And Moses swore on that day, saying, Surely the land where on your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance, and your children's for ever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And Moses sware on that day . . . the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine.—Whether Moses referred to Hebron specifically in this promise, it is impossible to say.Joshua 14:9. Moses sware on that day — See Deuteronomy 1:35-36. What is here mentioned was first pronounced by God himself, and that with an oath, Numbers 14:21-24. It was also, however, repeated by Moses, so that the expression of the sacred writer is just.
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.Numbers 14:24 Deu 1:36. Deuteronomy 1:34,
surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever: not the whole land of Canaan, nor all the parts of it Caleb travelled through, but particularly Hebron; which though not expressly mentioned in the aforesaid oath, yet was understood and known to be the meaning of it, and which Joshua by the following grant owned, and it is elsewhere expressly affirmed, Judges 1:20; and it is remarked, that it is not said "they", but "he" came to Hebron, Numbers 13:22; that is Caleb, so that it was literally true that his feet had trodden there: now the reason of this oath, and the inheritance assured by it to Caleb, was:
because thou hast wholly followed the Lord thy God; in all his ways, and with full purpose of heart, and particularly had acted the upright and faithful part in the report he made of the good land; See Gill on Numbers 14:24.And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. And Moses sware on that day] The oath of the great Lawgiver is not mentioned either in Numbers 14:23, or Deuteronomy 1:35. Caleb probably quotes an express declaration of Moses, not recorded in the Pentateuch, but familiar to Joshua, in whose hearing it may have been first related by Moses.
Surely the land] Comp. Numbers 13:22; Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:36.Verse 9. - And Moses sware on that day (cf. Numbers 14:21-24; Deuteronomy 1:35, 36). Keil raises the difficulty that in the above passage not Moses, but God is said to have sworn, and that no special inheritance is promised to Caleb, but only that he shall enter the promised land. But this is not the fact, as a comparison of this passage with Deuteronomy 1:36 will show. That either passage gives the ipsissima verba of Moses is unlikely. The main sense of the promise is given in each. And there is no impropriety in speaking of the proclamation by Moses of God's decree as an oath pronounced by Moses himself. 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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