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.

Joshua 19:35-39: The Cities of Naphtali

Verse 35:[1] And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth…

[And Emath] Or Hammath. It was twofold: 1. greater (which is called great, Amos 6:2), namely, Antioch; 2. lesser, which is Epiphaneia,[2] concerning which in this place (Bonfrerius). But, But when Ptolemy locates Antioch higher than Damascus by two and half degrees, but Epiphaneia by almost one and half, I infer (I do not know how rightly) that this is another and third Hamath, near which is Riblah, 2 Kings 23:33, which is below the source of Jordan, Numbers 34:11. Although it was able to happen that the Nephthalim were lying extended above the fountains of Jordan toward the North and East (Masius). Some ascribe to them Damascus, Abilene,[3] Chalchis,[4] Palmyra,[5] Emesa,[6] and other most famous cities toward Euphrates: But it was not yet conceded to them to dwell near Euphrates. See what things are on Joshua 1:4 (Masius).

Hammath, or, Hamath; of which see Numbers 34:8; 1 Kings 8:65; 2 Kings 23:33.

[And Chinnereth] Whence the lake afterwards called Gennesaret received its name (Junius, Lapide, similarly Masius, Bonfrerius). This city was near the sea of Gennesaret, where the Jordan flows into that; and so it was not able to be Tiberias,[7] as it appears in Masius and Montanus (since it moves away from that part of the lake toward the south), but rather Capernaum, or another city near to it in situation (Bonfrerius). Nevertheless, others maintain that there were two Chinnereths, one in the tribe of Naphtali, the other in Zebulun, which is also called Tiberias (thus Eusebius in Masius, Adrichomius in Bonfrerius).

Chinnereth; whence the lake of Chinnereth or Gennesaret received its name.


Verse 36:[8] And Adamah, and Ramah, and Hazor…


Verse 37:[9] And Kedesh, and Edrei, and En-hazor…


Verse 38:[10] And Iron, and Migdal-el, Horem, and Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.

[Nineteen cities] But we have twenty-three locations here. Therefore, the others were names of obscurer villages (Bonfrerius).

Nineteen cities: see on verse 15, 22, 30.


Verse 39:[11] This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.

[1] Hebrew:  וְעָרֵ֖י מִבְצָ֑ר הַצִּדִּ֣ים צֵ֔ר וְחַמַּ֖ת רַקַּ֥ת וְכִנָּֽרֶת׃

[2] Located in west-central Syria.

[3] Abilene was a region/plain, reaching from the eastern slopes of the Anti-Libanus to the south and east of Damascus.

[4] Located in north-western Syria.

[5] Located in central Syria.

[6] Located in west-central Syria.

[7] Located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

[8] Hebrew: וַאֲדָמָ֥ה וְהָרָמָ֖ה וְחָצֽוֹר׃

[9] Hebrew: וְקֶ֥דֶשׁ וְאֶדְרֶ֖עִי וְעֵ֥ין חָצֽוֹר׃

[10] Hebrew: וְיִרְאוֹן֙ וּמִגְדַּל־אֵ֔ל חֳרֵ֥ם וּבֵית־עֲנָ֖ת וּבֵ֣ית שָׁ֑מֶשׁ עָרִ֥ים תְּשַֽׁע־עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[11] Hebrew: זֹ֗את נַחֲלַ֛ת מַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵֽי־נַפְתָּלִ֖י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם הֶעָרִ֖ים וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

Joshua 19:32-34: The Borders of Naphtali

Verse 32:[1] The sixth lot came out to the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families.

[Naphtali] The Asherites were separating them from the Mediterranean Sea: Libanus was to the North; Jordan to the East (Masius).


Verse 33:[2] And their coast was from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum; and the outgoings thereof were at Jordan…

[And the border began] The Eastern border from the North to the south (Junius, Malvenda, similarly Masius, Serarius, etc.). And Heleph and Allon were not so far from the springs of Jordan. But to me this does not satisfy: For, 1. concerning the situation of these cities nothing is evident. 2. What follows does not support this explication, but rather opposes. Objection: But, since the Southern side is described in verse 34, the eastern side appears to have been previously described. Response: The Eastern side is sufficiently indicated, when it is indicated also that the Northern side had reached to Jordan, and that the Southern side is begun by turning back from Jordan, and that to such an extent that entire stretch of Jordan that lies between pertains to the Nephthalim, and furnishes the eastern border. For me it is settled that the Northern border is here described: 1. Because otherwise that is nowhere described, which the aforementioned interpreters confess: But what is the reason why this border alone would be passed over in silence? 2. From those words, and the outgoings thereof all the way to Jordan: which words would have no suitable sense, unless either the Southern or Northern border is here described; but the Southern border is described below; therefore, the Northern border is described here. For those words, to have their outgoings in some place, in the rest of the descriptions signify only this, to be shut up and ended there. And how would they say that the eastern border is shut up by Jordan, if the entire border proceeds along Jordan? It was rather to be said, the outgoings of that side are at the sea of Cinnereth; for there the eastern side extends (Bonfrerius). But that, it ended at Jordan, is plainly the twin of that in verse 26, it falls unto Carmel toward the sea. For, even if we has hitherto traced our descent along Jordan, nevertheless the river ought to be named, so that that very thing might be understood, that we yet concerned with its bank. And it is able to happen that that, being curved in this place, hindered from descending any further toward the south (Masius).

[And Allon to Zaanannim[3]] Thus Judges 4:11.[4] Therefore, the Septuagint and the Chaldean incorrectly read Meelon unto Besaanaim, as if the prepositions were part of the names; just like Meeleph in the place of Heleph (Masius).

[מֵֽאֵל֜וֹן בְּצַעֲנַנִּ֗ים[5]] From Allon in Zaanannim (Montanus), that is, which are cities in the region of Zaanannim (Vatablus): or, rather, before the face of these people; since Zaanannim is plural. It is a phrase of this sort, Douai is before the face of the Dutch[6] (Bonfrerius). From the oak forest in Zaanannim (Junius and Tremellius).

[And Adami, which is Nekeb, וַאֲדָמִ֥י הַנֶּ֛קֶב[7]] [They render it variously.] Adami, Nekeb (Munster, Tigurinus, Pagnine). Adami of that Nekeb (Montanus). A great many, following our translation, think that it is one and the same city (Malvenda, thus Bonfrerius). I think that Nekeb is an epithet of the city Adami (Masius). From the pass of Adami (Junius and Tremellius). From the possessors of the cellar (Arabic). [It appears to have read וַאֲדוֹנֵי, and the lords.] Moreover, Adami appears to be the same as that in Joshua 3:16 (Masius).

[And the outgoings of them (that is, of the Nephthalim [Bonfrerius]) all the way to Jordan] Hebrew: and its outgoing was Jordan[8] (Montanus, similarly the Septuagint), or, to (or toward [Tigurinus], or unto [Junius and Tremellius]) Jordan (Jonathan, Pagnine, similarly the Syriac). Hence it arrives at Jordan (Vatablus). Its borders cease at Jordan (Munster). [Concerning the sense see what things were said on the prior part of this verse.]

Their coast; their northern border, drawn from west to east, as appears, because when this coast is described and brought to its end, the coast is said to turn from the east westward, verse 34. The outgoings, that is, the end of that coast.


Verse 34:[9] And then (Deut. 33:23) the coast turneth westward to Aznoth-tabor, and goeth out from thence to Hukkok, and reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and reacheth to Asher on the west side, and to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising.

[And the border is turned back] The Southern border is undoubtedly here described from the East Westward (Bonfrerius, thus Masius, Malvenda). It is turned back, that is, from the Sunrise (Vatablus).

Westward: this is unquestionably the southern border described from east to west.

[It passes unto Zebulun toward the south] It meets with Zebulun on the south side (Junius and Tremellius), in such a way that the Northern side of the Zebulonites is the same as the Southern side of the Nephthalim (Bonfrerius after Masius). Moreover, that the Nephthalim reached all the way to the lake of Gennesaret, appears to me to be proven out of Isaiah 9, the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, etc., compared with Matthew 4. Now, that those two cities, Aznoth-tabor and Hukkok, occur before the arrival at the Zebulonites, I think it to be explained by the fact that there is some bending back toward the West along the shore of the lake of Gennesaret before the arrival at the Zebulonites, and these two cities were situated in that place (Bonfrerius).

[And unto Asher toward the west] That is, on the Western side the Nephthalim were bordering the Asherites (Bonfrerius, Menochius).

[And unto Judah on Jordan toward the rising of the sun[10]] But this appears unbelievable, for the Judahites were separated from the Nephthalim with so many tribes interposed (Masius), namely, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun; all which, as was shown, were extending to Jordan (Bonfrerius). But these words do not signify that the tribe of Naphtali shared a border with the Judahites, but that by means of the Jordan in a certain manner it was a neighbor and connected to the Tribe of Judah, namely, through trade by means of the Jordan (Menochius). The author wanted to indicate that the prophecy of Moses was here fulfilled, Deuteronomy 33:23 (Bonfrerius, Masius). That is to say, Suppose it to be so that the Nephthalim appear to be removed from the sea and the other tribes, especially Judah; nevertheless through commerce by means of the Jordan they readily enjoy all goods (Bonfrerius, similarly Masius, Menochius). And this sense the Hebrew words do allow, which are able thus to be translated, and unto Judge by Jordan (or, through Jordan) toward the sunrising. Now, that toward the sunrising ought to be referred, not to Judah, but to Jordan (Bonfrerius). [Junius refers the reader to Joshua 15:5, the border (namely, of Judah) Northward, from the bay of that sea, was part of Jordan: where he observes these things:] That is, Judah possessed the greatest part of Jordan from its end to the lake of Gennesaret, even if the borders of certain tribes were falling unto the same Jordan. It was done in this manner, that the border of Naphtali on Jordan might be coterminous with Judah, as it is found in Joshua 19:34 (Junius). The Septuagint thus reads it, and the Jordan toward the sunrise: thus the difficulty vanishes: but they omit the reference to Judah, which is found in the Hebrew (Bonfrerius). Moreover, that these things that were predicted by Moses were fulfilled, shall be readily demonstrated from the fecundity of that soil, extolled by many authors. See also on Judges 18:9, 10, where that tract near the springs of Jordan is treated. But you will set over against this Deuteronomy 33:23, possess the sea and the south. But the Chaldean takes this of the sea of Tiberias. But, since the use of sea in this sense is unusual, the sense is rather, Although they dwelt in an altogether different part, that is, the North and the East, nevertheless through with the other tribes they were going to share in whatever good were among them (Masius on verse 39).

To Judah, upon Jordan. Question. How can this be, when there were divers tribes between this and Judah, all which reached to Jordan? Answer. He doth not say of Judah, as he doth of Zebulun and Asher, that it reacheth to it; but, as it seems, purposely leaves out that word which he had used in both the former branches, lest it should be understood of a local reaching to it, or being contiguous with it, which was not true; and that he might signify that he meant this clause in another sense, to wit, that it did in some sort go or reach to, or converse with Judah by Jordan. And so this may be here added, to show the accomplishment of that famous and obscure prophecy, That Naphtali, though he should be planted in the utmost border of the land, on the north-east, yet he should possess the riches of the west and south, Deuteronomy 33:23, that is, of those tribes which were at a great distance from him westward and southward; and this he should do by way of commerce with them by their famous river Jordan, which he did not only touch in a small part, as some of the other tribes did, but lay all along it for a good space together, even from the very fountain unto the sea of Gennesaret. Some think that this is verified by that royalty of this river, which they suppose God gave to the tribe of Judah, which extended as far as Naphtali.

[1] Hebrew: לִבְנֵ֣י נַפְתָּלִ֔י יָצָ֖א הַגּוֹרָ֣ל הַשִּׁשִּׁ֑י לִבְנֵ֥י נַפְתָּלִ֖י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֣י גְבוּלָ֗ם מֵחֵ֙לֶף מֵֽאֵל֜וֹן בְּצַעֲנַנִּ֗ים וַאֲדָמִ֥י הַנֶּ֛קֶב וְיַבְנְאֵ֖ל עַד־לַקּ֑וּם וַיְהִ֥י תֹצְאֹתָ֖יו הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[3] Hebrew: מֵֽאֵל֜וֹן בְּצַעֲנַנִּ֗ים.

[4] Judges 4:11:  “Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim (עַד־אֵל֥וֹן בַּצְעַנִּ֖ים), which is by Kedesh.”

[5] אֵלוֹן/Elon can signify a terebinth.

[6] Douai is in the extreme northern reaches of France.

[7] נֶקֶב/Nekeb may signify a mountain pass, from נָקַב, to pierce.

[8] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֥י תֹצְאֹתָ֖יו הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃.

[9] Hebrew: וְשָׁ֙ב הַגְּב֥וּל יָ֙מָּה֙ אַזְנ֣וֹת תָּב֔וֹר וְיָצָ֥א מִשָּׁ֖ם חוּקֹ֑קָה וּפָגַ֙ע בִּזְבֻל֜וּן מִנֶּ֗גֶב וּבְאָשֵׁר֙ פָּגַ֣ע מִיָּ֔ם וּבִ֣יהוּדָ֔ה הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן מִזְרַ֥ח הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃

[10] Hebrew: וּבִ֣יהוּדָ֔ה הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן מִזְרַ֥ח הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃.

Joshua 19:27-31: The Borders of Asher, Part 2

Verse 27:[1] And turneth toward the sunrising to Beth-dagon, and reacheth to Zebulun, and to the valley of Jiphthah-el toward the north side of Beth-emek, and Neiel, and goeth out to Cabul on the left hand…

[And it is turned again toward the east, etc.] It is to be noted that the Tribe of Asher more Northerly, but the Tribe of Zebulun more easterly (Vatablus). Here the Southern borders are depicted from the West unto the East (Masius). Here the line in recalled from the sea, and it is brought toward the East and North, and unto the West near the sea, and that, as it appears, without angles and specified distinction of the sides, but rather bending the line into arc, as it were. The border is said to be returned, that is, to go back from the sea (Bonfrerius).

[Beth-dagon] That is, The Sanctuary of Dagon (Masius). This idol was in the form of a fish. Now, that fish were worshipped among the Syrians and Philistines as gods, is noted in Xenophon’s The Education of Cyrus[2] 1, Diodorus Siculus’ Historical Library 3:2, Cicero’s Concerning the Nature of the Gods, and elsewhere (Bonfrerius).

[All the way to Zebulun] Some take it of the tribe: thus a fair number (Malvenda). At it passes along all the way to the borders of the Tribe of Zebulun (Osiander). In such a way that this Tribe touches the extremity of the Tribe of Zebulun, and its North-Western corner, near which was the valley of Jiphthah-el (which here follows [Bonfrerius]). Others take it of the city of Zebulun, situated nor far from Ptolemais, rival to Tyre and Sidon, as Josephus testifies in Jewish Wars 2:22 (thus Masius).

[Toward the North unto Beth-emek, etc.] Hebrew: toward the North, etc.[3] (Malvenda, Masius). It is not the sense, as if the border was proceeding by advancing toward those places Northerward, although this also would be true; but that the border in advancing toward those places is farther to the North than the same (Bonfrerius, similarly Masius, Malvenda). The Hebrew accents indicate this (Malvenda, Masius).

[וְיָצָא וגו״] And it goes forth, that is, it arrives (Vatablus).

[Unto the left of Cabul] Question 1: What here is to the left? Response: that is, on the North, or, toward the North (Vatablus, similarly Masius, Junius, Bonfrerius, Malvenda). If a man directs his face toward the East, the south will be to him on the right hand, the North on the left hand (Bonfrerius). Question 2: What is Cabul? Responses: 1. Some take it of that region in 1 Kings 9:13. Thus most interpreters (Malvenda, thus Masius, Grotius, Junius). Which name the land received from Hiram in the time of Solomon. Whence it is demonstrated that this Register was written down long after the time of Joshua (Masius). 2. But others take it of a certain city (certain interpreters in Malvenda, Bonfrerius). For it is contrary to custom for borders to be described by entire regions (Bonfrerius). It goes forth to the left, etc. The eastern side from the South to the North: and also in this verse is contained the Northern side from the East unto the West; for those two borders, eastern and Northern, are set forth together in one arc, as it were (Menochius).

Cabul: Either, 1. That country called Cabul, wherein were twenty cities, of which 1 Kings 9:13. But this is not probable, because that was not within nor belonging to any particular tribe; for then Solomon could not have alienated it from them, and given it unto Hiram, whereas this did belong to Asher. Or 2. A certain city so called. On the left hand, that is, on the north, which, when men look towards the east, as is usual, is on their left hand.


Verse 28:[4] And Hebron, and Rehob, and Hammon, and Kanah, even (Josh. 11:8; Judg. 1:31) unto great Zidon…

[Hebron, וְעֶבְרֹן] Hebron: which is עַבְדּוֹן/Habdon/Abdon in Joshua 21:30 and 1 Chronicles 6:74 (Junius). ר/r and ד/d are easily exchanged (Malvenda). Something is to be understood here, in addition in that tract are the cities of Hebron, etc. (Vatablus).

[Rehob, וּרְחֹב] It is assigned to the Levites below, Joshua 21:31, unless you would prefer it to be another of the same name (Bonfrerius) [which Malvenda does prefer.]

[Kanah] This was twofold: Kanah the less, in the tribe of Zebulun, and in Lower Galilee; concerning which John 2: and Kanah the greater, which is in this tribe of Asher, and in Upper Galilee, or Galilee of the Nations (Masius, Bonfrerius, Malvenda).

Kanah, to wit, Kanah the greater, in the Upper Galilee, not Kanah the less, which was in the Lower Galilee.

[All the way unto great Zidon] Deservedly so called, both for its antiquity, and for its crafts, and its skill in trade and navigation (Masius, Bonfrerius). This city, just as also Tyre, although allotted to them, the Asherites never possessed; which appears to have come to pass by Divine judgment, lest by maritime commerce they wallow in wealth, luxury, and other sins (Bonfrerius).

Great Zidon; called great for its antiquity, and riches, and glory. This city either was not given to the Israelites, but is only mentioned as their border; or at least was never possessed by them; not without a singular providence of God, that they might not by the opportunity of so good a port be engaged in much commerce with other nations, from which, together with wealth, that great corrupter of mankind, they might contract their errors and vices.


Verse 29:[5] And then the coast turneth to Ramah, and to the strong city (2 Sam. 5:11) Tyre (Heb. Tzor[6]); and the coast turneth to Hosah; and the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to (Gen. 38:5; Judg. 1:31; Mic. 1:14) Achzib…

[And it is turned back, etc.] The border was returning, etc. Because we began the description of those borders under Tyre, but the inheritance of the Asherites was extended above Tyre all the way to Sidon, that distance was trace, which was thence from Sidon all the way to that place was to indicate whence we first began. Therefore, it was done in this verse (Masius). Only the more Southerly part was described in verse 25 and 26; now he adds the more Notherly cities near the same coast of the sea, until the line arrives whence it had begun (Bonfrerius).

The coast turneth from the north southward.

[Unto Hormah, הָרָמָה] To others the ה is a servile letter (certain interpreters in Bonfrerius), and they read Ramah (Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius). The article set before the name indicates that this city was famous. I suppose that it was Sarepta.[7] Each was situated in an elevated place; which the name Ramah,[8] and the vines of Sarepta, indicate. Bacchus loves the hills[9] (Masius).

[Unto that most fortified city, Tyre, צֹר[10]] Unto the fortified city of rock (Pagnine), that is, which was situated on a high rock (Vatablus). Unto the cities of citadels, cities of strength (Jonathan). [All the rest understand here that most renowned city of Tyre: concerning which see Bonfrerius, Malvenda, and Masius.] Nevertheless, it does not signify Tyre itself, which was outside of Canaan, but the coast lying near to Tyre (Masius).

To the strong city Tyre; exclusively, for this city was no part of the land given them.

[And unto Hosah] This border is said to be turned back from Tyre to Hosah, because of the shore of the sea curved there (Masius).

[And its outgoings shall be at the sea from the line of Achzib,הַיָּ֖מָּה מֵחֶ֥בֶל אַכְזִֽיבָה׃] Unto the western part of the valley of Achzib (Syriac). Its border is the sea, which pertains to the line of Achzib (Arabic). Its borders end at the sea on the lot (or, line [Tigurinus]) of Achzib (Munster, Castalio), or, toward Achzib (Pagnine), or, reaching toward Achzib (Dutch), on the tract pertaining to Achzib (Junius and Tremellius), over against the region that looks toward Achzib (Masius out of the Chaldean). That is, it was reaching to those coasts where that line was sitting, on the sea, and was ended near the region of the city of Achzib. Now, it is evident that חֵבֶל signifies region out of Deuteronomy 3:14.[11] Moreover, Achzib is that Ecdippa near Tyre, as Eusebius affirms[12] (Masius). Others: at the sea from the coast to Achzib (English). You would more rightly translate it, from Hebel-Achzib (Osiander). From Hebel to Achzib (certain interpreters in Vatablus). The sense of the passage is: The border shall be complete with the line now led around on every side to the sea, to the sea, I say, that borders on those lands that are under the jurisdiction of the city of Achzib (Bonfrerius).


Verse 30:[13] Ummah also, and Aphek, and Rehob: twenty and two cities with their villages.

Twenty and two cities: Here are more named, but some of them were not within this tribe, but only bordering places.


Verse 31:[14] This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.

[The possession of Asher] Those things that were predicted by Jacob and Moses in Genesis 49:20, his bread shall be fat, etc., are here fulfilled. Now, αὐτόπται/eyewitnesses testify that the valley of Asher is remarkably pleasant, superabounding in over sort of fruit and crop. See Josephus’ Jewish Wars 4:4. Moreover, in Deuteronomy 33:25, thy shoes shall be iron and brass. Which I take of iron and brass enclosures, that is, the pertinacious power of the Barbarians, which the Asherites were not able to break. And with this agrees what follows, וּכְיָמֶ֖יךָ דָּבְאֶֽךָ׃, and as thy days, so shall thy strength be, which I would thus translate with all simplicity, and as many as thy days, so many thine hardships; which is to say, For thee the struggle is going to be perpetual with the ancient inhabitants, by whom, as by iron and brass gates, thou shalt be kept at a distance. And there is an allusion to this in Judges 5:17, Asher remained at his ruins, that is, in his cities ruined by continuous war. But finally, that Moses spoke of iron and brass (as most interpreters maintain), that is also certainly consistent in this way. For, let me say nothing of Carmel, Libanus, Anti-libanus, and the other mountains, unto which the inheritance of the Asherites was reaching, and which are likely to have abounded in veins of metal; certainly Sarepta has its name from the working of metal (Masius); צָרְפַת/Zarephath, from the purging and forging of metals[15] (Masius on verse 29).

[1] Hebrew: וְשָׁ֙ב מִזְרַ֣ח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ֮ בֵּ֣ית דָּגֹן֒ וּפָגַ֣ע בִּ֠זְבֻלוּן וּבְגֵ֙י יִפְתַּח־אֵ֥ל צָפ֛וֹנָה בֵּ֥ית הָעֵ֖מֶק וּנְעִיאֵ֑ל וְיָצָ֥א אֶל־כָּב֖וּל מִשְּׂמֹֽאל׃

[2] Cyropædia.

[3] Hebrew: צָפ֛וֹנָה בֵּ֥ית הָעֵ֖מֶק וּנְעִיאֵ֑ל.

[4] Hebrew: וְעֶבְרֹ֥ן וּרְחֹ֖ב וְחַמּ֣וֹן וְקָנָ֑ה עַ֖ד צִיד֥וֹן רַבָּֽה׃

[5] Hebrew: וְשָׁ֤ב הַגְּבוּל֙ הָֽרָמָ֔ה וְעַד־עִ֖יר מִבְצַר־צֹ֑ר וְשָׁ֤ב הַגְּבוּל֙ חֹסָ֔ה וְיִהְי֧וּ תֹצְאֹתָ֛יו הַיָּ֖מָּה מֵחֶ֥בֶל אַכְזִֽיבָה׃

[6] Hebrew: צֹר.

[7] See 1 Kings 17:9; Luke 4:26.

[8] רָמָה signifies a high place.

[9] Virgil’s Georgics 2:113.

[10] צֹר can signify Tyre, or flint.

