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Bible Commentaries

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Joshua 15





In this chapter are related the boundaries of the lot of the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:1; and the assignment of Hebron to Caleb, from whence he drove out the giants, and of Debir, which was taken by Othniel his brother, to whom, on that account, he gave his daughter in marriage, who made a further request to her father, which was granted, Joshua 15:13; and then follows an account of the several cities by name, which fell to the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:20.

Verse 1

This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families,.... The land of Canaan was divided by lot to the several tribes, and the tribe of Judah had its lot first; of the manner of casting lots; see Gill on Numbers 26:55; It seems as if the lot was first cast for the tribes of Judah and Joseph, when the former had the southern, and the latter the northern part of the land for their portion, which was done in Gilgal; after this lots were cast in Shiloh for the other seven tribes, who had the land divided among them, which lay between Judah and Joseph, or between the southern and northern parts of the land, see Joshua 18:1, &c. and it seems that not only the land was divided to the tribes by lot, but that the portion of land which belonged to each tribe was divided in the same way to the several families and households belonging thereunto; as is here suggested, with respect to the tribe of Judah, whose lot reached

even to the border of Edom; or Idumea, which lay to the south of the land of Canaan:

the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast; the same with Kadesh, and lay upon the borders of Edom; see Numbers 33:36.

Verse 2

And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea,.... Sometimes called the dead sea, the sea of Sodom, and the lake Asphaltites, which, as Jarchi observes, was southeast of the land of Israel:

from the bay that looketh southward; or the "tongue", as the Hebrew, which the Targum and Kimchi interpret of a rock or promontory, the point that ran out into the sea, looking to the southeast.

Verse 3

And it went out to the south side of Maalehacrabbim,.... Or the ascent of Akrabbim, as it is called; see Gill on Numbers 34:4,

and passed along to Zin, and ascended upon the south side unto Kadeshbarnea; which perfectly agrees with the southern border of the land, as described in Numbers 34:4,

and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar; which two places being near to one another, as is very likely, are put together, as if one place, and called Hazaraddar, Numbers 34:4; and mention is made of Hezron, which is Hazor, Joshua 15:25; but not of Adar:

and fetched a compass to Karkaa; which JeromF23De loc. Heb. fol. 88. E. 90. C. calls Acchara, a village in the wilderness; and if the same with Carcaria, it was according to him a day's journey from Petra in Idumea; but that is not likely; see Judges 8:10.

Verse 4

From thence it passed towards Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt,.... In like manner is this coast described, Numbers 34:5; it is called by JeromF24De loc. Heb. fol. 87. K. Asemona, and said to be a city in the desert, to the south of Judah, dividing Egypt, and the lot of the tribe of Judah, leading to the sea:

and the outgoings of that coast were at the sea; the Mediterranean sea; or to the west, as the Targum; this was the utmost border of the tribe of Judah this way:

this shall be your south coast; of the lot that fell to the tribe of Judah.

Verse 5

And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of Jordan,.... To the place where Jordan fell into it; so that this border was the whole length of the salt sea, which Josephus saysF25De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 4. was five hundred eighty furlongs; and, according to PlinyF26Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 16. , an hundred miles:

and their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea,

at the uttermost part of Jordan; this northern border began where the eastern ended, at the bay or creek of the sea, where Jordan fell into it.

Verse 6

And the border went up to Bethhoglah,.... A place in the tribe of Benjamin, mentioned along with Jericho, and probably near it, Joshua 18:21; JeromF1De loc. Heb. fol. 87. G. speaks of a place called Betagla, in his time, which was three miles from Jericho, and two from Jordan, and perhaps is this same place:

and passed along by the north of Betharabah; another city belonged to Benjamin, Joshua 18:22; and lay in a as its name shows; or in a plain, as the Targum:

and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben; by whom, or on whose account, it was placed, either as a sepulchral stone, he being buried there, or in memory of some famous exploit done by him there, he being one of those of the tribe of Reuben, that came with Joshua to assist in the war against the Canaanites; or it was set for a sign of the border, as Kimchi thinks, it being the boundary between Judah and Benjamin, Joshua 18:17. Bunting saysF2Travels, &c. p. 144. it is near Bahurim, in the valley just in the king's way, and is of an extraordinary greatness, shining like marble.

Verse 7

And the border went up towards Debir,.... This was neither the Debir in the tribe of Gad, on the other side Jordan, Joshua 13:26; nor that in the tribe of Judah near Hebron, Joshua 15:15; but a third city of that name, and was not far from Jericho:

from the valley of Achor; where Achan was put to death, and had its name from thence; which, according to Jarchi, lay between the stone of Bohan and Debir:

and so northward, looking towards Gilgal; not the place where Israel were encamped when this lot was made, but it seems to be the same that is called Geliloth, Joshua 18:17,

that is, the going up to Adummim; which, Jerom saysF3De loc. Heb. fol. 88. E. F. , was formerly a little village, now in ruins, in the lot of the tribe of Judah, which place is called to this day Maledomim; and by the Greeks "the ascent of the red ones", because of the blood which was there frequently shed by thieves: it lies on the borders of Judah and Benjamin, as you go from Jerusalem to Jericho, where there is a garrison of soldiers for the help of travellers, and is supposed to be the place where the man fell among thieves in his way from the one to the other, Luke 10:30. It was four miles distant from Jericho to the west, according to AdrichomiusF4Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 14. , and was a mountain, and part of the mountains of Engaddi:

which is on the south side of the river; which some take to be the brook Kidron; but that is not very likely, being too near Jerusalem for this place: it may be rendered "the valley", so Jarchi, either the valley of Achor, before mentioned, or however a valley that ran along by the mount or ascent of Adummim, which lay to the south of it:

and the border passed to the waters of Enshemesh: or the "fountain of the sun"; but of it we have no account what and where it was. It might be so called, because dedicated to the sun by the idolatrous Canaanites, or because of the sun's influence on the waters of it. Our city, Bath, is, by AntoninusF5Vid. Cambden's Britannia, p. 141. , called "aquae solis", the waters of the sun; though there is a fountain in Cyrene, so called, for a reason just the reverse, it being, as MelaF6De Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 8. and PlinyF7Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 103. affirm, hottest the middle of the night, and then grows cooler by little and little; and when it is light is cold, and when the sun is risen is colder still, and at noon exceeding cold; and, according to VossiusF8Observat. in Pompon. Mel. ut supra. (De Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 8.) , it is the same with the fountain of Jupiter Ammon; and so it appears to be from HerodotusF9Melpomene, sive, l. 4. c. 181. , by whom it is also called the "fountain of the sun", and which he places in Thebes, though Pliny distinguishes them:

and the goings out thereof were at Enrogel; which signifies "the fountain of the fuller"; so the Targum renders it, and probably was a fountain where fullers cleansed their clothes; and was called Rogel, as Jarchi and Kimchi say, because they used to tread them with their feet when they washed them. This was a place near Jerusalem, as appears from 1 Kings 1:9; near to which perhaps was the fuller's monument, at the corner tower of Jerusalem, JosephusF11De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 2. speaks of, as there was also a place not far from it called the fuller's field, Isaiah 7:3; according to BuntingF12Travels, p. 148. , it had its name from travellers washing their feet here.

Verse 8

And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom,.... Which belonged to a man of that name formerly; and was near Jerusalem, placed by JeromF12De loc. Heb. fol. 91. B. to the east of it; but RelandF13Palest. lllustrat. tom. 1. p. 253. rather thinks it is to the south. It was infamous for the sacrifices of children to Moloch in it, by burning them, or causing them to pass through fire: hence, in allusion to it, hell fire is often in the New Testament called "Geenna", Matthew 5:22 Luke 12:5; this border from the salt sea, and from Jordan, is all along said to "go up", because from hence to Jerusalem was an ascent, that lying on higher ground:

unto the south side of the Jebusite; of the place the Jebusite inhabited:

the same is Jerusalem; which was formerly called Jebus, from the inhabitants of it; yea, Jebusi, as here, and so may intend not the inhabitants, but the place, see Joshua 18:28; and here the Jebusites lived, at least in some part of it, until the time of David, 2 Samuel 5:6,

and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward: which is generally supposed to be the mount Moriah:

which is at the end of the valley of the giants, northward: the valley of Rephaim, as it is called 2 Samuel 5:18, and here Mount Moriah, as it was to the west of the valley of Hinnom, it was to the north of the valley of Rephaim; which valley, as JosephusF14Antiqu. l. 7. c. 4. sect. 1. & 12. 4. says, was not far from Jerusalem, twenty furlongs from it. Some late travellersF15Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 1. p. 370. tell us it lies in the way from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and is not above two hours' ride from the former. From this account it appears, as Jarchi remarks, that Jerusalem was not within the line, and was not in the border of Judah, but of Benjamin, which tribe lay to the north of Judah: it seems indeed to have been one part of it in the tribe of Judah, and the other in the tribe of Benjamin; though the Jews frequently say it did not belong to either tribe.

Verse 9

And the border was drawn from the top of the hill,.... Mount Moriah, and went round in a circuit, so Jarchi and Kimchi:

unto the fountain of the water of Nephtoah; which lay at the bottom of it; which, according to the Jewish writers, is the same with the fountain of Etam, from whence a stream flowed to the dipping room in the water gate of the temple, where the high priest for the first time dipped himself on the day of atonementF16T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 31. 1. & Gloss. in ib. & T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 54. 2. Kimchi in loc. :

and went out to the cities of Mount Ephron; JeromF17De loc. Heb. fol. 91. A. speaks of an Ephron in the tribe of Judah, which was a very large village in his time, and went by the name of Ephraea, and was twenty miles from Aelia or Jerusalem to the north; and which Eusebius better places eight miles from it; and Jarchi observes, that the line went to the north side, and the border enlarged to this place; near to this mountain were cities, and it is not improbable that one of them might have its name from it; but whether this, or what mountain is here meant, is uncertain: some have thought of Ephraim, with its towns, mentioned in 2 Chronicles 13:19; which seems to have been in the tribe of Ephraim; though RelandF18Palestin. Illustrat. tom. 2. p. 765. places it in the tribe of Benjamin:

and the border was drawn to Baalah, which is Kirjathjearim; called Kirjathbaal, or the city of Baal, Joshua 15:60; where it is probable there was a temple of Baal; and when it came into the hands of the Israelites, they changed its name to Kirjathjearim, or the city of the woods, because of the great number of trees which grew about it; for which reason it might have been pitched upon by the Heathens for their idolatrous service; it was one of the cities of the Gibeonites, Joshua 9:17; and, according to Eusebius and JeromF19Apud ib. tom. 1. p. 488. , it was nine or ten miles from Jerusalem, as you go to Lydda; it is also called Baalah in 1 Chronicles 13:6; and Baale of Judah, 2 Samuel 6:2.

Verse 10

And the border compassed from Baalah westward unto Mount Seir,.... Not that in Idumea, so famous for its being the seat of Esau, which lay remote from hence, but a third of that name near Kirjathjearim; and which AdrichomiusF20Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 24. places on the borders of Azotus and Ashkelon: this compass is fetched from the north to the west:

and passed along unto the side of the mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, on the north side; that is, on the north side of the mount, which went by both those names; and which JeromF21De loc. Heb. fol. 90. F. places on the borders of Aelia or Jerusalem; but it seems to be at a distance from thence, and near to Kirjathjearim, and had its name, as that, from the multitude of trees that grow on it:

and went down to Bethshemesh; there were several cities of this name; but this, according to JeromF23Ib. fol. 89. H. , was a Levite's city in the tribe of Benjamin, and in his day was shown as you go from Eleutherepolis to Nicopolis or Emmaus, ten miles to the east; according to BurchardF24Apud Masium in loc. , it was five miles from Kirjathjearim to the south; and BuntingF25Travels, p. 124. places it four miles from Jerusalem westward, taking it for a city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 21:16,

and passed on to Timnah; which, in Jerom's time, was a large village on the borders of Lydda, as you go to Jerusalem, in the tribe of Judah, or DanF26De loc. Heb. fol. 95. C. ; his placed in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:57; though thought to be afterwards given to Dan; here Judah sheared his sheep; see Gill on Genesis 38:12.

