|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:43-45 God promised to give to the seed of Abraham the land of Canaan for a possession, and now they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the promise of the heavenly Canaan is as sure to all God's spiritual Israel; for it is the promise of Him that cannot lie. There stood not a man before them. The after-prevalence of the Canaanites was the effect of Israel's slothfulness, and the punishment of their sinful inclination to the idolatries and abominations of the heathen whom they harboured and indulged. There failed not aught of any good thing, which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. In due season all his promises will be accomplished; then will his people acknowledge that the Lord has exceeded their largest expectations, and made them more than conquerors, and brought them to their desired rest.
Verse 43. - And the Lord gave. The LXX. adds before this passage: "And Joshua completed the division of the land in its boundaries, and the children gave a portion to Joshua, by the commandment of the Lord. They gave to him the city for which he asked, Thamnath Sarach gave they him in Mount Ephraim, and Joshua built the city, and dwelt in it. And Joshua took the stone knives, with which he had circumcised the children of Israel, which were in the way in the wilderness, and he placed them in Tamnath Sarach." The repetition is very much in the manner of the sacred historian, and it is possible that we have here an authentic passage, which some copyist has omitted in the Hebrew text. All the land. As has been before remarked, the Hebrew כל must not be pressed to mean literally "all." Yet, in a sense, the word is true here. The land had been put in their power. They had only to exert themselves to complete its conquest. This they failed to do, and not only so, but violated the conditions under which the land was granted them. Thus they soon fell under the dominion of those who had been their own vassals. Ritter thinks (vol. 3. 187-189) that the Asherites and Danites submitted to the inhabitants of the land in consequence of being allowed equal citizen rights with them. He draws this inference from Judges 5:17, supposing that these tribes addicted themselves to the commercial and maritime life for which the Phoenicians were so famous.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers,.... It was all given them by lot, whether subdued or not subdued, and the far greater part was actually put into their hands, and they had as much as they could for the present occupy and cultivate; and such as were in the hands of the Canaanites, were subject to pay tribute to them; and it was owing to their own slothfulness and sluggishness that they did not possess more hereafter; though it was the will of God that their enemies should be driven out by little and little, until the Israelites were so increased as to occupy the whole, lest any part of the land should lie waste and become barren, and lest the wild beasts of the field should multiply upon them:
and they possessed it, and dwelt therein; each according to their lot in the several places assigned them, as many cities as they could at present people, and as much land as they could now manage.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jos 21:43-45. God Gave Them Rest.
43-45. the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers—This is a general winding up of the history from the thirteenth chapter, which narrates the occupation of the land by the Israelites. All the promises made, whether to the people or to Joshua (Jos 1:5), had been, or were in the course of being fulfilled; and the recorded experience of the Israelites (Jos 21:45), is a ground of hope and confidence to the people of God in every age, that all other promises made to the Church will, in due time, be accomplished.
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