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Inheritance of the Tribe of Judah - Joshua 15
Under the superintending providence of God, the inheritance which fell to the tribe of Judah by lot was in the southern part of Canaan, where Caleb had already received his inheritance, so that he was not separated from his tribe. The inheritance of Judah is first of all described according to its boundaries (Joshua 15:1-12); then for the sake of completeness it is stated once more with regard to Caleb, that he received Kirjath-arba for his inheritance, and took possession of it by expelling the Anakites and conquering Debir (Joshua 15:13-20); and after this a list is given of the towns in the different parts (vv. 21-63).
Boundaries of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. - Joshua 15:1. Its situation in the land. “ And there was (i.e., fell, or came out; cf. Joshua 16:1; Joshua 19:1) the lot to the tribe of Judah according to its families to the frontier of Edom (see at Numbers 34:3), to the desert of Zin southward, against the extreme south ” (lit. from the end or extremity of the south), i.e., its inheritance fell to it, so that it reached to the territory of Edom and the desert of Zin, in which Kadesh was situated (see at Numbers 13:21), on the extreme south of Canaan.
The southern boundary. This was also the southern boundary of the land of Israel generally, and coincided with the southern boundary of Canaan as described in Numbers 34:3-5. It went out “ from the end of the salt sea, namely, from the tongue which turneth to the south,” i.e., from the southern point of the Dead Sea, which is now a salt marsh.
Thence it proceeded “ to the southern boundary of the ascent of Akrabbim,” i.e., the row of lofty whitish cliffs which intersects the Arabah about eight miles below the Dead Sea (see at Numbers 34:4), “ and passed across to Zin,” i.e., the Wady Murreh (see at Numbers 13:21), “ and went up to the south of Kadesh-barnea,” i.e., by Ain Kudes (see at Numbers 20:16), “ and passed over to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and turned to Karkaa, and went over to Azmon, and went out into the brook of Egypt,” i.e., the Wady el Arish. On the probable situation of Hezron, Adar, Karkaa, and Azmon, see at Numbers 34:4-5. “ And the outgoings of the boundary were to the sea ” (the Mediterranean). The Wady el Arish, a marked boundary, takes first of all a northerly and then a north-westerly course, and opens into the Mediterranean Sea (see Pent. p. 358). היה in the singular before the subject in the plural must not be interfered with (see Ewald, §316, a.). - The words “ this shall be your south coast ” point back to the southern boundary of Canaan as laid down in Numbers 34:2., and show that the southern boundary of the tribe-territory of Judah was also the southern boundary of the land to be taken by Israel.
“The eastern boundary was the salt sea to the end of the Jordan,” i.e., the Dead Sea, in all its length up to the point where the Jordan entered it.
In Joshua 15:5-11 we have a description of the northern boundary, which is repeated in Joshua 18:15-19 as the southern boundary of Benjamin, though in the opposite direction, namely, from west to east. It started “ from the tongue of the (salt) sea, the end (i.e., the mouth) of the Jordan, and went up to Beth-hagla,” - a border town between Judah and Benjamin, which was afterwards allotted to the latter (Joshua 18:19, Joshua 18:12), the present Ain Hajla, an hour and a quarter to the south-east of Riha (Jericho), and three-quarters of an hour from the Jordan (see at Genesis 50:11, note), - “ and went over to the north side of Beth-arabah,” a town in the desert of Judah (Joshua 15:61), afterwards assigned to Benjamin (Joshua 18:22), and called Ha-arabah in Joshua 18:18, about twenty or thirty minutes to the south-west of Ain Hajla, in a “level and barren steppe” ( Seetzen, R. ii. p. 302), with which the name very well agrees (see also Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 268ff.). “ And the border went up to the stone of Bohan, the son of Reuben.” The expression “went up” shows that the stone of Bohan must have been on higher ground, i.e., near the western mountains, though the opposite expression “went down” in Joshua 18:17 shows that it must have been by the side of the mountain, and not upon the top. According to Joshua 18:18-19, the border went over from the stone of Bohan in an easterly direction “ to the shoulder over against (Beth) Arabah northwards, and went down to (Beth) Arabah, and then went over to the shoulder of Beth-hagla northwards,” i.e., on the north side of the mountain ridge of Beth-arabah and Beth-hagla. This ridge is “the chain of hills or downs which runs from Kasr Hajla towards the south to the north side of the Dead Sea, and is called Katar Hhadije, i.e., a row of camels harnessed together.”
The boundary ascended still farther to Debir from the valley of Achor. Debir is no doubt to be sought for by the Wady Daber, which runs down from the mountains to the Dead Sea to the south of Kasr Hajla, possibly not far from the rocky grotto called Choret ed Daber, between the Wady es Sidr and the Khan Chadrur on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, about half-way between the two. On the valley of Achor see at Joshua 7:24. Then “ it turned northwards to Gilgal, opposite to the ascent of Adummim south of the brook.” Gilgal, which must not be confounded, as it is by Knobel, with the first encampment of the Israelites in Canaan, viz., the Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan, is called Geliloth in Joshua 18:17. The situation of this place, which is only mentioned again in Judges 3:19, and was certainly not a town, probably only a village or farm, is defined more precisely by the clause “ opposite to the ascent of Adummim.” Maaleh Adummim, which is correctly explained in the Onom. ( s. v. Adommim) as ἀνάβασις πύῤῥηων , ascensus rufforum , “was formerly a small villa, but is now a heap of ruins, which is called even to the present day Maledomim - on the road from Aelia to Jericho” ( Tobler). It is mentioned by ancient travellers as an inn called a terra ruffa , i.e., “the red earth;” terra russo , or “the red house.” By later travellers it is described as a small place named Adomim, being still called “the red field, because this is the colour of the ground; with a large square building like a monastery still standing there, which was in fact at one time a fortified monastery, though it is deserted now” ( Arvieux, Merk. Nachr. ii. p. 154). It is the present ruin of Kalaat el Dem, to the north of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, or Kalaat ed Domm, near the Khan Chadrur. Gilgal, or Geliloth (circle), was probably the “small round valley” or “field of Adommim,” of which Pococke speaks as being at the foot of the hill on which the deserted inn was standing (viz., ed Domm; see Pococke, Reise ins Morgenland, ii. p. 46). The valley ( nachal , rendered river) to the south of which Gilgal or the ascent of Adummim lay, and which was therefore to the north of these places, may possibly be the Wady Kelt, or the brook of Jericho in the upper part of its course, as we have only to go a quarter or half an hour to the east of Khan Chadrur, when a wide and splendid prospect opens towards the south across the Wady Kelt as far as Taiyibeh; and according to Van de Velde's map, a brook-valley runs in a northerly direction to the Wady Kelt on the north-east of Kalaat ed Dem. It is probable, however, that the reference is to some other valley, of which there are a great many in the neighbourhood. The boundary then passed over to the water of En Shemesh (sun-fountain), i.e., the present Apostle's Well, Ain el Hodh or Bir el Khôt, below Bethany, and on the road to Jericho ( Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 398, 400; Van de Velde, Mem. p. 310), and then ran out at the fountain of Rogel (the spies), the present deep and copious fountain of Job or Nehemiah at the south-east corner of Jerusalem, below the junction of the valley of Hinnom and the valley of Jehoshaphat or Kedron valley (see Rob. Pal. i. p. 491, and Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 50ff.).
It then went up into the more elevated valley of Ben-hinnom, on the south side of the Jebusite town, i.e., Jerusalem (see at Joshua 10:1), and still farther up to the top of the mountain which rises on the west of the valley of Ben-hinnom, and at the farthest extremity of the plain of Rephaim towards the north. The valley of Ben-hinnom, or Ben-hinnom (the son or sons of Hinnom), on the south side of Mount Zion, a place which was notorious from the time of Ahaz as the seat of the worship of Moloch (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31, etc.), is supposed there, but of whom nothing further is known (see Robinson, Pal. i. pp. 402ff.). The plain of Rephaim (lxx γῆ Ῥαφαείν , in 2 Samuel 5:18, 2 Samuel 5:22; 2 Samuel 23:13 κοιλὰς τῶν Τιτάνων ), probably named after the gigantic race of Rephaim, and mentioned several times in 2 Sam. as a battle-field, is on the west of Jerusalem, and is separated from the edge of the valley of Ben-hinnom by a small ridge of rock. It runs southwards to Mar Elias, is an hour long, half an hour broad, and was very fertile (Isaiah 17:5); in fact, even to the present day it is carefully cultivated (see Rob. Pal. i. p. 323; Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 401ff.). It is bounded on the north by the mountain ridge already mentioned, which curves westwards on the left side of the road to Jaffa. This mountain ridge, or one of the peaks, is “the mountain on the west of the valley of Hinnom,” at the northern end of the plain referred to.
From this mountain height the boundary turned to the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah, i.e., according to Van de Velde's Mem. p. 336, the present village of Liftah ( nun and lamed being interchanged, according to a well-known law), an hour to the north-west of Jerusalem, where there is a copious spring, called by the name of Samuel, which not only supplies large basons, but waters a succession of blooming gardens ( Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 758ff.; Dieterici, Reisebilder, ii. pp. 221-2). It then “ went out to the towns of Mount Ephraim,” which is not mentioned again, but was probably the steep and lofty mountain ridge on the west side of the Wady Beit Hanina (Terebinth valley), upon which Kulonia, a place which the road to Joppa passes, Kastal on a lofty peak of the mountain, the fortress of Milane, Soba, and other places stand ( Seetzen, R. ii. pp. 64, 65; Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 158). The boundary then ran to Baala, i.e., Kirjath-jearim, the modern Kureyet el Enab, three hours to the north-west of Jerusalem (see at Joshua 9:17).
From this point “ the boundary (which had hitherto gone in a north-westerly direction) turned westwards to Mount Seir, and went out to the shoulder northwards (i.e., to the northern side) of Har-jearim, that is Chesalon, and went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed over to Timnah.” Mount Seir is the ridge of rock to the south-west of Kureyet el Enab, a lofty ridge composed or rugged peaks, with a wild and desolate appearance, upon which Saris and Mishir are situated ( Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 155). Chesalon is the present Kesla on the summit of a mountain, an elevated point of the lofty ridge between Wady Ghurâb and Ismail, south-west of Kureyet el Enab ( Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 154). Beth-shemesh (i.e., sun-house), a priests' city in the territory of Judah (Joshua 21:16; 1 Chronicles 6:44), is the same as Ir-shemesh (Joshua 19:41), a place on the border of Dan, where the ark was deposited by the Philistines (1 Samuel 6:9.), and where Amaziah was slain by Joash (2 Kings 14:11-12; 2 Chronicles 25:21). It was conquered by the Philistines in the time of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:18). According to the Onom. it was ten Roman miles, i.e., four hours, from Eleutheropolis towards Nicopolis. It is the present Ain Shems, upon a plateau in a splendid situation, two hours and a half to the south-west of Kesla ( Rob. Pal. iii. p. 17; Bibl. Res. p. 153). Timnah, or Timnatah, belonged to Dan (Joshua 19:43); and it was thence that Samson fetched his wife (Judges 14:1.). It is the present Tibneh, three-quarters of an hour to the west of Ain Shems ( Rob. Pal. i. p. 344).
Thence “ the border went out towards the north-west to the shoulder of Ekron ( Akir: see at Joshua 13:3), then bent to Shichron, passed over to Mount Baalah, and went out to Jabneel.” Shichron is possibly Sugheir, an hour to the south-west of Jebna ( Knobel). But if this is correct, the mountain of Baalah cannot be the short range of hills to the west of Akir which runs almost parallel with the coast Rob. Pal. iii. p. 21), as Knobel supposes; but must be a mountain on the south side of the Wady Surar, since the boundary had already crossed this wady between Ekron and Shichron. Jabneel is the Philistine town of Jabneh, the walls of which were demolished by Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:6), a place frequently mentioned in the books of Maccabees as well as by Josephus under the name of Jamnia. It still exists as a good-sized village, under the name of Jebnah, upon a small eminence on the western side of Nahr Rubin, four hours to the south of Joppa, and an hour and a half from the sea ( Rob. Pal. iii. p. 22). From Jabneh the boundary went out to the (Mediterranean) Sea, probably along the course of the great valley, i.e., the Nahr Rubin, as Robinson supposes (Pal. ii. p. 343). The western boundary was the Great Sea, i.e., the Mediterranean.
The account of the conquest of the inheritance, which Caleb asked for and received before the lots were cast for the land (Joshua 14:6-15), by the extermination of the Anakites from Hebron, and the capture of the fortified town of Debir, is repeated with very slight differences in Judges 1:10-15, in the enumeration of the different conflicts in which the separate tribes engaged after the death of Joshua, in order to secure actual possession of the inheritance which had fallen to them by lot, and is neither copied from our book by the author of the book of Judges, nor taken from Judges by the author of Joshua; but both of them have drawn it from one common source, upon which the accounts of the conquest of Canaan contained in the book of Joshua are generally founded.
