the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them; what was given to the Lord out of the sacrifices, and the tithes, and firstfruits, that were theirs; see Numbers 18:20.
INTRODUCTION TO Joshua 14
This chapter proceeds to give an account of the countries divided to the children of Israel in the land of Canaan, Joshua 14:1; but previous to that division relates the claim of Caleb to Hebron, through a promise made unto him by Moses forty five years ago, upon his report of the good land, whither he was sent a spy by him, Joshua 14:6; and the grant which Joshua made of it to him, with his blessing, Joshua 14:13.
which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for an inheritance unto them; namely, ten princes, one of each tribe, who, with Eleazar and Joshua, were appointed of the Lord by name to do this business, even seven years ago, before their entrance into the land of Canaan, Numbers 34:17.
as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses, Numbers 26:55,
for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe; see Joshua 13:7; the reason why this number of them is particularly mentioned follows.
but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them; this is frequently observed, that it might be taken notice of, to show the disinterestedness of Moses in this affair, Levi being his own tribe; and to recommend the care of the Levites to the other tribes, according to the provision God had made for them.
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.
and they divided the land; met about it, and began to take measures in order to do it; they prepared for it, though as yet it was not actually done, and previous to it was the following incident.
and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, said unto him; whether Caleb or Jephunneh called the Kenezite, and what the reason of the name, are not very material; and of which See Gill on Numbers 32:12; and as Caleb was personally and singly concerned in the following affair, he alone dressed Joshua, attended with some principal men of his tribe:
thou knowest the thing the Lord said unto Moses the man of God,
concerning thee and me, in Kadeshbarnea; the place from whence the spies were sent, and whither they returned to Moses there, of whom Caleb speaks with great respect and veneration, which he knew would be very pleasing and endearing to Joshua, who could not but remember what had been said by him concerning himself and Caleb, though it was now forty five years ago; it being so very striking and memorable, that only two of that generation then present should enter into the land of Canaan; the fulfilment of which, in all its circumstances, they had lived to see.
and I brought him word again, as it was in mine heart; that is, he gave to Moses upon his return a sincere, honest and faithful representation of the land, and its inhabitants, as it appeared to him.
made the heart of the people melt; discouraged them, filled them with fears, sunk their spirits, that their hearts flowed, and became as weak as water, having no strength left in them, or hope of possessing the land; being told what stout and gigantic men the inhabitants of it were, and how strongly fortified were their cities:
but I wholly followed the Lord my God; and did not join with them in an ill report of the good land; but having the fear of God before his eyes, walked after that, and delivered in his report faithfully, according to the dictates of his conscience, and the real sentiments of his mind; of this phrase; see Gill on Numbers 14:24.
surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever: not the whole land of Canaan, nor all the parts of it Caleb travelled through, but particularly Hebron; which though not expressly mentioned in the aforesaid oath, yet was understood and known to be the meaning of it, and which Joshua by the following grant owned, and it is elsewhere expressly affirmed, Judges 1:20; and it is remarked, that it is not said "they", but "he" came to Hebron, Numbers 13:22; that is Caleb, so that it was literally true that his feet had trodden there: now the reason of this oath, and the inheritance assured by it to Caleb, was:
because thou hast wholly followed the Lord thy God; in all his ways, and with full purpose of heart, and particularly had acted the upright and faithful part in the report he made of the good land; See Gill on Numbers 14:24.
these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, and while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness; not that the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness forty five years, but it was while they were in the wilderness this word or promise, concerning Caleb, was spoken by the Lord to Moses; and it was in the second year of their coming out of Egypt, after which they wandered in the wilderness thirty eight years, so that they had now been in the land of Canaan seven years; and from hence the Jewish chronologers (s) gather, that the land was seven years in subduing, and which their commentators in general take notice of. Maimonides (t) seems to be displeased with the Arabs for calling the wilderness, through which the Israelites travelled, "the desert of wandering"; but it appears from hence to be a very proper epithet of it; and Kadesh the place where they were first threatened, that they should be wanderers in the wilderness for such a time, had the additional name of Barnea, which signifies the son of a wanderer:
and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old; being forty years of age when sent a spy into the land, Joshua 14:7; thirty eight years he was with Israel in the wilderness, and seven years more since they entered into the land, in all eighty five; there is no necessity of understanding it that this was his precise birth day, but that about this time, or that he was now completely of such an age, which was more by fifteen years than the age of man in common at that time, see Psalm 90:10.
(s) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 31. (t) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 50. p. 512.
as my strength was then, even so is my strength now for war; he had the same strength of body and courage of mind to engage in warlike enterprises as he had so many years ago; and this he the rather mentions, to prevent any objection Joshua might make to the giving of Hebron to him, since being inhabited by giants, it required a large share of strength and courage to attempt the conquest of it: but Caleb had strength
both to go out, and to come in; to do any civil business, to preside over his tribe, or to govern any city, and its appendages, that should be put into his hands.
for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced; that the giants, called Anakims, dwelt in the mountainous country, and their cities, Hebron, Debir, and Anab, were very large, and well fortified; this Joshua heard at the time the spies were sent into the land, he being one of them; and this he heard, not from the report of the spies, but from the people of the country, and therefore must know that to conquer these men, and subdue their cities, was an arduous undertaking; but since he had strength and courage, he hoped his request would be granted:
if so be the Lord will be with me; which he spake not as doubting of his presence and power to be with him, and assist him, but as placing his confidence therein, and, distrusting his own power and ability, having no dependence or that, but believing that the Lord, or, as the Targum, the Word of the Lord, would be with him for his help:
then, says Caleb:
I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said; that is, to drive the Anakims out of their cities, or out of the mountains, the caves and dens there, to which they betook themselves, since the taking of Hebron, Debir, and Anab, by Joshua, Joshua 11:22; and he relied upon the promise of God to enable him to do this, and not upon his natural strength and courage, or the number and prowess of the warlike tribe of Judah, of which he was prince.
and gave unto Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, Hebron for an inheritance; being satisfied of the justness of his suit, of its being the will of God, and the order of Moses, that he should have this for an inheritance, which he had heard himself, had knowledge of, and well remembered: this is to be understood not of the city of Hebron itself, for that was given to the Levites, and was a city of refuge, but the country round about in the fields and villages annexed to it, as appears from Joshua 21:12.
because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel; as in Joshua 14:8; Hebron signifies fellowship or communion; and this in a spiritual sense is very desirable by all the people of God, as Hebron was by Caleb, even communion with God, Father, Son and Spirit, with angels and saints, both now and hereafter; and they are willing to engage with their spiritual enemies in the name and strength of Christ, though ever so potent, may they but enjoy this blessing, and which is more or less granted, to all the hearty, sincere, and faithful followers of Christ; see John 14:21.