Verse 15. "And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba" - That is, the city of Arba, or rather, the city of the four, for thus [bra tyrq kiryath arba may be literally translated. It is very likely that this city had its name from four Anakim, gigantic or powerful men, probably brothers, who built or conquered it. This conjecture receives considerable strength from chap. xv. 14, where it is said that Caleb drove from Hebron the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai: now it is quite possible that Hebron had its former name, Kirjath-arba, the city of the four, from these three sons and their father, who, being men of uncommon stature or abilities, had rendered themselves famous by acts proportioned to their strength and influence in the country. It appears however from chap. xv. 13 that Arba was a proper name, as there he is called the father of Anak. The Septuagint call Hebron the metropolis of the Enakim, mhtropoliv twn enakim. It was probably the seat of government, being the residence of the above chiefs, from whose conjoint authority and power it might have been called rbj chebron; as the word rbj chabar literally signifies to associate, to join in fellowship, and appears to be used, Job xli. 6, for "associated merchants, or merchants' companions, who traveled in the same caravan." Both these names are expressive, and serve to confirm the above conjecture. No notice need be taken of the tradition that this city was called the city of the four because it was the burial-place of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Such traditions confute themselves.
"The land had rest from war." - There were no more general wars; the inhabitants of Canaan collectively could make no longer any head, and when their confederacy was broken by the conquests of Joshua, he thought proper to divide the land, and let each tribe expel the ancient inhabitants that might still remain in its own territories. Hence the wars after this time were particular wars; there were no more general campaigns, as it was no longer necessary for the whole Israelitish body to act against an enemy now disjointed and broken. This appears to be the most rational meaning of the words, The land had rest from war. THE Jewish economy furnishes, not only a history of God's revelations to man, but also a history of his providence, and an ample, most luminous, and glorious comment on that providence. Is it possible that any man can seriously and considerately sit down to the reading even of this book, without rising up a wiser and a better man? This is the true history which everywhere exhibits God as the first mover and prime agent, and men only as subordinate actors. What a miracle of God's power, wisdom, grace, justice, and providence are the people of Israel in every period of their history, and in every land of their dispersions! If their fall occasioned the salvation of the Gentile world, what shall their restoration produce! Their future inheritance is not left to what men would call the fortuitous decision of a lot; like Caleb's possession it is confirmed by the oath of the Lord; and when the end shall be, this people shall stand in their lot at the end of the days, and shall again be great to the ends of the earth.