Joshua 11:17: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 2

Verse 17:[1] (Josh. 12:7) Even from the mount Halak (or, the smooth mountain[2]), that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and (Deut. 7:24; Josh. 12:7) all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.

[And part of the mountain that ascends to Seir,מִן־הָהָ֤ר הֶֽחָלָק֙ הָעוֹלֶ֣ה שֵׂעִ֔יר וגו״[3]] [They render it variously.] From the mount of division (Jonathan, Munster, Tigurinus), or, the dividing mountain (Aquila in Masius, Syriac). So it was called, either, because it was distributed or divided into two parts (Malvenda); because, even if it was one continuous mountain, it was divided into many, partial, as it were, mountains (Bonfrerius): or, because it divided Canaan from Idumæa (Lapide, Bonfrerius). Our translation, in the place of הֶחָלָק, read הָחֶלֶק/part (Lapide). Others translate it, from the mountain slippery, or smooth, or bald (thus Pagnine, Montanus, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Masius, Vatablus, Drusius), that is, being without trees (Vatablus, Junius), grass, and herbs (Dutch). It appears to be thus named κατ᾽ ἀντίθεσιν, by antithesis, from the nearby Seir: For שֵׂעִיר/Seir signifies hairy, as I will thus call it (Masius). To others it is a proper name (Dutch). Ἀπὸ ὄρους Χαλκὰ (Septuagint), that is, from the mountain stony, or, bald and smooth on account of the abundance of stones (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Canaan” 1:5:376). Now, this mountain extended unto mount Seir near Kadesh-Barnea. (Rabbi Salomon and Kimchi do not have it otherwise, who locate it near the desert of Sin.) But the whole of Canaan is here contained in two boundaries, this mountain in the South, and Baal-gad in the North (Masius).

[That ascends to Seir, הָעוֹלֶה] That rises (Pagnine), that is, extends in ascending (Vatablus). Where it is ascended (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: ascending Seir; Metonymy (Junius). It is to be noted that there is a twofold Seir and a twofold Idumæa. See what things are on Genesis 32:3. One Seir is in eastern Idumæa; another in the South. I supposed the former to be understood here: but, with the matter considered more carefully, I understand it of the Southern one with Masius, and that because of the obviously similar place in Joshua 12:7, where it is treated of the whole western tract on this side of Jordan, and its two opposite boundaries on both ends are assigned, from Baal-gad in the field of Libanus unto the mount, a part of which ascends unto Seir. Moreover, Seir, of which mention is made here, is not mount Seir, for it is on the interior of Idumæa, but Idumæa itself, which is often called Seir through synecdoche (Bonfrerius).

That goeth up to Seir, that is, to the country of Seir or Edom, to wit, that part of it which was south from Judea, not that which was eastward from it, as appears from hence, that here, as also Joshua 12:7, is mention of the two extreme bounds of the land conquered by Joshua; whereof the other which follows being in the north, this must needs be in the south of the land.

[Unto Baal-gad (thus most interpreters), בַּ֤עַל גָּד֙] Others: the plain of Gad (Jonathan, Munster, Vatablus). But I do not remember בַּעַל/Baal signifying a field or plain (Masius). Baal-gad was part of Libanus, but toward the East, for it is described here, and in Joshua 13:5, as next to Hermon. Now, Mizpeh, which was adjacent to Hermon, Joshua 11:3, was situated toward the East, verse 8 (Masius).

[Unto Baal-gad through the plain of Libanus[4]] Unto Baal-gad in the valley of Libanus (Junius and Tremellius). There it was situated (Malvenda, Bonfrerius). Unto the plain of Gad, which is in the fields or valley of Lebanon (Vatablus). Now, the plain of Libanus was to the east of it, between Libanus and Hermon: And Baal-gad signifies not a mountain, but a city, at the foot of mount Hermon, as it is said here and in the following chapter (Bonfrerius).

Baal-gad; a part of Mount Lebanon.

[1] Hebrew: מִן־הָהָ֤ר הֶֽחָלָק֙ הָעוֹלֶ֣ה שֵׂעִ֔יר וְעַד־בַּ֤עַל גָּד֙ בְּבִקְעַ֣ת הַלְּבָנ֔וֹן תַּ֖חַת הַר־חֶרְמ֑וֹן וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־מַלְכֵיהֶם֙ לָכַ֔ד וַיַּכֵּ֖ם וַיְמִיתֵֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: הָהָ֤ר הֶֽחָלָק֙.

[3] חָלַק can signify to divide, or to be smooth.

[4] Hebrew: וְעַד־בַּ֤עַל גָּד֙ בְּבִקְעַ֣ת הַלְּבָנ֔וֹן

1 thought on “Joshua 11:17: Joshua Takes the Entire Land, Part 2

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