The nine tribes and a half to have their inheritance. (1-5) Caleb obtains Hebron. (6-15)
Verses 1-5 The Israelites must occupy the new conquests. Canaan would have been subdued in vain, if it had not been inhabited. Yet every man might not go and settle where he pleased. God shall choose our inheritance for us. Let us survey our heritage of present mercy, our prospect for the land of promise, eternal in the heavens. Is God any respecter of persons? Is it not better that our place, as to earthly good or sorrow, should be determined by the infinite wisdom of our heavenly Father, than by our own ignorance? Should not those for whom the great mystery of godliness was exhibited, those whose redemption was purchased by Jesus Christ, thankfully refer their earthly concerns to his appointment?
Verses 6-15 Caleb's request is, "Give me this mountain," or Hebron, because it was formerly in God's promise to him, and he would let Israel knows how much he valued the promise. Those who live by faith value that which is given by God's promise, far above what is given by his providence only. It was now in the Anakims' possession, and Caleb would let Israel know how little he feared the enemy, and that he would encourage them to push on their conquests. Caleb answered to his name, which signifies "all heart." Hebron was settled on Caleb and his heirs, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. Happy are we if we follow him. Singular piety shall be crowned with singular favour.
Joshua 14:1-5 . THE NINE TRIBES AND A HALF TO HAVE THEIR INHERITANCE BY LOT.
1. these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan--This chapter forms the introduction to an account of the allocation of the land west of Jordan, or Canaan proper, to the nine tribes and a half. It was also made by lot in presence of a select number of superintendents, appointed according to divine directions given to Moses civil government, and even the division of the land, Joshua was the acknowledged chief. But in a matter to be determined by lot, a solemn appeal was made to God, and hence Eleazar, as high priest, is named before Joshua.
4. The children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim--As two and a half tribes were settled on the east Jordan, and the Levites had no inheritance assigned them in land, there would have been only eight and a half tribes to provide for. But Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph, had been constituted two tribes ( Genesis 48:5 ), and although Levi was excluded, the original number of the tribes of Israel was still preserved.
5. the children of Israel . . . divided the land--that is, they made the preliminary arrangements for the work. A considerable time was requisite for the survey and measurement.
Joshua 14:6-15 . CALEB BY PRIVILEGE REQUESTS AND OBTAINS HEBRON.
6-11. Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb . . . said--This incident is recorded here because it occurred while the preparations were being made for casting the lots, which, it appears, were begun in Gilgal. The claim of Caleb to the mountains of Hebron as his personal and family possessions was founded on a solemn promise of Moses, forty-five years before ( Numbers 14:24 , Deuteronomy 1:36 , Joshua 14:10 ), to give him that land on account of his fidelity. Being one of the nominees appointed to preside over the division of the country, he might have been charged with using his powers as a commissioner to his own advantage, had he urged his request in private; and therefore he took some of his brethren along with him as witness of the justice and propriety of his conduct.
12. give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day--this highland region.
for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there--The report of the spies, who tried to kindle the flame of sedition and discontent, related chiefly to the people and condition of this mountain district, and hence it was promised as the reward of Caleb's truth, piety, and faithfulness.
13, 14. Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb Hebron for an inheritance--Joshua, who was fully cognizant of all the circumstances, not only admitted the claim, but in a public and earnest manner prayed for the divine blessing to succor the efforts of Caleb in driving out the idolatrous occupiers.
15. Kirjath-arba--that is, the city of Arba, a warrior among the native race remarkable for strength and stature.
the land had rest from war--Most of the kings having been slain and the natives dispirited, there was no general or systematic attempt to resist the progress and settlement of the Israelites.