Joshua 15:5: The Eastern Border; The Northern Border of Judah, Part 1

Verse 5:[1] And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of Jordan. And their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the uttermost part of Jordan…

[On the east] The Eastern limits of the tribe are shown in these words, that is, the Salt Sea (Masius).

[Unto the extremities of Jordan] That is, unto the place in which the Jordan flows into the Salt Sea (Vatablus, similarly Masius, Bonfrerius). Now, the length of this sea (from South to North [Masius]), according to Josephus’ Jewish Wars 5:5, is five hundred and eighty stadia;[2] according to Pliny’s Natural History 5:16, one hundred miles: latitude, according to Josephus, one hundred and fifty stadia; according to Pliny, twenty-five miles (Bonfrerius, Masius). This eastern boundary does not proceed beyond the length of the Salt Sea (Bonfrerius).

The end of Jordan, that is, the place where Jordan runs into the Salt Sea.

[And that which looks toward the North, etc.,וּגְב֞וּל לִפְאַ֤ת צָפוֹ֙נָה֙ מִלְּשׁ֣וֹן הַיָּ֔ם מִקְצֵ֖ה הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃] And the boundary of the corner (or quarter [Arabic], or side [Vatablus], or, on the side [Munster], or, in the corner [Tigurinus]) of the North from the tongue of the sea, from the end of Jordan, or from the extremity (or limit [Vatablus]) of Jordan (Montanus, Munster, Tigurinus). They translate מִלְּשׁוֹן, from the tongue, as from the summit (Septuagint), from the shore (Jonathan), from the rock (Munster, Pagnine). It begins from the promontory, or, from the other projection of the sea (Vatablus), that is, into land (Vatablus on verse 2), from the bay (Junius and Tremellius, Masius, Bonfrerius). It is hardly plausible that, both in that Southern extremity of that sea, and again in this Northern extremity, it was a rock or boulder that the language of tongue signified: but it is certain that there was a bay at both ends (Masius). Here begins the border of the North, where the eastern border ends. This same tongue is treated in Joshua 18:19, where the Southern border of Benjamin is described, which is the same as the Northern border of Judah (Bonfrerius). Junius and Tremellius thus translate the passage, but the border on the Northern side, from the bay of that sea, was part of Jordan: that is, Judah possessed the greatest part from the extremity of Jordan unto the lake of Gennesaret, even if the boundaries of some tribes meet with the Jordan itself. In this manner it happened that the borders of Naphthali at Jordan were coterminous with Judah’s, as it is found in Joshua 19:34 (Junius). But it is altogether false that the borders of Judah reached all the way to the lake of Gennesaret (Malvenda).

[1] Hebrew: וּגְב֥וּל קֵ֙דְמָה֙ יָ֣ם הַמֶּ֔לַח עַד־קְצֵ֖ה הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן וּגְב֞וּל לִפְאַ֤ת צָפוֹ֙נָה֙ מִלְּשׁ֣וֹן הַיָּ֔ם מִקְצֵ֖ה הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[2] A stadium is a little more than a tenth of a mile.

Joshua 15:4: The Southern Border of Judah, Part 4

Verse 4:[1] From thence it passed (Num. 34:5) toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast.

[Unto Azmon] Perhaps it is that חַצְמוֹן/Hazmon, which was the twenty-sixth station;[2] for ח/h/ch and ע[3] are interchangeable (Masius in Drusius).

[Unto the torrent of Egypt] See Joshua 13:3 and Numbers 34:5 (Malvenda).

[This shall be the limit of the southern tract] Hebrew: That shall be to you the border of the South[4] (Malvenda). Now, the length of those boundaries is that entire distance that extends from the extremity of the Dead Sea unto Rhinocolura, close to which, near that little branch of the Nile, was our עַצְמוֹן / Azmon. Moreover, that clause, that shall be to you a border, etc., contains an absurd apostrophe,[5] as it appears. But there is an allusion, I think, to those words in which these very borders were described in Numbers: for in that place Moses addresses the Israelites (Masius). But others maintain that there is an Enallage of persons, and the border shall be לָכֶם, to you, put in the place of לָהֶם, to them (Septuagint in Masius, Munster out of Kimchi).

[1] Hebrew: וְעָבַ֣ר עַצְמ֗וֹנָה וְיָצָא֙ נַ֣חַל מִצְרַ֔יִם וְהָיָ֛ה תֹּצְא֥וֹת הַגְּב֖וּל יָ֑מָּה זֶה־יִהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶ֖ם גְּב֥וּל נֶֽגֶב׃

[2] Numbers 33:29:  “And they went from Mithcah, and pitched in Hashmonah (בְּחַשְׁמֹנָה).”

[3] Gutteral.

[4] Hebrew: זֶה־יִהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶ֖ם גְּב֥וּל נֶֽגֶב׃.

[5] An apostrophe in rhetoric is a digression in a discourse in the form of a direct address to someone not present.

