And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He divided their land to them by lot.—Accepting this reading, the reference is to the command given in Numbers 26:55-56, and recorded as carried into effect in Joshua 14-19. The better MSS., however, give a kindred word, which signifies “he gave as an inheritance.”Acts 13:19-20. And when he had destroyed seven nations — Enumerated Deuteronomy 7:1; in the land of Chanaan — Where they had been long settled, and had erected many kingdoms, defended by fortifications of great strength, as well as by numerous forces of horse and foot; he divided their land — Even the whole country; to them by lot — Or, for an inheritance, as κατεκληρονομησεν αυτοις την γην, seems rather to signify, and supported them in it for many generations. After that he gave them judges — By whose heroic interposition he delivered them from those repeated oppressions and miseries which their frequent revolts to idolatry had brought upon them; until Samuel the prophet — Who was the last of these extraordinary leaders and magistrates. About the space of four hundred and fifty years — As the course of the sacred history will by no means permit us to imagine that the judges, in their succession, continued four hundred and fifty years after the settlement of Israel in Canaan, it being stated, (1 Kings 6:1,) that Solomon began to build the temple in the four hundred and eightieth year after they came out of Egypt; therefore, Sir Norton Knatchbull (with whom Bengelius, Doddridge, and many other learned men agree) is of opinion, that the apostle is not to be understood as signifying, “how long God gave them judges, but when he gave them.” He therefore refers the first words of this verse, και μετα ταυτα ως ετεσι τετρακοσιοις και πεντηκοντα, to the words going before, (Acts 13:17,) that is, to the time when the God of the children of Israel chose their fathers: and points and renders them thus: And afterward, about four hundred and fifty years, or, and about four hundred and fifty years afterward, he gave them judges, &c.; according to which sense, he observes, the old Latin and the Ethiopic interpreters read the passage; adding, (Annot. on some difficult Texts in the New Testament, p. 131,) “now this time, wherein God may properly be said to have chosen their fathers, about four hundred and fifty years before he gave them judges, is by them computed from the birth of Isaac, in whom God may properly be said to have chosen their fathers; for in his family the covenant was to rest. And, to make this computation evident: From the birth of Isaac to the birth of Jacob, are sixty years; from thence to their going into Egypt, one hundred and thirty; from thence to their coming out, two hundred and ten; from thence to their entrance into the land of Canaan, forty; and from thence to the division of the land, the time wherein it had rest, (about which time, it is probable, they began to settle their government by judges,) seven years; which, altogether, make up four hundred and forty-seven. And if it should be reckoned from the year before, when God established his covenant between himself and Abraham, and all his seed after him, (Genesis 17:19,) then it will be four hundred and forty-eight years, which comes one nearer to our number of four hundred and fifty; and answers sufficiently the apostle’s manner of expression, ως, about four hundred and fifty years.”Deuteronomy 7:1, "And hath cast out many nations before them," etc.
In the land of Canaan - The whole land Was called by the name of one of the principal nations. This was the promised land; the holy land, etc.seven nations are mentioned, Joshua 3:10.
He divided their land to them by lot; the lot being disposed only as God would, Proverbs 16:33. And it was but reasonable that God, having miraculously got this land, (for the Israelites did rather go to take possession of it than to fight for it), and assumed a special right unto it, that he should divide it to whom he pleased, and in what proportions he thought good. Joshua 14:1. And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 13:19. καθελὼν, cf. Deuteronomy 7:1. In LXX the stronger verb ἐξαίρειν is used, but καθαιρεῖν in LXX often means to destroy, Jeremiah 24:6, Psalm 27:5, and so in classical Greek. Weiss prefers the force of the verb as in Luke 1:52, to cast down, i.e., from their sovereignty. -κατεκληροδότησεν, see critical notes. If we adopt reading of R.V. W.H: “he gave them their land for an inheritance”.
 Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.19. seven nations] They are enumerated (Deuteronomy 7:1) before the people went over the Jordan, viz. the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
In the latter part of this verse and in the next the oldest authorities read, “He gave their land for an heritage, about the space of four hundred and fifty years; and after these things he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.” This text would carry back the possession of the land to the first promise thereof at the time when Abram was called, for according to the received chronology about four hundred and fifty years elapsed between that event and the death of Joshua.
On Samuel, as the prophet par excellence, cp. Acts 3:24 note.Acts 13:19. Ἔθνη ἑπτὰ, seven nations) Deuteronomy 7:1. [There were ten in all, Genesis 15:19-21 (where the Rephaims stand instead of the Hivites, and the Kenites, Kenizzites, and Kadmonites are added to the seven); but seven were destroyed by Joshua.—V. g.]Verses 19, 20. - Canaan for Chanaan, A.V.; he gave them their land for an inheritance, for about four hundred and fifty years: and after these things he gave them judges, etc., for he divided their land unto them by lot: and after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, etc., A.V. and T.R. It is difficult to say what is the meaning of the R.T. in regard to the four hundred and fifty years, what is the terminus a quo or ad quem intended by it. The usual explanations of the reading of the R.T. (adopted by Lachman, Bishop Wordsworth, and others) is that the years are dated from the birth of Isaac, and that the meaning is that the promise to give the land to the seed of Abraham was actually performed within four hundred and fifty years (ὡς ἔτεσι) (after the analogy of Galatians 3:17), which gives a good sense and is not at all improbable (see Bishop Wordsworth's note). The reading of the T.R. has grave objections on the score of chronology as well as grammar. Duration of time is expressed by the accusative case, as vers. 18 and 21; the measure of time in which a thing is done by the dative. So that the natural rendering of the T.R. would be that he gave them judges four hundred and fifty years after the entrance into Canaan; which of course cannot be the meaning. The other objection is that, if the times of the judges from the final conquest of the land to the judgeship of Samuel was four hundred and fifty years, the whole time from the Exodus to the building of the temple must have been about six hundred and forty years (37 from death of Moses to Othuiel + 450, + 30 for judgeship of Samuel, + 40 of Saul's reign, + 40 for David's reign, +3 years of Solomon, + and the 40 years in the wilderness), whereas 1 Kings 6:1 gives the time as four hundred and eighty years; while the genealogies suppose a much shorter time - about two hundred and eighty years. It is an immense gain, therefore, to get rid of this four hundred and fifty years for the time of the judges, and by the well-supported reading of the R.T. to get a calculation in agreement with Galatians 3:17 and with the chronology of the times. Gave them... for an inheritance. The T.R. has κατεκληροδότησεν, the R.T. has κατεκληρονόμησεν, which words are not infrequently interchanged in different codices of the LXX. (see Joshua 19:51; Deuteronomy 1:38; Deuteronomy 21:16, etc.). They have nearly identical meanings, "to give as an inheritance by lot." Neither word occurs elsewhere in the New Testament.
The A. V. gives the literal rendering. The Rev., gave them their land for an inheritance, is correct, so far as the meaning, inheritance is concerned (see on 1 Peter 1:4), but does not give the sense of distribution which is contained in the word.
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