XXXIV Directions concerning the bounds of Canaan, ver. 1-15. Concerning the division of it, ver. 16-29.
Verse 2. Coasts
- Or limits or bounds, to wit, of the land beyond Jordan. Which are here particularly described,
1. to direct and bound them in their wars and conquests, that they might not seek the enlargement of their empire, after the manner of other nations, but be contented with their own portion.
2. To encourage them in their attempt upon Canaan, and assure them of their success. There was a much larger possession promised them, if they were obedient, even to the river Euphrates. But this, which is properly Canaan, lay in a very little compass. 'Tis but about an hundred and fifty miles in length, and about fifty in breadth. This was that little spot of ground, in which alone for many ages God was known! But its littleness was abundantly compensated by its fruitfulness: otherwise it could not have sustained so numerous a nation. See, how little a share of the world God often gives to his own people! But they that have their portion in heaven, can be content with a small pittance of this earth.
3. Your fourth quarter - Which is here described from east to west by divers windings and turnings, by reason of the mountains and rivers. The salt sea - So called from the salt and sulphurous taste of its waters. Eastward - That is, at the eastern part of that sea, where the eastern and southern borders meet.
Verse 4. From the south - Or, on the south, that is, proceeding onward towards the south. Azmon - Which is at the west-end of the mount of Edom.
Verse 5. The river of Egypt - Called Sihor, Josh. xiii, 3, which divided Egypt from Canaan. The sea - The midland sea, called the sea emphatically, whereas the other seas, as they are called, are indeed but lakes.
Verse 6. The great sea - This midland sea from the south to the north, so far as it runs parallel with mount Libanus.
Verse 7. Hor - Not that Hor where Aaron died, which was southward, and bordering upon Edom, but another mountain, and, as it is conceived, the mountain of Libanus, which is elsewhere mentioned as the northern border of the land, and which, in regard of diversparts, or by divers people, is called by divers names, and here Hor, which signifies a mountain, by way of eminency.
Verse 17. Eleazar - Who was to act in God's name, to cast lots, to prevent contentions, to consult with God in cases of difficulty, to transact the wholebusiness in a solemn and religious manner.
Verse 19. Judah - The order of the tribes is here different from that, chap. i, 7, 26, and in other places, being conformed to the order of their several inheritances, which afterwards fell to them by lots. Which is an evident demonstration of the infinite wisdom of God's providence, and of his peculiar care over his people.