Joshua 13:7: Command to Divide the Land among the Nine and a Half Tribes

Verse 7:[1] Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh…

[For a possession[2]] For an inheritance. He often drives home the language of inheritance, so that the people might understand that their patrimony is being discussed. For it would be of the most abject idleness to neglect their paternal right, for which men are wont to fight as for hearth and home (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֗ה חַלֵּ֞ק אֶת־הָאָ֧רֶץ הַזֹּ֛את בְּנַחֲלָ֖ה לְתִשְׁעַ֣ת הַשְּׁבָטִ֑ים וַחֲצִ֖י הַשֵּׁ֥בֶט הַֽמְנַשֶּֽׁה׃

[2] Hebrew: בְּנַחֲלָה.

1 thought on “Joshua 13:7: Command to Divide the Land among the Nine and a Half Tribes

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘Here we have…Orders given to Joshua to assign to each tribe its portion of this land, including that which was yet unsubdued, which must be brought into the lot, in a believing confidence that it should be conquered when Israel was multiplied so as to have occasion for it (Joshua 13:7): Now divide this land. Joshua thought all must be conquered before any must be divided. “No,” said, God, “there is as much conquered as will serve your turn for the present; divide this, and make your best of it, and wait for the remainder hereafter.” Note, We must take the comfort of what we have, though we cannot compass all we would have. Observe,

    1. The land must be divided among the several tribes, and they must not always live in common, as now they did. Which way soever a just property is acquired, it is the will of that God who has given the earth to the children of men that there should be such a thing, and that every man should know his own, and not invade that which is another’s. The world must be governed, not by force, but right, by the law of equity, not of arms.

    2. That it must be divided for an inheritance, though they got it by conquest. (1.) The promise of it came to them as an inheritance from their fathers; the land of promise pertained to the children of promise, who were thus beloved for their fathers’ sakes, and in performance of the covenant with them. (2.) The possession of it was to be transmitted by them, as an inheritance to their children. Frequently, what is got by force is soon lost again; but Israel, having an incontestable title to this land by the divine grant, might see it hereby secured as an inheritance to their seed after them, and that God kept this mercy for thousands.

    3. That Joshua must not divide it by his own will. Though he was a very wise, just, and good man, it must not be left to him to give what he pleased to each tribe; but he must do it by lot, which referred the matter wholly to God, and to his determination, for he it is that appoints the bounds of our habitation, and every man’s judgment must proceed from him. But Joshua must preside in this affair, must manage this solemn appeal to Providence, and see that the lot was drawn fairly and without fraud, and that every tribe did acquiesce in it. The lot indeed causeth contention to cease, Proverbs 18:18. But, if upon this lot any controversy should arise, Joshua by his wisdom and authority must determine it, and prevent any ill consequences of it. Joshua must have the honour of dividing the land, (1.) Because he had undergone the fatigue of conquering it: and when, through his hand, each tribe received its allotment, they would thereby be made the more sensible of their obligations to him. And what a pleasure must it needs be to a man of such a public spirit as Joshua was to see the people that were so dear to him eating of the labour of his hands! (2.) That he might be herein a type of Christ, who has not only conquered for us the gates of hell, but has opened to us the gates of heaven, and, having purchased the eternal inheritance for all believers, will in due time put them all in possession of it.’

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