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The possessions of the Philistines were divided into five lordships, denominated from their chief towns, Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, Gath, and Ekron.
On the south of Canaan the Horites inhabited mount Seir, and the country as far as the wilderness of Paran. Toward the east and south-east dwelt a gigantic race of men called the Emims; and due east another people of great stature, under the name of Zuzims or Zamzummims. On the north-east were settled the Rephaims, a branch of the same family. These several tribes or nations inhabited the regions adjoining to Canaan, when Abraham arrived in the promised land, except the country toward the north, which was possessed by some of the families of Canaan; but their descent is no longer to be traced in the records of time.
When the sacred writer says that Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and his confederates, smote the Rephaims, Zuzims, Emims, and Horites, and also the country of the Amalekites, the last clause is perhaps to be understood proleptically, that they smote the country which was afterwards occupied by the Amalekites: for the Amalekites were probably descended from Amalek, a grandson of Esau, and if this was the case no such people existed in the days of Chedorlaomer."
In the opinion of Dr Shaw the land of promise was not only to extend along the lower part of the Nile, known to us by the name of the Pelusiac branch, but even a great way higher up to the south-west, as far as the parallel of the ancient Memphis and of the Red Sea; and the reason he assigns is that the land of Goshen was allotted to the people of Israel; for Goshen lay contiguous to this part of the Nile, and was watered by it. In proof of which Joshua is said (chap. x. 41)
to smite the countries and people, from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen;' that is, all the countries and people that lay to the north
* See further about the Philistines afterwards.-Editor.
ward as far as the Great Sea, and to the westward as far as the Nile. And again (chap. xi. 16), 'So Joshua took all that land, the hills and all the south coast, and all the land of Goshen. "The very situation, therefore, and the extent of the lot of the tribe of Judah, very naturally,' continues our author, ‘points out to us the river of Egypt, i. e, the Nile, to have been their western boundary.'*
But to the singular opinion of this learned writer the most decisive arguments may be opposed. The nation of Israel dwelt in Goshen when they were in the land of Egypt, and in the house of bondage: therefore Goshen was a part of Egypt which was not comprehended in the promised inheritance of the chosen seed. The sacred writers constantly speak of their people going up out of the land of Egypt to the land which Jehovah had promised to the patriarchs; but if they had obtained the grant of Goshen in Egypt, how could it be said they went up out of Egypt to the land which had been promised to their fathers? They were, according to Dr Shaw's hypothesis, already in possession of the promised land ; and all they had to do, was to vindicate their claim against their oppressors. In fine, when the people of Israel were advanced a considerable way into the wilderness, they repented of their undertaking, and spake of appointing a captain to lead them back into Egypt, or the land of Goshen, from whence they had emigrated : Goshen on the Nile, therefore, could not belong to the promised land.
Let us now attend to the proofs which Dr Shaw brings in support of his opinion, from the book of Joshua. 1. It is said Joshua smote all the countries and people from Kadesh-barnea, even unto Gaza; and all the country of Goshen. It is readily granted, that the country of Goshen mentioned by Joshua, must have been in the very neighbourhood of Gaza; but Gaza, though a frontier city, was dis
* Shaw's Travels, vol. ii. p. 40.
tant many days' journey across the burning desert, from Goshen in Egypt. Nor is it probable, that this country, which had been completely drained of its inhabitants by the departure of Israel, and deprived of its most powerful support by the destruction of Pharaoh and his numerous hosts in the Red Sea, was able to offer any resistance to the victorious arms of Joshua. To subdue the land of Goshen, the armies of Israel must have gone back again into Egypt; respecting which expedition the Scriptures are entirely silent : and therefore it may be concluded with perfect certainty, that such an event never took place.
2. From the eleventh chapter we learn that Joshua took all the land of the hills, and all the south coast, and all the land of Goshen. But this place could not be Goshen in Egypt; for no history, sacred or profane, mentions the supposed occupation of that country by the people of Israel, after their departure from it under the conduct of Moses. In the seventeenth verse Joshua says, that the whole country which he conquered lay from ‘mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon, under mount Hermon. In this tract, then, lay the Goshen that he conquered ; and the only point to be settled is, what was the situation of the mount Halak, which terminated the southern boundary toward Egypt. This is rendered easy by a short notice concerning Goshen in the tenth chapter, which is couched in these words
- Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza; and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.' Goshen therefore extended to Gibeon; but this was a city of Canaan, whose inhabitants artfully prevailed on Joshua and the elders of the congregation to enter into a treaty of peace; and which lay so near Gilgal, where Joshua had pitched his camp, that the army of Israel came to its assistance against the confederate kings, after no more than one night's
* Joshua x, 41.
march, which, on the hypothesis of Dr Shaw, was quite impossible. The situation of mount Halak affords another proof that the Goshen subdued by Joshua is not to be sought for in the kingdom of Egypt. That mountain did not lie on the road to Egypt, but on the road from Canaan to Seir, the country of Esau. Now, Seir lay on the south of Canaan, between the lake Asphaltites and the Red Sea ; while the Egyptian Goshen lay to the south-west, in the east side of Egypt, upon the eastern channel of the Nile, afterwards called Trajan's river. Hence it is evident that Joshua spake of Goshen in the land of Canaan, in the immediate neighbourhood of Gibeon, on the south side of the inheritance of Judah.
Goshen in the Sanscrit language signifies a shepherd, and Goshana the land of shepherds. It seems to have had the same meaning in Egypt, and in the Lesser Asia, and to have been given as an appropriate name to regions distinguished by the richness and extent of their pastures.
We know from the sacred writings that the country of Goshen in Egypt was admirably fitted for the rearing of cattle ; and on this very account selected for the residence of Jacob and his family, who, following the example of their fathers, had from their earliest days devoted themselves to the pastoral life. For the same reason the land of Goshen in Canaan probably received its name; it was a land more adapted than the surrounding districts, by its rich and abundant pastures, to the trade of a shepherd.
The land of Canaan was reserved by the wisdom and goodness of Heaven, for the possession of his peculiar people, and the display of the most stupendous wonders. The theatre was small, but admirably situated for the convenient observation of the human race,-at the junction of the two great continents of Asia and Africa, and almost within sight of Europe. From this highly favoured spot, as from a common centre, the report of God's wonderful works, the glad tidings of
salvation through the obedience and sufferings of his own eternal Son, might be rapidly and easily wafted to every part of the globe, and circulated through every nation. When the Most High therefore fixed the boundaries of the post-diluvian kingdoms, served the inheritance of Canaan for the future seat of his glory; and while powerful states and extended empires rose and flourished in the circumjacent regions, his secret providence parcelled out the land of promise among a number of petty kings, whose individual weakness and jarring interests gave them an easy prey to the armies of Israel. To this arrangement the inspired prophet certainly refers in these words, • Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask thy father and he will show thee, thy elders and they will tell thee. When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people, according to the number of the children of Israel.'* Canaan and his posterity were directed to take possession of Palestine, rather than any other branch of Noah's descendants, because he had already fallen under the solemn malediction of his grandfather Noah, for his unnatural conduct; and they were permitted to fill up the measure of their iniquity by a general corruption of manners, and particularly, by departing from the knowledge and worship of the true God, to the service of idols; and therefore might be justly driven out, when the time fixed in the divine purpose arrived, to make room for the chosen people of Jehovah. Their bounds, says the inspired writer, he set according to the number of the children of Israel; for Canaan and his eleven sons exactly corresponded with the twelve tribes, into which the family of Jacob was divided.
[The boundaries of the land occupied by this multitude of petty tribes, and predestined to form the inherit
* Deuteronomy xxxii. 7, 8.