The same subject is continued here, as in the former Chapter, in the division of the land. Caleb desires to have Hebron, as had been assured him. Joshua consents to his request.
I would have the Reader observe, that the division which this Chapter opens with, is the division of the land of Canaan itself. The tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, had their portion on the other side of Jordan.
Observe it was by lot, not by chance or caprice, but by lot, that is by God's appointment. Reader! it is ever a delightful thought that God fixes the bounds of his people's habitation. Deuteronomy 32:8.
The two branches of Joseph's house, Manasseh and Ephraim, forming each a tribe, would have made Israel's family to have been thirteen to have divided Canaan, had not Levi been separated to the Lord; and Reuben and Gad, with half the tribe of Manasseh settling on the other side of Jordan.
This is a very interesting narrative respecting Caleb. The Holy Ghost hath much endeared this man to the church, in the account given of him when he went up to spy out the promised land. And the modesty with which he puts in his claim to Joshua, who upon that occasion was only equal with himself, evidently gives us to see that he was a possessor of grace and of the spirit of humility. I beg the Reader to observe with me, that in this appeal to Joshua, he founds his pretensions on the divine promise, and brings with him of the tribe of Judah to justify his appeal. It is very sweet when we can plead God's promises for the accomplishment of God's glory. And it is very sweet also when we come before our God and Saviour, to bring with us his people. Our Lord sprang out of Judah. Hebrews 7:14. There is somewhat particularly interesting in this view of Caleb. He was now the very oldest person except Joshua, (and it is not very certain but he was the elder of the two), in all the host of Israel. To see him therefore, as an old and faithful servant of the Lord, coming with a petition, must have been a very interesting sight; and especially when he was enabled to plead his long and best, however humble, services. If it be a youthful Reader before whom these lines in my Commentary appear, I would have him pause and consider the loveliness of youthful zeal for God, and how sure it is, as in the instance of Caleb, to produce humble confidence in Jesus in old age. See Numbers 14:24.
If the Reader will compare, Numbers 13:30-33, with this passage, he will form a better opinion how to consider the excellent spirit of faith which Caleb possessed, than if he doth not recollect that passage. And though now forty-five years had added to his life since that period, that is thirty-eight years in the wilderness, and seven years spent amidst the wars of Canaan, yet his courage is not abated. But Reader! do not forget the cause. He was strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. He knew the faithfulness of that God who had promised, and like another Abraham believed that which the Lord had said he would perform. Romans 4:21.
How lovely doth Joshua appear in this place. There was no rival-ship, no jealousy between those faithful servants of the Lord. Such should be, and such would be, the harmony amidst kindred souls, were grace to reign in the heart. See Moses ' conduct upon a similar occasion: Numbers 11:29. But while admiring the grace in Joshua which the Lord had given him, let us look at him in yet a more interesting point of view, and see him as the type of Jesus blessing his people. Joshua blessed Caleb, and no doubt the less is blessed of the better. Dearest Jesus! do thou bless me, and then my God and Father's promise of bringing his people to his holy mountain, will be a sanctified mercy indeed. Ephesians 1:3.
Hebron was a remarkable spot upon many occasions. If was near this place Sarah was buried. The honored spot also of the residence of the first Patriarchs. See Genesis 23:2. Hebron was after Caleb's possession of it made the city of refuge, and a place of residence for the priests. Joshua 20:7; Jos_21:1-3. In after times it became a royal city for David. 2 Samuel 5:3-5.
IN beholding the Lord's division of Canaan to his people, my soul would fain cry out, thou Lord shalt choose my heritage for me, and thou shalt be my hiding place forever. Instructed by thee, thou blessed Spirit, like Caleb, may the mountain of the spiritual Hebron be my portion, and there may I rest in Jesus in whom all fulness dwells. It is the well known character of the inhabitants of the gardens, to hearken to thy voice, to associate with thy people, to sit down at thine ordinances, and to dwell in thine house. Lord Jesus! let this be my employment while passing on and passing through this pilgrimage state. Thy God and Father will be my God and Father, and thy Holy Spirit will be my guide; then shall I sweetly drink out of the wells of salvation: then shall I be continually refreshed in the Hebron of my God, until having passed on from strength to strength, and from one manifestation of grace unto another, I shall at length with all the redeemed of the Lord appear before my God in Zion.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 14". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany