Joshua 19

CHAPTER XIX

The lot of Simeon, 1-9.

Of Zebulun, 10-16.

Of Issachar, 17-23.

Of Asher, 24-31.

Of Naphtali, 32-39.

Of Dan, 40-48.

Joshua's portion, 49, 50.

The conclusion of the division of the land, 51.

NOTES ON CHAP. XIX

Verse 1. The second lot came forth to Simeon] In this

appointment the providence of God may be especially remarked. For

the iniquitous conduct of Simeon and Levi, in the massacre of the

innocent Shechemites, Ge 34:25-31, Jacob, in the spirit of

prophecy, foretold that they should be divided in Jacob, and

scattered in Israel, Ge 49:7. And this was most literally

fulfilled in the manner in which God disposed of both these tribes

afterwards. Levi was scattered through all Palestine, not having

received any inheritance, only cities to dwell in, in different

parts of the land; and Simeon was dispersed in Judah, with what

could scarcely be said to be their own, or a peculiar lot.

See Clarke on Ge 49:7.

Verse 2. Beer-sheba] The well of the oath.

See Clarke on Ge 21:31.

Verse 3. Hazar-shual] For this and several of the following

places, See Clarke on Jos 15:32.

Verse 5. Beth-marcaboth] The house or city of chariots.

Probably a place where their war-chariots and cavalry were laid

up.

Verse 6. Beth-lebaoth] The house or city of lionesses.

Probably so called from the numbers of those animals which bred

there.

Verse 8. Baalath-beer] The well of the mistresses. Probably so

called from some superstitious or impure worship set up there.

Verse 13. Gittah-hepher] The same as Gath-hepher, the

birth-place of the prophet Jonah.

Verse 15. Shimron] See Clarke on Jos 12:20.

Beth-lehem] The house of bread; a different place from that in

which our Lord was born.

Verse 17. The fourth lot came out to Issachar] It is remarkable,

that though Issachar was the eldest brother, yet the lot of

Zebulun was drawn before his lot; and this is the order in which

Jacob himself mentions them, Ge 49:13, 14, though no reason

appears, either here or in the place above, why this preference

should be given to the younger; but that the apparently fortuitous

lot should have distinguished them just as the prophetic Jacob

did, is peculiarly remarkable. Known unto God are all his works

from the beginning: he has reasons for his conduct, which in many

cases are too great for any of his creatures to comprehend, but he

works all things after the counsel of his own will, which is ever

right and good; and in this case his influence may be as easily

seen in the decision by the lot, as on the mind of the patriarch

Jacob, when he predicted what should befall his children in the

latter days, and his providence continued to ripen, and bring

forward what his judgment had deemed right to be done.

Verse 18. Jezreel] This city, according to Calmet, was situated

in an open country, having the town of Legion on the west,

Bethshan on the east, on the south the mountains of Gilboa, and

on the north those of Hermon.

Shunem] This city was rendered famous by being the occasional

abode of the prophet Elisha, and the place where he restored the

son of a pious woman to life. 2Ki 4:8. It was the place where the

Philistines were encamped on that ruinous day in which the

Israelites were totally routed at Gilboa, and Saul and his sons

Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua, killed. 1Sa 28:4; 31:1, &c.

Verse 22. Beth-shemesh] The house or temple of the sun; there

were several cities or towns of this name in Palestine; an ample

proof that the worship of this celestial luminary had generally

prevailed in that idolatrous country.

Verse 26. Carmel] The vineyard of God; a place greatly

celebrated in Scripture, and especially for the miracles of

Elijah; see 1Ki 18:19-40. The mountain of Carmel was so very

fruitful as to pass into a proverb. There was another Carmel in

the tribe of Judah, (see Jos 15:55,) but this, in the tribe of

Asher, was situated about one hundred and twenty furlongs south

from Ptolemais, on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Calmet

observes that there was, in the time of Vespasian, a temple on

this mountain, dedicated to a god of the same name. There was a

convent, and a religious order known by the name of Carmelites,

established on this mountain in honour of Elijah: the time of the

foundation of this order is greatly disputed. Some pretend that it

was established by Elijah himself; while others, with more

probability, fix it in A.D. 1180 or 1181, under the pontificate of

Pope Alexander III.

Verse 27. Cabul on the left hand] That is, to the north of

Cabul, for so the left hand, when referring to place, is

understood among the Hebrews.

We must not confound this town or Cabul with the twenty cities

given by Solomon to Hiram, with which he was displeased, and which

in contempt he called the land of Cabul, the dirty or paltry land,

1Ki 9:11-13: there was evidently a town of this name, widely

different from the land so called, long before the time of

Solomon, and therefore this cannot be adduced as an argument that

the book of Joshua was written after the days of David. The town

in question is supposed to be the same which Josephus in his Life

calls χωβουλω Choboulo, and which he says was situated by the

sea-side, and nigh to Ptolemais. De Bell. Jud., lib. iii., c. 4.

Verse 28. Unto great Zidon] The city of Sidon and the Sidonians

are celebrated from the remotest antiquity. They are frequently

mentioned by Homer. See Clarke on Jos 11:8.

Verse 29. The strong city Tyre] I suspect this to be an improper

translation. Perhaps the words of the original should be retained:

And the coast turneth to Ramah and to the city, mibtsar

tsor. Our translators have here left the Hebrew, and followed the

Septuagint and Vulgate, a fault of which they are sometimes

guilty. The former render the place εωςπολεωςοχυρωματοςτων

τυριων, unto the fortified city of the Tyrians. The Vulgate is

nearly the same: ad civitatem munitissimam Tyrum, to the

well-fortified city Tyre; but this must be incorrect for the

famous city of Tyre was not known tiil about A.M. 2760, about two

hundred years after the days of Joshua. Homer, who frequently

mentions Sidon and the Sidonians, never mentions Tyre; a proof

that this afterwards very eminent city was not then known. Homer

is allowed by some to have flourished in the time of Joshua,

though others make him contemporary with the Israelitish judges.

