Joshua 13:9
From Aroer, that is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain of Medeba unto Dibon;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Joshua 13:9-11. The city that is in the midst of the river — Some interpreters render this clause, The city in the midst of the valley; judging that, as Arnon was but a small brook, it could hardly have a city, or an island large enough for a city to be built on, in the midst of it. But certainly a city might be built on ground lying between two streams of the same river: see on Joshua 12:2. Medeba unto Dibon — Two cities anciently belonging to the Moabites, and taken from them by the Amorites, (Numbers 21:30,) and from them by the Israelites; and, after the Israelites were gone into captivity, recovered by the first possessors, the Moabites. And Maachathites — Whose land God had given to the Israelites without Jordan, though they had not yet used the gift of God, nor taken possession of it, as is noted, Joshua 13:13.

13:7-33 The land must be divided among the tribes. It is the will of God that every man should know his own, and not take that which is another's. The world must be governed, not by force, but right. Wherever our habitation is placed, and in whatever honest way our portion is assigned, we should consider them as allotted of God; we should be thankful for, and use them as such, while every prudent method should be used to prevent disputes about property, both at present and in future. Joshua must be herein a type of Christ, who has not only conquered the gates of hell for us, but has opened to us the gates of heaven, and having purchased the eternal inheritance for all believers, will put them in possession of it. Here is a general description of the country given to the two tribes and a half, by Moses. Israel must know their own, and keep to it; and may not, under pretence of their being God's peculiar people, encroach on their neighbours. Twice in this chapter it is noticed, that to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance: see Nu 18:20. Their maintenance must be brought out of all the tribes. The ministers of the Lord should show themselves indifferent about worldly interests, and the people should take care they want nothing suitable. And happy are those who have the Lord God of Israel for their inheritance, though little of this world falls to their lot. His providences will supply their wants, his consolations will support their souls, till they gain heavenly joy and everlasting pleasures.The writer appends to the command of God Joshua 13:1-7 a statement that the other two tribes and a half had already had their inheritance marked out for them by Moses in the land east of Jordan. The boundaries of this territory as a whole are first set forth Joshua 13:8-14, and afterward the portions assigned within it to the two tribes and a half are severally described Joshua 13:15-33.8. With whom—Hebrew, "him." The antecedent is evidently to Manasseh, not, however, the half-tribe just mentioned, but the other half; for the historian, led, as it were, by the sound of the word, breaks off to describe the possessions beyond Jordan already assigned to Reuben, Gad, and the half of Manasseh (see on [190]Nu 32:1; [191]Nu 32:33; also see De 3:8-17). It may be proper to remark that it was wise to put these boundaries on record. In case of any misunderstanding or dispute arising about the exact limits of each district or property, an appeal could always be made to this authoritative document, and a full knowledge as well as grateful sense obtained of what they had received from God (Ps 16:5, 6). The city that is in the midst of the river; of which see Poole "Deu 3:16", and see Poole "Joshua 12:2". Either this is the same city now mentioned, even Aroer, which is said to have been a double city, as the very name seems to import, whereof one part was on the bank of the river, and the other in the middle of it, whence we read of the cities of Aroer, Isaiah 17:2; or it is another city, possibly Ar, as it is elsewhere named.

Medeba and

Dibon; two cities anciently belonging to the Moabites, and taken from them by the Amorites, Numbers 21:30, and from them by the Israelites; and after the Israelites were gone into captivity, recovered by the first possessors the Moabites, as may seem from Isaiah 15:2.

From Aroer, that is on the bank of the river Arnon,.... A city belonging to Moab, from whence the description begins, the river Arnon, on which it was situated, being the border between Moab and the Amorites, Numbers 21:13,

and the city that is in the midst of the river; or "even the city"; meaning the same city of Aroer, it lying both on the bank of it, and in the middle of it, or it was a double city, as may seem from Isaiah 17:2; and so differently situated at that river:

and all the plains of Medeba unto Dibon; of these two places, see Numbers 21:30; between them lay a plain, which some take to be the plain of Moab; but it rather seems to be a plain that was between these two places, and, according to Joshua 13:17, Dibon itself was in a plain.

From Aroer, that is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain of Medeba unto Dibon;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. and all the plain of Medeba] Instead of “half Gilead,” as in ch. Joshua 12:2, we have here “all the plain (= Mishor = “table-land” or “downs”) of Medeba unto Dibon,” “the wijld feeldis of Medeba,” Wyclif. Medeba is first mentioned in the fragment of a populare song of the time of the conquest, Numbers 21:30, “Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba.” It is in the pastoral district of the Belka, four miles S. E. of Heshbon, and like it lying on a rounded but rocky hill. In Christian times it was a noted bishopric of the patriarchate of Becerra. Dibon, or Dibon-Gad, from its being taken possession of and rebuilt by the children of Gad (Numbers 32:3; Numbers 32:34), or Dimon (in Isaiah 15:9), has been discovered with the name Dhiban on the Roman road three miles north of the Arnon (Wady el-Mojeb). Here the inscribed block of basalt, known as “the Moabite stone,” was discovered in 1868.

Verse 9. - Aroer. Three, or even four, cities of this name were known, and have been identified by modern travellers under names somewhat similar.

1. Aroer upon Aruon, on the north bank of that river, at the extreme south of the territory of Reuben (see Deuteronomy 2:36; Deuteronomy 3:12; Deuteronomy 4:48; Joshua 12:2; Joshua 13:9, 16; and probably Jeremiah 48:19).

