|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 5. - The Giblites. The inhabitants of Gebal, called Jebail (i.e., hill city, from Jebel) by the Arabs, and Byblus by the Greeks. This is Masius's idea, and other commentators have accepted it (see 1 Kings 5:32; Psalm 83:7; and Ezekiel 27:9, where the LXX. translates by Byblus). In the first named passage the word is translated "stone squarers," in our version (where it is the 18th and not the 32nd verse). All the other versions render "Giblites" as here, and no doubt the inhabitants of the Phoenician city of Jebail are meant, since in the ruins of Jebail the same kind of masonry is found as is seen in Solomon's temple. Byblus (Kenriek, 'Phoenicia,' l.c. Movers, l.c. Lenormant, 'Manual of the History of the East,' if. 223) was the great seat of the worship of Tammuz, or Adonis. Here his father Cinyras was supposed to have been king, and the licentious worship, with its corrupting influences, was spread over the whole region of Lebanon and even Damascus. This territory was never actually occupied by the Israelites (see for this passage also Joshua 11:8, 17; and Joshua 12:7). Hamath. The spies penetrated nearly as far as this (Numbers 42:21), and David reduced the land into subjection as far as the borders of this territory. But the Israelites never subdued it. Toi, king of Hamath, was an ally, not a tributary of David (2 Samuel 8:9). The border of Israel is always described as extending "to the entering in of Hamath" (1 Kings 8:65; 2 Kings 14:25), though Jeroboam II. is said to have "recovered" (v. 28) Hamath itself. This "entering in of Hamath" commences at the end of the region called Coele Syria, according to Robinson, 'Later Biblical Researches,' see. 12, at the northeast end of the Lebanon range. So Vandevelde and Porter. Vandevelde remarks that the expression refers to an "entrance formed by Nature herself," namely, the termination of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges. The city of Hamath, which gave its name to the territory, is situated on the Orontes, and was known later as Epiphaneia, no doubt after Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the land of the Giblites,.... This was another country that remained unconquered; the Greeks call it Byblus, and near to which Pliny (e) speaks of a place called Gabale, and is now called Gibyle; it is (f) said to be"pleasantly situated by the seaside, and at present it contains but a little extent of ground, but yet more than enough for the small number of its inhabitants:''it was in greater splendour, and its inhabitants of more fame, in the times of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 27:9,
and all Lebanon toward the sunrising; or east of the land; all that inhabited that mountain remained unconquered, though the conquest was carried as far as the borders thereof:
from Baalgad, under Mount Hermon; of which see Joshua 11:17;
unto the entering into Hamath: which was the north border of the land; see Numbers 34:8.
(e) Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 20.) (f) Maundrel's Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 33.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. all the land of the Giblites—Their capital was Gebal or Bylbos (Greek), on the Mediterranean, forty miles north of Sidon.
all Lebanon, toward the sunrising—that is, Anti-libanus; the eastern ridge, which has its proper termination in Hermon.
entering into Hamath—the valley of Baalbec.
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