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This Chapter opens with an account of the setting up the tabernacle in Shiloh. The remaining part of the land is divided. Benjamin's lot particularly marked out, with the cities belonging to it.
They who in attending to the division of the land, and have seen the several tribes moving off to their respective settlements, might well have enquired before this, Where is the ark of God to be placed? Where is the tabernacle to be erected? That is, in other words, where is Jesus in his type, which is the ark, to have a settlement? Reader! let me beg of you to read what the apostle hath said on this subject, Hebrews 9:1-5 , for here you will see how Jesus was shadowed out, in signs and figures. It may not be amiss, by way of information to the Reader, to observe that the ark continued in this tabernacle for the space of about 320 years, until it was taken by the Philistines. See 1 Samuel 4:17 .
There is no way of accounting for the sloth of the seven tribes. Surely they were interested to have their portion as well as their brethren. But it should seem to be a pause in the circumstances of Israel, while they inquired what remained to be done. In the Christian warfare, how often is this the case? And how do we send out our spies again and again, to view what the enemy is doing? But how beautifully are we again told in this place, that the Levites were not included in these grants: the priesthood of the Lord being their inheritance. Dearest Jesus! here again I behold thy loveliness. Thou art our inheritance, and our portion forever; for thou hast made us a nation of kings and of priests, to God and the Father. Revelation 1:6 .
What an awe must have been upon the minds of the Canaanites yet remaining around them, that none of them assaulted them, as they walked through the land. Such, Reader, is the case now very frequently in the Christian's walk. So true is that Scripture, When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7 . But passing over this, as the inferior consideration in those verses, what I would beg the Reader to remark with me is, Joshua in this instance, acting as the type of Jesus. Is it not Jesus who hath obtained our inheritance for us, by his conquest over our enemies? And is it not the same Jesus who ever lives to be the distributor of his own gifts? Sweet and precious thought to the believer! I shall not only have that very mansion which Jesus hath purchased for me, and which he is gone before to take possession of in my name, and which he knows to be the very one most suited for me; but what will render it doubly precious, he himself will put me in possession of it with his own dear hand. Nay, I shall sit down with him on his throne, for so the promise runs. Revelation 3:21 .
The lot of Benjamin forms an interesting part in the portion of Israel. He was the beloved child of the Patriarch Jacob ' s old age: and the tenderness of his father ' s heart towards him we have largely recounted in the book of Genesis 42:36-38 . It was certainly from the Lord's special appointment that the border of Benjamin was placed so near to the border of Joseph; for the Reader will recollect, that Joseph and Benjamin were of the same mother, Rachel. Genesis 35:24 .
I do not think it necessary to detain the Reader with many observations on these verses. The principal things to be noticed concerning Benjamin's lot, are the spots which were made memorable in them; and the more illustrious persons, which in the after ages of the church sprang out of Benjamin. Jericho, and Gilgal, and Mizpah, and Jebusi, (which is Jerusalem) and Gibeah of Benjamin, and more especially Bethel; these are names of places very familiar to the Reader of the Holy Bible, and well known from the remarkable circumstances connected with them. And when we recollect that Jeremiah, and the apostle Paul, were of this tribe, we cannot but feel interested concerning Benjamin. Jeremiah 1:1 ; Philippians 3:5 .
My soul! while beholding the Israelites busily engaged, as this Chapter represents them, setting up the tabernacle in Shiloh; do thou let thy meditation take wing, and behold that true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man. See, gaze, contemplate, look upon it, and view well the glorious building. And when the whole of its splendors have passed and repassed in delightful review before thee, look within the sacred temple, and behold Jesus, thine own Jesus, the Almighty minister of this sanctuary, even the Shiloh himself, to whom the gathering of the people shall be. Oh! thou dear Redeemer, than great High Priest of our calling! give me to hear that voice which John heard, and to know my personal interest in it. Behold! the tabernacle of God is with men; and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God!
I would call to mind, while looking over Benjamin's portion, what the man of God prophesied concerning this lot. He called him the beloved of the Lord. He prophesied that he should dwell in safety by him; that the Lord should cover him all the day long; and that he should dwell between his shoulders. Oh! for an interest in the same love, the same assurances of safety, the same Almighty covering, and the same dwelling under the God of Jacob. Dearest Jesus! make me the object of thy love, the object of thy care, thy protection, thy safety. Witness for me, ye angels of light, and above all, thou Holy Spirit of all truth, do thou witness to my spirit, that I prefer these mercies of my God and Savior, beyond all the riches of the earth. Oh! may I be found so justified in the blood and righteousness of him, that is the Surety and Defence of his people, that I may be like Benjamin, the beloved of the Lord; and like John, the disciple whom Jesus loveth.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany