Joshua 15:61, 62: The Cities of Judah, Part 8 (Wilderness)

Verse 61:[1] In the wilderness, Beth-arabah, Middin, and Secacah…

[In the wilderness] It is called מִדְבָּר/wilderness, from דָּבַר, to lead, because sheep are led there for feeding; or, from דָּבַר, which signifies an order of things, and מ, a privative particle, that is to say, a disordered land (Malvenda). They call those places מִדְבָּר/wilderness that are vast, and uninhabited (Kimchi in Masius); or, that are useful only for raising sheep, but not grain; whether they be removed from gatherings of men, or have a few towns and villages (Masius).

The wilderness; so the Hebrews call places either uninhabited by men, or having but few inhabitants.


Verse 62:[2] And Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and En-gedi; six cities with their villages.

[And the city of salt] So called, either, because it was near the Dead or Salt Sea; or, because there the wife of Lot was turned into a pillar of salt[3] (Lapide, Bonfrerius); or, because there were salt-pits there (Lapide, Malvenda). Thus Salsula in Hispania was named, from the salty waters (Malvenda). To me this city appears to have been that Zoar of Genesis 19:23 (Bonfrerius).

The city of Salt; so called either from the Salt Sea, which was near it; or from the salt which was made in it, or about it.

[En-gedi] Elsewhere it was called חַצֲצוֹן תָּמָר, Hazazon-Tamar, 2 Chronicles 20:2, from the gravel of date-palms;[4] or, as others think, from the dense palm trees[5] there. The mountains of En-geddi were very steep and precipitous (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר בֵּ֚ית הָעֲרָבָ֔ה מִדִּ֖ין וּסְכָכָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וְהַנִּבְשָׁ֥ן וְעִיר־הַמֶּ֖לַח וְעֵ֣ין גֶּ֑דִי עָרִ֥ים שֵׁ֖שׁ וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[3] Genesis 19:26.

[4] חָצָץ signifies gravel; תָּמָר, a date-palm.

[5] חוּץ signifies to be tight, to be wedged in.

1 thought on “Joshua 15:61, 62: The Cities of Judah, Part 8 (Wilderness)

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘Now here, 1. We do not find Bethlehem, which was afterwards the city of David, and was ennobled by the birth of our Lord Jesus in it. But that city, which at the best was but little among the thousands of Judah (Micah 5:2), except that it was thus dignified, was now so little as not to be accounted one of the cities, but perhaps was one of the villages not named. Christ came to give honour to the places he was related to, not to receive honour from them…. 3. Among the cities of Judah (in all 114) we meet with Libnah, which in Joram’s days revolted, and probably set up for a free independent state (2 Kings 8:22), and Lachish, where king Amaziah was slain (1 Kings 14:19); it led the dance in idolatry (Micah 1:13); it was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion. Giloh, Ahithophel’s town, is here mentioned, and Tekoa, of which the prophet Amos was, and near which Jehoshaphat obtained that glorious victory, 2 Chronicles 20:20, etc., and Mareshah, where Asa was a conqueror. Many of the cities of this tribe occur in the history of David’s troubles. Adullam, Ziph, Keilah, Maon, Engedi, Ziklag, here reckoned in this tribe, were places near which David had most of his haunts; for, though sometimes Saul drove him out from the inheritance of the Lord, yet he kept as close to it as he could. The wilderness of Judah he frequented much, and in it John Baptist preached, and there the kingdom of heaven commenced, Matthew 3:1. The riches of this country no doubt answered Jacob’s blessing of this tribe, that he should wash his garments in wine, Genesis 49:11. And, in general, Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise, not envy.’

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