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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Joshua 14

 

 

Verse 1

INTRODUCTION TO THE WEST JORDANIC ALLOTMENTS, Joshua 14:1-5.

1. These are the countries — Passing from the eastern side of the Jordan, our historian now traces the boundaries of the tribes on its western side, constituting the main area of the Holy Land. The directions of Moses (Numbers 26:53-56) were obeyed in the allotment. Yet God so overruled the lots as to fulfil the predictions of the prophecies of the dying Jacob. Genesis 49.

Eleazar the priest — The term High Priest had not yet been invented. Eleazar was the third son of Aaron, and came into the high-priesthood by the death of his two sacrilegious brothers, Nadab and Abihu. See notes on Exodus 6:23; Leviticus 10:1 : Numbers 3:4; Numbers 20:28. He aided Moses in the census of the people, (Numbers 26:3,) assisted at the inauguration of Joshua, and now is the proper person to superintend the sacred lots by which the conquered lands were divided. The original document describing the division we might naturally suppose to be prepared under his superintendence and preserved in the archives of the tabernacle. In the form in which the records here stand in the sacred volume they form a part of the law, and they were, we might suppose, preserved with the sacred records in the ark of the covenant. The persons who were to divide western Palestine among the nine tribes and the half tribe of Manasseh were designated by Jehovah before the death of Moses, and their names are given in Numbers 34:17-28.


Verse 4

4. Joseph… two tribes — So making up the twelve tribes without reckoning the tribe of Levi, who were to have no allotment, but were to be scattered among the tribes as judicial and ecclesiastical advisers and judges among the people.


Verse 6

CALEB’S INHERITANCE, Joshua 14:6-15.

6. Children of Judah came — Caleb was of the tribe of Judah, and probably by his request the elders of his own tribe accompany him to Gilgal, lest they might suspect that he was using his office of commissioner to carve out a splendid portion for himself. They may have seconded his petition as having an important bearing on the question of their own portion, which would naturally contain the tract of Caleb, their tribesman, so that the granting of his request would virtually establish southern Canaan as their lot. Caleb was one of the two spies so famous for their faith in Jehovah, and for their courage and independence in making a very unpopular minority report, for which they narrowly escaped stoning at the hands of the infuriated people. Numbers 14:6-10. They were spared in the ensuing plague which swept off the faithless ten, and were also excepted when Moses declared that none who were above twenty years old when they came out of Egypt should enter Canaan. Numbers 14:29-30.

Kenezite — That is, a son of Kenaz. He was a pure Hebrew, not an Edomite.

Kadesh-barnea Joshua 10:41, note.

7. Forty years old was I — When, in the plains of Moab near the banks of the Jordan, Moses numbered Israel, not a man was left of those who had heard the law thundered from Sinai, save these two veterans who now stand face to face, Caleb and Joshua. Numbers 26:63. The desert of the sojourn had been the nation’s tomb. Joshua had succeeded Moses as leader of the tribes; Caleb now comes forward to claim the patrimony that had been promised by Jehovah to him.

In mine heart — Heart means here not the affections solely, but the understanding. See note on Romans 10:10. He made his report a perfect transcript of things as he saw them, uncoloured by cowardice, or faithlessness to Jehovah, or compliance with the people.


Verse 8

8. My brethren — Words of tenderness for his long-remembered comrades.

Heart… melt — In modern sense this would indicate compassion; in the ancient, fear.

Wholly followed the Lord my God — This phrase wholly followed is emphatically repeated from Jehovah’s own words, (Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:36,) here reiterated at Joshua 14:9 and at Joshua 14:14. This wholeness of his adherence to Jehovah is explained by his and Joshua’s loyal speech, given Numbers 14:6-10. There no treachery of their brethren the fellow-spies, no panic of their own, no fury of the people, could disturb the calmness of their witness for God. Then and there the sentence of death in the wilderness, passed upon the entire people, left them untouched. And of that eventful day these two Hebrew princes were now the sole living and speaking mementoes.


Verse 9

9. Moses sware — The oath was God’s own oath, (Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:13,) but declared and accepted by Moses.


Verse 10

10. Kept me alive — Not only excepted me from the immediate plague inflicted on the rebellions, and from the death-sentence that laid the nation as corpses in the desert, but from all the decay of years, and the perils of this war of conquest.


Verse 11

11. Strong this day — As strong to defend his heritage as he was forty-five years ago to win it. He had kept the ten commandments which his own ears had heard from Jehovah’s voice so well, that they had been permanent youth in his blood and bones.

Go out — To the battle.

Come in — With the spoils. See Judges 1:20. This was no senile boast of youthful strength, as the three sons of Anak found to their cost. Joshua 15:14. The old hero never became, like his fellow Joshua, ruler of all Israel, but he had a son-in-law-nephew that did.}


Verse 12

12. Give me this mountain — Hebron is the highest point of southern Palestine, (see Joshua 10:3, note,) higher even than Jerusalem. “The spot on which Caleb had set his heart was the fertile valley of Hebron. Of all the country which the twelve spies, with Caleb and Joshua at their head, had traversed, this is the one scene which remains fixed in the sacred narrative, as if because fixed in the memory of those who made their report. There was one field in the whole land which they might fairly call their own, the field which contained the rocky cave of Machpelah, with the graves of their first ancestors. But it was not even this sacred enclosure which had most powerfully impressed the simple explorers of that childlike age. It was the winding valley whose terraces were covered with the rich verdure and the golden clusters of the Syrian vine, so rarely seen in Egypt, so beautiful a vesture of the bare hills of Palestine. In its rocky hills are still to be seen the ancient winepresses. Thence came the gigantic cluster, (Numbers 13:24,) the only relic of the Promised Land which was laid at the feet of Moses.” — Stanley.

Anakim — The long-necked; called also sons of Anak; a race of giants in southern Canaan. See on Numbers 13:28; Numbers 13:33.


Verse 13

13. And Joshua blessed him — Bade him God speed in his warfare, and invoked the help of Jehovah to attend him.

And gave unto Caleb — Joshua could not resist an appeal from his venerable associate spy, based on facts of which he himself had been cognizant.


Verse 15

15. Before was Kirjath-arba — That is, City of Arba. The original name, in Abraham’s day, was Hebron. Afterwards Arba, a giant, one of the Anakim, conquered the city and called it the City of Arba. See Joshua 10:3, note.

And the land had rest from war — This is only a repetition of Joshua 11:23, to prepare the way for the account of the peaceful allotment of the land. As Caleb’s portion was really “among the children of Judah,” the actual conquest of it is recorded under the head of Judah’s lot. See Joshua 15:13-19.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 14:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-14.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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