Joshua 15:3: The Southern Border of Judah, Part 3

Verse 3:[1] And it went out to the south side (Num. 34:4) to Maaleh-acrabbim (or, the going up to Acrabbim[2]), and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadesh-barnea, and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa…

[Toward the ascent of the Scorpion,וְ֠יָצָא אֶל־מִנֶּ֜גֶב לְמַעֲלֵ֤ה עַקְרַבִּים֙ ] And it goes out (that is, and from here it extends [Vatablus]) to the south of Maaleh-acrabbim (Piscator, thus Vatablus). Some translate it, to the ascent, or incline, of scorpions[3] (Munster, Castalio). To others it is a proper name (thus the Septuagint in Grotius, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus, English, Dutch, Masius). Nevertheless, it appears that this was done, either, from the abundance of scorpions (Grotius, Menochius); see Deuteronomy 8:15 (Grotius): or, from the similitude and figure (Menochius), because these mountains curved in upon themselves after the likeness of scorpions (Vatablus). Part of Idumæa was called Ἀκραββατίνη/Acrabattine, 1 Maccabees 5:3.[4] Ptolemy places Acraba in Mesopotamia (Grotius). Note here the doubling of the particles, which is common in Hebraisms; as here it is verbatim, unto from the South, etc. (Drusius). Unto the place that was on the south, etc. (Munster, Tigurinus). The Greek (which the Latin follows) has ἀπέναντι, over against, before; they were reading מִנֶגֶד, in front of, instead of מִנֶגֶב, from the south. Now, this hill of Acrabbim is not further North than that last shorte of the Salt Sea (as most Geographers incorrectly locate it), but further South: For in Ptolemy Petra is much further South than the tongue of the Salt Sea; and so Kadesh-barnea also is further South, as one might expect for a neighbor of Petra. But the very same Geographers now state that this hill of Acrabbim is further South than Kadesh-barnea (Masius). See more things concerning this place on Numbers 34:4 (Malvenda). Moreover, note that in the place of יָצָא, it went out, in Numbers 34:4 it is written נָסַב, it turned, went around, which signifies that the line of measurement is bent, is not altogether straight (Masius).

[And it passes through to Sina[5] (thus Jerome and the Septuagint)] Σενὰ/ Sena, as if the ה were pertaining to the name: But this is not so (Drusius). צִנָה is the city Zin, which gave its name to the desert (Vatablus). The ה in צִנָה has the force of a preposition (Masius). It signifies motion toward a place: צִנָה in the place of לְצִין, to Zin, according to the usage of the language. Thus soon אַדָּרָה in the place of לְאַדָּר, to Adar (Drusius).

[And it ascends unto Kadesh-barnea] By diverting toward the North, which the languge of ascending indicates: For Northern Places are contemplated as higher, because they appear to draw near to the apex of the world, which we called the Arctic Pole. Now, Kadesh-barnea appears to have been part of the Promised Land, from Deuteronomy 1:19, 20, but the utmost limit (Masius). It ascends, that is, it proceeds by ascending; and there it turns itself, that is, it directs its course, unto Hebron (Vatablus).

[חֶצְרוֹן] Below it is called חָצוֹר/Hazor. But that Hazor is diverse from Hazor of Galilee by the whole heaven (Masius).

[Karkaa, הַקַּרְקָעָה] Symmachus translates it γῆν/land (for to the Hebrews קַרְקָע signifies ground, foundation), which he does not think to be the proper name of a certain place (Masius).

And it went out to the south side, etc.: Concerning this description of the southern coast of Judah, see Numbers 34:3-5.

[1] Hebrew: וְ֠יָצָא אֶל־מִנֶּ֜גֶב לְמַעֲלֵ֤ה עַקְרַבִּים֙ וְעָ֣בַר צִ֔נָה וְעָלָ֥ה מִנֶּ֖גֶב לְקָדֵ֣שׁ בַּרְנֵ֑עַ וְעָבַ֤ר חֶצְרוֹן֙ וְעָלָ֣ה אַדָּ֔רָה וְנָסַ֖ב הַקַּרְקָֽעָה׃

[2] Hebrew: לְמַעֲלֵ֤ה עַקְרַבִּים.

[3] מַעֲלֵה עַקְרַבִּים/Maaleh-acrabbim means ascent of scorpions.

[4] 1 Maccabees 5:3:  “Then Judas fought against the children of Esau in Idumea at Arabattine (Ἀκραβαττήνην), because they besieged Gael:  and he gave them a great overthrow, and abated their courage, and took their spoils.”

[5] Hebrew: וְעָ֣בַר צִ֔נָה.

Joshua 15:2: The Southern Border of Judah, Part 2

Verse 2:[1] And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay (Heb. tongue[2]) that looketh southward…

[The beginning of it, etc.] Hebrew: it was to them,[3] לָהֶם. To the sons of Judah; or, to it, namely, the Tribe (Vatablus).

[From the summit of the sea, etc., גְּב֣וּל נֶ֔גֶב מִקְצֵ֖ה יָ֣ם הַמֶּ֑לַח] The border of the south, or southern (the southern border on the east [Junius and Tremellius]), on the extreme, or limits, of the salt sea (Montanus, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, similarly the Arabic). But the Syriac has it, their limit was from the southern extremity of the sea, etc. That is to say, Its southern border begins from the extremity of the Dead Sea (Vatablus). Now, what this extremity is is explained next, when he adds, and from the tongue of the sea, etc. But, to say here, from the extremity, etc., and, from the tongue, etc., is the same thing as that which was in verse 1, from the border of Edom and the desert of Zin; for all these places are conjoined (Bonfrerius). This verse is an explanation of the preceding verse (Masius). What in verse 1 he delineated in a rough manner, he now begins to explain at greater length (Bonfrerius). And here again the latter group of words is an ἐξήγησις/exegesis/explanation of the former: and so in Numbers the very same thing is said in fewer words[4] (Masius).

[And from its tongue, which looks toward the south (similarly Montanus, Syriac, Vatablus, Masius)] Or, which is curved, or inclines, toward the south (Vatablus, Syriac). But what is the tongue of the sea here? Response: It is a bay of the sea, where a narrower part projects into the mainland after the likeness of a tongue (Masius, Lapide, Drusius, Bonfrerius). Some translate it bay here (Junius and Tremellius, Castalio, English, Dutch). Thus Isaiah 11:15, God shall destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt,[5] namely, the closest part of the Arabian bay, which laps Egypt after the likeness of a tongue (Masius). Jonathan translates it, from the shore: others, from the rock (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Vatablus, Bonfrerius, Menochius). Thus the Chaldean: כֵיפָא, that is, rock, or promontory. He calls the promontory a tongue because it extends farther into the sea (Vatablus). Gataker shows that the language of tongue is used in this sense by these examples. The situations of the towns were generally of this sort, that they, having been position in the extreme lingulis, tongues of land (others, linguis/tongues), and promontories, might have neither an approach by foot, when the tide swelled from the deep, etc., but nor by ship, because, with the tide again abating, the ships were broken up in the shallows: Cæsar’s Gallic Wars 3 concerning the Veneti. Cassandreia is surrounded by the Toronaic and Macedonian gulfs;[6] insomuch as the tongue on which it was situated projects into the deep, no less than mount Athos projects unto the height in magnitude: over against the region of Magnesia in two unequal promontories: Livy’s History of Rome 44. Land extended into the sea after the likeness of a tongue he calls a tongue. For sometimes a promontory, or whatever other long and narrow land, which after the manner of a tongue of land exsectæ/cut (exsertæ, stretched out) projects into the sea, is called lingua, a tongue, or lingual, a tongue of land: Godelævius on Livy. Where it proceeded further, it is cut into two horns, of which the level one looks toward the Ionian Sea, the other toward the Sicilian: between which projections it receives the approach of the sea not with one bank, but it admits a sea divided by tongues frequently projected and promontories jutting out: Solinus concerning Italy, Wonders of the World 8. That promontory, the tongue of which projects into the deep: Pacuvius’[7] Anchises in Gellius’ Attic Nights[8] 4:17. See Schottus’[9] Human Observations[10] 3:28: Thence into the deep the tongue was projecting for a mile (Gataker). It is sufficiently evident from Josephus[11] and from Judges 1:36 that the name of the place was Petra[12] (Bonfrerius). The Septuagint also translates it λοφιὰν, neck, back (Menochius).

The bay; Hebrew, the tongue: by which he understands either a creek or arm of that sea; or a promontory, which by learned authors is sometimes called a tongue; it is not material to know which of these it was.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֤י לָהֶם֙ גְּב֣וּל נֶ֔גֶב מִקְצֵ֖ה יָ֣ם הַמֶּ֑לַח מִן־הַלָּשֹׁ֖ן הַפֹּנֶ֥ה נֶֽגְבָּה׃

[2] Hebrew: הַלָּשֹׁן.

[3] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֤י לָהֶם֙.

[4] Numbers 34:3.

[5] Hebrew: וְהֶחֱרִ֣ים יְהוָ֗ה אֵ֚ת לְשׁ֣וֹן יָם־מִצְרַ֔יִם.

[6] Cassandreia was a city of Macedonia, located on the isthmus of the Pallene peninsula of the Ægean.

[7] Marcus Pacuvius (220-c. 130 BC) was a Roman trajedian.  His work survives in fragments.

[8] [8] Aulus Gellius (c. 125-c. 180) was a Latin grammarian, finding his principal value in the preservation of the quotations of earlier writers, which quotations would be otherwise lost.  Gellius wrote Attic Nights, a collection of diverse notes on grammar, philosophy, history, etc., in twenty books.

[9] Andreas Schottus (1552-1629) was a Dutch Jesuit.  He taught Greek at a variety of posts.

[10] Observationum Humanarum.

[11] Antiquities 4.

[12] Judges 1:36:  “And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock (מֵהַסֶּלַע; ἐπὶ τῆς Πέτρας, from the rock/Petra, in Alexandrinus), and upward.”

Joshua 15:1: The Southern Border of Judah, Part 1

Verse 1:[1] This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; (Num. 34:3) even to the border of Edom the (Num. 33:36) wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.

