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Commentary On Joshua by Jean Calvin

Joshua 15:14-63

14. And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.

14. Expulit inde Caleb tres filios Enac, Sezadi, et Ahiman, et Thalmai qui fuerunt filii Enac.

15. And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher.

15. Ascenditque inde ad habitatores Debir, cujus nomen antea fuit Ciriath-sepher.

16. And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and takes it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.

16. Dixitque Caleb, qui percusserit Ciriath-sepher, et ceperit eam, dabo ei Achsa filiam meam in uxorem.

17. And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.

17. Cepit autem eam Othniel filius Cenas fratris Caleb: deditque ei Achsa filiam suam in uxorem.

18. And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What would thou?

18. Fuitque quum veniret ipsa suasit illi, ut peteret a patre suo agrum, et descendit de asino, dixitque ei Caleb, Quid tibi est?

19. Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou has given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.

19. Illa respondit, Da mihi benedictionem: quandoquidem terram aridam dedisti mihi, da mihi fontes aquarum. Et dedit ei fontes superiores, et fontes inferiores.

20. ¶ This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.

20. Ista est haereditas tribus filiorum Jehuda per familias suas.

21. And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward were Kabzeel, and Eder, and Jagur,

21. Fuerunt autem urbes in extremitate tribus filiorum Jehudae juxta terminum Edom ad meridiem, Cabseel, et Eder, et Jagur.

22. And Kinah, and Dimonah, and Adadah,

22. Et Cina, et Dimona, et Adada,

23. And Kedesh, and Hazor, and Ithnan,

23. Et Cedes, et Hasor, et Ithnan,

24. Ziph, and Telem, and Bealoth,

24. Ziph, et Telem, et Bealoth,

25. And Hazor, Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which is Hazor,

25. Et Hasor in Hadatha, et Cerioth, Hesron, ipsa est Hasor,

26. Amam, and Shema, and Moladah,

26. Amam, et Sema, et Molada,

27. And Hazargaddah, and Heshmon, and Bethpalet,

27. Et Hasar-gadda, et Hesmon, Beth-phelet,

28. And Hazarshual, and Beersheba, and Bizjothjah,

28. Et Hasar-sual, et Beerseba, et Bizjotheja,

29. Baalah, and Iim, and Azem,

29. Baala, et Iim, et Asem,

30. And Eltolad, and Chesil, and Hormah,

30. Et Eltholad, et Chesil, et Horma,

31. And Ziklag, and Madmannah, and Sansannah,

31. Et Siclag, et Madmannah, et Sensannah,

32. And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages:

32. Et Lebaoth, et Silhim, et Ain, et Rimon: omnes urbes viginti et novem, et villae earum.

33. And in the valley, Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah,

33. In planitie Esthaol, et Sora, et Asnah,

34. And Zanoah, and Engannim, Tappuah, and Enam,

34. Et Zanoah, et Engannim, et Taphuah, et Enam,

35. Jarmuth, and Adullam, Socoh, and Azekah,

35. Jarmuth, et Adulam, Socoh, et Azecah,

36. And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages:

36. Et Saaraim, et Adithaim, et Gederah, et Gederothaim: urbes quatuordecim, et villae earum.

37. Zenan, and Hadashah, and Migdalgad,

37. Senam, et Hadasa, et Migdalgad,

38. And Dilean, and Mizpeh, and Joktheel,

38. Et Dilan, et Mispeh, et Jocteel,

39. Lachish, and Bozkath, and Eglon,

39. Lachis, et Boscath, et Eglon,

40. And Cabbon, and Lahmam, and Kithlish,

40. Et Chabbon, et Lahmam, et Chithlis,

41. And Gederoth, Bethdagon, and Naamah, and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages:

41. Et Gederoth, Beth-dagon, et Naamah, et Makeda: urbes sexdecim, et villae earum.

42. Libnah, and Ether, and Ashan,

42. Libna, et Ether, et Asan,

43. And Jiphtah, and Ashnah, and Nezib,

43. Et Jeptha, et Asna, et Nesib,

44. And Keilah, and Achzib, and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages:

44. Et Cheila, et Achzib, et Maresah: urbes novem et villae earum.

45. Ekron, with her towns and her villages:

45. Ecron, et oppida ejus et villae ejus.

46. From Ekron even unto the sea, all that lay near Ashdod, with their villages:

46. Ab Ecron, et ad mare, omnes quae sunt ad latus Asdod, et villae earum.

47. Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof:

