Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 18:2

There remained among the sons of Israel seven tribes who had not divided their inheritance.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Chephar-Haammonai;   Shiloh;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Inheritance;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Shiloh;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bochim;   Shiloh (1);   Shiloh (2);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Joshua;   Priests and Levites;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Shiloh ;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - War;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Two tribes and a half had already received their portions on the east of Jordan; Judah, Ephraim, and the remaining half of Manasseh had also been provided for Joshua 1517. Thus there remained still seven tribes out of the twelve to be settled in their homes.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-18.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet divided their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go in to possess the land, which Jehovah, the God of your fathers, hath given you? Appoint for you three men of each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall arise, and walk through the land, and describe it according to their inheritance; and they shall come unto me. And they shall divide it into seven portions: Judah shall abide in his border to the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their border on the north. And ye shall describe the land into seven portions, and bring the description hither to me; and I will cast lots for you here before Jehovah our God. For the Levites have no portion among you; for the priesthood of Jehovah is their inheritance: and Gad and Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan eastward, which Moses the servant of Jehovah gave them."

Joshua's rebuke of the people for not having gone in to possess the land was well deserved. It would have required a drastic change in the life style of the people for them to have done so, and the natural inertia of people prevented this from happening. Besides that, the people would no longer dwell in a single camp, as previously, but each tribe would have to work for its own supplies and protection. Too long, we might say, they had been letting God look after them, and now, that the time had come for them to take care of themselves, they were very slow and reluctant to do so.

Joshua 18:5, which mentions Judah on the south and the house of Joseph on the north shows the wisdom of God in placing these two powerful groups in such a way as to protect all of Canaan.

"Three men from each tribe ..." (Joshua 18:5). This is supposed to mean that the commission for surveying the land was composed of 21 men, with perhaps, as Clarke suggested, an armed escort for their protection.[7] Josephus, however, stated that the number of men were 10, and that Joshua sent with them some geometricians who could not easily fail of knowing the truth on account of their skill.[8] Instead of supposing that Josephus was in error here, it might be just as well to suppose that the 21 men (3 from each of seven tribes) included the geometricians, and that it was to them, in particular, that Josephus referred. Nevertheless, it is likely that Josephus was wrong. We have no grounds, however, for denying some other information that comes from Josephus:

"Joshua thought that the land should be divided on the basis of its goodness, rather than the largeness or measure of it; one acre of some sort of land was equivalent to a thousand other acres. The men traveled all about and made an estimation of the land, and in the seventh month came to Joshua in Shiloh where they had set up the tabernacle."[9]

We may not suppose, therefore, that the surveying of the land rested in incapable or incompetent hands. As Jamieson suggested, "Those doing the job possessed learning and intelligence which they or their instructors had brought with them out of Egypt."[10]

"I will cast lots for you here before Jehovah ..." (Joshua 18:7). Notice that the High Priest is not mentioned at all here, despite the certainty that he was present for the casting of lots. His presence is included in the expression "before the Lord."

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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 18:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-18.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes,.... Which were those of Benjamin, Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan:

which had not yet received their inheritance; and for which the lots were not cast.

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 18:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, b which had not yet received their inheritance.

(b) As Eleazar, Joshua, and the heads of the tribes had done to Judah, Ephraim, and half of Manasseh.
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-18.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Joshua 18:2-9. The remainder of the land described.

there remained  …  seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance — The selection of Shiloh for the seat of worship, together with the consequent removal of the camp thither, had necessarily interrupted the casting of lots, which was commenced by fixing localities for the tribes of Judah and Joseph. Various causes led to a long delay in resuming it. The satisfaction of the people with their change to so pleasant and fertile a district, their preference of a nomad life, a love of ease, and reluctance to renew the war, seem to have made them indifferent to the possession of a settled inheritance. But Joshua was too much alive to the duty laid on him by the Lord to let matters continue in that state; and accordingly, since a general conquest of the land had been made, he resolved to proceed immediately with the lot, believing that when each tribe should receive its inheritance, a new motive would arise to lead them to exert themselves in securing the full possession.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-18.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 18:2 And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.

