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    <061401>JOSHUA 14:1 — 16:10 DIVIDING THE LAND “And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them. By lot was their inheritance, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes and for the half tribe” ( Joshua 14:1,2).

    Joshua was now old and stricken in years, and before the time came when no man can work the Lord had bidden him engage in the most important task of superintending the apportioning of Israel’s heritage ( Joshua 13:1,6,7). Invested with Divine authority to act as Israel’s head, manifestly enjoying the favor of the Lord, possessing the full confidence of the people as their tried and faithful leader, none other was so well suited to perform this particular work. But like all the other duties which he had discharged, this one called also for the exercise of faith, for Joshua was now required to assign the entire country of Canaan which lay on the western side of Jordan: not only those portions of it which Israel had already conquered and taken possession of, but also the extensive sections which were still occupied by the Canaanites. This called for the most implicit confidence in the Lord — that He would grant the tribes possession thereof.

    The land of Canaan had already been conquered, so far as its standing armies had been completely routed, its principal strongholds destroyed, and its kings slain. Yet much of its actual territory was still in the hands of its original inhabitants, who remained to be dispossessed. It is important to distinguish between the work which had been done by Joshua and that which still remained for Israel to do. He had overthrown the ruling, powers, captured their forts, and subdued the Canaanites to such an extent as had given Israel firm foothold in the country. But he had not exterminated the population in every portion of it, yea, powerful nations still dwelt in parts thereof, as is clear from Judges 2:20-23, and 3:1-4; so that much was still demanded from Israel. Therein we behold again the accuracy of the type. The antitypical Joshua has secured for His people an inalienable title to the heavenly Canaan, yet formidable foes have to be overcome and much hard fighting done by them before they enter into their eternal rest. The same is true of the present enjoyment thereof: faith and hope encounter much opposition ere there is an experiential participation of the goodly heritage which Christ has obtained for them.

    The method appointed for the dividing of the land is deeply interesting and instructive. Two distinct principles were to operate, yet the giving place to the one appears to rule out the other. The first had been laid down by the Lord through Moses: “Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names. To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him” ( Numbers 26:53,54 — repeated in Numbers 33:54). There was the general rule which was to be followed in the dividing of Canaan and the quartering of the people: the size of the section allocated was to be determined by the numerical strength of the tribe to which it was given.

    Yet immediately after Numbers 26:54, a second law was named: “Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.” That is to say, the disposition of the inheritance was to be determined by the sovereign will of God, for the lot was regulated by Him and made known His pleasure.

    Those two principles seem to be mutually incompatible, and we are not acquainted with any attempt to show the agreement of the one with the other. It is the age-old problem of the conjunction of the Divine and human elements: in this instance, the human by the dimensions of the several tribes; the Divine by God’s determining their respective portions. Yet, in the case now before us, no real difficulty is presented: the larger tribes would still obtain the biggest sections, but the “lot” specified the particular situation in Canaan which was to be theirs. Neither Joshua, Eleazar, nor the heads of the tribes were free to dispose of the land according to their own ideas or desires: the final locations were reserved to the providence of God, to whose imperial will all must acquiesce, howsoever contrary to their thoughts and wishes. Such an arrangement not only accorded unto God His proper place in the transaction, but it also precluded the exercise of any spirit of partiality or favoritism on the part of Israel’s leaders, and at the same time served effectually to close the mouths of the people from murmuring.

    The more those two apparently conflicting principles be pondered, the more shall we admire the wisdom of Him who appointed the same.

    Obviously, it was most equitable and advisable that the larger tribes should be accorded more extensive quarters than the lesser ones, for their requirements would be the greater. Yet, fallen human nature being what it is, it is equally evident that had Israel been left entirely unto themselves the weaker tribes would have been deprived of their rightful portions: for if not entirely denied a separate heritage, they would most probably have been obliged to submit unto having the least desirable sections of the land Nor would there have been any redress, for in such a case (numerical) might would be right. It was therefore necessary for there to be a Divine supervision: not only in fixing the exact boundaries of each allotment, but also in determining their several locations, so that the mountainous sections and the fertile valleys should be fairly distributed. This is one of many examples where we see how the Divine legislation protected the welfare of the weak, and how the Lord ever manifested a concern for the poor and needy.

    Side by side with Joshua 14:1,2, should be placed Leviticus 25:23-28: “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me. And in all the land of your possesion ye shall grant a redemption for the land. If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the over-plus unto the man to whom he sold it; that it may return unto his possession. But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.” That was the Divine law respecting the real estate of the Hebrews and the transferring of the same: a law by which the rights of rich and poor alike were fully and equitably safeguarded. In cases of need, property might be sold conditionally, but not absolutely so that the same should never again return to its original owner.

    The above passages set forth a remarkable and unique law of property, displaying a wisdom wherein righteousness and mercy were blessedly intermingled, encouraging as it did individual enterprise, and yet also curbing greed. That disposition and arrangement was the very reverse of “State ownership,” for the land was portioned out to the twelve tribes, and within the territory of each tribe the land was divided among its families. If hardship and poverty required a family to mortgage or sell its property, thereby an opportunity was offered unto the thrifty and ambitious to enlarge their holdings. But in the jubilee year that property reverted to its seller, and thus the cupidity of “capitalists” was restrained, and thereby were they prevented from taking undue advantage of the distress of others by a permanent acquirement of their estates. Thus the Bible not only teaches the right of the individual to own his own house (cf. John 19:27) and possess real estate ( Acts 4:34), but, by clear and necessary implication, condemns State ownership, which is a manifest violation of the rights and liberties of the individual. How many-sided and far-reaching is the teaching of Holy Writ! “The Israelites had acquired the land by conquest, but they were not allowed to seize upon what they could, nor to have it all in common, nor to share it out by consent or arbitration; but, with solemn appeal to God Himself, to divide by lot; for Canaan was His land, and Israel were His people. This was likewise the readiest way of satisfying all parties, and preventing discontent and discord” (Thomas Scott).

    Yet it should be pointed out that the basic law that operated here has also obtained all through human history. The Lord God is the Proprietor as well as the Governor of both heaven and earth, the sovereign Disposer of all the affairs of the children of men. He is the One who controls the courses of empires and determines the lives of dynasties, and has also decided the limits of each person’s territory. That principle is clearly enunciated in Deuteronomy 32:8, “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.”

    And none of those nations ever has or will exceed those “bounds” which the Almighty originally prescribed.

    As truly as the Divine “lot” assigned the particular parts of Palestine which the different tribes of Israel should possess, so has God predestined the precise portions of the earth which each nation shall occupy. “When He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment” ( Proverbs 8:29), He gave a similar edict unto the nations. And military leaders impelled by the lust of conquest, and aggressive dictators aspiring to world dominion, have discovered that, like the restless sea (which is the scriptural symbol of the nations: Daniel 7:2, and cf. Revelation 17:15), God has set a bound which they “could not pass,” “and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it” ( Jeremiah 5:22, and cf. Job 38:11). Men like Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler might be dissatisfied with the allotments of providence, chafe against the restraints it had placed upon their greed, rage and roar against their neighbors, and attempt to acquire their Divinely given portions, but vain were their efforts. Thus will any present or future aspirant yet find out. Deuteronomy 32:8, informs us that God had before His mind the children of Israel when He divided to the nations their inheritance, for, as the apostle told his saints, “all things are for your sakes” ( 2 Corinthians 4:5). Thus there was a partial reference to the seven nations whose place and portion were assigned them in Canaan, so that the Hebrews found it in a high state of cultivation, provided with towns and houses, all prepared for their use! In like manner, the favored land in which the writer and the reader live, with all its natural and national advantages, and the temporal provisions we enjoy therein, is as much the special appointment and gift of God as Canaan was to Israel, and as truly demands our gratitude. God has the sole disposing of this life and the interests thereof, as truly as He has of the life to come. No man has a foot of land more than God has laid out for him in His all-wise providence: so whatever of this world’s goods he obtains let him bear in mind, “thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth” ( Deuteronomy 8:18).

    This world is not governed by blind chance, but by Divine wisdom.

    However possessions come to us, they are from God as the first cause God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” ( Acts 17:26) As Toplady remarked thereon, “The very places which people inhabit are here positively averred to be determined and fore-appointed by God. And it is very right it should be so, else some places would be overstocked with inhabitants, and others deserted Whereas by God’s having fore-appointed the bounds of our habitations, we are properly sifted over the face of the earth, so as to answer all the social and higher purposes of Divine wisdom.” God has appointed where each person shall reside: the particular country in which he should be born, and the very city, town, village, and house in which we shall dwell, and how long he shall remain there; for our times are in His hand ( Psalm 31:15).

    A striking illustration of that is seen in connection with both the birthplace and the subsequent abode of the Savior. It was ordained that He should be born at Bethlehem, and though circumstances appeared to prevent. God set in motion a Roman census throughout the whole of its empire, requiring Joseph and Mary to journey unto Bethlehem, ( Luke 2:1-6). Later, they resided at the appointed Nazareth ( Matthew 2:23).

    The distribution of Canaan was by lot. To ascertain precisely what it consisted of and how the mind of God was made known therein, Scripture has to be carefully compared with Scripture, and even then we cannot be quite certain of the exact method followed. The first time (which is always of most importance) the lot is mentioned is in Leviticus 16:8, “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat”: i.e. to determine which of them should be used for the God-ward side of the atonement (propitiation) and which the man-ward (the removal of sins). Thus the first occurrence of “the lot” associates it with Israel’s high priest, and shows that it was employed in determining the will of God. So too “Eleazar the priest” is expressly mentioned both in Numbers 34:17, and Joshua 14:1, in connection with the transaction we are here considering. Likewise, when the claim was made by the daughters of Zelophehad to a portion of Canaan their case was determined before Eleazar the priest, Joshua, and the princes of the tribes ( Joshua 17:3-6), because the use of the lot was there involved, as the word “fell,” or more literally “came forth” (verse 5), indicates.

    Personally we incline strongly to the view taken by the author of The Companion Bible (unprocurable today) that God’s will in “the lot” was obtained by means of the mysterious “Urim and Thummim,” which were probably two precious stones, for there was no commandment given to “make” them, and which were “put in the breastplate” of the high priest, ( Exodus 28:30).

    Apparently they were “put” in a bag in “the ephod” or robe of the high priest, which bag was formed by doubling a part of the garment — note “doubled” in Exodus 28:16, and “inward” (verse 26). In Proverbs 16:33, we are told, “The lot is cast into the lap [Hebrew “bosom,” which is put for the clothing covering it — cf. Exodus 4:6,7]; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” Thus “the lot” was for the purpose of giving a judgment or infallible decision, and the breastplate is designated “the breastplate of judgment” ( Exodus 28:15), because by it God’s judgment or verdict was given when the same was needed — compare 1 Samuel 28:6, where the Lord refused to oblige the apostate Saul.

    Thus it seems that when the lot was needed the high priest placed his hand in the bag or pocket behind his breastplate, and drew forth either the Urim or the Thummim, the one signifying Yes, and the other No, for in Joshua 18:11, we are told that the lot “came up,” in Joshua 19:1, that it “came forth,” and in Joshua 19:17, that it “came out.” Joshua 19:51, informs us that this important transaction took place at the entrance to the house of God: “These are the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” This casts light upon a number of passages treating of incidents in the later history of Israel. Thus, when they were uncertain as to whether or not they should go up against Benjamin again, they came to the house of God and inquired of the Lord, and it was Phinehas the high priest who obtained answer for them ( Judges 20:26-28). In Ezra 2:61-63, no verdict could be given unless the high priest were present, with his breastplate of judgment, with “the lot,” Urim and Thummim, which would give Jehovah’s decision — guilty or innocent.

    It is to be duly noted that, in addition to Eleazar the priest and Joshua himself, “the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel” ( Joshua 14:1) were also present when the official distribution of the land was made. This was in obedience to the Divine injunction given through Moses that “one prince of every tribe” ( Numbers 34:18) should be taken to serve as commissioners on this occasion. They were entrusted with the oversight, to be witnesses that everything had been conducted fairly and properly in the distribution of the land according to the size of the tribes and in the casting of the lot. Thus would they protect the rights of the tribes, preclude all suspicion that any partiality had been shown, and be qualified authoritatively to determine any controversy which might later arise. “Public affairs should be so managed, as not only to give their right to all, but, if possible, to give satisfaction to all that they have right done them” (Matthew Henry).

    It is very striking to note that God not only selected those commissioners during the lifetime of Moses, but actually named them all ( Numbers 34:19-29), which thereby guaranteed their preservation from death during the long interval, either from natural causes or from the fighting in Canaan.

    THE INHERITANCE In our last we virtually confined our attention to a consideration of the method appointed by God for the distribution of Canaan among the tribes of Israel — that of Levi being exempted therefrom. That method was “the lot,” and however casual and contingent the casting thereof might seem to man it was Divinely certain, for “the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” ( Proverbs 16:33), so that His will was infallibly made known thereby. All important matters of order under the Divine theocracy were thus determined. Hence we find king Saul making request of the Lord God, “give a perfect lot” ( 1 Samuel 14:41). The cities in which the sons of Aaron and their families were to dwell were determined by lot ( Chronicles 6:63), so too were the sacred singers of the divine worship ( 1 Chronicles 25:7,8). Likewise. in Nehemiah’s day, those who were to reside in Jerusalem were chosen by lot ( Joshua 11:1). In case of rival claims, the different parties agreed to abide by its decision, and thus “The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty” ( Proverbs 18:18).

    The practical application which is to be made unto ourselves of the above principle is that God does not leave secondary causes to their work as an idle spectator, bat interposes and orders all the affairs of our lives. As an old writer quaintly expressed it, “Notwithstanding all our blowing, the fire will not burn without the Lord.” “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” ( <19C701> Psalm 127:1) As the apportioning of Canaan was entirely by Divine determination, so are the bounds of our habitation fixed, and in whatever way our position and portion in this world be assigned or acquired by us, we should regard the same as coming from the Lord, and be thankful for and contented with it.

    One of the secrets of tranquility of mind and happiness of heart is for us to be grateful and joyful for what God has so graciously given us, instead of lusting after and repining over those things which He wisely withholds. “Godliness with contentment is great gain... and having food and raiment let us be therewith content” ( 1 Timothy 5:6,8).

    As the portion which Jehovah appointed, promised, and gave unto Abraham and his descendants, the land of Canaan has, all through this Christian era, been rightly regarded as figuring the heavenly Canaan, unto which the members of Christ are now journeying as they pass through this scene of sin and trial. Rightly so we say, for in the first place the New Testament refers often to the everlasting bliss of God’s people as an inheritance. The evangelical commission which Paul received from the Lord unto the Gentiles was “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me” ( Acts 26:18).

    And therefore did he bid the Colossians gave “thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” ( Joshua 1:12).

    In Hebrews 9:15, he termed it the “eternal inheritance”; while Peter assured the saints that they had been begotten “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” ( 1 Peter 1:4).

    In the second place, Canaan was given to Israel on the ground of the covenant which Jehovah made with Abraham ( Exodus 6:4, <19A509> Psalm 105:9-11). In like manner, our heritage of blessing and glory is bestowed upon us in consequence of the everlasting covenant of grace. God and the Mediator agreed together in counsel for the accomplishment of a common end: to further the manifested glory of God and to secure the salvation of His people. In Zechariah 6:13, we read, “And the counsel of peace shall be between Them both,” the reference being to Jehovah and the Man whose name is the Branch of the previous verse. That “counsel of peace” signifies the compact between Them. Or the fulfillment of certain conditions by the Mediator, God stipulated to reward Him and His seed.

    That everlasting covenant is the foundation of all the good which God does to His people ( Luke 1:68-72; Hebrews 13:20,21). His promises unto them were made to their Surety, on whose behalf He transacted. A remarkable proof of this is found in Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised [not simply “purposed “] before the world began” — promised Christ that He would bestow eternal life (another name for the “inheritance” — Matthew 7:14) upon all His seed.

    In the third place, the everlasting portion of Christians is not only an “inheritance,” but an allotted one. This is taught plainly in Ephesians 1:11, though a careful comparison of other passages is required in order to discern the real meaning and force of that verse. Since most of the Lord’s people are unacquainted with the same, it will be necessary for us to enter into some detail In verses 3-9 the apostle had spoken of election, of adoption to glory (or an inheritance), of redemption, and of vocation. Then in verse 10 he stated that the design of the whole of the foregoing was that God should head up or gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven (the angels) and (the redeemed) which are on earth. In verses 11-13 this is amplified and explained. First he refers to Jewish believers, and says, “In whom [Christ, the Head] also we have obtained an inheritance,” or a part in that grand “gathering together” into one in Christ.

    Then in verse 13 he alludes to the Gentiles: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation,” for it is not until his conversion that any soul actually obtains either an interest in or meetness for the inheritance.

    The “we have obtained an inheritance” is a single word — a compound one — in the original, and is derived from kleros, concerning which that eminent Greek scholar and exegete C. Hodge said, “The word kleros means to cast lots, to distribute by lot, to choose by lot, and, in the middle voice, to obtain by lot or inheritance or simply to obtain.”

    Our own study has confirmed that, First , kleros signifies a part or portion in a thing, to be a partaker with others therein, and it is so rendered in Acts 1:17,25. Thus the saints have a part in that gathering together of all things in Christ.

    Second , kleros signifies an inheritance, and is so rendered in Hebrews 1:4 — “heritage” in 1 Peter 5:3.

    Third , kleros signifies a lot, being so translated seven times: Matthew 27:35, etc., Acts 1:26. Thus by combining those three meanings we get a part or portion, which part or portion is an inheritance, and this inheritance comes to us by lot, as did that of the Hebrews: “Ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance” ( Numbers 33:54, and see Ezekiel 45:1). and therefore it is called “the lot of our inheritance” ( Numbers 36:3).

    It is also to be observed that the verbal noun of Ephesians 1:11 (for a verb it is) is a passive one, importing that the inheritance has been bestowed upon us, and is not something actively acquired by us. The word is used in the passive voice when we say a man is disinherited, but we have no English word that answers thereto to say a man is inherited, so we supply a word and say he is endowed with an inheritance. The Christian’s inheritance is not something he has earned by his own efforts, nor is it even sought by him, but is conferred upon him gratuitously. We obtained an inheritance in Christ, were made joint heirs with Him, before we were aware of it. In some cases this is much more evident than in others, as with those who are utterly unconcerned about their souls’ eternal welfare being suddenly and quite unexpectedly apprehended by Christ — like Saul of Tarsus. Yet in reality it is so in every case, for Christ took the initiative in seeking out and working upon the ones who became anxious seekers after Him, for did not God first quicken the dead in sins, none would ever make a movement towards Him; yet they know no more about that quickening than a man asleep would of obtaining an inheritance then bequeathed to him.

    Thus it turns out under the preaching of the Gospel and those who hear the same: the lot falls on some and passes by others. One may attend out of idle curiosity and be arrested by God the first sermon he hears; as Zacchaeus, being little, climbed up into a tree, that he might get a glimpse of the miracle-worker who was passing that way, yet Christ said unto him “make haste, and come down.... This day is salvation come to this house”; while regular attenders are left to themselves. “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage”: every saint is Divinely ordained, yet to human perception things are carried out casually, as if grace comes to them by lot — even as Saul merely went forth to seek his father’s asses, but before he arrived back home had been anointed king of Israel. The hearers of Christ’s forerunner went to view a novelty, as they would go to a show ( Luke 7:24,25), yet under his call to repentance many of their hearts were turned to God.

    The above remarks receive definite confirmation in 2 Peter 1:1, where the apostle addresses himself to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us,” for the Greek word there used also signifies “to obtain by lot” (Young’s Concordance), being the same one as is rendered “his lot was to burn incense” ( Luke 1:9). By using that term, Peter would remind his readers that if they had really believed to the saving of their souls they were indebted for their faith not at all to their own superior sagacity but solely to the sovereign dispositions of Divine grace. In the distribution of His favors, that blessed portion had fallen to their share.

    Thus 2 Peter 1:1, is one of many verses which teach us that saving faith is a gift from God, and not a product of the creature’s will: all room for boasting is excluded ( 1 Corinthians 4:7): it is the Divine lot which makes believer differ from unbeliever!

    It is not simply predestination which gives a soul a right to the Divine inheritance, but a Divine work — a work of grace on the heart — which is the effect of predestination. So teaches the apostle in Ephesians 1:12-14: it was after they heard the Gospel, “after that ye believed,” that they were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, “which is the earnest of our inheritance.” It is not until we are converted that we obtain a personal interest in the inheritance.” This is dear from Acts 26:18, for Christ sent forth Paul to preach in order to turn men “from darkness unto light... that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified [set apart from unbelievers] by faith that is in Me.” Simon Magus was told frankly, “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter.”

    And why? because he was an impenitent and unpardoned soul ( Acts 8:21,22). We have to be made meet by the gracious operations of the Spirit before we become partakers of the inheritance ( Colossians 1:12).

    Likewise does 1 Peter 1:3,4, expressly inform us that we must be begotten of God ere we have a saving and experiential interest in the heavenly inheritance.

    After stating that those who are converted have obtained an inheritance or “part” in the gathering together into one of all things in Christ, the apostle then traced this unspeakable blessing back to its source: “being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” ( Ephesians 1:11). God has sent forth the Gospel on no uncertain mission, but whenever and by whomsoever it be preached it shall not return unto Him void, but accomplish that which He pleases and prosper in the thing whereto He sent it — all the forces of evil being powerless to prevent it. It is not left to human caprice, the wills of those who hear it, and though it comes to men by “lot” (which to the eye of man appears to be wholly a matter of chance), yet that lot is directed by God’s eternal predestination; and though the favored ones on which the lot falls be by nature as alienated from God and as dead in sin as those whom the lot passes by, nevertheless their effectual calling and conversion is accomplished by Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will.

    Many of God’s people rejoice and give thanks unto Him for His bringing them front death unto life, working repentance and faith in them, and granting them a saving interest in Christ; but fail to perceive that those acts of the Divine mercy are the consequents and fruits of God’s eternal choice and foreordination of them unto eternal life and glory ( Acts 13:48; Thessalonians 2:13, 14). The order of the Divine procedure is clearly stated in Romans “For whom He did foreknow, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn [chief] among many brethren” (verse 29).

    Foreknowledge there is the knowledge of approbation, as in “The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous” (Psalm 1), “you only have I known of all the families of the earth” ( Amos 3:2, and see Romans 11:2). The distinction between foreknowledge and predestination is this: the Divine foreknowledge is of the persons selected and approved; the predestination is the appointing of the blessings designed them. The next verse shows how that grand purpose of God is accomplished: “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.”

    Thus, God’s electing grace and sovereign purpose are the ground and root of all that follows. Many other passages teach the same thing. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” ( Jeremiah 31:3) — all of God’s dealings with His people in time are the outworking, of His decrees concerning them in eternity past. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” ( Thessalonians 2:13):

    He who determined the end also appointed and provided the means thereto. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works [either actual or foreseen, for we have no good ones except those which He produces in and through us], but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” ( 2 Timothy 1:9). Now observe how strong and emphatic is the language of Ephesians 1:11: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”

    Not only predestinated to that inheritance, but according to Divine purpose, which expresses the certainty and immutability thereof; and that the decree of Him who effectually works all things after the contrivance of His own pleasure, none being able to withstand Him.

    In the fourth place the allotment of Israel’s inheritance was conveyed through the exercise of the priest’s office. “And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them” ( Joshua 14:1).

    Since a solemn appeal was to be made unto God for the knowledge of His will, the presence of the high priest with his Urim and Thummin was necessary. Accordingly, Eleazar, the son and successor of Aaron ( Deuteronomy 10:6), is here mentioned, and that before Joshua. By thus giving him the precedence, signal honor was placed upon the priesthood. Therein we behold once more the beauty and the accuracy of the type, though ours is an age of such spiritual ignorance that few today perceive this. The careful student of the New Testament will have observed that the priesthood of Christ is there given a prominence which is accorded unto neither His prophetic nor His kingly office. Nor is that in the least surprising, for it was the very end of His incarnation “that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” ( Hebrews 2:17).

    There was obviously no necessity for the assumption of human nature by the Son of God if the only results to be achieved thereby were the publication of truths undiscoverable by the efforts of human reason and the promulgation of laws invested with the authority of God, for prophets and apostles were quite competent (by Divine enduement) to perform such offices. But the mediation of Christ rendered it requisite and fitting that it should assume the peculiar form of priesthood, so that His death might be not only a satisfaction unto justice, but a sweet-smelling sacrifice — a freewill offering unto God. It is most important to recognize that Christ’s redemptive work was a priestly one. This has been denied by Socinians, and it is sad to find some who believe in Christ’s deity adopting the vain reasoning of “Unitarians” concerning the sacerdotal nature of the Savior’s oblation. The New Testament represents Christ not only as priest, but as the great High Priest of His people, and if the character, purpose and scope of that office be interpreted in the light of the Old Testament types (as it must be) there is no room left for doubt as to the meaning of the antitype.

    Now it is in the epistle to the Hebrews that the functions of Christ’s priesthood are most fully made known. There we are shown that both Aaron and Melchizedek were needed to foreshadow completely its various aspects: the design of God in appointing Aaron was to typify the person and work of Christ, as is clear from “as was Aaron... so also Christ” ( Joshua 5:4,5) — an unmistakable parallel. Hebrews 2:17, makes it quite plain that Christ acted as Priest here on earth, for He made “reconciliation for the sins of the people “ — as Aaron was priest before he entered the holiest, so also was Christ. Hebrews 7:26, exhibits the qualifications and excellences which fitted Christ to discharge this office, describing what He was here when brought into contact with sin and sinners. “Such an high priest became us”: was requisite for and suited to fallen creatures — none other could expiate our sins, procure acceptance with God, or purchase eternal redemption. Hebrews 8:3; 9:11-15, 25- 28; 10:10-12, also prove that Christ discharged His priestly office on earth, offering Himself as a sacrifice to God. Conclusive proof of this was furnished by God’s rending of the veil, thereby setting aside the whole system of the Levitical order, His priestly oblation having superseded theirs.

    As might well be expected from their relative positions in the Sacred Canon, Hebrews takes us farther than Romans (wonderful as that epistle is) in the revelation of God’s manifold wisdom and the unveiling of His amazing grace. In Romans the scene is laid in the law court; in Hebrews, within the temple. In the former, the righteousness of God is displayed; in the latter, His holiness shines forth. In the one, justification is the outstanding provision of the Gospel; in the other, sanctification is the product of Christ’s sacrifice. In Romans Christ is seen as the covenant Head and federal Representative of His people; in Hebrews as their great High Priest. In the former, believers obtain a secure standing before God’s throne; in the latter, they are privileged to draw nigh as worshippers before the mercy seat. As both Aaron and Melchizedek were needed to set forth the sacrificial and royal functions of Christ’s priesthood, so both Phinehas and Joshua were required ( Joshua 14:1) to exhibit Him as the Bestower of our inheritance — the Lamb-Lion of Revelation 5:5,6. As Priest (and Lamb) Christ purchased the “eternal inheritance” ( Hebrews 9:11-15), as the antitypical Joshua (and Lion) His power conducts the heirs into it.

    In our last we pointed out some of the principal respects in which the distribution of the land of Canaan unto the tribes of Israel adumbrated the blessings and glory which the spiritual Israel obtain in and by Christ. We saw that, in the first place, our eternal portion is distinctly termed an “inheritance” ( 1 Peter 1:4) Second, that our inheritance is bestowed upon us on the ground of a covenant ( Luke 1:72). Third, that our inheritance too is an allotted one ( Ephesians 1:11), and that the very faith which is necessary to give us a personal and saving interest therein is bestowed upon us by Divine lot ( 1 Peter 1:2). Fourth, that our glorious heritage is conveyed to us by the exercise of Christ’s priesthood ( Hebrews 9:11-15). Continuing to ponder the analogies between type and antitype, we note, in the fifth place, that responsible princes of Israel’s tribes attended when Canaan was divided, for there were present with Eleazar the priest and Joshua “the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel” ( Joshua 14:1). Nothing is told us of the particular part they played in that important transaction, but it appears that they were appointed to act as overseers or supervisors on that occasion. “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” ( Matthew 19:28).

    That, in our opinion, is what answers to and corresponds with that particular detail in Joshua 14:1. If “the saints shall judge the world,” yea, “judge angels” ( 1 Corinthians 6:2,3), we need not be surprised to learn that the twelve shall sit upon thrones judging the tribes of Israel. The apostles were closest to Christ and shared most in His humiliation, and therefore in the day of His manifested glory they will be distinguished from and honored above all their brethren. Since they were so fiercely persecuted by the Jews, they will be Christ’s assessors in their judgment. A further dignity is bestowed upon them by the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb being in the twelve foundations of the new Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:12). In each instance — Joshua 14:1; Matthew 19:28; 1 Corinthians 6:2,3 the bare fact is stated without any explanation or amplification, and therefore any attempt to speculate thereon is not only useless but impious.

    In the sixth place, our inheritance is a reward. As we have so frequently pointed out in these articles, while Canaan was the land of promise, Israel had to fight for it: even Jacob spoke of one portion therein “which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow” ( Genesis 48:22). It was bequeathed unto Abraham and his seed, nevertheless it became theirs only by their own prowess. Notwithstanding its being theirs by Divine donation, in a subordinate but very real sense their actual entrance into and possession thereof was the result of their own efforts. Whether or not we can perceive the “consistency” and congruity of those different principles, they are the plain facts of the case. Nor should they present any difficulty to us, for they are complementary to each other, and not contradictory. God’s sovereignty lies at the foundation of all things, yet in His dealings with men — His own people not excepted — He ever treats with them as moral agents, enforces their accountability, and causes them to reap as they have sown, whether it was evil or good seed.

    Now what pertained to the bestowment and acquirement of the earthly Canaan holds good in connection with the heavenly Canaan. It could not be otherwise, for God made the type to shadow forth accurately the antitype, therefore we read, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” ( Colossians 3:23,24).

    Nothing can be more free or a matter of bounty than an inheritance. Then since it be an inheritance, with what propriety term it a “reward”? If a reward, how can it be, at the same time, an “inheritance “? The two things seem to be quite incompatible, especially since the inheritance is also designated “the purchased possession” ( Ephesians 1:14) — bought with the blood of Christ. Yet such language is no more antithetical that that of the Savior when He exhorted the Jews to “labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,” and then added,” which the Son of man shall give unto you” ( John 6:27); nor that of His apostle, who declared, “For we which have believed do enter into rest,” and then enjoined, “let us labor therefore to enter into that rest” ( Hebrews 4:3,11).

    There is much in the Scriptures which appears to the infidel to be contradictory: as that “the Lord our God is one Lord” ( Deuteronomy 6:4), yet is three distinct persons; that “His mercy endureth for ever” ( <19D601> Psalm 136:1), yet that He will send many of His creatures to everlasting punishment; that Christ should affirm “I and Father are one” ( John 10:30), yet also declared “My Father is greater than I” ( John 14:28). And though the Christian perceives the perfect harmony of those statements, yet there are some things which greatly puzzle him. As for instance, that since God has predestinated everything which comes to pass, what room is left for free agency and the discharge of human responsibility? If the fall has deprived men of all spiritual strength, how can they be justly held blameworthy for failing to perform spiritual duties? If Christ died for the elect only, how can He be freely offered to every creature? If the believer be Christ’s “free man,” then why is he required to take upon him His yoke? If he has been set at liberty ( Galatians 5:1), how can he be “under the law” ( 1 Corinthians 9:21)? If he be preserved by God, then how can his own perseverance be necessary in order to the attainment of eternal bliss? If sin does not have dominion over him ( Romans 6:14), why do “iniquities prevail against” him so often ( Psalm 65:3)?

    Whatever difficulties may be involved, the fact remains that Scripture has not a little to say about God’s rewarding the obedient and crowning the overcomer. “In keeping of them there is great reward” ( Psalm 19:11). “To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward” ( Proverbs 11:18). “Then He shall reward every man according to his works” ( Matthew 16:27). “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many” ( Matthew 25:23). “They [the poor] cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” ( Luke 14:14).

    There are other declarations that God will take special note of the fidelity of His servants, and amply compensate them for the sufferings which they have endured in His behalf. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.

    Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” ( Matthew 5:11). “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” ( Revelation 2:10).

    Now all such passages as these must be allowed their obvious and legitimate force, and be given a due place in our hearts and minds.

    In a brief and incidental statement on this subject, Calvin beautifully preserved the balance. “The Scripture shows what all our works are capable of meriting when it represents them as unable to bear the Divine scrutiny, because they are full of impurity. And in the next place what would be merited by the perfect observance of the Law if this could anywhere be found, when it directs us, ‘when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants’ ( Luke 17:10), because we shall not have conferred any favor on God, but only have performed the duties incumbent upon us, for which no thanks are due. Nevertheless, the good works which the Lord has conferred on us, He denominates our own, and declares that He will not only accept, but also reward them. It is our duty to be animated by so great a promise, and to stir up our minds that we ‘be not weary in well doing,’ and to be truly grateful for so great an instance of the Divine goodness.... Good works, therefore, are pleasing to God and not unprofitable to the authors of them, and they will moreover receive the most ample blessings from God as their reward: not because they merit them, but because the Divine goodness has freely appointed them this reward” (Institutes, book 3, chapter 5).

