This Chapter begins with the account of the division of Canaan, to the several tribes of Israel. After the subjugation and conquest of the promised land, the Lord's promise is to be fulfilled in the enjoyment of it. A remarkable event is recorded in this chapter well worth the record, in order to manifest the. fulfillment of divine judgments, as well as mercies; and that is, the death of Balaam the sorcerer, whose awful history hath this termination.
Reader! are you old in the account of nature? Are you aged in the account of grace? Methinks I would wish to ask my heart these questions, while reading the account of Joshua. But Reader! whether old or young, do not fail to remark the kindness of Joshua ' s God to him. Joshua though old, perhaps required to be put in mind that he and Caleb were the only souls now surviving, which were numbered at Mount Sinai. Was it not gracious in God to remind him of it? And is it not profitable to all, when God enables us so to number our days, as to apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalms 90:12.
We may derive a very profitable lesson, from what is here said, of the land that still remained to be conquered! In grace, after many victories much of conflict will still continue, and never, until we are undressed for death, can we be said to be unbuckled from our armour in life. Acts 20:22-23.
A very extensive compass of country is here marked. The Philistines land lay South: the Sidonians, towards the West Lebanon lay East: and Hamath towards the North. Let the Reader observe, that with these nations yet remaining, Israel was to make no league. There can be no affinity between the carnal and the gracious. What communion can Christ have with Belial? 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.
It is remarkable that this land of Canaan is called an inheritance, because ages before it was given to Abraham. Genesis 12:7. But yet Israel obtained it by conquest. Doth not this resemble the everlasting inheritance? Jesus and his blessings are the gift of God; but yet Jesus hath purchased, and sought for our salvation with his blood. Reader! it is perfectly plain and intelligible, how our mercies are our Father's free gift, and yet obtained for us by the work of the Lord Jesus. So thought the Apostle, and so hath he explained it, when he saith, in whom (that is in Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins: but all that is according to the riches of his grace; that is the Father's grace, to the praise of the glory of whose grace it is, that he hath made us accepted in the beloved. For the admitting Jesus as our surety, makes it a matter of grace and a free gift, while the accomplishment of redemption, is by the conquests of the Lord Jesus in his victories, like Joshua, over all the obstructions to Canaan. Ephesians 1:6-7.
The portion of the Reubenites, the descendants of Israel's first-born, is here again mentioned. Moses had divided this before his death to this tribe. Deuteronomy 3:12-17. And here Joshua confirms that grant, at the command of God. I would only detain the Reader to remark to him, that within the portion of this tribe, was situated the Mount of Pisgah, from whence Moses was permitted to see the promised land. And according to the history of the event, it could not be far remote, where the prophet Elijah was, when the Lord took him to himself in a chariot of fire. 2 Kings 2:11.
Particular exception is made of the tribe of Levi, and the reason: and which is yet further explained in Joshua 13:33. Dearest Jesus! be thou my portion, and having thee I shall possess all things! 1 Corinthians 3:22-23.
No doubt the Holy Ghost, in being so particular in the enumeration of places and their boundaries, had some gracious design in view. And, Reader, you and I may learn this from it, that we never can be too minute and particular, in eyeing every token of our God's love; for every one brings with it a special sweetness, and affords an inexpressible relish to the soul, when we receive it and use it as his own. When I can say, this my God, my Jesus gave me: Oh! how sweet the gift, when more sweet is the giver! See Paul's joy upon this view of things: Galatians 2:20.
I detain the Reader at this verse, just for him to remark with me, the sure end of such men. I refer back to the history of Balaam in the Commentary, see Numbers 22:23-24, for a more particular relation of this very awful character: as also for the same record of his death: Numbers 31:8.
The sacred historian is particular to enumerate these things concerning the portion of the two tribes and half; because it is a confirmation of what Moses had before done. Joshua only confirms the appointment. Some of those places were in after ages made more memorable. Jazer was near the borders of the half tribe of Manasseh.
BEHOLD, my soul, in the advanced years of Joshua, how all things, and all persons in nature, tend to decay. Well may we exclaim with Zechariah, our fathers where are they, and the prophets do they live forever? But oh! how precious in the contemplation, thy Jesus, thy Joshua, ever liveth, and is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Blessed Jesus! thou art the life-giving, the life-preserving, the life-rejoicing source of thy people! And because thou livest thou hast said they shall live also, and when heart shall faint and strength shall fail, thou wilt be the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Let me as Levi, have no portion with the Reubenites on this side Jordan. But may Jesus be my portion, God my Father, and the Holy Ghost my comforter and sanctifier. Give me, heavenly Lord, all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: pardon, mercy, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost here, and life forever in the world to come. Cause me in this sense to inherit all things, be thou my God, and make me thy adopted child in the Lord Jesus.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany