Joshua 12:1
Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon to mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:
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Joshua 12:1-2. These are the kings of the land — This summary account of Israel’s conquests comes in here not only as a conclusion of the history of the wars of Canaan, that we might at one view see what they had gotten; but as a preface to the history of the dividing of Canaan, that all those territories might be placed together before the reader’s view, which they were now to make the distribution of. All the plain on the east — That is, on the east of Jordan, called the plain, Deuteronomy 1:1. From the middle of the river — Ar, which was no part of Sihon’s dominions, but belonged to the Moabites, (Deuteronomy 2:9-18,) appears to have been situated in the middle of the river Arnon, (Deuteronomy 2:36; Deuteronomy 3:16,) and therefore the middle of the river is properly here mentioned as the bound of Sihon’s dominion on that side. But it is not unusual even among us for a river to be divided between two lords, and for their territories or jurisdictions to meet in the middle of the river. Some, however, prefer rendering תוךְ הנחל, tock hannachal, between the river; namely, that he reigned over some territory which was situated between different streams of that river. Half Gilead — Hebrew, And the half Gilead; that is, half the country of Gilead, over which Sihon’s dominion, which began at Arnon, extended, ending at Jabbok, beyond which river was the other half of Gilead, which belonged to Og.12:1-6 Fresh mercies must not drown the remembrance of former mercies, nor must the glory of the present instruments of good to the church diminish the just honour of those who went before them, since God is the same who wrought by both. Moses gave to one part of Israel a very rich and fruitful country, but it was on the outside of Jordan. Joshua gave to all Israel the holy land, within Jordan. So the law has given to some few of God's spiritual Israel worldly blessings, earnests of good things to come; but our Lord Jesus, the true Joshua, provided for all the children of promise spiritual blessings, and the heavenly Canaan.All the plain on the east - i. e. the Arabah or depressed tract along the east bank of Jordan, the modern El-Ghor (see Numbers 22:1).CHAPTER 12

Jos 12:1-6. The Two Kings Whose Countries Moses Took and Disposed of.

1. Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan—This chapter contains a recapitulation of the conquests made in the promised land, with the additional mention of some places not formerly noted in the sacred history. The river Arnon on the south and mount Hermon on the north were the respective boundaries of the land acquired by the Israelites beyond Jordan (see Nu 21:21-24; De 2:36; 3:3-16 [and see on [187]De 2:24]).A catalogue of the kings, and their possessions, out of which they were driven by the Israelites; first in the time of Moses on the other side Jordan, Joshua 12:1-6, and afterwards by Joshua on this side of Jordan, Joshua 12:7-23; in all one and thirty kings, Joshua 12:24.

On the east of Jordan, called the plain, Deu 1:1, and the plains of Moab, Deu 34:1.

Now these are the kings of the land which the children of Israel smote,.... In the days of Moses, as Jarchi remarks, and as it clearly appears from what follows:

and possessed, their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun; on the east of the land of Canaan:

from the river Arnon unto the mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east; Arnon was the border of Moab between them and the Amorites, Numbers 21:13; and from hence to Hermon, a mountain adjoining to Lebanon, lay the country of the two kings of the Amorites after mentioned, Deuteronomy 3:8; and the plain on the east were the plains of Moab, which lay to the east of Jordan.

Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the {a} other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:

(a) From Gilgal where Joshua camped.

Ch. Joshua 12:1-6. Catalogue of the Kings conquered in Eastern Palestine

1. Now these] This Chapter may be termed an official summary, suitable to a public record, of the whole territory conquered by Moses and by Joshua. “It contains no new matter, except that certain cities and their rulers are specified by name, which have previously been included in more general statements of Joshua’s wars.”

from the river Arnon] The first province described is the south-eastern, previously the territory of the Amorite king, Sihon, “from the river Arnon unto Mount Hermon.” The Arnon (the rushing river), now the Wady el-Mojeb, flows in part, through a deep rocky bed, into the Dead Sea. “As far as we could calculate by observation, the width of the ravine is about 3 miles from crest to crest; the depth by our barometers 2150 feet from the south side, which runs for some distance nearly 200 feet higher than the northern edge.” Tristram’s Land of Moab, p. 126.

unto mount Hermon] Called by the Sidonians Sirion = “breastplate,” a name suggested by its rounded glittering top, when the sun’s rays are reflected by the snow that covers it (Deuteronomy 3:9; Song of Solomon 4:8). It was also called Sion = “the elevated,” and is now known as Jebel-es-Sheikh, “the chief mountain,” which rises over 9000 feet. “In whatever part of Palestine the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the mountains of Samaria, from the Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the plateau of Bashan, the pale blue, snow-capped cone forms the one feature in the northern horizon.” In Psalm 42:6 we have a vivid description of the mountain landscape on Hermon, but “the land of splendour, of heaven-towering mountains, and of glorious streams, offers no compensation to the heart of the Psalmist for the humbler hills of Zion where his God abides.”

