Joshua 15:7: The Northern Border of Judah, Part 3

Verse 7:[1] And the border went up toward Debir from (Josh. 7:26) the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river: and the border passed toward the waters of En-shemesh, and the goings out thereof were at (2 Sam. 17:17; 1 Kings 1:9) En-rogel…

[Toward the borders of Debir from the valley of Achor] The sense: The border proceeds to the borders of Debir, with the valley of Achor previously passed through (Bonfrerius).

[וְעָלָ֙ה הַגְּב֥וּל׀ דְּבִרָה֮ מֵעֵ֣מֶק עָכוֹר֒] And the border ascends unto Debir (or, toward Debir [Jonathan, Syriac], or, Debirah [Junius and Tremellius]) from the valley of Achor (Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, similarly Masius). But Rabbi Salomon thus explains it, that the line was drawn between the stone of Bohan and Debir through the valley of Achor. If it is so, as the Hebrew words appear to display openly, that valley of Achor was not entirely North of the city of Jericho; otherwise Jericho would belong to Judah, which certainly belonged to Benjamin. I conjecture that that valley was drawn somewhat from South to North (Masius). This Debir is not that one near to Hebron, concerning which verse 15, nor that one beyond Jordan, concerning which Joshua 13:26, but a third distinct from these (Malvenda out of Masius). For this Debir was not far from Jericho. But the Septuagint, instead of דְּבִרָה, toward Debir, appears to have read רְבִיעָה/fourth, for they translate it, unto the fourth part of the valley of Achor (Masius).

Debir; a differing place from that Debir, verse 15, which was near Hebron, and remote from Judah’s border; as also from that Debir, Joshua 13:26, which was beyond Jordan.

[Northward, looking toward Gilgal[2] (similarly Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius)] That is, having Gilgal toward the North (Bonfrerius). Now, the borders that are here said to look toward, when he treats of Benjamin are said to bend themselves,[3] Northward unto Gilgal. Therefore, to look toward is used in the place of to border on, but not to include, nor to receive within (Masius). But if the Northern borders of the Tribe of Judah look to Gilgal toward the North, then it is necessary that it be outside of the boundaries of Judah; neither was it in the tribe of Judah, as Jerome thought, but in the tribe of Benjamin, in which all the others locate it; as it certainly appears so in Joshua 4:19 (Bonfrerius). But to others this Gilgal differs from that near Jordan, where Joshua encamped (thus Lapide, Bonfrerius, Masius). It is demonstrated: 1. The borders have already proceeded from Jordan further than that Gilgal (Bonfrerius). 2. This Gilgal was near the ascent of Adummim, which it is certain was between Jerusalem and Jericho; but that other Gilgal was not as far from Jordan as Jericho was (Masius). 3. The Gilgal of this verse in chapter 18 is called גְּלִילוֹת/Geliloth in Hebrew (Lapide, Masius). [But others take this passage otherwise, and they refer the צָפוֹנָה/northward to what precedes; from the valley of Achor unto the North (Syriac), or, toward the North (Arabic). And what follows, פֹּנֶ֣ה אֶל־הַגִּלְגָּ֗ל, looking toward Gilgal, they set by itself, and render it, it is turned toward Galilee (Syriac), namely, because it is called Geliloth in chapter 18, as just now mentioned: proceeding toward Gilgal (Arabic).]

Gilgal; either that Gilgal nigh Jordan, Joshua 4:19, or another place of that name.

[Which is before the going up of Adummim] This place is so called, because it was situated on a slope and elevated place. In Adrichomius it is a mountain, even indeed part of the mountains of Engedi[4] (Bonfrerius). Moreover, Adummim signifies red,[5] because travelers to that place, often wounded by brigands, are often red with blood. And unto this very place between Jerusalem and Jericho some maintain that Christ alludes, Luke 10:30 (Masius)

[On the south side of the torrent, אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִנֶּ֖גֶב לַנָּ֑חַל] It is ambiguous to what the pronoun אֲשׁר/which is related (Masius). [Some relate it to the ascent of Adummim (thus Masius, Jonathan). But others to Gilgal (thus the Latin in Masius, Syriac, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus).]

On the south side of the river, or brook, or valley.

[The fountain of the sun, אֶל־מֵי־עֵ֣ין שֶׁ֔מֶשׁ[6]] Unto the waters of the solar fountain (Munster, Jonathan); near the fountain of Shemesh (Syriac); unto the waters of En-Shemesh (Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Montanus).

[And the goings out thereof, etc. (it stops in En-rogel [Vatablus]): אֶל־עֵ֥ין רֹגֵֽל׃] Unto En-Rogel (Pagnine, Montanus, Vatablus); unto the fountain of Rogel (Munster, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Syriac). It signifies the fountain of the cloth-fuller: so it was called, because there the fuller, treading with his feet,[7] washes his cloth (Lapide, similarly Vatablus, Malvenda). Perhaps the waters of it, being drawn off by furrows, were serving the workshops of the fullers (Masius). It favors this conjecture, that near the city was the field of the fuller,[8] that is, in which fullers were drying their cloth (Bonfrerius). Now, En-rogel was near to Jerusalem, as it is evident from 1 Kings 1:9, 41 (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וְעָלָ֙ה הַגְּב֥וּל׀ דְּבִרָה֮ מֵעֵ֣מֶק עָכוֹר֒ וְצָפ֜וֹנָה פֹּנֶ֣ה אֶל־הַגִּלְגָּ֗ל אֲשֶׁר־֙נֹכַח֙ לְמַעֲלֵ֣ה אֲדֻמִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִנֶּ֖גֶב לַנָּ֑חַל וְעָבַ֤ר הַגְּבוּל֙ אֶל־מֵי־עֵ֣ין שֶׁ֔מֶשׁ וְהָי֥וּ תֹצְאֹתָ֖יו אֶל־עֵ֥ין רֹגֵֽל׃

[2] Hebrew: וְצָפ֜וֹנָה פֹּנֶ֣ה אֶל־הַגִּלְגָּ֗ל.

[3] Joshua 18:17:  “And was drawn (וְתָאַר, and was turned) from the north, and went forth to En-shemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben…”

[4] On the western side of the Dead Sea.

[5] אֲדֻמִּים/Adummim is here related to the verb, אָדֹם, to be red.

[6] עַיִן/en signifies fountain; שֶׁמֶשׁ/shemesh, sun.

[7] רֺגֵל/cloth-fuller is related to רֶגֶל/foot.

[8] See 2 Kings 18:17; Isaiah 7:3; 36:2.

1 thought on “Joshua 15:7: The Northern Border of Judah, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The valley of Achor likewise lies upon this border (Joshua 15:7), to remind the men of Judah of the trouble which Achan, one of their tribe, gave to the congregation of Israel, that they might not be too much lifted up with their services.’

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