The word Tsor or Tsar, which we translate or change into

Tyre, signifies a rock or strong place; and as there were many

rocks in the land of Judea, that with a little art were formed

into strong places of defense, hence several places might have the

name of Tsar or Tyre. The ancient and celebrated Tyre, so much

spoken of both in sacred and profane history, was a rock or

small island in the sea, about six or seven hundred paces from the

main land. In order to reduce this city, Alexander the Great was

obliged to fill up the channel between it and the main land, and

after all took it with much difficulty. It is generally supposed

that a town on the main land, opposite to this fortified rock,

went by the same name; one being called old Tyre, the other, new

Tyre: it was out of the ruins of the old Tyre, or that which was

situated on the main land, that Alexander is said to have filled

up the channel between it and the new city. Of this city Isaiah,

Isa 23:1-18, and Ezekiel, Eze 27:1-28:26, have given a very

grand description, and also predicted its irreparable ruin which

prophecies have been most literally fulfilled. See more on the

above places.

Achzib] Called afterwards Ecdippe, and now called Zib; it is

about nine miles' distance from Ptolemais, towards Tyre.

Verse 30. Twenty and two cities] There are nearly thirty cities

in the above enumeration instead of twenty-two, but probably

several are mentioned that were but frontier towns, and that did

not belong to this tribe, their border only passing by such

cities; and on this account, though they are named, yet they do

not enter into the enumeration in this place. Perhaps some of the

villages are named as well as the cities.

Verse 34. And to Judah upon Jordan] It is certain that the tribe

of Naphtali did not border on the east upon Judah, for there were

several tribes betwixt them. Some think that as these two tribes

were bounded by Jordan on the east, they might be considered as in

some sort conjoined, because of the easy passage to each other by

means of the river; but this might be said of several other tribes

as well as of these. There is considerable difficulty in the text

as it now stands; but if, with the Septuagint, we omit Judah, the

difficulty vanishes, and the passage is plain: but this omission

is supported by no MS. hitherto discovered. It is however very

probable that some change has taken place in the words of the

text, ubihudah haiyarden, "and by Judah upon

Jordan." Houbigant, who terms them verba sine re ac sententia,

"words without sense or meaning," proposes, instead of them, to

read ubigdoth haiyarden, "and by the banks of

Jordan;" a word which is used Jos 3:15, and which here makes a

very good sense.

Verse 35. Chinnereth] See Clarke on Jos 11:2.

Verse 36. Hazor] See Clarke on Jos 11:1.

Verse 38. Nineteen cities] But if these cities be separately

enumerated they amount to twenty-three; this is probably

occasioned by reckoning frontier cities belonging to other tribes,

which are only mentioned here as the boundaries of the tribe.

See Clarke on Jos 19:30.

Verse 41. Zorah, and Eshtaol] See Clarke on Jos 15:33.

Ir-shemesh] The city of sun; another proof of the idolatry of

the Canaanites. Some think this was the same as Beth-shemesh.

Verse 42. Shaalabbin] The foxes. Of this city the Amorites kept

constant possession. See Jud 1:35.

Ajalon] There was a place of this name about two miles from

Nicopolis or Emmaus, on the road to Jerusalem.-Calmet.

Verse 43. Thimnathah] Probably the same as Timnah.

See Clarke on Jos 15:57.

Ekron] A well-known city of the Philistines and the metropolis

of one of their five dynasties,

Verse 45. Jehud, and Bene-berak] Or Jehud of the children of

Berak.

Verse 46. Japho.] The place since called Joppa, lying on the

Mediterranean, and the chief sea-port, in the possession of the

twelve tribes.

Verse 47. Went out too little for them] This is certainly the

meaning of the passage; but our translators have been obliged to

add the words too little to make this sense apparent. Houbigant

contends that an ancient copyist, meeting frequently with the

words vaiyetse haggebul, in the preceding history,

became so familiarized to them that he wrote them here instead of

vaiyaats haggebul, and the border of the children of

Dan was STRAIT for them. It was on this account that they were

obliged to go and fight against Leshem, and take and possess it,

their former inheritance being too strait for their increasing

population.

And called Leshem, Dan] This city was situated near the origin

of Jordan, at the utmost northern extremity of the promised land,

as Beer-sheba was at that of the south; and as after its capture

by the Danites it was called Dan, hence arose the expression from

Dan even to Beer-sheba, which always signified the whole extent of

the promised land. Some suppose that Leshem was the same with

Caesarea Philippi, but others with reason reject this opinion.

It must be granted that the whole account given in this verse

refers indisputably to a fact which did not take place till after

the death of Joshua. It is another of the marginal or explicative

notes which were added by some later hand. The whole account of

this expedition of the Danites against Leshem is circumstantially

given in Jud 18:1-29 the book of Judges, and to that chapter

the reader is referred.

Verse 50. Timnath-serah] Called Timnath-heres in Jud 2:9,

where we find that the mountain on which it was built was called

Gaash. It is generally allowed to have been a barren spot in a

barren country.

Verse 51. At the door of the tabernacle] All the inheritances

were determined by lot, and this was cast before the Lord-every

thing was done in his immediate presence, as under his eye; hence

there was no murmuring, each having received his inheritance as

from the hand of God himself, though some of them thought they

must have additional territory, because of the great increase of

their families.

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