Joshua 20:4-6: The Right Use of the Cities of Refuge

Verse 4:[1] And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of (Ruth 4:1, 2) the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.

He…shall stand at the entering of the gate: The judges used to sit at the entering of the gate. His cause, or, his matters or business, what he hath done, and why, and how; he shall give them a true relation of the fact, and all its circumstances. They shall take him into the city; understand, if they are satisfied in the relation he makes concerning the fact, otherwise it had been a vain thing to examine his cause. Give him a place; which they might well allow him, because God gave them the city with a reservation for such persons.


Verse 5:[2] (Num. 35:12) And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.

[He smote his neighbor] That is, any man whatsoever; for by nature all men have a society among themselves (Masius).


Verse 6:[3] And he shall dwell in that city, (Num. 35:12, 25) until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

[Until he stand] Litigants and advocates stood; Judges sat: Exodus 18:13; Isaiah 50:8; Zechariah 3:1 (Drusius).

Until he stand, etc.: Standing was the posture of the accused and accusers, Exodus 18:13; Isaiah 50:8; Zechariah 3:1.

[Before the judgment, לִפְנֵ֤י הָֽעֵדָה֙] Before the council, that is, the Senate. That is, Until he be recalled from the city of refuge by the Judges of his own city, and they judge concerning his case (Vatablus). [But concerning these things see on Numbers 35:12.]

Before the congregation, or, company, or assembly, to wit, the council appointed to judge of these matters: not the council of the city of refuge, for they had examined him before, verse 4; but of the city to which he belonged, or in or nigh which the fact was committed, as appears from Numbers 35:25. Until the death of the high priest; of which see on Numbers 35:25.

[1] Hebrew: וְנָ֞ס אֶל־אַחַ֣ת׀ מֵהֶעָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה וְעָמַד֙ פֶּ֚תַח שַׁ֣עַר הָעִ֔יר וְדִבֶּ֛ר בְּאָזְנֵ֛י זִקְנֵ֥י־הָעִֽיר הַהִ֖יא אֶת־דְּבָרָ֑יו וְאָסְפ֙וּ אֹת֤וֹ הָעִ֙ירָה֙ אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם וְנָתְנוּ־ל֥וֹ מָק֖וֹם וְיָשַׁ֥ב עִמָּֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וְכִ֙י יִרְדֹּ֜ף גֹּאֵ֤ל הַדָּם֙ אַֽחֲרָ֔יו וְלֹֽא־יַסְגִּ֥רוּ אֶת־הָרֹצֵ֖חַ בְּיָד֑וֹ כִּ֤י בִבְלִי־דַ֙עַת֙ הִכָּ֣ה אֶת־רֵעֵ֔הוּ וְלֹֽא־שֹׂנֵ֥א ה֛וּא ל֖וֹ מִתְּמ֥וֹל שִׁלְשֽׁוֹם׃

[3] Hebrew: וְיָשַׁ֣ב׀ בָּעִ֣יר הַהִ֗יא עַד־עָמְד֞וֹ לִפְנֵ֤י הָֽעֵדָה֙ לַמִּשְׁפָּ֔ט עַד־מוֹת֙ הַכֹּהֵ֣ן הַגָּד֔וֹל אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִהְיֶ֖ה בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֑ם אָ֣ז׀ יָשׁ֣וּב הָרוֹצֵ֗חַ וּבָ֤א אֶל־עִירוֹ֙ וְאֶל־בֵּית֔וֹ אֶל־הָעִ֖יר אֲשֶׁר־נָ֥ס מִשָּֽׁם׃

Joshua 20:2, 3: The Establishment of the Cities of Refuge

Discipleship Course on the Book of Revelation

Verse 2:[1] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, (Ex. 21:13; Num. 35:6, 11, 14; Deut. 19:2, 9) Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses…

[Separate cities] Hebrew: Give to yourselves cities,[2] etc. The to yourselves is an elegent redundancy, according to the usage of the language. Thus, faciamus nobis, let us make for ourselves;[3] vide tibi, see for yourself; and Plautus, quid ego tibi deliqui, in what have I offended you? (Drusius). Unless you prefer to think that by it is signified that the law of the cities of refuge pertains only to Israelites (Masius). Others: Give from yourselves (Junius and Tremellius). But I judge that there is no ellipsis of from here. See a similar example in Joshua 18:4[4] (Piscator).

[Cities of fugitives] [Concerning these Masius has here many things, which ὡς ἐν συνόψει, as in a synopsis, you will find on Numbers 35 and on Deuteronomy 19. Now, what things from him were omitted there, you will find inscribed in this chapter.] In this place (says Tirinus), (it is necessary to proceed) against Andrew Masius, who in hatred of wickedness and a zeal for righteousness appears to disapprove of Christian places of refuge (Tirinus). [But let us hear Masius’ opinion from his own mouth.] The places of refuge (says he) that God set apart were protecting guiltless manslayers. But men, partly in the lust for glory, so that they might magnify their own majesty, others in imprudent Religious belief, have established the right of ἀσυλίας/ asylum in the presence of statues, shrines, and cemeteries, before Bishops, and I do not know where they do not. Moreover, there they protect the most wicked men; which is altogether unworthy of the laws of God, and more agreeable to the institutes of Romulus. See Exodus 21:14. And who would endure God Himself being made the patron of a murderer? or Princes, to whom it has belonged to punish the wicked, being their protectors? So they also expose all men, even the best, to the lust of malefactors; since there is no greater enticement to sin than the hope of impunity (Masius). [Thus Masius. Against whom Tirinus sets the following arguments for Christian places of refuge.] 1. Thus the majesty of God is displayed, when the places dedicated to Him are held so inviolable that even if injury be incurred by men, or even the public and private good demand punishment, nevertheless on account of reverence for those places the man that is in them is secure. 2. Thus a greater opinion of Divine things is procured for the common people. 3. Thus consideration is given to the innocence of many, especially in wars, and a time is given for repentance (Tirinus). [It is not difficult for any judicious man to resolve this quarrel, and to discern whose arguments are of greater weight and moment. But it does not belong to me to insert an opinion.]

