Joshua 14:10
And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, see, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
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Joshua 14:10-11. The Lord hath kept me alive these forty and five years — Whereof thirty-eight were spent in the wilderness, and seven since they came into Canaan. The longer we live the more sensible we should be of God’s goodness to us in keeping us alive! Of his care in prolonging our frail lives, his patience in prolonging our forfeited lives! And shall not the life thus kept by his providence, be devoted to his praise? I am as strong this day, &c. — Though eighty-five years of age, he was as lively and strong as when he was forty. As my strength was then so it is now — This was the fruit of the promise, and was beyond what God had expressed; for God not only gives what he promises, but more. If he promises life, he will add health and strength, and all that which will make the life promised a blessing and comfort. This Caleb mentions here to the glory of God, and as a reason for his asking a portion which he must rescue out of the hands of the giants. For war — Not only for counsel, but for action; for marching and fighting. And therefore this gift will not be cast away upon an unprofitable and an unserviceable person. To go out, and to come in — To perform all the duties belonging to my place. Moses had said, that at eighty years old, even our strength was labour and sorrow. But Caleb was an exception to this rule: at eighty-five years old, his strength was still ease and joy. This he got by following the Lord fully.14:6-15 Caleb's request is, Give me this mountain, or Hebron, because it was formerly in God's promise to him, and he would let Israel knows how much he valued the promise. Those who live by faith value that which is given by God's promise, far above what is given by his providence only. It was now in the Anakims' possession, and Caleb would let Israel know how little he feared the enemy, and that he would encourage them to push on their conquests. Caleb answered to his name, which signifies all heart. Hebron was settled on Caleb and his heirs, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. Happy are we if we follow him. Singular piety shall be crowned with singular favour.Forty and five years - The word of God to Moses was spoken after the return of the spies in the autumn of the second year after the Exodus Num 13:25; subsequently, 38 years elapsed before the people reached the Jordan Numbers 20:1; after the passage of the Jordan seven more years had passed, when Caleb claimed Hebron, before the partition of the land among the nine tribes and a half. These seven years then correspond to the "long time" Joshua 11:18 during which Joshua was making war with the Canaanites. They are in the sequel of this verse added by Caleb to the years of wandering, since during them the people had no settled abodes. Jos 14:6-15. Caleb by Privilege Requests and Obtains Hebron.

6-11. Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb … said—This incident is recorded here because it occurred while the preparations were being made for casting the lots, which, it appears, were begun in Gilgal. The claim of Caleb to the mountains of Hebron as his personal and family possessions was founded on a solemn promise of Moses, forty-five years before (Nu 14:24; De 1:36; Jos 14:10), to give him that land on account of his fidelity. Being one of the nominees appointed to preside over the division of the country, he might have been charged with using his powers as a commissioner to his own advantage, had he urged his request in private; and therefore he took some of his brethren along with him as witness of the justice and propriety of his conduct.

These forty and five years, whereof thirty-eight years were spent in the wilderness, and seven since they came into Canaan. And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said,.... Had upheld him in life, and preserved him from many dangers in the wilderness; and had continued him not only in life, but in health to that day, according to his promise to him, that he would bring him into the land of Canaan, and that he should see and possess it, Numbers 14:24 Deuteronomy 1:36,

these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, and while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness; not that the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness forty five years, but it was while they were in the wilderness this word or promise, concerning Caleb, was spoken by the Lord to Moses; and it was in the second year of their coming out of Egypt, after which they wandered in the wilderness thirty eight years, so that they had now been in the land of Canaan seven years; and from hence the Jewish chronologers (s) gather, that the land was seven years in subduing, and which their commentators in general take notice of. Maimonides (t) seems to be displeased with the Arabs for calling the wilderness, through which the Israelites travelled, "the desert of wandering"; but it appears from hence to be a very proper epithet of it; and Kadesh the place where they were first threatened, that they should be wanderers in the wilderness for such a time, had the additional name of Barnea, which signifies the son of a wanderer:

and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old; being forty years of age when sent a spy into the land, Joshua 14:7; thirty eight years he was with Israel in the wilderness, and seven years more since they entered into the land, in all eighty five; there is no necessity of understanding it that this was his precise birth day, but that about this time, or that he was now completely of such an age, which was more by fifteen years than the age of man in common at that time, see Psalm 90:10.

(s) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 31. (t) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 50. p. 512.

And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
10. And now behold] God had fulfilled His promise, and not only prolonged his life forty-five years, but had preserved his strength in such full vigour, that, though now in his eighty-fifth year, he felt as strong, and as well able to engage in war, as when he was forty years old.Verse 10. - Forty and five years. This marks the date of the present conversation as occurring seven years after the invasion. Caleb was forty years of age when be went to spy the land of Canaan. For thirty-eight years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. And Caleb was now eighty-five years old. This remark has been made as far back as the time of Theedoret. Doubtless the apportionment of the land, and its occupation by the Israelites, was a long and tedious business (see also Joshua 13:1). Even since. Literally, from the time when. So many tribes were to receive their inheritance, for the two tribes and a half had already received theirs from Moses on the other side of the Jordan, and the tribe of Levi was not to receive any land for an inheritance. According to this, there seem to be only eight tribes and a half to be provided for (2 1/2 + 1 + 8 1/2 equals 12); but there were really nine and a half, for the sons of Joseph formed two tribes in consequence of the adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh by the patriarch Jacob (Genesis 48:5). But although the Levites were to have no share in the land, they were to receive towns to dwell in, with pasture adjoining for their cattle; these the other tribes were to give up to them out of their inheritance, according to the instructions in Numbers 35:1-8 (see the notes upon this passage).