Verse 11

And the border went out unto the side of Ekron northward,.... Which was one of the principalities of the Philistines; and which, though it fell to the lot of Judah, Joshua 15:45, was not possessed by them:

and the border was drawn to Shicron, and passed along to Mount Baalah; of which places we have no account elsewhere:

and went unto Jabneel; which Masius makes no doubt was one of the Jamnias, and particularly that which was a seaport; which Strabo saysF1Geograph. l. 16. p. 522. was distant from Azotus and Ashkelon about two hundred furlongs, or twenty five miles:

and the goings out of the border were at the sea; the Mediterranean sea; here the northern border ended.

Verse 12

And the west border was to the great sea, and the coast thereof,.... The western border of the tribe of Judah went along by the Mediterranean sea, which lay west to the land of Canaan; and this border reached from Jabneel to the river of Egypt, where the southern border ended, Joshua 15:4,

this is the coast of the children of Judah round about according to their families; but being too large, some part of it was afterwards given to Simeon, and some particular cities of it were given to Dan and Benjamin: it was bounded on the west by the tribes of Simeon and Dan towards the Mediterranean sea, and by the tribe of Benjamin on the north, and by the wilderness of Paran on the south, and by the dead sea and Jordan on the east.

Verse 13

And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah,.... That is, Joshua gave it to him. This account is inserted before the cities in the lot of the tribe of Judah were enumerated, to show what was to be excepted from them, and which had been given to Caleb previous to the lot:

according to the commandment of the Lord to Joshua; for as he had declared this to Moses, Deuteronomy 1:36; so it seems he also gave the same order to Joshua, who, it is not improbable, might consult the Lord about it when Caleb made his request, Joshua 14:12,

even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron; See Gill on Joshua 14:15.

Verse 14

And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak,.... Some think this was after the death of Joshua, and is here inserted by some other person divinely inspired, and thoroughly acquainted with this fact, that the gift and the possession of this place might appear in one view; but it rather seems to be done before:

Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak; the very same giants Caleb saw at Hebron, when he was sent a spy into the land, Numbers 13:22; for these may as well be supposed to have lived to this time as himself, unless it can be thought that they were the sons of those men, called by their fathers' names; and though they were driven out when Joshua took Hebron, yet while he was engaged in making other conquests, or however before he died, they regained the possession of that city, and of the parts adjacent to it, from whence Caleb, with the help of his tribe, expelled them, conquered, and slew them, Judges 1:10.

Verse 15

And he went up from thence to the inhabitants of Debir,.... Having conquered Hebron, and got possession of that, Caleb marched to Debir, a city not many miles from Hebron, and seems to have been in the country, and part of the land, which was given him; of which See Gill on Joshua 10:38,

and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher; or "the city of books"; either a place of literature, a sort of an academy, or where was a public library; the Targum calls it Kirjatharche, or the city of the archives, in which were laid up the public records of the Canaanites; the same is called Kirjathsannah for the like reason; see Gill on Joshua 15:49.

Verse 16

And Caleb said, he that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it,.... Which he ordered to be proclaimed through the army that was under his command; and which was done not so much on the account of the difficulty of taking the place, through the number of the inhabitants of it, and its fortifications, which it seems had fallen again into the hands of the Canaanites, since it was taken by Joshua; nor through inactivity, diffidence, and timorousness in himself; but that others, who were officers, and men of valour under him, might gather some laurels as well as himself; and chiefly being under a divine impulse, he ordered this declaration to be made, whereby his brother Othniel, who was to be a judge in Israel, might appear a great man, and fit for such an office; and as an encouragement, he promises as follows:

to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife; and to be married into the family of the chief prince of the tribe of Judah was a very great honour, as well as no doubt a very large dowry might be expected, and was given with her, and very probably the city of Debir was promised that should be taken. This Achsah seems to be a daughter of Caleb by a concubine, 1 Chronicles 2:48.

Verse 17

And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it,.... The relation of Othniel to Caleb is a little intricate, and, as it is understood, occasions objections to the marriage of Caleb's daughter to him; it seems, at first sight, that he was Caleb's own brother, a younger brother, and so uncle to his daughter, and such marriages were forbidden, Leviticus 18:14. Jarchi thinks he was the brother of Caleb by his mother's side; Kimchi, both by father and mother's side; but not to observe, that besides the word "brother" sometimes signifies only a kinsman, or near relation, and not precisely a brother; it is not Othniel that is called the brother of Caleb, but Kenaz, who was the father of Othniel; so that Caleb was Othniel's uncle, and Achsah and Othniel were brothers' children, or first cousins, between whom marriage was allowed of:

and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife; according to the tenor of his proclamation, and the promise he made.

