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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Joshua 18


The tabernacle is set up at Shiloh: the remainder of the land is described, and divided by lot.

Before Christ 1444.

Verse 1

Ver. 1. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh After a stay of seven years at Gilgal, Joshua took, and (without doubt at the express command of God,) performed the resolution, to remove the camp to Shiloh. It belonged to the Lord only, to mark out the place where he thought proper to fix the residence of his tabernacle; Deuteronomy 12:8-10. And in all probability he made known his will in this respect by Urim and Thummim. Shiloh was the place pitched upon. This city, which the learned Archbishop Usher alleges to have been the same with Salem, was situate upon a hill, in the tribe of Ephraim, about fifteen miles from Jerusalem, in the heart, as it were, of the whole country. There, consequently, the tabernacle was more safe than any where else; and for the same reason, it was more within reach of each of the tribes who were to present their religious services to God. Here this sacred edifice remained for about three hundred and fifty years, till the time of Samuel, or at least three hundred and twenty-eight years, as the Archbishop observes, whose chronology we follow. See Annals, to the year of the world 2560. Lastly, at Shiloh Joshua was himself better accommodated for the convenient dividing of the lands which still remained to be distributed. All Israel, therefore, decamped from Gilgal, and came to Shiloh; the Canaanites, either subdued or terrified, not daring to interpose the least obstacle in their way. For, as the historian adds, the land was subdued before the children of Israel.

Note; The name was given to the place, probably, from the peace which they now enjoyed, and might typify the place of rest for all true believers in heaven, when, after all their spiritual enemies shall be finally subdued, they shall rest with Christ, the ark of the covenant, in glory for ever.

Verse 5

Ver. 5. Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph—on the north The meaning is, "The territory of the tribes of Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh, which are now provided for, shall no more be meddled with; there is no need to measure it anew. If it be necessary to retrench it, or add any thing to it, there will always be time to do so afterwards, when a more exact plan shall be taken of all the rest." Joshua speaks agreeably to the situation of Shiloh, the place where he then was; which stood a good way within the tribe of Ephraim, and pretty near to that of Judah; one lying on the north, the other on the south. See Calmet. We shall find in the sequel, that the tribe of Judah did in fact, and doubtless with common consent, give up a part of its territories to the tribes of Dan and Simeon, who found their station too scanty, ch. Joshua 19:29; Joshua 19:41.

REFLECTIONS.—Though seven tribes were yet unsettled, there was such plenty from the spoil of the Canaanites, and they were so taken with the state of peace which they enjoyed after the toils of war, that they seem to have been not at all solicitous to proceed in the division of the land; in doing which they must not only be separated from each other, and many a comfortable connection be dissolved, but must renew their warfare, to rescue the cities in their several lots, which were in the hands of their enemies. Note; (1.) The sweets of worldly comforts and connections are very apt to draw off our minds from desire after our inheritance in heaven. (2.) The difficulties which appear in the way to heaven are often discouragements from labouring thither, though they are usually the mere creatures of our unbelief and sloth. Joshua, observing this, reproves their negligence. While they were trifling, the Canaanites might recover courage and strength, and they might have all their work to do over again. Note; To do things by halves, is always the way to have double trouble: once well done, is done for ever.

Verse 11

Ver. 11. And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up, &c.— By a very peculiar direction of Providence, the name of Benjamin, the only brother of Joseph, and, like him, descended from Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob, was first drawn. Thus this tribe stood the first after those of the sons of Joseph, and by the side of them, to receive the country which God assigned to it, and which was afterwards divided in a more particular manner among the families of which it was composed.

And the coast of their lot came forth, &c.— A fresh token of the direction of Providence. In the benedictions of Moses, Deuteronomy 33:12. Benjamin had been placed between Judah and Joseph; and the event now justifies that prediction.

Verse 24

Ver. 24. Chephar-haammonai The village of Haamonai. Hiller. Onomast. p. 13.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 18". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.