Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 14:2

by the lot of their inheritance, as the Lord commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Thompson Chain Reference - Inheritance;   Israel;   Israel's Inheritance;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Holy Land;   Jews, the;   Tribes of Israel, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Caleb;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Allotment;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Joshua;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Dalmanutha;   Lots;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Caleb;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Decision;   Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Lots;   Witchcraft;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

By lot was their inheritance - Concerning the meaning and use of the lot, see the note on Numbers 26:55; and concerning the manner of casting lots in the case of the scapegoat, see the note on Leviticus 16:8, Leviticus 16:9. On this subject Dr. Dodd has selected some good observations from Calmet and Masius, which I here borrow: "Though God had sufficiently pointed out 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 the false interpretations which might have been given to the words of Jacob and Moses were prevented; 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 gave a fresh proof of the Divinity of the Jewish 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 we discern the finger of God in it. The portion, says Masius, 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, seacoasts; in that of Asher was plenty of oil, wheat, and metals; that of Benjamin, near to 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 Naphtali extended from the west to the south of the tribe of Judah. Since therefore the lot so well corresponded to these predictions, would it not be insolence and stupidity in the highest degree, not to acknowledge the inspiration of God in the word of Jacob and Moses, the direction of his hand in the lot, and his providence in the event?" How the lot was cast in this case cannot be particularly determined. It is probable,

  1. That the land was geographically divided into ten portions.
  • That each portion was called by a particular name.
  • That the name of each portion was written on a separate slip of parchment, wood, etc.
  • That the names of the claimants were also written on so many slips.
  • The names of the portions, and of the tribes, were put into separate vessels.
  • Joshua, for example, put his hand into the vessel containing the names of the tribes, and took out one slip; while Eleazar took out one from the other vessel, in which the names of the portions were put.
  • 7. The name drawn, and the portion drawn, being read, it was immediately discerned what the district was which God had designed for such a tribe. This appears to be the most easy way to determine such a business.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-14.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    By lot - We are not told in what manner the lot was cast. Perhaps two urns were employed, one containing a description of the several districts to be allotted, the other the names of the tribes; and the portion of each tribe would then be determined by a simultaneous drawing from the two urns. Or a drawing might be made by some appointed person, or by a delegate of each tribe from one urn containing the description of the ten inheritances. The lot only determined in a general way the position in the country of the particular tribe concerned, whether north or south, etc.; the dimensions of each territory being left to be adjusted subsequently, according to the numbers and wants of the tribe to be provided for. Since the predilections and habits of two tribes and a half were consulted in the apportionment to them of the trans-Jordanic territory Numbers 32:1 there is no objection to the supposition that something of the same kind may have taken place, subject to the divine approval, in the distribution of the lands to the nine and a half other tribes; and the lot would thus be appealed to as finally deciding the matter and foreclosing jealousies and disputes.

    It is apparent that the casting of the ten lots did not take place simultaneously. The tribe of Judah had precedence, whether by express appointment or because its lot “came up” first, does not appear. It was, as it seems, only after this tribe had settled upon its domains, that further lots were drawn for Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh. After this a pause, perhaps of some duration, appears to have occurred; the camp was moved from Gilgal to Shiloh; and the further casting of lots for the other seven tribes was proceeded with at the instigation of Joshua (see Joshua 18:10).

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-14.html. 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    "By the lot of their inheritance, as Jehovah commanded by Moses, for the nine tribes, and the half-tribe. For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave no inheritance among them. For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: and they gave no portion unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for their cattle and for their substance. As Jehovah commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did; and they divided the land."

    The preliminary fact of their being only nine and one-half tribes to inherit west of the Jordan is here explained in Joshua 14:2, due to Moses' having already awarded two and one-half tribes their inheritance on the east of Jordan. Also, we have the explanation of how it came about that after one of the twelve sons of Jacob, namely, Levi and his tribe were not to receive a landed inheritance at all (Jehovah was their portion), there still remained twelve tribes. The explanation is in Joshua 14:4, where it is stated that Joseph had two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. The account of how that came about is in Genesis 48. Through the device of adopting Manasseh and Ephraim, two of the sons of Joseph, Jacob made them in every way equal to all of his other sons. That action by Jacob was also accompanied by the disinheritance of Reuben his firstborn, because of his incest with Bilhah (Genesis 35:22). That meant that the double portion which was the usual right of the firstborn went to Joseph instead of Reuben, and that the right of primogeniture descended upon Judah instead of Reuben. The "rulership" of Israel thus rested upon Judah (Genesis 49:10).

    Many of the old commentators (Masius, Calnet, Dodd, Clarke, etc.) have stressed the wisdom of God as attested by the casting of lots for the inheritance of each tribe. "The portion fell to each tribe exactly as Jacob had prophesied centuries earlier in Genesis 49. Providence equally directed both Jacob's predictions and the casting of lots."[10] Again, to paraphrase Clarke's words: seeing that the lot and the prophesies so well corresponded, would it not be insolence and stupidity not to acknowledge the inspiration of God in the words of Jacob and of Moses, and also in the guidance of the casting lots for the tribal inheritances?

    The flat declaration in Joshua 14:5 that, "So the children of Israel did" does not mean that they did so on that very day. "A considerable time was requisite for survey and measurement."[11] The lots were first cast at Gilgal, and later at Shiloh. The larger tribes received their portion first.

    Woudstra pointed out that, "Since the account of this division does not actually begin until Joshua 15, it is clear that what follows in this chapter (Joshua 14:6-15) is meant to be a further introduction to Joshua 15-19."[12]

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    Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    By lot was their inheritance,.... Every tribe had its part and portion assigned to it, by the casting of lots; which was done to prevent any future quarrels, animosities and strifes among the tribes, the disposition being of the Lord; and to show the exact agreement between the lot and the divine predictions by Jacob and Moses; and to make it appear that the division of the land was not owing to the private combination of the above men, and their private settlement of it; but to the providence of God, the directors of the lot; their chief business was to see that the lot was executed in a faithful manner, and that every tribe had its allotment according to it. In this Canaan was a type of the heavenly inheritance, which the saints obtain by lot, in and through Christ, the antitypical Joshua, Ephesians 1:11,

    as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses, Numbers 26:55,

    for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe; see Joshua 13:7; the reason why this number of them is particularly mentioned follows.

    Copyright Statement
    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.
    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-14.html. 1999.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    Observe it was by lot, not by chance or caprice, but by lot, that is by God's appointment. Reader! it is ever a delightful thought that God fixes the bounds of his people's habitation. Deuteronomy 32:8.

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-14.html. 1828.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.

    By lot — This course God ordained, partly to prevent discontents, enmities and quarrels among the tribes, and partly to demonstrate the truth and wisdom of his providence, by which alone those parts fell to each of them, which Jacob long since, and Moses lately, foretold; so that as a learned man saith, he must be more stupid than stupidity, that doth not acknowledge a Divine hand in this matter. The lot did only determine the several parts to the several tribes, but did not precisely fix all the bounds of it; these might be either enlarged or diminished according to the greater or smaller number of the tribes.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-14.html. 1765.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Joshua 14:2 By lot [was] their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and [for] the half tribe.

    Ver. 2. By lot was their inheritance.] To prevent all murmurings and discontents, since it was the Lord that cut them out their several conditions; who, as he is Lord of all, and may do with his own as he pleaseth, so he is the only wise God, who doth all things well -

    Pondere, mensura, numero facit omnia.

    See Proverbs 16:33; Proverbs 18:18. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 16:33"} {See Trapp on "Proverbs 18:18"}

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-14.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Ver. 2. By lot was their inheritance, as the Lord commanded, &c.— Though God had sufficiently pointed out 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 the Divine 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, sea-ports; in that of Asher was plenty of oil, wheat, and metals; that of Benjamin, near to the temple, was in a manner between the shoulders of the city. Ephraim and Manasseh were distinguished with a territory blest in a peculiar manner by heaven. The land of Naphtati extended from the west to the south of the tribe of Judah. Since, therefore, the lots so well corresponded 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 event?" See Masius on the place.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-14.html. 1801-1803.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    This course God ordained, partly to prevent discontents, enmities, animosities, and quarrels among the tribes about the quality of their several portions; and partly to demonstrate the truth and wisdom of his providence, by which alone those parts fell to each of them, which Jacob long since, and Moses lately, foretold; so that, as a learned man saith, He must be more stupid than stupidity, and more impudent than impudence itself, that doth not acknowledge and confess a Divine hand and providence in this matter. The lot did only determine the several parts or provinces to the several tribes, but did not precisely fix all the bounds of it, but these might be either enlarged or diminished according to the greater or smaller number of the tribes, Numbers 26:53,56 33:54, and that by the direction of those persons mentioned Joshua 14:1 17:14-18.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-14.html. 1685.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    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?’”

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-14.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Tribe. God regulated the lots, as he had authorized Jacob and Moses to foretell how the country should be divided. By this method, he precluded every pretence of discontent among the tribes. Each of them drew a ticket, on which a certain portion of land was described; or perhaps in one urn the names of the tribes, and in another the lands were specified, (Calmet) and the tickets were drawn by two persons of irreproachable character, probably by Eleazar and Josue. (Haydock) (Numbers xxvi. 54.) ---Only the tribes of Juda and of Joseph received their portions at Galgal, chap. xviii.

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-14.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    By lot. See note on Joshua 14:1.

    as = according as, but a special various reading called Sevir, reads "which"

    the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

    for. Instead of "for", some codices, with one early printed edition, and Syriac, read "to be given to".

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-14.html. 1909-1922.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (2) By lot . . . as the Lord commanded . . . Moses.—See Numbers 26:52-56; Numbers 34:17-29.

    The nine tribes, and for the half tribe; and (3) For Moses had given; and (4) For the children of Joseph were two tribes.—The argument of these verses can only mean that the tribal inheritances were to be twelve in number, and therefore the Levites were excluded from any distinct territorial position, for the children of Joseph were to be two tribes. Of Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob had said to Joseph, “as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine:” i.e., though grandsons, they shall count as sons of Jacob, and each one shall be the head of a tribe. Thus there are two ways of counting Jacob’s sons, each making twelve; and these two seem to be recognised as distinct in Exodus 28. There we are told that the high priest should bear the names of the children of Israel on his shoulders according to their birth (i.e., Joseph being counted as well as Levi, but not Ephraim and Manasseh). On his breastplate he must have them according to the twelve tribes (i.e., Ephraim and Manasseh being specified, but Joseph and Levi left out). Both ways of reckoning were necessary in order that the complete Israel might be represented by the high priest. And in each way the number twelve was preserved and emphasised, as it is evidently intended to be in this place,

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-14.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.
    lot
    Though God had sufficiently pointed out by the predictions of Jacob and Moses what portions he designed for each tribe, yet we readily discern an admirable proof of His wisdom, in the orders he gave to decide them by lot. By this means the false interpretations which might have been given to the words of Jacob and Moses were prevented; and by striking at the root of whatever might occasion jealousies and disputes among the tribes, he evidently secured the honesty of those appointed to distribute the conquered lands of Canaan. Besides, the success of this method gave a fresh proof of the divinity of the Jewish religion, and the truth of its oracles. Each tribe finding itself placed by lot exactly in the spot where Jacob and Moses foretold, it was evident that Providence had equally directed both the predictions and that lot; and it would be the greatest folly and presumption 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 event.
    Numbers 26:55,56; 33:54; 34:13; Psalms 16:5,6; Proverbs 16:33; 18:18; Matthew 25:34
    Reciprocal: Numbers 34:14 - GeneralNumbers 36:2 - The Lord commanded;  Joshua 13:6 - only divide;  Joshua 15:1 - This then was the lot;  Joshua 18:6 - that I may cast;  Joshua 18:8 - that I may here;  Judges 20:9 - by lot against it;  1 Chronicles 6:61 - by lot;  Ezekiel 45:1 - shall divide by lot

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 14:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-14.html.