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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Joshua 14

 

 

Verse 1

Joshua 14:1. And these are the countries — Namely, those mentioned in the 15th, 16th, and following chapters, to the 20th; for this chapter is but a kind of preface to the division of the land; which was now conquered by Joshua, as that of Sihon and Og had been by Moses; and was to be divided by lot according to the command given by God to Moses, Numbers 34:17-18, where the names of the twelve heads of tribes, or princes, as they are there called, are set down. Eleazar the priest and Joshua, &c. — They best understood the laws of God by which this division was to be regulated.


Verse 2

Joshua 14:2. By lot was their inheritance, as the Lord commanded — “Though God had sufficiently pointed out,” says Dr. Dodd, “by the predictions of Jacob, when dying, and those of Moses, what portions he designed for each tribe; we readily discern an admirable proof of his wisdom, in the orders he gave to decide them by lot. By this means were prevented the false interpretations which might have been given to the words of Jacob and Moses; and by striking at the root of whatever might occasion jealousies and disputes among the tribes, he evidently secured the honesty of those who were to be appointed to distribute to them the conquered countries in the land of Canaan. Besides, the success of this method became a fresh proof of the divinity of the Israelites’ religion, and the truth of its oracles. Each tribe, finding itself placed by lot exactly in the spot which Jacob and Moses had foretold, it was evident that providence had equally directed both those predictions and that lot. The event justified the truth of the promises. The more singular it was, the more clearly do we discern the finger of God in it. No one has set these reflections in a fairer light than Masius. ‘The portion,’ says he, ‘fell to each tribe just as Jacob had declared two hundred and fifty years before, in the last moments of his life, and Moses, immediately before his death; for to the tribe of Judah fell a country abounding in vineyards and pastures; to Zebulun and Issachar, seaports; in that of Asher was plenty of oil, wheat, and metals; that of Benjamin, near the temple, was in a manner between the shoulders of the Deity; Ephraim and Manasseh were distinguished with a territory blessed in a peculiar manner by Heaven. The land of Simeon extended from the west to the south of the tribe of Judah. Since, therefore, the lot corresponded so well to these predictions, would it not be insolence and stupidity in the highest degree, not to acknowledge the inspiration of God in the words of Jacob and Moses, the direction of his hand in the lot, and his providence in the went?’”


Verse 4-5

Joshua 14:4-5. The children of Joseph were two tribes — That is, had the portion of two tribes, and therefore, though Levi was excluded, there remained nine tribes and a half to be provided for in Canaan. They divided, &c. — That is, the persons named, (Joshua 14:1,) who acted in the name of the children of Israel. They were disposed to divide it; they began to take measures for doing it.


Verse 6

Joshua 14:6. Then the children of Judah came — When Joshua, Eleazar, and the rest were consulting about the division of the land, and before they had begun to cast lots, some of the children of Judah interposed in behalf of Caleb, coming along with him to show him respect, to testify their consent that he should be provided for by himself, and to be witnesses of the truth of what he alleged. In Gilgal — Where the division of the land was designed, and begun, though it was executed and finished in Shiloh. The Kenezite — Of the posterity of Kenaz. Thou knowest the thing the Lord said — In general, the promise he made us of possessing this land, and what he said concerning me in particular, Joshua 14:9.


Verse 7-8

Joshua 14:7-8. I brought him word, as it was in my heart — I spake my opinion sincerely, without flattery and fear, when the other spies were biassed by their own fears, and the dread of the people, to speak otherwise than in their consciences they believed. I wholly followed the Lord my God — The Hebrew, מלאתי אחרי יהוה, milleeti acharei Jehovah, is literally, I filled after the Lord my God, which words, as Dr. Dodd justly observes, “give the idea of a traveller, who, attentive to the following of his guide, so treads in his steps, as to leave hardly any void space between his guide and him, and continually fills up the traces of his feet.” This testimony, God himself had borne to Caleb, and his repeating it here is perfectly consistent with modesty, and was even necessary, as being the ground of his petition and claim.


Verse 9

Joshua 14:9. Moses sware on that day — See Deuteronomy 1:35-36. What is here mentioned was first pronounced by God himself, and that with an oath, Numbers 14:21-24. It was also, however, repeated by Moses, so that the expression of the sacred writer is just.


Verse 10-11

Joshua 14:10-11. The Lord hath kept me alive these forty and five years — Whereof thirty-eight were spent in the wilderness, and seven since they came into Canaan. The longer we live the more sensible we should be of God’s goodness to us in keeping us alive! Of his care in prolonging our frail lives, his patience in prolonging our forfeited lives! And shall not the life thus kept by his providence, be devoted to his praise? I am as strong this day, &c. — Though eighty-five years of age, he was as lively and strong as when he was forty. As my strength was then so it is now — This was the fruit of the promise, and was beyond what God had expressed; for God not only gives what he promises, but more. If he promises life, he will add health and strength, and all that which will make the life promised a blessing and comfort. This Caleb mentions here to the glory of God, and as a reason for his asking a portion which he must rescue out of the hands of the giants. For war — Not only for counsel, but for action; for marching and fighting. And therefore this gift will not be cast away upon an unprofitable and an unserviceable person. To go out, and to come in — To perform all the duties belonging to my place. Moses had said, that at eighty years old, even our strength was labour and sorrow. But Caleb was an exception to this rule: at eighty-five years old, his strength was still ease and joy. This he got by following the Lord fully.


Verse 12

Joshua 14:12. Now, therefore, give me this mountain — The mountainous country where Hebron lay, (Joshua 11:21,) which was the place promised to him. He names the country rather than the city, because that was given to the Levites, Joshua 21:11-13. Thou heardest in that day — Didst understand, both by the reports of others and by thy own observation. Hearing, the sense by which we get knowledge, is often put for knowing or understanding. If so be the Lord will be with me — These are not the words of diffidence; but an humble and pious acknowledgment that nothing could be successfully enterprised without God’s gracious assistance; of which Caleb was undoubtedly deeply sensible. By this expression he both signifies the absolute necessity of God’s help, and his godly fear, lest, for his sins, God should deny his assistance to him; for although he was well assured, in general, that God would crown his people with success in this war, yet he might doubt of his particular success in this or that enterprise. Then I shall be able to drive them out — Out of their fastnesses, where they yet remained. Caleb desires this difficult work as a testimony of his own faith, and as a motive to quicken his brethren to the like attempts.


Verse 13

Joshua 14:13. Joshua blessed him — Commended his bravery, applauded and granted his request, and prayed to God to bless and help him according to his own desire. Joshua was both a prince and a prophet, and on both accounts it was proper for him to give Caleb his blessing.


Verse 15

Joshua 14:15. Arba was a great man, &c. — In stature, and strength, and dignity, and authority, as being the progenitor of Anak, the father of those famous giants called Anakims.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 14:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-14.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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