Cities of refuge, whereof I spake, etc.: The possessions being now divided among you, do you reserve some of them for the use which I have commanded.


Verse 3:[5] That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.

[He that smites unwittingly, בִּשְׁגָגָ֖ה בִּבְלִי־דָ֑עַת] This is not ταυτολογία, a tautology; but, with the sense of everything doubled, as far as it is able to be done, protection for wicked murders is precluded (Masius). Perhaps the expression is ἐν παραλλήλου, in parallel, whereby two ἰσοδυναμοῦντα, equivalent things, are joined together; as when we say, clay mud, earth of dust, etc. (Drusius). They translate it, through ignorance (or, error [Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Castalio, Arabic, Jonathan), without knowledge (Vatablus, similarly Montanus, Munster, Arabic, Pagnine), that is, unintentionally, and with no attention given (Vatablus). Hadrian answers well, in maleficiis voluntatem spectari, non exitum, in crimes attention is to be given to the intention, not the result.[6] For it is in us by nature, that an evil intention have we in hatred; a good intention, even if it goes astray, not likewise (Masius). Yet manslaying is such an awful matter that even those that had done it unintentionally and unknowingly were nevertheless supposed to have need of certain expiatory rites, whereby they might be rest from the terror their conscience. Hence the Areopagites were wont to pronounce judgment of a year’s exile (Masius on verse 6).

Unawares and unwittingly; Hebrew, through ignorance, or error, or mistake, and without knowledge; the same thing twice repeated, to cut off all the claims and expectations that wilful murderers might have of protection here; and God having declared that such should be taken even from his altar, that they might be killed, Exodus 21:14; and accordingly Joab was by Solomon’s order killed even at the altar, 1 Kings 2:28-31, 34. It is the more strange and impudent that any Christians should make their sanctuaries give protection to such persons whom God hath so expressly excepted from it, which the papists do; and their doctors are not ashamed to defend it upon frivolous reasons.

[Who is the avenger of blood, מִגֹּאֵ֖ל הַדָּֽם׃] From the defender of blood (Masius, Junius and Tremellius), supplying, that, of that blood (Junius and Tremellius), which was poured out in bloody murder (Junius). The Septuagint renders it agreeably, ἀγχιστεύοντα τὸ αἷμα, one avenging blood by right of near relation: That is, in just the same way as if the blood of slain man, oppressed by the hand of a murderer, were released by vengeance unto liberty. But vengeance was permitted only to those that just grief impelled (Masius). The Hebraic expression is to be noted, one near of blood, in the place of near to the one killed (Vatablus). Question: Why were the cities of refuge established for homicides alone, but not likewise for thefts, sacrileges, or adulteries? Responses: 1. The danger was not the same in the later as in the former, lest, while the matter is examined by the Judge, they incur a grave injury from someone (Estius). 2. There are hardly any other sins ever joined with innocence, but they are accomplished by zeal, will, and attention given: But God did not at all will that the wicked will be left unpunished (Masius).

The avenger of blood; the kinsman, who had right or power to demand or take vengeance of the slaughter.

[1] Hebrew: דַּבֵּ֛ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר תְּנ֤וּ לָכֶם֙ אֶת־עָרֵ֣י הַמִּקְלָ֔ט אֲשֶׁר־דִּבַּ֥רְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶ֖ם בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה׃

[2] Hebrew: תְּנ֤וּ לָכֶם֙ אֶת־עָרֵ֣י.

[3] For example, Genesis 11:4.

[4] Joshua 18:4a:  “Give out from among you three men (הָב֥וּ לָכֶ֛ם שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה אֲנָשִׁ֖ים) for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land…”

[5] Hebrew: לָנ֥וּס שָׁ֙מָּה֙ רוֹצֵ֔חַ מַכֵּה־נֶ֥פֶשׁ בִּשְׁגָגָ֖ה בִּבְלִי־דָ֑עַת וְהָי֤וּ לָכֶם֙ לְמִקְלָ֔ט מִגֹּאֵ֖ל הַדָּֽם׃

[6] Digest 48.

Revelation 1:1b: The Time is at Hand

[96 AD]  Verse 1:[1]  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, (John 3:32; 8:26; 12:49) which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which (Rev. 4:1; 1:3) must shortly come to pass; and (Rev. 22:16) he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John…

[What things, etc., ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει] What things it is necessary (namely, upon the supposition of the Divine decree and counsel [Pareus]) to be done (which I preferred to to happen: For God does not only explain what things are Future, but what things He Himself is going to do [Cotterius]: Therefore, he does not treat of past things, but of those things which either were happening at that time, or were going to be afterwards [Cluverus]; not concerning things ambiguous, uncertain [Ribera], confused, or doubtful, nor concerning future prognostications, what sort are of Devils, Astrologers, etc., but concerning the infallible and immutable decrees and judgments of God [Cluverus]) soon (Piscator, Beza, Pagnine,[1] Erasmus, Tigurinus, etc.), or, in, or with, speed (Montanus, Piscator). Question: How shall they be done quickly, since most things in the Apocalypse pertain unto the consummation of the world (Ribera, similarly Pererius, Lapide)? Response 1: To me these words appear to be a key, as it were, to this entire Prophecy, especially when they are repeated in Revelation 22:6, and the same is soon inculcated in verse 3, the time is near. And from those things I gather and confidently determine that the Apocalyptic Visions pertained to the times most nearly following, and that in them they had their fulfillment (Hammond). All things in the Apocalypse pertain, either, 1. to the destruction of Jerusalem; or, 2. to Pagan Rome (Grotius in More). But many things stand in the way of this opinion: 1. Concerning the first, Christ had already prophesied with consummate clarity previously. It is a vain fancy, therefore, that here so many Visions are spent on this event, and those so obscure that they are not even now able to be applied to known Events. Concerning the second, the Visions are sufficiently clear and distinct, that the six Seals pertain to Pagan Rome. And why, I ask, would not the vision be concerning the Empire after it was made Christian, and again was paganized under Christianity, and in this Apostasy most cruelly oppressed the members of Christ? Why might not also this state of things be predicted just as the prior (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions 195)?  Certainly the scope of this book demonstrates that here it is treated concerning events about to happen, and specifically regarding the Church and servants of Christ, concerning the internal ills of the Church and its enemies, and especially concerning the coming great defection of the Church, concerning the state of the Church under those unto the end of the world; also concerning the last judgment and eternal rewards of the pious and punishments of the impious, as it is evident out of the most express words (Durham’s Commentary upon the Book of Revelation 786).  2.  Those matters were not able to be of the number of those things that were necessarily quickly to be done, for these were already passed; inasmuch as they were done before the time of Domitian, under which it is evident that the Apocalypse was communicated to John (More’s Works 764).  3.  This opinion is harsh and forced (More’s Works 764), novel and singular, and contrary to the judgment of all writers ancient and more recent, even of the Pontifical writers, who nevertheless heartily wish it to be true (Durham’s Commentary upon the Book of Revelation 786).  4.  It is also incompatible with the nature of certain events predicted, like the Reign of the Saints, and the Binding of Satan, which events are predicted to last through a thousand years (More’s Works 764).  5.  It is also inconsistent with their own Hypothesis (Durham).  For they are compelled to interpret certain things of the events as happening after the thousand years, like the loosing of Satan, the army of Gog and Magog, the siege of the beloved City, the fire sent down from heaven upon the besiegers, the Day of universal Judgment, and similar things (More’s Works 764).  They [Grotius and Hammond] take Gog and Magog concerning the Turks, who rise three hundred years after those things; and they say that the destruction of them, yet future, is there predicted (Durham).  [6.  That ἐν τάχει, quickly, they clear in a variey of ways:  He speaks thus:]  Either, 1.  so that he might snatch from us the depraved sense of the flesh, which imagines that the promises of the other life are always going to be giving ground before the former things, etc. (Cotterius):  or, 2. quickly, that is, in the present time (Ribera out of Haymo[2]); or, in the time of the New Testament (certain interpreters in Pareus, Ambrosius[3] in Pererius), which, compared with former times (Ambrose), with the future life (Gagnæus), with eternity, is most brief (Ribera, Pareus, etc.), Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8, whence it is also called the last hour, 1 John 2:18[4] (Pareus).  Now, thus the Holy Spirit speaks to shake off from men, both security, 1 Thessalonians 5:1, etc., and curiosity for seaching out the days and times, Acts 1:7, etc. (Glassius’[5] “Grammar” 3:5:9:444).  And this formula of speech is used both in the Old and New Testaments concerning the last day, which we yet await (Beza).  Or, 3.  that is to say, what things will begin quickly to be done, although they will not be finished quickly (Lapide, Menochius, Tirinus,[6] similarly Beza, Pererius, Pareus, More out of Alcasar, Glassius), for the entire series of events begins at that time (More’s Works 764). Although many things were very distant, nevertheless many things were near at hand (Pererius).  Those things are also said to be done which begin to be done (Pareus).  If I should say that such a Comedy is to be performed after the eighth part of the hour, who would thence infer that all its acts and scenes are not going to go beyond the fourth part of the hour (More’s Works 196)? What things will quickly be done, other things more quickly; the very latest things, with one or the other place excepted, within above five hundred years.  For this is exceedingly little in comparison with the amount of time in which the world has stood.  Thus in Haggai 2:6, we said that the yet a little time was five hundred years, ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι, things which must shortly come to pass, מָ֛ה דִּ֥י לֶהֱוֵ֖א, Daniel 2:29[7] (Grotius).  7.  These words are not to be extended to all the Prophecies of this book, but are to be restricted to chapters 1-3, whether unto the Epistles to the seven Churches, or unto the events contained in them, which he warns are going to happen quickly.  An Antithesis is also manifest between these words, ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, things which must shortly come to pass, which are a preface to the things said in chapters 1-3, and those words in Revelation 4:1, ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι μετὰ ταῦτα, things which must come to pass after these things, which are in the place of a preface to the Prophecies exhibited in the following chapters (Anonymous 35).

Things which must shortly come to pass; ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει. This phrase puts us out of doubt, that this book is not a relation or narrative of things past, but a revelation or prediction of things to come: see also Revelation 22:6, 16. Which makes me wonder at the confidence of a learned annotator of our own, that all things here relate, either to the siege of Jerusalem (which was past more than twenty years before this Revelation to St. John,) or to pagan Rome, which, indeed, continued two hundred and odd years after this. But his notion is contrary to the general sense of all interpreters, whether the ancient fathers or modern writers. The phrase, indeed, signifies shortly, but never what was past, nor always what shall in a few days come to pass; see Luke 18:8;[8] Romans 16:20;[9] though indeed sometimes it signifies the time immediately following a command, as Acts 12:7;[10] 22:18:[11] and considering it is God’s phrase, to whom a thousand years are but as yesterday, Psalm 90:4, and who calls the things that are not as if they were, and who manifestly calls all those years betwixt Christ’s coming and the end of the world (almost one thousand seven hundred of which are past already) the last days, we may allow him to say, those things should be shortly, which soon after should begin to be effected, though not finished till Christ’s second coming. Though therefore we may allow this verse the key to open the whole Apocalypse, yet we must judge the learned author hath turned it the wrong way. Christ had foretold the ruin of Jerusalem, Matthew 24, nor was it now the matter of a prophecy, but history. The first six seals plainly show the state of the Christian church under Rome pagan; what shall we say to all things represented under the seventh seal, etc.?

[1] Pagnine (1466-1541) was an Italian Dominican.  He was gifted as a Hebraist, exegete, and preacher.  He was commissioned by Pope Leo X to produce a new Latin translation of the Scripture.

[2] Haymo of Auxerre (died c. 855) was a Benedictine monk.  Little is known about his life.  He wrote a commentary on Revelation in the Historicist tradition.

[3] This is likely a reference to Ambrosius Autpertus (died c. 778), the Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Vincent on the river Voltorno.  He wrote In Apocalypsim Libri Novem, Decem.

[4] 1 John 2:18:  “Little children, it is the last hour (ἐσχάτη ὥρα): and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour (ἐσχάτη ὥρα).”

[5] Solomon Glassius (1593-1656) was a German Lutheran divine and critic.  He was Professor of Divinity at the University of Jena.  His Philologia Sacra was a groundbreaking work in Biblical Hebrew.

[6] James Tirinus (1580-1636) was a Flemish Jesuit priest.  His abilities as a commentator are displayed in his Commentaria in Sacram Scripturam.

[7] Daniel 2:29:  “As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter (מָ֛ה דִּ֥י לֶהֱוֵ֖א אַחֲרֵ֣י דְנָ֑ה; πάντα ὅσα δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν, however many things it was necessary to come to pass in the last days, in the Septuagint; τί δεῖ γενέσθαι μετὰ ταῦτα, what it was necessary to come to pass hereafter, in Theodotion):  and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass (מָה־דִ֥י לֶהֱוֵֽא׃; ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι, in the Septuagint and Theodotion).”

[8] Luke 18:8:  “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily (ἐν τάχει).  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

[9] Romans 16:20:  “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly (ἐν τάχει).  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Amen.”

[10] Acts 12:7:  “And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison:  and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly (ἐν τάχει).  And his chains fell off from his hands.”

[11] Acts 22:18:  “And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly (ἐν τάχει) out of Jerusalem:  for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.”

[1] Greek: Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἣν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ, ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, καὶ ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἰωάννῃ…

Joshua 20:1: God Addresses Joshua about the Cities of Refuge

Verse 1:[1] The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying…

[He spoke…to Joshua] The cessation is not here blamed on Joshua, as if he neglected to establish the cities of refuge so often commanded previously; but this is signified, that he attended to these commandments, just like the others, at the right time by Divine instinct, and that he reported concerning them to the people. For the cities of refuge were not able to be established until after the distribution of the land, Deuteronomy 19. Therefore, the statutes concerning the law of the Cities of Refuge follow in their own order, after the distribution of the possessions (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לֵאמֹֽר׃

Joshua 19:49-51: Joshua’s Inheritance

Verse 49:[1] When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them…

[The children of Israel gave] Note here and admire the modesty of the Commander-in-Chief, Joshua; for he who first divided lots to all the others, received his own last (Lapide almost out of Masius, Bonfrerius). Again, he was unwilling that a lot be cast for himself, as for the others, but he received it as a gift from the people. In which matter he was a type of Christ, who, so that He might enrich us, was made the last of men (Bonfrerius). Among his own tribesmen he received a possession not at all eminent (for this is that בְּתוֹכָם, among them), but inferior to many. Certainly those mountainous possessions in those dry lands were the worst, and were esteemed as less than the plains. And Jerome writes that Paula[2] wondered, when she visited the tomb of Joshua, that Joshua had chosen for himself mountainous and rough places.[3] But it does not say that the place was furnished with buildings, for he built the city (Masius).

The children of Israel gave, etc.: that is, They are said to give it, because the whole land was given to Joshua, and Eleazar, and the princes, as joint trustees, acting in the name and for the good of the people; so that even Joshua could take nothing without their gift.


[1444 BC] Verse 50:[4] According to the word of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, even (Josh. 24:30) Timnath-(1 Chron. 7:24)serah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein.

[According to the precept of the Lord, עַל־פִּ֙י יְהוָ֜ה] It is able to be translated, according to the promise. But where then is this promise, or precept? Response: It is nowhere expressed directly. The Scripture is wont to pass over in silence a great many things, which it leaves to be gathered from other places. Nevertheless, this is not obscurely indicated in Joshua 14:6, thou knowest the thing that the Lord said concerning me and thee. And why, I ask, would Joshua, who had been in the same cause and confidence in God, have been passed over? But what did God promise to him? Response: That he might choose what place he would (Bonfrerius). But I rather think that he was induced to seek this from the mouth of Eleazer, since an oracle was given to the latter concerning this matter. For this appears to be that, according to the mouth of the Lord (Vatablus), that is, from the commandment of the Lord (Vatablus). This passage reminds us that in all matters we ought to look to the will of God (Masius).

According to the word of the Lord; as God promised or commanded; either, first, formerly, as may be gathered from Joshua 14:6; where we read that the Lord said something unto Moses concerning me, Caleb, and thee, Joshua; though only what is said to Caleb be there expressed, the other not being to his purpose there; for Joshua having showed the same courage and faithfulness which Caleb did, did doubtless receive equal encouragement and comfort from God at that time. Or, secondly, now at this time by Eleazar. Timnath-serah, called Timnath-heres, Judges 2:9. He built, that is, repaired and enlarged it, in which sense Nebuchadnezzar is said to have built Babylon, Daniel 4:30.


Verse 51:[5] (Num. 34:17; Josh. 14:1) These are the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot (Josh. 18:1, 10) in Shiloh before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. So they made an end of dividing the country.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְכַלּ֥וּ לִנְחֹל־אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ לִגְבֽוּלֹתֶ֑יהָ וַיִּתְּנ֙וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֧ל נַחֲלָ֛ה לִיהוֹשֻׁ֥עַ בִּן־נ֖וּן בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

[2] Paula (347-404) was a member of a rich senatorial family.  After being widowed in her early thirties, she devoted herself to the religious life, which included a visit to the Holy Land.

[3] To Eustochium 13.

[4] Hebrew: עַל־פִּ֙י יְהוָ֜ה נָ֣תְנוּ ל֗וֹ אֶת־הָעִיר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שָׁאָ֔ל אֶת־תִּמְנַת־סֶ֖רַח בְּהַ֣ר אֶפְרָ֑יִם וַיִּבְנֶ֥ה אֶת־הָעִ֖יר וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב בָּֽהּ׃

[5] Hebrew: אֵ֣לֶּה הַנְּחָלֹ֡ת אֲשֶׁ֣ר נִחֲל֣וּ אֶלְעָזָ֣ר הַכֹּהֵ֣ן׀ וִיהוֹשֻׁ֪עַ בִּן־נ֟וּן וְרָאשֵׁ֣י הָֽאָב֣וֹת לְמַטּוֹת֩ בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֙ל׀ בְּגוֹרָ֤ל׀ בְּשִׁלֹה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד וַיְכַלּ֕וּ מֵֽחַלֵּ֖ק אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

Joshua 19:47, 48: The Founding of Dan in the Far North

Verse 47:[1] And (see Judg. 18) the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.

[And with that border it is enclosed, וַיֵּצֵ֥א גְבוּל־בְּנֵי־דָ֖ן מֵהֶ֑ם] And the border of the children of Dan went out from them (Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Syriac, Arabic, Masius). The sense: The Danites of old emigrated outside of themselves, that is, outside of their inheritance, and set out to seek other possessions (Masius). This does not satisfy; for this is not, the border went out from them, but, the Danites went beyond their borders (Bonfrerius). [Nevertheless, Castalio translates it thus, Now, the Danites went out from their borders.] Others thus: It went out from them, that is, it was taken from them, which is to say, it left them (Vatablus). It was less than was sufficient for them (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: from them, that is, smaller than them (Junius, similarly Vatablus, English, Dutch, Piscator, Serarius). It appears that קָטוֹן/smaller is missing from than them, from a comparison with verse 9, where it isרַ֣ב מֵהֶ֔ם , greater than them (Piscator). Others: and from them went out the boundaries of the children of Dan (Tigurinus), that is, in these regions he was confined (Malvenda). The border went out from them, that is, from the inhabitants of Joppa, is the same thing as it reached to them, and stopped there (Bonfrerius).

Went out too little for them; Hebrew, went out from them,[2] to wit, out of their hands or possession; for so this Hebrew word is used concerning those lands, which in the year of the jubilee are said to go out, Leviticus 25:28,[3] 30, 31, 33, that is, out of the hands of the present possessor, to the first and ancient owner. And so peradventure this may signify that many of the Danites were forced by their powerful neighbors the Philistines to relinquish their coast, and their allotted habitations; which put them upon the following course.

[And the children of Dan went up] That is, some from the children of Dan (Vatablus).

[And they fought against Leshem] These things were done after the death of Joshua. See Judges 18 (Grotius, Junius, Masius, Bonfrerius). And thence it is evident that this Record was not written by Joshua (Masius, Grotius): or rather, that many things were inserted in and added to it by one that arranged and edited it (Lapide). But why, you will ask, are they now commemorated? Namely, so that it might be shown at one and the same time in what places the Danites dwelt. Objection: But those things were transacted when the lot had not fallen to them, Judges 18:1. Response: But, that this ought to be taken concerning a lot in which they might be able to live content within their own borders, those words, and they went out from them, that is, from their borders, which they had obtain by lot, relate. But why were they less content with their lot than the other Tribes? Response: Because they were not sufficiently able to drive out the barbarous nations hostile to them, since that coast was full of harbors. See Judges 5:17. And Jacob[4] and Moses[5] testify that they were otherwise plunderers, and rapacious of the propers of others, by their own nature. But it is evident that the Danites even then dwelt at Zorah and Eshtaol (Masius).

The children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem after Joshua’s death, as appears from Judges 18 and seems to be here inserted, partly that all the chief places where the Danites (dwelt,) though far distant, might be mentioned together; and partly to give an account of this strange accident, why they removed from their appointed portion to so remote a place; which may be this, that being much molested and terrified by their bad neighbours, they thought fit to go to some place remote from them, which also they were in a manner constrained to do, because otherwise they must have taken some part of the portions of other tribes, whereas now going to the very utmost northern point of the land, they took that which did not belong to, or, at least, was not in the possession of any other tribe. See more Judges 18.

[Calling the name of it Leshem Dan[6]] That of it is to be erased; for it was not called Leshem-Dan, but Leshem itself was called Dan (Masius).


Verse 48:[7] This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵ֥א גְבוּל־בְּנֵי־דָ֖ן מֵהֶ֑ם וַיַּעֲל֣וּ בְנֵֽי־דָ֠ן וַיִּלָּחֲמ֙וּ עִם־לֶ֜שֶׁם וַיִּלְכְּד֥וּ אוֹתָ֣הּ׀ וַיַּכּ֧וּ אוֹתָ֣הּ לְפִי־חֶ֗רֶב וַיִּֽרְשׁ֤וּ אוֹתָהּ֙ וַיֵּ֣שְׁבוּ בָ֔הּ וַיִּקְרְא֤וּ לְלֶ֙שֶׁם֙ דָּ֔ן כְּשֵׁ֖ם דָּ֥ן אֲבִיהֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵא—מֵהֶם.

[3] For example, Leviticus 25:28:  “But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile:  and in the jubile it shall go out (וְיָצָא֙ בַּיֹּבֵ֔ל), and he shall return unto his possession.”

[4] Genesis 49:16, 17.

[5] Deuteronomy 33:22.

[6] Hebrew: וַיִּקְרְא֤וּ לְלֶ֙שֶׁם֙ דָּ֔ן.

[7] Hebrew: זֹ֗את נַחֲלַ֛ת מַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵי־דָ֖ן לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם הֶֽעָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

Joshua 19:40-47: The Cities of Dan

Verse 40:[1] And the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families.

[To the tribe of the children of Dan] Here he describes the borders of the Danites in such a way that he enumerates almost only cities, and does not distinctly draw a line around. It is not doubtful that this tribe was on the sea, or not far from the sea; which the city of Joppa sufficiently indicates, which was on the sea:[2] but Benjamin and Judah were on its Eastern side (Bonfrerius). The Danites possessed cities attributed to the Judahites; which was previously discussed. The received a small portion from the Judahites southward; otherwise they withdraw from them unto the North (Masius): and indeed all the way to Dora,[3] says Josephus;[4] how correctly does no appear to me, since the Ephraimites (whose lot reached all the way to the sea) came between the Manassites (in whose lot was Dora) and the Danites (Bonfrerius). But Josephus appears to have been more conversant in arms than in the Holy Books (Masius). Moreover, this Tribe included in its lot three satrapies of the Philistines, namely, Azotus, Gath-rimmon (which was also Gath [Masius, Bonfrerius]), and Ekron. For Josephus ascribes only two of the five satrapies to Judah, namely, Ashkelon and Gaza (Bonfrerius on verse 46). But the Southern side was extended from Azotus beyond Eleutheropolis Westward, and thus it was bent back toward Kirjath-Jearim, and thence to Joppa. Moreover, the lot of Dan appears to have been drawn in the last place, although he was older than Naphtali, because Jacob[5] and Moses[6] had predicted certain inauspicious things concerning him. Furthermore, because those predictions appear to have regard to the character and habits of the men, rathan than to the situation of their inheritance, it would be superfluous to explain them here (Masius on verse 48).


Verse 41:[7] And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Ir-shemesh…

Their inheritance; which is here described only by its cities, not by its borders, which are in part the same with Judah’s; and their inheritance is in good part taken out of Judah’s too large portion, as appears from divers of the cities here mentioned, which are also reckoned as in Judah’s portion.

[Ir-shemesh, וְעִ֥יר שָֽׁמֶשׁ׃] That is, City of the Sun. They think that it was a בֵּת שָׁמֶשׁ, Beth Shemesh, House/Temple of the sun of the Jews (Masius). Others maintain that it was Beth-shemesh, 1 Kings 4:9, which is called also Har-Heres, that is, the mountain of the Sun, Judges 1:35 (Malvenda out of Junius).


Verse 42:[8] And (Judg. 1:35) Shaalabbin, and Ajalon, and Jethlah…


Verse 43:[9] And Elon, and Thimnathah, and Ekron…


Verse 44:[10] And Eltekeh, and Gibbethon, and Baalath…

[Baalath, וּבַעֲלָת] I do not know whether this is Baalath of the Judahites, or in fact Baalah, that is, Kirjath-Jearim.[11] The former satisfies the Hebrews, who gather out of Judges 18:12[12] that the city belongs to the Judahites, but a suburban field to the Danites (Masius).


Verse 45:[13] And Jehud, and Bene-berak, and Gath-rimmon…


Verse 46:[14] And Me-jarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before (or, over againt[15]) Japho (or, Joppa, Acts 9:36).

[With the border that looks toward Joppa, עִֽם־הַגְּב֖וּל מ֥וּל יָפֽוֹ׃] With the border over against Japho (Pagnine, Montanus, Jonathan), or, that is opposite to Japho (Munter, Tigurinus); with its border opposite to Japho (Junius and Tremellius), or, Joppa (Junius). With that entire tract that was lying next to Japho (Vatablus). With the borders and region of Japho (Arabic). With all the cities that were situated in sight of Joppa (Malvenda out of Masius).

