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And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.
Set up the tabernacle — By God's appointment. It was removed from Gilgal, partly for the honour and conveniency of Joshua, that he being of the tribe of Ephraim, and seating himself there, might have the opportunity of consulting with God as often as he needed; and partly for the conveniency of all the tribes, that being in the center of them, they might more easily resort to it from all places. Here the tabernacle continued for above three hundred years, even 'till Samuel's days, 1 Samuel 1:3. Shiloh was the name given to the Messiah in dying Jacob's prophecy. So the pitching the tabernacle in Shiloh intimated to the Jews, that in that Shiloh whom Jacob spoke of, all the ordinances of this worldly sanctuary should have their accomplishment, in a greater and more perfect tabernacle.
And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?
How long are you slack — This slackness is supposed to arise from an opinion of the impossibility of making any regular distribution of the parts, 'till the whole were more exactly surveyed, which accordingly is here done. Likewise, being weary of war, and having sufficient plenty of all things, they were unwilling to run into new hazards.
Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.
Three men — Three, not one, for more exact observation both of the measure and quality of the several portions, and for greater assurance of their care and faithfulness in giving in their account.
Of each tribe — One of each of these tribes, who were yet unprovided for.
And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.
Seven parts — Which were of equal extent or worth: for no tribe was so great, but one of these parts in its full extent would abundantly suffice them; and there was no reason why the portions should be greater or less according as the tribes at present were more or fewer in number, because of the various changes which happened therein successively; it being usual for one tribe to be more numerous than another in one age, which was fewer in the next. And if the several tribes had increased more, and not diminished their numbers by their sins, they might have sent forth colonies, and taken any part of the land, even as far as Euphrates, all which the Lord of the whole earth had given them a right to, which when they pleased they might take possession of.
Judah shall abide on the south — They shall not be disturbed in their possession, but shall keep it, except some part of it shall be adjudged to another tribe.
Joseph on the north — In respect of Judah, not of the whole land; for divers other tribes were more northern than they.
Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.
Before the Lord — That is, before the ark or tabernacle, that God may be witness and judge, and author of the division, that each may be contented with his lot, and that your several possessions may be secured to you as things sacred.
And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh.
By cities — Or, according to the cities, to which the several parties or territories belonged.
And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.
And the children of Joseph — Wherein we see the wisdom of Divine Providence, this being the only place in which that prophecy, Deuteronomy 33:12, could have been accomplished. Providence cast Benjamin next to Joseph on the one hand, because Benjamin was own and only brother to Joseph, and next to Judah on the other hand, that this tribe might hereafter unite with Judah, in an adherence to the throne of David, and the temple at Jerusalem.
And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, from the hill that lieth before Bethhoron southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter.
Kirjath-jearim — The Israelites changed the name, to blot out the remembrance of Baal.
And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to Enrogel,
The end of the mountain — The place where the mountain ends, and the valley begins.
Before the valley — That is, in the prospect of that valley.
In the valley on the north — Which extends unto this other valley on the north-side of it.
Of Jebusi — To that part where the Jebusites lived, which was in and near Jerusalem.
Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Bethhoglah, and the valley of Keziz,
Jericho — For tho' the city was destroyed, the territory remained.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17