Joshua 18
Matthew Poole's Commentary
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.
The tabernacle is set up in Shiloh, Joshua 18:1. The remainder of the land described, and divided into seven parts, for the seven tribes which as yet had no inheritance, Joshua 18:2-9. Joshua casts the lot at Shiloh, Joshua 18:10: the first comes out for Benjamin, whose borders and cities are described, Joshua 18:11-28.

Set up the tabernacle of the congregation there, by God’s appointment, as is manifest from Deu 12:5, &c.; Jeremiah 7:12. Hither it was removed from Gilgal, partly for the honour and conveniency of Joshua, that he being of the tribe of Ephraim, and seating himself there, might have the opportunity of consulting with God as oft as he desired and needed; and partly for the conveniency of all the tribes, that, being in the heart and centre of them, they might more easily resort to it from all places. Here the tabernacle continued for above three hundred years, even till Samuel’s days, 1 Samuel 1:3.

And the land, or, for the land, because these words contain a reason of the former action: the particle and is oft used for for, as hath been showed.

And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?
This slackness is supposed to arise, partly, from their dissatisfaction in the portions already allotted, Judah’s being too large, as it appeared, and Joseph’s too narrow as they complained; partly, from an opinion of the impossibility of making any regular and equal distribution of the parts, till the whole were better known, and more exactly surveyed, which accordingly is here done; and partly, because being weary of war, and having sufficient plenty of all things in their present condition, they grew slothful and secure, and were unwilling to run into new hazards and wars, as they perceived, by Joshua’s answer to the tribe of Joseph, Joshua 17:15, &c., they were likely to do when they entered upon their several possessions.

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.
Three men; three, not one, for more exact observation both of the measure and quality of the several portions, and for greater assurance and evidence of their care and faithfulness in giving in their account.

Of each tribe; either one of each of these tribes, who were yet unprovided for; or rather, two of all the tribes, even of them who had already received their portions; which was highly expedient, that in case it should appear that there was not a sufficiency for each of these tribes who wanted their portions, their brethren might be more ready either to assist them in procuring more land, or to part with some of their own portion to them.

Go through the land; which they might now safely do, because the terror of the late war was yet upon the Canaanites, who were loth to rouse so near and potent an enemy.

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.
Seven parts; which were of equal extent or worth; for no tribe was so great but one of these parts in its full extent would abundantly suffice them; and there was no reason why the portions should be greater or less according as the tribes at present were more or fewer in number, because of the various changes which happened therein successively; it being usual for one tribe to be more numerous than another in one age, which was fewer in the next. And if the several tribes had increased more, and not diminished their numbers by their sins, they might have sent forth colonies, and taken any part of the land, even as far as Euphrates, all which the Lord of the whole earth had given them a right to, which when they pleased they might take possession of.

Shall abide in their coast on the south: they shall not be disturbed in their possession, but shall keep it, except some part of it shall be adjudged to another tribe.

On the north; in respect of Judah, not of the whole land; for divers other tribes were more northern than they.

Ye 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.
i.e. Before the ark or tabernacle, that God may be witness, and judge, and author of the division, that each may be contented with his lot, and that your several possessions may be secured to you as things sacred, and not to be alienated.

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.
No text from Poole on this verse.

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.
The Levites have no part among you; therefore it shall be divided only into seven parts, as I have said.

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.
By cities, or, according to the cities, to which the several parts or territories belonged.

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.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.
Wherein we see the wisdom of Divine Providence, this being the only place in which that prophecy, Deu 33:12, could have been accomplished.

And their border on the north side was from Jordan; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, and went up through the mountains westward; and the goings out thereof were at the wilderness of Bethaven.
A place distinct from, but near unto Beth-el, as may be gathered from Joshua 16:1.

And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is Bethel, southward; and the border descended to Atarothadar, near the hill that lieth on the south side of the nether Bethhoron.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, from the hill that lieth before Bethhoron southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter.
Kirjath-jearim; the Israelites changed the name, to blot out the remembrance of Baal. Compare Joshua 15:9 Numbers 32:38.

And the south quarter was from the end of Kirjathjearim, and the border went out on the west, and went out to the well of waters of Nephtoah:
The south quarter; the same with the north quarter of Judah. See Joshua 15:5,6,11.

And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to Enrogel,
To the end of the mountain, i.e. the place where the mountain ends, and the valley begins.

Before the valley of the son of Hinnom, i.e. in the prospect of that valley; or, that reacheth to that valley on the south.

In the valley of the giants on the north; which extends to this other valley on the north side of it.

To the side of Jebusi; to that part where the Jebusites lived, which was in and near Jerusalem.

And was drawn from the north, and went forth to Enshemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben,
Geliloth, called also Gilgal, as appears from Joshua 15:7 Judges 3:19; but differing from that Gilgal by Jordan.

And passed along toward the side over against Arabah northward, and went down unto Arabah:
Arabah, called Beth-arabah, Joshua 15:6.

And the border passed along to the side of Bethhoglah northward: and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the salt sea at the south end of Jordan: this was the south coast.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Jordan was the border of it on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, by the coasts thereof round about, according to their families.
At the north bay of the Salt Sea, where an arm of that sea runs into the land, which is opposed to the south bay that was in the south border of the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:2. At the south end of Jordan, where it enters into the Salt Sea, which is here opposed to the north end of it, or the spring-head, which was in the north.

Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Bethhoglah, and the valley of Keziz,
Jericho; for though the city was destroyed, the territory remained, and some houses probably were built and inhabited there, though it was not made a city with walls and gates, which was the only thing forbidden, Joshua 6:26.

Keziz, or, Emec-keziz, the proper name of a city or great town.

And Betharabah, and Zemaraim, and Bethel,
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah,
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Chepharhaammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages:
No text from Poole on this verse.

Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,
Zemaraim; which either gave name to, or took name from, that mountain, 2 Chronicles 13:4.

And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah,
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah,
Mizpeh, near Ramah, in the same mountain where Silo was. There were divers other cities of that name.

And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families.
Which is Jerusalem: so it seems this city did properly and primarily belong to Benjamin, although the tribe of Judah had also an interest in it, either because some part of it was allotted to them, or because the Benjamites gave them a share in it, for the assistance which either they had received or did expect from that potent tribe, for the getting or defending of that very important place. See Poole "Joshua 15:63". It is more than probable that all the cities belonging to this tribe are not here named, because Anathoth and Almon are omitted here, but expressed Joshua 21:18.

Matthew Poole's Commentary

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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