Joshua 19:24-26: The Borders of Asher, Part 1

Verse 24:[1] And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.

[The lot…of Asher] This lot also comes forth in order. All the sons of the free mothers had drawn lots. Provision was made for Gad, the elder with respect to birth (of the handmaids), on the other side of Jordan. Zilpah was the handmaid of the first wife, so that the Asherite appear to be rightfully set before the Danites and the Naphtalites[2] (Masius). From what follows it is evident that the lot fell to the Asherites in the extreme part of Canaan that looks toward the North and West, or the sea, all the way to Zidon and Anti-Libanus; but in its extreme part that looks toward the South it was bordering the Manassites (Bonfrerius).


Verse 25:[3] And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph…

[And their border was] The Western border from the North to the south (Junius, Masius); generally tracking along the coast of the Mediterranean sea (Masius). Their border, etc., that is, the tract of their possession (Vatablus). And it belongs to their border (Junius and Tremellius).

Their border, on the northwest side.

[Helkath[4]] Which is called Hukok, 1 Chronicles 6:75[5] (Junius). This is the first city of the Asherites in the Northern corner of the western border (Malvenda). It stands about ten to twelve miles above Ptolemais[6] (Masius). This is the same as Helkath in Joshua 21:31 (Bonfrerius).


Verse 26:[7] And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihor-libnath…

[Misheal, וּמִשְׁאָל] Which is מָשָׁל/Mashal, 1 Chronicles 6:74 (Masius).

[Unto Carmel of the sea] That is, Carmel situated near the sea; to distinguish this from the other mount Carmel in Judah, where Nabal dwelt (Bonfrerius out of Lapide). Moreover, from these and the following words it is gathered that all these cities were in a continuous tract near the western sea (Bonfrerius). That the line is said to reach unto the sea near Carmel, it is not thus to be taken, as if we were not yet passing along the shore of the sea, but only now arriving at the sea: but it indicates the part of Carmel that juts out unto the sea, while with the other part it is extended into inland places (Masius).

Carmel westward, or, Carmel by the sea, to distinguish it from that Carmel in the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 25:2. This was a place of eminent fruitfulness, Isaiah 33:9; 35:2; 37:24, agreeable to the prophecy concerning Asher, Genesis 49:20; Deuteronomy 33:24.

[Sihor and Libnath, וּבְשִׁיח֖וֹר לִבְנָֽת׃] Unto Sihor Libnath (Montanus, Munster). Some maintain that this is one place (thus Jonathan, Tigurinus, Masius). To many it is Ptolemais, or Accho, Judges 1:31, or Ake, as it is called by Strabo,[8] Pliny,[9] etc. (Masius). Others contend that these are two places; thus the Vulgate, Septuagint, and Syriac. These two words would hardly be brought together for the naming of the same place, since שׁחוֹר signifies blackness, and לִבְנַת whiteness (Masius). Unto Sihor of Libanus (Arabic); unto Sihor near Libnath (Junius and Tremellius). Sihor is the stream Pacida or Belus (Junius, Masius). Libnath is the white promontory, Pliny’s Natural History 5:19, above Accho: of which there is no mention here, because it was included in these borders: but mention is made in Judges 1:31 (Junius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵא֙ הַגּוֹרָ֣ל הַֽחֲמִישִׁ֔י לְמַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵֽי־אָשֵׁ֖ר לְמִשְׁפְּחוֹתָֽם׃

[2] See Genesis 30:1-13.

[3] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֖י גְּבוּלָ֑ם חֶלְקַ֥ת וַחֲלִ֖י וָבֶ֥טֶן וְאַכְשָֽׁף׃

[4] Hebrew: חֶלְקַת.

[5] Hebrew: חוּקֹק .

[6] Ptolemais was located on the Mediterranean Coast, due west of the northern reaches of the Sea of Galilee.

[7] Hebrew: וְאַֽלַמֶּ֥לֶךְ וְעַמְעָ֖ד וּמִשְׁאָ֑ל וּפָגַ֤ע בְּכַרְמֶל֙ הַיָּ֔מָּה וּבְשִׁיח֖וֹר לִבְנָֽת׃

[8] Geography 16:2:25.

[9] Natural History 5:19.

1 thought on “Joshua 19:24-26: The Borders of Asher, Part 1

  1. John Calvin: ‘Those who are thought to be well acquainted with these countries, affirm that the land of the tribe of Asher was fertile in corn. This is in complete accordance both with the letter and the spirit of Jacob’s prophecy (Genesis 49:20). From the fact that only a small number of cities are designated by name, we may infer that there were then many ruined cities which were not taken into account, and from the other fact that the people dwelt commodiously, we may also infer that they built many cities, with which it is plain from other passages that the land was adorned. And it is certainly apparent that only a summary of the division is briefly glanced at, and that thus many things were omitted which no religious feeling forbids us to investigate, provided we do not indulge in an excessive curiosity leading to no beneficial result. There cannot be a doubt that those to whom twenty or even only seventeen cities are attributed, had more extensive territories. Therefore, all we have here is a compendious description of the division as it was taken from the general and confused notes of the surveyors.’

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