Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Age. Josue was now 100 years old. He lived ten more, (Calmet) having governed the people in all 17. (Haydock) — During the first seven years, he had performed all that could be expected from an able general, and he probably designed to conquer the whole country before he divided it. But God, who chose to leave some of the ancient inhabitants in the country, to try the fidelity of his people, &c., ordered him to proceed to the distribution, that the different tribes might take care to exterminate those idolaters, who might be found in their territory. — Lot. Hebrew, “to be possessed.” Only the country east of the Jordan was yet divided.
Ver. 2. Galilee. As Josue had been making such conquests in that part lately, some would translate Geliloth, “the confines” of the Philistines, in which sense it seems to be taken, chap. xviii. 18., and xxii. 10. (Calmet) — Bonfrere suspects that St. Jerome wrote Galila. — Gessuri, either near Mount Hermon, (Menochius) or bordering upon Arabia, 1 Kings xv., and xxvii. 10.
Ver. 3. Egypt. Hebrew, “from the Shicor, (or Sichor) which is on the face, (or over-against) Egypt.” Jeremias (ii. 18,) informs us that this river was in Egypt which is not true of the torrent of Rhinocorure; which the Septuagint and many commentators, understand in this place to be the boundary fixed for the promised land. Strabo, &c., attribute that torrent to Phœnicia; which they extend as far as Pelusium. St. Jerome (in Amos vi.) seems dubious whether the branch of the Nile passes by that city, or the aforesaid torrent be meant. David collected all his forces from the Sichor, or the torrent of Egypt, to the entrance of Emath, 1 Paralipomenon xiii. 5. Epiphanes constituted Lysanias governor of all the countries between the Euphrates and the river of Egypt, (2 Machabees iii. 32,) and he undoubtedly had extended his conquests as far as the Nile. Though the country beyond Gaza be now mostly barren, and therefore little inhabited or noticed, yet the Israelites were entitled to assert their right to it, as they seem to have done by taking possession of Gosen, chap. x. 41. Some parts were formerly well peopled, 1 Kings xxvii. 8. It is not unusual for the Nile, and other great rivers, to be styled torrents. The Hebrew nél, is often applied to rivers, Ecclesiastes i. 7. The troubled state in which the waters of the Nile generally appear, is very remarkable, as their taste is most excellent. The natives have discovered a method of rendering them clear, by the mixture of almond powder. The names of this river bear some relation to the Hebrew term which is here used. It was formerly called Siris; and the star, which rose when it overflowed, received the name of Sirius. The Ethiopians style it Schichri. Another name was Melas, or Egyptus, denoting “blackness.” The people of the country idolized this river, because it supplied the want of rain. (Tibul, i. 8.) (Calmet) — Accaron, the most northern city of the Philistian principalities, (Haydock) attributed to Juda or Dan, though neither held it for any length of time. Beelzebub was chiefly adored here, 4 Kings i. 2. — Lords, who seem to have been independent. They are styled Sornim, as the next in dignity to the king of Persia was a Surena. (Marcellin. 24.) The Philistines took this country from the Chanaanites, or Eveans, (Calmet) who are a different people from the Hevites. (Bochart)
Ver. 4. Chanaan. From the south to Sidon was yet undivided, and thence eastward, (Haydock) to Apheca of Syria, where was the capital of the kings of that country, and a famous temple of Venus, 3 Kings xx. 26. (Sozom. i. 58.) — Amorrhite, or perhaps Aramean, (Calmet) though we may understand that all the country of the Amorrhite on the south, as well as the northern parts of Chanaan, were to be divided, (Haydock) as far as Emesa. — Will, &c., provided the Israelites observe their part of the covenant. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. With whom. That is, with the other half of that same tribe.
Ver. 9. Aroer, and part of the town of Dibon, belonged to Gad, Numbers xxxii. 34.
Ver. 13. Day. The Israelites were satisfied with what they had already conquered. (Menochius) — But herein they deserved blame, as they were ordered to reduce them entirely, and never suffer them to continue their idolatrous practices in the country which God had chosen for his people. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Victims. Hebrew, “the sacrifices of the Lord made by fire.”
Ver. 18. Mephaath, near the desert, where the Romans afterwards kept a garrison. It was given to the Levites, but was seized by the Moabites after the reign of David. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. The princes of Madian. It appears from hence that these were subjects of king Sehon: they are said to have been slain with him, that is, about the same time, but not in the same battle. (Challoner) — After the death of their sovereign, they looked upon themselves as independent. They had reigned before as viceroys of Sehon, being natives of the country, and not come from some other part, like the Amorrhites. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Slain. Septuagint, “they slew Balaam….with the sword in the moment,” Numbers xxii. 5., and xxxi. 8. (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Rabba, “the great,” being a title of Ar, the capital of the Moabites. The Israelites thought themselves justified in keeping what had been taken from the children of Ammon, by Sehon, (Judges xi. 13.; Calmet) and the Amorrhites. (Worthington)
Ver. 27. Betharan, which was enlarged by Herod, and called Livias, or Julias, as the Greeks called Livia, the wife of Augustus, Julia. (Josephus) — Saphon, or “the northern part of,” &c.
