At this chapter begins the account of the dividing of the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel by lot, a narrative not so entertaining and instructive as that of the conquest of it, and yet it is thought fit to be inserted in the sacred history, to illustrate the performance of the promise made to the fathers, that this land should be given to the seed of Jacob, to them and not to any other. The preserving of this distribution would be of great use to the Jewish nation, who were obliged by the law to keep up this first distribution, and not to transfer inheritances from tribe to tribe, Num. 36:9. It is likewise of use to us for the explaining of other scriptures: the learned know how much light the geographical description of a country gives to the history of it. And therefore we are not to skip over these chapters of hard names as useless and not to be regarded; where God has a mouth to speak and a hand to write we should find an ear to hear an eye to read; and God give us a heart to profit! In this chapter, I. God informs Joshua what parts of the country that were intended in the grant to Israel yet remained unconquered, and not got in possession, Josh. 13:1-6. II. He appoints him, notwithstanding, to make a distribution of what was conquered, Josh. 13:7. III. To complete this account, here is a repetition of the distribution Moses had made of the land on the other side Jordan; in general (Josh. 13:8-14), in particular, the lot of Reuben (Josh. 13:15-23), of Gad (Josh. 13:24-28), of the half tribe of Manasseh, Josh. 13:29-33.
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