King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Joshua 18

The tabernacle set up at Shiloh. (1) The remainder of the land described and divided. (2-10) The boundaries of Benjamin. (11-28)

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The tabernacle set up at Shiloh

1 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.

The remainder of the land described and divided

2 And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.

3 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?

4 Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.

5 And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.

6 Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.

7 But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave them.

8 And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the LORD in Shiloh.

9 And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh.

10 And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.

The boundaries of Benjamin

11 And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.

12 And their border on the north side was from Jordan; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, and went up through the mountains westward; and the goings out thereof were at the wilderness of Bethaven.

13 And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is Bethel, southward; and the border descended to Atarothadar, near the hill that lieth on the south side of the nether Bethhoron.

14 And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, from the hill that lieth before Bethhoron southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter.

15 And the south quarter was from the end of Kirjathjearim, and the border went out on the west, and went out to the well of waters of Nephtoah:

16 And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to Enrogel,

17 And was drawn from the north, and went forth to Enshemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben,

18 And passed along toward the side over against Arabah northward, and went down unto Arabah:

19 And the border passed along to the side of Bethhoglah northward: and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the salt sea at the south end of Jordan: this was the south coast.

20 And Jordan was the border of it on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, by the coasts thereof round about, according to their families.

21 Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Bethhoglah, and the valley of Keziz,

22 And Betharabah, and Zemaraim, and Bethel,

23 And Avim, and Pharah, and Ophrah,

24 And Chepharhaammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages:

25 Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,

26 And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah,

27 And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah,

28 And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Silo was delightfully situated, about the midst of the country, 12 miles south of Sichem. Hither the Israelites removed the ark from Galgal after having had their camp in the latter place seven years at least; the Jews say 14. But Josue might reproach the Israelites for their indolence, (v. 3,) without waiting seven years after the country was divided. — Tabernacle. The Jews pretend that this was not the same as that set up by Moses; and others say that a house was built for the Lord at Silo, 1 K. i. 23. But there seems to be no reason for these assertions. David informs us that the ark of the Lord was covered with skins, 2 K. vii. 2. If any repairs were found necessary for the tabernacle erected by Moses, they might be made. The ark was certainly in it till the Israelites unfortunately sent it into the camp, where it was taken by the Philistines. When they sent back the ark, it was deposited at Gabaa, and not in the tabernacle, which was at Silo. Then it was sent to Nobe. We find the tabernacle was at Gabaon some time after the ark was translated to Jerusalem. C. — Them. They might, therefore, removed the ark into the interior, and measure the country without danger. M. — The greatest part of the country had submitted to Josue. C.

Ver. 3. Slack. These seven tribes had been accustomed to live in indolence, having their food provided for them in a miraculous manner. They were perhaps afraid lest, if the army of Israel should be divided, the different tribes would be too weak to make head against the enemy. C. — Josue had, however, made all things easy, and they might at their leisure conquer the few towns which yet remained in the hands of the Chanaanites, if they had not cherished this indolent disposition, which was so displeasing to God, and brought upon them so many evils. H.

Ver. 4. Tribe: it is not clear whether any but these seven were concerned. — Out. Josephus says, that people well skilled in geometry accompanied them. C. — They had to mark out seven portions of land, which might suffice for these remaining tribes, (H.) who would receive them by lot, to take away all cause of discontent. They still received according to their numbers. Num. xxvi. 54. W.

Ver. 5. North, with respect to Silo. Juda had taken possession of his territory, as well as the tribes of Joseph.

Ver. 6. The land in the midst, between these mark ye out into seven parts: that is to say the rest of the land, which is not already assigned to Juda or Joseph. Ch. — For we must not suppose that Joseph occupied the most northern parts of the country, so as, with Juda on the south, to enclose all the other tribes. H. — Heb. “As for you, you shall describe the land into seven parts.” C. — Only the tribe of Benjamin was between these two tribes, (v. 11,) so that Serarius thinks that mediam had been substituted for aliam, “the other.” M. — Lots. The deputies divided the country into seven portions, equal in goodness, though not in extent. After the lots were drawn, some alterations might be made by common consent, and those tribes which were too much straitened for room, received what was requisite among those who had too large a territory. Hence we find Joseph occupying the cities of Issachar, &c. C. xvii. 10. It was equally inconvenient to have too much or too little.

Ver. 7. Priesthood, and the rights attached to it, tithes, &c. C. — It was therefore necessary to make eight portions. M.

Ver. 9. Book. Heb. “described it, according to the cities, into seven parts, in a volume,” (H.) or table, resembling a map. The ancients commonly wrote on boards covered with wax, and engraved on stone, lead, &c.

Ver. 11. First. A person might proclaim that the tribe, whose name was drawn first out of the urn, should have the territory which was described in the book by the land surveyors; or the names of the seven tribes might be in one urn, and seven parcels of land in another. C.

Ver. 12. Bethaven, or Bethel. Josephus says, (Ant. v. 3,) that the territory of Benjamin extended as far as the Mediterranean: but it only went to Ataroth, v. 13. M.

Ver. 15. Sea, on the west. H. — The northern limits of Juda form the southern ones of Benjamin, only here Josue proceeds in a contrary direction, from west to east. M. See C. xv. 5, 8.

Ver. 16. Part. Heb. “end, or summit.” C. — That is, &c. and explication added by S. Jerom. Some say this dreadful vale (H.) was on the south of Jerusalem. Button.

Ver. 18. Hills. Heb. Geliloth, “the limits,” (C.) or Galgal, on the road to Jerusalem from Jericho, and different from that where the Israelites encamped, C. xv. 7. — Adommim is a narrow pass in the vicinity, much infested with robbers. — Abenboen. The explication is alone given. C. xv. 6. — Plain. Sept. “and it shall pass by Betharaba, on the south from the north, and it shall descend.” Grabe supplies “to Araba;” or the plain desert country. H. — Betharaba is, in effect, mentioned as one of the cities of Benjamin, (v. 22,) as it had before been assigned to Juda, (C.) being inhabited by both tribes. H.

Ver. 19. Towards, (contra linguam) ” the bay on the north,” &c. H. — There is another on the south. C. xv. 2.

Ver. 21. Vale of Casis, “incision,” so called, as some pretend, on account of the balm, which was extracted by cutting the bark with a stone, or with glass. But this etymology seems too far fetched, and there is no proof that balm was cultivated there in the days of Josue. C. — Some of the cities of Benjamin have been here omitted, as two others are mentioned, C. xxi. 18. M.

Ver. 24. Ophni, the Gophna so celebrated in latter times, fifteen miles from Gabaa. S. Jerom attributes it to Ephraim, as perhaps it was chiefly inhabited by people of that tribe. — Gabee. The wickedness of its citizens almost involved the whole tribe in destruction. Judg. xix. It was twenty mile north of Jerusalem. Joseph. v. 2.

Ver. 26. Mesphe, where Samuel assembled the people, 1 K. vii. 5. It was regarded as a place of devotion, while the temple was in the hands of the profane, 1 Mac. iii. 46.

Ver. 28. Jebus. The city was called Salem in the days of Abraham. Gen. xiv. 18. Ps. lxxv. 3. S. Jerom supposes that Melchisedec resided near Scythopolis, at Salem. Gen. xxxiii. 17. ep. ad Evag. Usher thinks he lived at Salim. Jo. iii. 23. — Gabaath. There seems to have been two cities of this name; one famous for the tomb of Habacuc, (S. Jer.) and the other in the tribe of Ephraim. C. xxiv. 33. C.