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Joshua 15

The borders of the lot of Judah. (1-12) Caleb’s portion, His daughter’s blessing. (13-19) The cities of Judah. (20-63)

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The borders of the lot of Judah

1 This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.

2 And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay that looketh southward:

3 And it went out to the south side to Maalehacrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadeshbarnea, and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa:

4 From thence it passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast.

5 And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of Jordan. And their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the uttermost part of Jordan:

6 And the border went up to Bethhogla, and passed along by the north of Betharabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben:

7 And the border went up toward Debir from 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 Enshemesh, and the goings out thereof were at Enrogel:

8 And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward:

9 And the border was drawn from the top of the hill unto the fountain of the water of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border was drawn to Baalah, which is Kirjathjearim:

10 And the border compassed from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, on the north side, and went down to Bethshemesh, and passed on to Timnah:

11 And the border went out unto the side of Ekron northward: and the border was drawn to Shicron, and passed along to mount Baalah, and went out unto Jabneel; and the goings out of the border were at the sea.

12 And the west border was to the great sea, and the coast thereof. This is the coast of the children of Judah round about according to their families.

Caleb’s portion, His daughter’s blessing

13 And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron.

14 And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.

15 And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher.

16 And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.

17 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.

18 And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou?

19 Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.

The cities of Judah

20 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.

21 And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward were Kabzeel, and Eder, and Jagur,

22 And Kinah, and Dimonah, and Adadah,

23 And Kedesh, and Hazor, and Ithnan,

24 Ziph, and Telem, and Bealoth,

25 And Hazor, Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which is Hazor,

26 Amam, and Shema, and Moladah,

27 And Hazargaddah, and Heshmon, and Bethpalet,

28 And Hazarshual, and Beersheba, and Bizjothjah,

29 Baalah, and Iim, and Azem,

30 And Eltolad, and Chesil, and Hormah,

31 And Ziklag, and Madmannah, and Sansannah,

32 And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages:

33 And in the valley, Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah,

34 And Zanoah, and Engannim, Tappuah, and Enam,

35 Jarmuth, and Adullam, Socoh, and Azekah,

36 And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages:

37 Zenan, and Hadashah, and Migdalgad,

38 And Dilean, and Mizpeh, and Joktheel,

39 Lachish, and Bozkath, and Eglon,

40 And Cabbon, and Lahmam, and Kithlish,

41 And Gederoth, Bethdagon, and Naamah, and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages:

42 Libnah, and Ether, and Ashan,

43 And Jiphtah, and Ashnah, and Nezib,

44 And Keilah, and Achzib, and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages:

45 Ekron, with her towns and her villages:

46 From Ekron even unto the sea, all that lay near Ashdod, with their villages:

47 Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof:

48 And in the mountains, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh,

49 And Dannah, and Kirjathsannah, which is Debir,

50 And Anab, and Eshtemoh, and Anim,

51 And Goshen, and Holon, and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages:

52 Arab, and Dumah, and Eshean,

53 And Janum, and Bethtappuah, and Aphekah,

54 And Humtah, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, and Zior; nine cities with their villages:

55 Maon, Carmel, and Ziph, and Juttah,

56 And Jezreel, and Jokdeam, and Zanoah,

57 Cain, Gibeah, and Timnah; ten cities with their villages:

58 Halhul, Bethzur, and Gedor,

59 And Maarath, and Bethanoth, and Eltekon; six cities with their villages:

60 Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, and Rabbah; two cities with their villages:

61 In the wilderness, Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah,

62 And Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi; six cities with their villages.

63 As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Sin, or Sina, (v. 3,) bordering upon Idumea, where the city of Cades-barne was situated. Num. xiii. 22. It is now impossible to ascertain the precise situation of all the place mentioned in Scripture, as the land of Chanaan has been subject to so many changes. But this inconvenience attends all ancient geography. If those who attempt to unravel such labyrinths in profane authors, deserve praise, much more do those who do their utmost to explain the difficulties of sacred history. It was once very necessary to have the limits of the tribes marked out with precision, that, at the return from captivity, they might occupy their own. Now we may be satisfied if we can point out some of the places of the greatest importance. The limits of the tribe of Juda are specified with particular care, on account of the dignity and power of that tribe, which was to give kings to all the land, and a Messias to the world, as well as to preserve the true religion. The greatest part of the southern regions of Chanaan fell to their share, from the Dead Sea, by Idumea, to the Nile, and as far north as Jerusalem and the torrent of Cedron. C.

