Joshua 15:9: The Northern Border of Judah, Part 5

Verse 9:[1] And the border was drawn from the top of the hill unto (Josh. 18:15) the fountain of the water of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border was drawn (1 Chron. 13:6) to Baalah, which is (Judg. 18:12) Kirjath-jearim…

[And it is bent, etc., וְתָאַ֙ר הַגְּב֜וּל וגו״] And the border shall be traced from the top of the mountain (Montanus). It circles, or goes around, etc. (Pagnine, Munster, all the Jews in Masius); it bends (Tigurinus); it extends (the Septuagint and Symmachus in Masius). And the border is traced, or is formed. Others: and the border draws a line, that is, it makes a line curved or oblique as in an arc. Or, with a line curved (or, oblique) the border extends, that is, directs itself (Vatablus). It defines that border from the apex of the mountain: Hebrew Syntax.[2] There is a similar example in Psalm 10:2[3] (Piscator). The mountain defines that border, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). I think that תָּאַר is to trace out, to shape, to mark with lines drawn out; since it is certain that תּוֹאַר signifies the form and figure of a thing[4] (Masius).

[Unto the villages of mount Ephron] Hebrew: unto the cities, etc.[5] But what might that mount Ephron be, and what might its villages or cities be, you will not discover easily. There is an Ephron on the other side of Jordan, a fortified city, 1 Maccabees 5:46.[6] There was another city of Ephron in Ephraim, 2 Chronicles 13:19.[7] It is clear that this mount Ephron was distinct from those, and no mention of it is made in Joshua 18 (Bonfrerius). Arias Montanus understands the villages or cities that were adjacent to mount Ephron (Commentary on Joshua).

Of Mount Ephron, that is, belonging to or bordering upon Mount Ephron. Kirjath-jearim, called Kirjath-baal, Joshua 15:60; 18:14.

[1] Hebrew: וְתָאַ֙ר הַגְּב֜וּל מֵרֹ֣אשׁ הָהָ֗ר אֶל־מַעְיַן֙ מֵ֣י נֶפְתּ֔וֹחַ וְיָצָ֖א אֶל־עָרֵ֣י הַר־עֶפְר֑וֹן וְתָאַ֤ר הַגְּבוּל֙ בַּעֲלָ֔ה הִ֖יא קִרְיַ֥ת יְעָרִֽים׃

[2] Here, the verb is taken as impersonal; a subject needs to be supplied

[3] Psalm 10:2:  “In the pride of the wicked he doth persecute (בְּגַאֲוַ֣ת רָ֭שָׁע יִדְלַ֣ק; a subject needs to be supplied) the poor:  let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.”

[4] See Genesis 29:17, for example:  “Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured (יְפַת־תֹּ֖אַר וִיפַ֥ת מַרְאֶֽה׃, beautiful of form and beautiful of face).”

[5] Hebrew: אֶל־עָרֵי.

[6] 1 Maccabees 5:45, 46:  “Then Judas gathered together all the Israelites that were in the country of Galaad, from the least unto the greatest, even their wives, and their children, and their stuff, a very great host, to the end they might come into the land of Judea.  Now when they came unto Ephron, (this was a great city in the way as they should go, very well fortified) they could not turn from it, either on the right hand or the left, but must needs pass through the midst of it.”

[7] 2 Chronicles 13:19:  “And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain (עֶפְרוֹן/Ephron [kethib], עֶפְרַיִן/Ephrain [qere]) with the towns thereof.”

1 thought on “Joshua 15:9: The Northern Border of Judah, Part 5

  1. Kirjath-jearim becomes important after the Israelites foolishly open the Ark, and the slaughter that follows.

    Matthew Henry: ‘Their desire, hereupon, to be rid of the ark. They asked, To whom shall he go up from us? 1 Samuel 6:20. They should rather have asked, “How may we make our peace with him, and recover his favour?” Micah 6:6, 7. But they begin to be as weary of the ark as the Philistines had been, whereas, if they had treated it with due reverence, who knows but it might have taken up its residence among them, and they had all been blessed for the ark’s sake? But thus, when the word of God works with terror on sinners’ consciences, they, instead of taking the blame and shame to themselves, quarrel with the word, and put it from them, Jeremiah 6:10. They sent messengers to the elders of Kirjath-jearim, a strong city further up in the country, and begged of them to come and fetch the ark up thither, 1 Samuel 6:21. They durst not touch it to bring it thither themselves, but stood aloof from it as a dangerous thing. Thus do foolish men run from one extreme to the other, from presumptuous boldness to slavish shyness. Kirjath-jearim, that is, the city of woods, belonged to Judah, Joshua 15:9, 60. It lay in the way from Beth-shemesh to Shiloh, so that when they sent to them to fetch it, we may suppose, they intended that the elders of Shiloh should fetch it thence, but God intended otherwise. Thus was it sent from town to town, and no care taken of it by the public, a sign that there was no king in Israel.’

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