Verse 18

And it came to pass, as she came unto him,.... To her husband, being conducted from her father's house to his, in order to consummate the marriage, just as we may suppose when she was got to her husband's house, before she lighted off the beast on which she rode:

that she moved him to ask of her father a field; or persuaded him to make such a request to him, or that he would give her leave to make it; that is, Achsah put Othniel her espoused husband upon it, to entreat her father Caleb, or suffer her to use her interest with him to obtain a field of him, over and above, and something better, than what he had already given:

and she lighted off her ass; she leaped or threw herself from it; or bowing herself, she fell off on her feet, as Jarchi interprets it, and in an humble manner made her obeisance to her father; though De Dieu, from the use of the word in the Ethiopic language, gives a different sense, as if she continued on her ass, and did not alight, waiting the success of her husband's request; or that her father, taking notice of this, might ask the reason of it, which would give her an opportunity of asking the favour of him, which she judged was a proper time of doing it; and there are some versions which seem to countenance this sense the Septuagint version is,"she cried from off the ass;'and the Vulgate Latin version,"she sighed as she sat upon the ass:"

and Caleb said unto her, what wouldest thou? what wouldest thou have? what is thy request for he perceived, by the posture she put herself in, that she had something to say to him.

Verse 19

Who answered, give me a blessing,.... By which she meant not a paternal benediction, or that he would wish and pray for a blessing on her; nor food, or a maintenance, as Jarchi, that her husband would provide for her; but rather an inheritance or possession, as the Targum; or a gift, as Abendana, a present, or something over and above what he had already given her; or an addition to her portion, as Kimchi: the word is sometimes used for a fish pool, as well as a blessing, and so glances at what she had in view, pools of water, or a well watered land:

for thou hast given me a south land; a dry land, as the Jewish writersF1So Jarchi and Kimchi in loc. R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 34. 1. generally interpret this word, otherwise all the land belonging to the tribe of Judah was south land, and Caleb could give her no other; but Debir, as Hebron was, was in the hill country, was mountainous and so dry, and wanted watering:

give me also springs of water; she means land in which there were springs of water; for unless she was possessed of the land in which they were, she would have no command of the springs, and so have little or no use of them:

and he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs; such as were in the higher grounds, and such as were in the lower ones, that she might have a sufficiency to water all her lands and fields; or as she moved her husband to ask a field, and he put her on doing the same, Caleb gave her a field, in the upper part of which were springs, and also in the lower part; though he seems to have given more than she requested.

Verse 20

This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah, according to their families. The general description of which is given in the preceding part of the chapter, as the particular cities belonging to it are enumerated in the following part; the account of the gift of Hebron to Caleb, and the taking of Debir by Othniel, with the request of Achsah, and the grant of it, are inserted between them, and stand as it were in a parenthesis.

Verse 21

And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah,.... That is, those cities which were the outward part of the tribe of Judah, the southern border of it; for the midland cities are not in this part, of the description reckoned, which reaches from hence to the end of Joshua 15:32,

toward the coast of Edom southward: it begins about the dead sea, and goes on in that part of the land of Canaan which bordered on Idumea, and so proceeds on westward towards Gaza, and the Mediterranean sea: the cities in this part of the tribe

were Kabzeel, called Jekabzeel, Nehemiah 11:25; and was the native place of Benaiah, one of David's mighty men, 2 Samuel 23:20,

and Eder and Jagur; of which we have no mention elsewhere.

Verse 22

And Kinah,.... Of this city we read of nowhere else:

and Dimonah; the second city is thought to be the same with Dibon, Nehemiah 11:25; and JeromF2Comment. in Esaiam, c. 15. 9. observes, that a place elsewhere was indifferently called in his time Dibon and Dimon;

and Adadah; the last of these cities is nowhere met with.

Verse 23

And Kedesh,.... The first of these cities seems to be Kadeshbarnea, which was to the south of the land, and on the borders of Edom, from whence the spies were sent, Numbers 32:8,

and Hazor is another city from that which is mentioned, Joshua 11:1; and was in the tribe of Naphtali:

and Ithnan, which JeromF3De loc. Heb. fol. 92. H. calls Jedna, was, according to him, six miles from Eleutheropolis, as you go to Hebron; the Greek version joins this and the former city together, and makes them one.

Verse 24

Ziph,.... Ziph was of the tribe of Judah in the south, on the borders of Eleutheropolis, as Jerom saysF4De loc. Heb. fol. 95. G. and was eight miles from Hebron to the east; and in his time a village was shown, where David was hid; but that Ziph seems to be in another part of this tribe near Carmel, and from whence a wilderness had its name; see Joshua 15:55,

and Telem is supposed to be the same with Telaim, 1 Samuel 15:4,

and Bealoth; of this city we read nowhere else.

Verse 25

And Hazor, Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which is Hazor. According to the Targum, two cities only are here meant, which reads, "and Hazorhadattah, and Keriothhezron, which is Hazor"; and this reading seems to be right; there were three Hazors in this tribe, one in Joshua 15:23, and two more here, which are distinguished; the first is called Hazorhadattah, or new Hazor; of which Jerom saysF5De. loc. Heb. fol. 88. B. , there is a village at this day called Asor, in the borders of Ashkelon, to the east of it, which fell to the lot of the tribe of Judah; the Scripture makes mention of it, calling: it new Asor, to distinguish it from the old; and Keriothhezron is the same with Hezron, Joshua 15:3; and had also the name of Hezron. From this place Judas Iscariot is thought to have his name, being Ishceriot, a man of Keriot.

Verse 26

Amam,.... Of Amam we read nowhere else:

and Shema is thought by some to be the same with Sheba, though wrongly, given afterwards to the tribe of Simeon, as was also Moladah, mentioned with it, Joshua 19:2,

and Moladah; it is also spoken of in 1 Chronicles 4:28, and seems to be the same with Malathi or Malatis, about twenty miles from HebronF6Vid. Reland. Palest. Illustrat. tom. 2. p. 885, 886. .

Verse 27

And Hazargaddah,.... The first of these, it is probable, is the same, JeromF7Ut supra, (De loc. Heb.) fol. 92. B. calls Gadda, in the tribe of Judah, which was in his day a village in the extreme borders of Daroma to the east, hanging over the dead sea:

and Heshmon is met with nowhere else:

and Bethpalet is in Nehemiah 11:26, where it is called Bethphelet.