    If it were “inconsistent” with the Divine perfections for God to bestow any future rewards on His people both for Christ’s sake (primarily and meritoriously) and because of their own obedience (according to the terms of the new covenant and the governmental principles of God), then it would be equally so for Him to grant any present ones, for no difference in time or place can make any change in the essential nature of things. That He does richly recompense them in this world is clear from many passages. “Great peace have they which love Thy law” ( <19B9165> Psalm 119:165 and cf. Isaiah 58:13,14). The peace and joy which are the believer’s now flow originally from the meditation of Christ, but subordinately from his own obedience and fidelity — if he pursues a course of disobedience, then peace of conscience will not be his. Those who deny themselves for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s are assured of a grand reward: “an hundredfold now in this time,” as well as “in the world to come eternal life” ( Mark 10:30). “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” ( 1 Timothy 4:8).

    He who was outstandingly the apostle of grace declared, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” ( Philippians 3:14): whatever that “prize” may consist of, the fact remains that the Holy Spirit moved him to use that term. Nevertheless, it is evident that our rewards, whether present or future, are not due to us as a wage is to a hired servant who has properly fulfilled his duty: rather are they entirely a matter of Divine bounty. This is clear from the following considerations.

    First , it is Divine grace which alone produces our good works: “Thou also hast wrought all our works in us” ( Isaiah 26:12).

    Second , it is Divine grace which approves of them, despite their defects, for our gifts or benevolences ( Philippians 4:18) and our worship are “acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” ( 1 Peter 2:5): yea, our prayers are heard by God only because of the “much incense” of Christ’s merits being added to them ( Revelation 8:3,4).

    Third , there is no proportion between our performances or sufferings and the “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” ( 2 Corinthians 4:17) which they “worketh for us.”

    Rewards are in no sense the recognition of personal worthiness, for we can deserve nothing good at the hands of God. Therein they differ radically from the punishment which shall be meted out unto the reprobate. The penalty inflicted on the wicked is an act of strict justice, the paying to them the wages of sin: but the rewarding of the righteous is entirely a matter of Divine bounty, and therefore all room for boasting is excluded. It is impossible for any creature to bring God under obligation to him or make Him in any wise his debtor. Nevertheless, He is graciously pleased to recognize, own and recompense all that is done with an eye to His glory.

    Promises of reward are among the incentives to industry ( <19C606> Psalm 126:6), the encouragements of fidelity ( Hebrews 11:26), and the motives to inspire us in unwearied well doing ( Galatians 6:9) — it was for “the joy set before Him” that the Lord Jesus endured the cross ( Hebrews 12:2).

    Finally, it is to be pointed out that in signifying His approval of the services of the saints, God, at the same time, is owning the Spirit’s work in them, for they are the “fruits” of His gracious operation.

    In the seventh place, there will be degrees of glory among the saints when they enter into their final inheritance, though there are those who call this into question. It is objected that, since all believers are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and are equal in that respect, all have title to an equal inheritance. But that does not follow: varying degrees or measures of grace are bestowed upon one and another of them in this life. But since they all stand in the same relation to God, and are His dear children, will they not enjoy the same honors and dignities? Not necessarily, for even in this world they are not all of the same spiritual stature. Some are babes in Christ, while others are young men and fathers ( 1 John 2:12-14), and, no matter how long they be left here, some of the first-mentioned never attain unto the level of the others. Some argue that since all be of grace, distinctions could not obtain. All is of grace, and every crown will be cast at the feet of Christ, yet it does not follow that they shall be in all respects alike. Paul’s crown of rejoicing will greatly consist in the salvation of those among whom he labored ( 1 Thessalonians 2:19), yet that will not be the case with every inhabitant of heaven Others insist that the saint’s title to eternal life is the meritorious work of the Mediator, being “the gift of God... through Jesus Christ our Lord” ( Romans 6:23), and that since all of His redeemed have His obedience imputed to them, that must ensure equality in glory. Not so, for Revelation 14:13, tells us that, from henceforth, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labors, and then adds, “their works do follow them.” Note, not “precede” as the ground of their justification, but “follow” as intermediate causes of their felicity. Since the amount of their works varies, so will they contribute to different degrees in augmenting their bliss. But since all be loved with the same love, called by the same calling, and are heirs of the same inheritance, it must be concluded that all will possess it in the same degree. If that reasoning proves anything, it “proves too much,” for in such case all would be on a spiritual equality now; whereas it is an incontrovertible fact that God distributes His gifts and graces unevenly among His people. All of the redeemed will be entirely content and perfectly happy in heaven, rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory: yet while every cup of bliss will be full, they will not all be of the same size. All the saints will participate in celestial and eternal felicity, but not on an equality, “otherwise there would be no suitableness in God’s dispensations....

    There are higher degrees of glory for those who have done and suffered most” (Matthew Henry).

    This too was definitely foreshadowed in the distribution of Canaan. Joshua did not divide the land into twelve equal parts, for the Lord had given orders, “To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him” ( Numbers 26:54); and so it came to pass. That also had a spiritual significance and application to us. “A believer’s state of happiness is determined by his faith, but the measure of his happiness in that state depends upon the fruits of faith. Faith alone saves a Christian, but his crown is brighter according as his faith works more abundantly by love” (John Berridge, 1774).

    As we have shown above, Scripture repeatedly informs us that the services and sufferings of the saints shall be rewarded in the day to come: though that reward be not of debt, but of grace, yet it is a “reward” — which could not be if what is enjoyed in the life to come had no relation to and bore no proportion to what was done in this life. As the different portions allotted Israel were determined by the size of their tribes, so that of the saints will be regulated by the number of their good works, in proportion as they use their talents. “Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor” ( 1 Corinthians 3:8): according to the extent to which he exercised his grace and holiness here.

    As there are different measures of fruitfulness among believers, some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, and some a hundredfold ( Mark 4:8), so there will be differences of reward. Though an eternity of bliss will be the portion of both the repentant thief and the apostle Paul, it is inconceivable that the latter will receive no more from the hands of Christ than the former. “To deny degrees in glory is to say that God will not suit men’s wages to works” (Thomas Brooks, 1606-1680). “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” ( Corinthians 9:6). “As there is a difference in the kind of crop according to the kind of seed ( Galatians 6:7,8), so according to the degree. Some well, others better; so some fare well, others better, are more bountifully rewarded; for God will deal more liberally with those who shall accordingly with greater diligence acquit themselves in well doing.

    There is a proportionate observance” (Manton). “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord” ( Ephesians 6:8), “that is, shall be particularly and punctually considered by God for it. He shall receive the same, not for kind, but for quantity and proportion” (Manton).

    The moral government of God will thus be honored, and the equity of His procedure manifested. All will be of grace, yet then too shall it be seen that grace works “through righteousness” ( Romans 5:21). “Ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” ( Colossians 3:24), who is not only a bountiful Master, but a faithful one. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” ( Hebrews 6:10).

    It is in His office as moral Governor that the Lord will act in the day to come, and therein He will display not only His benevolence, but His righteousness. It will become Him to exhibit His approbation of holiness, put honor upon virtue, and crown fidelity. “If heavenly bliss bear any relation to the labors and sufferings of the present life on behalf of Christ, which the Scriptures assure us it does, these being diverse, that must also be the same” (Andrew Fuller).

    Different degrees of glory accords most with God’s ways in creation, which is everywhere marked by diversity rather than uniformity. There are differences and disparities in everything among men: in wisdom and rank, in abilities and riches. Among the angels also there are “principalities and powers, thrones and dominions.” It accords with God’s dealings with His saints here · He gives the greatest spiritual blessings to those who most eminently glorify Him. Various measures of glory accords too with different degrees of punishment for the wicked ( Matthew 11:22; Luke 12:47,48: Hebrews 10:29). “Heavenly bliss will consist in ascribing glory to God and the Lamb: but this can be proportioned only in proportion as we have glory to ascribe. When Paul acknowledges ‘by the grace of God I am what I am,’ there is a thousand times more meaning in the expression, and a thousand times more glory redounds to God, than in the uttering of the same words by some men, even though they be men of real piety” (A. Fuller).

    INDIVIDUAL PORTIONS Our previous articles upon the distribution of Canaan were confined almost entirely to the typical side of things, adumbrating as it did that blessed heritage which God decreed and Christ purchased for His people. But we must now consider briefly some of the literal features connected with the same. The orderly dividing of the land was not only a wise provision, but a necessary arrangement, so that the particular section of each tribe should be clearly defined. In Joshua 14–19 a full and detailed description is recorded of the boundaries of each one. That was done by the immediate appointment and direction of God, and not by any human sagacity and prudence, still less by the dictates of partiality and greed. All was regulated by “the lot.” This was done long before the whole of Canaan was actually conquered and possessed by Israel. There was to be no waiting until all the tribes had secured their respective portions: instead, they were now informed of the exact section to which they had been given a Divine title, so that they might go forward and possess their possessions. Thus were they called unto the exercise of faith and full confidence in God as they set about the performing of their respective tasks.

