The division of the land is again prosecuted in this Chapter. Judah's lot is marked out, Caleb's part in Judah's portion is also again mentioned. The marriage of his daughter and her portion; and the cities named which were assigned to Judah.
I cannot pursue the subject of the dividing Canaan, without calling upon the Reader to remark with me, how exactly the division took place according to the prophecy of Jacob and the appointment as before settled by Moses. Genesis 49:1.
The particularity of Judah's lot in the statement of his boundaries, renders it unnecessary to explain it by a comment. If the Reader be fond of tracing the geographical situation of Judah's province, here is ample space left him for that purpose. I only desire him while doing this, not to overlook the several spiritual things to the contemplation of which it leads. As our Lord after the flesh sprang out of Judah, we find here that Judah's lot hath the precedency. And when we behold the great extent of territory Judah had assigned him, it may serve to remind us of the Lord of Judah, whose dominion was to be from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. Psalms 72:8. The Reader will do well to look at the Patriarch Jacob's blessing concerning Judah's lot, while reading the accomplishment of it in this place. And if he leads the Father's prophecy with the spiritual illustration of it in the Lord Jesus, he will find this scripture not to be without its sweetness. Let the Reader recollect that our Lord sprang out of Judah; was born after the flesh in those regions, and then let him consider concerning the sceptre and the lawgiver, the Shiloh and the gathering of the people to him, the redness of his eyes with wine, and his teeth white with milk, and compare with it what the church saith of him whose love is better than wine, and whose eyes are as the eyes of doves washed with milk, and he will not need any comment from me if the Holy Ghost be his teacher, to discover the sweet application of the Father's prophecy fulfilled in the person of our Lord Jesus. See Solomon ' s Song of Solomon 1:2; Son_5:12.
It should seem as if the Holy Ghost was graciously pleased to hold forth Caleb to the church in the honourable testimony he had before given of him. And here again the same subject is introduced. Them that honour me, saith the Lord, I will honour. 1 Samuel 2:30.
Whether this Debir is the same with that mentioned, Joshua 10:38. I know not. But if it be, perhaps while Joshua was prosecuting the war in other parts, some of the Canaanites had again entered it and fortified it. The ancient name Kirjath sepher, implied the city of learning: or of a book. Probably a school might have been here. As the Egyptians were learned in arts and sciences, so might have been the ancient kingdoms of Canaan. Acts 7:22.
Every Reader must be struck with the singularity of Caleb's gift to his daughter. And few enlightened Readers, but have been led to conceive that the Holy Ghost hath veiled spiritual blessings under the figure. Perhaps the nether springs imply the sanctified use of earthly comforts. See Hosea 2:18. And do not the upper springs convey to us Jehovah's covenant love in the fulness of the Father's mercy: Jesus in his person, offices, relations and characters, and the Holy Ghost in all his precious gifts and influences?
The recital of the names of the cities of Judah ' s lot take up all these verses. I think it unnecessary to make any observation upon them, excepting in this general way. The Reader of discernment will observe, that while the sacred historian mentions a certain number, the enumeration one by one as we read then doth not correspond. But this apparent difference will be easily accounted for if we only suppose, what is very probable; that some of them are not cities but hamlets or villages: and we cannot in this remote age form an opinion to which the title of city or village belonged. I think it more important to call the Reader ' s attention to a circumstance, which may not perhaps so immediately strike him, and yet the moment I mention it he will see its interesting nature. I mean that, as in the province of Judah ' s dominions our Lord in after ages was born, Bethlehem was the highly honoured spot of Jesus' birth, but yet is not in this list enumerated. Was it because Bethlehem at that time was not a city, or was it because it should be like the Redeemer himself, obscure and unnoticed? Dearest Lord! how dost thou by thy glorious example, put to the blush all that we think great and excellent? The prophet in after ages sung of Bethlehem on Jesus's account, and then pointed to what alone made it excellent. Micah 5:2.
The dwelling of the Jebusites in the first of all Israel ' s dominions even in Jerusalem itself, which was not only the royal city, but the holy city, where the Lord pitched his tent and temple of Zion, might be intended perhaps to teach a spiritual lesson, that everything here below is imperfect. Jebusites dwell even to this day in Jerusalem. Much corruption remains in that heart where grace dwells: And while our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us, the best of God's people find cause to cry out with the apostle, of carrying about with them a body of sin and death. But Reader! what a relief is it to the soul groaning under a sense of this, that by and by the God of peace will bruise Satan under our feet, and the Canaanite shall be no more in the house of the Lord of Hosts. Zechariah 14:20-21; Romans 16:20.
In reading this Chapter, my soul feels disposed to cry out with the Patriarch Judah, Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise! But oh! how doth Judah, how do all the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles sing to nothing, when compared to thee, thou Lord of Judah, thou dear Redeemer, the Saviour of all men, but especially of them who believe!
Let the spirit of Caleb be upon me if it please my God. If he who took Kirjath-Sepher be thus esteemed, what shalt be the lot of him who by violence taketh the kingdom of Heaven, and hath his name written in the Book of Life! Oh! dearest Jesus, may my name be written in thy book, and may it be known in that day of victory, that I am chosen in, and saved by, the Lord Jesus!
Lord, I would say, give me as Achsah, a blessing, and who but Jesus do I require? Men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed. In him are contained all the upper springs and the nether springs of every joy. Lord Jesus! let all my fresh springs be in thee!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany