In this chapter the Holy Ghost is pleased to have brought into one view, the catalogue of the conquests both of Moses and Joshua. Those of Moses on the East of Jordan, and those of Joshua on the West. The extent of the boundaries of the kingdoms which were conquered are marked, and the number of the kings, with their territories, are mentioned, in number one and thirty.
I comprise these verses into one view, because they relate to the victories of Moses, before the people passed Jordan. For what special purpose the Holy Ghost thought proper to influence the mind of the sacred historian, to bring in, again in this place, the relation of Moses ' s victories, I presume not to say. But one sweet instruction we may learn from it, namely, in the renewal of any tokens of divine favor, to call to mind past blessings. And when the Holy Ghost is graciously pleased to act in his merciful office, as the Remembrancer, how very delightful is it to the believing soul, to look back and trace all the way, the Lord our God hath led us through the wilderness; to know the righteousness of the Father, and to be refreshed in the recollection of all the love-tokens of Jesus: see Micah 6:4; Mic_6:6; John 14:26. Oh! thou blessed Spirit, thou glorifier of Jesus, and who alone canst shed abroad the love of the Father in our hearts! do thou continually condescend, to bring to the remembrance of my faithless and ungrateful heart, the recollection of past blessings, while giving me a proper apprehension and enjoyment of present ones! And when at anytime, my God is preparing for use renewed tokens of his favor, as well in his trying, as smiling dispensations, give me the spirit of thy servant Asaph, to remember the years of the right hand of the most high. Psalms 77:10-12. I must not forget to remind the Reader, that in the division of those countries, Moses had assigned to the two tribes and half of Israel at their request, as we have the account in Nu 32; as well as the historical account of their extent and situation: De 2; 3; 4. But when the Reader hath fully satisfied himself on those points, I would desire to call him to an higher improvement of the subject. Though these countries, particularly Edrei and Ashtaroth, were fruitful spots of the earth, and abounded with everything the eye or heart of natural desires could wish; yet Moses himself considered the whole as nothing, compared to what Joshua was to attain. Reader! turn to Moses ' s prayer on this subject, and hear how vehemently he prayed, that God would grant his servant to see that good land beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain of Lebanon! see Deuteronomy 3:24-25. Reader! spiritualize the subject. What is Edrei with all its beauties to Canaan: or this world with all its splendour to heaven? Who would set up their rest like the Reubenites, because of a fertile soil on this side the land of promise; or wish to dwell here when the rest of Jesus is before them. Dearest Redeemer! thou Joshua of thy people! do thou incline my soul, to long for the passage of Jordan, and may I here learn, that Moses and the law can confer only temporal blessings, but thine are eternal. The law can make nothing perfect, but the bringing in of this better hope doth, by which we draw nigh unto God. Hebrews 7:19.
I bring all these verses together into one view, from the same reason as I did the former, because they all relate to one and the same subject, the splendid victories of Joshua. And I only detain the Reader with a short remark upon the whole: namely, how faithful God was to his promise; and this the church sung in after ages, when recounting the wonders of his love, in slaying mighty kings, and giving their lands for an heritage to his people. Psalms 135:10-12. But what are all the splendid victories of Joshua, to the victories of our Lord Jesus Christ! What the enjoyment even of Canaan, to the everlasting mansions the Son of God hath prepared for his people: Oh! for grace to behold, and see, and know, in all things thy preeminence. Colossians 1:13.
HERE stand, my soul, again, and see the salvation of God; here seek for grace, to put thy feet upon the necks of all those kings, for in them behold thy Jesus conquering not only thirty-and-one of thine enemies, but the earnest of all thine enemies being put under thy feet. And, my soul in this view, beg of God the Holy Ghost to engage thee anew, with increasing vigor, under Jesus's banner, and to arm thee with the whole armour of God: that beholding what thy Joshua hath done for thee, his Holy Spirit may work in thee, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure. Remember, O my soul, that it is a badge of thy holy calling, to endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ: to be separated from the men of Canaan, and distinguished from their customs: to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth: and to count not thy life dear unto thyself, so that thou mayest finish thy course with joy, fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold of eternal life. Blessed Jesus! do thou, for thou alone canst accomplish it, arm me with thy strength, so shall I be more than conqueror through thee, who art the Lord my righteousness.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 12". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany