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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 19

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verses 1-9

The inheritance of Simeon was taken out of the portion of Judah, which proved on experience to be larger than the numbers of that tribe required. The Simeonite territory is described by its towns, of which fourteen were in the Negeb, and four others Joshua 19:7 partly in the Negeb and partly in “the valley.” On the narrow confines here assigned to Simeon, and its insignificant position altogether among the Twelve tribes, see Deuteronomy 33:6 note.

Joshua 19:6

Thirteen - Fourteen names have been given. The error is probably due to the use of letters for numbers, which has led to many similar mistakes in other places (see Joshua 15:32).

Verse 10

Sarid, not yet identified, was evidently a leading topographical point on the south frontier of Zebulun. The boundary passed westward until it touched the Kishon, near “Tell Kaimon” (Joshua 12:22 note), and thence, turned northward, leaving Carmel, which belonged to Asher, on its west. The territory of Zebulun accordingly would not anywhere reach to the Mediterranean, though its eastern side abutted on the sea of Galilee, and gave the tribe those “outgoings” attributed to it in the Blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy 33:18). Daberath (Joshua 19:12) is probably “Deburieh.”

Verse 13

Gittah (or Gath)- hepher, the birthplace of the prophet Jonah 2 Kings 14:25, is probably the modern village of El-Meshhad, where the tomb of the prophet is still shown, a short way from Nazareth, on the road to Tiberias.

Remmon-methoar to Neah - Read “and goeth out to Remmon, which reacheth to Neah.” (See the margin.) Rimmon, a Levitical city Joshua 21:35; 1 Chronicles 6:77 is probably the modern “Rummaneh,” in the plain of “El Buttauf,” about six miles north of Nazareth.

Verse 14

Hannathon, more properly Channathon, has been supposed by some to be the Cana of Galilee of the New Testament, and Jiphthah-el is probably the present “Jefat”; the “Jotapata” of Roman times, which was so long and valiantly defended by Josephus against the legions of Vespasian. The “Valley” is the “Wady Abilin”; and Bethlehem Joshua 19:15 is the present miserable village of “Beit-Lahin.”

Verse 15

Twelve cities - Only five have been mentioned, and the names in the verses preceding are apparently not names of Zebulonite cities, but merely of points in or near the boundary line. It would therefore appear that seven names have disappeared from the text, and perhaps also the definition of the western frontier.

Verse 18

Jezreel and its famous and fertile plain are the choicest part of the inheritance of Issachar Joshua 17:16.

Shunem - Here the Philistines pitched before the battle of Gilboa 1 Samuel 28:4. The place is also known as the home of Abishag 1 Kings 1:3, and in connection with Elisha 2 Kings 4:8; 2 Kings 8:1. It is identified with “Solam” (or, Sulem), a small and poor village on the slope of Little Hermon.

Verse 21

En-gannim - i. e. “fountain of gardens;” also a Levitical city Joshua 21:29, and called Ahem 1 Chronicles 6:73, the modern “Jenin,” a place on the main road from Jerusalem to Nazareth, just where it enters the plain of Jezreel. Many of the places enumerated in these verses are not known. Tabor Joshua 19:22 is perhaps not the famous mountain, but the town on it of the same name 1 Chronicles 6:77, given up to the Levites. Beth-shemesh (perhaps “Bessum”) is not the same as Beth-shemesh of Judah Joshua 15:10, nor of Naphtali Joshua 19:38.

Verses 25-26

Helkath, a Levitical town Joshua 21:31, is probably Yerka, a village about seven or eight miles north-west of Acre, in a Wady of the same name. Alammelech was in the “Wady Melik,” which joins the Kishon from the northeast, not far from the sea.

Shihor-libnath - i. e. “black-white.” The two words are now generally admitted to be the name of a river, probably the modern “Nahr Zerka,” or Blue River, which reaches the sea about 8 miles south of Dor, and whose name has a correspondence both to black and white. Possibly we have in the occurrence of the term Shihor here a trace of the contact, which was close and continuous in ancient times, between Phoenicia and Egypt Joshua 13:3. Cabul Joshua 19:27 still retains its ancient name; it lies between four and five miles west of Jotapata and about ten miles southeast of Acre.

