Joshua 18:2: New Survey for the Seven Tribes, Part 1

Verse 2:[1] And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.

[Which had not yet received their possessions, אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־חָלְק֖וּ אֶת־נַֽחֲלָתָ֑ם] Who which they did not distribute, or, divide, the inheritance (Malvenda, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Dutch, Calvin). Others thus: which had not yet received, or, which had not yet obtained by lot, their inheritance (English, Castalio, similarly the Septuagint, Jerome, Munster), which is closer to the Hebrew. Just as among the Latins participare primarily denotes to make a partaker, or to give a part; then, to be made a partaker, or, to receive a part: the same also obtains in the use of חָלַק (Boot’s[2] Sacred Animadversions[3] 4:12:16). Moreover, because the Commander-in-Chief criticizes the idleness of the people in taking possession of their inheritance, not in demanding the casting of lots, it appears that what I was saying is altogether true, that fear of new dangers and the conveniences of the present habitation turned the hearts of all from the desire fror their own possessions (Masius). Question: Why was the tribes’ casting of lots delayed after they had once began at Gilgal? Response: The Israelites, especially those Tribes that had not yet received possessions, appear to have asked for a postponement, until the Surveyors might be sent out, who would measure out the land with greater precision (Bonfrerius). A suspicion was rising that the first measurement was not made with sufficient fairness (Lapide, Bonfrerius). That sending out of new Surveyors implies this. Now, that Surveyors had been sent out before the casting of lots at Gilgal, although the Scripture does not express it, is not able to be doubted. For, 1. Josephus records that this was done.[4] 2. Scripture does relate that before the casting of lots at Shiloh Surveyors were sent. 3. In no other way were they able to fulfill that precept of God in Numbers 26:54. 4. It is not likely that prudent men undertook this division in a blind manner, without first doing what things were necessary for the distribution. Moreover, that the former surveyors did not rightly discharge their office, these things confirm, that, after the accurate measurement of the land was made, a part was obliged to be cut away from the possessions of the Tribe of Judah, and was given both to the Simeonites and the Danites (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּוָּֽתְרוּ֙ בִּבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־חָלְק֖וּ אֶת־נַֽחֲלָתָ֑ם שִׁבְעָ֖ה שְׁבָטִֽים׃

[2] Arnold Boot (1606-1653) was a Dutch physician, who excelled, not only in the practice of medicine, but also in the study of Oriental languages.  He defended the integrity of the Hebrew text and vowel points against Louis Cappel.

[3] Animadversiones Sacræ ad Textum Hebraicum Veteris Testamenti.

[4] Antiquities 5:1.

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