[11] Deuteronomy 3:14a:  “Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob (כָּל־חֶ֣בֶל אַרְגֹּ֔ב) unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi…”

[12] Onomasticon.

[13] Hebrew: וְעֻמָ֥ה וַאֲפֵ֖ק וּרְחֹ֑ב עָרִ֛ים עֶשְׂרִ֥ים וּשְׁתַּ֖יִם וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[14] Hebrew: זֹ֗את נַחֲלַ֛ת מַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵֽי־אָשֵׁ֖ר לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם הֶעָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[15] צָרַף signifies to smelt.

Joshua 19:24-26: The Borders of Asher, Part 1

Verse 24:[1] And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.

[The lot…of Asher] This lot also comes forth in order. All the sons of the free mothers had drawn lots. Provision was made for Gad, the elder with respect to birth (of the handmaids), on the other side of Jordan. Zilpah was the handmaid of the first wife, so that the Asherite appear to be rightfully set before the Danites and the Naphtalites[2] (Masius). From what follows it is evident that the lot fell to the Asherites in the extreme part of Canaan that looks toward the North and West, or the sea, all the way to Zidon and Anti-Libanus; but in its extreme part that looks toward the South it was bordering the Manassites (Bonfrerius).


Verse 25:[3] And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph…

[And their border was] The Western border from the North to the south (Junius, Masius); generally tracking along the coast of the Mediterranean sea (Masius). Their border, etc., that is, the tract of their possession (Vatablus). And it belongs to their border (Junius and Tremellius).

Their border, on the northwest side.

[Helkath[4]] Which is called Hukok, 1 Chronicles 6:75[5] (Junius). This is the first city of the Asherites in the Northern corner of the western border (Malvenda). It stands about ten to twelve miles above Ptolemais[6] (Masius). This is the same as Helkath in Joshua 21:31 (Bonfrerius).


Verse 26:[7] And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihor-libnath…

[Misheal, וּמִשְׁאָל] Which is מָשָׁל/Mashal, 1 Chronicles 6:74 (Masius).

[Unto Carmel of the sea] That is, Carmel situated near the sea; to distinguish this from the other mount Carmel in Judah, where Nabal dwelt (Bonfrerius out of Lapide). Moreover, from these and the following words it is gathered that all these cities were in a continuous tract near the western sea (Bonfrerius). That the line is said to reach unto the sea near Carmel, it is not thus to be taken, as if we were not yet passing along the shore of the sea, but only now arriving at the sea: but it indicates the part of Carmel that juts out unto the sea, while with the other part it is extended into inland places (Masius).

Carmel westward, or, Carmel by the sea, to distinguish it from that Carmel in the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 25:2. This was a place of eminent fruitfulness, Isaiah 33:9; 35:2; 37:24, agreeable to the prophecy concerning Asher, Genesis 49:20; Deuteronomy 33:24.

[Sihor and Libnath, וּבְשִׁיח֖וֹר לִבְנָֽת׃] Unto Sihor Libnath (Montanus, Munster). Some maintain that this is one place (thus Jonathan, Tigurinus, Masius). To many it is Ptolemais, or Accho, Judges 1:31, or Ake, as it is called by Strabo,[8] Pliny,[9] etc. (Masius). Others contend that these are two places; thus the Vulgate, Septuagint, and Syriac. These two words would hardly be brought together for the naming of the same place, since שׁחוֹר signifies blackness, and לִבְנַת whiteness (Masius). Unto Sihor of Libanus (Arabic); unto Sihor near Libnath (Junius and Tremellius). Sihor is the stream Pacida or Belus (Junius, Masius). Libnath is the white promontory, Pliny’s Natural History 5:19, above Accho: of which there is no mention here, because it was included in these borders: but mention is made in Judges 1:31 (Junius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵא֙ הַגּוֹרָ֣ל הַֽחֲמִישִׁ֔י לְמַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵֽי־אָשֵׁ֖ר לְמִשְׁפְּחוֹתָֽם׃

[2] See Genesis 30:1-13.

[3] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֖י גְּבוּלָ֑ם חֶלְקַ֥ת וַחֲלִ֖י וָבֶ֥טֶן וְאַכְשָֽׁף׃

[4] Hebrew: חֶלְקַת.

[5] Hebrew: חוּקֹק .

[6] Ptolemais was located on the Mediterranean Coast, due west of the northern reaches of the Sea of Galilee.

[7] Hebrew: וְאַֽלַמֶּ֥לֶךְ וְעַמְעָ֖ד וּמִשְׁאָ֑ל וּפָגַ֤ע בְּכַרְמֶל֙ הַיָּ֔מָּה וּבְשִׁיח֖וֹר לִבְנָֽת׃

[8] Geography 16:2:25.

[9] Natural History 5:19.

Joshua 19:17-23: Issachar’s Cities

Verse 18:[1] And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem…

[Jezreel] This was a residence of the Kings, 1 Kings 21:1. Adrichomius incorrectly places this in Manasseh (Bonfrerius). This is the Southern border from the West to the East (Junius, Masius, Malvenda), and is described by six cities in verse 18, 19. The Western border is portrayed from the South to the North in verse 20 and part of verse 21, by means of five cities, Rabbith, etc. Finally the Northern border in part of verse 21 and 22, by means of the remaining cities and Jordan (Masius, Junius). This does not satisfy me. 1. There is no evidence of this distribution in the text. 2. They distribute these cities in such a way that not even one is located near Jordan, and all are on the borders, none in the interior. Note that here the borders are not described according to the various positions of the directions of heaven, as was generally done in the case of the others; either because it was not the writer’s intention to follow bit by bit the borders of the tribes, on account of which he generally omits it in what follows; or because from the description of the borders of Manasseh and Zebulun these thing were sufficiently clear to the Jews, to whom the region was well-known (Bonfrerius). Question: Whether this Tribe was reaching all the way to the sea? Responses: 1. [Masius is uncertain.] There is, says he, no mention of the sea here; unless perhaps it is omitted because that coast had no harbors at all (Masius). 2. [Bonfrerius denies this.] 1. Because there is no mention of the sea. 2. Josephus circumscribes it on the West by Carmel.[2] 3. Otherwise the Sacred Scripture would not have said that the tribe of Asher is conjoined with the Manassites on the North, Joshua 17:10, which would not have been true, if Issachar had come between them, or, which is the same thing, had reached all the way to the sea. Note again that not all the cities of the Issacharites are found here, or there are two names of the same place. For elsewhere are Dabareh and Jarmuth, Joshua 21:28, 29 (which is called Ramoth in 1 Chronicles 6:73), and Anem,[3] 1 Chronicles 6:73, which here and in Joshua 21:29 is called En-gannim,[4] by a contraction of two words into one, as the Hebrew will make evident to anyone inquiring (Bonfrerius).

