Joshua 14:2
(2) By lot . . . as the Lord commanded . . . Moses.--See Numbers 26:52-56; Numbers 34:17-29.

The nine tribes, and for the half tribe; and (3) For Moses had given; and (4) For the children of Joseph were two tribes.--The argument of these verses can only mean that the tribal inheritances were to be twelve in number, and therefore the Levites were excluded from any distinct territorial position, for the children of Joseph were to be two tribes. Of Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob had said to Joseph, "as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine:" i.e., though grandsons, they shall count as sons of Jacob, and each one shall be the head of a tribe. Thus there are two ways of counting Jacob's sons, each making twelve; and these two seem to be recognised as distinct in Exodus 28. There we are told that the high priest should bear the names of the children of Israel on his shoulders according to their birth (i.e., Joseph being counted as well as Levi, but not Ephraim and Manasseh). On his breastplate he must have them according to the twelve tribes (i.e., Ephraim and Manasseh being specified, but Joseph and Levi left out). Both ways of reckoning were necessary in order that the complete Israel might be represented by the high priest. And in each way the number twelve was preserved and emphasised, as it is evidently intended to be in this place,

Verse 2. - By lot was their inheritance. The commentators, following the Rabbis, have amused themselves by speculations how the lot was taken. The question is of no great practical importance; but no doubt the contrivance was a very primitive one, as the word גורָל a small pebble, used here, seems to imply. What is of more importance is the fact that the distribution of territory was the result of no one's caprice, or ambition, or intrigue. The whole matter was referred to God, and the leader of the Israelitish hosts and the high priest presided over the ceremony. It was a common belief among the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, that the use of the lot was to refer the matter to a Divine decision. So we read in the Proverbs, "The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33; cf. 18:18). It is a strong evidence for the truth of this narrative that we read of no conflicts between the various tribes respecting the division of territory. Jealousies sprung up between the tribes, as the narratives in Judges 8, 9, 12; 2 Samuel 19:43, are sufficient to show. But in no one case was there any complaint of unfairness, any attempt to disturb the territorial arrangement made at the time of the original settlement in Palestine. There can be little doubt that Keil is right in supposing this original division to have been in outline merely. It is obvious from the onward course of the narrative (especially ch. 18.) that no very minute accuracy in detail could possibly have been arrived at. The country was roughly mapped out at first, and the complete adjustment of boundaries was a matter which would naturally be put off until the land were actually in possession.

14:1-5 The Israelites must occupy the new conquests. Canaan would have been subdued in vain, if it had not been inhabited. Yet every man might not go and settle where he pleased. God shall choose our inheritance for us. Let us survey our heritage of present mercy, our prospect for the land of promise, eternal in the heavens. Is God any respecter of persons? Is it not better that our place, as to earthly good or sorrow, should be determined by the infinite wisdom of our heavenly Father, than by our own ignorance? Should not those for whom the great mystery of godliness was exhibited, those whose redemption was purchased by Jesus Christ, thankfully refer their earthly concerns to his appointment?By lot was their inheritance,.... Every tribe had its part and portion assigned to it, by the casting of lots; which was done to prevent any future quarrels, animosities and strifes among the tribes, the disposition being of the Lord; and to show the exact agreement between the lot and the divine predictions by Jacob and Moses; and to make it appear that the division of the land was not owing to the private combination of the above men, and their private settlement of it; but to the providence of God, the directors of the lot; their chief business was to see that the lot was executed in a faithful manner, and that every tribe had its allotment according to it. In this Canaan was a type of the heavenly inheritance, which the saints obtain by lot, in and through Christ, the antitypical Joshua, Ephesians 1:11,

as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses, Numbers 26:55,

for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe; see Joshua 13:7; the reason why this number of them is particularly mentioned follows.

Joshua 14:1
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