Joshua 18:4

4 Appoint for yourselves three men from each tribe, and I will send them out. They are to go and survey the land, write a description of it for the purpose of their inheritance, and return to me.

Joshua 18:4 Meaning and Commentary

Joshua 18:4

Give out from among you three men for [each] tribe
That is, for each of the seven tribes, in all twenty one; though some think they were to be taken out of all the nine tribes and a half, and were thirty six; and so Josephus F1 seems to understand it; but then he makes but one out of each tribe to be sent, and but ten in all, which is a great oversight in that historian:

and I will send them;
Joshua would not take upon him to name the persons, but left it to their own choice for their greater satisfaction; but when chosen and presented to him, he would give them a commission and directions what to do:

and they shall rise;
gird themselves, and prepare for their journey, and set out:

and go through the land;
of Canaan; not the whole of it, but that part which as yet was not disposed of; though some think they were to go through and describe the whole land; but I see no reason for that, for what was described was to be divided into seven parts only, and what belonged already to Judah and Joseph, seem plainly to be excepted in ( Joshua 18:5 ) :

and describe it according to the inheritance of them;
take the dimensions of it, and divide it into seven parts, according to the number of the tribes that had not received their inheritance. Jarchi thinks this description and division were not to be made equally, but according to the largeness and smallness of the tribes; but this could not be done by the measurers, since the inheritance of each depended on the lot that was afterward to be cast, which by this means would have been rendered needless:

and they shall come [again] to me;
which seems to be not only a precept or instruction to them, that when they had done their business, they should come to Joshua and give him an account of it; but an assurance also of their safety, that they should receive no disturbance nor hurt from the remaining Canaanites, but should return safe and well.


FOOTNOTES:

F1 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 21.

Joshua 18:4 In-Context

2 Seven tribes among the Israelites were left who had not divided up their inheritance.
3 So Joshua said to the Israelites, "How long will you delay going out to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, gave you?
4 Appoint for yourselves three men from each tribe, and I will send them out. They are to go and survey the land, write a description of it for the purpose of their inheritance, and return to me.
5 Then they are to divide it into seven portions. Judah is to remain in its territory in the south, and Joseph's family in their territory in the north.
6 When you have written a description of the seven portions of land and brought it to me, I will cast lots for you here in the presence of the Lord our God.