As an introduction to the account of the conquest of Hebron and Debir, the fact that they gave Caleb his portion among the sons of Judah, namely Hebron, is first of all repeated from Joshua 14:13. נתן impers., they gave, i.e., Joshua (Joshua 14:13). The words “ according to the command of Jehovah to Joshua ” are to be explained from Joshua 14:9-12, according to which Jehovah had promised, in the hearing of Joshua, to give Caleb possession of the mountains of Hebron, even when they were at Kadesh (Joshua 14:12). The “father of Anak” is the tribe father of the family of Anakites in Hebron, from whom this town received the name of Kirjath-arba; see at Numbers 13:22 and Genesis 23:2.
Thence, i.e., out of Hebron, Caleb drove ( ויּרשׁ , i.e., rooted out: cf. יכּוּ , Judges 1:10) the three sons of Anak, i.e., families of the Anakites, whom the spies that were sent out from Kadesh had already found there (Numbers 13:22). Instead of Caleb, we find the sons of Judah (Judaeans) generally mentioned in Judges 1:10 as the persons who drove out the Anakites, according to the plan of the history in that book, to describe the conflicts in which the several tribes engaged with the Canaanites. But the one does not preclude the other. Caleb did not take Hebron as an individual, but as the head of a family of Judaeans, and with their assistance. Nor is there any discrepancy between this account and the fact stated in Joshua 11:21-22, that Joshua had already conquered Hebron, Debir, and all the towns of that neighbourhood, and had driven out the Anakites from the mountains of Judah, and forced them back into the towns of the Philistines, as Knobel fancies. For that expulsion did not preclude the possibility of the Anakites and Canaanites returning to their former abodes, and taking possession of the towns again, when the Israelitish army had withdrawn and was engaged in the war with the Canaanites of the north; so that when the different tribes were about to settle in the towns and districts allotted to them, they were obliged to proceed once more to drive out or exterminate the Anakites and Canaanites who had forced their way in again (see the remarks on Joshua 10:38-39, p. 86, note).
From Hebron Caleb went against the Inhabitants of Debir, to the south of Hebron. This town, which has not yet been discovered (see at Joshua 10:38), must have been very strong and hard to conquer; for Caleb offered a prize to the conqueror, promising to give his daughter Achzah for a wife to any one that should take it, just as Saul afterwards promised to give his daughter to the conqueror of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:25; 1 Samuel 18:17).
Othniel took the town and received the promised prize. Othniel, according to Judges 3:9 the first judge of the Israelites after Joshua's death, is called כלב אחי קנז בּן , i.e., either “the son of Kenaz (and) brother of Caleb,” or “the son of Kenaz the brother of Caleb.” The second rendering is quite admissible (comp. 2 Samuel 13:3, 2 Samuel 13:32, with 1 Chronicles 2:13), but the former is the more usual; and for this the Masorites have decided, since they have separated achi Caleb from ben-Kenaz by a tiphchah. And this is the correct one, as “the son of Kenaz” is equivalent to “the Kenizzite” (Joshua 14:6). According to Judges 1:13 and Judges 3:9, Othniel was Caleb's younger brother. Caleb gave him his daughter for a wife, as marriage with a brother's daughter was not forbidden in the law (see my Bibl. Archäol. ii. §107, note 14).
When Achzah had become his wife (“ as she came,” i.e., on her coming to Othniel, to live with him as wife), she urged him to ask her father for a field. “ A field:” in Judges 1:14 we find “the field,” as the writer had the particular field in his mind. This was not “the field belonging to the town of Debir” ( Knobel), for Othniel had no need to ask for this, as it naturally went with the town, but a piece of land that could be cultivated, or, as is shown in what follows, one that was not deficient in springs of water. What Othniel did is not stated, but only what Achzah did to attain her end, possibly because her husband could not make up his mind to present the request to her father. She sprang from the ass upon which she had ridden when her father brought her to Othniel. צנח , which only occurs again in Judges 4:21, and in the parallel passage, Judges 1:14, is hardly connected with צנע , to be lowly or humble ( Ges.); the primary meaning is rather that suggested by Fürst, to force one's self, to press away, or further; and hence in this case the meaning is, to spring down quickly from the animal she had ridden, like נפל in Genesis 24:64. Alighting from an animal was a special sign of reverence, from which Caleb inferred that his daughter had some particular request to make of him, and therefore asked her what she wanted: “ What is to thee? ” or, “ What wilt thou? ” She then asked him for a blessing (as in 2 Kings 5:15); “ for,” she added, “ thou hast given me into barren land.” הנּגב ארץ (rendered a south land) is accus. loci; so that negeb is not to be taken as a proper name, signifying the southernmost district of Canaan (as in Joshua 15:21, etc.), but as an appellative, “the dry or arid land,” as in Psalms 126:4. “ Give me springs of water,” i.e., a piece of land with springs of water in it. Caleb then gave her the “ upper springs and lower springs:” this was the name given to a tract of land in which there were springs on both the higher and lower ground. It must have been somewhere in the neighbourhood of Debir, though, like the town itself, it has not yet been found.
Joshua 15:20 contains the closing formula to vv. 1-19, i.e., to the description of the territory of Judah by its boundaries (vid., Joshua 18:20).
In vv. 21-63 there follows a list of the towns of the tribe of Judah, arranged in the four districts into which the land was divided, according to the nature of the soil, viz., the south-land ( negeb), the lowland ( shephelah) on the Mediterranean Sea, the mountains, and the desert of Judah.
The towns in the south land. - Negeb (south-land) was the name given to the southernmost district of Canaan in its full extent, from the Arabah, at the southern end of the Dead Sea, right across to the coast of the Mediterranean, and from the southern border of Canaan, as described in Joshua 15:2-4, as far north as Wady Sheriah, below Gaza, on the western side, and up to the mountains and desert of Judah on the east, stretching across the wadys of es Seba, Milh, and Ehdeib, above which that part of Palestine commences where rain is more abundant, and to which, as we have already observed at Numbers 13:17, the Negeb formed a kind of intermediate link between the fertile land and the desert. It was a line of steppe-land, with certain patches here and there that admitted of cultivation, but in which tracts of heath prevailed, for the most part covered with grass and bushes, where only grazing could be carried on with any success. The term which Eusebius and Jerome employ for Negeb in the Onom. is Daromas, but they carry it farther northwards than the Negeb of the Old Testament (see Reland, Pal. Ill. pp. 185ff.). The numerous towns mentioned in Joshua 15:21-32 as standing in the Negeb, may none of them have been large or of any importance. In the list before us we find that, as a rule, several names are closely connected together by the copula vav, and in this way the whole may be divided into four separate groups of towns.
First group of nine places. - Joshua 15:21. The towns “ from,” i.e., at “ the end of the tribe-territory of Judah, towards the territory of Edom.” Kabzeel: the home of the hero Benaiah (2 Samuel 23:20), probably identical with Jakabzeel, which is mentioned in Nehemiah 11:25 in connection with Dibon, but has not been discovered. This also applies to Eder and Jagur.
Kinah: also unknown. Knobel connects it with the town of the Kenites, who settled in the domain of Arad, but this is hardly correct; for which the exception of Judges 1:16, where the Kenites are said to have settled in the south of Arad, though not till after the division of the land, the Kenites are always found in the western portion of the Negeb (1 Samuel 15:6; 1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29), whereas Kinah is unquestionably to be looked for in the east. Dimonah, probably the same as Dibon (Nehemiah 11:25); possibly the ruins of el Dheib, on the south side of the wady of the same name, to the north-east of Arad ( V. de Velde, Mem. p. 252), although Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 473) writes the name Ehdeib. Adadah is quite unknown.
Kedesh, possibly Kadesh-barnea (Joshua 15:3). Hazor might then be Hezron, in the neighbourhood of Kadesh-barnea (Joshua 15:3). Ithnan is unknown.
Second group of five or six places. - Of these, Ziph and Telem are not met with again, unless Telem is the same as Telaim, where Saul mustered his army to go against the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:4). Their situation is unknown. There was another Ziph upon the mountains (see Joshua 15:55). Knobel supposes the one mentioned here to be the ruins of Kuseifeh, to the south-west of Arad ( Rob. Pal. ii. p. 620). Ziph would then be contracted from Ceziph; but the contraction of Achzib (Joshua 19:29) into Zib does not present a corresponding analogy, as in that case the abbreviated form is the later one, whereas in the case of Ziph a lengthening of the name must have taken place by the addition of a D. Bealoth, probably the same as the Simeonitish Baaloth-beer (Joshua 19:8), which is called Baal simply in 1 Chronicles 4:33, and which was also called Ramath-negeb (Joshua 19:8) and Ramoth-negeb (1 Samuel 30:27). It is not to be identified with Baalath, however (Joshua 19:45; 1 Kings 9:18), as V. de Velde supposes (Reise, ii. pp. 151-2). Knobel fancies it may be the ridge and place called Kubbet el Baul, between Milh and Kurnub ( Rob. ii. p. 617); but Baul and Baal are very different. Hazor Hadatta ( Chazor Chadathah), i.e., new Hazor, might be the ruins of el Hudhaira on the south of Jebel Khulil ( Rob. Appendix). Kenoth was supposed by Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 472, and Appendix) to be the ruins of el Kuryetein, on the north-east of Arad and at the foot of the mountains, and with this V. de Velde agrees. Reland (Pal. p. 708) connects the following word Hezron with Kenoth, so as to read Kenoth-hezron, i.e., Hezron's towns, also called Hazor. This is favoured by the Sept. and Syriac, in which the two words are linked together to form one name, and probably by the Chaldee as well, also by the absence of the copula vav ( and) before Hezron, which is not omitted anywhere else throughout this section, except at the beginning of the different groups of towns, as, for example, before Ziph in Joshua 15:24, and Amam in Joshua 15:26, and therefore ought to stand before Hezron if it is an independent town. The Masoretic pointing cannot be regarded as a decisive proof of the contrary.
Third group of nine towns. - Joshua 15:26. Amam is not mentioned again, and is quite unknown. Shema, which is called Sheba in Joshua 19:2, and is mentioned among the towns of the Simeonites between Beersheba and Moladah, is supposed by Knobel to the ruins of Saâwe ( Sâweh) between Milh and Beersheba (see V. de Velde, ii. p. 148). Molada, which was given to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:2; 1 Chronicles 4:28) and was still inhabited by Jews after the captivity (Nehemiah 11:26), was the later Μάλαδα , an Idumaean fortress ( Josephus, Ant. 18:6, 2), which Eusebius and Jerome describe as being twenty Roman miles, i.e., eight hours, to the south of Hebron on the road to Aila (Elath). It has been identified by Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 621) in the ruins of el Milh, by the Wady Malath or Malahh.
Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, and Beth-palet have not yet been identified. The last of the three is mentioned again in Nehemiah 11:26, by the side of Molada, as still inhabited by Judaeans.
Hazor-shual, i.e., fox-court, which was assigned to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:3) and still inhabited after the captivity (Nehemiah 11:27), answers, so far as the name if concerned, to the ruins of Thâly ( Rob. Pal. iii. App.). Beersheba, which was a well-known place in connection with the history of the patriarchs (Genesis 21:14., Joshua 22:19, etc.), and is frequently mentioned afterwards as the southern boundary of the land of Israel (Judges 20:1; 2 Samuel 17:11, etc.), was also given up to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:2), and still inhabited after the captivity (Nehemiah 11:27). It is the present Bir es Seba on the Wady es Seba (see at Genesis 21:31). Bizjothjah is unknown.
The four groups of thirteen towns in the western portion of the Negeb.
Baalah, which was assigned to the Simeonites, is called Balah in Joshua 19:3, and Bilhah in 1 Chronicles 4:29. Knobel identifies it with the present Deir Belah, some hours to the south-west of Gaza Rob. iii. App.; Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 41, 42); but it cannot have been so far to the west, or so near the coast as this. Iim (or Ivvim, according to the Αυεἴμ of the lxx) is probably the ruins of Beit-auwa ( Rob. iii. App.). Azem, which was also given up to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:3; 1 Chronicles 4:29), is supposed by Knobel to be Eboda, the present Abdeh, eight hours to the south of Elusa, a considerable mass of ruins on a ridge of rock ( Rob. i. p. 287), because the name signifies firmness or strength, which is also the meaning of the Arabic name-a very precarious reason.
