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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 34

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5


Verses 1-5:

The Land of Canaan, the territory between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, inhabited primarily by descendants of Canaan. This is the Land promised to Israel by Divine decree.

"With the coasts," lit., according to the established boundaries of the Land.

"South quarter," or south side.

The natural boundary of the south of the Land of Canaan, "the Wilderness of Zin," or the modern Wadi Murreh, and the barren hills to the south of it. This marked the boundary of territory belonging to Edom, De 1:2, 44.

The "south border" is described in more detail.

Akrabbim, "the ascent of the scorpions," between the southwest corner of the Dead Sea and Zin (Wadi Murreh), today identified as Es-Sufeh. It marked the boundary between Judah and Edom, and also the boundary of the Amorites, Jg 1:36. Judas Maccabeus won an important victory over the Edomites here.

Kadesh-barnea, see chapters 13, 14.

Hazar-addar, a site west of Kadesh-barnea and east of Azmon. It is called Addar, in Jos 15:3.

"Fetch a compass," literally, "make a turn or a circle."

Azmon, another city whose location is unknown, cf. Jos 15:4.

"The river of Egypt," not the Nile, but a brook on the southwest border of Canaan, flowing into the Mediterranean Sea. It is today identified as el Arish.

Verse 6

Verses 6:

The western border of the Land is the most easily defined. It is the "Great Sea," or the Mediterranean Sea. This border was about 160 miles in length.

"West," yam, "the sea," the westward border of the Lard.

Verses 7-9

Verses 7-9:

"Mount Hor," hor ha-hor, literally, "Mount Mountain." This is not the mount upon which Aaron died, Nu 20:22-29. The site of the Mount Hor of the present text is not known; however, it is likely a prominent mountain peak in Lebanon, readily visible from the Sea.

Hamath, one of the most ancient of all cities still surviving. It is located in upper Syria, on the Orontes River. God permitted some of the Hivites to remain in the region as a test to Israel, Jg 3:3. Hamath figures in Bible History, see 2Sa 8:9; 2 Kings 14:23-28; 18:34; Jer 39:5. Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria renamed it Epiphaneia in honor of himself. It is today predominantly Moslem.

Zedad, location unknown.

Ziphron, possibly the same as Sibraim, Eze 37:16. The village of Zifran lies about forty miles northwest of Damascus. Whether or not this is the Ziphron of the text is uncertain.

Hazar-enan, meaning "village of fountains," location unknown.

The north border of Canaan is obscure to Bible expositors today. It is virtually impossible to fix it with any degree of certainty.

Verses 10-12

Verses 10-12:

The east "coasts or border of the Land began at Sepham, a city not far from Hazar-enan, whose location is unknown.

Riblah: there is disagreeement among Bibe expositors as to the location of this city. Some believe it was located in Hamath, at the head of the Orontes River. There may have been other cities with this name.

Ain, meaning "flowing fountain." Some believe this was the source of the Jordan River below Mount Hermon.

Chinnereth, meaning "harp," a fortified city on the northwest shore of Galilee, Jos 19:35. The Sea of Galilee was also known as the Sea of Chinnerth; it too is harp-shaped.

The eastern boundary of the Land was then marked by the River Jordan, all the way to the southern tip of the Dead Sea.

Verses 13-15

Verses 13-15:

The territory within the boundaries described above were to be the lot of nine and a half tribes. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh had asked for their portion on the east side of Jordan, see chapter 32. They had no territory west of Jordan, in the Land of Canaan.

Verses 16-19

Verses 16-19:

Jehovah instructed Moses to appoint Eleazar and Joshua to be in command of the division of the Land of Canaan. These two men were the ecclesiastical and political leaders of Israel. They were to supervise the fixing of the tribal boundaries. Aiding in this division was one representative from each of the tribes to inherit west of Jordan.

Of all the tribal representatives listed, Caleb is the only one who is familiar to the Bible student.

The division of each tribal territory into family allotments was made later, likely by the tribal chieftains themselves.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Numbers 34". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/numbers-34.html. 1985.
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