47. Asdod, oppida ejus, et villae ejus: Azza, oppida ejus et villae ejus usque ad torrentem AEgypti, et mare magnum, et terminus,

48. And in the mountains, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh,

48. Et in monte, Samir, et Jathir, et Sochoh,

49. And Dannah, and Kirjathsannah, which is Debir,

49. Et Dannah, et Ciriath-sannah, ipsa est Debir,

50. And Anab, and Eshtemoh, and Anim,

50. Et Anab, et Eshtemoh, et Anim,

51. And Goshen, and Holon, and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages:

51. Et Gosan, et Holon, et Giloh: urbes undecim, et villae earum.

52. Arab, and Dumah, and Eshean,

52. Arab, et Dumah, et Esan,

53. And Janum, and Bethtappuah, and Aphekah,

53. Et Janum, et Beth-thappuah, et Aphecah,

54. And Humtah, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, and Zior; nine cities with their villages:

54. Et Huntha, et Ciriath-arba, ipsa est Hebron, et Sior: urbes novem, et villae earum.

55. Maon, Carmel, and Ziph, and Juttah,

55. Mahon, Carmel, et Ziph, et Juttah,

56. And Jezreel, and Jokdeam, and Zanoah,

56. Et Jezrael, et Jocdean, et Zaura,

57. Cain, Gibeah, and Timnah; ten cities with their villages:

57. Cain, Giba, et Thimna: urbes decem, et villae earum.

58. Halhul, Bethzur, and Gedor,

58. Hal-hul, et Beth-sur, et Gedor,

59. And Maarath, and Bethanoth, and Eltekon; six cities with their villages:

59. Et Maarath, et Bethanoth, et Elthecon: urbes sex, et villae earum.

60. Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, and Rabbah; two cities with their villages:

60. Ciriath-baal, ipsa est Ciriath-jearim, et Rabba: urbes duae, et villae earum.

61. In the wilderness, Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah,

61. In deserto, Beth-arabah, Middin, et Sech-acha,

62. And Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi; six cities with their villages.

62. Et Nibsan, et urbs salis, et Engedi: urbes sex, et villae earum.

63. As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.

63. Porro Jebusaeos habitatores Jerusalem non potuerunt filii Jehuda expellere: itaque habitavit Jebusaeus cum filiis Jehuda in Jerusalem usque ad diem hanc.

Here we have a narrative of what plainly appears from the book of Joshua to have taken place subsequent to the death of Joshua; but lest a question might have been raised by the novelty of the procedure, in giving a fertile and well watered field as the patrimony of a woman, the writer of the book thought proper to insert a history of that which afterwards happened, in order that no ambiguity might remain in regard to the lot of the tribe of Judah. First, Caleb is said, after he had taken the city of Hebron, to have attacked Debir or Ciriath-sepher, and to have declared, that the person who should be the first to enter it, would be his son-in-law. And it appears, that when he held out this rare prize to his fellow-soldiers for taking the city, no small achievement was required. This confirms what formerly seemed to be the case, that it was a dangerous and difficult task which had been assigned him, when he obtained his conditional grant. Accordingly, with the view of urging the bravest to exert themselves, he promises his daughter in marriage as a reward to the valor of the man who should first scale the wall.

It is afterwards added that Othniel who was his nephew by a brother, gained the prize by his valor. I know not how it has crept into the common translation that he was a younger brother of Caleb; for nothing in the least degree plausible can be said in defense of the blunder. Hence some expositors perplex themselves very unnecessarily in endeavoring to explain how Othniel could have married his niece, since such marriage was forbidden by the law. It is easy to see that he was not the uncle, but the cousin of his wife.