[1] Hebrew: לְמַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵי־דָ֖ן לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם יָצָ֖א הַגּוֹרָ֥ל הַשְּׁבִיעִֽי׃

[2] See Joshua 19:46; 2 Chronicles 2:16; Ezra 3:7; Jonah 1:3; Acts 9; 10.

[3] Dora was on the Mediterranea coast, almost as far north as the southern tip of the sea of Galilee.

[4] Antiquities 5:1.

[5] Genesis 49:16, 17.

[6] Deuteronomy 33:22.

[7] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֖י גְּב֣וּל נַחֲלָתָ֑ם צָרְעָ֥ה וְאֶשְׁתָּא֖וֹל וְעִ֥יר שָֽׁמֶשׁ׃

[8] Hebrew: וְשַֽׁעֲלַבִּ֥ין וְאַיָּל֖וֹן וְיִתְלָֽה׃

[9] Hebrew: וְאֵיל֥וֹן וְתִמְנָ֖תָה וְעֶקְרֽוֹן׃

[10] Hebrew: וְאֶלְתְּקֵ֥ה וְגִבְּת֖וֹן וּבַעֲלָֽת׃

[11] See Joshua 15:9-11, 29; 1 Chronicles 13:6.

[12] Judges 18:12:  “And they went up, and pitched in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah:  wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan (מַחֲנֵה־דָן, the camp of Dan) unto this day:  behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim.”

[13] Hebrew: וִיהֻ֥ד וּבְנֵֽי־בְרַ֖ק וְגַת־רִמּֽוֹן׃

[14] Hebrew: וּמֵ֥י הַיַּרְק֖וֹן וְהָֽרַקּ֑וֹן עִֽם־הַגְּב֖וּל מ֥וּל יָפֽוֹ׃

[15] Hebrew: מוּל.

Revelation 1:1a: Revelation is Revelation

[96 AD]  Verse 1:[1]  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, (John 3:32; 8:26; 12:49) which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which (Rev. 4:1; 1:3) must shortly come to pass; and (Rev. 22:16) he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John…

[The Apocalypse, Ἀποκάλυψις] The revealing (Castalio, Piscator), that is, the oracle (Castalio); the Revelation (Erasmus, Vatablus,[2] Camerarius, Piscator, etc.), that is, of various events which were going to happen in the Church and World (Piscator), or of things previously hidden (Beza, similarly Pererius, Cotterius). It is the title or inscription of the book, after the fashion of the Prophets[3] (Beza, similarly Erasmus, Pererius). Afterwards he calls it a Prophecy,[4] then a book,[5] and in the last chapter a book of Prophecy.[6] Now, this Prophecy is called a Revelation, with respect to both, 1. the signs, that is, the visions and similitudes, which are here described and revealed: and, 2. the things signified, for the signification of the visions was revealed to John (Pererius). However, by Apocalypse he does not understand here the book (for the Son did not receive the book from the Father, nor is the book said to be signified), but the events or series of events written in the book; as εὐαγγέλιον, the Gospel, in Mark 1:1 is not the book, but the truth of those things that Christ did and said. Καλύπτειν is to hide; ἀποκαλύπτειν is to bring forth a hidden matter into the open (Cotterius): נִגְלָה/ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι, to be revealed, is often in Daniel[7] concerning those things, the knowledge of which is had by a Divine gift. Thence Ἀποκάλυψις, by which name that book of Enoch is called, concerning which we spoke on Jude. In Isaiah 25:7, בִּלַּע—הַלּוֹט , He will destroy…the covering,[8] is a circumluction ἀποκαλύψεως, for revelation. The Greeks translate it, παράδος ταῦτα πάντα τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, Impart thou all these things to the nations. The language ἀποκαλύψεως, of revelation, is used in this sense in 1 Corinthians 14:26;[9] 2 Corinthians 12:1,[10] 7;[11] Galatians 2:2[12] (Grotius). Now, revelation here is understood, not as common to all the faithful, as in Matthew 11:25 and Ephesians 1:17, but as singular, as in Numbers 24:4;[13] 1 Samuel 2:27[14] (Cluverus’ Apocalyptic Dawn 3), and extraordinary (Beza).

[Of Jesus Christ]  Either, 1.  Passively, which Christ received from the Father (Hammond).  Or, 2.  Actively (Pareus), received from Christ (Menochius), accomplished through Christ (Grotius, similarly Beza, Piscator, Durham), as the Church’s everlasting mediator (Beza), and great Prophet (Durham); through whom the Father treats (Cotterius), and reveals Himself to the Church (Beza), and exhibits to us knowledge and grace (Hammond).

[Which to Him God gave]  That is, the Father, for here He is set over against the Son (Cotterius).  For, just as power, so also the knowledge of such things, is in Christ by God the Father, Revelation 5:7; John 7:16; 14:10.  Consult Isaiah 8:18 (Grotius).  Thus he speaks, for the Father is the first author of all things, from whom also the Son draws, John 5:19, 30, and learns, John 8:28; but here He is only said to have received, for this agrees more closely with Christ glorified (Cotterius).  It denotes the order of the subsisting and working of the persons.  The Father works of Himself through the Son (Durham). He gave to Him, namely, as man (Piscator, similarly Pererius, Aquinas[15] in Ribera); or, as the Mediator (Durham, Pareus):  for as God He of Himself knew (Piscator, Durham).  Now, He gave, either, 1.  in His conception and incarnation, for with respect to that Christ is said to be full of all knowledge, grace, etc. (Lapide, similarly Ribera), but now is said to have received, for now it was known to men, as matters are said to be done at that time when they become known (Ribera).