Ver. 2. Bay, (lingua,) tongue. Chal. “a promontory,” or rather a gulph. C.

Ver. 3. Scorpion. A mountain infested with those creatures, by which people travelled from Idumea into Chanaan, leaving Sina on the left.

Ver. 4. Asemona, which lies nearest to the river of Egypt of all the cities of Juda. Num. xxxiv. 4. C. xiii. 3.

Ver. 5. Jordan, where it discharges itself into the Dead Sea, or mixes its waters with the latter; which, as we observe, (C. v. 16,) does not take place for three miles. H. — the north-western part of this sea belonged to Benjamin.

Ver. 6. Stone. It is not certain that this was a city.

Ver. 7. Galgal. Heb. Gilgal, may designate “the limits.” The valley of Achor lay south of Galgal. — Sun. Heb. “Hen-Shemesh.” It was not “a city.” — Rogel, “of the fuller.” This fountain was in the king’s gardens, running eastward from Sion into the torrent of Cedron. Joseph. vii. 11. It was used to wash linen. Rogel, signifies “to trample on,” as they formerly washed their linen with their feet. Nausicrae is represented in Homer doing so, in holes or basins, prepared for the purpose. Odys. S.

Ver. 8. Ennom. Hebrew, Ge-ben-Hinnom, or simply Ge-ennom, whence Gehanan has probably been formed. In this vale, children were immolated to Moloc: the beating of drums, to hinder their lamentations from being heard, caused it perhaps to be called Tophet. It was to the east of Jerusalem, (C.) inclining to the south. H. — Northward. The valley extends south to Bethlehem. Joseph. vii. 10. Her David gained a great victory, 2 K. v. 23. C. — Woods. This explanation is added by S. Jerom. H. — The ark remained at this city for some time, 1 K. xv. 6. It was 10 miles north of Jerusalem.

Ver. 10. Bethsames, “the house of the sun,” was at the same distance, westward. Here the sight of the ark proved so fatal to 50,070 of the inhabitants, 1 K. vi. 19. C.

Ver. 13. Arbe, who was the father, and the greatest man of the race of Enac. C. xiv. 15. H.

Ver. 14. Enac. These three giants were at Hebron when the spies came thither. Num. xiii.

Ver. 15. Letters, as the Sept. render it. S. Jerom adds this interpretation. H. — It means literally “the city of the book.” Senna, may also mean “instruction,” v. 49. Here probably a famous school was kept, before the arrival of the Israelites; or the archive of the nation might be deposited among these giants, as the Chal. Kiriat-arche, “the city of the library, or archives,” insinuates. Bochart. Phaleg. ii. 17.

Ver. 16. Wife. Parents had full authority to do this. Saul promised his daughter to the person who should overcome Goliah. Something was required by way of dowry for the lady. Grot. 1 K. xvii. 25.

