Joshua 15:63: The Cities of Judah, Part 9 (Jerusalem)

Verse 63:[1] As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, (see Judg. 1:8, 21; 2 Sam. 5:6) the children of Judah could not drive them out: (Judg. 1:21) but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.

[Now, the Jebusite, the inhabitant of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah were not able to destroy] Question 1: How is this said of the sons of Judah, while the exact same thing is said concerning the Benjamites, Judges 1:21? And unto which tribe did Jerusalem have regard? For here and in Psalm 78:68 it is ascribed to Judah; but in Genesis 49:27; Deuteronomy 33:12 (and Jeremiah 6:1 [Bonfrerius]) it is allotted to Benjamin (Malvenda). Response 1: Some think that that city was left in the middle (certain interpreters in Masius). It is likely that it was a border city inhabited promiscuously by Judahites and Benjamites, and pertained to both, and is attributed sometimes to the former and sometimes to the latter (Malvenda). But this opinion is manifestly refuted by the designated borders of the Benjamite possessions (Masius). Response 2: It is likely that most cities were greatly changed after they were brought under the power of the Israelites; especially Jerusalem, which from a small town was built up into a most spacious city. Therefore, since he that in latter times gathered the sacred history, previously dispersed throughout the records, and digested it into those books that we now have, made use of those names of place that were used in his age, it is not strange if we see one and the same city possessed by diverse tribes, since formerly they were two, which thereafter were inclosed within one wall. But concerning this matter there is to be discussion again in Joshua 18 (Masius). Response 3: Others assigne to each Tribe their own parts in it (Masius). The whole lower city belonged to the Benjamities (Bonfrerius), which was called Salem, and was Northward (Menochius): but the Southern part, that is, mount Zion and perhas a small part of the lower city, with the line led through the peak of mount Moriah, was in the tribe of Judah. Hence in Nehemiah 11:4 both the Judahites and the Benjamites are said to have dwelt in Jerusalem (Bonfrerius). Question 2: How is this said, when Jerusalem was captured by Joshua, Joshua 10 and Judges 1:8? Response: The city was captured, but not the citadel, or the upper part of the city; which also Josephus clearly indicates, Antiquities 5:2. Compare Judges 1, verse 8 and verse 21. You will say, But that city belonged to the Jebusites, Judges 19:11, 12. But concerning this matter see what is written there (Bonfrerius). The Jebusites were holding the citadel: thence it happened that after the death of Joshua they gradually occupied the entire city again, as they occupied Hebron and Debir, previously conquered by Joshua: hence it was necessary for the sons of Judah to conquer Jerusalem after the death of Joshua, which was accomplished in Judges 1 (Lapide, similarly Bonfrerius). But the Jebusites held the citadel until the time of David, because it was most heavily fortified (Bonfrerius). Question 3: Why were they not able to remove these? This appear to obscure the glory of the mightiest Tribe, that I might not say that it fought also with the promises of God of the happiest success everywhere (Masius). Responses: 1. The Judahites had hindered themselves by their sluggishness, and sins, by which having been provoked, God withdrew His help, according to Judges 2:20 (Masius, Lapide). 2. Thos Jebusites were not of those seven peoples,[2] but were deriving their origin from Jebus, who was of the stock of the Philistine (Vatablus).

[He dwelt with the children of Judah, אֶת־בְּנֵי] Near the children; for they were adjacent to the Tribe of Judah (Vatablus). The rest translate it, with the sons (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius).

The Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, etc.: For though Jerusalem was in part taken by Joshua before this, yet the upper and stronger part of it, called Zion, was still kept by the Jebusites, even until David’s time; and it seems from thence they descended to the lower town called Jerusalem, and took it; so that the Israelites were forced to win it a second time; yea, and a third time also, for afterwards it was possessed by the Jebusites, Judges 19:11; 2 Samuel 5:6, 7. Could not drive them out; namely, because of their unbelief, as Christ could do no mighty work—because of the people’s unbelief, Mark 6:5, 6; Matthew 13:58, and because of their sloth, and cowardice, and wickedness, whereby they forfeited God’s help, and then they must needs be impotent; but this inability was wilful, and brought upon them by themselves. Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem: the same things which are here said of the children of Judah, are said of the Benjamites, Judges 1:21. Hence ariseth a question, To which of the tribes Jerusalem belonged? whether to Benjamin, as is gathered from Genesis 49:27; Deuteronomy 33:12; Jeremiah 6:1, or to Judah, as is implied here, and Psalm 78:68, 69. Some think, that being in the borders of both, it was common to both, and promiscuously inhabited by both; and it is certain that after the captivity it was possessed by both, Nehemiah 11:4. But for the present, though it did belong to Benjamin, yet the children of Judah being possibly very active in the first taking of it by Joshua, as they certainly were after his death, Judges 1:8, they might thereby get some right share with the Benjamites in the possession of it. It seems most probable that part of it, and indeed the greatest part and main body of it, stood in the tribe of Benjamin; and hence this is mentioned in the list of their cities, and not in Judah’s list: and part of it stood in Judah’s share, even Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built; and Mount Sion, when it was taken from the Jebusites.

[Unto the present day] This is said with respect to the time when these things were written (Vatablus). Hence also it appears that not by Joshua, nor close to his times, was this book written, or completed (Grotius).

Unto this day; when this book was written, whether in Joshua’s life and old age, which continued many years after the taking of Jerusalem; or after his death, when this clause was added here and elsewhere in this book by some other man of God, which must needs be done before David’s time, when the Jebusites were quite expelled, and their fort taken.

[1] Hebrew: וְאֶת־הַיְבוּסִי֙ יוֹשְׁבֵ֣י יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֔ם לֹֽא־יוּכְל֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יְהוּדָ֖ה לְהֽוֹרִישָׁ֑ם וַיֵּ֙שֶׁב הַיְבוּסִ֜י אֶת־בְּנֵ֤י יְהוּדָה֙ בִּיר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

[2] See Deuteronomy 7:1.

Joshua 15:61, 62: The Cities of Judah, Part 8 (Wilderness)

Verse 61:[1] In the wilderness, Beth-arabah, Middin, and Secacah…

[In the wilderness] It is called מִדְבָּר/wilderness, from דָּבַר, to lead, because sheep are led there for feeding; or, from דָּבַר, which signifies an order of things, and מ, a privative particle, that is to say, a disordered land (Malvenda). They call those places מִדְבָּר/wilderness that are vast, and uninhabited (Kimchi in Masius); or, that are useful only for raising sheep, but not grain; whether they be removed from gatherings of men, or have a few towns and villages (Masius).

The wilderness; so the Hebrews call places either uninhabited by men, or having but few inhabitants.


Verse 62:[2] And Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and En-gedi; six cities with their villages.

[And the city of salt] So called, either, because it was near the Dead or Salt Sea; or, because there the wife of Lot was turned into a pillar of salt[3] (Lapide, Bonfrerius); or, because there were salt-pits there (Lapide, Malvenda). Thus Salsula in Hispania was named, from the salty waters (Malvenda). To me this city appears to have been that Zoar of Genesis 19:23 (Bonfrerius).

The city of Salt; so called either from the Salt Sea, which was near it; or from the salt which was made in it, or about it.

[En-gedi] Elsewhere it was called חַצֲצוֹן תָּמָר, Hazazon-Tamar, 2 Chronicles 20:2, from the gravel of date-palms;[4] or, as others think, from the dense palm trees[5] there. The mountains of En-geddi were very steep and precipitous (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר בֵּ֚ית הָעֲרָבָ֔ה מִדִּ֖ין וּסְכָכָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וְהַנִּבְשָׁ֥ן וְעִיר־הַמֶּ֖לַח וְעֵ֣ין גֶּ֑דִי עָרִ֥ים שֵׁ֖שׁ וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[3] Genesis 19:26.

[4] חָצָץ signifies gravel; תָּמָר, a date-palm.

[5] חוּץ signifies to be tight, to be wedged in.

Joshua 15:52-60: The Cities of Judah, Part 7

Verse 52:[1] Arab, and Dumah, and Eshean…


Verse 53:[2] And Janum (or, Janus), and Beth-tappuah, and Aphekah…

[Aphekah] This was the name of several cities in Canaan (Masius). One was Asherite, concerning which Joshua 12:18; 13:4. This one in Judah appears to be near to Beth-tappuah[3] (Malvenda).


Verse 54:[4] And Humtah, and (Josh. 14:15; 15:13) Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron, and Zior; nine cities with their villages…


Verse 55:[5] Maon, Carmel, and Ziph, and Juttah…

Maon; of which see 1 Samuel 23:25; 25:2.

[Carmel] It is Nabal’s country, roughly ten miles from Hebron (Masius). It is diverse from that maritime and most famous mount Carmel of the lot of Asher (Malvenda).

Carmel; Nabal’s country, 1 Samuel 25. Ziph; which gave its name to the neighbouring mountain, 1 Samuel 26:1.


Verse 56:[6] And Jezreel, and Jokdeam, and Zanoah…

[Zanoah, וְזָנוֹחַ] But this was among the cities of the plain.[7] Therefore, that one was diverse, and pehaps near the other, situated in a more elevated place: just as it was said concerning the two Socohs[8] (Masius).


Verse 57:[9] Cain, Gibeah, and Timnah; ten cities with their villages…


Verse 58:[10] Halhul, Beth-zur, and Gedor…

[Bessur[11]] Hebrew: Beth-zur.[12] There were two in the tribe of Judah (Malvenda out of Jerome).


Verse 59:[13] And Maarath, and Beth-anoth, and Eltekon; six cities with their villages…


Verse 60:[14] (Josh. 18:14) Kirjath-baal, which is Kirjath-jearim, and Rabbah; two cities with their villages…

[1] Hebrew: אֲרַ֥ב וְרוּמָ֖ה וְאֶשְׁעָֽן׃

[2] Hebrew: וְיָנִ֥ים וּבֵית־תַּפּ֖וּחַ וַאֲפֵֽקָה׃

[3] Beth-tappuah was about eight miles northwest of Hebron.

[4] Hebrew: וְחֻמְטָ֗ה וְקִרְיַ֥ת אַרְבַּ֛ע הִ֥יא חֶבְר֖וֹן וְצִיעֹ֑ר עָרִ֥ים תֵּ֖שַׁע וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[5] Hebrew: מָע֥וֹן׀ כַּרְמֶ֖ל וָזִ֥יף וְיוּטָּֽה׃

[6] Hebrew: וְיִזְרְעֶ֥אל וְיָקְדְעָ֖ם וְזָנֽוֹחַ׃

[7] Verse 34.

[8] Verses 35 and 48.

