Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 13:6

All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon as far as Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians, I will drive them out from before the sons of Israel; only allot it to Israel for an inheritance as I have commanded you.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Geshur;   Israel;   Misrephoth-Maim;   Sidon;   Thompson Chain Reference - Inheritance;   Israel;   Israel's Inheritance;   Sidon;   Zidon;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Lebanon;   Sidonians, the;   Theocracy, the, or Immediate Government by God;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Caleb;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Joshua, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Lebanon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Cord;   Joshua, the Book of;   Lebanon;   Misrephoth Maim;   Palestine;   Sidon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Misrephoth-Maim;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Joshua;   Misrephoth-Maim;   Priests and Levites;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Lots;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Hill Country;   Misrephothmaim ;   Mount, Mountain;   Zidonians, Sidonians ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Tyre;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Leb'anon,;   Sido'nians,;   Zi'don,;   Zido'nians,;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Lebanon;   Misrephoth-Maim;   Palestine;   Sidonians;   Zarephath;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gentile;   Lots;   Metals;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Misrephoth-maim - See on Joshua 11:7; (note).

These will I drive out - That is, if the Israelites continued to be obedient; but they did not, and therefore they never fully possessed the whole of that land which, on this condition alone, God had promised them: the Sidonians were never expelled by the Israelites, and were only brought into a state of comparative subjection in the days of David and Solomon. Some have taken upon them to deny the authenticity of Divine revelation relative to this business, "because," say they, "God is stated to have absolutely promised that Joshua should conquer the whole land, and put the Israelites in possession of it." This is a total mistake.

  1. God never absolutely, i.e., unconditionally, promised to put them in possession of this land. The promise of their possessing the whole was suspended on their fidelity to God. They were not faithful, and therefore God was not bound by his promise to give them any part of the land, after their first act of national defection from his worship.
  • God never said that Joshua should conquer the whole land, and give it to them; the promise was simply this: "Thou shalt bring them into the land, and thou shalt divide it among them:" both of which he did, and procured them footing by his conquests, sufficient to have enabled them to establish themselves in it for ever.
  • 3. It was never said, Thou shalt conquer it all, and then divide it; no. Several of the tribes, after their quota was allotted them, were obliged to drive out the ancient inhabitants. See on Joshua 11:18; (note).

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-13.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    The King James Version would exhibit the sense more clearly if the words from the beginning of Joshua 13:2 to the words “the Sidonians” in this verse were placed in a parenthesis, and the order of the words before us changed thus: “I will drive them out.” The “them” meaning the inhabitants of the “very much land to be possessed,” spoken of in Joshua 13:1.

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-13.html. 1870.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    All the inhabitants of the hill country,.... Not in Judea, but in and about Lebanon, as follows:

    from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim; of which see Joshua 11:8,

    and all the Sidonians; the inhabitants of the ancient city of Sidon, and the villages and lands belonging to it: these remained unconquered, and never were possessed by the Israelites:

    them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: which, though it may have a special respect unto the Sidonians, with whom the clause is closely connected, yet may include all the above lands unconquered, out of which, as well as Sidon, the Lord promises to drive the inhabitants, to make way for the children of Israel; that is, on condition of their obedience, for it appears that not only the Sidonians, but many others, even the chief, and most of those mentioned, were never possessed by them:

    only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance; that is, the whole land, as Abarbinel rightly remarks, both what was subdued and what was not; that was the business, and all the business, Joshua had now to do; he was not to be employed in making any further conquests, but leave them to others, and apply himself to the division of the land, by lot, to the tribes that as yet had no portion assigned them:

    as I have commanded thee; now, at this time.

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    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-13.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto c Misrephothmaim, [and] all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.

    (c) Read (Joshua 11:8).
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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-13.html. 1599-1645.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.

    Will I drive out — Whatever becomes of us, however we may be laid aside as broken vessels, God will do his work in his own time. I will do it by my word; so the Chaldee here, as in many other places: by the eternal word, the captain of my host. But the promise of driving them out from before the children of Israel, supposes that the Israelites must use their own endeavours, must go up against them. If Israel, thro' sloth or cowardice let them alone, they are not likely to be driven out. We must go forth on our Christian warfare, and then God will go before us.

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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-13.html. 1765.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Joshua 13:6 All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim, [and] all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.

    Ver. 6. Them will I drive out, &c., ] viz., If the Israelites rule with me and be faithful with my saints, as Hosea 11:12; else "they shall know my breach of promise," as Numbers 14:34.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-13.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Ver. 6. All the inhabitants of the hill-country—will I drive out God promises to expel these nations; but, upon a condition implied, that the Israelites did not render themselves unworthy this favour by their disobedience: a condition which having never been fulfilled, there is no room to wonder that the Lord did not give them all that he had promised. The Sidonians never submitted to the yoke of the Hebrews; and all that David and Solomon could do to the nations about Lebanon was to make them tributary. But why was it that, so far from giving to his people all the land of Canaan, God suffered them to remain so manyyears in a state of war before they became masters of the places which they kept? It was certainly not owing (as Josephus, Hist. Jud. l. v. c. 1. hardily asserts) to the weakness of Joshua, nor to the situation or strength of the cities in the promised land. Providence disposed the event in this manner for reasons well worthy its adorable Wisdom 1. It was not proper that the country should be depopulated all at once. Had the natives been driven out immediately, the wild beasts would have been too numerous for the conquerors. Exodus 23:29. Deuteronomy 22:2. God preserved a part of the Canaanites in order to try the faith, piety, and fidelity of the Israelites. 3. Nor can it be denied, that the progress of the Israelites was retarded through their default, negligence, and improper conduct. Psalms 106:34; Psalms 35:4. And, upon the whole, the goodness of God is, in a very sensible manner, evident, who punishes his enemies slowly and by degrees, to give them time to be converted.

    REFLECTIONS.—Joshua now was growing old, and the fatigues of war probably hastened infirmities upon him: God, therefore, gives him rest after his toils; and, as his finishing service, appoints him to make the division of what yet should be conquered, as well as of the country already possessed. Note; (1.) Old age wants a quiet resting-place, and, after a busy life, to be recollected against the near approach of death. (2.) The strongest must bow, and the best of men pay this tribute to nature; and they who are advancing in years need be reminded of it, that what they yet have to do they may do quickly.

    The country here described was very extensive; yet God promises to put them in possession of it, if they continue obedient. If the Philistines afterwards proved such troublesome neighbours, they must blame their sins, which prevented their extirpation; and their negligence or cowardice, which restrained them from putting in force the liberty given them by the Divine promise. Note; If we sin against our own mercies, we have nobody but ourselves to blame for our sufferings.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-13.html. 1801-1803.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Them will I drive out from before the children of Israel, presently after thy death, if the Israelites do not hinder it by their unbelief or wickedness.

    Though they be now unconquered, yet divide them, partly, as a pledge to assure them of my help in conquering them after thy death; partly, to lay an obligation upon the Israelites to proceed in conquering work, and to bear witness against them in case they did not; and partly, as a wall of partition between them and the Canaanites, to prevent all agreements, contracts, and confederacies with them, to which God saw they began to incline.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-13.html. 1685.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    6. Misrephoth-maim — See chap. Joshua 11:8, note.

    Them will I drive out — God’s promises of good to man are all grounded on the implied condition of his obedience and faithful co-operation. This promise never was fulfilled, through the failure of the Hebrew nation to maintain an all-conquering faith in their divine Ally.

    Divide thou it — The pronoun it is to be referred to the land in the first verse, and the intervening verses are to be read parenthetically. Without a special command, Joshua, who supposed that all the land must be first conquered, would not have dared to allot territory still held by the enemy.

    By lot — A difficulty here arises. The land was to be apportioned by lot, and yet, according to Numbers 26:53-56, it was also to be divided according to the size of the tribes. The best solution of this difficulty is the supposition that the lot only determined the relative location of each portion, (Numbers 33:54,) while the extent and bounds were to be fixed by a board of commissioners. See Joshua 14:1, note. The manner of the lot is unknown, but probably there were two urns, one containing the names of the tribes, and the other the location of the portions; then by drawing one card or pebble from each urn, the question would be decided by the divine Providence, which directed the lots. The lot thus publicly drawn would allay jealousies and prevent disputes. As the result was in exact harmony with Jacob’s prophecy in his dying hour two hundred and fifty years before, and in striking fulfilment of Moses’ prediction just before his death, it would confirm the Israelites’ faith in Jehovah, who had inspired these predictions, and so guided the lots as to secure their accomplishment.