[Therefore, the lot of the children of Judah, etc.] It is to be discussed here first of those things that pertain generally to the division of the land. It is asked first, By whose arbitration were those parts made, concerning which there was now to be a casting of lots? For at Shiloh certainly nothing shall be done, except with those portions first described. Now, it appears that Canaan was not divided into certain parts by any surveyors before the coming to Shiloh. (Bonfrerius, nevertheless, thinks the contrary, and maintains that the inspection of the land was actually set before this division by lots, although Scripture does not mention this [Bonfrerius on Joshua 14:6].) I think, therefore, that these two portions of Judah and Joseph in a certain rougher demarcation were first set forth to be divided by lot, so that the camp in Gilgal might be safer. For, with its Southern part [where was the Tribe of Judah], and the Northern part [where was the Tribe of Joseph], defended by their garrison and their commanders, no enemy was able to be feared either from the East (where were Jordan and the Reubenites, etc.), or from the West (where was the Great Sea). And, since these parts [of Judah and Joseph] appeared greater than what was equitable, an equitable division of the entire land was pushed back to a future time. For, as it certainly appears, this prior division by lots did not with all propriety absolutely assign to them their possessions. Concerning which see on Joshua 18, Judah shall abide in their coasts, etc. In addition, since the Tribe of Judah obtained the first place, and surpassed any other tribe in number; and either a double portion or a portion and half was owed to the children of Joseph; in this way a certain rationale is able to be seen to be held in that distribution. But, whether all the Tribes obtained by lot equally from those two portions, or only these two, I am not able sufficiently to resolve. But the latter appears more probable to me from the things already said. Moreover, many things indicate that in the former and later casting of lots there was an order of privilege of the tribes among themselves. For we see that the lots come forth first to Judah and Joseph (to which two tribes the right of Reuben was given up[2]), but then to the sons of the free free mothers, and finally to the sons of the handmaids (Masius). Question: What then was the manner of the casting of lots? Responses: 1. By Urim and Thummim (Montanus in Lapide). But this was an oracle, not a lot (Lapide). 2. That Tribe, whichever the lot named, chose the better option from the parts set forth (Josephus in Masius). But this casting of lots is defective, that is, as of the tribes alone, but not the regions; neither is it so much a casting of lots as an option and choice (Lapide). Moreover, what would thus be the Divine harmony of the lots and the sacred predictions (Masius)? 3. The surveyors and delineators of Canaan divided that into twelve unequal parts, and assigned a proportionate part to each Tribe; which division the lot now cast by them confirmed (Tostatus in Lapide). But from this passage, and from Numbers 26:55, 56 and 33:54, it is demonstrated that the lot brought this division to completion in the first place (Lapide). 4. There was a single vessel in which were the names of the regions, and these were taken out one by one for each Tribe, and those, one after the other, were divided by lot according to the prerogative of each (Masius). Masius thinks that Canaan was marked out in twelve equal portions, and that to each Tribe fell their portion of the land equal to whatever other Tribe. But this was unjust, since the Tribes were rather unequal (Lapide out of Tostatus). 5. There were two vessels of lots, into one of which were cast the names of the twelve tribes, into the other the names of the twelve regions. Now, Eleazar, with the vessels shaken, drew from the one the name of a Tribe, and from the other the name of a region (the Rabbis is Masius, Lapide). But it is to be observed that this division was not made with an equal measure, but according to the worth of the regions: τιμητοὺς μᾶλλον ἢ μετρητοὺς τοὺς κλήρους, the lots were valued rather than measured, says Josephus (Grotius, thus Lapide). One difficulty appears to be imbedded in all these (methods): Since it was fitting that the parts be unequal on account of the inequality of the multitude in the tribes, how do these methods ascribe a greater portion to a Tribe of greater number? If you say that God combined the lots of the vessels in such a way that a greater portion fell to a greater Tribe: 1. In vain then did God command that the distributors take account of this inequality, since He would do it all Himself. 2. They ought already to have made the parts unequal: and so before the lot, it was almost obvious which part was to be given to each. I say, that it was permitted by God to the distributors to circumscribe each portion with its boundaries, and to expand and contract the parts proceeding from the vessel according to the greatness or fewness of the tribes, as it is evident from Numbers 35:8. Now, this was able to be done either before the casting of lots, or after it. Indeed, it was able to be done before, that there might be ten parts, etc., concerning each of which it might be established by common sense that, if this one should fall to this or that Tribe, it ought to be such or such, greater or lesser. Or, it was able to be done after the casting of the lots in two ways. 1. If the distributors, when they had seen a lot extracted, by their concurring votes, either might add or take away (as it appeared agreeable to them). 2. If they sought direction from the Urim and Thummim, etc. (Serarius). It seems probable that the land of Canaan was marked out in twelve equal parts (equal, not so much in size as in value), and that those were again subdivided into other lesser portions, as it is sufficiently gathered from the description of the towns through the individual regions in this chapter, verses 32, 41, 44, 57, 62; and that then these delineators had a view of the size of the tribes, and formed an estimation of the proportion of them among themselves. Therefore, certain Tribes were either greater or lesser than the others either by a fourth, or third, or half part. Accordingly, the lesser (Tribes), of the twelve portions of Canaan already distributed, asked for themselves either a quarter, or third, or half part of one portion according to their smallness: But the other greater Tribes were rightfully asked that, according to their size, beyond one and entire twelfth portion of Canaan, another quarter, or third, or half part of another portion be added to them. With this accomplished, they cast tokens of the twelve tribes into one vessel, and tokens of the twelve portions of the region with their subdivisions into the other; and thereupon they first drew the name of a Tribe from the one vessel, and from the other the name of a portion which they assigned to that Tribe, but with a geometrical proportion, according to the size of the Tribe; that is, in such a way that according to that they drew out the markers of the region, which would contain the whole, or half, or one and a half, or other proportion of the portion owed to each Tribe. For example, If we suppose that the tribe of Judah was double the others; it is to be asserted that by lots was given to them a double portion of land, but neighboring and contiguous, so that the whole Tribe might dwell together. Morever, in this first survey the delineators appear to have made an error in designating the portion of Judah, which, being too large, fell to him, as it is demonstrated from this, that this Tribe yielded some part of its region to the Tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:1, and also to the the Tribe of Dan, as it is evident from Zorah and Eshtaol, which in Joshua 15:33 are assigned to Judah, but in Joshua 19:41 to the Tribe of Dan. And Joshua, being somewhat doubtful for this reason, that is, concerning the error committed, so that he might correct it, in chapter 18 sent new surveyors, etc. (Lapide). Now, with respect to the rite and method of the division by lots, I am inclined to think that the Sacred history everywhere hides this from us, lest we superstitiously imitate it in our affairs (Masius). Moreover, I am afraid that the barbarous names of places in this and the following chapters may occasion a repugnance in the reader, as in which the value of the effort shall appear to be none, in tracing the boundaries of the inheritance of each, especially since those citites are either ruined or exceedingly deformed, and the Tribes confused and forever cast out of their possessions. But there is to be a very different estimation of those things that are recorded in the Divine books, and of those things that are recorded in profane books. For, since the former are θεόπνευστοι/inspired,[3] nothing in them is idle or useless. Chrysostom says it best, Many of the mechanics, when (with the book taken up into the hands) either the calculated reckoning of numbers, or the more lengthy and continuous account of the names, presents itself, they soon, with many pages rapidly turned over, direct their eyes and mind to another passage: and, if they are perhaps criticized, they respond that there is nothing but names, and that there is nothing fruitful in those things that thus speed past. But what, asks he, art thou saying, good man? Art thou not ashamed to say that there is no advantage in knowing those things that God Himself speaks? Miners (says the same Chrysostom) do not pass by arid and barren mountains, but penetrate into them, and search for veins of gold, silver, etc. Why then do we pass by any passage of Sacred Scripture unexplored, since every passage is altogether superabounding in heavenly mysteries, if we examine it more deeply with the Holy Spirit leading us? Now, I admit that the knowledge of these things of itself is useless; but (I contend that it is) not only useful, but even necessary, for comprehending the Sacred history. Therefore, if judge those guilty of no more than excessive curiousity, that, so that they might more accurately understand the registers of Livy, Cæsar, and Tacitus, and the odious monuments of Roman tyranny, with the utmost effort strive to accommodate the barbarous names of places, which those writers generally present most corruptly, to cities of our memory by whatever conjectures; why would it displease us to weigh those names of places that are preserved in Sacred Scripture with complete integrity, and to pursue the knowledge of those things that are conducive to understanding the monuments the beginnings of our eternal salvation (Masius)? It will not be without use with these chapters of Joshua that treat of the division of the land, and of the establishment of the possessions of the tribes, to compare those chapters of 1 Chronicles that recount the fathers and principal men in each tribe. Thus with Joshua 13 compare 1 Chronicles 5; with Joshua 15 compare 1 Chronicles 2:1-4:23; with Joshua 16; 17 compare 1 Chronicles 7:14-29; with Joshua 18:11-28 compare 1 Chronicles 7:6-12; 8; with Joshua 19:1-9 read 1 Chronicles 4:24-43; with Joshua 19:17-23 read 1 Chronicles 7:1-5; with Joshua 19:24-31 read 1 Chronicles 7:30-40; with Joshua 19:32, etc., read 1 Chronicles 7:13; with Joshua 21 read 1 Chronicles 6; and with these chapters of Joshua read 1 Chronicles 9 (Lightfoot).