Verses 28-30

These verses refer to the northern portion of the territory of Asher, on the Phoenician frontier. Some names may have dropped out of the text, the number Joshua 19:30 not tallying with the catalogue. Ramah still retains its ancient name, and lies about twelve miles southeast of Tyre. Achzib is the modern “Zib,” on the coast, eight or nine miles north of Acre.

Verse 33

From Allon to Zaanannim - Render “from the oak forest at Zaanannim.” From Judges 4:11 it appears that this oak or oak-forest was near Kedesh.

Adami, Nekeb - Render “Adami of the Pass.” Possibly the ancient “Deir el Ahmar” (“red cloister”), which derives its name from the color of the soil in the neighborhood, as perhaps Adami did. The spot lies about 8 miles northwest of Baalbek.

Verse 34

Aznoth-tabor - This place (“ears of Tabor”) was no doubt in the neighborhood of Mount Tabor - probably on the eastern slope; and Hukkok on the western slope.

To Judah upon Jordan - i. e. to the “Havoth-jair” Numbers 32:41, which were on the opposite side of Jordan. Jair, from whom these towns or villages were named, traced his ancestry in the male line through Hezron to Judah Numbers 27:1; and it is likely that he was assisted by large numbers of his kinsmen of that tribe in his rapid conquest of Bashan. Hence, the Havoth-jair were, in all likelihood, largely colonised by Judahites, especially perhaps that portion of them nearest the Jordan. Thus, that part of the river and its valley adjacent to these settlements was spoken of as “Judah upon Jordan,” or more literally “Judah of the Jordan” (compareNumbers 22:1; Numbers 22:1).

Verses 35-38

The number of the fortified cities of Naphtali is remarkable, though it does not tally with the catalogue. It was no doubt good policy to protect the northern frontier by a belt of fortresses, as the south was protected by the fenced cities of Judah. Hammath, a Levitical city (compare Joshua 21:32; 1 Chronicles 6:76), is not to be confounded with the Hamath on the northeastern frontier of the land Numbers 13:21. The name (from a root signifying “to be warm”) probably indicates that hot springs existed here; and is perhaps rightly traced in Ammaus, near Tiberias. Rakkath was, according to the rabbis, rebuilt by Herod and called Tiberias. The name (“bank, shore”) suits the site of Tiberias very well. Migdal-el, perhaps the Magdala of Matthew 15:39, is now the miserable village of “El Mejdel.”

Verse 46

Japho (the modern Jaffa, or Yafa), elsewhere (see the margin) called Joppa, is often mentioned in the history of the Maccabees and was, as it still is, the leading port of access to Jerusalem both for pilgrims and for merchandise. It is a very ancient town.

Verse 47

The words “too little” are an insertion of the King James Version Render rather, “the border of the children of Dan was extended.” The Hebrew appears to mean “the children of Dan enlarged their border because they had not room enough.”

The reason of this was that the Danites, a numerous tribe (Numbers 26:5 note), found themselves Judges 1:34-35 cooped up among the hills by the powerful and warlike Amorites. Hence, the Danite expedition (see the marginal reference), which surprised the Sidonion inhabitants of Leshem, an unwarlike and peaceable race, exterminated them, and annexed their city and territory to the portion of Dan.

Verse 50

Nothing is said of any express command of God respecting the inheritance of Joshua. But as such special portion appears to have been promised to Caleb at the time when he and Joshua alone out of the twelve spies remained faithful Joshua 14:6-9, it is probable that a like promise was made to Joshua. The name of the place is also written Timnath-heres Judges 2:9, by a transposition of the letters. The rabbinical explanation that the name Timnath-heres (i. e. “portion of the sun”) was given because a representation of the sun was affixed to the tomb in memory of Joshua’s command to the sun to stand still, appears to be an afterthought. The name Timnath-serah (“portion that remains”) was perhaps conferred on the spot in consequence of its being allotted to Joshua, the last allotment made in the whole distribution of his conquests. The site has been conjectured to be “Tibneh,” a village about five miles north-west of Lydda (or, by Conder, Kerr Hares, nine miles south of Nablous).

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 19". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/joshua-19.html. 1870.
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