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The setting up of the tabernacle at Shiloh, ver. 1.
Joshua's stirring up the seven remaining tribes to look after
their lot, ver. 2 - 7.
The division of the land into several lots assigned to those
several tribes, ver. 8 - 10.
The lot of Benjamin, ver. 11 - 28.
1: Set up the tabernacle - By God's appointment. It was removed from
Gilgal, partly for the honour and conveniency of Joshua, that he
being of the tribe of Ephraim, and seating himself there, might have the
opportunity of consulting with God as often as he needed; and partly for the
conveniency of all the tribes, that being in the center of them, they might
more easily resort to it from all places. Here the tabernacle continued for
above three hundred years, even 'till Samuel's days, (1Sa 1:3).
Shiloh was the name given to the Messiah in dying Jacob's
prophecy. So the pitching the tabernacle in Shiloh intimated to the
Jews, that in that Shiloh whom Jacob spoke of, all the
ordinances of this worldly sanctuary should have their accomplishment,
in a greater and more perfect tabernacle.
3: How long are you slack - This slackness is supposed to arise from
an opinion of the impossibility of making any regular distribution of the
parts, 'till the whole were more exactly surveyed, which accordingly is here
done. Likewise, being weary of war, and having sufficient plenty of all
things, they were unwilling to run into new hazards.
4: Three men - Three, not one, for more exact observation both of the
measure and quality of the several portions, and for greater assurance of
their care and faithfulness in giving in their account.
Of each tribe - One of each of these tribes, who were yet unprovided for.
5: Seven parts - Which were of equal extent or worth: for no tribe
was so great, but one of these parts in its full extent would abundantly
suffice them; and there was no reason why the portions should be greater or
less according as the tribes at present were more or fewer in number,
because of the various changes which happened therein successively; it being
usual for one tribe to be more numerous than another in one age, which was
fewer in the next. And if the several tribes had increased more, and not
diminished their numbers by their sins, they might have sent forth colonies,
and taken any part of the land, even as far as Euphrates, all which the
Lord of the whole earth had given them a right to, which when they pleased
they might take possession of. Judah shall abide on the south - They
shall not be disturbed in their possession, but shall keep it, except some
part of it shall be adjudged to another tribe. Joseph on the north - In
respect of Judah, not of the whole land; for divers other tribes were
more northern than they.
6: Before the Lord - That is, before the ark or tabernacle, that God
may be witness and judge, and author of the division, that each may be
contented with his lot, and that your several possessions may be secured to
you as things sacred.
9: By cities - Or, according to the cities, to which the several
parties or territories belonged.
11: And the children of Joseph - Wherein we see the wisdom of Divine
Providence, this being the only place in which that prophecy,(De 33:12), could have been accomplished.
Providence cast Benjamin next to Joseph on the one hand, because
Benjamin was own and only brother to Joseph, and next to Judah
on the other hand, that this tribe might hereafter unite with Judah, in
an adherence to the throne of David, and the temple at Jerusalem.
14: Kirjath - jearim - The Israelites changed the name, to blot out
the remembrance of Baal.
16: The end of the mountain - The place where the mountain ends, and
the valley begins. Before the valley - That is, in the prospect of that
valley. In the valley on the north - Which extends unto this other valley
on the north - side of it. Of Jebusi - To that part where the Jebusites
lived, which was in and near Jerusalem.
21: Jericho - For tho' the city was destroyed, the territory