Jezreel, the royal city, 1 Kings 21:1. This tribe, because it lay between Benjamin on the south and Zebulun on the north, is not here described by its borders, which were the same with theirs; but by some of its cities.

[Chesulloth, וְהַכְּסוּלֹת] This is diverse from that one belonging to the Zebulonites, which was situated near the Northern parts of mount Tabor;[5] since this one is South of the same mountain (Masius).

Shunem, the birthplace of Abishag, 1 Kings 1:3.


Verse 19:[6] And Hapharaim, and Shion, and Anaharath…


Verse 20:[7] And Rabbith, and Kishion, and Abez…


Verse 21:[8] And Remeth, and En-gannim, and En-haddah, and Beth-pazzez…

En-gannim; a different place from that En-gannim in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:34.


Verse 22:[9] And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Beth-shemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.


Verse 23:[10] This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their families, the cities and their villages.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֖י גְּבוּלָ֑ם יִזְרְעֶ֥אלָה וְהַכְּסוּלֹ֖ת וְשׁוּנֵֽם׃

[2] Antiquities 5:1.

[3] Hebrew: עָנֵם.

[4] Hebrew: עֵין־גַּנִּים.

[5] Verse 12.

[6] Hebrew: וַחֲפָרַ֥יִם וְשִׁיאֹ֖ן וַאֲנָחֲרַֽת׃

[7] Hebrew: וְהָֽרַבִּ֥ית וְקִשְׁי֖וֹן וָאָֽבֶץ׃

[8] Hebrew: וְרֶ֧מֶת וְעֵין־גַּנִּ֛ים וְעֵ֥ין חַדָּ֖ה וּבֵ֥ית פַּצֵּֽץ׃

[9] Hebrew: וּפָגַע֩ הַגְּב֙וּל בְּתָב֤וֹר וְשַׁחֲצ֙וּמָה֙ וּבֵ֣ית שֶׁ֔מֶשׁ וְהָי֛וּ תֹּצְא֥וֹת גְּבוּלָ֖ם הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן עָרִ֥ים שֵׁשׁ־עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[10] Hebrew: זֹ֗את נַחֲלַ֛ת מַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵֽי־יִשָּׂשכָ֖ר לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם הֶעָרִ֖ים וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

Joshua 19:14-16: The Borders of Zebulun, Part 2

Verse 14:[1] And the border compasseth it on the north side to Hannathon: and the outgoings thereof are in the valley of Jiphthah-el…

[And it skirted, etc., וְנָסַ֤ב אֹתוֹ֙ הַגְּב֔וּל] And the border shall skirt it (Montanus). And the border is turned back to itself (Jonathan). And the border turns itself (Syriac, similarly Bonfrerius). The border skirts the same (Munster, similarly Tigurinus, Pagnine). The same border makes a circuit to it. The to it is superfluous (Vatablus). אֺתוֹ[2] is put in the place of לוֹ, to it, by an enallage of cases (Masius). Whence that border turns away (Junius and Tremellius).

[Toward the North of Hannathon[3]] It is doubtful whether the line went around the city of Hannathon on the North, and added it to Zebulun; or on the South (Masius). The former sense is closer to the truth, says Malvenda [but supported with no argument: Bonfrerius otherwise]. The sense here does not appear to be that the border passes by toward the North of Hannathon; but that the border, after it passed by those cities, is bent back in a certain winding curve from the North, or so that he might describe the Northern border, toward Hannathan. אֶל/to is understood on the word Hannathon by the Septuagint, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Chaldean, and nearly all interpreters (Bonfrerius).

[The valley of Jiphthah-el] The same valley is established as the border of the Tribe of Asher in verse 27 (Bonfrerius). I suspect that it is part of the valley of Carmel, through which that torrent opposite to Jokneam[4] rushes down into the sea (Masius).


Verse 15:[5] And Kattath, and Nahallal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and Beth-lehem: twelve cities with their villages.

[And Shimron (or Samaria), and Beth-lehem] These were diverse from those better known cities, Samaria of the Josephites, and Beth-lehem of the Judahites (Masius).

Beth-lehem; not that where Christ was born, which was in Judah, thence called Bethlehem Judah, Matthew 2:1, but another.

[Twelve cities] But in this passage nineteen were named. Response: Some of them were situated in the inheritance of the neighboring tribes (Masius, similarly Bonfrerius). This is not strange; since the borders are able to obtain by lot an appellation from the places and cities of the two tribes that are adjacent (Bonfrerius). It is certainly evident that Daberath[6] was in Issachar, by whom it was given to the Levites[7] (Masius). Moreover, it is evident that those five in verse 15 belong to the Zebulunites; and also those five in verse 13, since they were near the eastern border, that is, Jordan, or the sea of Gennesaret; Jokneam[8] in addition, out of Joshua 21:34. Here we have eleven; but we are not able to produce twelve. It is worth noting again that not all the cities are listed here, since elsewhere Kartah and Dimnah occur in this tribe, Joshua 21:34, 35; likewise Rimmon and Tabor, 1 Chronicles 6:77 (or, some cities had two names [Bonfrerius]); also Kitron, Judges 1:30. Sixty thousand men (just so many were numbered of them[9]) were not able to dwell in only twelve cities. And it was able to come to pass, that in those catalogues only those cities were named, the names of which the surveyors had hurriedly set down (Masius).

Twelve cities: there are more numbered here, but the rest either were not cities properly so called, having villages under their jurisdiction; or were not within this tribe, but only bordering upon it, and belonging to other tribes, which is evident of some of them, and may well be presumed of others.


Verse 16:[10] This is the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.

