Verse 21. At that time - In that war, but in divers years. The mountain - Or, mountains, the singular number for the plural; these barbarous and monstrous persons either chose to live in the dens or caves, which were frequent in the mountains of those parts, or else they were driven thither by the arms and success of the Israelites. From Debir - From the territories belonging to these cities, as we have often seen in this history, cities mentioned for the country subject to them. The mountains of Israel - It doth not follow from hence, that this book was written by some other person long after Joshua's death, even after the division of the Israelites into two kingdoms. of Israel and Judah; but only that this was one of those clauses which were added by Ezra or some other prophet; though that be not necessary: for since it was evident to Joshua, from Gen. xlix, 10, &c. that the tribe of Judah was to be the chief of all these tribes, and some dawnings of its eminency appeared in that time, in their having the first lot in the land of Canaan, chap. xv, 1, and the largest inheritance, chap. xix, 9, it is no wonder that it is mentioned apart, and distinguished from the rest of the tribes of Israel, though that also be one of them. But how could Joshua utterly destroy these, when Caleb and Othniel destroyed some of them after Joshua's death? chap. xiv, 12 Judg. i, 10-12. This might be, either
1. Because these places being in part destroyed and neglected by the Israelites, were repossessed by the giants, and by them kept 'till Caleb destroyed them. Or rather
2. Because this work, though done by the particular valour of Caleb, is ascribed to Joshua as the general of the army, according to the manner of all historians; and therefore it is here attributed to Joshua, though afterwards, that Caleb might not lose his deserved honour, the history is more particularly described, and Caleb owned as the great instrument of it, chap. xiv, 6-15 and Judg. i, 12-20.
Verse 23. The whole land - That is, the greatest and best part of it, for some parts are expressly excepted in the following history. All that the Lord said unto Moses - God had promised to drive out the nations before them. And now the promise was fulfilled. Our successes and enjoyments are then doubly comfortable, when we see them flowing to us from the promise. This is according to what the Lord hath said: our obedience is acceptable, when it has an eye to the precept. And if we make a conscience of our duty, we need not question the performance of the promise.