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Commentary On Joshua by Jean Calvin

Joshua 13:15-33

15. And Moses gave unto the tribe of the children of Reuben inheritance according to their families.

15. Dedit ergo Moses tribui filiorum Ruben per familias suas:

16. And their coast was from Aroer, that is on the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain by Medeba;

16. Fuitque illis terminus ab Aroer, quae est juxta ripam torrentis Arnon, et urbs quae est in medio vallis, et universa planities quae est juxta Medeba.

17. Heshbon, and all her cities that are in the plain; Dibon, and Bamothbaal, and Bethbaalmeon,

17. Hesbon et omnes urbes ejus, quae erant in planitie: Dibon et Bamoth-baal, et Beth-baalmeon.

18. And Jahazah, and Kedemoth, and Mephaath,

18. Et Jahassah, et Cedemoth, et Mephaath.

19. And Kirjathaim, and Sibmah, and Zarethshahar in the mount of the valley,

19. Et Ciriathaim, et Sibmah, et Sereth-sahar in monte vallis.

20. And Bethpeor, and Ashdothpisgah, and Bethjeshimoth,

20. Et Beth-peor, et Asdoth-Pisgah, et Beth-jesimoth.

21. And all the cities of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, which reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses smote with the princes of Midian, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, which were dukes of Sihon, dwelling in the country.

21. Et omnes urbes planitiei, et universum regnum Sihon regis Aemorrhaei, qui regnabat in Hesbon, quem percussit Moses: et principes Midian, Evi, et Rekem, et Sur, et Hur, et Reba duces Sihon habitatores terrae.

22. Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.

22. Et Bileam filium Beor divinatorem occiderunt filii Israel gladio cum interfectis eorum.

23. And the border of the children of Reuben was Jordan, and the border thereof. This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben after their families, the cities and the villages thereof.

23. Fuit autem terminus filiorum Ruben, Jordanes et terminus. Haec est haereditas filiorum Ruben per familias suas, urbes et villae earum.

24. And Moses gave inheritance unto the tribe of Gad, even unto the children of Gad according to their families.

24. Deditque Moses tribui Gad, filiis Gad per familias suas.

25. And their coast was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon, unto Aroer that is before Rabbah;

25. Et fuit eis terminus Jazer, et omnes urbes Gilead, et dimidium terrae filiorum Ammon usque ad Aroer, quae est coram Rabbah.

26. And from Heshbon unto Ramathmizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim unto the border of Debir;

26. Et ab Hesbon usque ad Ramath ipsuis Mispe, et Bethonim: et a Mahanaim usque ad terminum ipsius Debir.

27. And in the valley, Betharam, and Bethnimrah, and Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of Sihon king of Heshbon, Jordan and his border, even unto the edge of the sea of Chinnereth on the other side Jordan eastward.

27. Et in valle Beth-haram, et Beth-nimrah, et Succoth, et Saphon: residuum regni Sihon, regis Hesbon, Jordanem, et confinium, usque ad extremum maris Chinnereth, trans Jordanem ad orientem.

28. This is the inheritance of the children of Gad after their families, the cities, and their villages.

28. Haec est haereditas filiorum Gad per familias suas, urbes et villae earum.

29. And Moses gave inheritance unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and this was the possession of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families.

29. Dedit praeterea Moses dimidiae tribui Manasse: fuitque dimidiae tribui filiorum Manasse per familias suas:

30. And their coast was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, threescore cities:

30. Fuit, inquam, terminus eorum a Mahanaim omnis Basan totius regni Og regis Basan, et omnes Havoth-Jair, quae sunt in Basan, sexaginta urbes.

31. And half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were pertaining unto the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, even to the one half of the children of Machir by their families.

31. Et dimidium Gilead, et Astaroth, et Edrei, urbes regni Og in Basan, filiorum Machir, filii Manasse, dimidiae parti filiorum Machir, per familias suas.

32. These are the countries which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward.

32. Istae sunt hereditates quas tradidit Moses in campestribus Moab a transitu Jordanis ipsi Jericho ad orientem.

33. But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.

33. Tribui autem Levi non dedit Moses haereditatem: Jehova Deus Israel ipse est haereditas eorum, quemadmodum dixit illis.

15. And Moses gave unto the tribe, etc What he seemed to have said with sufficient clearness he now follows more fully in detail, not only that the reading might incite the people to gratitude, seeing the divine goodness recorded in public documents, and, as it were, constantly before their eyes, but also that each might enjoy his inheritance without molestation and quarrel. For we know how ingenious human cupidity is in devising pretexts for litigation, so that no one can possess his right in safety unless a plain and perspicuous definition of his right make it impossible to call it in question. That country had been given without casting lots. It was therefore open to others to object that the just proportion had not been kept, and that the inequality behooved to be corrected. Therefore, that no unseasonable dispute might ever disturb the public peace, the boundaries are everywhere fixed by the authority of God, and disputes of every kind are removed by setting up landmarks. God does not by one single expression merely adjudge the whole kingdom of Sihon to the tribe of Reuben, but he traces their extreme limit from Aroer to the banks of the Arnon, and thus, making an entire circuit, contracts or widens their territory so as not to leave the possession of a single acre ambiguous. Moreover, how useful this exact delineation was may be learned from profane history, where we everywhere meet, not only with invidious but pernicious disputes among neighbors as to their boundaries.

We may add that the care which the Lord condescended to take in providing for his people, and in cherishing mutual peace among them, demonstrates his truly paternal love, since he omitted nothing that might conduce to their tranquillity. And, indeed, had not provision been thus early made, they might have been consumed by intestine quarrels.

I again beg my readers to excuse me if I do not labor anxiously in describing the situation of towns, and am not even curious in regard to names. Nay, I will readily allow those names which it was thought proper to leave as proper nouns in Hebrew to be used appellatively, and so far altered as to give them a Latin form.

It is worthy of notice, that when the land of the Midianites is referred to, the princes who ruled over it are called Satraps of Sihon, to let us know that they shared in the same overthrow, because they had involved themselves in an unjust war, and belonged to the government of Sihon, an avowed enemy. And to make it still more clear that they perished justly, it is told that among the slain was Balaam, by whose tongue they had attempted to wound the Israelites more grievously than by a thousand swords; just as if it had been said that in that slaughter they found the hostile banner, by which they had declared themselves at open war with the Israelites. When it is said that the Jordan was a boundary, and a boundary, it will be proper, in order to prevent useless repetition, to interpret that Jordan was a boundary to them according to its limits.

24. And Moses gave inheritance unto the tribe of Gad, etc The observation made above applies also to the tribe of Gad, namely, that their legitimate boundaries were carefully defined in order to prevent disputes as to their possession. Meanwhile God is extolled for his liberality in having expelled nations of great celebrity, and substituted them in their stead. This is expressed more clearly in regard to the half tribe of Manasseh, when sixty cities are enumerated as included in their inheritance. Hence, too, it is manifest that Moses was not munificent through mistake, because it was well known to God how many cities he was giving them out of his boundless liberality. In a short clause the tribe of Levi is again excluded, that the Levites might not be able at some future period to pretend that the grant which the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh had obtained without the casting of lots, belonged in common to them also; for they are expressly forbidden to share with their brethren. This made it easy for them to interpret shrewdly for their advantage, that they were entitled to share with others. Here, however, it is not the sacrifices, as a little before, but God Himself that is said to be their inheritance; if they are not satisfied with it, they only convict themselves of excessive pride and insufferable fastidiousness.

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