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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 15

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-63

Joshua 15:1 . This then was the lot of Judah. After the arduous toils of war, Joshua entered on an administration of affairs little less difficult than the conquest itself. The country was now rather hastily divided into ten lots, keeping in view the covenant made with those who had already received inheritance on the left bank of the Jordan, and reserving the right to vary the proportion of land to the population of the tribe. The elders proceeded to the important duties of the day in the following manner. The name or number of each district was put into one urn, and the name of each tribe was put into another. The lot was thus cast into the lap, but the disposal thereof was of the Lord. The decision being thus conformable to the people’s choice, Judah was drawn the first, for God designed him to have the preëminence, and the elders gave him towns in proportion to this number. The lot of Joseph was next drawn; but the play of human passions on a subject so interesting as a permanent lot for the whole tribe became so strong, and the difficulties and objections were so great, that Joshua and the elders could not proceed to draw the lots of the remaining tribes, till a more accurate survey had been made of the country, and of the towns. Ah, how restless are the passions of men, and how unwilling is the human heart to trust the Lord with its lot in life! Those who would wish fully to study this subject may compare the following passages with each other. Joshua 13:0: 1 Chronicles 5:24. Joshua 16:17. 1Ch 7:14 ; 1 Chronicles 7:30. Joshua 18:11; Jos 18:28 . 1 Chronicles 7:6; 1 Chronicles 7:13. Joshua 19:17; Joshua 19:23. 1 Chronicles 7:1; 1 Chronicles 7:6. Joshua 19:24; Jos 19:31 . 1 Chronicles 7:30; 1 Chronicles 7:40. Joshua 19:32; Joshua 19:39. 1 Chronicles 7:13. 1 Chronicles 6:0; 1 Chronicles 6:0.

Joshua 15:8 . The son of Hinnom. Some write this name “Gehennom,” and “Gehennam,” from the compound גיא gi, a valley; and Hinnon, a name. See on Isaiah 30:33. Matthew 5:22. He is supposed in former times to have been owner of the valley. It was an inviting shady retreat near Jerusalem, where the Israelites set up their idol Moloch, and burnt their children in his arms. 2 Kings 23:10. Jeremiah 7:32. But being polluted with idolatry, it ultimately became a place for the filth and bones of Jerusalem.

Joshua 15:15 . Kirjath-sepher, or book-city; a seat of letters, and so called because of the academy established there, and because the books or records were there preserved.

Joshua 15:16 . Achsah my daughter to wife. In these boons of martial heroism, it seems to be allowed that the lady was consulted by her father: yet we have no proof that Saul consulted his daughter in the case of David and Goliath. Othniel, of course, married his first cousin: Joshua 15:17. Judges 1:13.

Joshua 15:19 . Give me a blessing; an inheritance, or possession. Caleb, it appears, from the compliance with his daughter’s request, had a very large lot of country. The term field, is here to be understood of a considerable space of land.


A variety of remarks cannot but strike the mind in this chapter. We see that the God who inspired Jacob and Moses to bless the tribes in all the ecstasy of the prophetic spirit, here disposed of the twelve lots according to his word. This would greatly confirm the faith of the Israelites, and tend to make them happy and contented with their lot. Just so, after the exercise of prudence and industry, if we rely on the care of heaven, our lot, whether it be a cottage or a villa, whether it be that of a servant or master, shall in like manner be happy, and the best that could have happened. And we should be the more reconciled to a humble lot in life, if we consider that the several stations we are now called to fill, are so many preparatory steps to the rest of everlasting joy which waits the good man when the conflicts of life shall be past.

The lot falling out in harmony with prophecy, would not only induce the Israelites to be content with it, but also to preserve the inheritance of their father’s as God’s sacred gift. Hence Naboth chose rather to incur the king’s displeasure, than to change his father’s inheritance for a better. Let us never sacrifice our hopes and our portion in the Lord for the hopes of this world.

The lots so divinely fixed induced the tribes to keep apart; and by so doing, the genealogy to Jesus Christ was kept the more distinct, and the prophecies of his person and kingdom became the more strikingly accomplished. In the faith of Caleb, in the marriage of his daughter, in the courage of Othniel, afterwards judge of Israel, we see fine examples of wisdom and virtue: and we see how the blessings of providence are entailed on the righteous, in their faithful seed unto thousands of generations. Viewing this history of divine goodness, who would not trust under JEHOVAH’S wings, and seek his portion in Israel’s God.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 15". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/joshua-15.html. 1835.
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