    In our last we saw that the method which God selected for the allocating of Canaan unto Israel combined the principles of grace, sovereignty and righteousness: of grace, inasmuch as Israel’s inheritance was a Divine gift; of sovereignty, for all was done by lot or submitting to the Divine will in the dispositions made; of righteousness, for the numerical strength of the tribe was taken into account in the size of the portion allotted it. The plan followed was thus the very opposite of what would be euphemistically termed a “Welfare State,” for there was no dividing of the land into twelve equal parts. The whole of Scripture makes it plain that it is the Divine will that there should be distinctions both among nations, in the territory which they occupy, and among individuals, in the property which they possess.

    Likewise, it is required that each shall be contented with what the Lord has assigned them and him. “Thou shalt not covet” is as much a part of the Divine law as “Thou shalt not kill.” When the antitypical Joshua was asked to appoint two of His disciples to the chief places of honor in His kingdom He replied, “to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father” ( Matthew 20:23), thereby acknowledging the sovereignty of the Father.

    The benefits to be derived from the dividing of Canaan to Israel by Divine lot should at once be apparent. Not only did such an arrangement exclude the exercise of human avarice and injustice, but it also precluded any occasion for strife and wrangling between the several tribes, determining as it did the precise location assigned unto each of them, with the limits thereof. Thus all ground for jealousy, misunderstanding and lawsuits about their respective territories was obviated. But more: Israel were thereby taught to submit themselves to the good pleasure of the Lord. Therein lies the chief practical lesson which we should draw from this transaction: to surrender ourselves wholly to the Divine will and beg God to choose for us — whether it be in the matter of our earthly vocation, the selection of a life-partner, or the measure of temporal prosperity which will be most for His glory and our good. As an old writer truly remarked, “Such as refer themselves unto God to choose for them, will never find cause to repent of their lot.” No, it is when we leave Him out, lean unto our own understanding, act by carnal impulse, that we bring trouble upon ourselves.

    How we should pray daily, “work in me both to will and to do of Thy good pleasure.”

    Before the lot was cast for the determining of the portions of the respective tribes, Caleb appeared before those who had charge of that business, and presented his claim unto Hebron for his own possession. A brief allusion was made to the same at the end of our October 1951 article, but a closer examination of the incident is now called for. Ere so doing, it should be pointed out that Joshua 14:5, is a general statement, which is amplified in Joshua 15:1, and onwards, the narrative being interrupted by what is now to be before us. “Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea” (verse 6).

    Observe here the gracious humility of the man! Caleb was himself one of those who had been Divinely appointed to serve as one of the commissioners, to see that the lot was carried out in a proper manner ( Numbers 34:17-19); yet, lest it might appear that he was seeking unduly to use his authority in furthering his own interests, he brought with him some of his brethren to act as witnesses. How careful was he to “abstain from all appearance of evil” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:22)! Equally circumspect should we be in all of our public transactions. “Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart” (verse 7, and cf. Numbers 13:30). Those last words are very expressive and blessed. It was in Caleb’s heart that God was fully able to give what He had promised: that the gigantic Amorites with their chariots of iron were nothing to Him. Caleb was strong in faith, and therefore he was quite sure that Jehovah would make good His word. It was the Lord Himself who had put such a firm persuasion in his heart: just as at a later date, when faced with a task that was formidable unto flesh and blood, Nehemiah declared “neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem” ( Joshua 2:12): that too was something which burned within and sustained him through heavy trials. David also had “found it in his heart to build the house of the Lord.” How that language of Caleb’s made it evident that his heart was set upon the Promised Land! His “treasure” was there, and so was his heart also. That was his animating hope all through the forty years he had to spend with his unbelieving fellows in the wilderness. And so it should be with each Christian: his affections set upon things above as he journeys through this world to the antitypical Canaan. “Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God” (verse 8).

    His fellows walked by sight instead of faith, and consequently they were occupied with and appalled by the obstacles which stood in the way. Full of distrust themselves, they infected the whole of the congregation with the same, intimidating and discouraging them so far that their spirits sank. But Caleb refused to be influenced by them, yea, boldly withstood them. “I wholly followed the Lord my God” was not the language of presumption, but a plain declaration that he was neither daunted by the power of the enemy nor swayed by the skepticism of his brethren. It signified that on that occasion he had faithfully discharged his duty, remained steadfast in his faith in God, assured that He would enable His people to overcome the mighty sons of Anak. That meaning of his, “I wholly followed the Lord,” is made clear by the contrast of Numbers 32:11, where the Lord complained of his unbelieving fellows, “they have not wholly followed Me,” and from the fact that He there predicated the same fidelity and perseverance of Joshua. The great value which God set upon His servant’s steadfastness appears in His having recorded it in His Word no less than six times: Numbers 14:2; 32:12; Deuteronomy 1:36: Joshua 14:8,9,14. “And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God” (verse 9).

    The sure word of prophecy he had hid — held fast, treasured — in his heart throughout the lengthy interval. It is to be considered that probably most of that generation of Israel would be ignorant of the Divine grant which had been made unto him and his descendants so long before, and therefore Caleb quoted the Lord’s promise thereon for their benefit more than Joshua’s, so that it might appear that he was not now making any selfish or unreasonable demand. The Divine promise was recorded in Deuteronomy 1:36, and treasured in the mind of Caleb. His object was to prevent this particular part of Palestine being put in the lot with the other portions of the country. He had a definite and valid claim upon the same, and he here insisted upon his right. Since God’s own mind concerning it had been plainly made known, then it would be useless to appeal unto His will respecting it via the lot, as in the case of the sections for the tribes. “And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as He said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old” (verse 10).

    What a God-honoring testimony was this! Passing through all the vicissitudes of Israel’s wilderness wanderings, during which so many of his fellows were removed from this scene, engaged in the five years of fighting in Canaan, when no doubt there was often but a step betwixt him and death, Caleb here ascribed his preservation not to “good luck” or “fortune” (heathen terms!), but unto Him “which holdeth our soul in life” ( Psalm 66:9). Caleb had something more than a general realization that his times were in God’s hands ( Psalm 31:15): his faith had laid hold of a special promise, as his “as He said” plainly shows. He was resting on the word of One who cannot lie — as David, at a later date, relied upon God’s changeless veracity · “do as Thou hast said” ( 2 Samuel 7:25). We are on both sure and comfortable ground, my reader, when we take our stand upon God’s promise, expecting a fulfillment. Caleb’s repeated “and now” was tantamount to his saying, The time has at last arrived for the Lord to make good His engagement. “As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in” (verse 11).

    In those words he was forestalling an objection which might be made against his appeal. Should the demurrer be advanced, But you are much too old for such a difficult and dangerous venture as the dispossessing of the giants from the mountainous district of Hebron, that such a strenuous and hazardous task called for a much younger man. Caleb here pressed his physical fitness for the same. The One who had preserved his life throughout the years had also renewed his youth like the eagle’s ( <19A305> Psalm 103:5). Ah, my reader, God does nothing by halves when He appoints a man for any particular work, He also equips the worker and furnishes him with everything needful. Not only so, He sustains and animates the heart for the task. Faith inspires resolution and courage, and He who had enabled His servant to hold fast for so long to His promise also removed all hesitation and fear, so that Caleb was just as ready and eager to set about the task which lay before him as he was in the prime of life. “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou hearedst in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said (verse 12).

    The second halt of this verse is very lovely, yet some have quite misunderstood its force. Though Caleb still retained his vigor, it was not that upon which he relied, nor yet upon his military ability and experience; but instead, upon the Lord. Thus his “if so be the Lord will be with me” was not the language of doubting, but of self-renunciation. He had no confidence in the flesh and felt his own insufficiency. There will not be faith in God, nor even a sincere looking to Him, my reader, while we retain faith in ourselves. Trust in the Lord is ever accompanied by distrust of self. No, Caleb was conscious that the successful accomplishment of the work before him was quite beyond his own powers, but he counted upon the faithfulness of God to undertake for him. Proof was this that the Divine promise was no empty theory to him, but a precious reality. Therein he differed sharply from his unbelieving companions: they were occupied with the power of the enemy and their own impotence; he with the omnipotent One and the sureness of His word. “And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance” (verse 13).

