|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 50. - The city which he asked. He asked for a city, certainly. But the law of the inheritance was not to be set aside for him any more than for the meanest in Israel. Timnath-serah was in his own tribe. Timnath-serah. Called Thamna by Josephus and the LXX., and Timnath-heres, or Tinmath of the sun by a transposition of the letters, in Judges 2:9. Rabbi Solomon Jarchi gives a singular reason for the latter name. It came to be so called because there was a representation of the sun upon the tomb of him who caused the sun to stand still. Timnath-serah must not be confounded with Timnah, or Timnathah, in the tribe of Dan (ver. 48). For a long time its site was unknown, but within the last 40 years it has been identified with Tibneh, seven hours north of Jerusalem, among the mountains of Ephraim. Dr. Eli Smith was the first to suggest this, and though it was doubted by Robinson, it has since been accepted by Vandevelde and other high authorities. Tibneh seems to have anciently been a considerable town. It is described in Ritter's 'Geography of Palestine' as a gentle hill, crowned with extensive ruins. Opposite these, on the slope of a much higher eminence, are excavations like what are called the Tombs of the Kings at Jerusalem. Jewish tradition, however, points to Kefr Haris, some distance south of Shechem, as the site of Joshua's tomb, and several able writers have advocated its claims in the papers of the Palestine Exploration Fund, on the ground that on such a point Jewish tradition was not likely to be mistaken.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
According to the word of the Lord,.... Or mouth of the Lord; either according to the oracle of Urim and Thummim, which Eleazar consulted on this occasion; or according to what the Lord had said to Moses, at the same time that Hebron was ordered to Caleb, Joshua 14:6; and
they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnathserah in Mount Ephraim; he chose a place in his own tribe, for he was of the tribe of Ephraim; and it seems that what he chose was none of the best of places; for Paula, as Jerom (i) relates, when she travelled into those parts, wondered that the distributor of the possessions of the children of Israel should choose such a rough and mountainous place for himself; of its situation, see Joshua 24:30,
and he built the city, and dwelt therein; he rebuilt it, and fitted it for his own habitation, and for those that belonged to him. (Timnathserah means "an abundant portion" or "a place in the sun". Joshua great reward was in seeing the promises of God fulfilled before his very eyes Joshua 21:45 and the children of Israel serving the Lord's during his lifetime Joshua 24:31. Joshua may have received but a small inheritance in the promised land but this was just an earnest of his future glorious inheritance in eternity. The saints of God have the best portion saved for the last John 2:10 whereas the worldling has his best portion now; his worst is yet to come. Editor.)
(i) Epitaph. Paulae, fol. 59. L.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
50. According to the word of the Lord they gave him the city which he asked—It was most proper that the great leader should receive an inheritance suited to his dignity, and as a reward for his public services. But the gift was not left to the spontaneous feelings of a grateful people. It was conferred "according to the word of the Lord"—probably an unrecorded promise, similar to what had been made to Caleb (Jos 14:9).
Timnath-serah—or Heres, on Mount Gaash (Jud 2:9). Joshua founded it, and was afterwards buried there (Jos 24:30).
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