Nehemiah 9:22
Moreover you gave them kingdoms and nations, and did divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Divide them into corners.—Strict usage of the term would require: Thou didst divide unto them [these nations] in their boundaries.

And the land.—There is a double reference to Sihon, king of Heshbon. This and Bashan were taken as the earnest of the possession of Canaan.

Nehemiah 9:22. And didst divide them into corners — That is, the heathen nations, whom God in a great measure destroyed, and the remainders of them he dispersed into corners; that whereas, before the Israelites came, they had large habitations, now they were cooped up, some in one town, and some in another, in the several corners of their land, while the Israelites dwelt in a large place, and had the possession of their whole land, some few and small parcels excepted.9:4-38 The summary of their prayers we have here upon record. Much more, no doubt, was said. Whatever ability we have to do any thing in the way of duty, we are to serve and glorify God according to the utmost of it. When confessing our sins, it is good to notice the mercies of God, that we may be the more humbled and ashamed. The dealings of the Lord showed his goodness and long-suffering, and the hardness of their hearts. The testimony of the prophets was the testimony of the Spirit in the prophets, and it was the Spirit of Christ in them. They spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and what they said is to be received accordingly. The result was, wonder at the Lord's mercies, and the feeling that sin had brought them to their present state, from which nothing but unmerited love could rescue them. And is not their conduct a specimen of human nature? Let us study the history of our land, and our own history. Let us recollect our advantages from childhood, and ask what were our first returns? Let us frequently do so, that we may be kept humble, thankful, and watchful. Let all remember that pride and obstinacy are sins which ruin the soul. But it is often as hard to persuade the broken-hearted to hope, as formerly it was to bring them to fear. Is this thy case? Behold this sweet promise, A God ready to pardon! Instead of keeping away from God under a sense of unworthiness, let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. He is a God ready to pardon.Thou didst divide them into corners - i. e., parts of the holy land; or as some prefer "thou didst distribute them on all sides." 22. Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations—that is, put them in possession of a rich country, of an extensive territory, which had been once occupied by a variety of princes and people.

and didst divide them into corners—that is, into tribes. The propriety of the expression arose from the various districts touching at points or angles on each other.

the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon—Heshbon being the capital city, the passage should run thus: "the land of Sihon or the land of the king of Heshbon."

Into corners, or, into a corner. But the singular number is very commonly put for the plural. This is understood, either,

1. Of the Israelites, to whom God divided by lot the

kingdoms and nations last mentioned, and gave them all the corners, or sides, or quarters (for all these the word signifies) of their land. Or rather,

2. Of the heathen nations, whom God in a great measure destroyed, and the remainders of them he dispersed into corners; that whereas before the Israelites came they had large habitations and dominions, now they were cooped up into corners, some of them into one town or city, and some into another, in the several corners of their land, as indeed we find them afterward; whilst thee Israelites dwelt in a large place, and had the possession of their whole land, some few and small parcels excepted. Compare Deu 32:26, where the like phrase is used in the same sense. Moreover, thou gavest them kingdoms and nations,.... The two kingdoms of Sihon and Og, and the seven nations of Canaan:

and didst divide them into corners; or "corner"; into every corner of the land of Canaan, so that they possessed the whole of it, a few cities excepted; Jarchi interprets it of one corner, that they might not be mixed with the people of the land, but be all together in one place; but Aben Ezra understands it of the Canaanites, of their being divided and scattered into corners, when they fled from the Israelites; but the former sense seems best:

so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon; or "eren", or "namely" (z), "the land of the king of Heshbon"; for Sihon was king of Heshbon, and so the land the same:

and the land of Og king of Bashan; those lands both lay on the other side Jordan, and were possessed by the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.

(z) So Piscator, Patrick, Rambachius.

Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst {d} divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.