    Thus was the promise of God through Moses made good by Joshua. This is very blessed, for it causes us to look beyond the shadow to the substance: the fulfillment of all the Divine promises is in and through the antitypical Joshua. “For all the promises of God in Him [Christ] are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” ( 2 Corinthians 1:20).

    Since Christ Himself is the end and chief object of all the promises, He has become by His mediatorial character both the channel of supply to all who receive the grace of God in truth and the medium of their responsive praise. To the certified promises thus declared to God’s elect, in the person of His Son, the Church now sets the seal of her Amen, affirming thus adoringly to the glory of the Father what the lips of Christ have first spoken to her heart. In Christ we now have by an everlasting covenant of grace whatever good things God spoke aforetime. In the Lord Jesus the very fullness of God dwells, and in that holy humanity which He took upon Him for our sakes. The concentrating of God’s mercies in the living and effective Vindicator of His promises — “the Amen, the faithful and true witness” ( Revelation 3:14) — is declared to be “to the glory of God by us,” because of the praise which He receives from His people as they realize that all is summed up for them in God’s Beloved and in their Beloved. “Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb... unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba: which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war” (verses 14, 15).

    Hebron signifies “fellowship,” and may have been so named because of the wonderful communion which Abraham had with God there ( Genesis 13:18, first mention). This is the place above all others which the enemy of souls seeks to prevent God’s people occupying. What a suitable place was Hebron for Caleb! How appropriate an inheritance for the one who (we are once more told) “wholly followed the Lord God of Israel” — who persevered in the performing of his duty, though opposed by ten of his companions and menaced by the whole congregation; which shows us that the ones and twos who are out and out for God must not expect to be popular, no, not with their brethren. Nevertheless, Hebron or the place of intimate fellowship with God is ever the portion of such. Finally, let it be duly noted that upon Caleb was conferred the honor of the hardest task of all — the overcoming of the mighty sons of Anak. The next chapter tells us, “And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak” ( Joshua 15:14).

    Of course he did ! God never fails such a one.

    In Joshua 17:3,4, another case is recorded of claim to an individual portion being laid before Joshua, which is in some respects similar to that of Caleb. It was made by the five daughters of Zelophehad, who belonged to the tribe of Manasseh. Those women had received promise through Moses that when Canaan was divided among Israel they should have an inheritance, and now they came before those who had charge of the allotting, making request for the implementing of the same. God’s commandment and promise by Moses is recorded in Numbers 27:1-11.

    These women appeared before what might be termed the supreme court, pointing out that their father was dead and had left no son. Up to that time no legal provision had been made where the male issue had failed, and thus these daughters of Zelophehad, having neither father nor brother, found themselves destitute. Instead of murmuring and mourning over their hard lot, they wisely came before God’s servants and asked for arrangement to be made for them to have a portion of their tribe’s section. Moses did not presume to answer their inquiry personally, but brought the case before the Lord, and He declared, “thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.”

    In Numbers 36 we learn that the case of those five women was brought again before Israel’s high court. This time it was the chief fathers of the families of Gilead, to which Zelophehad belonged, who appeared. A difficulty was anticipated: should these five women intermarry with other tribes, then their portion would pass out of Manasseh’s possessions unto another’s, and that would probably occasion future strife and confusion. In reply thereto, a more specific law was enacted: “Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry. So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe” (verses 6, 7).

    It is very blessed to see how the Lord honored the faith of those women by protecting their interests. At the time when they first appeared before the judges, Israel was in the wilderness! Canaan had not then been entered, still less conquered and possessed, yet so sure were these women that God would fulfill His promise to give that land unto His people that even then they put in their claim to a portion thereof. As Matthew Henry wittily remarked, “they were five wise virgins indeed.”

    In a striking address made in 1918 on the Virgin Birth, Dr. A.T. Schofield (not the editor of the Scofield Bible) pointed out that but for the above scriptures an insuperable difficulty had stood in the way of Christ’s being “the King of the Jews.” “Therefore in any case it seems our Lord could not be the inheritor of the throne of David, either through Joseph, for he was not born of Joseph, or through Mary, because a woman could not inherit it: and but for one remarkable circumstance it would be impossible for Him to be King of the Jews. In fact, the virgin birth in itself would appear to bar Him from the throne.” Then the doctor went on to show that the “remarkable circumstance” which removed all difficulty was found in Numbers 27:8, “If a man die, and have no son [as in the case of Heli, the father of Mary], then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter.” Thus our Lord, according to the flesh, had legal title to inherit the throne of David, while Numbers 36:6, shows why it was necessary for Mary to be espoused to Joseph. From which we may see that not only in the ceremonial law, but in the civil law of Israel also, God ever had Christ before Him !

    TRIBAL PORTIONS We turn now to those chapters (Joshua 15–19) which offer the least scope to the expositor, the presence, of which has probably deterred not a few from attempting to write a connected commentary on this sixth book of the Word. Those chapters contain, for the most part, a geographical description of the different portions of Canaan which were allotted unto Israel’s tribes. They consist largely of a list of places, many of which are never referred to again in the Scriptures, and which cannot now be identified; nor can we be sure, in the majority of instances, of the precise meanings of the names of those towns and villages; though in those cases where such is obtainable the typical and moral significance thereof is more or less apparent. That nothing has been recorded in the Bible without Divine design must be believed by every reverent heart — the genealogies of I Chronicles 1–9 not excepted — and that all is of real value to the people of God is not to be questioned; yet, so far as we are aware, the Holy Spirit has not yet “opened” their purport and spiritual contents to the Church. Acknowledging our ignorance and refusing to speculate thereon, we can but single out a few of the more prominent details found in this section, and offer some remarks thereon. “This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families” ( Joshua 15:1).

    The first two of the tribes to have made known to them their allotments were Judah and Joseph: that being detailed here, the other in the next chapter. Upon which Matthew Henry said, “Judah and Joseph were the two sons of Jacob on whom Reuben’s forfeited birthright devolved. Judah had the dominion entailed on him, and Joseph the double portion, and therefore the two tribes were first seated: Judah in the southern part of the land of Canaan, and Joseph in the northern part, and on them the other seven did attend, and had their respective lots as appurtenances to these two; the lots of Benjamin, Simeon and Dan were attendant to Judah, and those of Issachar and Zebulon, Napthtali and Asshur to Joseph. These two were first set up to be provided for, it should seem, before there wag such an exact survey of the land as we find afterward [ Joshua 18:9]. “It is probable that the most considerable parts of the northern and southern countries, and those that lay nearest to Gilgal, and which the people were best acquainted with, were first put into two portions, and the lot was cast upon them between these two principal tribes, of the one of which Joshua was, and of the other Caleb, who was the first commissioner in this writ of partition; and by the decision of that lot the southern country fell to Judah, of which we have an account in this chapter; and the northern to Joseph, of which we have an account in the two following chapters. And when this was done, there was a more equal dividend (either in quantity or quality) of the remainder among the seven tribes. And this, probably, was intended in that general rule which was given concerning this partition: ‘to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth’ ( Numbers 33:54): that is, ‘Ye shall appoint two greater portions, which shall be determined by lot, to those more numerous tribes of Judah and Joseph, and then the rest shall be lesser portions, to be allotted to the less numerous tribes.’ The former was done in Gilgal, the latter in Shiloh.” It should also be pointed out that, as the injunction was given that when Israel were on the march “these [i.e. Judah] shall first set forth” ( Numbers 2:9), so the assigning of Judah’s portion first was a prophetic intimation of the future pre-eminence of this tribe.

    It is to be observed that the description given of Judah’s heritage is broken into at Joshua 15:13, by mention being made of Caleb (who belonged to this tribe) receiving Hebron for his personal portion. This was before us in our last, but a further detail is here recorded which claims our attention.

    After informing us that he drove thence the three sons of Anak we are told that “Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife” (verse 16).

    This should not be understood as an exhibition of any personal sloth on Caleb’s part, still less of fear, but rather as his affording an opportunity for another to obtain some laurels as well as himself. It is to be borne in mind that in the East the father is regarded as having the right to dispose of his daughter, and it is the regular custom for him to select her husband without consulting her — compare 1 Samuel 17:25. Kirjath-sepher was a fortress of the Anakims, one that was difficult of approach, being situated on a hill (note “went up” in verse 15). The offer made by Caleb was an incentive to bravery: he knew that only a man of faith and courage would attack such a place.