[9] Hebrew: הַקַּ֖יִן גִּבְעָ֣ה וְתִמְנָ֑ה עָרִ֥ים עֶ֖שֶׂר וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[10] Hebrew: חַלְח֥וּל בֵּֽית־צ֖וּר וּגְדֽוֹר׃

[11] Thus the Vulgate.

[12] Hebrew: בֵּית־צוּר.

[13] Hebrew: וּמַעֲרָ֥ת וּבֵית־עֲנ֖וֹת וְאֶלְתְּקֹ֑ן עָרִ֥ים שֵׁ֖שׁ וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[14] Hebrew: קִרְיַת־בַּ֗עַל הִ֛יא קִרְיַ֥ת יְעָרִ֖ים וְהָֽרַבָּ֑ה עָרִ֥ים שְׁתַּ֖יִם וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

Joshua 15:48-51: The Cities of Judah, Part 6 (Mountainous)

Verse 48:[1] And in the mountains, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh…

[In the mountain] In the mountains (Junius and Tremellius). In places of higher elevation (Malvenda).

In the mountains, that is, In the higher grounds, called mountains or hills, in comparison of the seacoast.


Verse 49:[2] And Dannah, and Kirjath-sannah, which is Debir…

[Kirjath-sannah,וְקִרְיַת־סַנָּה ] This city had three names, Debir, Kirjath-sepher, and Kirjath-sannah (Bonfrerius, Malvenda). This name was given to the city from its thorn-bushes[3] (certain interpreters in Masius), that is to say, City of the Bramble; either because it was abounding with brambles, or because some famous bramble was there (certain interpreters in Malvenda). But a thorn-bush is called, not סַנָּה, but סְנֶה. I conjecture, therefore, that ס/Samech/s was put in the place of שׁ/Schin/sh, that it is from שָׁנַן, to whet or to teach, which has regard to the disputations of the Learned, Deuteronomy 6:7[4] (Masius). שׁנן/Schinan in Chaldean and Syriac is to speak learnedly and acutely; שְׁנִינָה/Schenina is sharpness of intellect. The Septuagint here has the city of letters/writings (Bonfrerius).

Debir is also called Kirjath-sepher, above, verse 15. So this city had three names.


Verse 50:[5] And Anab, and Eshtemoh, and Anim…


Verse 51:[6] (Josh. 10:41; 11:16) And Goshen, and Holon, and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages…

Goshen. See Joshua 10:41.

[1] Hebrew: וּבָהָ֑ר שָׁמִ֥יר וְיַתִּ֖יר וְשׂוֹכֹֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וְדַנָּ֥ה וְקִרְיַת־סַנָּ֖ה הִ֥יא דְבִֽר׃

[3] סְנֶה signifies a thorny bush.

[4] Deuteronomy 6:7:  “And thou shalt teach them diligently (וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם) unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

[5] Hebrew: וַעֲנָ֥ב וְאֶשְׁתְּמֹ֖ה וְעָנִֽים׃

[6] Hebrew: וְגֹ֥שֶׁן וְחֹלֹ֖ן וְגִלֹ֑ה עָרִ֥ים אַֽחַת־עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

Joshua 15:45-47: The Cities of Judah, Part 5 (Philistine)

Verse 45:[1] Ekron, with her towns and her villages…

[Accaron,[2] עֶקְרוֹן] Ecron (Vatablus). In these verses that entire region of the Philistines is described from Ekron to Rhinocolura (Masius). But in this place are omitted two satrapies of the Philistines, Gath and Askelon, which nevertheless ought to be reckoned as comprehended here also (Bonfrerius).

Ekron, etc.: Here and in the following verses are contained all the cities of the Philistines, among which are Gath and Askelon, which peradventure are here omitted, because they were not at this time places of such power and eminency as afterwards they were, but were the daughters of some of these following cities, though afterwards the daughter might overtop the mother, as is usual.

[With its villages and farmsteads, וּבְנֹתֶ֖יהָ וַחֲצֵרֶֽיהָ׃] And her daughters (her towns [Septuagint, Jonathan], farming communities [Syriac, Junius and Tremellius]) and her villages (Montanus, Septuagint, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius). Daughters here are municipalities (Masius). Ekron is the metropolis, and those cities are subordinate (Vatablus).

Her towns; Hebrew, her daughters, that is, lesser cities, or great towns, subject to Ekron’s jurisdiction. Her villages, that is, lesser towns or hamlets.


Verse 46:[3] From Ekron even unto the sea, all that lay near (Heb. by the place of[4]) Ashdod, with their villages…

[That lie towards Ashdod, עַל־יַ֥ד אַשְׁדּ֖וֹד] Upon the hand of Ashdod (Montanus). And others: near, or next to, Ashdod (Septuagint, Junius and Tremellius).


Verse 47:[5] Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto (Josh. 15:4) the river of Egypt, and (Num. 34:6) the great sea, and the border thereof

[Unto the torrent of Egypt, and the great sea and its border, וְהַיָּ֥ם הַגְּב֖וּל וּגְבֽוּל׃] And the sea of the border (or, forming the border [certain interpreters in Munster) and the border (Montanus). Others in the place of הַגְּבוּל, the border, read הַגָּדוֹל, the great [just as the Qere, or the marginal reading, has it], which is the better reading (Malvenda). They translate it, and the great sea and the border (Pagnine, Masius). This is an abbreviated expression, in the place of and the border thereof (Masius). Just as it was translated by Jonathan, Junius and Tremellius, the Dutch, and Vatablus). And the great sea is the boundary (Tigurinus); and the great sea was their border (Munster). Now, the border of the sea is the very shore of the sea with its cities, farmsteads and villages (Masius). Thus I interpret, so that to the Tribe of Judah this whole might be ascribed, which is from Ekron to the torrent of Egypt and the great sea, to the place where the border and extremity of the great sea is; for there that western coast is marked out, and thence is curved Southward to the Egyptian and African coast in the description (Bonfrerius).

The great sea, etc., that is, the sea-coast, and all other cities, towns, and villages upon it.

[1] Hebrew: עֶקְר֥וֹן וּבְנֹתֶ֖יהָ וַחֲצֵרֶֽיהָ׃

[2] Thus the Vulgate.

[3] Hebrew: מֵעֶקְר֖וֹן וָיָ֑מָּה כֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־עַל־יַ֥ד אַשְׁדּ֖וֹד וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[4] Hebrew: עַל־יַד.

[5] Hebrew: אַשְׁדּ֞וֹד בְּנוֹתֶ֣יהָ וַחֲצֵרֶ֗יהָ עַזָּ֥ה בְּנוֹתֶ֥יהָ וַחֲצֵרֶ֖יהָ עַד־נַ֣חַל מִצְרָ֑יִם וְהַיָּ֥ם הַגְּב֖וּל וּגְבֽוּל׃

Joshua 15:37-44: The Cities of Judah, Part 4

Verse 37:[1] Zenan, and Hadashah, and Migdal-gad…

[Migdal-gad, וּמִגְדַּל־גָּד] So called perhaps from some eminent deed of some Gadite, just like the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben, in verse 6, which you may see, if you wish (Malvenda).


Verse 38:[2] And Dilean, and Mizpeh, (2 Kings 14:7) and Joktheel…

[Mizpeh, וְהַמִּצְפֶּה] There were several. One in the tribe of Judah, in the borders of Eleutheropolis,[3] says Eusebius;[4] and again in another place he says that the Mizpeh of Judah was neighboring the city of Kirjath-Jearim[5] (Masius). Here (says Eusebius) Jephthah dwelt.[6] But he is incorrect; for that Mizpeh was not this Mizpeh of Judah, but of Gilead on the other side of Jordan (Malvenda).

[Joktheel, וְיָקְתְאֵל[7]] This is Petra of Arabia. See 2 Kings 14:7 (Junius). You will learn that this name was not given to a city of the Arabs before the times of Amaziah,[8] 2 Kings 14:7 (Grotius). And that war of Amaziah was indeed conducted near Petra of Arabia. Nevertheless, others by Petra in that passage understand a certain stone, or rock,[9] in the plains of the lot of Judah, fortified by nature; but that Joktheel they think to be same as this Joktheel in our passage: and hence they gather that this book of Joshua was not finalized until after the times of the Kings (Malvenda).


Verse 39:[10] Lachish, and Bozkath, and Eglon…


Verse 40:[11] And Cabbon, and Lahmam, and Kithlish…

Verse 41:[12] And Gederoth, Beth-dagon, and Naamah, and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages…


Verse 42:[13] Libnah, and Ether, and Ashan…

Libnah; Hebrew, Libnah.[14] See Joshua 10:29.


Verse 43:[15] And Jiphtah, and Ashnah, and Nezib…


Verse 44:[16] And Keilah, and Achzib, and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages…

[1] Hebrew: צְנָ֥ן וַחֲדָשָׁ֖ה וּמִגְדַּל־גָּֽד׃

[2] Hebrew: וְדִלְעָ֥ן וְהַמִּצְפֶּ֖ה וְיָקְתְאֵֽל׃

[3] Eleutheropolis was roughly thirty-three miles southwest of Jerusalem, on the way to Gaza.

[4] Onomasticon.

[5] Kirjath-Jearim is about nine miles due west of Jerusalem.

[6] See Judges 11:34.

[7] The etymology of  יָקְתְאֵלis uncertain, but it may be from יָקְתֶּה אֵל, subdued by God.  In Arabic, קתא signifies to serve.

[8] Circa 827 BC.

[9] 2 Kings 14:7:  “He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah (הַסֶּלַע, the rock/cliff; petram, in the Vulgate) by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day.”

[10] Hebrew: לָכִ֥ישׁ וּבָצְקַ֖ת וְעֶגְלֽוֹן׃

[11] Hebrew: וְכַבּ֥וֹן וְלַחְמָ֖ס וְכִתְלִֽישׁ׃

[12] Hebrew: וּגְדֵר֕וֹת בֵּית־דָּג֥וֹן וְנַעֲמָ֖ה וּמַקֵּדָ֑ה עָרִ֥ים שֵׁשׁ־עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[13] Hebrew: לִבְנָ֥ה וָעֶ֖תֶר וְעָשָֽׁן׃

[14] The Vulgate reads Labana.

[15] Hebrew: וְיִפְתָּ֥ח וְאַשְׁנָ֖ה וּנְצִֽיב׃

[16] Hebrew: וּקְעִילָ֥ה וְאַכְזִ֖יב וּמָֽרֵאשָׁ֑ה עָרִ֥ים תֵּ֖שַׁע וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

Joshua 15:33-36: The Cities of Judah, Part 3 (of the Plain)

Verse 33:[1] And in the valley, (Num. 13:23) Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah…

[But in the plains, etc., בַּשְּׁפֵלָה] In the plain (Montanus, Syriac, Arabic); in the low-lying place[2] (Junius and Tremellius, Masius). The cities that follow were situated in the plains of Judah (Masius).

[Eshtaol] There appear to have been two: one in the tribe of Judah, between Ashdod and Ashkelon, concerning which in this place; the other in the tribe of Dan, concerning which in Joshua 19:41; Judges 16:31. But most think that they are one and the same, which was of the lot of Judah, but situated on the border with Dan, or attributed to them afterwards; which I reckon to be closder to the truth (Malvenda).


Verse 34:[3] And Zanoah, and En-gannim, Tappuah, and Enam…


Verse 35:[4] Jarmuth, and Adullam, Socoh, and Azekah…


Verse 36:[5] And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and (or, or) Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages…

[Fourteen cities] Objection: But fifteen have been enumerated. Responses: 1. Gederah and Gederothaim were two names for one city (Kimchi in Masius). Whence they render it, and Gederah, or Gederothaim, that is, which Gederah was also called Gederothaim, Gederah doubled,[6] as it were, because perhaps it was a two-part city, like Jerusalem[7] (Malvenda). 2. Or, Enam is not the name of a city, but of a fountain near Tappuah,[8] concerning which in the following chapter (Rabbi Salomon in Masius). But that Tappuah belonged to the Josephites.[9] 3. Among those names there was a certain one that does not signify a city, but a village, etc. Moreover, it is not to be marveled at if the same names occur in diverse catalogues: For they were imposed on diverse locations. For Socoh and Zanoah, which were just now mentioned as towns situated in the plain, are elsewhere said to be located in the mountains[10] (Masius).

Fourteen cities with their villages: Objection. There are fifteen numbered. Answer. Either one of them was no city strictly called; or Gederah and Gederothaim is put for Gederah or Gederothaim, so called, possibly, because the city was double, as there want not instances of one city divided into two parts, called the old and the new city. So the conjunction and is put for the disjunctive or, whereof examples have been given before.

[1] Hebrew: בַּשְּׁפֵלָ֑ה אֶשְׁתָּא֥וֹל וְצָרְעָ֖ה וְאַשְׁנָֽה׃

[2] שָׁפֵל signifies to be low.

[3] Hebrew: וְזָנ֙וֹחַ֙ וְעֵ֣ין גַּנִּ֔ים תַּפּ֖וּחַ וְהָעֵינָֽם׃

[4] Hebrew: יַרְמוּת֙ וַעֲדֻלָּ֔ם שׂוֹכֹ֖ה וַעֲזֵקָֽה׃

[5] Hebrew: וְשַׁעֲרַ֙יִם֙ וַעֲדִיתַ֔יִם וְהַגְּדֵרָ֖ה וּגְדֵרֹתָ֑יִם עָרִ֥ים אַרְבַּֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[6] Note the dual ending (ַיִם) on גְדֵרֹתָיִם/Gederothaim.

[7] Note the dula ending (ַיִם) on יְרוּשָׁלַיִם/Jerusalem.

[8] Joshua 15:34:  “And Zanoah, and Engannim, Tappuah, and Enam (תַּפּ֖וּחַ וְהָעֵינָֽם׃)…” עֵין/En can be the construct form of עַיִן/spring.

[9] See Joshua 16:8; 17:8.

[10] See Joshua 15:48, 56.

Joshua 15:23-32: The Cities of Judah, Part 2 (Southern)

Verse 23:[1] And Kedesh, and Hazor, and Ithnan…

[Hazor, וְחָצוֹר] Hazor is the name of three cities in the inheritance of this Tribe: one in verse 23, another in verse 25, and a third, which is called חֶצְרוֹן/Hezron. For why would one city be so frequently numbered in one catalogue? But the term חָצָר/Hazar, which is set before multiple names of places, like Hazar-Shual,[2] Hazar-Gaddah,[3] etc., signifies that those places are not surrounded with walls, but are villages or hamlets[4] (Masius, Malvenda).


Verse 24:[5] Ziph, and Telem, and Bealoth…

[Ziph] There are two in the tribe of Judah: one in mountainous places near Carmel, verse 55; this one, as it appears, in those extremities Southward, with which we are hitherto concerned (Masius).


Verse 25:[6] And Hazor, Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which is Hazor…

Hazor, Hadattah; possibly it should be read as one word, Hazor-hadattah, as there is Hazar-gaddah, verse 27, and Hazar-shual, verse 28, such compounded proper names being usual; and this may seem the more probable, because if Hazor and Hadattah were two different cities, the conjunction and would have been put between them, as it is generally in the rest.

[Kerioth, וּקְרִיּוֹת] It is the name of a city, although Rabbi Isaiah denies this, and maintains that it signifies cities, namely, those that are hereafter enumerated. But this is not at all agreeable to the accentuation with which we presently see the Sacred words distinguished[7] (Masius). It signifies cities, because perhaps many adjacent or neighboring villages made up the one Kerioth (Malvenda).

Which is Hazor, or, which also is called Hazor; but to distinguish it from the other Hazor, verse 23, this was called also Hezron.


Verse 26:[8] Amam, and Shema, and Moladah…

Shema, called also Sheba, Joshua 19:2.