The lot, etc.: For the general understanding of this business, it must be known, 1. That this work of casting lots was transacted with great seriousness and solemnity, in God’s presence, with prayer and appeal to him for the decision of the matter. 2. That although an exact survey of this land was not taken till Joshua 18:4, 5, yet there was, and must needs be, a general description of it, and a division thereof into nine parts and a half; which as far as they could guess, were equal either in quantity or in quality. 3. That the lot did not at this time so peremptorily and unchangeably determine each tribe, that their portion could neither be increased nor diminished; as is manifest, because after Judah’s lot was fixed, Simeon’s lot was taken out of it, Joshua 19:9, though after the land was more distinctly known and surveyed, Joshua 18, it is likely the bounds were more certain and fixed. 4. That the lot determined only in general what part or quarter of the land belonged to each tribe, but left the particulars to be determined by Joshua and Eleazar, etc. For the manner of this lottery, it is probably conceived that there were two urns or pots, into one of which were put the names of all the tribes, each in a distinct paper, and into the other the names of each portion described; then Eleazar, or some other person, drew out first the name of one of the tribes out of one pot, and then the name of one portion out of the other pot, and that portion was appropriated to that tribe; and so in the rest. And with respect to these pots, in the bottom of which the papers lay, these lots are oft said to come up, or come forth. The lot of the tribe of the children of Judah came out first by God’s disposition, as a note of his preeminency above his brethren.

[From the border of Edom, etc., אֶל־גְּב֙וּל אֱד֧וֹם מִדְבַּר־צִ֛ן נֶ֖גְבָּה מִקְצֵ֥ה תֵימָֽן׃] Unto (or near [Pagnine, Vatablus]; אֶל/to is put in the place of עַל/upon [Vatablus], or toward [Munster, Tigurinus]) the border of Edom (Montanus, Jonathan, Junius and Tremellius) of the wilderness of Zin (Montanus, Munster, Tigurinus) (or, the wilderness of Zin[4] [Jonathan], or, and the wilderness of Zin [Pagnine], or, unto the desert of Zin [Syriac]) to (or towards [Jonathan]) the south (Montanus, Munster, Tigurinus, similarly Pagnine, Arabic), from the limit, or from, or on, the extremity, of the South, or southern (Munster, Tigurinus, Montanus, Vatablus, similarly Jonathan, Syriac), that is, from that side which looks toward the South, that is to say, that Tribe from the direction of the South had as a border Idumæa and the desert of Zin (Vatablus). Those expressions, southward, and on the extremity of the South, signify the same thing, that is, the utmost Southern borders are described. Wherefore in Numbers in the place of those two is only פֵּאַת נֶגֶב, the Southern coast[5] (Masius). The Arabic translates it, on the extremity of Teman.[6] Others thus: from the border of the Edomites, the wilderness of Zin southward was the Southern extremity on the West. They rightly add on the west; for Idumæa was toward the eastern corner. Some codices incorrectly had, from the border of Edom unto the desert of Zin. For Idumæa was bordering on the deser of Zin, as it is evident from Numbers 20, and from Numbers 34:3, which passage is quite serviceable in explaining this verse, and verses 2-4 following; for what are there established as the Southern borders of the whole Promised Land, the same in this place of the Tribe of Judah (Bonfrerius). This צִין/Zin, which was the thirty-third stopping place, from סִין/Sin, which was the eighth[7] (Drusius). The borders of the Tribe of Judah are very precisely described, as the chief of the tribes, where the Royal city was going to be, whence the Kings, lest one should do injury to the people by transgressing those boundaries (Grotius).

