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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 7: Joshua, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at


Joshua 19:1-9

1. And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.

1. Egressa est autem sors secunda ipsi Simeon, tribui filiorum Simeon per familias suas: et fuit haereditas eorum in medio haereditatis filiorum Jehuda.

2. And they had in their inheritance Beersheba, or Sheba, and Moladah,

2. Fuitque eis in haereditate eorum Beer-seba, et Seba, et Moladah,

3. And Hazarshual, and Balah, and Azem,

3. Et Hasar-sual, et Balah, et Asen,

4. And Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormah,

4. Et Eltholad, et Bethul, et Hormah,

5. And Ziklag, and Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusah,

5. Et Siclag, et Beth-Marcaboth, et Hasarsusa,

6. And Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages:

6. Et Beth-Lebaoth, et Saruhen: urbes tredecim, et villae earum.

7. Ain, Remmon, and Ether, and Ashan; four cities and their villages:

7. Aim, Rimmon, et Ether, et Asan: urbes quatuor, et villae earum.

8. And all the villages that were round about these cities to Baalathbeer, Ramath of the south. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families.

8. Et omnes villae quae erant per circuitus urbium istarum usque ad Baalath-beer, Ramath Australem. Ista est haereditas tribus filiorum Simeon per familias suas.

9. Out of the portion of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them.

9. De portione filiorum Jehuda facta fuit haereditas filiorum Simeon: erat enim portio filiorum Jehuda major ipsis; itaque haereditatem acceperunt filii Simeon in medio haereditatis eorum.


Next followed the lot of the tribe of Simeon, not as a mark of honor, but rather as a mark of disgrace. Jacob had declared with regard to Simeon and Levi, “I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” (Ge 49:7) The punishment of Levi, indeed, was not only mitigated, but converted into an excellent dignity, inasmuch as his posterity were placed on a kind of watch-towers to keep the people in the paths of piety. In regard to Simeon, the dispersion of which Jacob prophesied, manifestly took place when certain cities within the territory of Judah were assigned to his posterity for their inheritance. For although they were not sent off to great distances, yet they dwelt dispersed, and as strangers in a land properly belonging to another. Therefore, on account of the slaughter which they had perpetrated with no less perfidy than cruelty, they were placed separately in different abodes. In this way the guilt of the father was visited upon his children, and the Lord ratified in fact that sentence which he had dictated to his servant. The truth of the lot also was clearly proven.

In the circumstance of a certain portion being withdrawn from the family of Judah, we again perceive that though the dividers had carefully endeavored to observe equity, they had fallen into error, which they were not ashamed to correct as soon as it was discovered. And though they were guided by the Spirit, there is nothing strange in their having been partially mistaken, because God sometimes leaves his servants destitute of the spirit of judgment, and suffers them to act like men on different occasions, that they may not plume themselves too much on their clear-sightedness. We may add that the people were punished for their carelessness and confident haste, because they ought at the outset to have ascertained more accurately how much land could be properly assigned to each. This they neglected to do. Through their unskillful procedure, the children of Judah had received a disproportion accumulation of territory, and equity required that they should relinquish a part. It would also have been better for themselves to have their limits fixed with certainty at once than to be subjected to a galling spoliation afterwards. Add that each tribe had indulged the vain hope that its members would dwell far and wide, as if the land had been of unlimited extent.

9. Out of the portion of the children of Judah, etc The praise of moderation is due to the tribe of Judah for not contending that the abstraction of any part of the inheritance already assigned to them was unjust. They might easily have obtruded the name of God, and asserted that it was only by his authority they had obtained that settlement. But as it is decided by the common consent of all the tribes that more has been given to them than they can possess without loss and injury to the others, they immediately desist from all pretext for disputing the matter. And it is certain that if they had alleged the authority of God, it would have been falsely and wickedly, inasmuch as though their lot had been determined by him in regard to its situation, an error had taken place with regard to its extent, their limits having been fixed by human judgment wider than they ought. Therefore, acknowledging that it would have been wrong to give them what would occasion loss to others, they willingly resign it, and give a welcome reception to their brethren, who must otherwise have remained without inheritance, nay, submit to go shares with them in that which they supposed they had acquired beyond controversy.

Joshua 19:10-31

10. And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families: and the border of their inheritance was unto Sarid:

10. Ascendit autem sors tertia filiis Zabulon per familias suas: et fuit terminus haereditatis eorum usque ad Sarid.

11. And their border went up toward the sea, and Maralah, and reached to Dabbasheth, and reached to the river that is before Jokneam;

11. Ascenditque terminus eorum ad mare: et Maralah, et pertingit ad Dabbaseth: pervenitque ad flumen quod est e regione Jocneam.

