Sacred Texts  Christianity  Calvin  Index  Previous  Next 

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


Joshua 12:1-24

1. Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:

1. Hi sunt reges terrae quos percusserunt filii Israel, et quorum possederunt terram trans Jordanem, ad ortum solis a torrente Arnon usque ad montem Hermon, et omnem planitiem orientalem.

2. Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;

2. Sihon rex Aemorrhaeus qui habitabat in Hesbon, qui dominabatur ab Arnon, et ad medium torrentis, et ad mediam partem Gilead, usque ad Jabbok torrentem, qui est terminus filiorum Ammon.

3. And from the plain to the sea of Chinneroth on the east, and unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea on the east, the way to Bethjeshimoth; and from the south, under Ashdothpisgah:

3. Et a planitie usque ad mare Cineroth ad orientem, et usque ad mare deserti, mare salis ad orientem per viam Beth-hagesimoth, et ab austro sub effusionibus Pisga.

4. And the coast of Og king of Bashan, which was of the remnant of the giants, that dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei,

4. Terminus praeterea Og regis Basan ex residuo Raphaim qui habitabat in Astaroth, et in Hedrei.

5. And reigned in mount Hermon, and in Salcah, and in all Bashan, unto the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and half Gilead, the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.

5. Qui dominabatur in monte Hermon, et in Salchah, et in toto Basan, usque ad terminum Gessuri, et Maachati: et mediam partem Gilead, terminus Sihon regis Hesbon.

6. Them did Moses the servant of the LORD and the children of Israel smite: and Moses the servant of the LORD gave it for a possession unto the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh.

6. Moses servus Jehovae, et filii Israel percusserunt eos, et dedit eam Moses servus Jehovae in possessionem Rubenitis, et Gaditis, et dimidiae tribui Manasse.

7. And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions;

7. Isti autem sunt reges terrae quos percussit Josue, et filii Israel trans Jordanem ad occidentem, a Ballgad in campo Libani, usque ad montem Laevem qui assurgit in Seir, et tradidit eam Josue tribubus Israel in possessionem secundum partes eorum.

8. In the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:

8. In montanis, et in planitie, et in campestribus, et in Asdoth, et in deserto, et in austro: Hitthaeus, Aemorrhaeus, Chananaeus, Pherisaeus, Hivaeus, et Jebusaeus.

9. The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one;

9. Rex Jericho unus, rex Ali, qui erat e latere Bethel unus.

10. The king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one;

10. Rex Jerusalem unus, rex Hebron unus.

11. The king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one;

11. Rex Jarmuth unus, rex Lachis unus.

12. The king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;

12. Rex Eglon unus, rex Jeser unus.

13. The king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one;

13. Rex Debir unus, rex Jeder unus.

14. The king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one;

14. Rex Hormah unus, rex Arad unus.

15. The king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one;

15. Rex Libna unus, rex Adullam unus.

16. The king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one;

16. Rex Makeda unus, rex Beth-el unus.

17. The king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one;

17. Rex Tapua unus, rex Epher unus.

18. The king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one;

18. Rex Aphek unus, rex Lasaron unus.

19. The king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one;

19. Rex Madon unus, rex Asor unus.

20. The king of Shimronmeron, one; the king of Achshaph, one;

20. Rex Simron-Meron unus, rex Achsaph unus.

21. The king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;

21. Rex Taanach unus, rex Megiddo unus.

22. The king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam of Carmel, one;

22. Rex Kedesch unus, rex Jocnam ad Carmelum unus.

23. The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one;

23. Rex Dor ad Naphath-dor unus, rex Goim in Gilgal unus.

24. The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one.

24. Rex Thirsa unus: omnes reges triginta et unus.


1. NOW these are the kings, etc This chapter does not need a lengthened exposition, as it only enumerates the kings of whose territories the Israelites gained possession. Two of them are beyond the Jordan, Og and Sihon, whose rule was extensive; in the land of Canaan there are thirty-one. But though each of those now summarily mentioned was previously given more in detail, there is very good reason for here placing before our eyes as it were a living picture of the goodness of God, proving that there had been a complete ratification and performance of the covenant made with Abraham as given in the words, “Unto thy seed will I give this land.” (Ge 12:7; Ge 13:15; Ge 15:18) This living image of the grace of God is here set before us as if the reality were actually present.  123 Joshua was eighty years of age when he entered the land. In this aged man how could there be so much vigor  124 as to fit him for carrying on so many wars and enduring the fatigues of warfare, had not celestial virtue furnished him with more than mortal strength? And were not his uninterrupted career of victory, his success under all circumstances, the ease, free from doubt and uncertainty, with which he stormed cities, the rapidity of his movements, and his inflexible firmness — were not all these clear evidences of the hand of God, just as if it had appeared from heaven?

The object of defining the countries by their boundaries was to give a better display of the divine power by setting forth their extent; but this of course was only for those to whom their site was known. Hence, for any one not acquainted with the geography to dwell upon the names, would be vain and foolish curiosity. I admit, indeed, that it is useful to pay attention to the places with which, from their being often mentioned in Scripture, our knowledge ought to be somewhat more familiar, as when the boundaries are fixed by the brook Jabok, in the district of Lebanon and the lake of Gennesaret, here called the Sea of Cineroth, and elsewhere Cinereth. For a slight attention will help us to understand the narrative. If we cannot go farther, let us leave those who are better skilled to give a more searching discussion of what is beyond our reach.  125 But although the dominions of these petty kings were narrow and not very populous, we shall however see that many towns were annexed to their principal cities; their number may be ascertained especially from what is said of the lot of the Levites. On the other hand, if we reflect how one small territory could receive and maintain old men, women, and children, nay, a great part of the people with their domestic animals, we cannot fail to admire the inestimable goodness of God which prevented all things from being thrown into complete and irremediable confusion.  126



Latin, “Quam si nos Deus in rem praesentem adduceret.” French, “Comme si Dieu nous mettoit presentement sur le faict, pour nous faire voire la chose de nos yeux;” “As if God were putting us actually upon the spot to make us see the thing with our own eyes.” — Ed.


French, “Comment un povre vieillard pouvoit-il estre si vigoureux;” “How could a poor old man be so vigorous.” — Ed.


It is evident from these remarks, that though in some other passages Calvin seems to speak rather disparagingly of the elucidation which the Scripture narrative may receive from geography, he did not so much underrate its importance as lament its imperfection at the period when he wrote. All complaint on this head has now been happily removed; and it may safely be affirmed, that nothing has done more to clear up obscurities in the Sacred Volume and triumphantly establish its strict and literal accuracy, then the labors and discoveries of recent travelers.


Latin, “Ne horribili confusione, omnia miscerentur.” French, “Que tout ne vint a estre brouille pesle mesle d’une confusion horrible;” “That every thing was not hurled pell-mell into horrible confusion.” — Ed.

Next: Chapter 13