Ver. 17. Brother. It is not clear in the original whether this relates to Cenez or to Othoniel, (H.) as younger is not found in Heb. but it is in the Syr. Sept. and Judg. i. 13. Many think that Cenez was the brother of Caleb. If Othoniel had been brother of the latter, they say he could not have legally married his niece. C. — But though Moses forbids a nephew to marry his aunt, it does not follow that uncles could not take their nieces to wife, as they would be still the head; (W.) whereas there would be a sort of indecency for a nephew to command his aunt. The Jews allow these marriages, while the Samaritans condemn them. Lev. xviii. 14. In confirmation of the Vulg. we may remark, that Cenez is never (C.) clearly (H.) represented as the brother of Caleb; and there is no inconvenience in asserting that Othoniel was the brother of the latter, whether we take this word to denote a near relation, or strictly. In the former supposition, Othoniel might marry his cousin, Axa, the daughter of Caleb, while he himself was descended from Cenez, the brother of Jephone. C. — But if we take the word strictly, as the remark of his being younger brother, both here and Judg. i. 13. may seem to imply, we must then allow that Othoniel followed the custom of his nation, (H.) in marrying his niece. M. — Sept. here make him “the younger son of Cenez, who was brother of Caleb;” and in the Book of Judges, they say, “Gothoniel, the son of Cenez, (and) the younger brother of Caleb, first made himself master of it, under him;” as if Othoniel and Caleb had been born of the same mother, but of a different father, unless we suppose that they were only nearly related, and the former much less advanced in years; so that he might will marry the daughter of Caleb and afterwards become a judge and deliverer of Israel. Judg. iii. 9. See Masius. Bonfrere. H.

Ver. 18. Was moved; as the Syr. Arab. Junius, &c. represent the matter. Others render the Heb. in a different sense: “she moved him to ask of her father a field, and she lighted off her ass, and Caleb said unto her,” &c. which seems very abrupt, as she herself is represented as soliciting for the favour in the next verse, instead of her husband. The Chaldee supposes that she was restrained by natural modesty, from preferring the petition; but when Othoniel refused to do it, or was denied what he requested, she took courage and asked herself. The sense of the Vulgate seems more natural, (C.) as the husband might easily suppose that she would have greater influence with her father. H. — Sighed. The original term is found only in this history, and in that of the death of Sisara. Judg. iv. 21. Sept. “she cried out.” Others translate, “she remained fixed,” (M.) or “she waited sitting on the ass,” till she had obtained her request.

Ver. 19. Blessing, or “favour, present,” &c. 1 K. xxv. 27. C. — And dry. This is a farther explanation of southern; as the lands in that situation being exposed to the sun-beams, in Palestine, are often destitute of sufficient moisture, which is the cause of the sterility of Mount Hebal, &c. — Watery ground. Heb. “springs of water, and he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.” Aquila leaves springs untranslated. H. — Golgot. Sept. “Golathmaim, and the upper Golath,” &c. Sym. translates “possession on the high places.” Judg. i. C. — Caleb had probably given his daughter a part of the mountain. He now grants her also some field that lay lower down, and was better supplied with water on all sides (H.) by springs above, and cisterns below.

Ver. 25. New Asor, to distinguish it from the capital of Jabin, in the north. This was dependent on Ascalon. Euseb. — Heb. “and Hazor, Hadatta, and (or) Kerioth (“the towns”) of Hezron, which is Hazor.” The Sept. only specify the same town of Asor by different names. There was one towards Arabia. Num. xi. 35.

Ver. 28. Bersabee, noted for the residence of Abraham, &c. It is attributed to Simeon, (C. xix. 2,) with some other of these towns, as the two tribes lived intermixed, and some changes might be made in the first regulation, to bring things to a greater equality, and as circumstances might require.

Ver. 31. Siceleg. The Philistines kept possession of it till king Achis gave it to David; and it continued afterwards the property of the kings of Juda.

Ver. 32. Villages. Twenty-nine of the former cities were of greater note; the six, or taking in the three belonging to Caleb, the nine others which are mentioned, (C.) were only villages. M. — Others think that these nine towns are not numbered here, because they were allotted to the tribe of Simeon. C. xix. 2, &c.

Ver. 33. Plains. Heb. Schephela, near Eleutheropolis. Chap. x. 40. — Estaol was afterwards given to Dan. Samson was buried near it and Sarea. Judg. xvi.

Ver. 36. Fourteen. One of those mentioned above, may have been a village. M. — Others think that Enaim may be the name of a fountain, near which perhaps Juda met Thamar. Gen. xxxviii. 14.

