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Commentary On Joshua by Jean Calvin

Joshua 15:1-13

1. This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.

1. Fuitque sors tribui filiorum Jehuda per familias eorum juxta terminum Edom, et desertum Sin ad austrum ab extremo austri.

2. And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay that looketh southward:

2. Fuitque ejus terminus meridici ab extremo maris salis, hoc est a petra quae respicit ad meridiem.

3. And it went out to the south side to Maalehacrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadeshbarnea, and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa:

3. Et egreditur versus meridiem Maale-acrabim, et illinc transit in Sin: progrediens autem a meridie in Cades-barnea transit illinc in Esron, et rursum ascendit in Adar, unde circuit in Carcaa.

4. From thence it passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast.

4. Inde transit in Asmon, et egreditur ad torrentem AEgypti: suntque egressus hujus termini ad occidentem: iste erit vobis terminus ad meridiem.

5. And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of Jordan. And their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the uttermost part of Jordan:

5. Terminus vero ad orientem, est mare salis usque ad extremitatem Jordanis, terminus autem anguli aquilonaris a petra maris ab extremo Jordanis.

6. And the border went up to Bethhogla, and passed along by the north of Betharabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben:

6. Ascenditque terminus iste in Beth-hoglah, et transit ab aquilone ad Betharaba, atque illinc ascendit terminus iste ad lapidem Bohan filii Ruben.

7. And the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river: and the border passed toward the waters of Enshemesh, and the goings out thereof were at Enrogel:

7. Ascendit praeterea terminus iste in Debir a valle Achor, et versus aquilonem respicit ad Gilgal, quae est e regione ascensus Adummim, quae quidem est ab austro torrenti: et transit terminus iste ad aquas En-semes, suntque exitus ejus ad En-rogel.

8. And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward:

8. Et ascendit terminus iste ad vallem filii Hinnom, ad latus Jebusaei a meridie, ipsa est Jerusalem: ascendit insuper terminus iste ad verticem montis qui est e regione vallis Hinnom ad occidentem, quae quidem est in extremitate vallis Rephaim ad aquilonem.

9. And the border was drawn from the top of the hill unto the fountain of the water of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border was drawn to Baalah, which is Kirjathjearim:

9. Circuit autem terminus a vertice ipsius montis, ad fontem aquae Nephthoeh, et egreditur ad urbes montis Ephron, circuitque terminus iste in Baala, ipsa est Cirjath-jearim.

10. And the border compassed from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, on the north side, and went down to Bethshemesh, and passed on to Timnah:

10. Et illinc gyrat terminus iste a Baala ad occidentem ad montem Seir, et illinc pertransit ad latus montis Jearim ab aquilone, ipsa est Chesalon, descenditque in Bethsemes, et pertransit in Timna.

11. And the border went out unto the side of Ekron northward: and the border was drawn to Shicron, and passed along to mount Baalah, and went out unto Jabneel; and the goings out of the border were at the sea.

11. Egrediturque terminus ad latus Ecron ad Aquilonem, et circuit terminus iste ad Sichron, pertransitque ad montem Baala, et illinc egreditur in Jabneel, suntque exitus hujus termini ad mare.

12. And the west border was to the great sea, and the coast thereof. This is the coast of the children of Judah round about according to their families.

12. Porro terminus occidentalis ad mare magnum, et terminum, iste est terminus filiorum Jehuda per circuitum, per familias suas.

13. And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron.

13. Caleb autem filio Jephune dedit partem in medio filiorum Jehuda, secundum sermonem Jehovae ad Josue, Cirjath-arba patris Anac, ipsa est Hebron.