But here another question arises, How did Caleb presume to bargain concerning his daughter until he was made acquainted with her inclinations? Although it is the office of parents to settle their daughters in life, they are not permitted to exercise tyrannical power and assign them to whatever husbands they think fit without consulting them. For while all contracts ought to be voluntary, freedom ought to prevail especially in marriage that no one may pledge his faith against his will. But Caleb was probably influenced by the belief that his daughter would willingly give her consent, as she could not modestly reject such honorable terms; for the husband to be given her was no common man, but one who should excel all others in warlike prowess. It is quite possible, however, that Caleb in the heat of battle inconsiderately promised what it was not in his power to perform. It seems to me, however, that according to common law, the agreement implied the daughter's consent, and was only to take effect if it was obtained. God certainly heard the prayer of Caleb, when he gave him a son-in-law exactly to his mind. For had the free choice been given him, there was none whom he would have preferred.

18. And it came to pass as she came unto him, etc Although we may conjecture that the damsel Acsa was of excellent morals and well brought up, as marriage with her had been held forth as the special reward of victory, yet perverse cupidity on her part is here disclosed. She knew that by the divine law women were specially excluded from hereditary lands, but she nevertheless covets the possession of them, and stimulates her husband by unjust expostulation. In this way ambitious and covetous wives cease not to molest their husbands until they force them to forget shame, modesty, and equity. For although the avarice of men also is insatiable, yet women are apt to be much more precipitate. The more carefully ought husbands to be on their guard against being set as it were on flame by the blast of such importunate counsels.

But a greater degree of intemperance is displayed when she acquires additional boldness from the facility of her husband and the indulgence of her father. Not contented with the field given to her, she demands for herself a well-watered district. And thus it is when a person has once overleaped the bounds of rectitude and honesty, the fault is forthwith followed up by impudence. Moreover, her father in refusing her nothing gives proof of his singular affection for her. But it does not therefore follow that the wicked thirst of gain which blinds the mind and perverts right judgment is the less hateful. In regard to Acsa's dismounting from the ass, some interpreters ascribe it to dissimulation and craft, as if she were pretending inability to retain her seat from grief. In this way her dismounting or falling off is made an indication of criminality and defective character. It is more simple, however, to suppose that she placed herself at her father's feet with the view of accosting him as a suppliant. Be this as it may, by her craft and flattery she gained his consent, and in so far diminished the portion of her brothers.

20. This is the inheritance, etc He had formerly, indeed, traced out the boundaries of the children of Judah; but it is now shown for a different reason how large and fertile the territory was which the Lord in his great liberality had bestowed upon them. One hundred and thirteen cities with their towns and villages are enumerated. The number attests not only the populousness, but also the fertility of the country. And there cannot be a doubt that by the divine blessing a new degree of fertility was imparted to it. The goodness of God was, however, manifested in the very nature of the land selected for his people, a land abounding in all kinds of advantages. If we attend to the number of souls in the tribe, we shall find that one half of the country would have been amply sufficient for their habitation. For when eight hundred were allocated in each of the cities, the remainder had the towns and the villages. It is no doubt true that a portion was afterwards withdrawn and given to the tribe of Simeon. For in this was accomplished the dispersion of which Jacob had prophesied,

|I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.| (Genesis 49:7)

They were accordingly admitted by the children of Judah as a kind of guests.

63. As for the Jebusites, etc This furnishes no excuse for the people, nor is it set down with that view; for had they exerted themselves to the full measure of their strength, and failed of success, the dishonor would have fallen on God himself, who had promised that he would continue with them as their leader until he should give them full and free possession of the land, and that he would send hornets to drive out the inhabitants. Therefore, it was owing entirely to their own sluggishness that they did not make themselves masters of the city of Jerusalem. This they were not able to do; but their own torpor, their neglect of the divine command from a love of ease, were the real obstacles.

This passage is deserving of notice: we ought to learn from it to make vigorous trial of our strength in attempting to accomplish the commands of God, and not to omit any opportunity, lest while we are idly resting the door may be shut. A moderate delay might have been free from blame; but a long period of effeminate ease in a manner rejected the blessing which God was ready to bestow.

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