all the plain on the east] “al the est coost that beholdith the wildernes,” Wyclif; i.e. part of the great valley, now called the Ghor, from the Sea of Galilee to the Ælamitic Gulf, along the east bank of the Jordan.Verse 1. - Now these are the kings. The historian now enters upon a complete description of the whole territory which had, up to this date, fallen into the hands of the Israelites. First he traces out the border of the trans-Jordanic possessions of Israel, which he describes as bounded on the south by the river Arnon, on the west of course by the Jordan, and as extending from Hermon, past the Sea of Chinneroth, to the borders of the Dead Sea. The eastern border is not clearly defined, but the boundary extended far further eastward in the north than in the south, since the territory of Og was much more extensive than that of Sihon. On the west of Jordan the territory is described as extending "from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon (i.e., Baalbec or Caesarea Philippi; see note on ch. 11:17) unto the Mount Halak which goeth up to Seir, which we have seen to be a range of mountains extending southward from near the south point of the Dead Sea. The border of the Israelitish possessions is more accurately defined in the succeeding chapters, but it was, after all, a slip of territory not more than 180 miles in length by about 100 in breadth. Its influence upon the history of the world, like that of Athens and Sparta, must not be measured by its size, but by its moral energy. As the former city has attained undying fame by its intellectual power, the second by its mihtary capacity, so Palestine has derived her title to fame from her indestructible national life - indestructible because built alone, of all the religious systems of the ancient world, upon the foundations of the unity and Fatherhood of God; indestructible, moreover, because it came by revelation from God. There is no greater argument for the Divine origin of the Mosaic law than the unique spectacle of a national life like that of the Jews, subsisting for nearly two thousand years after their expulsion from their land. From the river Arnon (see Numbers 21:24). The word Arnon Signifies the swift stream (see Gesenius,'Thesaur.' s.v.). It is now called by the Arabs, El-Mujeb. Seetzen represents the region round its mouth to be naturally most fertile, but as abandoned now to a few wild plants. Unto Mount Hermon. Now Jebel-es-Sheikh. We have a vivid description of the scenery of Hermon in Psalm 42, with the noise of its foaming torrents, the "deep calling unto deep" from the recesses of its dark ravines, where the infant Jordan rushed along its rocky bed. The Psalmist pictures to himself his troubles as overwhelming him like the billows of the numerous streams that streaked the mountain sides. And yet again Hermon is introduced as the image of peace and plenty and brotherly love. The refreshing dews which distilled from the side of the giant mountain were the source of blessing to those who dwelt afar off, and even the dry and parched sides of Mount Zion were cooled by their delicious influence. In Psalm 42:6 the Psalmist speaks of Hermon in the plural. Some have regarded this (e.g., Ritter) as referring to the double peak of the mountain. The phrase most probably refers to the region, though Hermon has really three peaks (see note on Joshua 11:3). And all the plain on the east. The Arabah (see Joshua 3:16). The depression of the Jordan, which lay eastward, of course, of Palestine. This is much insisted on in the following verses. Joshua made war with the kings of Canaan a long time; judging from Joshua 14:7, Joshua 14:10, as much as seven years, though Josephus (Ant. v. 1, 19) speaks of five (see at Joshua 14:10). No town submitted peaceably to the Israelites, with the exception of Gibeon: they took the whole in war. "For it was of the Lord" (Joshua 11:20), i.e., God ordered it so that they (the Canaanites) hardened their heart to make war upon Israel, that they might fall under the ban, and be destroyed without mercy. On the hardening of the heart as a work of God, see the remarks upon the hardening of Pharaoh (Exodus 4:21). It cannot be inferred from this, that if the Canaanites had received the Israelites amicably, God would have withdrawn His command to destroy them, and allowed the Israelites to make peace with them; for when they made peace with the Gibeonites, they did not inquire what as the will of the Lord, but acted in opposition to it (see at Joshua 9:14). The remark is made with special reference to this, and has been correctly explained by Augustine (qu. 8 in Jos.) as follows: "Because the Israelites had shown mercy to some of them of their own accord, though in opposition to the command of God, therefore it is stated that they (the Canaanites) made war upon them so that none of them were spared, and the Israelites were not induced to show mercy to the neglect of the commandment of God."
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