(d) Meaning, the heathen whom he drove out.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22–25. The Conquest of Palestine: Victory

22. The Conquest of the Transjordanic territory.

nations] R.V. peoples.

and didst divide them into corners] R.V. which thou didst allot after their portions. Marg. ‘Or, And didst distribute them into every corner’. The difficulty of rendering arises from the word ‘pêah’ = ‘a corner,’ or ‘edge,’ which the LXX. and Vulg. do not attempt to translate. Used of ‘a corner’ in such passages as Leviticus 19:9; Leviticus 19:27; Amos 3:12; it is found with a territorial signification, in Numbers 24:17 ‘the corners of Moab,’ Joshua 15:5; Joshua 18:14-15, ‘the north quarter,’ ‘the west quarter,’ ‘the south quarter,’ Jeremiah 48:45 ‘the corner of Moab.’ It does not seem to occur anywhere in a technical sense for ‘a lot’ or ‘an appointed portion.’ ‘To allot according to corner,’ in the sense of ‘after their portions’ (as the R.V.), may give the meaning of the obscure phrase; but no satisfactory parallel to this use of ‘pêah’ occurs in the O. T. This being the case, it is probable that preference should be given to the R.V. marg. ‘into every corner,’ a translation which renders ‘pêah’ literally, and explains the Hebrew idiom by the insertion of the word ‘every.’

Sihon … Og] The victory over these kings at the battles of Jahaz and Edrei is described in Numbers 21:21-35. It made the children of Israel masters of the E. bank of the Jordan. Reference to the conquest of these two kings is frequent, e.g. Numbers 32:33; Deuteronomy 1:4; Deuteronomy 3:1, &c.; Joshua 2:10; Psalm 135:11; Psalm 136:19-20. The territory of the two Amorite kings stretched from the river Jabbok in the S. to the Hauran Mts. in the N., and included the district of Argob. In later days it was divided into Iturea, Gaulanitis, Batanea, Trachonitis and Auranitis.

and the land of the king of Heshbon] R.V. even the land, &c. The ‘copula’ is used to define the previous words, cf. Nehemiah 9:16 ‘they and our fathers.’ Nehemiah 8:7. The LXX. omit ‘and the land’ (Σηὼν βασιλέως Ἐσεβών).Verse 22. - Thou didst divide them into corners. i.e. "didst plant them in every corner of the Holy Land," - "gave them to possess the whole of it," - ultimately, that is, not at first (see the comment on ver. 8). The land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon. The Levites must have known that Sihon was king of Heshbon, and (if the text is sound) must have expressed themselves as they did, by way of rhetorical amplification; perhaps, however, the van after "Sihon" is the mistake of a copyist. Even the fathers to whom God had shown such favour, repeatedly departed from and rebelled against Him; but God of His great mercy did not forsake them, but brought them into possession of the promised land.

Nehemiah 9:16-17

"And they, even our fathers, dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to Thy commandments. Nehemiah 9:17 They refused to obey, and were not mindful of Thy wonders that Thou didst amongst them; and hardened their necks, and appointed a captain to return to their bondage. But Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not." In these verses the conduct of the children of Israel towards God is contrasted with His kindness towards this stiff-necked people, the historical confirmation following in Nehemiah 9:18. והם is emphatic, and prefixed to contrast the conduct of the Israelites with the benefits bestowed on them. The contrast is enhanced by the ו explicative before אבתינוּ, even our fathers (which J. D. Michaelis would expunge, from a misconception of its meaning, but which Bertheau with good reason defends). Words are accumulated to describe the stiff-necked resistance of the people. הזידוּ as above, Nehemiah 9:10. "They hardened their necks" refers to Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3; Exodus 34:9, and therefore already alludes to the worship of the golden calf at Sinai, mentioned Nehemiah 9:18; while in Nehemiah 9:17, the second great rebellion of the people at Kadesh, on the borders of the promised land, Numbers 14, is contemplated. The repetition of the expression, "they hardened their hearts," shows that a second grievous transgression is already spoken of in Nehemiah 9:17. This is made even clearer by the next clause, וגו ראשׁ ויּתּנוּ, which is taken almost verbally from Numbers 14:4 : "They said one to another, Let us make a captain (ראשׁ נתּנה), and return to Egypt;" the notion being merely enhanced here by the addition לעבדתם, to their bondage. The comparison with Numbers 14:4 also shows that בּמרים is a clerical error for בּמצרים, as the lxx read; for בּמרים, in their stubbornness, after לעבדתם, gives no appropriate sense. In spite, however, of their stiff-neckedness, God of His mercy and goodness did not forsake them. סליחות אלוהּ, a God of pardons; comp. Daniel 9:9; Psalm 130:4. וגו ורחוּם חנּוּן is a reminiscence of Exodus 34:6. The ו before חסד came into the text by a clerical error.

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