Darby's Bible Synopsis
This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.
The following commentary covers Chapters 12 through 24.
Chapter 12 is only a summary of their conquests. The Holy Ghost not only gives us the victory over our enemies, but makes us understand and know the whole extent of the country, and defines the particular portion of each; giving us details of everything it contains; of God's perfect arrangements for the appropriation of the whole, and the distribution of each part of His people, so as to produce a well-ordered whole, and perfect in all its parts, according to the wisdom of God. But here we have to realise the distinction maintained in the New Testament between the gifts of God, and the enjoyment of the gifts given. "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." "He hath made us sit together in heavenly places by the same power which placed Christ there, when He raised Him from the dead and set Him above every name that is named. Alas! how many earthly things still remain unsubdued among Christians. But the Holy Ghost takes cognizance of this condition, in view of, and in connection with, that which rightfully belongs to them: it is this which enables us to understand the second division of this book.
Although there was still a considerable part of the land to be possessed, Joshua parcels out the whole amongst the tribes of Israel, according to the command of Jehovah, who declares that He will Himself drive out its inhabitants before them. But the people poorly responded to this promise. The cities of the Philistines were indeed taken, but their inhabitants were not exterminated; they were spared, and soon regained power. Here we may remark that, wherever there is faithfulness, there is rest. The effect of Joshua's work was, that "the land had rest from war"; so also with that of Caleb (Joshua 14:15). When the cities of the Levites were allotted them, we find the same thing again (Joshua 21:43-44). It is not so in detail. The whole extent of country is given to Israel, and each tribe has his share; the portion, therefore, which fell to each tribe was given them in full right by Jehovah Himself. Their borders were marked out; for the Spirit of God takes notice of everything in distributing the spiritual inheritance, and gives to each according to the mind of God. There is nothing uncertain in God's arrangements. But we find that not one tribe drove out all the enemies of God from His inheritance, not one realised the possession of all that God had given him.
Judah and Joseph take possession of their lots. We know that they always remained chief amongst Israel, fulfilling thus the counsels of God as to royalty for Judah, and the birthright which fell by grace to Joseph (chaps. 15-17; see 1 Chronicles 5:2). The tabernacle of God was also set up in peace (chap. 18); but, once at rest, the tribes are very slow in taking possession of their portion-too frequently the history of God's people. Having found peace, they neglect His promises. Nevertheless, as we have seen, the Spirit of God did not fail to point out to the people in detail all that belonged to them.
The cities of refuge are appointed (chap. 20); that is, the land being Jehovah's, provision is made that it may not be defiled, and for the return of every man to his inheritance, after he had fled from it for a time, because of killing some person unawares. We have already seen the force of this. Only we may remark here, that not only have we seen spiritual title to all at once before Jericho-the rights of Jehovah maintained in the case of the king of Ai and mount Ebal, as the ground of present possession-but provision for restoration to enjoyment of the inheritance in detail when temporarily lost, which, in figure, applies to the people in the last days.
The establishment of the two tribes and a half on the other side Jordan gave rise to difficulties and suspicions. Nevertheless these tribes were faithful at heart. Their position had done them harm, their self-seeking having somewhat marred the energy of their faith: still, faithfulness to Jehovah was found in them.
Finally, Joshua sets the people, in the way of warning, under a curse, or under a blessing, according to their obedience or disobedience; and then recapitulates their history, telling them that their fathers had been idolaters, and that the people around them were so still.
But the people, not having yet lost the sense of the power of God who had blessed them, declare that they will serve Jehovah alone. They are thus placed under responsibility, and undertake to obey, as the condition of their possessing the land and enjoying the fruit of God's promise. They are left there, it is true, in peaceable possession of it all, but under the condition of obedience after having already allowed those, who should have been utterly destroyed, to remain in the land; and when, from the outset, they had not at all realised that which God had given them. What a picture of the assembly ever since the days of the apostles!
There is yet one remark to be made. When Christ shall return in glory, we shall inherit all things, Satan being bound. The assembly ought to realise now, by the Holy Ghost, the power of this glory. But there are things, properly called heavenly, which are ours, as being our dwelling-place, our standing, our calling; there are others which are subjected to us, and which are a sphere for the exercise of the power that we possess. Thus the limits of Israel's abode were less extensive than those of the territory to which they had a right. Jordan was the boundary of their abode, the Euphrates that of their possession. The heavenly things are ours; but the manifestation of the power of Christ over creation, and the deliverance of this creation, is granted to us. It will be delivered when Christ Himself shall exercise the power. Thus the "powers of the world to come [See Note #1]" were deliverances from the yoke of the enemy. These were not things proper to us; nevertheless they were ours.
So called, I doubt not, because they were samples of that power which will entirely subdue the enemy when Christ shall appear.
And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay that looketh southward:
And it went out to the south side to Maalehacrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadeshbarnea, and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa:
From thence it passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast.
And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of Jordan. And their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the uttermost part of Jordan:
And the border went up to Bethhogla, and passed along by the north of Betharabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben:
And the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river: and the border passed toward the waters of Enshemesh, and the goings out thereof were at Enrogel:
And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward:
And the border was drawn from the top of the hill unto the fountain of the water of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border was drawn to Baalah, which is Kirjathjearim:
And the border compassed from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, on the north side, and went down to Bethshemesh, and passed on to Timnah:
And the border went out unto the side of Ekron northward: and the border was drawn to Shicron, and passed along to mount Baalah, and went out unto Jabneel; and the goings out of the border were at the sea.
And the west border was to the great sea, and the coast thereof. This is the coast of the children of Judah round about according to their families.
And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron.
And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.
And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher.
And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.
And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.
And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou?
Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.
This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.
And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward were Kabzeel, and Eder, and Jagur,
And Kinah, and Dimonah, and Adadah,
And Kedesh, and Hazor, and Ithnan,
Ziph, and Telem, and Bealoth,
And Hazor, Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which is Hazor,
Amam, and Shema, and Moladah,
And Hazargaddah, and Heshmon, and Bethpalet,
And Hazarshual, and Beersheba, and Bizjothjah,
Baalah, and Iim, and Azem,
And Eltolad, and Chesil, and Hormah,
And Ziklag, and Madmannah, and Sansannah,
And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages:
And in the valley, Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah,
And Zanoah, and Engannim, Tappuah, and Enam,
Jarmuth, and Adullam, Socoh, and Azekah,
And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages:
Zenan, and Hadashah, and Migdalgad,
And Dilean, and Mizpeh, and Joktheel,
Lachish, and Bozkath, and Eglon,
And Cabbon, and Lahmam, and Kithlish,
And Gederoth, Bethdagon, and Naamah, and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages:
Libnah, and Ether, and Ashan,
And Jiphtah, and Ashnah, and Nezib,
And Keilah, and Achzib, and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages:
Ekron, with her towns and her villages:
From Ekron even unto the sea, all that lay near Ashdod, with their villages:
Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof:
And in the mountains, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh,
And Dannah, and Kirjathsannah, which is Debir,
And Anab, and Eshtemoh, and Anim,
And Goshen, and Holon, and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages:
Arab, and Dumah, and Eshean,
And Janum, and Bethtappuah, and Aphekah,
And Humtah, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, and Zior; nine cities with their villages:
Maon, Carmel, and Ziph, and Juttah,
And Jezreel, and Jokdeam, and Zanoah,
Cain, Gibeah, and Timnah; ten cities with their villages:
Halhul, Bethzur, and Gedor,
And Maarath, and Bethanoth, and Eltekon; six cities with their villages:
Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, and Rabbah; two cities with their villages:
In the wilderness, Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah,
And Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi; six cities with their villages.
As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.