Verse 27:[9] And Hazar-gaddah, and Heshmon, and Beth-palet…


Verse 28:[10] And Hazar-shual, and Beer-sheba, and Bizjothjah…

[Beer-sheba] This was the Southern extremity of the Promised Land[11] (Malvenda).


Verse 29:[12] Baalah, and Iim, and Azem…


Verse 30:[13] And Eltolad, and Chesil, and Hormah…


Verse 31:[14] And (1 Sam. 27:6) Ziklag, and Madmannah, and Sansannah…


Verse 32:[15] And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages…

[Aen and Remon, וְעַ֣יִן וְרִמּ֑וֹן] Ain and Rimmon. Thus they are read separately in Joshua 19:7 and 1 Chronicles 4:32, whence it appears that they were two cities. But, because in Nehemiah 11:29, they are conjoined, En-Rimmon,[16] they appear to have been neighbors, so that they might constitute one city, as it were (Junius). Or they coalesced into one city in process of time and of construction, Nehemiah 11 (Grotius).

[All the cities were twenty and nine] But there are more, namely, thirty-six according to the Syriac and Rabbi Isaiah, or thirty-seven according the Septuagint and Latin, or thirty-eight according to the majority of the Jews (Masius). Responses: 1. There were twenty-nine towns belonging to Judah, but nine that fall to the Simeonites (Grotius, Vatablus, Junius, the Hebrews in Masius, Lyra). This does not satisfy. For he describes here all the cities that fell to the Tribe of Judah in the first lot; but we have not yet separated the Simeonite cities from the cities of Judah (Bonfrerius, Masius). 2. There were only twenty-nine worthy of the name of cities: the rest were more famous farming communities or villages (Masius, Drusius, Serarius, Bonfrerius). This text declares, all the cities were twenty-nine, and their villages (Menochius).

All the cities were twenty and nine, etc.: Objection. Here are thirty-seven or thirty-eight cities named before; how then are they only reckoned twenty-nine? Answer. There were only twenty-nine of them, which either, 1. Properly belonged to Judah; the rest fell to Simeon’s lot; or, 2. Were cities properly so called, that is, walled cities, or such as had villages under them, as it here follows, the rest being great but unwalled towns, or such as had no villages under them.

[1] Hebrew: וְקֶ֥דֶשׁ וְחָצ֖וֹר וְיִתְנָֽן׃

[2] See Joshua 15:28; 19:3; 1 Chronicles 4:28.

[3] See Joshua 15:27.

[4] חצר signifies to surround.

[5] Hebrew: זִ֥יף וָטֶ֖לֶם וּבְעָלֽוֹת׃

[6] Hebrew: וְחָצ֤וֹר חֲדַתָּה֙׀ וּקְרִיּ֔וֹת חֶצְר֖וֹן הִ֥יא חָצֽוֹר׃

[7] Zaqeph parvum (֔) is a relatively strong disjunctive accent, and the strongest in this verse, separating וּקְרִיּ֔וֹת, and Kerioth, from what follows.

[8] Hebrew: אֲמָ֥ם וּשְׁמַ֖ע וּמוֹלָדָֽה׃

[9] Hebrew: וַחֲצַ֥ר גַּדָּ֛ה וְחֶשְׁמ֖וֹן וּבֵ֥ית פָּֽלֶט׃

[10] Hebrew: וַחֲצַ֥ר שׁוּעָ֛ל וּבְאֵ֥ר שֶׁ֖בַע וּבִזְיוֹתְיָֽה׃

[11] See Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 3:20; 2 Samuel 3:10; 1 Kings 4:25; 1 Chronicles 21:2.

[12] Hebrew: בַּעֲלָ֥ה וְעִיִּ֖ים וָעָֽצֶם׃

[13] Hebrew: וְאֶלְתּוֹלַ֥ד וּכְסִ֖יל וְחָרְמָֽה׃

[14] Hebrew: וְצִֽקְלַ֥ג וּמַדְמַנָּ֖ה וְסַנְסַנָּֽה׃

[15] Hebrew: וּלְבָא֥וֹת וְשִׁלְחִ֖ים וְעַ֣יִן וְרִמּ֑וֹן כָּל־עָרִ֛ים עֶשְׂרִ֥ים וָתֵ֖שַׁע וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[16] Nehemiah 11:29:  “And at En-rimmon (וּבְעֵ֥ין רִמּ֛וֹן), and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth…”

Joshua 15:20-22: The Cities of Judah, Part 1

Verse 20:[1] This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.

[This is the possession of the tribe of the sons of Judah] What had been said in verse 12 is repeated; because what things were narrated from that point to this concerning Caleb, Othniel, and Achsah, were spoken by way of digression and as a παρένθεσιν/parenthesis, for the very reason that they pertain to the distribution of the Jewish inheritance (Masius).


