And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled
together at Shiloh
The whole body of the people, men, women, and children, as well as the camp, ( Joshua 18:9 ) ; at least all that had not received their inheritances in the land. Hither they came from Gilgal, where the camp and tabernacle had been ever since their passage over Jordan; but now the land being in the main subdued, that was too far off both for the camp and tabernacle, and therefore they moved further into the land, and nearer Jerusalem, where in time the tabernacle was to be placed. The place they assembled at, Shiloh, was in the tribe of Ephraim, of which tribe Joshua was, and whose lot and inheritance was now fixed, and it was not far from Jerusalem, about two leagues. Jerom says F21 it was ten miles from, Neapolis or Shechem, in the country of Acrabatena; and that there were scarce any ruins of it to be seen in his day, only an altar demolished was shown F23. It seems to have its name from the peaceable condition the land was now in, and very likely was now given it on that account:
and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there;
no doubt by the appointment and direction of God, signified to Eleazar the high priest, either by a voice, or by Urim and Thummim; and the removal of it seemed necessary, partly that because several camps which surrounded it were now broken up and settled in their cities, as Reuben, Judah, and Ephraim; and partly that it might be near where Joshua, the governor of Israel, resided, Ephraim being his tribe; and also since Gilgal, on the borders of the land, was too far off for the people to resort to the tabernacle, and therefore it was, proper it should be more in the heart of the country: when this was done, cannot certainly be determined; Kimchi says it was fourteen years after the Israelites came into the land of Canaan; and so says F24 their chronology; but it is highly probable it was before that time, and not longer than seven or eight years at most; here the tabernacle continued, according to the Jewish writers F25, three hundred sixty nine years, even unto the times of Samuel, when for the sins of the sons of Eli it was removed. Eupolemus F26, an Heathen writer, speaks of the holy temple being fixed at Shiloh by Joshua:
and the land was subdued before them:
the far greater part of it, and all so as to have no disturbance from, or war with, the inhabitants.
F21 De loc. Heb. fol. 94. I.
F23 Comment. in Soph. c. 1. fol. 94. I. Epitaph. Paul. fol. 59. L.
F24 Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 32.
F25 Maimon. in Misn. Zebachim, c. 14. sect. 6. Bartenora in ib. sect. 7. Seder Olam Rabba, ut supra. (F24)
F26 Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 30. p. 447.