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Commentary On Joshua by Jean Calvin

Joshua 19:1-9

1. And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.

1. Egressa est autem sors secunda ipsi Simeon, tribui filiorum Simeon per familias suas: et fuit haereditas eorum in medio haereditatis filiorum Jehuda.

2. And they had in their inheritance Beersheba, or Sheba, and Moladah,

2. Fuitque eis in haereditate eorum Beer-seba, et Seba, et Moladah,

3. And Hazarshual, and Balah, and Azem,

3. Et Hasar-sual, et Balah, et Asen,

4. And Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormah,

4. Et Eltholad, et Bethul, et Hormah,

5. And Ziklag, and Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusah,

5. Et Siclag, et Beth-Marcaboth, et Hasarsusa,

6. And Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages:

6. Et Beth-Lebaoth, et Saruhen: urbes tredecim, et villae earum.

7. Ain, Remmon, and Ether, and Ashan; four cities and their villages:

7. Aim, Rimmon, et Ether, et Asan: urbes quatuor, et villae earum.

8. And all the villages that were round about these cities to Baalathbeer, Ramath of the south. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families.

8. Et omnes villae quae erant per circuitus urbium istarum usque ad Baalath-beer, Ramath Australem. Ista est haereditas tribus filiorum Simeon per familias suas.

9. Out of the portion of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them.

9. De portione filiorum Jehuda facta fuit haereditas filiorum Simeon: erat enim portio filiorum Jehuda major ipsis; itaque haereditatem acceperunt filii Simeon in medio haereditatis eorum.

Next followed the lot of the tribe of Simeon, not as a mark of honor, but rather as a mark of disgrace. Jacob had declared with regard to Simeon and Levi, |I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.| (Genesis 49:7) The punishment of Levi, indeed, was not only mitigated, but converted into an excellent dignity, inasmuch as his posterity were placed on a kind of watch-towers to keep the people in the paths of piety. In regard to Simeon, the dispersion of which Jacob prophesied, manifestly took place when certain cities within the territory of Judah were assigned to his posterity for their inheritance. For although they were not sent off to great distances, yet they dwelt dispersed, and as strangers in a land properly belonging to another. Therefore, on account of the slaughter which they had perpetrated with no less perfidy than cruelty, they were placed separately in different abodes. In this way the guilt of the father was visited upon his children, and the Lord ratified in fact that sentence which he had dictated to his servant. The truth of the lot also was clearly proven.

In the circumstance of a certain portion being withdrawn from the family of Judah, we again perceive that though the dividers had carefully endeavored to observe equity, they had fallen into error, which they were not ashamed to correct as soon as it was discovered. And though they were guided by the Spirit, there is nothing strange in their having been partially mistaken, because God sometimes leaves his servants destitute of the spirit of judgment, and suffers them to act like men on different occasions, that they may not plume themselves too much on their clear-sightedness. We may add that the people were punished for their carelessness and confident haste, because they ought at the outset to have ascertained more accurately how much land could be properly assigned to each. This they neglected to do. Through their unskillful procedure, the children of Judah had received a disproportion accumulation of territory, and equity required that they should relinquish a part. It would also have been better for themselves to have their limits fixed with certainty at once than to be subjected to a galling spoliation afterwards. Add that each tribe had indulged the vain hope that its members would dwell far and wide, as if the land had been of unlimited extent.

9. Out of the portion of the children of Judah, etc The praise of moderation is due to the tribe of Judah for not contending that the abstraction of any part of the inheritance already assigned to them was unjust. They might easily have obtruded the name of God, and asserted that it was only by his authority they had obtained that settlement. But as it is decided by the common consent of all the tribes that more has been given to them than they can possess without loss and injury to the others, they immediately desist from all pretext for disputing the matter. And it is certain that if they had alleged the authority of God, it would have been falsely and wickedly, inasmuch as though their lot had been determined by him in regard to its situation, an error had taken place with regard to its extent, their limits having been fixed by human judgment wider than they ought. Therefore, acknowledging that it would have been wrong to give them what would occasion loss to others, they willingly resign it, and give a welcome reception to their brethren, who must otherwise have remained without inheritance, nay, submit to go shares with them in that which they supposed they had acquired beyond controversy.

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