Ver. 44. Ceila, which David took from the Philistines, and were he was nearly betrayed into the hands of Saul, 1 K. xxiii. Habacuc was buried here, on the road between Eleutheropolis and Hebron.

Ver. 55. Carmel. Not where Elias dwelt, but a city and mountain 10 miles east of Eleutheropolis. Nabal rendered it famous by his imprudence, (1 K. xxv.) and Saul by a triumphal arch, 1 K. xv. 12.

Ver. 58. Bessur. About 20 miles from Jerusalem, fortified by Simon, 1 Mac. xiv. 33. It is there said to be only five stadia distant from that city. But the Alexandrian copy reads five schœnus, or cords, each of which consisted of at least 30 stadia. Cellarius.

Ver. 59. Eltecon: given afterwards to the tribe of Dan, (C. xix. 44,) and then to the Levites. C. xxi. 13. The Alex. Sept. here add many cities, which are omitted in Heb. C. — “Theco and Ephrata, (this is Bethlehem) and Phagor, and Artam, and Koulon, and Tatami, and Sores, and Karem, and Gallim, and Baither, and Manocho, eleven cities and their villages.” H. See S. Jer. in Mic. v. 1. C. Deut. xxvii. 4. — Dr. Wall says, “these cities were doubtless in the Heb. copy of the Sept.” and “they are of such a nature, that it is scarcely possible to think them an interpolation.” The former critic thinks “the omission in the Heb. was occasioned by the word villages occurring immediately before, and at the end of the words thus omitted; and indeed the same word occurring in different places, has been the cause of many and great omission in the Heb. MSS. He thinks it less likely that the Jews should have designedly omitted Bethlehem here, because that place is mentioned as belonging to Juda, in several other parts of Scripture.” But is Ephrata ever joined with it, except in this passage, and in the text of Micheas? “And, therefore, though this remarkable omission was probably owing, at first, to some transcriber’s mistake, its not being reinserted might be owing to the reason specified by S. Jerom, out of malice to Christianity.” Kennicott, 2 Diss. 56. — Reland is astonished to find a place which was to be rendered so famous by the birth of the Messias, not enumerated in this place among the cities of Juda. But he observes that it is found in the Alexandrian version, p. 643. Palest. — S. Jerom will not decide absolutely whether the Jews have erased these cities, or the Sept. have inserted them. As he undertook to translate the Hebrew as he found it, he has not admitted these cities into his translation, though there seems to be abundant reason for supposing that they are genuine. H.

Ver. 62. Salt. Bonfrere supposes it is Segor, which was preserved for Lot’s sake. — Engaddi, which was famous for its balm and palm-trees, in the desert of Jericho. Solin. xxxv. — We may here remark that in the preceding catalogues, many towns are repeated like Zanoe, (v. 34. and 56,) and others are left out. Some are also afterwards attributed to other tribes. Hence some have inferred that alterations have been made in the original copies. But we may rather believe that the reason of these variations is, because the cities were parceled out among the 10 families of Juda, (1 Par. ii. 3,) as was the case in the distribution of land to Manasses; (C. xvii. 2,) and hence the same cities were sometimes given to two different families. They are also attributed to different tribes, because many families of the respective tribes dwelt in them. The priests, for example, lived along with their brethren of other tribes. C.

Ver. 63. Jerusalem. The Benjamites claimed the northern part of this city; (H.) and they did not drive out the Jebusites, but lived with them, Judges i. 21. The tribe of Juda had burnt a part of the city. Judg. i. 8. But it seems the Jebusites kept their hold, (C.) at least in the citadel, (H.) and frequently in the lower town, till they were entirely banished by David, 2 K. v. 7. See Judg. xix. 11. In latter times, the Jews considered this place as the common city of all the nation, to which none of the tribes had an exclusive right; and hence, in the last siege, there was no head, and all the Jews were admitted without examination. Josephus. Bel. iv. 5, &c. C. — Day, and even till the reign of David. The author of this observation must have lived before that period. Josue might have made this and may other similar remarks, when he finished this work, towards the end of his life. H.