Joshua 18:4 MEANING

Joshua 18:4
Verse 4. - Give out from among you. Calvin enlarges much upon the boldness of these twenty-one men in venturing upon the task of the survey, rightly supposing that the difficulty of the task was enhanced by the number who undertook it (see note on Joshua 14:12). And here it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that the twenty-one commissioners went together, for the object of their selection was to obviate complaints of a kind which, as we have already seen, the Israelites were not slow to make (see Joshua 17:14-18). But the Israelites had inspired quite sufficient awe into the inhabitants of the land to make such a general survey by no means a difficult task. Nor is it probable that the commissioners were unprovided with an escort. Three men for each tribe. Literally, for the tribe. This selection, which was intended to secure an impartial description of the country, would render impossible all future complaints, since the boundaries would be settled according to reports sent in by the representatives of each tribe.

18:2-10 After a year or more, Joshua blamed their slackness, and told them how to proceed. God, by his grace, has given us a title to a good land, the heavenly Canaan, but we are slack to take possession of it; we enter not into that rest, as we might by faith, and hope, and holy joy. How long shall it be thus with us? How long shall we thus stand in our own light, and forsake our own mercies for lying vanities? Joshua stirs the Israelites up to take possession of their lots. He is ready to do his part, if they will do theirs.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 (a) 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.

(a) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 21.

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