Joshua 19:17-23: Issachar’s Cities

Verse 18:[1] And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem…

[Jezreel] This was a residence of the Kings, 1 Kings 21:1. Adrichomius incorrectly places this in Manasseh (Bonfrerius). This is the Southern border from the West to the East (Junius, Masius, Malvenda), and is described by six cities in verse 18, 19. The Western border is portrayed from the South to the North in verse 20 and part of verse 21, by means of five cities, Rabbith, etc. Finally the Northern border in part of verse 21 and 22, by means of the remaining cities and Jordan (Masius, Junius). This does not satisfy me. 1. There is no evidence of this distribution in the text. 2. They distribute these cities in such a way that not even one is located near Jordan, and all are on the borders, none in the interior. Note that here the borders are not described according to the various positions of the directions of heaven, as was generally done in the case of the others; either because it was not the writer’s intention to follow bit by bit the borders of the tribes, on account of which he generally omits it in what follows; or because from the description of the borders of Manasseh and Zebulun these thing were sufficiently clear to the Jews, to whom the region was well-known (Bonfrerius). Question: Whether this Tribe was reaching all the way to the sea? Responses: 1. [Masius is uncertain.] There is, says he, no mention of the sea here; unless perhaps it is omitted because that coast had no harbors at all (Masius). 2. [Bonfrerius denies this.] 1. Because there is no mention of the sea. 2. Josephus circumscribes it on the West by Carmel.[2] 3. Otherwise the Sacred Scripture would not have said that the tribe of Asher is conjoined with the Manassites on the North, Joshua 17:10, which would not have been true, if Issachar had come between them, or, which is the same thing, had reached all the way to the sea. Note again that not all the cities of the Issacharites are found here, or there are two names of the same place. For elsewhere are Dabareh and Jarmuth, Joshua 21:28, 29 (which is called Ramoth in 1 Chronicles 6:73), and Anem,[3] 1 Chronicles 6:73, which here and in Joshua 21:29 is called En-gannim,[4] by a contraction of two words into one, as the Hebrew will make evident to anyone inquiring (Bonfrerius).

Jezreel, the royal city, 1 Kings 21:1. This tribe, because it lay between Benjamin on the south and Zebulun on the north, is not here described by its borders, which were the same with theirs; but by some of its cities.

[Chesulloth, וְהַכְּסוּלֹת] This is diverse from that one belonging to the Zebulonites, which was situated near the Northern parts of mount Tabor;[5] since this one is South of the same mountain (Masius).

Shunem, the birthplace of Abishag, 1 Kings 1:3.


Verse 19:[6] And Hapharaim, and Shion, and Anaharath…


Verse 20:[7] And Rabbith, and Kishion, and Abez…


Verse 21:[8] And Remeth, and En-gannim, and En-haddah, and Beth-pazzez…

En-gannim; a different place from that En-gannim in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:34.


Verse 22:[9] And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Beth-shemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.


Verse 23:[10] This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their families, the cities and their villages.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֖י גְּבוּלָ֑ם יִזְרְעֶ֥אלָה וְהַכְּסוּלֹ֖ת וְשׁוּנֵֽם׃

[2] Antiquities 5:1.

[3] Hebrew: עָנֵם.

[4] Hebrew: עֵין־גַּנִּים.

[5] Verse 12.

[6] Hebrew: וַחֲפָרַ֥יִם וְשִׁיאֹ֖ן וַאֲנָחֲרַֽת׃

[7] Hebrew: וְהָֽרַבִּ֥ית וְקִשְׁי֖וֹן וָאָֽבֶץ׃

[8] Hebrew: וְרֶ֧מֶת וְעֵין־גַּנִּ֛ים וְעֵ֥ין חַדָּ֖ה וּבֵ֥ית פַּצֵּֽץ׃

[9] Hebrew: וּפָגַע֩ הַגְּב֙וּל בְּתָב֤וֹר וְשַׁחֲצ֙וּמָה֙ וּבֵ֣ית שֶׁ֔מֶשׁ וְהָי֛וּ תֹּצְא֥וֹת גְּבוּלָ֖ם הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן עָרִ֥ים שֵׁשׁ־עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[10] Hebrew: זֹ֗את נַחֲלַ֛ת מַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵֽי־יִשָּׂשכָ֖ר לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם הֶעָרִ֖ים וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

1 thought on “Joshua 19:17-23: Issachar’s Cities

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The lot of Issachar ran from Jordan in the east to the great sea in the west, Manasseh on the south, and Zebulun on the north. A numerous tribe, Numbers 26:25. Tola, one of the judges, was of this tribe, Judges 10:1. So was Baasha, one of the kings of Israel, 1 Kings 15:27. The most considerable places in this tribe were, 1. Jezreel, in which was Ahab’s palace, and near it Naboth’s vineyard. 2. Shunem, where lived that good Shunammite that entertained Elisha. 3. The river Kishon, on the banks of which, in this tribe, Sisera was beaten by Deborah and Barak. 4. The mountains of Gilboa, on which Saul and Jonathan were slain, which were not far from Endor, where Saul consulted the witch. 5. The valley of Megiddo, where Josiah was slain near Hadad-rimmon, 2 Kings 23:29; Zechariah 12:11.’

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