12. And turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrising unto the border of Chislothtabor, and then goeth out to Daberath, and goeth up to Japhia,

12. Revertiturque a Sarid ad orientem, id est, ad ortum solis, ad terminum Chisloth-Thabor, et illinc egreditur ad Dobrath, et ascendit in Japhia.

13. And from thence passes on along on the east to Gittahhepher, to Ittahkazin, and goeth out to Remmonmethoar to Neah;

13. Inde praeterea transit ad orientem, ad ortum, ad Githah-Hepher, et ad Ihtah-casin: et illinc exit in Rimmon, et gyrat ad Neah:

14. And the border compasseth it on the north side to Hannathon: and the outgoings thereof are in the valley of Jiphthahel:

14. Gyrat item idem terminus ab aquilone ad Hannathon: suntque egressus ejus ad vallem Iphthael.

15. And Kattath, and Nahallal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities with their villages.

15. Et Catthath, et Nahalal, et Simron, et Idalah, et Bethlehem: urbes duodecim, et villae earum.

16. This is the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.

16. Haec est haereditas filiorum Zabulon per familias suas: urbes istae, et villae earum.

17. And the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families.

17. Ipsi Issachar egressa est sors quarta, filiis inquam, Issachar per familias suas.

18. And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem,

18. Et fuit terminus eorum Jezrael, et Chesuloth, et Sunem,

19. And Hapharaim, and Shion, and Anaharath,

19. Et Hapharaim, et Sion, et Anaharath,

20. And Rabbith, and Kishion, and Abez,

20. Et Rabbith, et Cicion, et Abeth,

21. And Remeth, and Engannim, and Enhaddah, and Bethpazzez;

21. Et Remeth, et Engannin, et Enhaddah, et Beth-passes.

22. And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Bethshemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.

22. Et pervenit terminus in Thabor, et Sahasima, et Beth-semes: eruntque exitus termini eorum ad Jordanem: urbes sedecim, et villae earum.

23. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their families, the cities and their villages.

23. Haec est haereditas tribus filiorum Issachar per familias suas: urbes et villae earum.

24. And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.

24. Egressa est autem sors quinta tribui filiorum Aser per familias suas.

25. And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph,

25. Fuitque terminus eorum Helcath, et Hali, et Bethen, et Achsaph,

26. And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihorlibnath;

26. Et Alamelech, et Amad, et Misal, et pervenit in Carmel ad mare, et in Sihor Libnath.

27. And turns toward the sunrising to Bethdagon, and reacheth to Zebulun, and to the valley of Jiphthahel toward the north side of Bethemek, and Neiel, and goeth out to Cabul on the left hand,

27. Et revertitur ad ortum solis in Beth-dagon, et pervenit in Zabulon, et in vallem Iphtahel ad aquilonem, et in Beth-emec, et Neel: et exit ad Chabul a sinistra.

28. And Hebron, and Rehob, and Hammon, and Kanah, even unto great Zidon;

28. Et Ebron, et Rehob, et Hamon, et Canah, usque ad Sidon magnam:

29. And then the coast turns to Ramah, and to the strong city Tyre; and the coast turns to Hosah; and the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to Achzib:

29. Revertiturque terminus in Rama, usque ad urbem munitam petrae: inde revertitur terminus in Hosah: suntque exitus ejus ad mare a funiculo Achzib,

30. Ummah also, and Aphek, and Rehob: twenty and two cities with their villages.

30. Et Ummah, et Aphec, et Rehob: urbes viginti duae, et villae earum.

31. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.

31. Haec est haereditas tribus filiorum Aser per familias suas: urbes istae, et villae earum.


10. And the third lot came up, etc In the lot of Zebulun there is a clear fulfillment of the prophecy of Jacob, which had foretold that they would dwell on the sea-coast. An old man, an exile who could not set a foot on his own land,  168 assigned a maritime district to the posterity of his son Zebulun. What could be more extravagant? But now, when the lot assigns them a maritime region, no clearer confirmation of his decision could be desired. It was just as if God were twice thundering from heaven. The tribe of Zebulun, therefore, do not occupy the shore of their own accord or by human suffrage, but a divine arrangement fixes their habitation contiguous to the sea. Thus, although men erred, still the light was always seen shining brightly in the darkness. Jacob goes farther, and makes a clear distinction between Zebulun and Issachar. The former tribe will travel far and wide, carrying on trade and commerce; the latter remaining in his tents, will cultivate ease and a sedentary life. (Ge 49:13-15) Hence it is probable that the sea-coast where Zebulun settled, was provided with harbors and well adapted for the various forms of commercial intercourse,  169 whereas the children of Issachar were contented with their own produce, and consumed the fruits which they had raised by their own labor and culture at home.