Eltolad, which was given to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:4), and is called Tolad (without the Arabic article) in 1 Chronicles 4:29, has not been discovered. Chesil, for which the lxx have Βαιθήλ , is probably, as Reland supposes, simply another name, or as Knobel suggests a corrupt reading for, Bethul or Bethuel, which is mentioned in Joshua 19:4 and 1 Chronicles 4:30, between Eltolad and Hormah, as a town of the Simeonites, and the same place as Beth-el in 1 Samuel 30:27. As this name points to the seat of some ancient sanctuary, and there was an idol called Khalasa worshipped by the Arabs before the time of Mohamet, and also because Jerome observes ( vita Hilar. c. 25) that there was a temple of Venus at Elusa, in which the Saracens worshipped Lucifer (see Tuch, Deutsch. Morgenl. Ztschr. iii. pp. 194ff.), Knobel supposes Bethul ( Chesil) to be Elusa, a considerable collection of ruins five hours and a half to the south of Beersheba (see Rob. i. p. 296): assuming first of all that the name el Khulasa, as the Arabs called this place, was derived from the Mahometan idol already referred to; and secondly, that the Saracen Lucifer mentioned by Jerome was the very same idol whose image and temple Janhari and Kamus call el Khalasa. Hormah: i.e., Zephoth, the present Sepata (see at Joshua 12:14). Ziklag, which was assigned to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:5; 1 Chronicles 4:30), burnt down by the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:1.), and still inhabited after the captivity (Nehemiah 11:28), is supposed by Rowland to be the ancient place called Asluj or Kasluj, a few hours to the east of Zepata, with which Knobel, however, in a most remarkable manner, identifies the Asluj to the south-west of Milh on the road to Abdeh, which is more than thirty-five miles distant (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 621). Both places are too far to the south and east to suit Ziklag, which is to be sought for much farther west. So far as the situation is concerned, the ruins of Tell Sheriah or Tell Mellala, one of which is supposed by V. de Velde to contain the relics of Ziklag, would suit much better; or even, as Ritter supposes (Erdk. xvi. pp. 132-3), Tell el Hasy, which is half an hour to the south-west of Ajlan, and in which Felix Fabri found the ruins of a castle and of an ancient town, in fact of the ancient Ziklag, though Robinson (i. pp. 389ff.) could discover nothing that indicted in any way the existence of a town or building of any kind. Madmannah and Sansannah cannot be traced with any certainty. Madmannah, which is confounded in the Onom. ( s. v. Medemena) with Madmena, a place to the north of Jerusalem mentioned in Isaiah 10:31, though elsewhere it is correctly described as Menois oppidum juxta civitatem Gazam , has probably been preserved in the present Miniay or Minieh, to the south of Gaza. Sansannah, Knobel compares with the Wady Suni, mentioned by Robinson (i. p. 299), to the south of Gaza, which possibly received its name from some town in the neighbourhood. But in the place of them we find Beth-marcaboth (i.e., carriage-house) and Hazar-susa (i.e., horse-court) mentioned in Joshua 19:5 and 1 Chronicles 4:31 among the towns of the Simeonites, which Reland very properly regards as the same as Madmannah and Sansannah, since it is very evident from the meaning of the former names that they were simply secondary names, which were given to them as stations for carriages and horses.
Lebaoth, one of the Simeonite towns, called Beth-lebaoth (i.e., lion-house) in Joshua 19:6, and Beth-birei in 1 Chronicles 4:31, has not been discovered yet. Shilchim, called Sharuchen in Joshua 19:6, and Shaaraim in 1 Chronicles 4:31, may possibly have been preserved in Tell Sheriah, almost half-way between Gaza and Beersheba ( V. de Velde, ii. p. 154). Ain and Rimmon are given as Simeonite towns, and being written without the copula, are treated as one name in Joshua 19:7 and 1 Chronicles 4:32, although they are reckoned as two separate towns in Joshua 19:7. But as they were also called En Rimmon after the captivity, and are given as one single place in Nehemiah 11:29, they were probably so close together that in the course of time they grew into one. Rimmon, which is mentioned in Zechariah 14:10 as the southern boundary of Judah, probably the Eremmon of the Onom. (“a very large village of the Judaeans, sixteen miles to the south of Eleutheropolis in Daroma”), was probably the present ruin called Um er Rummanim, four hours to the north of Beersheba ( Rob. iii. p. 8). Not more than thirty or thirty-five minutes distant from this, between Tell Khuweilifeh ( Rob. iii. p. 8) or Chewelfeh ( V. de Velde) and Tell Hhora, you find a large old but half-destroyed well, the large stones of which seem to belong to a very early period of the Israelitish history ( V. de Velde, ii. p. 153). This was mentioned as a very important drinking-place even in the lifetime of Saladin, whilst to the present day the Tilâlah Arabs water their flocks there (see Rob. iii. p. 8). To all appearance this was Ain (see V. de Velde, Mem. p. 344). “ All the cities were twenty and nine, and their villages.” This does not agree with the number of towns mentioned by name, which is not twenty-nine, but thirty-six; to that the number twenty-nine is probably an error of the text of old standing, which has arisen from a copyist confounding together different numeral letters that resembled one another.
Zanoah was still inhabited by Judaeans after the captivity (Nehemiah 11:30; Nehemiah 3:13), and is the present Zanua, not far from Zoreah, towards the east (see Rob. ii. p. 343). Engannim and Tappuah are still unknown. Enam, the same as Enaim (Genesis 38:14: rendered “an open place”), on the road from Adullam to Timnah on the mountains (Joshua 15:57), has not yet been discovered.
Jarmuth, i.e., Jarmûk; see Joshua 10:3. Adullam has not yet been discovered with certainty (see at Joshua 12:15). Socoh, which was fortified by Rehoboam, and taken by the Philistines in the reign of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 11:7; 2 Chronicles 28:18), is the present Shuweikeh by the Wady Sumt, half an hour to the south-west of Jarmûk, three hours and a half to the south-west of Jerusalem (see Rob. ii. pp. 343, 349). The Onom. ( s. v. Socoh) mentions two viculi named Sochoth, one upon the mountain, the other in the plain, nine Roman miles from Eleutheropolis on the road to Jerusalem. On Azekah, see at Joshua 10:10.
