Joshua 15:33-36: The Cities of Judah, Part 3 (of the Plain)

Verse 33:[1] And in the valley, (Num. 13:23) Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah…

[But in the plains, etc., בַּשְּׁפֵלָה] In the plain (Montanus, Syriac, Arabic); in the low-lying place[2] (Junius and Tremellius, Masius). The cities that follow were situated in the plains of Judah (Masius).

[Eshtaol] There appear to have been two: one in the tribe of Judah, between Ashdod and Ashkelon, concerning which in this place; the other in the tribe of Dan, concerning which in Joshua 19:41; Judges 16:31. But most think that they are one and the same, which was of the lot of Judah, but situated on the border with Dan, or attributed to them afterwards; which I reckon to be closder to the truth (Malvenda).


Verse 34:[3] And Zanoah, and En-gannim, Tappuah, and Enam…


Verse 35:[4] Jarmuth, and Adullam, Socoh, and Azekah…


Verse 36:[5] And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and (or, or) Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages…

[Fourteen cities] Objection: But fifteen have been enumerated. Responses: 1. Gederah and Gederothaim were two names for one city (Kimchi in Masius). Whence they render it, and Gederah, or Gederothaim, that is, which Gederah was also called Gederothaim, Gederah doubled,[6] as it were, because perhaps it was a two-part city, like Jerusalem[7] (Malvenda). 2. Or, Enam is not the name of a city, but of a fountain near Tappuah,[8] concerning which in the following chapter (Rabbi Salomon in Masius). But that Tappuah belonged to the Josephites.[9] 3. Among those names there was a certain one that does not signify a city, but a village, etc. Moreover, it is not to be marveled at if the same names occur in diverse catalogues: For they were imposed on diverse locations. For Socoh and Zanoah, which were just now mentioned as towns situated in the plain, are elsewhere said to be located in the mountains[10] (Masius).

Fourteen cities with their villages: Objection. There are fifteen numbered. Answer. Either one of them was no city strictly called; or Gederah and Gederothaim is put for Gederah or Gederothaim, so called, possibly, because the city was double, as there want not instances of one city divided into two parts, called the old and the new city. So the conjunction and is put for the disjunctive or, whereof examples have been given before.

[1] Hebrew: בַּשְּׁפֵלָ֑ה אֶשְׁתָּא֥וֹל וְצָרְעָ֖ה וְאַשְׁנָֽה׃

[2] שָׁפֵל signifies to be low.

[3] Hebrew: וְזָנ֙וֹחַ֙ וְעֵ֣ין גַּנִּ֔ים תַּפּ֖וּחַ וְהָעֵינָֽם׃

[4] Hebrew: יַרְמוּת֙ וַעֲדֻלָּ֔ם שׂוֹכֹ֖ה וַעֲזֵקָֽה׃

[5] Hebrew: וְשַׁעֲרַ֙יִם֙ וַעֲדִיתַ֔יִם וְהַגְּדֵרָ֖ה וּגְדֵרֹתָ֑יִם עָרִ֥ים אַרְבַּֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[6] Note the dual ending (ַיִם) on גְדֵרֹתָיִם/Gederothaim.

[7] Note the dula ending (ַיִם) on יְרוּשָׁלַיִם/Jerusalem.

[8] Joshua 15:34:  “And Zanoah, and Engannim, Tappuah, and Enam (תַּפּ֖וּחַ וְהָעֵינָֽם׃)…” עֵין/En can be the construct form of עַיִן/spring.

[9] See Joshua 16:8; 17:8.

[10] See Joshua 15:48, 56.

1 thought on “Joshua 15:33-36: The Cities of Judah, Part 3 (of the Plain)

  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, 1. Some that are said to be the uttermost cities towards the coast of Edom…. 2. Others that are said to be in the valley (Joshua 15:33) are counted to be fourteen, yet fifteen are named; but it is probable that Gederah and Gederothaim were either two names or two parts of one and the same city.’

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