The Revelation of Jesus Christ; the Apocalypse, (as this book is sometimes called,) that is, the discovering or unveiling of some hidden things; so the word revelation signifieth. The Greek word is often used in the New Testament, and is ordinarily translated so. It is called The Revelation of Jesus Christ because Christ received it from his Father, as the next words show. Which God gave unto him, as he was Mediator: by God, here, is to be understood the Father, not exclusively to the Son, as if he were not God, but to show the order of working in the Holy Trinity, John 7:16; 14:10. Christ in his state of humiliation is said to learn of the Father; in his state of exaltation, to receive from the Father.

            [Openly, etc., δεῖξαι, etc.[16]] An expression of the Greeks, of which sort is in Luke 1:72, ποιῆσαι, for the purpose of doing.[17] Thus Matthew 5:17, I have not come to destroy, etc.[18] (Ribera). Δεῖξαι is in the place of εἰς τὸ δεῖξαι, for the purpose of showing. There is a similar sort of speaking in John 6:52[19] and elsewhere (Grotius). So that He might point out (or, represent [Erasmus, Zegers[20]], openly produce, or, exhibit [Vatablus], not plainly, but by enigmas and symbols [Menochius]: or, show [Erasmus, Vatablus, thus Valla,[21] Cotterius], that is, as if He would place events, clothed in figures, before their eyes: it indicates the force and splendor of the figures [Cotterius]: or, reveal, that is, that He, the Christ, might reveal, in accordance with the promise, John 16:12 [Grotius]) to the servants of Him (Beza, Piscator), that is, either, of God the Father (Cotterius): or, of Christ, as the reciprocal αὐτοῦ/His indicates (Pareus out of Beza). To His servants, that is, to John, namely, so that he might write (Pareus): or, to the teachers and pastors of the Churches (Piscator): or, to the principal men of the Christians (Grotius): or, to Christians (Menochius, Piscator), or to all the faithful (Pareus, Durham), so that every one might from thence draw out what according to his own time and capacity would be sufficient for his education in the faith and fear of the Lord (Cotterius).

To show unto his servants; to John, and by him to all saints that will be studious of things revealed.

[1] Greek: Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἣν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ, ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, καὶ ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἰωάννῃ…

[2] Francis Vatablus (c. 1485-1547) was a prominent Hebrew scholar, doing much to stimulate Hebraic studies in France.  He was appointed to the chair of Hebrew in Paris (1531).  Because of some consonance with Lutheran doctrine, his annotations (Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum), compiled by his auditors, were regarded with the utmost esteem among Protestants, but with a measure of suspicion and concern by Roman Catholics.  Consequently, the theologians of Salamanca produced their own edition of Vatablus’ annotations for their revision of the Latin Bible (1584).

[3] For example, Obadiah 1.

[4] Revelation 1:3.

[5] For example, Revelation 1:11.

[6] Verses 7, 10, 18, 19.

[7] For example, Daniel 10:1a:  “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed (נִגְלָה; ἀπεκαλύφθη in the Theodotion) unto Daniel…”

[8] Isaiah 25:7:  “And he will destroy (וּבִלַּע) in this mountain the face of the covering cast (פְּנֵֽי־הַלּ֥וֹט׀ הַלּ֖וֹט) over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.”

[9] 1 Corinthians 14:26a:  “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation (ἀποκάλυψιν), hath an interpretation….”

[10] 2 Corinthians 12:1:  “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations (ἀποκαλύψεις) of the Lord.”

[11] 2 Corinthians 12:7a:  “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations (τῶν ἀποκαλύψεων), there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…”

[12] Galatians 2:2a:  “And I went up by revelation (ἀποκάλυψιν), and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles…”

[13] Numbers 24:4:  “He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open (וּגְל֥וּי עֵינָֽיִם׃; ἀποκεκαλυμμένοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ, in the Septuagint)…”

[14] 1 Samuel 2:27:  “And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear (הֲנִגְלֹ֤ה נִגְלֵ֙יתִי֙; ἀποκαλυφθεὶς ἀπεκαλύφθην, in the Septuagint) unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?”

[15] Thomas Aquinas (c. 1224-1274) was perhaps the greatest of the mediæval scholastic theologians.  He wrote on much of the Bible, gathering together the comments, observations, and interpretations of the Fathers.

[16] Revelation 1:1a:  “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew (δεῖξαι) unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass…”

[17] Luke 1:72:  “To perform (ποιῆσαι) the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant…”  Here, the infinitive is used to express purpose.

[18] Matthew 5:17:  “Think not that I am come to destroy (katalu=sai) the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy (katalu=sai), but to fulfil (plhrw~sai).”

[19] John 6:52:  “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat (φαγεῖν)?”

[20] Nicholas Tacitus Zegers (died 1559) was a Flemish Franciscan exegete.  He wrote Scholion in Omnes Novi Testamenti Libros (1553), Epanorthotes, sive Castigationes Novi Testamenti (1555), and Inventorium in Testamentum Novum, a concordance (1558).

[21] Laurentius Valla (1406-1457) was one of the great Latin scholars of his age.  He was Professor of Eloquence at Parvia, then at Milan.  Later he served as Canon of St. John the Lateran.  He wrote In Novum Testamentum Annotationes and De Collationibus Novi Testamenti.