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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Joshua 16

Verse 1

And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel,

The lot of the children of Joseph fell, [ hagowraal (H1486), the small pebble or calculus used in casting lots, frequently the portion awarded by lot: yaatsaa' (H3318), went forth] - referring either to the lot as drawn out of the urn, or to the tract of land thereby assigned. The first four verses describe the territory allotted to the family of Joseph-namely, the tribe of Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh-in the rich domains of central Palestine. It was drawn in one lot, that the brethren might be contiguously situated; but it was afterward divided. The southern boundary only is described here; that on the north, being irregular and less defined (Joshua 17:10-6.17.11), is not mentioned.

From Jordan by Jericho - literally, from Jordan Jericho (cf. Numbers 26:3; Numbers 26:63; Numbers 33:48), meaning the point of the river exactly facing Jericho.

Unto the water of Jericho - the winter stream of the Wady Kelt (Joshua 15:7), which, flowing by Jericho, receives the waters of 'Ain Duk and 'Ain es-Sultan, Elisha's fountain (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 2:, pp. 304, 308, 309; 'Physical Geography,' p. 86). Then, passing through Wady Harith or Wady Suweinit, it ascended "the wilderness" [ hamidbaar (H4057)], the untilled pasture-lands, to mount Beth-el - i:e., the shelving ridge or elevated ground around the city of Beth-el (cf. 1 Samuel 13:2; Robinson's 'Physical Geography,' p. 37; Porter's 'Handbook,' p. 218) - and Luz, the Canaanite town probably on the other side of the hill; thence it extended to the borders of [ haa-'Arkiy (H757)], the Archite (probably some aboriginal tribe) to Ataroth, or perhaps "Ataroth-addar" (Joshua 16:5), situated thereabouts in the mountains (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 3:, p. 80) [ ha-YapleeTiy (H3311)] (another ancient tribe).

Beth-heron the nether (lower: see the note at Joshua 10:11).

And to Gezer (between that and the sea: cf. 1 Kings 9:17). The two opposite extremities of the southern boundary line are, conformably with this description, stated (1 Chronicles 7:28) to have been Beth-el on the east and Gezer on the west, the course of the line from these points running across the country in a northeast by east direction. Having described the position of Joseph's family generally, the historian proceeds to define the territory, first, of Ephraim.

Verses 2-4

And goeth out from Bethel to Luz, and passeth along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 5

And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was thus: even the border of their inheritance on the east side was Atarothaddar, unto Beth-horon the upper;

The border of their inheritance ... was Ataroth-addar. Ataroth-addar (now Atara), 4 miles south of Jetta (Robinson), is fixed on as a center, through which a line is drawn from upper Beth-horon to Michmethah, showing the western limit of their actual possessions. The tract beyond that line to the sea was still unconquered.

Verse 6

And the border went out toward the sea to Michmethah on the north side; and the border went about eastward unto Ta'anath-shiloh, and passed by it on the east to Janohah;

Michmethah on the north side - literally, the Michmethah, a place of note. [Septuagint, Ikasmoon.] The northern boundary is traced from this point eastward to the Jordan.

Janohah - now Janun, an extensive ruin. Eusebius and Jerome ('Onomast.,' article 'Janohah') place it 12 Roman miles to the east of Shechem; i:e., just where it is (Van de Velde, 'Syria and Palestine,' 2:, pp. 303,

304).

Verse 7

And it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Naarath, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan.

And it went down from Janohah. The rapid descent of the valley eastward shows the exactness of the sacred historian's expression, "went down."

And to Naarath, [ Na`araataah (H5292), with the affix expressive of motion, so that the name of the place was Naarah] - further down in Wady Suweinit than Ataroth (Atara) (see the note at Joshua 16:2). [Instead of Naarah, the Septuagint has hai koomai autoon.]

Verse 8

The border went out from Tappuah westward unto the river Kanah; and the goings out thereof were at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim by their families.

From Tappuah (see the note at Josh. 16:53 ) westward unto the river Kanah, [ nachal (H5158) Qaanaah (H7069) brook Kanah, so called from its luxuriant cane-brakes] - Wady el-Akhdar, south of Caesarea (Porter's 'Handbook,' p. 383). [The Septuagint has: epi Chelkana.] It is retraced from east to west, to describe the prospective and intended boundary, which was to reach to the sea.

Kanah (reedy) flows into the Mediterranean.

Verse 9

And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages.

Separate cities ... were among the inheritance of ... Manasseh (Joshua 17:9) [Septuagint, hai poleis hai aforistheisai, assigned, appointed] - because it was found that the tract allotted to Ephraim was too small in proportion to its population and power.

Verse 10

And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.

Drave not out the Canaanites ... serve under tribute. This is the first mention of the fatal policy of the Israelites, in neglecting the divine command (Deuteronomy 20:16) to exterminate the idolaters.

Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/joshua-16.html. 1871-8.