Sharaim, which was on the west of Socoh and Azekah, according to 1 Samuel 17:52, and is called Σακαρίμ or Σαργαρείμ in the Sept., is probably to be sought for in the present Tell Zakariya and the village of Kefr Zakariya opposite, between which there is the broad deep valley called Wady Sumt, which is only twenty minutes in breadth ( Rob. ii. p. 350). This is the more probable as the Hebrew name is a dual. Adithaim is unknown. Gederah is possibly the same as the Gederoth which was taken by the Philistines in the time of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:18), and the Gedrus of the Onom. ( s. v. Gaedur, or Gahedur), ten Roman miles to the south of Diospolis, on the road to Eleutheropolis, as the Gederoth in Joshua 15:41 was in the actual plain, and therefore did not stand between Diospolis and Eleutheropolis. Gederothaim is supposed by Winer, Knobel, and others, to be an ancient gloss. This is possible no doubt, but it is not certain, as neither the omission of the name from the Sept., nor the circumstance that the full number of towns is given as fourteen, and that this is not the number obtained if we reckon Gederothaim, can be adduced as a decisive proof, since this difference may have arisen in the same manner as the similar discrepancy in Joshua 15:32.
The second group, containing the towns of the actual plain in its full extent from north to south, between the hilly region and the line of coast held by the Philistines: sixteen towns in all.
Zenan, probably the same as Zaanan (Micah 1:11), is supposed by Knobel to be the ruins of Chirbet-es-Senat, a short distance to the north of Beit-jibrin ( Tobler, Dritte Wand. p. 124). Hadashah, according to the Mishnah Erub. v. vi. the smallest place in Judah, containing only fifty houses, is unknown, and a different place from the Adasa of 1 Macc. 7:40, 45, and Joseph. Ant. xii. 10, 5, as this was to the north of Jerusalem ( Onom.). - Migdal-gad is unknown. Knobel supposes it to be the small hill called Jedeideh, with ruins upon it, towards the north of Beit-jibrin ( V. de Velde, R. ii. pp. 162, 188).
Dilean is unknown; for Bet Dula, three full hours to the east of Beit-jibrin, with some relics of antiquity ( Tobler, pp. 150-1), with which Knobel identifies it, is upon the mountains and not in the plain. Mizpeh, i.e., specula, a different place from the Mizpeh of Benjamin (Joshua 18:26), was on the north of Eleutheropolis, according to the Onom. ( s. v. Maspha), and therefore may possibly be the castle Alba Specula, or Alba Custodia of the middle ages, the present Tell es Saphieh, in the middle of the plain and upon the top of a lofty hill, from which there is an extensive prospect in all directions (see Rob. ii. p. 363). Joktheel has possibly been preserved in the ruins of Keitulaneh ( Rob. Pal. iii. App.), which are said to lie in that neighbourhood.
Lachish, i.e., Um Lakis (see at Joshua 10:3). Bozkath is unknown: according to Knobel, it may possibly be the ruins of Tubakah, on the south of Um Lakis and Ajlan ( Rob. ii. pp. 388, 648). Eglon, i.e., Ajlan; see at Joshua 10:3.
Cabbon, probably the heap of ruins called Kubeibeh or Kebeibeh, “which must at some time or other have been a strong fortification, and have formed the key to the central mountains of Judah” ( v. de Velde, R. ii. p. 156), and which lie to the south of Beit-jibrin, and two hours and a half to the east of Ajlan ( Rob. Pal. ii. p. 394). Lachmas: according to Knobel a corruption of Lachmam, which is the reading given in many MSS and editions, whilst the Vulgate has Leheman, and Luther (and the Eng. Ver). Lahmam. Knobel connects it with the ruins of el Lahem to the south of Beit-jibrin ( Tobler). Kithlish ( Chitlis) is unknown, unless it is to be found in Tell Chilchis, to the S.S.E. of Beit-jibrin ( V. de Velde, R. ii. p. 157).
Gederoth, Beth-dagon, and Naamah have not yet been traced. The village mentioned in the Onom. ( s. v. Beth-dagon) as grandis vicus Capher-dagon , and said to lie between Diospolis and Jamnia, the present Beit-dejan ( Rob. iii. p. 30), was far beyond the northern boundary of the tribe of Judah. Makkedah: see at Joshua 10:10.
The third group, consisting of the towns in the southern half of the hilly region: nine towns.
Libnah: see at Joshua 10:29. Ether and Ashan, which were afterwards given to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:7), and are probably to be sought for on the border of the Negeb, have not yet been discovered. The conjecture that Ether is connected with the ruins of Attârah ( Rob. iii. App.) in the province of Gaza, is a very uncertain one. Ashan, probably the same as Kor-ashan (1 Samuel 30:30), became a priests' city afterwards (1 Chronicles 6:44; see at Joshua 21:16).
Jiphtah, Ashnah, and Nezib have not yet been traced. Beit-nesib, to the east of Beit-jibrin on the Wady Sur ( Rob. ii. p. 344, and iii. p. 13), the Neesib of the Onom., seven Roman miles to the east of Eleutheropolis, does not suit this group so far as its situation is concerned, as it lies within the limits of the first group.
Keilah, which is mentioned in the history of David (1 Sam 23), and then again after the captivity (Nehemiah 3:17), is neither the Κεελά , Ceila of the Onom., on the east of Eleutheropolis, the present Kila ( Tobler, Dritte Wand. p. 151), which lies upon the mountains of Judah; nor is it to be found, as Knobel supposes, in the ruins of Jugaleh ( Rob. iii. App.), as they lie to the south of the mountains of Hebron, whereas Keilah is to be sought for in the shephelah, or at all events to the west or south-west of the mountains of Hebron. Achzib (Micah 1:14), the same as Chesib (Genesis 38:5), has been preserved in the ruins at Kussâbeh, a place with a fountain ( Rob. ii. p. 391), i.e., the fountain of Kesâba, about five hours south by west from Beit-jibrin. Mareshah, which was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:8; cf. Micah 1:15), and was the place where Asa defeated Zerah the Ethiopian (2 Chronicles 14:9), the home of Eliezer (2 Chronicles 20:37), and afterwards the important town of Marissa (see v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 211-12), was between Hebron and Ashdod, since Judas Maccabaeus is represented in 1 Macc. 5:65-68 (where the reading should be Μαρίσσαν instead of Σαμάρειαν , according to Joseph. Ant. xii. 8, 6) as going from Hebron through Marissa into the land of the Philistines, and turning to Ashdod. According to the Onom. ( s. v. Mareshah), it was lying in ruins in the time of Eusebius, and was about two Roman miles from Eleutheropolis-a description which applies exactly to the ruins of Maresh, twenty-four minutes to the south of Beit-jibrin, which Robinson supposes for this reason to be Maresa ( Rob. ii. p. 422), whereas Knobel finds it in Beit-mirsim, a place four hours to the south of Beit-jibrin.
Ekron, i.e., Akir (see Joshua 13:3). “ Her daughters ” are the other towns of the principality of Ekron that were dependent upon the capital, and חצרים the villages and farms.
