Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
jos 13:1Thou art old - Therefore delay not to do the work which I have commanded thee to do. It is good for those that are stricken in years, to be remembered that they are so: that they may be quickened to do the work of life, and prepare for death which is coming on apace.
jos 13:2Remaineth - Unconquered by thee, and to be conquered by the Israelites, if they behave themselves aright. All Geshuri - A people in the northeast of Canaan, as the Philistines are on the southwest.
jos 13:3Counted to the Canaanites - That is, which though now possessed by the Philistines, who drove out the Canaanites the old inhabitants of it, Deu 2:23; Amo 9:7, yet is a part of the land of Canaan, and therefore belongs to the Israelites. The Avites - Or, the Avims, as they are called, Deu 2:23, who though they were expelled out of their ancient seat, and most of them destroyed by the Caphtorims or Philistines, as is there said, yet many of them escaped, and planted themselves not very far from the former.
jos 13:4From the south - That is, from those southern parts of the sea - coast, now possessed by the Philistines, all the more northern parts of the sea - coast being yet inhibited by the Canaanites, almost as far as Sidon. The Amorites - The Amorites were a very strong and numerous people, and we find them dispersed in several parts, some within Jordan, and some without it, some in the south and others in the north, of whom he speaks here.
jos 13:6Will I drive out - Whatever becomes of us, however we may be laid aside as broken vessels, God will do his work in his own time. I will do it by my word; so the Chaldee here, as in many other places: by the eternal word, the captain of my host. But the promise of driving them out from before the children of Israel, supposes that the Israelites must use their own endeavours, must go up against them. If Israel, thro' sloth or cowardice let them alone, they are not likely to be driven out. We must go forth on our Christian warfare, and then God will go before us.
jos 13:8Which Moses gave them - By my command, and therefore do not thou disturb them in their possessions, but proceed to divide the other possessions to the rest.
jos 13:9Medeba unto Dibon - Two cities anciently belonging to the Moabites, and taken from them by the Amorites, Num 21:30, and from them by the Israelites; and after the Israelites were gone into captivity, recovered by the first possessors, the Moabites.
jos 13:11And Maacathites - Whose land God had given to the Israelites without Jordan, though they had not yet used the gift of God, nor taken possession of it, as is noted, Jos 13:13.
jos 13:12These did Moses smite - Not all now mentioned, but Sihon and Og, and their people, and the generality of them.
jos 13:14He gave - That is, Moses. None inheritance - Namely, in the land beyond Jordan, where yet a considerable part of the Levites were to have their settled abode. This is mentioned as the reason both why Moses gave all that land to the Reubenites and Gadites and Manassites; and why Joshua should divide the land only into nine parts and an half, as was said, Jos 13:7, because Levi was otherwise provided for. Made by fire - Which are here put for all the sacrifices and oblations, including first - fruits and tithes, that were assigned to the Levites; and this passage is repeated, to prevent those calumnies and injuries which God foresaw the Levites were likely to meet with, from the malice, envy and covetousness of their brethren.
jos 13:15According to their families - Dividing the inheritance into as many parts as they had families; but this is only spoken of the greater families; for the lesser distributions to the several small families was done by inferior officers, according to the rules which Moses gave them.
jos 13:19In the mount of the valley - In the mountain bordering upon that valley, which then was famous among the Israelites; whether that where Moses was buried, which was near to Beth - peor, Deu 34:1, Deu 34:6, or some other. And this clause is thought to belong to all the cities now mentioned.
jos 13:21Cities of the plain - Opposed to the cities of the mountain of the valley. All the kingdom of Sihon - A great part of it; in which sense we read of all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, Mat 3:5, and all Galilee, Mat 4:23. Whom Moses smote - Not in the same time or battle, as appears by comparing Num 21:23-24, with Num 31:8, but in the same manner. And they are here mentioned, partly because they were slain not long after, and upon the same occasion, even their enmity against Israel; and partly because of their relation and subjection to Sihon. Dukes of Sihon - But how could they be so, when they were kings of Midian? Num 31:8. There were divers petty kings in those parts, who were subject to greater kings; and such these were, but are here called dukes or princes of Sihon, because they were subject and tributaries to him, and therefore did one way or other assist Sihon in this war, though they were not killed at this time. It is probable, that when Sihon destroyed those Moabites which dwelt in these parts, he frighted the rest of them, and with them their neighbours and confederates, the Midianites, into some kind of homage, which they were willing to pay him. Dwelling in the country - Heb. inhabiting that land, namely Midian, last mentioned; whereby he signifies, that tho' they were subject to Sihon, yet they did not dwell in his land, but in another.
jos 13:22Were slain by them - This was recorded before, Num 31:8, and is here repeated, because the defeating of Balaam's purpose to curse Israel, and the turning that curse into a blessing, was such an instance of the power and goodness of God, as was fit to be had in everlasting remembrance.
jos 13:23The border thereof - That is, those cities or places which bordered upon Jordan.
jos 13:25The cities of Gilead - That is, all the cities of eminency; all the cities properly so called, which lay in that part of Gilead; and so this may well agree with Jos 13:31, where half the country of Gilead is said to be given to the Manassites; but there is no mention of any cities there. The land of the children of Ammon - Not of that which was now theirs, for that they were forbidden to meddle with, but of that which was anciently theirs, 'till taken from them by the Amorites, from whom the Israelites took it. Aroer - The border between them and Moab. Rabbah - The chief city of the Ammonites.
jos 13:26Ramath - mizpeh - Called Ramoth - Gilead, or Ramoth in Gilead. Mahanaim - Exclusively; for Mahanaim was in the portion of Manasseh, beyond Jabbok, which was the border of Gad and Manasseh.
jos 13:27The rest of the kingdom - The northern part of his kingdom.
jos 13:29Of Manasseh - Not that thou desired it, as Reuben and Gad did, Num 32:1, but partly as a recompence to Machir the Manassite, for his valiant acts against Og; and partly for the better defence of the other two tribes, by so considerable an accession to them, which also was without any inconvenience to them, because the country was too large for the two tribes of Reuben and Gad.
jos 13:30Of Jair - Who, though of the tribe of Judah, by the father, Ch1 2:21-22, yet is called the son of Manasseh, Num 32:41, because he married a daughter of Manasseh, and wholly associated himself with those valiant Manassites; and with their help took sixty cities or great towns, Deu 3:4, Deu 3:14, which thence were called the towns of Jair.
jos 13:31Children of Machir - Whom before he called the children of Manasseh, he now calls the children of Machir, because Machir was the most eminent, and as it may seem, the only surviving son of Manasseh, Num 26:29; Ch1 7:14-16.