Edom lay south-east from Judah’s portion.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֣י הַגּוֹרָ֗ל לְמַטֵּ֛ה בְּנֵ֥י יְהוּדָ֖ה לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם אֶל־גְּב֙וּל אֱד֧וֹם מִדְבַּר־צִ֛ן נֶ֖גְבָּה מִקְצֵ֥ה תֵימָֽן׃

[2] 1 Chronicles 5:1, 2.

[3] 2 Timothy 3:16:  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God (πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”

[4] In apposition with the border of Edom.

[5] For example, see Numbers 34:3:  “Then your south quarter (פְּאַת־נֶגֶב) shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border (גְּב֣וּל נֶ֔גֶב) shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward…”

[6] Teman was an Edomite town in Arabia Petræa.

[7] See Numbers 33, especially verses 11, 12, and 36.

Joshua 15 Outline

The borders of the lot of Judah, 1-12. Among them Kirjath-arba, Caleb’s inheritance: he drives thence the three sons of Anak; promises to give his daughter in marriage to him who should smite Kirjath-sepher; which Othniel does, and obtains her: she requests of her father some land for a dowry; which he grants, 13-19. The cities of Judah, 20-62. The Jebusites could not be conquered by them, 63.

Joshua 14:15: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 9

Verse 15:[1] And (Gen. 23:2; Josh. 15:13) the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. (Josh. 11:23) And the land had rest from war.

[The name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath-arba] That is, the City of Arba. Arba, or Arbe, is the name of a man (Masius, Drusius, Junius, Lapide, Bonfrerius). Concerning this name see what things are said on Genesis 23:2 and Joshua 15:13 (Grotius). They maintain that it was called Hebron after Hebron, Caleb’s son, 1 Chronicles 2:42, for he is called the father of Hebron. But this argument does not appear to be sufficiently firm: For Machir is also called the father of Gilead, 1 Chronicles 2:21, not because he imposed his name on the region of Gilead, but because he governed there. Nevertheless, since Kirjath-arba was its ancient name, it is a good conjecture that this other name of Hebron was more recent (Masius).

[Adam, the greatest, etc., הָאָדָ֧ם הַגָּד֛וֹל בָּעֲנָקִ֖ים ה֑וּא] He was a great man among the Anakim (Montanus, Pagnine). He is called great, either with respect to stature, or with respect to authority (Drusius out of Masius). Or he is surely called הַגָּדוֹל, ὁ μέγας, the great, because he ruled them. Thus גְּדוֹלִים, magnates (Drusius). Note the expression, great among the giants, that is, the greatest of the giants (Drusius, Glassius): For by the adjective governing the ablative with the preposition ב/in/among, the superlative degree is often wont to be described by circumlocution (Glassius’ “Grammar” 57). Thus, beautiful among women is in the place of the most beautiful;[2] small among the nations in the place of the smallest;[3] blessed among women in the place of the most blessed of women[4] (Drusius). They translate it, therefore, he was the greatest of the giants (Vatablus, similarly Junius and Tremellius), that is, the most illustrious (Vatablus). He is called the greatest, with respect to the immensity of his body, his authority, the glory of his achievements, and his dignity, inasmuch as he was the father, indeed, the patriarch, of the Anakim (Lapide). Arbe was the father of Anak, from whom were the Anakim, as it is evident from Joshua 15:13 (Menochius). But, that he is called the father of Anak, is able to be taken equally of his rule and of the origin of the race (Masius). From him the city was denominated, either, because he founded it; or, which is more likely, because he long held it under his own mastery (Masius).

A great man, in stature, and strength, and dignity, and authority, as being the progenitor of Anak, the father of those famous giants called Anakims.

[And the land rested from battles] It rested for a time (Vatablus). It is repeated in this place,[5] because, although the narration of the making of the division was hitherto delayed by various digressions, now at last he has come to the handling of it. He points out, therefore, that there were now many enemies remaining, who might impede the distribution with war (Masius, similarly Bonfrerius).

The land had rest from war; which gave them opportunity for the distribution of the land.

[1] Hebrew: וְשֵׁ֙ם חֶבְר֤וֹן לְפָנִים֙ קִרְיַ֣ת אַרְבַּ֔ע הָאָדָ֧ם הַגָּד֛וֹל בָּעֲנָקִ֖ים ה֑וּא וְהָאָ֥רֶץ שָׁקְטָ֖ה מִמִּלְחָמָֽה׃

[2] See, for example, Song of Solomon 1:8:  “If thou know not, O thou fairest among women (הַיָּפָ֖ה בַּנָּשִׁ֑ים, fair among women), go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.”

[3] Deuteronomy 7:7:  “The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people (הַמְעַ֖ט מִכָּל־הָעַמִּֽים׃)…”

[4] See, for example, Luke 1:28:  “And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee:  blessed art thou among women (εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν).”

[5] See Joshua 11:23.

