1. Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.
1. Quum autem senuisset Josue, et venisset in dies, dixit ei Jehova, Tu senuisti, venisti in dies, et multa terra admodum superest ad possidendum.
2. This is the land that yet remaineth: all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri,
2. Haec est terra quae residua est, omnes limites Philisthinorum, et omnis Gessuri.
3. From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:
3. A Nilo qui est e regione AEgypti usque ad terminum Ecron, qui est ab aquilone, quae Chananeae reputatur, quinque principatus Philisthinorum, Azathaeus, Asdodaeus, Ascalonaeus, Gitthaeus et Ekronaeus et Auaei.
4. From the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that is beside the Sidonians, unto Aphek, to the borders of the Amorites:
4. Ab austro universa terra Chananaei et Meara, quae est Sidoniorum usque ad Paera, usque ad terminum Aemorrhaei.
5. And the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baalgad under mount Hermon unto the entering into Hamath.
5. Et terra Gibli, et totus Libanus ad ortum solis a Baal-gad sub monte Hermon, donec pervenias Hemath.
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.
6. Omnes habitotores montis a Libano usque ad fervores aquarum: omnes Sidonios ego expellam a facie filiorum Israel: tantum jacias sortem, ut sit in haereditatem Israel, sicut praecepi tibi.
7. Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh;
7. Nunc ergo divide terram istam in haereditatem novem tribubus, et dimidiae tribui Manasse.
8. With whom the Reubenites and the Gadites have received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond Jordan eastward, even as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them;
8. Praeter eam Rubenitae, et Gaditae acceperunt partes suas, quas dedit iis Moses trans Jordanem ad orientem, sicut dedit eis Moses servus Jehovae.
9. From Aroer, that is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain of Medeba unto Dibon;
9. Ab Aroer quae est juxta ripam fluminis Arnon, et urbem ipsam quae est in medio vallis, et totam planitiem Medeba usque ad Dibon.
10. And all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, unto the border of the children of Ammon;
10. Et omnes urbes Sihon regis Aemorrhaei, qui regnabat in Hesbon, usque ad terminum filiorum Ammon.
11. And Gilead, and the border of the Geshurites and Maachathites, and all mount Hermon, and all Bashan unto Salcah;
11. Et Gilead et terminum Gessuri, et Maachati, et totum montem Hermon, et universum Basan usque ad Salchah.
12. All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out.
12. Universum regnum Og in Basan, qui regnabat in Astaroth, et in Edrei: hic supererat ex residuo Rephaim, quos percussit Moses et expulit.
13. Nevertheless the children of Israel expelled not the Geshurites, nor the Maachathites: but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day.
13. Non expulerunt autem filii Israel Gessuri et Maachati: propterea habitavit Gessur et Maachat in medio Israel usque ad hunc diem.
14. Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them.
14. Tantum tribui Levi non dedit haereditatem, sacrificia Jehovae Dei Israel sunt hereditas ejus, quemadmodum loquutus est de ea.
We now see to what intent the whole land behooved to be divided by lot, and the seat of each tribe allocated. It was also necessary that this should be done while Joshua was alive, because after his death the Israelites would have been less inclined to obedience, for none of his successors possessed authority sufficient for the execution of so difficult a task. Moreover, as God had already by the mouth of Moses commanded it to be done, had he not performed the business thus committed to him, the whole work might have gone to wreck when the lawful minister was removed. Although the exact time is not stated, still it is probable that as there was no hope that while Joshua continued alive the people would again take up arms with the view of giving a wider extent to their boundaries, he then only attempted to divide the land, as if he were proclaiming and promising, by a solemn attestation, that the distribution would certainly be carried into effect, because the truth of God could not fail in consequence of the death of any man.
The boundary commenced with a river separating Egypt toward the sea from the Holy Land, and most probably the river Nile, as we interpret it according to the received opinion, or a small stream which flowed past the town of Rhinocornea, believed by many to be Raphia or Raphane.3It is indeed beyond dispute that the inheritance of the people commencing in that quarter was contiguous to Egypt. But although I have followed the opinion of the majority of expositors, that the boundaries were not extended further than to the less cultivated and in a manner desert land, lest greater proximity might have been injurious by leading to too close familiarity with the Egyptians, I by no means repudiate a different opinion.
The third verse raises a question. After it is said that the territories towards the sea-coast were five, a sixth is added, namely, that of the Avites. Some think that it is not counted among the five because it was an insignificant province. But I would have my readers to consider whether there may not be an indirect antithesis between a free people, their own masters, and five territories ruled by sovereigns. Hence the Avites being in different circumstances are mentioned separately, the plural number being used for the sake of distinction. In the enumeration of the sovereignties they are not arranged in the order of their dignity or opulence, but the first place is given to Aza because of its nearness to Egypt, and the same remark applies to Ashdod and the others.
The Septuagint translators, according to their usual custom, employ the Greek
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.8 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.
1 The words, "old and stricken in years," do not contain a tautology, but accurately express the period of life according to a division which was long familiar to the Jews, and may have been not unknown to them even at this early period. According to this division, old age consisted of three stages, -- the first extending from the sixtieth to the seventieth year, constituting the commencement of old age properly so called; the second extending from the seventieth to the eightieth year, and constituting what was called hoary, or hoary-headed age; and the third extending from the eightieth year to the end of life, and constituting what was called advanced age, and caused the person who had reached it to be described as one stricken in years. At this closing stage Joshua had now arrived. -- Ed.
3 The opinion generally entertained in Calvin's time, that the river here meant was the Nile, or at least one of its branches, was founded partly on the meaning of the word sihor, which is literally black, and was explained by expositors as equivalent to turbid, a term strictly applicable to the Nile; and partly from a passage in Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 2:18) in which the Prophet asks, "What has thou to do in the way of Egypt to drink the waters of Sihor?" -- Sihor being here undoubtedly used as a proper name for the Nile. The second opinion mentioned by Calvin is now almost universally admitted to be the only one tenable. Even the description here given of Sihor, (Joshua 13:3,) as "before Egypt," is totally inapplicable to the Nile which, instead of being before Egypt, or on its frontiers, flows nearly through its center. The river meant and expressly referred to both by Moses (Numbers 34:5) and by Joshua (Joshua 15:4) under the name of the river of Egypt, is now called the Wady El-Arisch, from the town of that name situated near its mouth, and not far from the site of the ancient Rhinocolura, or perhaps more properly Rhinocorura. Calvin spells Rhinocornea, which if it had not been repeated by the French, might seem to be a misprint. -- Ed.
4 It is here assumed that the only genuine sound represented by the Hebrew letter Ain is that of a. Is this the fact? Gesenius, on the contrary, while repudiating the modern Jewish pronunciation of it by the nasal gn or ng as decidedly false, says that its hardest sound is that of a g referring to Gaza and Gomorrha, the two words referred to by Calvin in illustration of the contrary. See Gesenius's Hebrew Grammar. (Bagster, 1852.)
5 The French adds, "
6 French, "
7 This is certainly incorrect. Antilibanus received its name, not from its length, but from its being a mountain chain opposite and parallel to Libanus or Lebanon proper, from which it is separated by the beautiful valley known to the Greeks and Romans by the names of Coele-Syria, or rather Koile (Hollow) Syria, and watered by the Leontes. -- Ed.
8 The Septuagint avoids the appearance of tautology, both by abridging the verse and adopting a different punctuation, rendering it thus: "To Reuben and Gad the Lord gave (an inheritance) on the other side of the Jordan; towards the sun-rising did Moses the servant of the Lord give it to them." This, however, is not the only alteration made by the Septuagint version. For immediately before the verse now quoted, it interpolates another in the following terms, "From the Jordan unto the Great Sea on the west shall thou give it: the Great Sea will be the boundary of the two tribes and of the half tribe of Manasse." -- Ed.
9 To the end of this verse the Septuagint adds the following clause: "kai< ou+tov oJ katamerismo<v o[n kateme>rise Mwnsh~v toi~v uiJoi~v Israh<l ejn Arabw<q Mwa<b ejn tw~| pe>ran tou~ Iorda>nou kata< Iericw<;" "And this is the division which Moses divided to the children of Israel in Araboth-Moab beyond Jordan opposite to Jericho." -- Ed.