Joshua 15:10, 11: The Northern Border of Judah, Part 6

Verse 10:[1] And the border compassed from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, on the north side, and went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed on to (Gen. 38:13; Judg. 14:1) Timnah…

[And it goes around, etc.] That is, it does not proceed in a straight line from East to West, but in a certain curve (Bonfrerius).

[Unto mount Seir] This one is far different from mount Seir of Idumæa. It appears to have been called שֵׂעִיר/Seir from its hair/foliage,[2] just as also the nearby mount of יְעָרִים/Jearim was named from its forests,[3] with which it was covered (Masius). Seir, as if shaggy, from the abundance of trees. But note that the western borders of Judah are begun here, namely, according to its first extent; for afterwards Simeon was also included in these, and some cities, subtracted from these, are ascribed to the Tribe of Dan (Bonfrerius). Now, here it is said that the border is turned unto the west, because, while thence from that mountain which we were saying lies near to the valley of Hinnom it was extending obliquely toward the South, now at last it is direct straight toward the West (Masius out of Rabbi Salomon).

Mount Seir; not that of Edom, but another so called from some resemblance it had with that in quality.

[In Chesalon] Hebrew: That is Chesalon[4] (Malvenda); this now is (that is, is called [Piscator]) Chesalon (Junius and Tremellius).

[Unto Beth-shemesh, בֵּית־שֶׁמֶשׁ] It signifies the house of the sun (Bonfrerius). That it was far from Kirjath-jearim, is related in Josephus’ Antiquities 6, and in 1 Samuel 6:19, 21 (Masius). This was a sacerdotal city in the tribe of Judah, as is evident out of Joshua 21:16, although here it not numbered among the cities of Judah: but it is sufficiently apparent either that not all the cities of the tribes are reviewed in these chapters, or that there are certainly diverse names for the same cities. Wherefore Jerome incorrectly locates this city in the tribe of Benjamin, and Adrichomius in the tribe of Dan (Bonfrerius).

Beth-shemesh: there were divers cities of this name; this in Judah here, and Joshua 21:16; 2 Kings 14:11, another in Issachar, and a third in Naphtali, Joshua 19:22, 38.


Verse 11:[5] And the border went out unto the side of (Josh. 19:43) Ekron northward: and the border was drawn to Shicron, and passed along to mount Baalah, and went out unto Jabneel; and the goings out of the border were at the sea.

[Ekron] Hence, and even more out of verse 45-47, it is evident that Ekron and the other four satrapies of the Philistines at first pertained unto the tribe of Judah, yet afterwards part of those fell to the Danites, as is evident out of Joshua 19:43. And the Tribe of Judah attacked Ekron, not that it pertained to them, but because it was dangerous to them, as a neighbor (Lapide, Bonfrerius). Moreover, to no other Tribe are ascribed, nor are able to be ascribed, Gath and Ashkelon, since between the others, namely, Gaza and Ekron, they are trapped (Bonfrerius).

[Unto Jabneel] That this is the other Jamnia,[6] I do not at all doubt (Masius). Indeed, I judge that this is probable, but not certain (Bonfrerius). The Greeks are often wont to convert the letter ב/b into their own μ/m. Now, both Jamniæ were situated between Diospolis[7] and Azotus.[8] This one was our maritime city, but not that which was on the interior, as Pliny speaks[9] (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וְנָסַב֩ הַגְּב֙וּל מִבַּעֲלָ֥ה יָ֙מָּה֙ אֶל־הַ֣ר שֵׂעִ֔יר וְעָבַ֕ר אֶל־כֶּ֧תֶף הַר־יְעָרִ֛ים מִצָּפ֖וֹנָה הִ֣יא כְסָל֑וֹן וְיָרַ֥ד בֵּֽית־שֶׁ֖מֶשׁ וְעָבַ֥ר תִּמְנָֽה׃

[2] שֵׂעָר signifies hair.

[3] יַעַר signifies forest.

[4] Hebrew: הִ֣יא כְסָל֑וֹן.

[5] Hebrew: וְיָצָ֙א הַגְּב֜וּל אֶל־כֶּ֣תֶף עֶקְרוֹן֮ צָפוֹנָה֒ וְתָאַ֤ר הַגְּבוּל֙ שִׁכְּר֔וֹנָה וְעָבַ֥ר הַר־הַֽבַּעֲלָ֖ה וְיָצָ֣א יַבְנְאֵ֑ל וְהָי֛וּ תֹּצְא֥וֹת הַגְּב֖וּל יָֽמָּה׃

[6] The more famous city of Jamnia was almost ten miles north of Ashdod on the coast.

[7] Somewhat further north and east of the northern Jamnia.

[8] That is, Ashdod.


1 thought on “Joshua 15:10, 11: The Northern Border of Judah, Part 6

  1. John Calvin: ‘If any are better skilled in places, a more minute investigation will be pleasant and useful to them. But lest those who are less informed feel it irksome to read unknown names, let them consider that they have obtained knowledge of no small value, provided they bear in mind the facts to which I have briefly and summarily adverted — that the tribe of Judah was placed on elevated ground, that it might be more conspicuous than the others, until the scepter should arise from it — and that a region of fruitful vineyards and rich pastures was assigned to his posterity — and, finally, all this was done, in order that the whole people might recognize that there was nothing of the nature of chance in the turning up of a lot, which had been foretold three centuries before. Besides, it is easy for the unlearned to infer from the long circuit described, that the territory thus allocated to one tribe was of great extent. For although some diminution afterwards took place, its dominions always continued to be the largest.’

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