[1] Hebrew: וְנָסַ֤ב אֹתוֹ֙ הַגְּב֔וּל מִצְּפ֖וֹן חַנָּתֹ֑ן וְהָיוּ֙ תֹּֽצְאֹתָ֔יו גֵּ֖י יִפְתַּח־אֵֽל׃

[2] The Direct Object marker, with a third person, masculine, singular suffix.

[3] Hebrew: מִצְּפ֖וֹן חַנָּתֹ֑ן.

[4] Verse 11.

[5] Hebrew: וְקַטָּ֤ת וְנַֽהֲלָל֙ וְשִׁמְר֔וֹן וְיִדְאֲלָ֖ה וּבֵ֣ית לָ֑חֶם עָרִ֥ים שְׁתֵּים־עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[6] Verse 12.

[7] Joshua 21:28; 1 Chronicles 6:72.

[8] Verse 11.

[9] Numbers 26:27.

[10] Hebrew: זֹ֛את נַחֲלַ֥ת בְּנֵֽי־זְבוּלֻ֖ן לְמִשְׁפְּחוֹתָ֑ם הֶֽעָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

Joshua 19:10-13: The Borders of Zebulun, Part 1

Verse 10:[1] And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families: and the border of their inheritance was unto Sarid…

[The lot…of Zebulun] Question: Why does he preceding Issachar, who was older than he? Response: By this Divine counsel it was done, whereby Jacob also named them in the same order (Masius). It is sufficiently evident that in the distribution of the lots the order of birth was not observed (Bonfrerius).

Zebulun is here put before Issachar, his elder brother, as he is also Genesis 49:13, 14; Deuteronomy 33:18.

[Unto Sarid] These descriptions of the borders are somewhat more obscure, because these places were less well-known (Bonfrerius, similarly Masius). I, with Josephus in his Antiquities 5:3 (who was born and brought up in those places), set Issachar nearest in place to Manasseh, Zebulun to Issachar, Asher to Zebulun (Masius). But you will say that the border of Zebulun was toward Zidon, Genesis 49:13. Response 1: Therefore Wolfgang Wissenburg[2] locates the Zebulonites above the Asherites between Zidon and Berytus,[3] in Galilee of the Gentiles. But it is not likely that that most noble city, Zidon, would be passed by in silence in a description of those borders to which it was pertaining. Response 2: This only is signified by that prediction, that they were frequently going to be in the ports among the Zidonians. Thus Moses explains, Deuteronomy 33:18, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out, which is to say, Thou shalt sail successfully to markets, etc. (Masius on verse 15). [But concerning these things see what things we have gathered on Genesis 49.] Sarid was the last city of Zebulun in the southern corner, on the western border (Junius, certain interpreters in Masius). They think that it was situated on the promontory of Carmel[4] (Masius). Others: at the foot of mount Carmel (Malvenda, thus Masius on verse 11).


Verse 11:[5] (Gen. 49:13) And their border went up toward the sea, and Maralah, and reached to Dabbasheth, and reached to the river that is (Josh. 12:22) before Jokneam…

[And it went up from the sea, וְעָלָ֙ה גְבוּלָ֧ם׀ לַיָּ֛מָּה] It went up toward the sea (Malvenda, Masius, Pagnine, Tigurinus), or, along the sea (Junius and Tremellius). Correctly, if Sarid was set near the sea, as others think (Masius). Our translation is correct, because this border does not proceed in a line straight and parallel to the sea, but gradually receding from the sea, because of the tribe of Asher, which was insinuating itself Westward all the way to the lot of Manasseh. Moreover, ל often means the same thing as ad, to or toward, as Forster teaches (Bonfrerius). Furthermore, the Tribe of Zebulun was not extending to the sea (the Mediterranean), as is evident from Joshua 17:7, where the Tribe of Asher, which was near the sea, is shown to insinuate itself in such a way that it is conjoined with Manasseh on the North: which was not able to be said, if Zebulun reached the sea. You will say, But Josephus, in Antiquities 5:1, says that this land καθήκουσαν περὶ Κάρμηλον καὶ θάλασσαν, was reaching near Carmel and the sea. Response: I translate that in this way, reaching near Carmel and the sea: or, if you translate περὶ as ad, to, towards, or near, that was able to be said, for it was not far from the sea; but what is not far, is generally esteemed not to be distant at all (Bonfrerius).

The sea, that is, the midland sea, as on the other side it reached to the sea of Galilee, and so those prophecies concerning him, Genesis 49:13; Deuteronomy 33:18, were abundantly fulfilled.

[Unto the torrent] A great many think this to be Belus, or Pagis, famous for its sands of glass (Malvenda, thus Masius, Bonfrerius).

[Over against Jokneam] This was near Carmel, as is evident from Joshua 12:22 (Masius).

Jokneam: supposed to be Kishon, Judges 4:7, or Belus, or Pagis.


Verse 12:[6] And turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrising unto the border of Chisloth-tabor, and then goeth out to Daberath, and goeth up to Japhia…

[And it returns from Sarid eastward, וְשָׁ֣ב מִשָּׂרִ֗יד קֵ֚דְמָה מִזְרַ֣ח הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ] And it returns (going forth [Munster, Dutch]) from Sarid toward the east, the rising of the sun (Montanus); eastward, toward the risin of the sun (Munster, Dutch); unto the east, toward the rising, I say, of the sun (Arabic); toward the east, that is, toward the rising of the sun (Pagnine); toward the anterior of the rising sun (Jonathan); in a contrary direction from the east of Beth-shemesh (Septuagint); forward (unto the foremost part [Masius]) toward the rising of the sun (Junius and Tremellius). Spoken by apposition, as if, toward the anterior part of the world, that is, toward the East (Tigurinus Notes). But I think that the doubling indicates the true and most direct East (Malvenda). The Southern borders are described here, from the West toward the East by proceeding from Sarid to Remmon (Masius, similarly Bonfrerius). On this border they were adjacent to the Manassites all the way to mount Tabor; to the Issacharites all the way to Jordan, who were preventing the Manassites and the Zebulonites in that region; since in Joshua 17:10, 11, the Tribe of Manasseh is conjoined with the Tribe of Issachar (Bonfrerius).

