Numbers 34:18
And you shall take one prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.
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(18) And ye shall take one prince of every tribe . . . —In addition to Eleazar the high priest, and Joshua the commander of the army, one chief man, or prince, was to be selected out of each of the ten tribes which were interested in the division, as at the first census one out of each tribe was associated with Moses and Aaron (Numbers 1:4), and as was probably the case at the second census under Moses and Eleazar. (Comp. Numbers 27:2.) Security was thus afforded for the equity and impartiality of the allotment; the position of the territory only, and not its dimensions, being determined by lot. With the exception of Caleb, the names of the princes selected for this purpose are not mentioned elsewhere.

34:16-29 God here appoints men to divide the land to them. So sure must they feel of victory and success while God fought for them, that the persons are named who should be intrusted with the dividing of the land.Of the representatives now selected through Moses beforehand, who were all princes, i. e. heads of chief families, in their respective tribes (see Numbers 13:2), Caleb alone, of the tribe of Judah, is otherwise known to us (see Numbers 13:4 ff). The order in which the tribes are named is peculiar to this passage. If they be taken in pairs, Judah and Simeon, Benjamin and Dan, Manasseh and Ephraim, Zebulun and Issachar, Asher and Naphtali, the order of the pairs agrees with the order in which the allotments in the Holy land, taken also in couples, followed each other in the map from south to north. 16-29. names of the men … which shall divide the land—This appointment by the Lord before the Jordan tended not only to animate the Israelites faith in the certainty of the conquest, but to prevent all subsequent dispute and discontent, which might have been dangerous in presence of the natives. The nominees were ten princes for the nine and a half tribes, one of them being selected from the western section of Manasseh, and all subordinate to the great military and ecclesiastical chiefs, Joshua and Eleazar. The names are mentioned in the exact order in which the tribes obtained possession of the land, and according to brotherly connection. No text from Poole on this verse. And ye shall take one prince out of every tribe,.... That is, out of the nine tribes and the half, which are ten in all; of the tribes of Reuben and Gad none were taken, because they had had their inheritance granted them elsewhere; nor of the tribe of Levi, because they were to have no inheritance in the land: to divide the land by inheritance; who being men of honour, understanding, and probity, and naturally concerned for the good of the tribes to which they belonged, would take care that justice be done to each, and that no fraudulent methods were used in drawing the lot; and then take possession according to the lot, and impartially divide the portion assigned among the respective families in the tribes, according to their rank and numbers. And ye shall take one {f} prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.

(f) One of the heads or chief men of every tribe.

Verse 18. - One prince of every tribe. This was arranged no doubt in order to insure fairness in fixing the boundaries between the tribes, which had to be done after the situation of the tribe was determined by lot; the further subdivision of the tribal territory was probably left to be managed by the chiefs of the tribe itself. Of these tribe princes (see on Numbers 13:1; Joshua 14:1), Caleb is the only one whose name is known to us, and he had acted in a somewhat similar capacity forty years before. This may of itself account for the tribe of Judah being named first in the list, especially as Reuben was not represented; but the order in which the other names follow is certainly remarkable. Taken in pairs (Judah and Simeon, Manasseh and Ephraim, &c.), they advance regularly from south to north, according to their subsequent position on the map. Differing as this arrangement does so markedly from any previously adopted, it is impossible to suppose that it is accidental. We must conclude either that a coincidence so apparently trivial was Divinely prearranged, or that the arrangement of the names is due to a later hand than that of Moses. The Eastern Boundary. - If we endeavour to trace the upper line of the eastern boundary from the fountain-place just mentioned, it ran from Hazar-enan to Shepham, the site of which is unknown, and "from Shepham it was to go down to Riblah, on the east of Ain" (the fountain). The article הרבלה, and still more the precise description, "to the east of Ain, the fountain, or fountain locality" (Knobel), show plainly that this Riblah is to be distinguished from the Riblah in the land of Hamath (2 Kings 23:33; 2 Kings 25:21; Jeremiah 39:9; Jeremiah 52:27), with which it is mostly identified. Ain is supposed to be "the great fountain of Neba Anjar, at the foot of Antilibanus, which is often called Birket Anjar, on account of its taking its rise in a small reservoir or pool" (Robinson, Bibl. Res. p. 498), and near to which Mej-del-Anjar is to be seen, consisting of "the ruins of the walls and towers of a fortified town, or rather of a large citadel" (Robinson, p. 496; cf. Ritter, xvii. pp. 181ff.).

(Note: Knobel regards Ain as the source of the Orontes, i.e., Neba Lebweh, and yet, notwithstanding this, identifies Riblah with the village of Ribleh mentioned above. But can this Ribleh, which is at least eight hours to the north of Neba Lebweh, be described as on the east of Ain, i.e., Neba Lebweh?)

From this point the boundary went farther down, and pressed (מחה) "upon the shoulder of the lake of Chinnereth towards the east," i.e., upon the north-east shore of the Sea of Galilee (see Joshua 19:35). Hence it ran down along the Jordan to the Salt Sea (Dead Sea). According to these statements, therefore, the eastern boundary went from Bekaa along the western slopes of Antilibanus, over or past Rasbeya and Banyas, at the foot of Hermon, along the edge of the mountains which bound the Huleh basin towards the east, down to the north-east corner of the Sea of Galilee; so that Hermon itself (Jebel es Sheikh) did not belong to the land of Israel.

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