|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 6. - All the Sidonians. The word כֹל here, as elsewhere, must be taken in a restricted sense. A large portion of the Sidonian territory was taken, but Sidon retained its independence (see Judges 1:31, 32). It is clear, too, that the promise was conditional. Had not the Asherites been willing to tolerate the existence of the Canaanites in their midst, they need not have done so (see Judges 1:28).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
All the inhabitants of the hill country,.... Not in Judea, but in and about Lebanon, as follows:
from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim; of which see Joshua 11:8,
and all the Sidonians; the inhabitants of the ancient city of Sidon, and the villages and lands belonging to it: these remained unconquered, and never were possessed by the Israelites:
them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: which, though it may have a special respect unto the Sidonians, with whom the clause is closely connected, yet may include all the above lands unconquered, out of which, as well as Sidon, the Lord promises to drive the inhabitants, to make way for the children of Israel; that is, on condition of their obedience, for it appears that not only the Sidonians, but many others, even the chief, and most of those mentioned, were never possessed by them:
only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance; that is, the whole land, as Abarbinel rightly remarks, both what was subdued and what was not; that was the business, and all the business, Joshua had now to do; he was not to be employed in making any further conquests, but leave them to others, and apply himself to the division of the land, by lot, to the tribes that as yet had no portion assigned them:
as I have commanded thee; now, at this time.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6, 7. All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim—(See on Jos 11:8)—that is, "all the Sidonians and Phonicians."
them will I drive out—The fulfilment of this promise was conditional. In the event of the Israelites proving unfaithful or disobedient, they would not subdue the districts now specified; and, in point of fact, the Israelites never possessed them though the inhabitants were subjected to the power of David and Solomon.
only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance—The parenthetic section being closed, the historian here resumes the main subject of this chapter—the order of God to Joshua to make an immediate allotment of the land. The method of distribution by lot was, in all respects, the best that could have been adopted, as it prevented all ground of discontent, as well as charges of arbitrary or partial conduct on the part of the leaders; and its announcement in the life of Moses (Nu 33:54), as the system according to which the allocations to each tribe should be made, was intended to lead the people to the acknowledgment of God as the proprietor of the land and as having the entire right to its disposal. Moreover, a solemn appeal to the lot showed it to be the dictate not of human, but divine, wisdom. It was used, however, only in determining the part of the country where a tribe was to be settled—the extent of the settlement was to be decided on a different principle (Nu 26:54). The overruling control of God is conclusively proved because each tribe received the possession predicted by Jacob (Ge 49:3-28) and by Moses (De 33:6-25).
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