Ver. 2. Seven tribes which had not yet received their inheritance.] Nor, as it may seem by the next verse, cared to do, because they saw there would be a necessity of waging a new war. Hence it was seven years, say expositors, ere they set upon this second division of the land, living on the spoils they had taken in the conquest of the country, and giving themselves to ease and pleasure.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-18.html. 1865-1868.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2. Seven tribes — There seem to have been two causes for this delay in the allotment to these tribes: (1) The fondness for a roving life which these tribes had acquired, and their indisposition to settle down in agricultural pursuits; (2) But chiefly the fact that from the hasty character of the first survey it was found that the lot of Judah, already assigned, was too large, and a new and more accurate survey must be made. With respect to the first cause Bush says: “What a striking picture of the too common apathy and sluggishness of the candidate for the heavenly inheritance! Who does not find that corruptions gather strength by indulgence, and that graces decay for want of exercise? Therefore let us look to ourselves that we lose not the things that we have wrought.”

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-18.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes which had not yet divided their inheritances.’

At this stage Judah, Ephraim, Manasseh, Gad and Reuben had received their inheritances in principle, the first three by the casting of lots. How the process was carried through we do not know. Judah’s choice by lot was to some extent restricted by the fact that one of their princes, Caleb, was to have the regions around Hebron. Thus they would need to be in that area. The general direction of Joseph’s portion (Manasseh and Ephraim) was probably determined by recognising the need for the hill country to be occupied quickly and lots being cast for which tribe(s) should occupy the area, the lot falling to Joseph. Further allocations to Ephraim and Manasseh then being made to take into account their size. Now the remainder of the land had to be divided up.

“Seven tribes.” While this was mathematically the result of deducting five from twelve it would almost certainly be seen as significant. This was the number of divine perfection. It represented the whole of Israel who were not yet settled seen from the divine point of view.

“Divided their inheritance.” The inheritance was there to be allotted but it had not yet been divided up. The need to allocate, and settle, the hill country before this was done demonstrates that in Joshua we have no theoretical division. The procedure went forward carefully as circumstances permitted. It was not just a glib theoretical process of ‘taking over’.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-18.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 18:2. Seven tribes who had not received their inheritance — For whom no lot had been drawn at Gilgal. The reason of which, perhaps, was, that the last-mentioned tribes of the house of Joseph were not satisfied with the division which was begun to be made there; and therefore Joshua discontinued his proceedings till he had made a new survey of the whole country, which, being now in the middle of it, he might make with greater facility than he could when at Gilgal.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-18.html. 1857.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.

There remained ... seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. The selection of Shiloh for There remained ... seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. The selection of Shiloh for the seat of worship, together with the consequent removal of the camp there, had necessarily interrupted the casting of lots, which was commenced by fixing localities for the tribes of Judah and Joseph. Various causes led to a long delay in resuming it. The satisfaction of the people with their change to so pleasant and fertile a district, their preference of a nomad life, a love of ease, and reluctance to renew the war, seem to have made them indifferent to the possession of a settled inheritance. But Joshua was too much alive to the duty laid on him by the Lord to let matters continue in that state; and accordingly, since a general conquest of the land had been made, he resolved to proceed immediately with the lot, believing that when each tribe should receive its inheritance, a new motive would arise to lead them to exert themselves in securing the full possession.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-18.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) And there remained . . . seven tribes, which had not yet received . . . inheritance.—This statement is well worthy of notice, as illustrating the character of the Israelites in a manner which is thoroughly true to nature. The conquest of the Canaanitish armies being completed, the two leading divisions of the host of Israel took possession of their shares of the conquered territory. The house of Judah and the house of Joseph were satisfied. This done, the weaker tribes were left to take care of themselves. They did not venture to select their own portions; the others did not come forward to offer them anything. Thus there remained, for a time, seven tribes which had not received their inheritance.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 18:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-18.html. 1905.