Joshua 19:49-51: Joshua’s Inheritance

Verse 49:[1] When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them…

[The children of Israel gave] Note here and admire the modesty of the Commander-in-Chief, Joshua; for he who first divided lots to all the others, received his own last (Lapide almost out of Masius, Bonfrerius). Again, he was unwilling that a lot be cast for himself, as for the others, but he received it as a gift from the people. In which matter he was a type of Christ, who, so that He might enrich us, was made the last of men (Bonfrerius). Among his own tribesmen he received a possession not at all eminent (for this is that בְּתוֹכָם, among them), but inferior to many. Certainly those mountainous possessions in those dry lands were the worst, and were esteemed as less than the plains. And Jerome writes that Paula[2] wondered, when she visited the tomb of Joshua, that Joshua had chosen for himself mountainous and rough places.[3] But it does not say that the place was furnished with buildings, for he built the city (Masius).

The children of Israel gave, etc.: that is, They are said to give it, because the whole land was given to Joshua, and Eleazar, and the princes, as joint trustees, acting in the name and for the good of the people; so that even Joshua could take nothing without their gift.


[1444 BC] Verse 50:[4] According to the word of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, even (Josh. 24:30) Timnath-(1 Chron. 7:24)serah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein.

[According to the precept of the Lord, עַל־פִּ֙י יְהוָ֜ה] It is able to be translated, according to the promise. But where then is this promise, or precept? Response: It is nowhere expressed directly. The Scripture is wont to pass over in silence a great many things, which it leaves to be gathered from other places. Nevertheless, this is not obscurely indicated in Joshua 14:6, thou knowest the thing that the Lord said concerning me and thee. And why, I ask, would Joshua, who had been in the same cause and confidence in God, have been passed over? But what did God promise to him? Response: That he might choose what place he would (Bonfrerius). But I rather think that he was induced to seek this from the mouth of Eleazer, since an oracle was given to the latter concerning this matter. For this appears to be that, according to the mouth of the Lord (Vatablus), that is, from the commandment of the Lord (Vatablus). This passage reminds us that in all matters we ought to look to the will of God (Masius).

According to the word of the Lord; as God promised or commanded; either, first, formerly, as may be gathered from Joshua 14:6; where we read that the Lord said something unto Moses concerning me, Caleb, and thee, Joshua; though only what is said to Caleb be there expressed, the other not being to his purpose there; for Joshua having showed the same courage and faithfulness which Caleb did, did doubtless receive equal encouragement and comfort from God at that time. Or, secondly, now at this time by Eleazar. Timnath-serah, called Timnath-heres, Judges 2:9. He built, that is, repaired and enlarged it, in which sense Nebuchadnezzar is said to have built Babylon, Daniel 4:30.


Verse 51:[5] (Num. 34:17; Josh. 14:1) These are the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot (Josh. 18:1, 10) in Shiloh before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. So they made an end of dividing the country.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְכַלּ֥וּ לִנְחֹל־אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ לִגְבֽוּלֹתֶ֑יהָ וַיִּתְּנ֙וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֧ל נַחֲלָ֛ה לִיהוֹשֻׁ֥עַ בִּן־נ֖וּן בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

[2] Paula (347-404) was a member of a rich senatorial family.  After being widowed in her early thirties, she devoted herself to the religious life, which included a visit to the Holy Land.

[3] To Eustochium 13.

[4] Hebrew: עַל־פִּ֙י יְהוָ֜ה נָ֣תְנוּ ל֗וֹ אֶת־הָעִיר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שָׁאָ֔ל אֶת־תִּמְנַת־סֶ֖רַח בְּהַ֣ר אֶפְרָ֑יִם וַיִּבְנֶ֥ה אֶת־הָעִ֖יר וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב בָּֽהּ׃

[5] Hebrew: אֵ֣לֶּה הַנְּחָלֹ֡ת אֲשֶׁ֣ר נִחֲל֣וּ אֶלְעָזָ֣ר הַכֹּהֵ֣ן׀ וִיהוֹשֻׁ֪עַ בִּן־נ֟וּן וְרָאשֵׁ֣י הָֽאָב֣וֹת לְמַטּוֹת֩ בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֙ל׀ בְּגוֹרָ֤ל׀ בְּשִׁלֹה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד וַיְכַלּ֕וּ מֵֽחַלֵּ֖ק אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

1 thought on “Joshua 19:49-51: Joshua’s Inheritance

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘Before this account of the dividing of the land is solemnly closed up, in the last verse, which intimates that the thing was done to the satisfaction of all, here is an account of the particular inheritance assigned to Joshua. 1. He was last served, though the eldest and greatest man of all Israel, and who, having commanded in the conquest of Canaan, might have demanded the first settlement in it for himself and his family. But he would make it to appear that in all he did he sought the good of his country, and not any private interest of his own. He was content to be unfixed till he saw them all settled; and herein is a great example to all in public places to prefer the common welfare before their particular satisfaction. Let the public be first served. 2. He had his lot according to the word of the Lord. It is probable that, when God by Moses told Caleb what inheritance he should have (Joshua 14:9), he gave the like promise to Joshua, which he had an eye to in making his election: this made his portion doubly pleasant, that he had it, not as the rest by common providence, but by special promise. 3. He chose it in Mount Ephraim, which belonged to his own tribe, with which he thereby put himself in common, when he might by prerogative have chosen his inheritance in some other tribe, as suppose that of Judah, and thereby have distinguished himself from them. Let no man’s preferment or honour make him ashamed of his family or country, or estrange him from it. The tabernacle was set up in the lot of Ephraim, and Joshua would forecast not to be far from that. 4. The children of Israel are said to give it to him (Joshua 19:49), which bespeaks his humility, that he would not take it to himself without the people’s consent and approbation, as if he would thereby own himself, though major singulis—greater than any one, yet minor universis—less than the whole assemblage, and would hold even the estate of his family, under God, by the grant of the people. 5. It was a city that must be built before it was fit to be dwelt in. While others dwelt in houses which they built not, Joshua must erect for himself (that he might be a pattern of industry and contentment with mean things) such buildings as he could hastily run up, without curiosity or magnificence. Our Lord Jesus thus came and dwelt among us, not in pomp but poverty, providing rest for us, yet himself not having where to lay his head. Even Christ pleased not himself.’

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