Joshua 15:3: The Southern Border of Judah, Part 3

Verse 3:[1] And it went out to the south side (Num. 34:4) to Maaleh-acrabbim (or, the going up to Acrabbim[2]), and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadesh-barnea, and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa…

[Toward the ascent of the Scorpion,וְ֠יָצָא אֶל־מִנֶּ֜גֶב לְמַעֲלֵ֤ה עַקְרַבִּים֙ ] And it goes out (that is, and from here it extends [Vatablus]) to the south of Maaleh-acrabbim (Piscator, thus Vatablus). Some translate it, to the ascent, or incline, of scorpions[3] (Munster, Castalio). To others it is a proper name (thus the Septuagint in Grotius, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus, English, Dutch, Masius). Nevertheless, it appears that this was done, either, from the abundance of scorpions (Grotius, Menochius); see Deuteronomy 8:15 (Grotius): or, from the similitude and figure (Menochius), because these mountains curved in upon themselves after the likeness of scorpions (Vatablus). Part of Idumæa was called Ἀκραββατίνη/Acrabattine, 1 Maccabees 5:3.[4] Ptolemy places Acraba in Mesopotamia (Grotius). Note here the doubling of the particles, which is common in Hebraisms; as here it is verbatim, unto from the South, etc. (Drusius). Unto the place that was on the south, etc. (Munster, Tigurinus). The Greek (which the Latin follows) has ἀπέναντι, over against, before; they were reading מִנֶגֶד, in front of, instead of מִנֶגֶב, from the south. Now, this hill of Acrabbim is not further North than that last shorte of the Salt Sea (as most Geographers incorrectly locate it), but further South: For in Ptolemy Petra is much further South than the tongue of the Salt Sea; and so Kadesh-barnea also is further South, as one might expect for a neighbor of Petra. But the very same Geographers now state that this hill of Acrabbim is further South than Kadesh-barnea (Masius). See more things concerning this place on Numbers 34:4 (Malvenda). Moreover, note that in the place of יָצָא, it went out, in Numbers 34:4 it is written נָסַב, it turned, went around, which signifies that the line of measurement is bent, is not altogether straight (Masius).

[And it passes through to Sina[5] (thus Jerome and the Septuagint)] Σενὰ/ Sena, as if the ה were pertaining to the name: But this is not so (Drusius). צִנָה is the city Zin, which gave its name to the desert (Vatablus). The ה in צִנָה has the force of a preposition (Masius). It signifies motion toward a place: צִנָה in the place of לְצִין, to Zin, according to the usage of the language. Thus soon אַדָּרָה in the place of לְאַדָּר, to Adar (Drusius).

[And it ascends unto Kadesh-barnea] By diverting toward the North, which the languge of ascending indicates: For Northern Places are contemplated as higher, because they appear to draw near to the apex of the world, which we called the Arctic Pole. Now, Kadesh-barnea appears to have been part of the Promised Land, from Deuteronomy 1:19, 20, but the utmost limit (Masius). It ascends, that is, it proceeds by ascending; and there it turns itself, that is, it directs its course, unto Hebron (Vatablus).

[חֶצְרוֹן] Below it is called חָצוֹר/Hazor. But that Hazor is diverse from Hazor of Galilee by the whole heaven (Masius).

[Karkaa, הַקַּרְקָעָה] Symmachus translates it γῆν/land (for to the Hebrews קַרְקָע signifies ground, foundation), which he does not think to be the proper name of a certain place (Masius).

And it went out to the south side, etc.: Concerning this description of the southern coast of Judah, see Numbers 34:3-5.

[1] Hebrew: וְ֠יָצָא אֶל־מִנֶּ֜גֶב לְמַעֲלֵ֤ה עַקְרַבִּים֙ וְעָ֣בַר צִ֔נָה וְעָלָ֥ה מִנֶּ֖גֶב לְקָדֵ֣שׁ בַּרְנֵ֑עַ וְעָבַ֤ר חֶצְרוֹן֙ וְעָלָ֣ה אַדָּ֔רָה וְנָסַ֖ב הַקַּרְקָֽעָה׃

[2] Hebrew: לְמַעֲלֵ֤ה עַקְרַבִּים.

[3] מַעֲלֵה עַקְרַבִּים/Maaleh-acrabbim means ascent of scorpions.

[4] 1 Maccabees 5:3:  “Then Judas fought against the children of Esau in Idumea at Arabattine (Ἀκραβαττήνην), because they besieged Gael:  and he gave them a great overthrow, and abated their courage, and took their spoils.”

[5] Hebrew: וְעָ֣בַר צִ֔נָה.

1 thought on “Joshua 15:3: The Southern Border of Judah, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘In these verses, we have the borders of the lot of Judah, which, as the rest, is said to be by their families, that is, with an eye to the number of their families. And it intimates that Joshua and Eleazar, and the rest of the commissioners, when they had by lot given each tribe its portion, did afterwards (it is probable by lot likewise) subdivide those larger portions, and assign to each family its inheritance, and then to each household, which would be better done by this supreme authority, and be apt to give less disgust than if it had been left to the inferior magistrates of each tribe to make that distribution. The borders of this tribe are here largely fixed, yet not unalterably, for a good deal of that which lies within these bounds was afterwards assigned to the lots of Simeon and Dan.’

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