Judah was also to receive “ from Ekron westwards all that lay on the side of Ashdod and their (i.e., Ekron's and Ashdod's) villages. ” The different places in this district are not given, because Judah never actually obtained possession of them.
Ashdod, now Esdûd, and Gaza, now Ghuzzeh: see at Joshua 13:3. Also “ the daughter towns and villages, unto the brook of Egypt (Wady el Arish: see Joshua 15:4), and the great sea with its territory,” i.e., the tract of land lying between Gaza and the coast of the Mediterranean. Gath and Askalon are not mentioned, because they are both of them included in the boundaries named. Askalon was between Ashdod and Gaza, by the sea-coast (see at Joshua 13:3), and Gath on the east of Ekron and Ashdod (see Joshua 13:3), so that, as a matter of course, it was assigned to Judah.
The towns on the mountains are divided into five, or more correctly, into six groups. The mountains of Judah, which rise precipitously from the Negeb, between the hilly district on the west, which is reckoned as part of the shephelah, and the desert of Judah, extending to the Dead Sea on the east (Joshua 15:61), attain the height of 3000 feet above the level of the sea, in the neighbourhood of Hebron, and run northwards to the broad wady of Beit-hanina, above Jerusalem. They are a large rugged range of limestone mountains, with many barren and naked peaks, whilst the sides are for the most part covered with grass, shrubs, bushes, and trees, and the whole range is intersected by many very fruitful valleys. Josephus describes it as abounding in corn, fruit, and wine; and to the present day it contains many orchards, olive grounds, and vineyards, rising in terraces up the sides of the mountains, whilst the valleys and lower grounds yield plentiful harvests of wheat, millet, and other kinds of corn. In ancient times, therefore, the whole of this district was thickly covered with towns (see Rob. ii. pp. 185, 191-2, and C. v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 45ff.).
The first group consists of eleven towns on the south-west of the mountains.
Shamir has probably been preserved in the ruins of Um Shaumerah, mentioned by Robinson (iii. App.), though the situation of these ruins has not yet been precisely determined. Jattir, which was given up to the priests (Joshua 21:14), and is mentioned again in 1 Samuel 30:27, is described in the Onom. ( s. v. Jether) as a large placed inhabited by Christians, twenty miles from Eleutheropolis, in interiori Daroma juxta Malathan , - a description which suits the ruins of Attir, in the southern portion of the mountains (see Rob. ii. p. 194; called Ater by Seetzen, R. iii. p. 6). Socoh, two hours N.W. of this, the present Shuweikeh ( Rob. ii. p. 194), called Suêche by Seetzen (R. iii. p. 29), a village about four hours from Hebron.
Dannah ( Sept., Syr., Renna) is unknown. Knobel imagines that Dannah should be Danah, for Deanah, plur. Deanoth, which would then be suggestive of Zanute, the last inhabited place upon the mountains, five hours from Hebron, between Shuweikeh and Attir (see Rob. ii. p. 626; Seetzen, iii. p. 27, 29). Kirjath-sannah, or Debir, has not been traced (see at Joshua 10:38).
Anab, on the north-east of Socoh (see at Joshua 11:21). Eshtemoh, or Eshtemoa, which was ceded to the priests (Joshua 21:14; 1 Chronicles 6:42), and is mentioned again in 1 Samuel 30:28; 1 Chronicles 4:17, 1 Chronicles 4:19, is the present Semua, an inhabited village, with remains of walls, and a castle of ancient date, on the east of Socoh ( Rob. ii. pp. 194, 626; Seetzen, iii. 28; and v. Schubert, R. ii. p. 458). Anim, contracted, according to the probable conjecture of Wilson, from Ayanim (fountains), a place still preserved in the ruins of the village of el Ghuwein, on the south of Semua, though Robinson erroneously connects it with Ain (Joshua 15:32: see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 626).
Goshen, Holon, and Giloh, are still unknown. On Goshen, see at Joshua 10:41. Holon was given up to the priests (Joshua 21:15; 1 Chronicles 6:43); and Giloh is mentioned in 2 Samuel 15:12 as the birth-place of Ahithophel.
The second group of nine towns, to the north of the former, in the country round Hebron.
Arab is still unknown; for we cannot connect it, as Knobel does, with the ruins of Husn el Ghurab in the neighbourhood of Semua ( Rob. i. p. 312), as these ruins lie within the former group of towns. Duma, according to Eusebius the largest place in the Daromas in his time, and seventeen miles from Eleutheropolis, is probably the ruined village of Daumeh, by the Wady Dilbeh ( Rob. i. p. 314), which is fourteen miles in a straight line to the south-east of Eleutheropolis according to the map. Es'an ( Eshean) can hardly be identified with Asan (1 Chronicles 4:32), as Van de Velde supposes, but is more likely Korasan (1 Samuel 30:30). In that case we might connect it with the ruins of Khursah, on the north-west of Daumeh, two hours and a half to the south-west of Hebron ( Rob. iii. p. 5). As the Septuagint reading is Σομά , Knobel conjectures that Eshean is a corrupt reading for Shema (1 Chronicles 2:43), and connects it with the ruins of Simia, on the south of Daumeh ( Seetzen, iii. 28, and Rob. iii. App.).
Janum is still unknown. Beth-tappuah has been preserved in the village of Teffuh, about two hours to the west of Hebron ( Rob. ii. p. 428). Apheka has not been discovered.
Humtah is also unknown. Kirjath-arba, or Hebron: see at Joshua 10:3. Zior has also not been traced; though, “so far as the name is concerned, it might have been preserved in the heights of Tugra, near to Hebron” ( Knobel).
The third group of ten towns, to the east of both the former groups, towards the desert.
Maon, the home of Nabal (1 Samuel 25:2), on the border of the desert of Judah, which is here called the desert of Maon (1 Samuel 23:25), has been preserved in Tell Maîn, on a conical mountain commanding an extensive prospect, east by north of Semua, three hours and three-quarters to the S.S.E. of Hebron ( Rob. ii. p. 193). Carmel, a town and mountain mentioned in the history of David, and again in the time of Uzziah (1 Samuel 15:12; 1 Samuel 25:2.; 2 Chronicles 26:10). In the time of the Romans it was a large place, with a Roman garrison ( Onom.), and is the present Kurmul, on the north-west of Maon, where there are considerable ruins of a very ancient date ( Rob. ii. pp. 196ff.). Ziph, in the desert of that name, to which David fled from Saul (1 Samuel 23:14., 1 Samuel 26:2-3), was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:8), and has been preserved in the ruins upon the hill Ziph, an hour and three-quarters to the south-east of Hebron ( Rob. ii. p. 191). Juttah, which was assigned to the priests (Joshua 21:16), and was a vicus praegrandis Judaeorum in the time of the fathers ( Onom. s. v. Jethan), was eighteen Roman miles to the south (south-east) of Eleutheropolis, and is the present Jutta or Jitta, a large Mahometan place with ruins, an hour and three-quarters to the south of Hebron ( Seetzen, iii. p. 8; Rob. ii. p. 191, 628).