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-13.html. 1874-1909.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    God"s promise to drive out all the remaining Canaanites depended on Israel"s obedience to the Mosaic Covenant ( Joshua 1:6-7). [Note: See W. B. Riley, "The Challenge to Carry On," reprinted in Fundamentalist Journal2:2 (February1983):39-41.]

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/joshua-13.html. 2012.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Joshua 13:6. Them will I drive out — Whatever becomes of us, however we may be laid aside as broken vessels, God will do his work in his own time. I will do it by my word; so the Chaldee here, as in many other places: by the eternal Word, the captain of my host. But the promise of driving them out from before the children of Israel, supposes that the Israelites must use their own endeavours, must go up against them. If Israel, through sloth or cowardice, let them alone, they are not likely to be driven out. We must go forth in our Christian warfare, and then God will go before us.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-13.html. 1857.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    children = sons.

    as according as.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-13.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.

    All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim (see the note at Joshua 11:8) - that is, 'all the Sidonians and Phoenicians.'

    Them will I drive out. Biblical writers differ in opinion as to the exact limits of the Israelite possession on the northwest-whether the land of promise was to extend to the shores of the Mediterranean, or a narrow tract was to be reserved to the Sidonians. The former view is most generally preferred, for this reason, that the phrase "all the Sidonians" seems clearly to include the inhabitants of that district among the people who were to be driven out (cf. Joshua 19:28-29; Judges 1:31). The fulfillment of this promise was conditional. In the event of the Israelites proving unfaithful or disobedient, they would not subdue the districts now specified; and, in point of fact, the Israelites never possessed them, though the inhabitants were subjected to the power of David and Solomon.

    Only divide thou it by lot. The parenthetic section being closed, the historian here resumes the main subject of this chapter-the order of God to Joshua to make an immediate allotment of the land. The method of distribution by lot was in all respects the best that could have been adopted, as it prevented all ground of discontent, as well as charges of arbitrary or partial conduct on the part of the leaders; and its being announced in the life of Moses (Numbers 33:54) as the system according to which the allocations to each tribe should be made, was intended to lead the people to the acknowledgment of God as the proprietor of the land, and having the entire right of its disposal.

    Moreover, a solemn appeal to the lot showed it to be the dictate, not of human, but divine wisdom. It was used, however, only in determining the Dart of the country where a tribe was to be settled-the extent of the settlement was to be decided on a different principle (Numbers 26:54); and what proves the overruling control of God, each tribe received the possession predicted by Jacob, Genesis 49:1-33, and by Moses, Deuteronomy 33:1-29.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-13.html. 1871-8.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee.
    Misrephoth-maim
    11:8
    them
    23:13; Genesis 15:18-21; Exodus 23:30,31; Judges 2:21-23
    only divide
    14:1,2
    Reciprocal: Numbers 34:8 - the entrance;  Numbers 36:2 - The Lord commanded;  Joshua 17:18 - for thou shalt;  Joshua 23:4 - Behold;  Joshua 23:5 - he shall;  Ezekiel 45:1 - shall divide by lot;  Matthew 15:21 - Tyre

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-13.html.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    6.All the inhabitants of the hill country, etc Joshua is again admonished, though the Israelites do not yet possess those regions, not to defer the partition, but trust to the promise of God, because it would detract injuriously from his honor if there were any doubt as to the event. It is accordingly said: Only do what is thy duty in the distribution of the land; nor let that which the enemy still hold securely be exempted from the lot; for it will be my care to fulfil what I have promised. Hence let us learn in undertaking any business, so to depend on the lips of God as that no doubt can delay us. It is not ours, indeed, to fabricate vain hopes for ourselves; but when our confidence is founded on the Lord, let us only obey his commands, and there is no reason to fear that the event will disappoint us.

    He afterwards assigns the land of Canaan to nine tribes and a half tribe, because the portion of the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh had already been assigned beyond the Jordan. Though there is a seeming tautology in the words, Which Moses gave them, as Moses gave them, there is nothing superfluous, because in the second clause the donation is confirmed; as if God were ordering that which was done to be ratified, or saying, in other words, As Moses gave them that land, so let them remain tranquil in the possession of it. (134) For this reason also he is distinguished by the title of servant of God, as if it were said, Let no one interfere with that decree which a faithful minister has pronounced on the authority of God. It was certainly necessary to provide by anticipation against the disputes which otherwise must have daily arisen.

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-13.html. 1840-57.