Ver. 30. Towns, which were conquered by Jair, of the tribe of Juda; though he belonged, in some degree, to that of Manasses, by his grandmother, Numbers xxxii. 41.
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God commandeth Josue to divide the land: the possessions of Ruben, Gad, and half tribe of Manasses, beyond the Jordan.
1 Josue was old, *and far advanced in years, and the Lord said to him: Thou art grown old, and advanced in age, and there is a very large country left, which is not yet divided by lot,
2 To wit, all Galilee, Philistia, and all Gessuri.
3 From the troubled river, that watereth Egypt, unto the borders of Accaron northward: the land of Chanaan, which is divided among the lords of the Philistines, the Gazites, the Azotians, the Ascalonites, the Gethites, and the Accaronites.
4 And on the south side are the Hevites, all the land of Chanaan, and Maara of the Sidonians, as far as Apheca, and the borders of the Amorrhite,
5 And his confines. The country also of Libanus towards the east, from Baalgad under Mount Hermon, to the entering into Emath.
6 Of all that dwell in the mountains, from Libanus to the waters of Maserephoth, and all the Sidonians. I am he that will cut them off from before the face of the children of Israel. So let their land come in as a part of the inheritance of Israel, as I have commanded thee.
7 And now divide the land in possession to the nine tribes, and to the half tribe of Manasses,
8 With whom Ruben and Gad have possessed the land, *which Moses, the servant of the Lord, delivered to them beyond the river Jordan, on the east side.
9 From Aroer, which is upon the bank of the torrent Arnon, and in the midst of the valley, and all the plains of Medaba, as far as Dibon:
10 And all the cities of Sehon, king of the Amorrhites, who reigned in Hesebon, unto the borders of the children of Ammon.
11 And Galaad, and the borders of Gessuri and Machati, and all Mount Hermon, and all Basan, as far as Salecha,
12 All the kingdom of Og, in Basan, who reigned in Astaroth and Edrai, he was of the remains of the Raphaims: and Moses overthrew and destroyed them.
13 And the children of Israel would not destroy Gessuri and Machati: and they have dwelt in the midst of Israel, until this present day.
14 *But to the tribe of Levi he gave no possession: but the sacrifices and victims of the Lord God of Israel, are his inheritance, as he spoke to him.
15 And Moses gave a possession to the children of Ruben, according to their kindreds.
16 And their border was from Aroer, which is on the bank of the torrent Arnon, and in the midst of the valley of the same torrent: all the plain that leadeth to Medaba,
17 And Hesebon, and all their villages, which are in the plains. Dibon also, and Bamothbaal, and the town of Baalmaon,
18 And Jassa, and Cedimoth, and Mephaath,
19 And Cariathaim, and Sabama, and Sarathasar in the mountain of the valley.
20 Bethphogor and Asedoth, Phasga and Bethiesimoth,
21 And all the cities of the plain, and all the kingdoms of Sehon, king of the Amorrhites, that reigned in Hesebon, *whom Moses slew, with the princes of Madian: Hevi, and Recem, and Sur, and Hur, and Rebe, dukes of Sehon, inhabitants of the land.
22 Balaam also, the son of Beor, the soothsayer, the children of Israel slew with the sword among the rest that were slain.
23 And the river Jordan was the border of the children of Ruben. This is the possession of the Rubenites, by their kindreds, of cities and villages.
24 And Moses gave to the tribe of Gad, and to his children, by their kindreds, a possession, of which this is the division.
25 The border of Jaser, and all the cities of Galaad, and half the land of the children of Ammon; as far as Aroer, which is over-against Rabba:
26 And from Hesebon unto Ramoth, Masphe, and Betonim: and from Manaim unto the borders of Dabir.
27 And in the valley Betharan, and Bethnemra, and Socoth, and Saphon, the other part of the kingdom of Sehon, king of Hesebon: the limit of this also is the Jordan, as far as the uttermost part of the sea of Cenereth, beyond the Jordan, on the east side.
28 This is the possession of the children of Gad, by their families, their cities, and villages.
29 He gave also to the half tribe of Manasses, and his children, possession according to their kindreds,
30 The beginning whereof is this: from Manaim, all Basan, and all the kingdoms of Og, king of Basan, and all the villages of Jair, which are in Basan, threescore towns:
31 And half Galaad, and Astaroth, and Edrai, cities of the kingdom of Og, in Basan: to the children of Machir, the son of Manasses, to one half of the children of Machir, according to their kindreds.
32 This possession Moses divided in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan, over-against Jericho, on the east side.
33 *But to the tribe of Levi he gave no possession: because the Lord, the God of Israel, himself is their possession, as he spoke to them.
1: Year of the World 2559.
8: Numbers xxxii. 33.
14: Numbers xviii. 20.
21: Numbers xxxi. 8.
33: Numbers xviii. 20.