Verse 28

And Hazarshual,.... The first of these seems to have its name from an haunt of foxes here, and was given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:3; and is mentioned as here with Beersheba, 1 Chronicles 4:28 Nehemiah 11:27,

and Beersheba was a city well known in the extreme border of the land of Canaan southward; hence the phrase "from Dan to Beersheba", Judges 20:1, of which Jerom saysF8lbid. fol. 89. E. F. , Bersabee, in the tribe of Judah or Simeon, is at this day a large village, twenty miles from Hebron to the south, in which there is a Roman garrison; and from hence the borders of the land of Judea begin, and go on to Dan, which is by Paneas:

and Bizjothjah, of which mention is made elsewhere.

Verse 29

Baalah,.... Baalah was given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:3; for Baalah is the same with Balah there, as it is with Bilba, 1 Chronicles 4:29; though according to the Jerusalem TalmudF9Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 18. 3. it is the same with Baalah, given to the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:44; and was one of those places whose houses were in Judah and their fields in Dan:

and Azem was also given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:3; it is the same with Ezem, 1 Chronicles 4:29,

and Iim, of which we read nowhere else.

Verse 30

And Eltolad,.... The first of these cities is called Tolad, 1 Chronicles 4:29,

and Chesil seems to be the same with Bethul and Bethuel, Joshua 19:4 1 Chronicles 4:30; and here the Greek version calls it Baithel:

and Hormah is the same with Zephath, Judges 1:17. All these three cities were given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:4.

Verse 31

And Ziklag,.... Ziklag was also given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:5, it was in the bands of the king of Gath, in the times of David, who gave it to him; it bordered on the Amalekites, and is placed by JeromF3De loc. Heb. fol. 94. I. in Daroma, on the south of the lot of Judah or Simeon.

and Madmannah, according to the same writerF4Ibid. fol. 93. E. , was in his time called Menois, a town near the city Gaza:

and Sansannah, of which no mention is made elsewhere.

Verse 32

And Lebaoth,.... Whether Lebaoth is the same with Bethlebaoth, given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:6; is not certain:

and Shilhim is nowhere else spoken of:

and Ain seems to be the same with that in Numbers 34:11; also See Gill on Numbers 34:11.

and Rimmon, the place JeromF5De loc. Heb. fol. 91. C. calls Eremmon, which he says was a large village of the Jews, sixteen miles from Eleutheropolis to the south, in Daroma; this and the preceding are joined together as one, and called Enrimmon, Nehemiah 11:29. It is probable they were near to each other, and in process of time the buildings of each might increase, so as to meet and join each other:

all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages; but according to our version, and as we point them, they are thirty eight; some make them thirty six, others thirty seven; the Jews generally make thirty eight of them, as we do, and account for the difference of number thus; that nine of these cities were given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:1; and these being taken out of the thirty eight, there remain twenty nine; so Jarchi and Kimchi account for it; but as the number of the cities is uncertain, and this account is given before the separation of the nine, and they are all reckoned together, this does not seem to be satisfactory; rather, as Abarbinel observes, the twenty nine of the places enumerated were cities, and the other were villages, unwalled towns, or not of so much note as the twenty nine.

Verse 33

And in the valley,.... In Joshua 15:33 are enumerated the several cities belonging to the tribe of Judah which lay in the valley. JeromF6De. loc. Heb. fol. 94. M. says, that now all the plain and champaign country near Eleutheropolis, which verges to the north and west, is called "Sephela", or the valley:

Eshtaol; the two first of these seem to be given afterwards to the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:41; between these two places Samson was born and buried, Judges 13:2; they were both at the same distance from Eleutheropolis, according to Jerom; of Eshtaol he saysF7Ibid. fol. 91. C. , it is showed to this day ten miles from Eleutheropolis, to the north, as you go to Nicopolis or Emmaus:

and Zoreah, of which he calls Saara, he saysF8lbid. fol. 94. I. it is a village on the borders of Eleutheropolis, as you go to Nicopolis, about ten miles of it in the tribe of Dan or Judah:

and Ashnah, of which no mention is made elsewhere; there was another place of the same name, but different from this, Joshua 15:43.

Verse 34

And Zanoah,.... The first of these, Jerom saysF9De loc. Heb. fol. 95. G. , is in the borders of Eleutheropolis, as you go to Aelia (or Jerusalem); there is at this day a village called Zanua:

and Engannim, which signifies a fountain of gardens, is now (according to the same writerF11Ibid. fol. 91. E. ) a village near Bethel:

and Tappuah was a royal city, of which see Joshua 12:17. Enaim, in the tribe of Judah, Jerom saysF12Ibid. fol. 91. E. in his day was the village Bethenim, about the turpentine tree, or oak of Mamre; but that seems to be the same with Ain, Joshua 15:32; of which he says the same under that word, and makes it to be two miles from the oak, and four from Hebron. Masius thinks it is the same with Enam, near to Timnath, of which See Gill on Genesis 38:14; it following Tappuah one would be tempted to think with Jarchi it was the same with Entappuah, but that that was on the borders of Manasseh, Joshua 17:7,

and Enam; it has an ה prefixed to it, and may be read "that Enam", as pointing out some known and remarkable place, though now unknown.

Verse 35

Jarmuth, and Adullam,.... The two first of these were royal cities, of which see Joshua 10:3,

Socoh; Jerom saysF13De loc. Heb. fol. 94. I. there were two little villages in his day of the name of Socho, as you go to Aelia (or Jerusalem), from Eleutheropolis, in the ninth mile on the public way, one in the mountain, and the other in the plain, (the same with this,) both of which were called Socoth: of this place was Antigonus, president of the sanhedrim, and successor of Simeon the just, called in the MisnahF14Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 3. a man of Socho:

and Azekah; See Gill on Joshua 10:10; it appears to be near to Socoh from 1 Samuel 17:1, where the Philistines are said to pitch their camp between them.