    In the above we obtain a further insight into Caleb’s character and see what a well-balanced one it was: he was not only a man of strong faith, an intrepid warrior, but a dutiful father as well. It was not only that he desired to stir up Israel generally to set about the tasks which still required performing ( Joshua 16:10, shows that some of them had already become slack in their duty), but that he desired to make sure that his daughter obtained a worthy husband. Caleb’s challenge was accepted by his own nephew, for we read: “And Othniel the son of Kenez, the brother of Caleb, took it” (verse 17). It is noteworthy that, years later, this same Othniel who acted so admirably and valiantly on this occasion became both a deliverer, and a judge in Israel ( Judges 3:9), and, in fact, the first person who presided over the nation after Joshua’s death. “It is good for those who are setting out in the world to begin betimes with that which is great and good, that, excelling in service when they are young, they may excel in honor when they are old” (Matthew Henry). “And he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife” (verse 17).

    It is to be borne in mind that there was nothing in the Mosaic Law which forbade the marrying of cousins. As others before us have suggested, it is highly probable that Othniel was in love with Achsah before her father made this proposal. It is also likely that Caleb was aware of it and looked favorably upon him, but decided thus to put him to the test before finally committing himself. It was both an honor to wed the daughter of the man who was the chief of his tribe and a great privilege for Othniel to marry into a family so marked by faith and piety, and to be united to one who we cannot doubt had been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord: such a woman is to be desired far above one who is endowed with the riches of this world, or possesses little else than a pretty face. “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 wouldest thou?” (verse 18).

    Here we behold some of the becoming traits which marked the character of Caleb’s daughter. The “as she came unto him” means to her husband, her father accompanying them from his house where they would be married.

    First , her meekness appears in the owning of Othniel as her head — desiring that he should be the one to present her request unto Caleb.

    Apparently Othniel considered that the request would come better from her direct; and though contrary to her own inclination she deferred to her husband’s judgment.

    Second , her getting down from her mount betokened her respect and reverence for her father (compare Genesis 24:64, where Rebekah did the same when Isaac approached her), which showed that marriage had not “turned her head”; she was as ready to honor her parents now as formerly.

    Perceiving that his daughter desired to ask him for some favor, Caleb said to her, “What wouldest thou?” And she answered, “Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south-land; give me also springs of water” (verse 19).

    We do not understand from the first clause that she meant the paternal benediction, or that he should supplicate Jehovah for a blessing upon her, but rather an inheritance over and above what he had already given her.

    She desired this bounty because it would add to the comfort of her settlement: teaching us thereby that it is no transgression of the commandment “Thou shalt not covet” to desire those conveniences and comforts which may be obtained in an honest and honorable way. Caleb had already given her some land which was much exposed to the sun and poorly watered: having married according to his orders, she felt he would the more readily grant what she now petitioned him for. Her modesty appears in the simplicity of her request, namely some field with springs of water in it. She might have asked for jewels to adorn her person, or servants to make her lot easier in the home; instead, she confined herself to bare necessities, for land without water could not be very productive. “And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs,” probably bestowing upon her more than she had asked. Plain is the celestial lesson illustrated for us here: if earthly parents are ready to bestow upon their children that which is good for them, how much readier is our heavenly Father to give both spiritual and temporal blessings when we ask Him in faith! This is indeed a lovely domestic picture, and each of its features claims our admiration and imitation. Here we see the wife in subjection to her husband, and he declining to take advantage of his authority. When husbands and wives mutually advise and jointly agree about that which is for the common good of the family, the domestic machinery will run smoothly. Here we see a married woman despising not her father when he was old, and she lost not by honoring him. Here we see how wise parents will not deem that lost which they bestow upon their children for their real advantage, especially when they are dutiful ones. “When the character of parents, the education of their children, and the children’s consequent prudent and pious conduct combine, there is the fairest prospect that they will be settled in life to the mutual comfort and advantage of all the parties concerned” (T. Scott).

    There is one other detail recorded here of the tribe of Judah, and it is in marked contrast with the above. “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” ( Joshua 15:63).

    It is to be recalled that in the tenth chapter we saw how that the king of Jerusalem persuaded four of his fellow monarchs or chieftains to join him in launching an attack upon Gibeon (which made peace with Israel), and how that Joshua completely vanquished their combined forces, slew the five kings (verse 26), and took all their land (verse 42). Judges 1:8, supplies an additional detail, informing us. “Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.” However, it would appear that during the next few years, while Israel were occupied in conquering other parts of the country, the Jebusites recovered the fort of mount Sion at least, which remained in their hands till the time of David ( 2 Samuel 5:7). Matthew Henry suggested: “It may, therefore, be justly looked upon as the punishment of their neglect to conquer other cities which God had given them, that they were so long kept out of this.” So today, if the Lord’s people be slack in performing their duties, they need not be surprised if some important centers of Christendom remain under the control of the enemy, having the management of the same — how many of the denominational boards, seminaries, etc., are now governed by modern Jebusites! “And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto,” etc. ( Joshua 16:1).

    The order of procedure among the tribes of Israel was always Judah first, the sons of Joseph second, which is in full accord with that parenthetical but important statement in 1 Chronicles 5:1,2. “Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s).” As Ellicott pointed out, “Accordingly, in the division of the land of Canaan under Joshua, there are three successive stages. First, the settlement of the tribe of Judah in the strongholds in the south of Palestine. Second, the estating of Ephraim and Manasseh in the center of the country, and in some strong positions in the north. Third, the settlement of the remaining tribes, so as to fill up the gaps between Judah and Joseph, and also upon the outskirts of their territory, so as to be, as it were, under the shelter of their wings.”

    Reuben’s portion was much inferior to that of Joseph, for it lay on the wilderness side of the Jordan ( Joshua 13:7, 15-21), separating them from the tribes on the western side, thereby exposing them to be attacked more easily by enemies. As a matter of fact, this tribe, with that of Gad (which adjoined it) was sorely stricken by Hazael ( 2 Kings 10:32,33), and afterwards carried into captivity twenty years before the general seizure of the ten tribes by the king of Assyria ( 1 Chronicles 5:26); whereas Joseph and his posterity were highly favored in their lot, for their position lay in the very heart of the land of Canaan, extending from the Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west. It is therefore very striking indeed to note how that on the one hand we behold in Reuben’s heritage and its history a solemn demonstration of God’s “visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate” Him; and on the other hand we see in the case of Joseph’s posterity a blessed exemplification of the Divine promise “showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments” ( Exodus 20:4,5).

    The disposings of Divine providence are not capricious or arbitrary, but regulated by moral and spiritual considerations which accord with the principle of sowing and reaping. “And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages” ( Joshua 16:9).

    This was because the tribe of Ephraim was now much more numerous than that of Manasseh. Matthew Henry appropriately called attention to the fact that “though when the tribes were numbered in the plains of Moab, Manasseh had got the start of Ephraim in number, for Manasseh was then fifty-two thousand and Ephraim but thirty-two thousand ( Numbers 26:34,37); yet, by the time they were well settled in Canaan, the hands were crossed again ( Genesis 48:13,14) and the blessing of Moses was verified: ‘They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and these are the thousands of Manasseh.’“ Since the Ephraimites were much more plentiful than the Manassites, additional cities were given them besides “the lot” which fell to them. Those cities were in the heritage of Manasseh, God having assigned them more than their own needs required. No doubt that was to test them, to afford an opportunity of showing kindness to their brethren, by giving of their abundance to those who lacked. This is one reason why Providence so orders things that “ye have the poor always with you” ( Matthew 26:11): note that “always” — sure intimation that Socialism, the Welfare State, will never become universally and permanently established. “And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer” ( Joshua 16:10), which marked the boundary of this tribe, and was close to the sea (verse 3). Their failure to do so was much worse than that of Judah to recapture Jerusalem ( Joshua 15:63), for they made an attempt to do so, whereas these did not. No specific reason is given for their wanting in duty, whether it was because of cowardice, slothfulness, or something else; but the fact remains that they disobeyed the commandment in Deuteronomy 20:16.

    There is no intimation that these Canaanites renounced their idolatry and became worshippers of Jehovah. But the second half of the verse seems plainly to indicate that their disobedience was due to the spirit of greed: “But the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.” Since the Emphraimites were strong enough to subject the Canaanites and compel them to play tribute, no excuse can be made for allowing such to live with them. They considered their financial gain more than submission to God or the good of their country, which was in keeping with their general character — compare Hosea 12:8. They soon followed the ways of those heathen, and became idolators themselves ( Judges 17:1-5). The Canaanites continued to dwell in Gezer until the days of Solomon, when the king of Egypt took and gave it to his daughter who had married Solomon ( 1 Kings 9:16,17).


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