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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Joshua 14

Verses 1-5

Joshua - Chapter 14

Land Distribution Explained, vs. 1-5

Verse 1 shows that the inspired writer is about to record the manner in which the land on the west side of Jordan was divided among the tribes of Israel. Eleazar, the high priest, and Joshua, the Lord’s chosen head over the people, were in charge of the choice and distribution of the tribal apportionment. They were assisted by the elders of the tribes.

The portion each tribe was to receive was determined by lot. The manner in which the lot operated is not related. Since the tribes varied greatly in number, so that much needed to be allotted the one and less the other, those who made the apportionment had to rely on the Lord that the lot would fall fairly and to the tribe He wished to receive it, (Proverbs 16:33).

Several things are repeated in the verses, of which the reader should already have learned. Nine and a half tribes were to receive their allotment on the west side; Moses had given two and a half tribes possession east of Jordan; Manasseh and Ephraim were to be given two portions as the birthright of their father, Joseph (Genesis 48:5; Genesis 48:22).

For the third time since the author of Joshua began the account of the tribal division it is said that the Lord is the inheritance of the Levites.

Why repeat this so much? The Levites had a duty under God to faithfully represent Him before the rest of the Israelites, and they should make this their chief aim in life. They were given cities in which to dwell, around which they were to have suburbs, or pasture, garden land, etc.

Verses 6-15

Caleb’s Request Granted, vs. 6-15

Here is one of the outstanding passages in the Bible, the portrait of the faithful and stalwart Caleb. Caleb belonged to the tribe of Judah, and the tribe is represented as coming for its inheritance, then puts forward the special request of Caleb.

Caleb was one of the spies sent by Moses to spy out Canaan soon after the removal from Mount Sinai, after Moses had received the law. This account is found in Nu chapters 13 and 14.

He and Joshua were the only two of the twelve spies who had favored entering the land at once, depending on the Lord to give it to them (Numbers 14:6-10). Because of Israel’s rebellion and refusal to enter they were made to wander in the wilderness for forty years, until all the older generation, except Caleb and Joshua had died (Numbers 14:26-38). The promise that Caleb should possess the land where his feet had trod is found in Numbers 14:24.

Forty-five years had passed since that time, and Caleb was now eighty-five years of age. This shows that about five years had elapsed since the conquest of Canaan had begun. Caleb attributed his long life and his continued robust health to the Lord. God had preserved his strength unabated for those many years, seemingly that he might claim and possess the land as Moses had promised.

Specifically Caleb wanted the mountains where those dreaded Anakim, in whose sight the ten rebel spies had felt like grasshoppers (Numbers 13:33), for his inheritance. He had no doubt he could drive them out of their well-fortified cities with the aid of the Lord. And had not the Lord promised to drive them out? The steadfast faith of this man was exemplary for all the Israelites. Thus Joshua granted the request and allotted Hebron and the entire area of the Anakim to Caleb. Joshua pronounced God’s blessing on Caleb, because "he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel, " ( Hosea 6:3). Hebron, the chief Anakim city, was previously called Kirjath-arba, meaning, "the city of Arba," who was the father of the giants.

Let us learn from Joshua ch. 14, 1) When the Lord calls men into His special service, He wants them devoted to that alone; 2) one can expect the blessings of faithfulness to come to him, as the Lord has promised; 3) God’s children can always be bold for every encounter in the Lord’s work.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Joshua 14". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/joshua-14.html. 1985.