Verse 36

And Sharaim,.... Sharaim seems to be the Saara of Jerom, which he describes as a village on the borders of Eleutheropolis, to the north as you go to Nicopolis (or Emmaus), about ten miles from it in the tribe of Dan or JudahF15Ut supra. (De loc. Heb. fol. 88. E.) ; there was a place called Bethshaaraim, where the sanhedrim sometimes satF16T. Bab. Roshhashauah, fol. 31. 2. , and where R. Judah was buriedF17Gloss. in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 47. 1. . This seems to be the same with Shaaraim in 1 Samuel 17:52,

and Adithaim; Jerom observesF18Ut supra, (De loc. Heb.) fol. 88. F. , under the word "Adithaim", that there is a village called Adia, near Gaza, and another Aditha, near Diospolis (or Lydda), to the east:

and Gederah, which seems to be the same Jerom calls Gaddera, in the tribe of JudahF19De loc. Heb. fol. 92. B. , now, he says, called a village belonging to the country of Aelia (or Jerusalem), by the name of Gadera, about the turpentine tree.

and Gederothaim, of which we nowhere else read; Kimchi thinks Gederah and Gederothaim were one city:

fourteen cities with their villages; but, upon counting them, it will appear there are fifteen, which may be reduced to fourteen, if with Kimchi we take the two last to be but one, who in this way reconciles it; or with Jarchi make Tappuah and Enam to be one also, called Entappuah, which is the way he takes to solve the difficulty; but perhaps the case is this, that one of the places in the account was not a city, but a village.

Verse 37

Zenan,.... Here begins another list or catalogue of the cities in the valley or plain. Zenan perhaps is the same with Zaanan, Micah 1:11,

and Hadashah was so small a city in Judea in the times of the Misnic doctors, that they sayF20Misn. Eruvim, c. 5. sect. 6. it had but fifty dwellings in it; and Jerom speaksF21De loc. Heb. fol. 88. F. of a place called Adasa, in the tribe of Judah, in his times a village near Guphua; it should be Taphna:

and Migdalgad, of which we nowhere else read; some think it had its name from some famous exploit done here by one of the tribe of Gad, who came over with Joshua to assist in the war, as the stone of Bohan the Reubenite, Joshua 15:6.

Verse 38

And Dilean,.... Of the first of these nothing is to be said:

and Mizpeh, of which name there were cities in other tribes; this in the tribe of Judah was in the times of JeromF23De loc. Heb. fol. 93. D. called Mapha, on the borders of Eleutheropolis to the south, as you go to Aelia, or Jerusalem:

and Joktheel, of which nothing is to be said.

Verse 39

Lachish,.... Lachish and Eglon were royal cities, of which see Joshua 10:3,

and Bozkath, is called Boscath, of which place was the mother of King Josiah, 2 Kings 21:1; some take it to be the same with Bascana, as in the Apocrypha:"And when he came near to Bascama he slew Jonathan, who was buried there.' (1 Maccabees 13:23)

and Eglon also was a royal city, of which see Joshua 10:3.

Verse 40

And Cabbon, and Lahmam, and Kithlish. Cities of which we can give no account, not being mentioned elsewhere.

Verse 41

And Gederoth,.... Gederoth is reckoned among the cities of the low country, and south of Judah, 2 Chronicles 28:18,

and Bethdagon; in it very probably was a temple of Dagon, which was a principal deity of the Philistines, 1 Samuel 5:2; Jerom saysF24De loc. Heb. fol. 89. F. in his time was shown a large village called Capherdagon, between Diospolis and Jamnia; of Naamah, the same writer says nothing, only that it was a city of the tribe of Judah:

and Makkedah; see Joshua 10:10; it was a royal city, Joshua 12:16;

sixteen cities with their villages; and is the exact number of them, as before enumerated.

Verse 42

Libnah,.... Here begins another division or list of the cities of Judah, in the valley or plain. Libnah is the same with Libnah, a royal city; see Joshua 10:29,

and Ether was given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:7; and under Ether of the lot of Simeon, Jerom writesF25De loc. Heb. fol. 91. C. & 92. I. , there is now a very large village called Jethira, in interior Daroma, near Malatha, twenty miles from Eleutheropolis:

and Ashan also was given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:7; and the above writer relatesF26De loc. Heb. fol. 88. G. , that there was in his times a village called Bethasan, belonging to Aelia, or Jerusalem, fifteen miles from it.

Verse 43

And Jiphtah,.... Jiphtah is nowhere else mentioned:

and Ashnah; there was another Ashnah of this tribe, and which was in the vale also, met with already in Joshua 15:33,

and Nezib was in Jerom'sF1De loc. Heb. fol. 93. I. times called Nasib, seven miles from Eleutheropolis, as you go to Hebron.

Verse 44

And Keilah,.... The first of these is a well known city, which David saved from the hands of the Philistines, 1 Samuel 23:1, &c. In Jerom's time it was a little village to the east of Eleutheropolis, about eight miles from it, as you go to Hebron; in which was shown the sepulchre of the Prophet HabakkukF2De loc. Heb. fol. 90. A. .

And Achzib is said to be on the borders of Asher, Joshua 19:29, and is supposed the same with Chezib, Genesis 38:5; and the Ecdippa of Josephus and others, and now called Zib; See Gill on Micah 1:14,

and Mareshah; Jerom saysF3lbid. fol. 93. E. , only the ruins of it were to be seen two miles from Eleutheropolis:

nine cities with their villages; which is just their number.

Verse 45

Ekron, with her towns and her villages. One of the five principalities of the Philistines, which with two more next mentioned, though they fell to the lot of the tribe of Judah, were never possessed by them; for which reason perhaps Gath and Ascalon are not mentioned, and these are put for the rest; see Joshua 13:3.