[Chisloth-tabor, כִּסְלֹ֖ת תָּבֹ֑ר[7]] Some take it appellatively, and translate it, the loins of Tabor, and maintain that those parts of the mountain are signified that are in the central place round about (Rabbis in Bonfrerius and in Masius). To others it is the proper name of a place (thus the Septuagint, Chaldean, Masius, Malvenda, Bonfrerius). That near the roots of mount Tabor there was a village in his time called Chesulum, Eusebius records (Malvenda). I think that it is the same city in the tribe of Issachar, called Chesulloth, verse 18. Perhaps this city was located on the borders and included by both tribes (Bonfrerius). This city is called Tabor in 1 Chronicles 6:77 (Masius, Junius, Bonfrerius), and Kartah in Joshua 21:34 (Junius).

[To Daberath] This city was in the tribe of Issachar, as it is evident from Joshua 21:28 (Bonfrerius, Masius).

Daberath, a city in Issachar, as appears from Joshua 21:28.

[Japhia] Japhia, or Japhe, was set in an elevated place, just like nearby Jotapata.[8] They were both heavily fortified cities, Josephus’ Jewish Wars 3:11 (Masius), and in Galilee (Bonfrerius).


Verse 13:[9] And from thence passeth on along on the east to Gittah-hepher, to Ittah-kazin, and goeth out to Remmon-methoar (or, which is drawn[10]) to Neah…

[Unto the eastern quarter, קֵ֣דְמָה מִזְרָ֔חָה] [See on the preceding verse.] Verbatim: unto east, unto the rising (Malvenda); straight toward the east (Masius). The borders of this Tribe are very obscurely distinguished with respect to the diverse parts of the territory (Bonfrerius). The Southern border is drawn out all the way to Remmon (Masius and Serarius in Bonfrerius). But Methoar and Neah sum up the eastern border: and in verse 14 the Northern border is described (Serarius in Bonfrerius). I am satisfied that in verse 12 the Southern border is completed; in verse 13 the eastern border is described. And to this point I refer, eastward; which is to say, to describe the eastern border. Then it is subjoined that this border passes to the rising of Gittah-hepher (Bonfrerius).

[Unto Remmon, Methoar, and Neah, וְיָצָ֛א רִמּ֥וֹן הַמְּתֹאָ֖ר הַנֵּעָֽה׃] [They take that הַמְּתֹאָר in a variety of ways.] Some maintain that it is a proper name: Thus the Latin and the Septuagint. Hamthoar (Masius). To a great man it is a Piel participle from the verb תָּאַר, to draw in outline or trace out: Thus the Hebrews, Mercerus,[11] etc. [Others thus render the whole:] Remmon Methoar, elsewhere Neah (Junius and Tremellius); or, and hence unto Neah (Munster, Tigurinus). They translate it, which skirts, that is by a curving line it extends toward, etc. (Vatablus). Thence it was making a circuit toward Neah (Masius out of Kimchi and Rabbi Salomon). But Symmachus refers it to Remmon, it was going forth to Remmon the renowned (Masius). Question: Whether the eastern border of this Tribe reached unto the Jordan, or unto the sea of Gennesaret? Response 1: Some deny this (Masius): For certainly he that described the border would not have left so notable a border unmentioned (thus Masius). But, if this reason should prevail, neither Manasseh nor Issachar reached Jordan, neither did any Tribe extend to the sea of Gennesaret, because concerning these things there is also silence. I think rather that he made his description from the cities on that coast, of which (cities) the situation would already have been well-known to the Israelites (Bonfrerius). Response 2: Others affirm (thus Bonfrerius). Thus Josephus in Antiquities 5:1, whom Adrichomius follows. It is proven out of Genesis 49:13, he shall dwell at the shore of the seas; and out of Isaiah 9:1, the land of Zebulun and Naphtali…and the way of the sea across Jordan. In which that land in which Christ was going spend the most time, set in the borders of both Tribes, is called the way of the sea, which is to say, situated near the sea, namely, Gennesaret, as the Septuagint and Commentators of renown explain it. Of course, in that place there were cities in which Christ spent a considerable amount of time, namely, Capernaum, Matthew 4:13; John 6:17, 24; Beth-saida, Mark 6:45; 8:13, 22. Josephus affirms the same in Antiquities 18:3 (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּ֙עַל֙ הַגּוֹרָ֣ל הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י לִבְנֵ֥י זְבוּלֻ֖ן לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם וַיְהִ֛י גְּב֥וּל נַחֲלָתָ֖ם עַד־שָׂרִֽיד׃

[2] Wolfgang Wissenburg (1496-1575) was a Reformed scholar and exegete, and served as Professor of New Testament at Basil (1541-1554).  He wrote a Terræ Sanctæ Descriptio.

[3] Berytus (modern Beirut) is somewhat north of Zidon on the Phœnician coast.

[4] There was a headland jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea just northwest of the mountain.

[5] Hebrew: וְעָלָ֙ה גְבוּלָ֧ם׀ לַיָּ֛מָּה וּמַרְעֲלָ֖ה וּפָגַ֣ע בְּדַבָּ֑שֶׁת וּפָגַע֙ אֶל־הַנַּ֔חַל אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֥י יָקְנְעָֽם׃

[6] Hebrew: וְשָׁ֣ב מִשָּׂרִ֗יד קֵ֚דְמָה מִזְרַ֣ח הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ עַל־גְּב֥וּל כִּסְלֹ֖ת תָּבֹ֑ר וְיָצָ֥א אֶל־הַדָּֽבְרַ֖ת וְעָלָ֥ה יָפִֽיעַ׃

[7] כֶּסֶל signifies loins or flanks.

[8] Jotapata was just south of Carmel.

[9] Hebrew: וּמִשָּׁ֤ם עָבַר֙ קֵ֣דְמָה מִזְרָ֔חָה גִּתָּ֥ה חֵ֖פֶר עִתָּ֣ה קָצִ֑ין וְיָצָ֛א רִמּ֥וֹן הַמְּתֹאָ֖ר הַנֵּעָֽה׃

[10] Hebrew: הַמְּתֹאָר.

[11] John Mercerus (c. 1510-1572) was a French Catholic Hebraist, successor to Francis Vatablus as Professor of Hebrew and Chaldean at the Hebrew College, Paris (1549), a scholar and lecturer of great reputation in his day.  He was suspected of having Calvinistic sympathies.