Verse 21:[2] And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward were Kabzeel, and Eder, and Jagur…

[And the cities from the uttermost parts of the children of Judah were, etc.] You could translate it, partly of the children of Judah: for they were partly of Simeon, Joshua 19:1-9 (Grotius). The more famous cities at that time are not enumerated one by one, not indeed, as it appears, all in order, but nevertheless a great number (Masius). Not all: for omitted are two satrapies of the Philistines, Gath and Askelon; likewise three sacerdotal cities, Joshua 21:14-16; and also Bethlehem, or Ephratah, concerning which Genesis 35:16; Judges 19. Moreoever, other cities built afterwards were not, of which it is not treated here, but of those that belonged to the Canaanites before the coming of the Israelites (Bonfrerius). Joshua only enumerated cities on the borders and limits of Judah, not midland cities (Munster). Now, the great number of cities is a certain indication of the fecundity of the Promised Land. We will not persist in describing the individual cities; both because the situation and condition of many is not greatly conducive to a correct perception of the Sacred Histories, and also because they are little known to us. Now, the beginning of the Catalogue is made almost from that place from which also the Catalogue of borders began, that is, from the farthest shore of the Dead Sea westward, where Canaan shares a border with Idumea. And thence it proceeds almost to Gaza and the Mediterranean Sea (Masius).

The uttermost cities; those which were on the borders of the land, not the midland cities. It is apparent that all the cities belonging to this tribe are not mentioned in this catalogue. Kabzeel, called Jekabzeel, Nehemiah 11:25.


Verse 22:[3] And Kinah, and Dimonah, and Adadah…

[Adadah] Hebrew, עַדְעָדָה; Septuagint, Gadgada. For they are generally wont to represent ע/Ayin[4] by their γ/Gamma/g (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: זֹ֗את נַחֲלַ֛ת מַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵי־יְהוּדָ֖ה לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּֽהְי֣וּ הֶעָרִ֗ים מִקְצֵה֙ לְמַטֵּ֣ה בְנֵֽי־יְהוּדָ֔ה אֶל־גְּב֥וּל אֱד֖וֹם בַּנֶּ֑גְבָּה קַבְצְאֵ֥ל וְעֵ֖דֶר וְיָגֽוּר׃

[3] Hebrew: וְקִינָ֥ה וְדִֽימוֹנָ֖ה וְעַדְעָדָֽה׃

[4] ע is generally treated as silent by Westerners, although it does have a subtle guttural pronunciation.

Joshua 15:19: Achsah’s Dowry Request, Part 2

Verse 19:[1] Who answered, Give me a (Gen. 33:11) blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.

[Give to me a blessing (thus all interpreters)] A blessing is here understood that is made efficacious in the furnishing of goods (Bonfrerius). That is, a Gift/Favor (Vatablus, Drusius, Bonfrerius). Something proceeding from the blessing, or beneficence, of God (Piscator). בְּרָכָה/blessing is taken as gift in Genesis 33:11; 1 Samuel 25:27; 2 Corinthians 9:5[2] (Bonfrerius). It was the custom of the ancient fathers, by solemn prayers to dispense, as it were, the favor of God to their children, when they distributed to them their inheritance. Achsah alludes to this (Masius). בְּרָכָה is translated a possession (Chaldean), a gift (Tigurinus), an increase of wealth (Kimchi). Which is the proper notion of this word, as it is evident from the things said on Joshua 14:13. Kimchi even thinks that it is able to be read בְּרֵכָה, and to be translated a pool, out of which the drier farmland might be able to be irrigated (Masius). This keen young woman acutely and fittingly made use of a word that could signify both blessing and abundance of water (Lapide out of Montanus).

Give me a blessing, that is, a gift, as that word signifies, Genesis 33:11.

[A southern land, etc., כִּ֣י אֶ֤רֶץ הַנֶּ֙גֶב֙ נְתַתָּ֔נִי] Because a land of the south, or southern, thou hast given me (Montanus, Munster). נְתַתָּנִי, thou hast given me, is in the place of נָתַתָּ לִי, thou hast given to me (Hebrews in Masius). Into the land of the Negeb (other codices have νότου, of the south) thou has given me (Septuagint). They think that the preposition אֶל/to is missing before אֶרֶץ/land (Masius). Thou hast given an arid land (Pagnine, similarly Tigurinus, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius). Verbatim: of dryness (Vatablus), that is, dry (for in Chaldean נֶגֶב signifies dry land): Southern, and hence dry; for that part is drier than the remaining part of the world (Drusius). That is to say, That earth, because of the condition of its situation, and because it was without waters, was arid and sterile (Menochius). But, since among us those fields and hills, planted with vines, that face the South, are generally more fertile, Tostatus wonders why dry land might be said to be of the South. But the same conditions are not everywhere present in the winds of the earth (Bonfrerius). In Europe, the South Wind is more rainy and fertile: yet to the Jews, it, as blowing from the vast wilderness of Arabia, is hot, burning, and dry (Lapide). The Southern Places there are baked with the heat of the Sun, not irrigated with rain (Bonfrerius). [Some translate נְתַתָּנִי otherwise:] In a souther land thou hast settled me (Syriac), or, thou hast joined me in matrimony (Arabic). [Thus ב/in is missing before אֶרֶץ/land, which is common.] We have shown in Joshua 11:16 that Southern soil is said to be dry land (Masius). That נֶגֶב/Negeb signifies dryness appears to be gathered from the antithesis of waters (Piscator).

A south land, that is, a dry land, which was much exposed to the south wind, which in those parts was very hot and drying, as coming from the deserts of Arabia.