Verse 46

From Ekron even unto the sea,.... The Mediterranean sea, or the west, as the Targum:

all that lay near Ashdod, with their villages; this is the Azotus of the New Testament, Acts 8:40, another of the principalities of the Philistines, of which and Ekron See Gill on Amos 1:8 and See Gill on Zephaniah 2:4.

Verse 47

Ashdod with her towns and, her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages,.... Gaza was another of the principalities of the Philistines, of which See Gill on Amos 1:7; See Gill on Zephaniah 2:4; See Gill on Acts 8:26; these, with the two other principalities not mentioned, Gath and Ashkelon, were in the western border of the tribe of Judah, which reached from Ekron, the first that is mentioned:

unto the river of Egypt; of which see Joshua 15:4,

and the great sea, and the border thereof; the Mediterranean sea, called so in comparison of the lesser seas in Judea, the salt sea, and the sea of Tiberias; whose border was its shore, and the cities upon it, and not the isles in the sea, as Jarchi.

Verse 48

And in the mountains,.... The hill country of Judea, as it is called Luke 1:39, in which were the following cities:

Shamir: the Alexandrian copy of the Greek version reads Sophir as the name, of the first of these cities; and Jerom saysF4De loc. Heb. fol. 94. I. there was a village of this name in the mountainous parts, situated between Eleutheropolis, and Ashkelon in the tribe of Judah; see Micah 1:11,

and Jattir the same writer calls Jether, in the tribe of Judah; and saysF5Ibid. fol. 92. l. there was in his time a very large village called Jethira, twenty miles from Eleutheropolis, the inhabitants of which were then all Christians: it was situated in interior Daroma, near Malatha:

and Socoh is different from Socoh in Joshua 15:35; that was in the plain, this in the mountain; See Gill on Joshua 15:35.

Verse 49

And Dannah,.... Dannah is not mentioned elsewhere:

and Kirjathsannah, which is Debir; Kirjathsannah had three names, this and Debir, and Kirjathsepher; See Gill on Joshua 15:15; all which are of much the same signification; for "Sanna" with the ArabsF6"mos vivendi, lex", Golius, col. 1221. Castell. col. 2567. Vid. Bochart. Canaan, 50:2. c. 17. col. 771. , and so with the Phoenicians, signifies law, doctrine, and manner of life; and with the Mahometans the secondary law to the Koran, and answers to the Jewish Misnah; and the Greek version interprets this name "the city of letters". JeromF7De loc. Heb. fol. 90. I. calls it Daenna, and seems to confound it with Dannah.

Verse 50

And Anab,.... Of Anab; see Gill on Joshua 11:21,

and Eshtemoh Jerom callsF8De loc. Heb. fol. 88. G. Astemech, a village in the tribe of Judah, and belongs to the Jews in Daroma, and is to the north of a place called Anem, perhaps the same with Anim here;

and Anim Jerom says is the village Anea, near another of the same name; which he places to the south of Hebron, as he does this to the east, the inhabitants of which in his time were all Christians.

Verse 51

And Goshen,.... Of Goshen in the land of Canaan; see Gill on Joshua 10:41,

and Holon, of which there is no other mention:

and Giloh was the city of Ahitophel, 2 Samuel 15:12,

eleven cities with their villages; the number agrees; this is the first division of cities in the mountains; a second follows.

Verse 52

Arab,.... Arab is the same JeromF9De loc. Heb. fol. 91. B. calls Ereb, and was in his time a village in the south, and was called Heromith:

and Dumah; Duma, Jerom saysF11Ibid. fol. 90. K. , was a large village in the south, also on the borders of Eleutheropolis, seventeen miles from it:

and Eshean, of which we have no account.

Verse 53

And Janum,.... Under the word "Janum", Jerom writesF12De loc. Heb. fol. 92. I. , there is a village called Janua, three miles from Legion to the south, but seems not to be what is written:

and Bethtappuah is by Jerom called BethaphuF13Ibid. fol. 89. F. , and said to be a village in the tribe of Judah, fourteen miles beyond Raphia, as you go to Egypt, which is the border of Palestine:

and Aphekah; Jerom speaksF14Ibid. fol. 88. D. of a large castle in his time called Apheca, near the town of Palestine; there were several places of the name of Aphek; See Gill on Joshua 12:18. As for Bethtappuah, it seems to be a place which was dedicated to a deity to which apples were sacred, in memory of the apple by which mankind was seduced; there was in later times a goddess called Pomona from hence.

Verse 54

And Humtah,.... Of Humtah we nowhere else read:

and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron; of Kirjatharba we read frequently; See Gill on Joshua 14:15,

and Zior; Jerom saysF15De loc. Heb. fol. 94. H. , that in his time there was a village shown by the name of Sihor, between Aelia (or Jerusalem) and Eleutheropolis, in the tribe of Judah:

nine cities with their villages; which is exactly their number, as expressed; here ends the second division, or of the cities in the hill country of Judea; a third follows.

Verse 55

Maon, Carmel,.... Maon was the dwelling place of Nabal the Carmelite, whose possessions were in Carmel, and were not far from one another, 1 Samuel 25:2. It gave name to a wilderness near where David hid himself from Saul, 1 Samuel 23:25; JeromF16De loc. Heb. fol. 93. E. places it to the east of Daroma, who also informsF17lbid. fol. 92. C. us, that there was in his time a village that went by the name of Carmelia, ten miles from Hebron towards the east, and where was a Roman garrison.

and Ziph, according to the same writerF18Ibid. fol. 95. G. , was eight miles from Hebron to the east; and there was a village shown in his time where David was hid; this gave name to a wilderness also, 1 Samuel 23:14,

and Juttah, which Jerom callsF19Ibid. fol. 92. I. Jeshan, was in his time a large village of the Jews, eighteen miles from Eleutheropolis, to the southern part in Daroma. RelandF20Palestin. Illustrat. tom. 2. p. 870. conjectures that this was the native place of John the Baptist; and that, instead of "a city of Judah", it should be read "the city Juta", Luke 1:39.

