Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Princes, whose names are given, Numbers xxxiv. 17. There were 12, including Josue and Eleazar. The tribes of Ruben and Gad sent none of their princes, as they were not concerned in this distribution.
Tribe. God regulated the lots, as he had authorized Jacob and Moses to foretell how the country should be divided. By this method, he precluded every pretence of discontent among the tribes. Each of them drew a ticket, on which a certain portion of land was described; or perhaps in one urn the names of the tribes, and in another the lands were specified, (Calmet) and the tickets were drawn by two persons of irreproachable character, probably by Eleazar and Josue. (Haydock) (Numbers xxvi. 54.) ---Only the tribes of Juda and of Joseph received their portions at Galgal, chap. xviii.
Suburbs. A certain quantity of ground, which the Levites were not allowed to till or plant with vines. (Grotius) (Numbers xxxv. 4.) --- The tribe of Manasses, which was divided, fell heir to the portion which would have been allotted to Levi, who was also scattered among his brethren. (Haydock) --- Thus Joseph obtained the birth-right of Ruben. (Calmet) --- Twelve portions were made, as Jacob had adopted Ephraim and Manasses, Genesis xlviii. (Worthington)
Land: or they were making all necessary preparations for the work, when Caleb came to remind Josue of what had been promised to him. No doubt land-measurers would be sent through the country.
Jephone was the father of Caleb. Esron and Cenez probably some of his ancestors, 1 Paralipomenon ii. 18., and Numbers xxxiii. 12. What Caleb here asserts, must have been delivered by word of mouth, in the hearing of the people, Deuteronomy i. 36. Moses declared not that Caleb was to have the whole country but that he should enter into it, and possess the environs of Hebron. (Calmet)
March. Hebrew, "to enter and to go out." Septuagint add, "to war."
Me. He trusts not in his own strength, but in the assistance of God, which he modestly acknowledges is not due to him. (Calmet) --- God's promises are indeed sure on his part; but being conditional, and the will of man being free, he adds perhaps. (Worthington)
Blessed him, wishing him all success. --- Gave him. Some think that Josue himself attacked the giants of that country with all the forces, as it is mentioned by anticipation, chap. x. 28. But there seems to be no need of this, as Caleb might attack them a second time with his own family and the assistance of the tribe of Juda, after they had seized those places again, while Josue was in the north. Hebron was granted to him without drawing lots. When he was besieging Cariath Sepher, he promised his daughter to the person who should first enter; and Othoniel, his brother, or nephew, obtained her in marriage, chap. xv. 17., and Judges i. 10. It seems, therefore, that this family carried on this war, as the Fabii did at Rome, without the interference of the commonwealth, though Grotius asserts the contrary. (Calmet)
Hebron belonged, &c. All the country thereabouts, depending on Hebron, was given to Caleb; but the city itself, with the suburbs, was one of those that were given to the priests to dwell in. (Challoner) --- Caleb might also dwell, (Calmet) and be lord of the city, (Salien) though the profits (Haydock) or the town belonged to the priests, chap. xxi. 11. (Worthington)
Cariath Arbe, "the city of Arbe," and ancient giant; or "of four," which the Jews explain of four great patriarchs, who were buried there. --- Adam, &c. St. Jerome seems to favour the opinion that Adam was one of these, whose tomb ennobled Hebron, though many of the Fathers think he was buried on Mount Calvary. Others think that his body, or skull at least, was translated thither. But we cannot depend on any of these traditions. Most commentators explain the Hebrew, "The ancient name of Hebron with Cariath Arbe; (Calmet) he was a man great among the Enacim." (Haydock) --- Adam is often put for a man in general, 2 Kings vii. 19., and Osee xi. 4. (Calmet; Amama) --- Septuagint, "the city of Arbo. This was the metropolis of the Enacim." (Haydock) --- Wars, for a time, particularly from such wars as engaged the attention of all Israel. The different tribes had to encounter and drive out the Chanaanites who might be left in their respective districts. (Calmet)