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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 34

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-15

The Boundaries of Canaan

v. 1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 2. Command the children of Israel and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan, (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts [boundaries] thereof, that is, the land of your inheritance, the Land of Promise, shall have the following boundaries,)

v. 3. then your south quarter, the general southern boundary, shall be from the Wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, in the southeastern corner, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the Salt Sea eastward, the extreme southeastern corner of the Dead Sea;

v. 4. and your border shall turn from the south, that is, bend southwards in Israel's favor, to the ascent of Akrabbim, the mountains on the northeastern boundary of Edom, and pass on to Zin, along the border of the desert; and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadesh-barnea, to include this station, and shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass on to Azmon, farther toward the east;

v. 5. and the border shall fetch a compass (turn toward) from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea, for the brook of Egypt would form the boundary on the southwest, 1 Kings 8:65; 2 Kings 24:7.

v. 6. And as for the western border, ye shall even have the Great Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, for a border; this shall be your west border.

v. 7. And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you Mount Hor; this mountain, probably in the Anti-Lebanon range, was to determine the extent of the country toward the north.

v. 8. From Mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath, on the boundary of the kingdom of that name, in the valley of the Orontes, 2 Kings 14:25; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad, toward the northeast;

v. 9. and the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar-enan, a village noted for its abundant springs, between Palmyra and Damascus; this shall be your north border.

v. 10. And ye shall point out your east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham;

v. 11. and the coast shall go down from Shepham to Biblah, on the east side of Ain, in the borders of the land of Hamath, 2 Kings 23:33; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side, literally, "the shoulder," of the Sea of Chinnereth, later called the Sea of Galilee, eastward, thus striking this body of water on the northeastern shore;

v. 12. and the border, skirting the lake on the eastern side, shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be At the Salt Sea, the Dead Sea, both the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan thus being included within the boundary of Canaan proper. This shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about. "This land of Canaan was still now to be distributed by lot, as the land of the inheritance in the narrower and stricter sense. Still, the inheritance of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, the east Jordan region, was included. For here it treats specially of that part of the inheritance which was yet to be conquered and distributed. " (Lange. )

v. 13. And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot, which the Lord commanded to give unto the nine tribes and to the half tribe;

v. 14. for the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers have received their inheritance, to be definitely assigned to them after they had fulfilled the condition which they had accepted, Numbers 32:28-33, and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance.

v. 15. The two tribes and the half tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan, near Jericho eastward, toward the sun-rising, this expression being used to denote the entire kingdom of the Amorites, as well as Bashan and Gilead. Every new message of the Lord made the possession of the land of Canaan surer in the minds of the people, and was intended to inspire them with greater eagerness to possess their inheritance.

Verses 16-29

The Princes in Charge of the Division

v. 16. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 17. These are the names of the men which shall divide the land unto you, the men in charge of the lot-casting which should determine the location of each individual tribe: Eleazar, the priest, and Joshua, the son of Nun.

v. 18. And ye shall take one prince of every tribe to divide the land by inheritance.

v. 19. And the names of the men are these: of the tribe of Judah, Caleb, the son of Jephunneh.

v. 20. And of the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel, the son of Ammihud.

v. 21. of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad, the son of Chislon.

v. 22. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki, the son of Jogli.

v. 23. The prince of the children of Joseph, for the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel, the son of Ephod.

v. 24. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel, the son of Shiphtan.

v. 25. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan, the son of Parnach.

v. 26. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel, the son of Azzan.

v. 27. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud, the son of Shelomi.

v. 28. And the prince of the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel, the son of Ammihud.

v. 29. These are they whom the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance unto the children of Israel in the land of Canaan. of these princes only Caleb is mentioned elsewhere. The list of tribes in the order named corresponds, with some exceptions, to the situation of the territory which the tribes received in Canaan, reckoning from the south to the north. It should be remembered also here that the position of the several inheritances was determined by lot; but their dimensions were proportioned to the numerical size of the tribes to which they fell, the largest tribe getting the most territory. The care of the covenant God for the people whom He had chosen appears throughout.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Numbers 34". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/numbers-34.html. 1921-23.
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