Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them.
Jos 14:1-5. The Nine Tribes and a Half to Have Their Inheritance by Lot.
1. these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan—This chapter forms the introduction to an account of the allocation of the land west of Jordan, or Canaan proper, to the nine tribes and a half. It was also made by lot in presence of a select number of superintendents, appointed according to divine directions given to Moses (see on Nu 34:16). In everything pertaining to civil government, and even the division of the land, Joshua was the acknowledged chief. But in a matter to be determined by lot, a solemn appeal was made to God, and hence Eleazar, as high priest, is named before Joshua.
By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.
For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them.
For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance.
4. The children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim—As two and a half tribes were settled on the east Jordan, and the Levites had no inheritance assigned them in land, there would have been only eight and a half tribes to provide for. But Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph, had been constituted two tribes (Ge 48:5), and although Levi was excluded, the original number of the tribes of Israel was still preserved.
As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.
5. the children of Israel … divided the land—that is, they made the preliminary arrangements for the work. A considerable time was requisite for the survey and measurement.
Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea.
Jos 14:6-15. Caleb by Privilege Requests and Obtains Hebron.
6-11. Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb … said—This incident is recorded here because it occurred while the preparations were being made for casting the lots, which, it appears, were begun in Gilgal. The claim of Caleb to the mountains of Hebron as his personal and family possessions was founded on a solemn promise of Moses, forty-five years before (Nu 14:24; De 1:36; Jos 14:10), to give him that land on account of his fidelity. Being one of the nominees appointed to preside over the division of the country, he might have been charged with using his powers as a commissioner to his own advantage, had he urged his request in private; and therefore he took some of his brethren along with him as witness of the justice and propriety of his conduct.
Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.
And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.
And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
12. give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day—this highland region.
for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there—The report of the spies, who tried to kindle the flame of sedition and discontent, related chiefly to the people and condition of this mountain district, and hence it was promised as the reward of Caleb's truth, piety, and faithfulness.
And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.
13, 14. Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb Hebron for an inheritance—Joshua, who was fully cognizant of all the circumstances, not only admitted the claim, but in a public and earnest manner prayed for the divine blessing to succor the efforts of Caleb in driving out the idolatrous occupiers.
Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.
And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.
15. Kirjath-arba—that is, the city of Arba, a warrior among the native race remarkable for strength and stature.
the land had rest from war—Most of the kings having been slain and the natives dispirited, there was no general or systematic attempt to resist the progress and settlement of the Israelites.