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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 18

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

Verses 1-28

Joshua 18:1 . Israel assembled together at Shiloh. This city stood on a hill, fifteen miles from Jerusalem and ten from Shechem; and not far north of Beth-el and Ai. Here the ark rested in the centre of Israel.

Joshua 18:2 . Seven tribes had as yet no inheritance, because the whole land was not surveyed as to its extent, its districts, and cosmography. The tribes had evidently strong feelings, and it was happy for them that Joshua’s life was spared to consummate his work.

Joshua 18:4 . Give three men for each tribe, to survey the undivided land; for the people having settled in towns, they were very reluctant to remove.

Joshua 18:17 . Went forth to En-shemesh; that is, the fountain of the sun. We find also the name of Bethshemesh, the house or temple of the sun. These names of places prove that Sabianism was once the religion of the oriental world; their towns and favourite places were all dedicated to the hosts of heaven. See on Job 1:15. Jeremiah 7:18.

Joshua 18:26 . Mizpeh, the central city, at which the elders of Israel were often convened on special occasions.

Joshua 18:28 . Jebusi, which is Jerusalem. This is the city of the ancient Melchizedek. It is here included in the lot of Benjamin; but as they could not take it, the Jebusites possessed it till David’s time; so Judah gained it by conquest. Tacitus calls it a celebrated city, strong by nature. Pliny accounts it the most famous city of the east; and Jeremiah designates it as the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth. Psalms 48:2. Jeremiah 39:3. Lamentations 2:1.


During the confusion and dissatisfaction which prevailed about the proportion of towns allotted to each tribe, care was taken of religion. The Lord with whom was the sole right to choose the place of his residence, removed the ark of his strength to Shiloh, where his glory abode three hundred and forty nine years, till the wickedness of Eli’s sons caused the place to be abhorred. This situation was happy and central; it was contiguous to Joshua’s lot, and it enabled the officers of state and the ministers of religion to act the more in union for the people’s good. Tokens and marks of God’s special presence are not confined to any particular place or people; for he peculiarly delights to dwell in the humblest heart, and where he is worshipped in spirit and in truth.

The people, dwelling irregularly in the camp and in cities, seemed to have sunk into a state of supineness, and were not solicitous about removing to their lot in the promised inheritance. But Joshua urged them to make an accurate survey of the country, that after the lot was drawn he might give them an exact proportion of soil and of cities. How wise and impartial was this mode of proceeding: how happy are the people at all times who have virtuous rulers to bear with their weaknesses, and care for their wants. Such a governor is God’s best gift to a nation. He is the father of every family, and the friend of every individual.

The lot of Benjamin could not but be very gratifying. It fell out in the centre of his brethren, and near to Bethel, within a mile of which Rachel was buried; it lay in part along the fertile shore of Jordan; it was near the house of God, and defended on every side by powerful tribes. So the words of Moses were accomplished in this lot. “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; the Lord shall cover him all the day long; and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” On a review of all those advantages, Benjamin could surely say, the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places, I have a goodly heritage.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 18". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/joshua-18.html. 1835.
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