Joshua 14:13, 14: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 8

Verse 13:[1] And Joshua (Josh. 22:6) blessed him, (Josh. 10:37; 15:13; Judg. 1:20; see Josh. 21:11, 12; 1 Chron. 6:55, 56) and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.

[Joshua blessed him] To bless signifies three things in Scripture. 1. To entreat from God good things for another: 2. To congratulate on account of the good things that one now possesses: 3. To grant good things. All which appear to concur here. For, 1. Joshua asked good things for Caleb: 2. He commends him on account of the matters nobly conducted: 3. He consigned the possession of Hebron to him (Bonfrerius). He blessed, that is, he prayed all prosperity for him (Lapide out of Tostatus, Drusius): he approved his petition, and granted Hebron to him (Junius): he commended the courage and virtue of Caleb (Montanus and Vatablus in Lapide). To him he granted what things he was soliciting: unless one should think that some solemn rite is here signified, by which he assigned Hebrew to him. Which sort of rite courts now call investiture (Masius).

[And he delivered Hebron to him] Objection: But Hebron was given to the priests, Joshua 21:11, 13. Response: By Hebron here are understood the fields and villages that were previously close to Hebron (Munster, Vatablus, similarly Drusius, Bonfrerius). Going by the name of Hebron was not only that part of the mountain on which was Kirjath-arbe, but that whole region. For Debir also is reckoned as given with Hebron, as we shall soon hear (Masius).

Joshua either, 1. Prayed to God to bless and help him according to his own desire. Or, 2. Acknowledged his praiseworthy carriage in the matter of the spies, and the reasonableness of his request. Or, 3. Consented to his desire, and, as it follows, gave it to him; as God’s blessing is oft put for his actual conferring of favours upon men.


Verse 14:[2] (Josh. 21:12; 1 Mac. 2:56[3]) Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he (Josh. 14:8, 9) wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.

[1] Hebrew: וַֽיְבָרְכֵ֖הוּ יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ וַיִּתֵּ֧ן אֶת־חֶבְר֛וֹן לְכָלֵ֥ב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּ֖ה לְנַחֲלָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: עַל־כֵּ֣ן הָיְתָֽה־חֶ֠בְרוֹן לְכָלֵ֙ב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּ֤ה הַקְּנִזִּי֙ לְֽנַחֲלָ֔ה עַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה יַ֚עַן אֲשֶׁ֣ר מִלֵּ֔א אַחֲרֵ֕י יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[3] 1 Maccabess 2:56:  “Caleb for bearing witness before the congregation received the heritage of the land.”

Joshua 14:12: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 7

Verse 12:[1] Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how (Num. 13:28, 33) the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: (Ps. 18:32, 34; 60:12; Rom. 8:31) if so be the LORD will be with me, then (Josh. 15:14; Judg. 1:20) I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.

[Give to me that mountain] In which were situated the cities of Hebron, Debir, and Anab (Lapide). Hebron was on a mountain, Joshua 11:21; 20:7 (Bonfrerius). Others: the mountain, that is, the mountainous country of Judah, as often elsewhere (Malvenda out of Junius).

This mountain, that is, this mountainous country, in which was Hebron, Joshua 11:21; 20:7, and Debir, and Anab. He names the country rather than the cities, either, 1. Because the giants here following were already driven out of their cities, but yet abode in their caves or holds in the mountains, whence they much molested the Israelites. Or, 2. Because the cities were given to the Levites, Joshua 21:11, 13.

[Which He promised, אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר] As He spoke (Pagnine). Others: which (namely, mountain) He mentioned (Jonathan, Syriac, Montanus); or, of which, etc. (Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus), or, with respect to which He spoke (Septuagint); that which Jehovah had declared (Junius and Tremellius).

[With thee hearing also, etc.] Hebrew: for thou thyself heardest, or, that thou heardest, that in that day the Anakim were there (Junius and Tremellius, similarly all interpreters). He agains summons the conscience of Joshua, as Judge, to appear as a witness. Question: But how does he speak so to Joshua, as if he had not been there? Responses: 1. Either to hear is here put in the place of to understand. 2. Or he spoke those words to the twelve men of the distribution about to be made, of whom none besides Joshua had seen the Anakim (Masius). 3. Some elicit hence that Joshua did not go up to Hebrown with the other spies, or at least with Caleb, nor see the giants there; wherefore Caleb, because he approached alone, asks it now for himself. See Numbers 13:22, 23 (Malvenda).

Thou heardest, that is, didst understand, both by the reports of others, and by thy own observation, as I also did. Hearing, the sense by which we get knowledge, is off put for knowing or understanding, as Genesis 11:7;[2] 42:23;[3] 2 Kings 18:26.[4]

[In which are Anakim] Objections: But they were expelled, Joshua 11:21. Response: Now, some had escaped that defeat, and had fled to the Philistines, whence they, with their strength revived, returned to Hebron, and occupied it as the seat of their forefathers; and thence Caleb expelled them again (Lapide, Bonfrerius).