2. Aroer in Gad (Joshua 13:25), described there as "before," i.e., on the way to "Rabbah." It was no doubt some short distance to the westward of this chief city of the Ammonites (see also Numbers 32:34, where the Gadites are said to have built it). These two are probably the "cities of Aroer" referred to in Isaiah 17:2 (but see next note but one, where also 2 Samuel 24:5 will be discussed).

3. A city in Judah (1 Samuel 30:28). To one of these cities probably belonged Shammah or Shammoth, the Hararite or Harorite (2 Samuel 23:11; he is called Harodite in ver. 25, and 1 Chronicles 11:27). The river Arnon (see note on Joshua 12:2). The city that is in the midst of the river. This city (or perhaps cities) has received but little attention from commentators, probably by reason of its bearing no name. Those who have tried to identify it have failed In Deuteronomy 2:36, in this passage, and in 2 Samuel 24:5, it is mentioned in connection with Aroer. In Joshua 7:2, instead of "the city that is in the midst of the river," we find simply "the middle (תוך) of the river." But as 2 Samuel 24:5 stands in our version, the city referred to stood in the middle of the river of Gad. This would suggest the idea that the old derivation of Aroer by Wells and others from the word עִיר (city) doubled, with the signification of the double city, is nearer the mark than that of wasteness, or desolateness, or nakedness, as of a region bare of trees, which has found favour of late, and it is not without support in Hebrew forms. A city, moreover, in the midst of or "on the brink of" a winter torrent would be less likely to be waste or desolate than in other situations. But we are not yet at the end of our difficulties. The word Nahal, which comes before Gad in the passage of which we are now speaking, has the article. Thus the translation, "river of Gad" cannot be maintained. And besides, the enumeration of the people must have begun at the Arnon, or southern border of Israel beyond Jordan. It is possible that the text may be corrupt here, as it is in other parts of 2 Samuel, and possibly the meaning may be that the officers pitched in Aroer, passed through Reuben, and having come within the confines of Gad arrived at Jazer. This again is rendered doubtful by the close connection of Aroer and Jazer in Joshua 13:25. It is of course, therefore, possible that the reference in 2 Samuel 24. is to the Jabbok, not the Arnon ravine. A question, of such intricacy can only be Settled, if settled at all, by an investigation on. the spot. The plain. The word here is מִישׁור. This derived from the root יָשָׁר signifies level ground, and is applied to the region north of Moab, especially that part of it which belonged to Reuben. Flat, and almost unbroken, even by trees, it was particularly adapted for grazing land (see also note above, and on ver. 4). Medeba. This is mentioned in Scripture, together with Dibon, as here in Numbers 21:30; Isaiah 15:2. It was on the level ground before mentioned (see Gesenius, s.v. מִישׁור). Dibon (see Jeremiah 48:18, 22, called Dimon in Isaiah 15:9; but Dibon in Isaiah 15:2; see also Numbers 33:45, 46). It was one of the cities built by the children of Gad (Numbers 32:34). It is now called Dhiban, and is a short distance north of the Arnon. The Moabite stone, found at Dibon in 1868, mentions the occupation of Medeba by Omri, and implies that Dibon, the principal city in those parts, was also subject to him, but recovered finally by Mesha. Joshua 13:9To the command of God to divide the land on this side the Jordan among the nine tribes and a half (Joshua 13:7), the historian appends the remark, that the other two tribes and a half had already received their inheritance from Moses on the other side (Joshua 13:8). This he proceeds to describe in its full extent (Joshua 13:9-13), and then observes that the tribe of Levi alone received no landed inheritance, according to the word of the Lord (Joshua 13:14). After this he gives a description in vv. 15-33 of the land assigned by Moses to each of the two tribes and a half.

(Note: Knobel's remark, that Joshua 13:8-14 anticipate the following section (vv. 15-33) in an unsuitable manner, rests upon a thorough misunderstanding of the whole; for the account of the division of the land to the east of the Jordan among the two tribes and a half (vv. 15-33) could not be introduced in a more appropriate manner than by a description of the circumference of the land and of its principal parts (Joshua 13:9-13).)

The remark in Joshua 13:8 is so closely connected with what precedes by the expression "with whom" (lit., with it), that this expression must be taken as somewhat indefinite: "with whom," viz., with half Manasseh, really signifying with the other half of Manasseh, with which the Reubenites and Gadites had received their inheritance (see Numbers 32 and Deuteronomy 3:8-17). The last words of Joshua 13:8, "as Moses the servant of Jehovah gave them," are not a tautological repetition of the clause "which Moses gave them," but simply affirm that these tribes received the land given them by Moses, in the manner commanded by Moses, without any alteration in his arrangements. The boundaries of the land given in Joshua 13:9-13 really agree with those given in Joshua 12:2-5 and Deuteronomy 3:8, although the expression varies in some respects. The words of Joshua 13:9, "the city that is in the midst of the river," i.e., the city in the valley, viz., Ar, are more distinct than those of Joshua 12:2, "and from the middle of the river." "All the plain" is the Amoritish table-land, a tract of land for the most part destitute of trees, stretching from the Arnon to Heshbon, and towards the north-east to Rabbath-Ammn (see at Deuteronomy 3:10), which is called in Numbers 21:20 the field of Moab Medeba, now called Medaba (see at Numbers 21:30). Dibon, now a ruin called Dibn, to the north of Arnon (see at Numbers 21:20). - Joshua 13:10, as in Joshua 12:2.

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