And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)XIV.
FOURTH DIVISION OF THE BOOK.
DIVISION OF THE TEBBITORY ON THE WEST OF JORDAN TO NINE TRIBES AND A HALF
(Joshua 14-19, inclusive).
(1) And these are the countries which . . . Eleazar . . . and Joshua . . . distributed.—Here we enter upon the record of the third portion of Joshua’s great work. He had (1) to bring Israel over Jordan; (2) to conquer the land; (3) to divide it among the tribes.
Eleazar . . . and Joshua.—Not Joshua and Eleazar, observe. This is in strict accordance with the law of Moses, and the form of government which he was ordered to establish in Israel, to continue after his death. See Numbers 27, where, in answer to Moses prayer for a shepherd in Israel, the Lord says, “Take thee Joshua (here a figure of the great “Shepherd, the stone of Israel”), and lay thine hand upon him; and (Numbers 27:21) he (Joshua) shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord; at his (Eleazar’s) word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he (Joshua) and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” (Comp. also Deuteronomy 17:9 : “Thou shalt come unto the priests (at the place which the Lord shall choose), and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment.”) In these passages we see delineated the nature of the government established in Israel by Moses, to continue until there was a king. The priest had the legislative authority, the executive power rested with the judge. Of these judges, Joshua stands first; those who followed, until Samuel, held the same relation to the priest. Joshua was also a prophet. Samuel (a prophet likewise) established a third power in the constitution, and made the supreme executive power continuous and hereditary, giving to Israel a form of government by prophet, priest, and king. For the present, however, Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun (the answer to Moses’ prayer for a shepherd) were the rulers. “To lead them out and to bring them in” was what Moses asked that the shepherd of Israel might do. Joshua had led them out to victory; he was now to bring in each of the tribes into the home that the Lord had chosen for it in the promised land.
And the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel.—These men are all named in Numbers 34:16-28 : one from every tribe, in addition to Eleazar and Joshua. The names were then given by God to Moses, as the narrative states in Numbers 34:16-19. But is it not remarkable that before the land was conquered, in view of all the battles that were to be fought before it could be divided, the names of the men who were to divide it should be revealed? Man could not have arranged it so. The bow drawn at a venture, or one false step in the heat of battle, or the hurry of pursuit or flight, might have made a gap in the list. But it was not to be. “The Lord hath kept me alive,” says Caleb (the first man after Joshua on this list) in Joshua 14:10. But all the twelve commissioners might have said the same. We cannot forbear to ask the question—Is it conceivable that, were the narrative in Numbers 34 anything but simple truth, it should contain such an unlikely statement as this? It will not do to say the names in the Book of Numbers were added afterwards; the form of the language in which they are given forbids this, and, with the single exception of Caleb, we know nothing of these twelve commissioners except their names.Joshua 14:1. And these are the countries — Namely, those mentioned in the 15th, 16th, and following chapters, to the 20th; for this chapter is but a kind of preface to the division of the land; which was now conquered by Joshua, as that of Sihon and Og had been by Moses; and was to be divided by lot according to the command given by God to Moses, Numbers 34:17-18, where the names of the twelve heads of tribes, or princes, as they are there called, are set down. Eleazar the priest and Joshua, &c. — They best understood the laws of God by which this division was to be regulated.Numbers 32:33, etc. and notes.
Jos 14:1-5. The Nine Tribes and a Half to Have Their Inheritance by Lot.
1. these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan—This chapter forms the introduction to an account of the allocation of the land west of Jordan, or Canaan proper, to the nine tribes and a half. It was also made by lot in presence of a select number of superintendents, appointed according to divine directions given to Moses (see on Nu 34:16). In everything pertaining to civil government, and even the division of the land, Joshua was the acknowledged chief. But in a matter to be determined by lot, a solemn appeal was made to God, and hence Eleazar, as high priest, is named before Joshua.The land and its inheritances to be divided by lot, Joshua 14:1-5. Caleb having on his return from spying the land encouraged the people, Moses then promised him the land of Hebron, which he now claims of Joshua 14:6-12; who grants his request, Joshua 14:13-15.
which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for an inheritance unto them; namely, ten princes, one of each tribe, who, with Eleazar and Joshua, were appointed of the Lord by name to do this business, even seven years ago, before their entrance into the land of Canaan, Numbers 34:17.And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Joshua 14:1-5. Distribution of the Land West of the Jordan
1. And these are the countries] In this section, from Joshua 14:1-5, we have an introduction to the division of the country west of the Jordan among the nine and a half remaining tribes.
Eleazar the priest] He was the third son of Aaron, and his successor in the highpriesthood (Numbers 20:25; Deuteronomy 10:6). See below, ch. Joshua 24:33. Both here and in Numbers 34:17 he is mentioned before Joshua, “for the division by lot was presided over by the high priest as the representative of the government of the Lord in Israel.” Keil.Verse 1. - Tribes. The word here for "tribes," in connection with the word "fathers," is the one which implies genealogical descent (see note on Joshua 13:29). Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes. A picture of national unity; the head of the Church, representing the religious aspect of the community; the head of the State, representing its civil aspect; the heads of the tribes, to signify the general assent of the body politic. A work so begun was likely to be satisfactorily carried out. And accordingly the distribution of the land, recognised as carried out according to the will of God, displayed no partiality, and excited no jealousies. Joshua 13:30. In the valley of the Jordan, on the other hand, the boundary reached to the Sea of Galilee. "The valley" is the valley of the Jordan, or the Arabah from Wady Hesbn above the Dead Sea up to the Sea of Galilee, along the east side of the Jordan, which belonged to the kingdom of Sihon (Joshua 12:3; Deuteronomy 3:17). The northern boundary of the tribe of Reuben must have touched the Jordan in the neighbourhood of the Wady Hesbn. In the Jordan valley were Beth-haram, the future Libias, and present er Rameh (see at Numbers 32:36); Beth-nimra, according to the Onom. five Roman miles to the north, the present ruin of Nimrein (see at Numbers 32:36); Succoth, according to the Onom. trans Jordanem in parte Scythopoleos (see at Genesis 33:17); Zaphon (i.e., north), probably not far from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee. "The rest of the kingdom of Sihon," the other part having been given to the Reubenites (Joshua 13:21).
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