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…”

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

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The cities are here named, and numbered in several classes, which they then could account for the reason of better than we can now. Here are…Some that are said to be the uttermost cities towards the coast of Edom, Joshua 15:21-32. Here are thirty-eight named, and yet said to be twenty-nine (Joshua 15:32), because nine of these were afterwards transferred to the lot of Simeon, and are reckoned as belonging to that, as appears by comparing Joshua 19:2, etc.; therefore those only are counted (though the rest are named) which remained to Judah.’

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