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This is but a continuation of the former chapter, inasmuch as the same subject is continued. The children of Joseph, in the half tribe of Manasseh, have their portion assigned them. They petition for more. Joshua gives them an answer.
Nothing can be more clear and evident than that it is the Lord who fixeth the bounds of our habitation; and although in the first view of things, men seem to be guided by their own choice and humour; yet, whoever looks deeper into the matter, and especially, if he be enabled to wait the issue, all will be found to have originated in divine appointment. A sweet thought this at all times to God's people, in the recollection of that covenant which is ordered in all things and sure: and, when the language of the heart to a God in Christ is, Lord! thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Samuel 23:5 ; Psalms 90:1 .
The daughters of Zelophehad opened an interesting subject upon this occasion before; and here they follow up the same business in a very suitable manner. See Numbers 36:0 .
No less than ten portions in the one half tribe of Manasseh; and Manasseh himself but only an half tribe in Joseph; for Ephraim his brother had an equal claim with himself. It may serve to show us the greatness of Israel as a people? and yet more, the glory of the God of Israel, in the fulfillment of his covenant promises. See Genesis 15:5 .
I stay not to point out any further than the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to do, the extent of those provinces. The Reader will have a better idea of their connection with gospel times, when he is told that the famous town of Cesarea was among them; also Antipatris whither the apostle Paul was conducted as a prisoner for Jesus. Acts 23:31 .
Reader! do not overlook the general feature of Israel in this particular. They suffered the Canaanites to remain among them. Alas! even now, in the blessed times of reformation, and the renewal of the Holy Ghost in the Lord Jesus, how do the Lord's people groan under the body of sin and death they carry about with them. Romans 7:18 , etc.
The narrowness of Joseph's boundaries may serve to teach us that even in Canaan causes arise to displease. Alas! there is nothing perfect here below! In the Canaan above Jesus hath ample space, and many mansions, suited to the most capacious desires of his people. Reader! doth not our gracious God sometimes send his people blasting, disappointing providences, on purpose to make heaven more desirable? Doth not Jesus take away those soft pillows we make for ourselves in the bosom of the creature to lean upon, with a gracious design to make us long to return to him and his rest, where alone we can find, rest to our souls? Psalms 116:7 .
MY soul! in the view of the several boundaries of the tribes of Israel arise and behold those everlasting possessions, which thy Jesus hath purchased for thee by his blood. And oh! pray for the sweet offices of the Holy Ghost to be realized to thy experience, that they are thine in an everlasting covenant, which cannot be broken. And while the daughters of Joseph ' s tribe sue for their earthly inheritance, do thou plead for Jesus himself to be thine, and then he will bring with him all temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings. Dearest Lord! while Joseph's sons murmur because they have but one portion, oh teach me to seek no more! Be thou my portion, Lord, and never, never will I desire any other. In thee I have enough, and all the chariots of the enemy will not dismay, for in thee I shall discomfit an host of men, and by the help of my God leap over a wall.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 17". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany