1. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.
1. Congregata est autem universa multitudo filiorum Israel in Silo, et collocaverunt ibi tabernaculum conventionis, postquam terra subjecta erat coram eis.
2. And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.
2. Remanserunt autem e filiis Israel quibus non diviserant haereditatem suam, septem tribus.
3. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are you slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?
3. Dixitque Josue ad filios Israel, Usquequo cessatis ingredi, ut possideatis terram quam dedit vobis Jehova Deus patrum vestrorum?
4. Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.
4. Tradite ex vobis tres viros per tribum, quos mittam: surgentque et ambulabunt per terram, describentque eam juxta haereditatem suam, postea revertentur ad me.
5. And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.
5. Et parientur eam in septem portiones: Judas stabit in finibus suis a meridie: et familia Joseph stabunt in finibus suis ab aquilone.
6. You shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.
6. Vosque describatis terram in septem partes, et afferatis ad me huc: tum projiciam vobis sortem hic coram Jehova Deo nostro.
7. But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave them.
7. Non est enim pars Levitis in medio vestri, quia sacerdotium Jehovae est haereditas ejus: Gad autem et Ruben, et dimidia tribus Manasse acceperunt haereditatem suam citra Jordanem ad orientem, quam dedit ei Moses servus Jehovae.
8. And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the LORD in Shiloh.
8. Surrexeruntque viri illi, atque abierunt, praecepitque Josue istis qui ibant, ut describerent terram, dicendo: Ite, et ambulate per terram, ac describite eam: postea revertemini ad me, et hic projiciam vobis sortem coram Jehova in Silo.
9. And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh.
9. Abierunt itaque viri, et transierunt per terram, atque descriperunt eam per urbes in septem partes, in libro: reversique sunt ad Josuam ad castra in Silo.
10. And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.
10. Misit autem eis Josua sortem in Silo coram Jehova: partitusque est ibi Josua terram filiis Israel secundum partes eorum.
And yet that obedience, which shortly after grew languid, was honored with the approbation of the Holy Spirit. It is to be observed that the people are blamed, not for neglecting to proceed to the lot, but for not occupying the inheritance divinely offered to them. And, certainly, as the distribution by lot was a sign of confidence, so each district which fell out to each was a sure and faithful pledge of future possession; for the Lord was by no means deluding them in assigning to each his portion.
The ark is said to have been stationed at Shiloh,1 not only that the consultation might be graver and more sacred, as held in the presence of God, but because it was a completely subjugated place, and safe from all external violence and injury. For it behooved to be their special care to prevent its exposure to sudden assault. No doubt the hand of God would have been stretched to ward off attacks of the enemy from any quarter; still, however, though God dwelt among them, they were to be regarded as its guardians and attendants.
But although a station for the ark was then chosen, it was not a perpetual abode, but only a temporary lodging. For it was not left to the will or suffrages of the people to fix the seat where God should dwell, but they behooved to wait for the period so often referred to in the Law, when he was to establish the memorial of his name elsewhere. This was at length accomplished when Mount Zion was set apart for the Temple. For this reason it is said in the Psalm,
"Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem."
These words intimate that up to that time the ark was pilgrimating. At last the ruin and devastation of Shiloh showed that no rank or dignity can screen those who corrupt the blessings of God from his vengeance. Up to the death of Eli, God allowed his sacred name to be worshipped there; but when all religion was polluted by the impiety of the priests, and almost abolished by the ingratitude of the people, that spot became to posterity a signal monument of punishment. Accordingly, Jeremiah tells the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who were proudly boasting of their Temple, to turn their eyes to that example. Speaking in the name of the Lord, he says,
"Go you now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel." (Jeremiah 7:12)
1 This place, which afterwards became so celebrated as the fixed station of the ark and tabernacle during the remainder of Joshua's life and the rule of the Judges, down to the tragical death of Eli, is described in Judges 21:19, as "On the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah." This minute description corresponds with a place now called Seilun, which is situated about twenty miles N.N.E. from Jerusalem, and has several ruins indicative of an ancient site. If this was the place, it stood nearly in the center of the country, and was thus the most convenient which could have been selected. While its locality made it easily accessible from all quarters, its site, in the heart of a basin completely enclosed by hills except on the south, where a narrow valley opens into a plain, admirably adapted it for the still and solemn performance of religious services. -- Ed.
2 Latin, "
3 Latin, "
4 These observations are made on the understanding that the survey made on this occasion was very minute, embracing, as Calvin here expresses it, all the "various windings and turnings," so as not to leave a single corner unexamined, and extending with the same minuteness, not only to the lands actually conquered, but to those still in the undisputed possession of the original inhabitants. Assuming this to be the fact, the dangers to be encountered by the surveyors are certainly not exaggerated in the very graphical description of them here given, and nothing but a series of miraculous interposition's could have saved them. It may be suggested, however, that the object of the surveyors was only to obtain such a general measurement as might suffice, in the manner already explained, for the taking of the lot, and that such a measurement might possibly have been made without much danger of awakening the suspicion, or rousing the hostility of the actual inhabitants. That the survey was more cursory than minute seems to be indicated by the description given of it in Joshua 18:9, "And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities." -- Ed.