French marque (which was the old German mark), and the modern German grenze. All the borders of the Philistines. Literally, all the circles (Geliloth) of the Philistines. The expression is found in several places in this book (see Joshua 18:17; Joshua 22:10, 11). We may compare the expression the circles of Swabia, Franconia, etc., in the history of Germany. The expression here may have more affinity with what is known as the "mark system" in the history of ancient Germany, and refer to the patch of cultivated ground which extended for some distance round each city. But this is rendered improbable by the fact that one circle only retained its name (Joshua 20:7; Joshua 21:32), and is still known as Galilee (see notes on these passages). Galilee was too large a district to have been originally a clearing round a town. Geshur (see note on Joshua 12:5). Ewald (see also Hitzig,' Geschichte des Volkes Israel,' p. 20) conjectures that these Geshurites were the aboriginal inhabitants of the country (see 1 Samuel 27:8), and were the same as the Avites or Avvites. See next verse, where the Avvites are distinguished from the five lords of the Philistines. It is worthy of remark that the name Talmai, the name of one of the "sons of Anak" (Joshua 15:14), comes in again as the name of a king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3 13:37). It occurs, however, as a Hebrew name in Bartholomew, or Bar-Tolmai, i.e., the son of Talmai, or Tolmai, one of the twelve apostles. Ewald supposes that these aborigines were dispossessed by the Canaanitish tribes, and that the old name of Geshur was still applied to those regions on which this primitive race had retained its hold.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This is the land that yet remaineth,.... Unconquered and not enjoyed, namely, what is after described; and this account is given for Joshua's information, that he might know what to divide, and for the people of Israel's sake, that they might know what they had a right to a claim upon; what they should endeavour to possess themselves of, and what the Lord would deliver into their hands, provided they were obedient to his will, for, because they were not, hence many of these places never came into their possession, though divided to them by lot:
all the borders of the Philistines; whose country bordered and lay upon the shores of the Mediterranean sea, in the southwest of the land of Canaan:
and all Geshuri; the principal city belonging to it is said to be in Syria, 2 Samuel 15:8; and had a king over it in the times of David, 2 Samuel 3:3; and seems never to have come into the hands of the Israelites.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2-6. This is the land that yet remaineth—that is, to be acquired. This section forms a parenthesis, in which the historian briefly notices the districts yet unsubdued; namely, first, the whole country of the Philistines—a narrow tract stretching about sixty miles along the Mediterranean coast, and that of the Geshurites to the south of it (1Sa 27:8). Both included that portion of the country "from Sihor, which is before Egypt," a small brook near El-Arish, which on the east was the southern boundary of Canaan, to Ekron, the most northerly of the five chief lordships or principalities of the Philistines.
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