Joshua 13


Joshua being old, the Lord informs him of the land yet remaining

to be possessed, 1.

Of the unconquered land among the Philistines, 2, 3.

Among the Canaanites, Sidonians, and Amorites, 4, 5.

The inhabitants of the hill country and the Sidonians to be

driven out, 6.

The land on the east side of Jordan, that was to be divided

among the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of

Manasseh, 7-12.

The Geshurites and the Maachathites not expelled, 13.

The tribe of Levi receive no inheritance, 14.

The possessions of REUBEN described, 15-23.

The possessions of GAD, 24-28.

The possessions of the half tribe of Manasseh, 29-31.

Recapitulation of the subjects contained in this chapter,

32, 33.


Verse 1. Joshua was old] He is generally reputed to have been at

this time about a hundred years of age: he had spent about seven

years in the conquest of the land, and is supposed to have

employed about one year in dividing it; and he died about ten

years after, aged one hundred and ten years. It is very likely

that he intended to subdue the whole land before he made the

division of it among the tribes; but God did not think proper to

have this done. So unfaithful were the Israelites that he appears

to have purposed that some of the ancient inhabitants should still

remain to keep them in check, and that the respective tribes

should have some labour to drive out from their allotted borders

the remains of the Canaanitish nations.

There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.] That is,

very much when compared with that on the other side Jordan, which

was all that could as yet be said to be in the hands of the


Verse 2. The borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri] The

borders of the Philistines may mean the land which they possessed

on the sea-coast, southwest of the land of Canaan. There were

several places named Geshuri, but that spoken of here was probably

the region on the south of Canaan, towards Arabia, or towards

Egypt.-Calmet. Cellarius supposes it to have been a country in the

vicinity of the Amalekites.

Verse 3. From Sihor, which is before Egypt] Supposed by some to

be the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, near to the Arabian Desert;

called also the river of Egypt, Nu 34:5; Jer 2:18. On this

subject an intelligent friend favours me with the following


"The river Sihor is supposed by some to be the Nile, or a branch

of it. Others think it the same as what is frequently called the

river of Egypt, which lay before or towards the borders of

Egypt; which arose out of the mountains of Paran, and ran

westward, falling into that bay of the Mediterranean which lies

south of the land of the Philistines. This river is often

mentioned as the boundary of the Israelites to the southwest, as

Euphrates, the great river, was on the northeast.

"There was a desert of considerable distance between what is

called the river of Egypt and the isthmus of Suez. Solomon reigned

to the borders of Egypt, i.e., to this desert; but not in Egypt,

nor to the river Nile.

"Upon the whole, (though there are difficulties in the matter,)

I incline to think that the river in question was not the Nile.

Sihor (black) might, from some circumstances, be applied to

another river as well as the Nile; though some places in Isaiah

and Jeremiah seem to restrict it to the Nile."-J. C.

Ekron northward] Ekron was one of the five lordships of the

Philistines, and the most northern of all the districts they

possessed. Baal-zebub, its idol, is famous in Scripture; see

2Ki 1:2, &c. The

five lordships of the Philistines were Gaza, Ashdod, Askalon,

Gath, and Ekron. There is no proof that ever the Israelites

possessed Ekron; though, from Jos 15:11, some think it was

originally given to Judah, but the text does not say so; it only

states that the border of the tribe of Judah went out UNTO THE

SIDE of Ekron. From Jos 19:43, we learn that it was a part of the

lot of Dan, but it does not appear to have been possessed by any

of those tribes.

Counted to the Canaanite] It is generally allowed that the

original possessors of this country were the descendants of

Canaan, the youngest son of Ham. The Philistines sprang from

Mizraim, the second son of Ham, and, having dispossessed the

Avim from the places they held in this land, dwelt in their

stead. See Ge 10:13, 14.

Five lords of the Philistines] These dynasties are famous in the

Scriptures for their successful wars against the Israelites, of

whom they were almost the perpetual scourge.

Also the Avites] These must not be confounded with the Hivites.

The Avites seem to have been a very inconsiderable tribe, who

dwelt in some of the skirts of Palestine. They had been originally

deprived of their country by the Caphtorim; and though they lived

as a distinct people, they had never afterwards arrived to any


Verse 4. The land of the Canaanites] This lay on the south of

the country of the Philistines, towards the sea-coast.

Mearah] Supposed to be the city Maratha, on the Mediterranean

Sea.-Calmet. Or the river Majora, which falls into the

Mediterranean Sea, between Sidon and Berytus. See PLINY, Hist.

Nat. lib. v., c. 20.

Aphek] See Clarke on Jos 12:18.

To the borders of the Amorites] Though the term Amorite is

sometimes used to designate the inhabitants in general of the land

of Canaan, yet it must be considered in a much more restricted

sense in this place. As no Amorites are known to have dwelt in

this quarter, Calmet supposes we should read Aramites or Syrians.

Joshua, says he, proceeds from Sidon to Aphek, a city of Syria,

between Heliopolis and Babylon where was the temple of the Venus

of Aphek, and which is spoken of in 1Ki 20:26; 2Ki 13:17, as the

capital of the kings of Syria. From this Joshua passes on to the

frontiers of the Syrians, towards Gebal or Gabala, which,

according to Ptolemy, was situated in Phoenicia. This conjecture

of Calmet is not supported by any authority either from the

ancient versions or MSS. Houbigant, however, approves of it: the

emendation is simple as it consists in the interchange of only two

letters in the same word, haarammi, for haemori.

Verse 5. The land of the Giblites] This people dwelt beyond the

precincts of the land of Canaan, on the east of Tyre and Sidon.