1. I have already premised, that I would not be very exact in delineating the site of places, and in discussing names, partly because I admit that I am not well acquainted with topographical or chorographic science, and partly because great labor would produce little fruit to the reader; nay, perhaps the greater part of readers would toil and perplex themselves without receiving any benefit. With regard to the subject in hand, it is to be observed, that the lot of the tribe of Judah not only falls on elevated ground, the very elevation of the territory, indicating the dignity of the future kingdom, but a similar presage is given by its being the first lot that turns up. What had already been obtained by arms, they begin to divide. The names of the ten tribes are cast into the urn. Judah is preferred to all the others. Who does not see that it is raised to the highest rank, in order that the prophecy of Jacob may be fulfilled? Then within the limits here laid down, it is well known that there were rich pastures, and vineyards celebrated for their productiveness and the excellence of their wines. In this way, while the lot corresponds with the prophecy of Jacob, it is perfectly clear that it did not so happen by chance; the holy patriarch had only uttered what was dictated by the Spirit.

If any are better skilled in places, a more minute investigation will be pleasant and useful to them. But lest those who are less informed feel it irksome to read unknown names, let them consider that they have obtained knowledge of no small value, provided they bear in mind the facts to which I have briefly and summarily adverted -- that the tribe of Judah was placed on elevated ground, that it might be more conspicuous than the others, until the scepter should arise from it -- and that a region of fruitful vineyards and rich pastures was assigned to his posterity -- and, finally, all this was done, in order that the whole people might recognize that there was nothing of the nature of chance in the turning up of a lot, which had been foretold three centuries before. Besides, it is easy for the unlearned to infer from the long circuit described, that the territory thus allocated to one tribe was of great extent. For although some diminution afterwards took place, its dominions always continued to be the largest.

It is necessary, however, to bear in mind what I formerly observed, that nothing else was determined by the lot than that the boundary of the children of Judah was to be contiguous to the land of Edom and the children of Sin, and that their boundary, in another direction, was to be the river of Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea -- that those who had been selected to divide the country proceeded according to the best of their judgment, in proportioning the quantity of territory allotted to the number of their people, without extending their boundaries any farther -- and that they followed the same method in other cases, as vicinity or other circumstances demanded.

Any error into which they fell, did not at all affect the general validity of their decision. For as they were not ashamed partly to recall any partition that might have been made without sufficient consideration, so the people in their turn, while they acknowledged that they had acted in the matter with the strictest good faith and honesty, submitted the more willingly to whatever they determined. Thus, notwithstanding any particular error, their general arrangements received full effect.

It will be worth while to make one remark on the city Jebus, whose name was afterwards Jerusalem. Although it had been already chosen, by the secret counsel of God, for his sanctuary, and the seat of the future kingdom, it however continued in the possession of the enemy down to the time of David. In this long exclusion from the place on which the sanctity, excellence, and glory of the rest of the land were founded, there was a clear manifestation of the divine curse inflicted to punish the people for their sluggishness: since it was virtually the same as if the land had been deprived of its principal dignity and ornament. But on the other hand, the wonderful goodness of God was conspicuous in this, that the Jebusites who, from the long respite which had been given them, seemed to have struck their roots most deeply, were at length torn up, and driven forth from their secure position.

13. And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh, etc Were we to judge from the actual state of matters, it would seem ridiculous repeatedly to celebrate an imaginary grant from which Caleb received no benefit while Joshua was alive. But herein due praise is given both to the truth of God, and to the faith of his saint in resting on his promise. Therefore, although sneering men, and the inhabitants of the place itself, if the rumor had reached them, might have derided the vain solicitude of Caleb, and the empty liberality of Joshua, the contempt thus expressed would only have proved them to be presumptuous scoffers. God at length evinced the firmness of his decree by the result, and Caleb, though he saw himself unable to obtain access to the mountain, testified that he was contented with the mere promise of God, the true exercise of faith, consisting in a willingness to remain without the fruition of things which have been promised till the period actually arrive. Moreover, this passage, and others similar to it, teach us that the giants who are usually called Enakim, were so named after their original progenitor, Enac, and that the word is hence of Gentile origin. The time when Caleb routed the sons of Enac we shall see in a short time. This passage also shows us that Caleb, when he brought forward the name of Moses, did not make a mere pretence, or utter anything that was not strictly true; for it is now plainly declared, that Moses had so appointed, in conformity with the command of God.

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