Those who are thought to be well acquainted with these countries, affirm that the land of the tribe of Asher was fertile in corn.  170 This is in complete accordance both with the letter and the spirit of Jacob’s prophecy. (Ge 49:20) From the fact that only a small number of cities are designated by name, we may infer that there were then many ruined cities which were not taken into account, and from the other fact that the people dwelt commodiously, we may also infer that they built many cities, with which it is plain from other passages that the land was adorned. And it is certainly apparent that only a summary of the division is briefly glanced at, and that thus many things were omitted which no religious feeling forbids us to investigate, provided we do not indulge in an excessive curiosity leading to no beneficial result. There cannot be a doubt that those to whom twenty or even only seventeen cities are attributed, had more extensive territories. Therefore, all we have here is a compendious description of the division as it was taken from the general and confused notes of the surveyors.

The next lot mentioned is that of Naphtali, and it seems to correspond with the disposition and manners of that tribe. For Jacob had testified, Naphtali is a hind let loose; he gave goodly words. For this reason they seem to have been contiguous on one side to the children of Judah, and to have been surrounded on other sides by the enclosures of their brethren.  171 Indeed, in its being said that the tribe of Dan took Lesen, there seems to be a tacit comparison, because the children of Naphtali did not employ arms to force their way into their inheritance, but kept themselves quietly in a subdued territory, and thus enjoyed safety and tranquillity under the faith, and, as it were, protection of Judah and the other tribes. The capture of Lesen by the children of Dan, in accordance with the divine grant which they had received of it, did not take place till after the death of Joshua. But the fact which is more fully detailed in the book of Judges is here mentioned in passing, because praise was due to them for their boldness and activity in thus embracing the right which God had bestowed upon them, and so trusting in him as to go down bravely and defeat the enemy.

Joshua 19:32-51

32. The sixth lot came out to the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families.

32. Filiis Nephtali exivit sors sexta, filiis inquam, Nephtali, per familias suas.

33. And their coast was from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum; and the outgoings thereof were at Jordan:

33. Fuitque terminus eorum ab Heleph, et ab Elon in Saanannim, et Adami, Neceb, et Jabneel, usque ad Lacum: suntque exitus ejus ad Jordanem.

34. And then the coast turns westward to Aznothtabor, and goeth out from thence to Hukkok, and reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and reacheth to Asher on the west side, and to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising.

34. Postea revertitur terminus ad mare ad Aznoth-thabor: et progreditur illinc in Huccoc, et pervenit ad Zabulon a meridie, et ad Aser pervenit ab occidente, et ad Jehuda in Jordanem, ad ortum solis.

35. And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth,

35. Et urbes munitae, Siddim, Ser, et Hammath, Raccath, et Chinnereth.

36. And Adamah, and Ramah, and Hazor,

36. Et Adamah, et Ramah, et Hasor,

37. And Kedesh, and Edrei, and Enhazor,

37. Et Cedes, et Hedrei, et En-Hasor,

38. And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.

38. Et Iron, et Migdal-el, Horem, et Beth-anath, et Beth-semes: urbes novemdecim, et villae earum.

39. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.

39. Haec est haereditas tribus filiorum Nephtali per familias suas, urbes istae et villae earum.

40. And the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families.

40. Tribui filiorum Dan per familias suas exivit sors septima.

41. And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Irshemesh,

41. Fuitque terminus haereditatis eorum, Sorah, et Esthaol, et Itsemes,

42. And Shaalabbin, and Ajalon, and Jethlah,

42. Et Saalabbin, et Ajalon, et Ithlah,

43. And Elon, and Thimnathah, and Ekron,

43. Et Elon, et Thimnathah, et Ecron,

44. And Eltekeh, and Gibbethon, and Baalath,

44. Et Elthece, et Gibbethon, et Baalath,

45. And Jehud, and Beneberak, and Gathrimmon,

45. Et Jehud, et Bene-berak, et Gath-rimon,

46. And Mejarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before Japho.

46. Et Mehajarcon, et Raccon, cum termino contra Japho.

47. And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.

47. Et exivit terminus filiorum Dan ab eis ascenderuntque filii Dan, et pugnaverunt cum Lesem, ceperuntque eam, ac percusserunt eam acie gladii, et haereditate acceperunt eam, habitaveruntque in ea: et vocaverunt Lesem Dan, secundum nomen Dan patris sui.

48. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.

48. Haec est haereditas tribus filiorum Dan per familias suas, civitates istae, et villae earum.

49. When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them:

49. Quum autem finem fecissent partiendi terram ut possiderent singuli terminos suos, dederunt filii Israel haereditatem ipsi Josue filio Nun in medio sui.

50. According to the word of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnathserah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein.

50. Secundum sermonem Jehovae dederunt ei urbem quam petivit, Thimnath-serah in monte Ephraim, et edificavit urbem, habitavitque in ea.

51. 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. So they made an end of dividing the country.

51. Istae sunt haereditates quas tradiderunt possidendas Eleazar sacerdos, et Josue filius Nun, et principes patrum tribuum filiorum Israel per sortem in Silo coram Jehova ad ostiam tabernaculi conventionis, et finem fecerunt dividendi terram.


49. When they had made an end of dividing, etc We have here, at length, an account of the gratitude of the people towards Joshua. For although the partition of the land of Canaan, among the posterity of Abraham, behooved to be equitable, yet Joshua, by his excellent virtues, deserved some honorary reward. Nor could any complain that a single individual was enriched at their expense. For, first, in the delay there was a striking proof of the moderation of this holy servant of God. He does not give any heed to his own interest till the commonweal has been secured. How seldom do we find any who, after they have given one or two specimens of valor, do not forthwith make haste to the prey? Not so Joshua, who thinks not of himself till the land has been divided. In the reward itself also the same temperance and frugality are conspicuous. The city he asks to be given to himself and his family was a mere heap of stones, either because it had been demolished and converted into a heap of ruins, or because no city had yet been built upon it.

It is conjectured with probability, that with the view of making the grant as little invidious as possible, the city he requested was of no great value. If any one thinks it strange that he did not give his labor gratuitously, let him reflect that Joshua liberally obeyed the divine call, and had no mercenary feelings in undergoing so many labors, dangers, and troubles; but having spontaneously performed his duty, he behooved not to repudiate a memorial of the favor of God, unless he wished by perverse contempt to suppress his glory. For the grant voted to him was nothing else than a simple testimonial of the divine power, which had been manifested through his hand. Truly no ambition can be detected here, inasmuch as he desires nothing for himself, and does not rashly act from a feeling of covetousness, but seeks in the popular consent a confirmation of the honor which God had already bestowed upon him. To have been silent in such a case, would have been more indicative of heartlessness than of modesty. The statement in the concluding verse of the chapter, that Joshua and Eleazar made an end of dividing the land, points to the perpetuity of the boundaries, which had been fixed, and warns the children of Israel against moving in any way to unsettle an inviolable decree.



French, “Estant un vieillard, povre banni, qui n’avoit pas un pied de terre a luy ou il peust marcher;” “Being an old man, a poor exile, who had not a foot of land of his own on which he could walk.” — Ed.


The extent of coast possessed by Zebulun was of very limited extent, but included the large and beautiful bay of Acre, which commences in the north at the promontory on which the town of Acre stands, and is terminated magnificently in the south by the lofty heights of Mount Carmel. — Ed.


The greater part of it consisted of a rich and undulating plain, diversified by gentle hills, well watered by the Leontes and other streams which derived their supplies from the snowy heights of Lebanon, and sloping gradually to that part of the sea-coast, on which were built the famous cities of Tyre and Sidon. According to Clarke, the plain of Asher and Zebulun bore a considerable resemblance to the southern districts of England. — Ed.


The tribe of Naphtali, as marked out by Joshua, Eleazar, and the heads of the tribes, harmonizes well with the figurative description of it given by Jacob, for both in scenery and fertility it is one of the fairest in the Promised Land, but the locality assigned to it in the Commentary is singularly inaccurate. In the Latin it is said that the children of Naphtali “Videntur contigui ab una parte fuisse filiis Juda: alibi autem cincti coste ils estoyent contigus aux enfans de Juda; et d’autrepart qu’ils estoyent environnez du secours de leurs freres;” “It seems that on one side that they were surrounded by the help of their brethren.” The fact, however, is that Judah and Naphtali are at the opposite extremities of the country, and so far from being contiguous to each other, are widely separated by the intervention of no fewer than five tribes, which commencing on the frontiers of Judah, and proceeding northwards, are, in succession, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun. Then, as it stretched from the shores of the lake of Gennesaret, north to the roots of Lebanon, it cannot well be said to have been surrounded on all sides by the enclosures of other tribes. It certainly had Zebulun on the south-west, and Asher on the west, but on the north and east, it formed the extreme frontiers of the Promised Land, and, of course, bounded with foreign and hostile settlements. — Ed.

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