See Eze 27:9; Ps 83:7; their capital was named

Gebal. See Dodd.

All Lebanon] See Clarke on Jos 11:17.

Verse 6. Misrephoth-maim] See Clarke on Jos 11:7.

These will I drive out] That is, if the Israelites continued to

be obedient; but they did not, and therefore they never fully

possessed the whole of that land which, on this condition alone,

God had promised them: the Sidonians were never expelled by the

Israelites, and were only brought into a state of comparative

subjection in the days of David and Solomon.

Some have taken upon them to deny the authenticity of Divine

revelation relative to this business, "because," say they, "God is

stated to have absolutely promised that Joshua should conquer the

whole land, and put the Israelites in possession of it." This is a

total mistake. 1. God never absolutely, i.e., unconditionally,

promised to put them in possession of this land. The promise of

their possessing the whole was suspended on their fidelity to God.

They were not faithful, and therefore God was not bound by his

promise to give them any part of the land, after their first act

of national defection from his worship. 2. God never said that

Joshua should conquer the whole land, and give it to them; the

promise was simply this: "Thou shalt bring them into the land, and

thou shalt divide it among them:" both of which he did, and

procured them footing by his conquests, sufficient to have enabled

them to establish themselves in it for ever. 3. It was never said,

Thou shalt conquer it all, and then divide it; no. Several of the

tribes, after their quota was allotted them, were obliged to drive

out the ancient inhabitants. See Clarke on Jos 11:18.

Verse 7. The nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh] The

other half tribe of Manasseh, and the two tribes of Reuben and

Gad, had got their inheritance on the other side of Jordan, in the

land formerly belonging to Og king of Bashan, and Sihon king of

the Amorites.

Verse 9. From Aroer] See Clarke on Jos 12:2.

Verse 11. Border of the Geshurites] See Clarke on Jos 12:5.

Verse 17. Bamoth-baal] The high places of Baal, probably so

called from altars erected on hills for the impure worship of this

Canaanitish Priapus.

Verse 18. Jahaza] A city near Medeba and Dibon. It was given to

the Levites, 1Ch 6:78.

Kedemoth] Mentioned De 2:26; supposed to have been situated

beyond the river Arnon.

Mephaath] Situated on the frontiers of Moab, on the eastern part

of the desert. It was given to the Levites, Jos 21:37.

Verse 19. Kirjathaim] This city, according to Eusebius, was nine

miles distant from Medeba, towards the east. It passed from the

Emim to the Moabites, from the Moabites to the Amorites, and from

the Amorites to the Israelites, Ge 14:6; De 2:20. Calmet

supposes the Reubenites possessed it till the time they were

carried away by the Assyrians; and then the Moabites appear to

have taken possession of it anew, as he collects from Jer 48:1

&c., and Eze 25:9 &c.

Sibmah] A place remarkable for its vines. See Isa 16:8, 9,

Jer 48:32.

Zareth-shahar, in the mount of the valley] This probably means a

town situated on or near to a hill in some flat country.

Verse 20. Beth-peor] The house or temple of Peor, situated at

the foot of the mountain of the same name. See Nu 25:3.

Verse 21. The princes of Midian] See the history of this war,

Nu 31:1, &c.; and from that place this and the following verse

seem to be borrowed, for the introduction of the death of Balaam

here seems quite irrelevant.

Verse 23. The cities and the villages] By villages,

chatserim, it is likely that moveable villages or tents are

meant, such as are in use among the Bedouin Arabs; places where

they were accustomed to feed and pen their cattle.

Verse 25. Half the land on the children of Ammon] This probably

was land which had been taken from the Ammonites by Sihon, king of

the Amorites, and which the Israelites possessed by right of

conquest. For although the Israelites were forbidden to take the

land of the Ammonites, De 2:37, yet this part, as having been

united to the territories of Sihon, they might possess when they

defeated that king and subdued his kingdom.

Verse 26. Ramath-mizpeh] The same as Ramoth-gilead. It was one

of the cities of refuge, Jos 20:8; De 4:47.

Mahanaim] Or the two camps. Situated on the northern side of the

brook Jabbok, celebrated for the vision of the two camps of angels

which Jacob had there; see Ge 32:2.

Verse 27. Beth-aram] This city was rebuilt by Herod, and called

Livias, in honour of Livia, the wife of Augustus. Josephus calls

it Julias, Julia being the name which the Greeks commonly give to


Succoth] A place between Jabbok and Jordan where Jacob pitched

his tents, from which circumstance it obtained its name, see

Ge 33:17.

Verse 29. The half tribe of Manasseh] When the tribes of Reuben

and Gad requested to have their settlement on the east side of

Jordan, it does not appear that any part of the tribe of Manasseh

requested to be settled in the same place. But as this tribe was

numerous, and had much cattle, Moses thought proper to appoint one

half of it to remain on the east of Jordan, and the other to go

over and settle on the west side of that river.

Verse 30. The towns of Jair] These were sixty cities; they are

mentioned afterwards, and in 1Ch 2:21, &c. They are the same with

the Havoth-jair mentioned Nu 32:41. Jair was son of Segub,

grandson of Esron or Hezron, and great-grandson of Machir by his

grandmother's side, who married Hezron of the tribe of Judah. See

his genealogy, 1Ch 2:21-24.

Verse 32. Which Moses did distribute] Moses had settled every

thing relative to these tribes before his death, having appointed

them to possess the territories of Og king of Bashan, and Sihon

king of the Amorites.

For particulars on this chapter, the reader, if he judge it of

consequence, may consult Calmet.

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