[Join also the well-watered, וְנָתַתָּ֥ה לִ֖י גֻּלֹּ֣ת מָ֑יִם[3]] And thou shalt give to me revolutions of waters[4] (Montanus); give to me springs, etc. (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, Piscator), fountains (Pagnine, Drusius). That is, whence I may be able to irrigate the parched land (Vatablus). Eddies of waters, that is, those springs from which veins of the earth, as it were, bubbling waters appear to be pushed out roll upon roll (Masius). Whirlings: Thus springs are called, because they roll together the erupting water, and make many globules, as it were, and produce rings in the surface (Piscator). Give to me land irrigated with waters (Tigurinus). She expresses it in a fitting manner, Give to me; that is to say, What thou has bestowed upon my husband, it is proper that it be attributed to his merits, namely, Kirjath-sepher; but to me, that is, for my own personal possession, thou hast hitherto given nothing whereby thou mayest desire to testify to thy paternal love (Montanus). Question: What is understood by these springs? Responses: 1. Some understand only those fountains (thus Drusius, Cajetan in Bonfrerius, Masius, Magalianus in Tirinus). But the right of drawing and leading off waters into one’s field from some fountain ought not to be esteemed as a common gift, since the whole of Canaan was drier, and had perpetual need of rains, Deuteronomy 11:11. See Genesis 21; 26 (Masius). 2. Others understand the field in which the fountains were (thus Vatablus, Bonfrerius, Montanus, Lapide, Glassius). Thus the Chaldean has, Give to me a place irrigated with waters. A Metonymy of adjunct: The thing contain is often put in the place of the container, and the thing located in the place of the location (Glassius’ “Sacred Rhetoric” 55). It would not be fitting to give the waters to his daughter, and the fields either to retain for himself, or to grant to others that would put up with the liability of the waters to be drawn off without any compensation (Montanus). If one should desire that the fields were given with the fountains, with him I would not fight concerning this obscure matter (Masius).

Springs of water, that is, a field, as she desired, Joshua 15:18, wherein are springs of water, which in that country were of great price; for it is not probable that he would give her the springs, and give to another the grounds in which the springs were, who could thereby at their pleasure deprive her of the use and benefit of her springs: so she begs a well-moistened field, which also might give some relief to that which was dry and barren.

[And he gave to her the upper and lower irrigated ground,וַיִּתֶּן־לָ֗הּ אֵ֚ת גֻּלֹּ֣ת עִלִּיּ֔וֹת וְאֵ֖ת גֻּלֹּ֥ת תַּחְתִּיּֽוֹת׃] He gave to her the upper and lower springs (Junius and Tremellius), or, irrigated ground upper, etc. (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus). Question: What is understood by these? I respond, Two springs; one of which appears to have been in an upper place, the other in a lower (Masius). Fountains in upper places and in lower places, which she might divert to the parched ground (Cajetan in Bonfrerius). Upper springs are fountains erupting from the ground; lower springs are wells (certain interpreters in Vatablus). Wells dug; for wells also are subterranean fountains, as it were (Estius). He gave springs upper, by which hilly, and lower, by which more level, places could be irrigated (Tirinus). Others take this of farms irrigated, and therefore fertile (Bonfrerius). He gave a field in which there were fountains in the upper and lower part (Vatablus, Estius, Lyra). He gave a farm in places higher, or mountainous, and in places lower, or flat (Theodoret and Serarius in Bonfrerius). Thus he calls the irrigated land upper and lower by comparison with that parched land which she had previously received (Tostatus in Bonfrerius). And so these generally maintain that two farms were newly given as part of the dowry: But to me it appears that only one dotal farm was given to her by Caleb; but it is called upper irrigated, because it was irrigated with rains from above; and lower, because it was irrigated by rivulets and fountains from below. Since the exceptional fecundity of the fields proceeds from waters, especially rains, Deuteronomy 11; Isaiah 30; Ezekiel 34. To which, if irrigation by land be added from fountains and rivulets, now nothing is wanting to that soil (Bonfrerius). Question: How does Achsah obtain the field, since daughters were excluded from inheriting estates (except when sons were wanting)? Responses: 1. Estates were also able to be given to daughters, while they married with members of their own tribe (Masius, Bonfrerius): since in this manner estates were not transferred from tribe to tribe[5] (Bonfrerius). There is no doubt that fields and farms were able to be bestowed upon a daughter as a dowry until the year of Jubilee; for so far they were albe to sell them even to one outside (Bonfrerius). He gave to her irrigated land for a dowry; not by law or custom, but of his own liberality (Grotius). He gave to her an estate, although she had three brothers, 1 Chronicles 4:15 (Lightfoot).

The upper springs, and the nether springs, that is, springs both in the higher and in the lower grounds; or two fields, one in high, another in low grounds; or rather, one above, and the other below, that south and dry ground which she complained of, that by this means it might be watered on both sides.

[1] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֜אמֶר תְּנָה־לִּ֣י בְרָכָ֗ה כִּ֣י אֶ֤רֶץ הַנֶּ֙גֶב֙ נְתַתָּ֔נִי וְנָתַתָּ֥ה לִ֖י גֻּלֹּ֣ת מָ֑יִם וַיִּתֶּן־לָ֗הּ אֵ֚ת גֻּלֹּ֣ת עִלִּיּ֔וֹת וְאֵ֖ת גֻּלֹּ֥ת תַּחְתִּיּֽוֹת׃

[2] 2 Corinthians 9:5:  “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty (εὐλογίαν/blessing), whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty (εὐλογίαν/blessing), and not as of covetousness.”

[3] גֻּלָּה is derived from גָּלַל, to roll.

[4] A woodenly literalistic rendering.

[5] See Numbers 36.