So far as the division of the land itself was concerned, it was to be distributed by lot, according to Numbers 26:52.; but, at the same time, the distribution was carried out with such special regard to the relative sizes of the different tribes, that the more numerous tribe received a larger share of the land than one that was not so numerous. This could only be accomplished, however, by their restricting the lot to the discrimination of the relative situation of the different tribes, and then deciding the extent and boundaries of their respective possessions according to the number of families of which they were composed.

(Note: "This was the force of the lot: there were ten lots cast in such a manner as to decide that some were to be next to the Egyptians, some to have the sea-coasts, some to occupy the higher ground, and some to settle in the valleys. When this was done, it remained for the heads of the nation to determine the boundaries of their different territories according to some equitable standard. It was their place, therefore, to ascertain how many thousand heads there were in each tribe, and then to adjudicate a larger or smaller space according to the size of the tribe" (Calvin). Or, as Clericus observes (Numbers 26:52), "the lot seems to have had respect to the situation alone, and not to the extent of territory at all.")

The casting of the lots was probably effected, as the Rabbins assumed, by means of two urns, one filled with slips having the names of the tribes upon them; the other, with an equal number, representing separate divisions of the land: so that when one slip, with a name upon it, was taken out of one urn, another slip, with a division of the land upon it, was taken from the other. The result of the lot was accepted as the direct decree of God; "for the lot was not controlled in any way by the opinion, or decision, or authority of men" (Calvin). See the fuller remarks at Numbers 26:56.

In the account of the casting of the lots, the first fact which strikes us is, that after the tribes of Judah and Joseph had received their inheritance, an interruption took place, and the camp was moved from Gilgal to Shiloh, and the tabernacle erected there (Joshua 18:1-9); after which the other tribes manifested so little desire to receive their inheritance, that Joshua reproved them for their indolence (Joshua 18:3), and directed them to nominate a committee of twenty-one from their own number, whom he sent out to survey the land and divide it into seven parts; and it was not till after this had been done that the casting of the lots was proceeded with, and each of these seven tribes received its inheritance. The reason for this interruption is not given; and the commentators have differed in their opinions as to the cause (see Keil's former Comm. on Joshua, pp. 347ff.). The following appears to be the most probable supposition. When Joshua received the command from the Lord to divide the land among the tribes, they made an approximative division of the land into nine or ten parts, according to the general idea of its extent and principal features, which they had obtained in connection with the conquest of the country, and then commenced distributing it without any more minute survey or more accurate measurement, simply fixing the boundaries of those districts which came out first according to the size of the tribes upon whom the lots fell. As soon as that was done, these tribes began to move off into the territory allotted to them, and to take possession of it. The exact delineation of the boundaries, however, could not be effected at once, but required a longer time, and was probably not finally settled till the tribe had taken possession of its land. In this manner the tribes of Judah, Ephraim, and half Manasseh had received their inheritance one after another. And whilst they were engaged in taking possession, Shiloh was chosen, no doubt in accordance with divine instructions, as the place where the tabernacle was to be permanently erected; and there the sanctuary was set up, the whole camp, of course, removing thither at the same time. But when the casting of the lots was about to be continued for the remainder of the tribes, they showed no great desire for fixed abodes, as they had become so accustomed to a nomad life, through having been brought up in the desert, that they were much more disposed to continue it, than to take possession of a circumscribed inheritance, - a task which would require more courage and exertion, on account of the remaining Canaanites, than a life in tents, in which they might wander up and down in the land by the side of the Canaanites, and supply their wants from its productions, as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had formerly done, since the Canaanites who were left were so weakened by the war that the Israelites had no occasion for a moment's anxiety about them, provided they did not attempt to expel or to exterminate them. But Joshua could not rest contented with this, if he would remain faithful to the charge which he had received from the Lord. He therefore reproved these tribes for their tardiness, and commanded them to take steps for continuing the casting of lots for the land. But as the tribe of Joseph had expressed its dissatisfaction with the smallness of the inheritance allotted to it, and by so doing had manifested its cowardice, which prevented it from attacking the Canaanites who were still left in the territory that had fallen to their lot, Joshua may possibly have had his eyes opened in consequence to the fact that, if the casting of lots was continued in the manner begun, and with nothing more than an approximative definition of the different portions of the land, there was a possibility of still greater dissatisfaction arising among the other tribes, since some of them at any rate would be sure to receive portions of the land in which the Canaanites were more numerous and still stronger than in the possessions of Ephraim. He therefore gave orders, that before the casting of lots was proceeded with any further, the rest of the land should be carefully surveyed and divided into seven districts, and that a statement of the result should be laid before him, that these seven districts might be divided by lot among the seven tribes. This survey of the land no doubt very clearly showed that what remained, after deducting the possessions of Judah and Joseph, was too small for the remaining seven tribes, in proportion to what had been already divided. Moreover, it had also been discovered that Judah's share was larger than this tribe required (Joshua 19:9). Consequently it was necessary that certain partial alterations should be made in the arrangements connected with the first division. The lot itself could not be pronounced invalid when it had once been cast, as its falling was regarded as the decision of God himself, and therefore it was impossible to make a fresh division of the whole land among all the tribes. The only thing that could be done was to leave the two tribes in those districts which had fallen to them by lot (Joshua 18:5), but to take certain parts of their territory for the other tribes, which would leave the lot in all its integrity, as the lot itself had not determined either the size of the boundaries. This will serve to explain both the interruption to the casting of the lots, which had been commenced at Gilgal, and also the peculiar manner in which it was continued at Shiloh.

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