[If so be, etc., אוּלַי] It is not the expression of one doubting, but he spoke for the sake of modesty, arrogating nothing to himself (Vatablus). Not that Caleb doubts of the promises of God, but that he thinks modestly of himself, and fears lest he should turn the promised help of God away from himself by his guilt and negligence (Lapide). He was able to suppose that that promise was not absolute, but was able to be revoked on account of his own or others’ sins (Bonfrerius). He spoke of the victory of the people of God universally with confidence; but he thinks modestly of himself, not unaware the each man often turns the grace of God toward him away by his own sins (Masius). Adverbs of doubting, אוּלַי/perhaps, etc., do not always directly import uncertainty (Glassius’ “Grammar” 494). אוּלַי/perhaps here only signifies the difficulty of the matter (Junius, Masius, Glassius), and supports hope in the souls of those hearing. Thus 1 Samuel 14:6.[5] See Numbers 21:23[6] (Junius). It contains hope mixed with difficulty: and the difficulty did indeed lessen the estimation of the gift (that is to say, I ask nothing except what is conjoined with dangers and toil); but hope of the thing to be given rouses desire (Masius).

[The Lord with me] Hebrew: Jehovah with me,[7] supply, will be (Junius and Tremellius, Piscator). The verb יִהְיֶה, will be, appears to have been dropped by the carelessness of the scribes (Piscator): And אוֹתִי/me[8] is here put in the place of אִתִּי, with me (Drusius).

If so be the Lord will be with me; a modest, and humble, and pious expression, signifying both the absolute necessity of God’s help, and his godly fear, lest God for his sins should deny his assistance to him, as he might justly do; for although he was well assured in general that God would crown his people with success in this war, yet he might doubt of his particular success in this or that enterprise.

[And I shall be able to destroy] He desires by public authority, but with private strength, to undertake war, like the Fabii of the Romans.[9] However, Joshua thought it fair that the public obligation be dischared with public resources. For here is ἐπάνοδος, a recapitulation, of that which is said above. As Caleb, so Joshua, had a ἐξαίρετον/select city, Joshua 19:50 (Grotius).

To drive them out; out of their fastnesses, where they yet remain. Caleb desires this difficult work as a testimony of his own faith, and as a motive to quicken and encourage his brethren to thee like attempts.

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֗ה תְּנָה־לִּי֙ אֶת־הָהָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא כִּ֣י אַתָּֽה־שָׁמַעְתָּ֩ בַיּ֙וֹם הַה֜וּא כִּֽי־עֲנָקִ֣ים שָׁ֗ם וְעָרִים֙ גְּדֹל֣וֹת בְּצֻר֔וֹת אוּלַ֙י יְהוָ֤ה אוֹתִי֙ וְה֣וֹרַשְׁתִּ֔ים כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהוָֽה׃

[2] Genesis 11:7:  “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand (לֹ֣א יִשְׁמְע֔וּ, they may not hear) one another’s speech.”

[3] Genesis 42:23:  “And they knew not that Joseph understood (שֹׁמֵעַ/heard) them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.”

[4] 2 Kings 18:26b:  “…Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand (שֹׁמְעִים/hear) it:  and talk not with us in the Jews’ language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.”

[5] 1 Samuel 14:6:  “And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised:  it may be (אוּלַי) that the Lord will work for us:  for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.”

[6] Numbers 23:3 may be intended.

[7] Hebrew: יְהוָ֤ה אוֹתִי֙.

[8] In the form of a Direct Object Pronoun.

[9] In the early fifth century BC, hostilities erupted between the Roman Republic and the Etruscans.  The Roman patrician family of the Fabii took the responsibility of the war upon themselves.  At the Battle of Cremara (477 BC), almost the entire family of the Fabii was killed.

Joshua 14:11: Caleb’s Inheritance, Part 6

Verse 11:[1] (Ecclus. 46:9;[2] see Deut. 34:7) As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both (Deut. 31:2) to go out, and to come in.

[As strong, etc.[3]] כ repeated means as, and thus/so (Drusius).

[As much to fight, etc.] Hebrew: to go out and to come in[4] (Masius, Septuagint). In going out and coming in; in attending to all the duties of war (Drusius). See 1 Samuel 18:5. Rather, to come in and go out is to fulfill one’s office in every duty of life. He signifies in these words that he seeks nothing unsuitable for his age, although he entreats an arduous duty for himself (Masius). To go out, etc., that is, to undertake a journey: in French, à aller et venir, to come and go (Vatablus). To attend to business, both public and domestic; for the former of which it is necessary to go out from the house, but for the latter it is necessary to enter into the same. It is Metonymy of intended effect (Piscator). God gave this vigor to him, both for a reward of his fidelity, so that he, yet vigorous and strong, might take possession of the Promised Land; and so that he might be an eye-witness of all that happened in the desert, and relate those things to those younger (Lapide).

For war; not only for counsel, but for action, for marching and fighting. And therefore this gift will not be cast away upon an unprofitable and unserviceable person. To go out, and to come in; to perform all the duties belonging to my place.

[1] Hebrew: עוֹדֶ֙נִּי הַיּ֜וֹם חָזָ֗ק כַּֽאֲשֶׁר֙ בְּי֙וֹם שְׁלֹ֤חַ אוֹתִי֙ מֹשֶׁ֔ה כְּכֹ֥חִי אָ֖ז וּכְכֹ֣חִי עָ֑תָּה לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה וְלָצֵ֥את וְלָבֽוֹא׃

[2] Ecclesiasticus 46:9:  “The Lord gave strength also unto Caleb, which remained with him unto his old age:  so that he entered upon the high places of the land, and his seed obtained it for an heritage…”

[3] Joshua 14:11a:  “As yet I am as strong this day as (כַּאֲשֶׁר) I was in the day that Moses sent me:  as my strength was then, even so is my strength now (כְּכֹ֥חִי אָ֖ז וּכְכֹ֣חִי עָ֑תָּה)…”

[4] Hebrew: לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה וְלָצֵ֥את וְלָבֽוֹא׃.