|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:17-51 Joshua waited till all the tribes were settled, before he asked any provision for himself. He was content to be unfixed, till he saw them all placed, and herein is an example to all in public places, to prefer the common welfare before private advantage. Those who labour most to do good to others, seek an inheritance in the Canaan above: but it will be soon enough to enter thereon, when they have done all the service to their brethren of which they are capable. Nor can any thing more effectually assure them of their title to it, than endeavouring to bring others to desire, to seek, and to obtain it. Our Lord Jesus came and dwelt on earth, not in pomp but poverty, providing rest for man, yet himself not having where to lay his head; for Christ pleased not himself. Nor would he enter upon his inheritance, till by his obedience to death he secured the eternal inheritance for all his people; nor will he account his own glory completed, till every ransomed sinner is put in possession of his heavenly rest.
Verse 31. - This is the inheritance of the tribe of Asher. Asher appears to have been allotted a long but narrow strip of territory between Naphtali and the sea. The natural advantages of the territory must have been great. Not only was it described prophetically by Jacob (Genesis 49:20) and by Moses (Deuteronomy 33:24, 25), but the prosperity of the two great maritime cities of Tyro and Sidon was due to the immense commercial advantages the neighbourhood afforded. St. Jean d'Acre, within the territory once assigned to Asher, has inherited the prosperity, so far as anything under the Turkish rule can be prosperous, once enjoyed by her two predecessors. Maundrell, the acute English chaplain at Aleppo, who visited Palestine in 1696, describes the plain of Acre in his day as about six hours' journey from north to south, and two from west to east; as being well watered, and possessing "everything else that might render it both pleasant and fruitful. But," he adds, "this delicious plain is now almost desolate, being suffered, for want of culture, to run up to rank weeds, as high as our horses' backs." Asher, however, never employed the advantages its situation offered. They never subdued the Canaanites around them, but, unquestionably at a very early date (see Judges 5:17) preferred a life of compromise and ignoble ease to the national welfare. But it would be incorrect to suppose that because the tribe is omitted in the list of rulers given in 1 Chronicles 27, it had ceased to be a power in Israel. For Gad is also omitted in that list, while among the warriors who came to greet David when he became undisputed king of Israel, Asher sent 40,000 trained warriors, a number exceeding the men of Ephraim, and those of Simeon, of Dan, and of the half tribe of Manasseh (see 1 Chronicles 12.), and far exceeding the numbers of Benjamin, which had never recovered the war of almost extermination waged against it, in consequence of the atrocity at Gibeah (Judges 20.). Possibly the reason why so few are mentioned of the tribe of Judah on that occasion is because so many were already with David. There seems no ground for the idea of Dean Stanley, that the allusion to Asher in Judges 5:17 is any more contemptuous than the allusion to any other tribe.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher,.... As before described, a goodly heritage; it was, according to the prediction of Jacob and Moses, Genesis 49:20; a very fruitful country. Josephus (c) says, the country from Carmel called the valley, because it was such, even all over against Sidon, fell to the Asherites, Asher had Mount Libanus on the north, Naphtali on the east, Zebulun on the south and southeast, the sea on the west:
according to their families; the number of them, so their lot was divided to them:
these cities with their villages; before named.
(c) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 22.
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