Joshua 14:4 MEANING

Joshua 14:4
Verse 4. - For the children of Joseph were two tribes (see Genesis 48:5): therefore they gave. There is no "therefore" In the original. The passage is a simple repetition of what we find in Joshua 13:14, 33, and is added here to explain how the twelve tribes who actually divided the land were composed. Suburbs. Rather, "pasture lands;" literally, places where the cattle were driven out to pasture (cf. Numbers 35:2; 1 Chronicles 13:2, where the Hebrew is "cities of driving out"). We may illustrate this phrase by the similar arrangements made by the Germanic tribes in early times. "The clearing," says Professor Stubbs, in his 'Constitutional History of England,' p. 49, "is surrounded by a thick border of wood or waste .... In the centre of the clearing the village is placed .... The fully qualified freeman has a share in the land of the community. He has a right to the enjoyment of the woods, the pastures, the meadow and the arable land of the mark.... The use of the meadow land is definitely apportioned .... When the grass beans to grow the cattle are driven out, and the meadow is fenced round and divided into as many equal shares as there are mark families in the village. For the arable land similar measures are taken although the task is somewhat more complex" (see note on Joshua 13:23). Some similar arrangement must have taken place in the primitive Jewish settlement of Palestine. For the rude huts of the Teutonic tribes we must substitute the more civilised "cities, walled up to heaven," of the Phoenician races; for the scanty supply of gram and pasture, provided by a northern climate, we must substitute the rich plenty of a land "flowing with milk and honey," and with all the produce of a southern sky. The area of land assigned to each of the Levitical cities was definitely marked out (see Numbers 35:4, 5), and subdivided, as the hints in the narrative seem to imply that all the land was, into as many sections as there were "mark families" - that is, families of freemen exclusive of the servile classes in the town.

14:1-5 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?For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim,.... For the birthright being forfeited by Reuben, was given to Joseph, who had the double portion, the privilege of the firstborn; by which means the number of the twelve tribes was kept up in the division of the land, though that of Levi had no share in it; and which is also a reason why they had none, that Joseph's two sons might be reckoned two tribes:

therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land; to make way for the sons of Joseph to have the double portion:

save cities to dwell in; and that only, for they might not sell them, as other Israelites could theirs:

with their suburbs, for their cattle, and for their substance; the Targum is,

"for all their beasts, and for their cattle;''that is, for convenient places to put them into, and for pasturage for, them; which Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret of their larger and lesser cattle, their herds and their flocks, their oxen and sheep.

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