Verse 56

And Jezreel,.... This Jezreel in the tribe of Judah is different from that which was once a royal seat of some of the kings of Israel, and from whence the famous valley of Jezreel or Esdraelon had its name: of this we have no other account elsewhere:

and Jokdeam; of which we have no other mention:

and Zanoah is a distinct place from the city of the same name in the valley, Joshua 15:34.

Verse 57

Cain,.... Cain, or Hakain, "that Cain", we nowhere else read of; whether the name was given it by the old Canaanites, in memory of Cain, the son of Adam, is not certain:

Gibeah; there were other places that went by the name of Gibeah; there was a Gibeah in Benjamin, Judges 20:4, and another in the same tribe called Gibeah of Saul, 1 Samuel 11:4, to distinguish it from that; but this was in the tribe of Judah. Masius conjectures it is the same with that in 1 Samuel 23:19 which was near Ziph; and not amiss. JeromF21Ut supra, (De loc. Heb.) fol. 92. C. makes mention of Gabaha and Gabatha, little villages to the east of Daroma; and of another Gabatha, near Bethlehem, in the tribe of Judah; but whether either of these are meant it is doubtful:

Timnah, of this city; see Gill on Joshua 15:10,

ten cities with their villages; the number agrees with the names of them.

Verse 58

Halhul,.... Here begins a fourth division, or list, of the cities in the mountains. Halhul Jerom calls Ehul, and saysF23De loc. Heb. fol. 91. B. there was in his time in the country belonging to Aelia (or Jerusalem) a village by the name of Ahula, near Hebron; and

Bethzur, Jerom saysF24De loc. Heb. fol. 89. G. , was then called Bethseron, a village as you go from Aelia to Hebron, in the twentieth mile, near which was a fountain at the bottom of a mount, where it is said the eunuch was baptized by Philip: he makes mention of another village called Bethsur in the tribe of Judah, a mile from Eleutheropolis. In the Apocrypha:"So he came to Judea, and drew near to Bethsura, which was a strong town, but distant from Jerusalem about five furlongs, and he laid sore siege unto it.' (2 Maccabees 11:5)it is said to be but five furlongs from Jerusalem, but it must have been at a greater distance:

Gedor, of this city; see Gill on Joshua 12:13.

Verse 59

And Maarath, and Bethanoth, and Eltekon,.... Of these cities we have no account elsewhere; only mention is made of Eltekeh, in the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:44,

six cities with their villages; these were all in the mountainous part of Judea, as were the two following.

Verse 60

Kirjathbaal, (which is Kirjathjearim,),.... Of Kirjathbaal, and its several names; see Gill on Joshua 15:9,

and Rabbah, of which we nowhere else read; for this is a very different city from the Rabbah of the children of Ammon, 2 Samuel 12:26,

two cities with their villages; why these are reckoned by themselves is not certain.

Verse 61

In the wilderness,.... The wilderness of Judea, which was not a desert and uninhabited but had many cities and villages in it, those that follow:

Betharabah; the first of these seems to be in the borders of Judah and Benjamin, and so is ascribed to both; see Joshua 15:6,

Middin, and Secacah; of the two last we read nowhere else, only in Judges 5:10; what we translate "ye that sit in judgment", Kimchi interprets, "ye that dwell by Middin", and says it is the name of a place in Joshua, and mentions this passage.

Verse 62

And Nibshan,.... Of Nibshan no mention is made elsewhere:

and the city of Salt some take to be Zoar, so called because near the salt sea, or where Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt, Genesis 19:22; but rather this city might be so called, because salt was made here.

and Engedi, or Engaddi, is a well known place, near the salt sea; See Gill on Ezekiel 47:10. Jerom saysF25De loc. Heb. fol. 91. B. , there was a very large village of Jews in his time called Engaddi, near the dead sea, from whence comes the opobalsam; the same place is called Hazazontamar, from the palm trees which grew there, 2 Chronicles 20:2. It was famous for vineyards also, Song of Solomon 1:14; it lay, according to JosephusF26Antiqu. l. 9. c. 1. sect. 2. , three hundred furlongs or about forty miles from Jerusalem:

six cities with their villages; the sum total agrees with the particulars.

Verse 63

As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem,.... From whom the city was called Jebus, Judges 19:10. The Jews say, that these Jebusites were not those of the seven nations; but there was a man whose name was Jebus, and he was of the Philistines, of the seed of Abimelech, and the place was called by his name Jebus; and the men of that family that dwelt at Jerusalem, their names were called Jebusites, having their descent from him; so Araunah, the Jebusite, was king of that place: and the fort of that place was Zion, which was at Jerusalem: so Kimchi relates from their Rabbins, and with whom Jarchi agrees, but without any foundation; there is no doubt to be made of it, that these Jebusites were Canaanites:

the children of Judah could not drive them out; according to the above Jewish writers they could have done it, but it was not fit and proper they should, because of the oath of Abraham to Abimelech, from whom they suppose these Jebusites sprung; but the case was this; though Joshua slew the king of this place, and took his land with the rest, Joshua 10:1; and though the men of Judah retook it after his death, it having been got into the hands of the Jebusites again, Judges 1:8; yet either the fort of Zion was never taken by either of them, or if taken, the Jebusites got possession of it again, and held it until the times of David; see 2 Samuel 5:6,

but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day; the one in the fort of Zion, and the other in the city of Jerusalem, properly so called, and thus they continued unto the writing of this book; by which it should seem, that the Jebusites were not dispossessed of their fort, or a part of the city, by Joshua; or this might be added and inserted by some inspired man afterwards; or however it must be done before the times of David: and from the whole it appears, that the city of Jerusalem, at least a part of it, belonged to the tribe of Judah, as another part did to that of Benjamin, to which it is ascribed, Joshua 18:28; see Judges 1:21.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 15:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

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