Jezreel, the home of Ahinoam (1 Samuel 25:43; 1 Samuel 27:3, etc.), a different place from the Jezreel in the plain of Esdraelon, has not yet been discovered. This also applies to Jokdeam and Zanoah, which are only met with here.
Cain ( Hakkain) is possibly the same as Jukin, on the south-east of Hebron ( Rob. ii. p. 449). Gibeah cannot be the Gabatha near Bethlehem, mentioned in the Onom. ( s. v. Gabathaon), or the Gibea mentioned by Robinson (ii. p. 327), i.e., the village of Jeba, on a hill in the Wady el Musurr, as this does not come within the limits of the present group; it must rather be one of the two places ( Gebaa and Gebatha) described as viculi contra orientalem plagam Daromae , though their situation has not yet been discovered. Timnah, probably the place already mentioned in Genesis 38:12., has not been discovered.
The fourth group of six towns, on the north of Hebron or of the last two groups. - Halhul, according to the Onom. ( s. v. Elul) a place near Hebron named Alula, has been preserved in the ruins of Halhûl, an hour and a half to the north of Hebron ( Rob. i. p. 319, ii. p. 186, and Bibl. Res. p. 281). Beth-zur, which was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7), and is frequently mentioned in the time of the Maccabees as a border defence against the Idumaeans (1 Macc. 4:29, 61, etc.), was twenty (? fifteen) Roman miles from Jerusalem, according to the Onom. ( s. v. Beth-zur), on the road to Hebron. It is the present heap of ruins called Beit-zur on the north-west of Halhûl ( Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 276-7; Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 236, 267-8). Gedor, the ruins of Jedûr, an hour and a half to the north-west ( Rob. ii. p. 338; Bibl. Res. pp. 282-3).
Maarath and Eltekon have not yet been discovered. Beth-anoth (probably a contraction of Beth-ayanoth) has been discovered by Wolcott in the ruins of Beit-anum, on the east of Halhûl ( Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 279; cf. Pal. ii. p. 186).
Between Joshua 15:59 and Joshua 15:60, the fifth group of towns given in the Septuagint is wanting in the Masoretic text. This group lay to the north of the fourth, and reached as far as Jerusalem, It comprised a district in which even now there are at least fifteen places and ruins, so that we have not an arbitrary interpolation made by the lxx, as Jerome assumed, but rather a gap in the Hebrew text, arising from the fact that an ancient copyist passed by mistake from the word וחצריהן in Joshua 15:59 to the same word at the close of the missing section. In the Alexandrian version the section reads as follows in Cod. Al. and Vat.: Θεκώ καὶ Ἐφραθά, αὕτη ἐστὶ Βαιθλέεμ, καὶ Φαγώρ καὶ Αἰτὰν καὶ Καολὸν καὶ Τατὰμ καὶ Θωβἠς ( Cod. Al. Σωρὴς ) καὶ Καρέμ καὶ Γαλὲμ καὶ Θεθὴρ ( Cod. Al. Βαιθῆρ ) καὶ Μαμοχώ, πόλεις ἕνδεκα καὶ αἱ κῶμαι αὐτῶν. - Theko, the well-known Tekoah, the home of the wise woman and of the prophet Amos (2 Samuel 14:2; Amos 1:1), was fortified by Rehoboam, and still inhabited after the captivity (2 Chronicles 11:6; Nehemiah 3:5, Nehemiah 3:27). It is the present Tekua, on the top of a mountain covered with ancient ruins, two hours to the south of Bethlehem ( Rob. ii. pp. 181-184; Tobler, Denkbl. aus Jerus. pp. 682ff.). Ephratah, i.e., Bethlehem, the family seat of the house of David (Ruth 1:1; Ruth 4:11; 1 Samuel 16:4; 1 Samuel 17:12.; Micah 5:2), was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:6), and is a place frequently mentioned. It was the birth-place of Christ (Matthew 2:1.; Luke 2:4), and still exists under the ancient name of Beit-lahm, two hours to the south of Jerusalem ( Seetzen, ii. pp. 37ff.; Rob. ii. pp. 159ff.; Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 464ff.). Bethlehem did not receive the name of Ephratah for the first time from the Calebite family of Ephrathites (1 Chronicles 2:19, 1 Chronicles 2:50; 1 Chronicles 4:4), but was known by that name even in Jacob's time (Genesis 35:19; Genesis 48:7). Phagor, which was near to Bethlehem according to the Onom. ( s. v. Fogor), and is also called Phaora, is the present Faghur, a heap of ruins to the south-west of Bethlehem ( Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 275). Aetan was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:6), and has been preserved in the Wady and Ain Attan between Bethlehem and Faghur ( Tobler, Dritte Wand. pp. 88, 89). Kulon, the present village of Kulomeh, an hour and a half west by north from Jerusalem on the road to Ramleh (see Rob. ii. p. 146; Bibl. Res. p. 158: it is called Kolony by Seetzen, ii. p. 64). Tatam cannot be traced. Sores (for Thobes appears to be only a copyist's error) is probably Saris, a small village four hours to the east of Jerusalem, upon a ridge on the south of Wady Aly ( Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 154-5). Karem, now Ain Karim, a large flourishing village two hours to the wets of Jerusalem, with a Franciscan convent dedicated to John the Baptist in the middle, and a fountain ( Rob. ii. p. 141; Bibl. Res. p. 271). Galem, a different place from the Gallim on the north of Jerusalem (Isaiah 10:30), has not yet been discovered. Baither, now a small dirty village called Bettir or Bittir, with a beautiful spring, and with gardens arrange din terraces on the western slope of the Wady Bittir, to the south-west of Jerusalem ( Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 266). Manocho, possibly the same place as Manachat (1 Chronicles 8:6), has not been found.
The sixth group of only two towns, to the west of Jerusalem, on the northern border of the tribe of Judah. - Kirjath-baal, or Kirjath-jearim, the present Kureyet el Enab; see at Joshua 15:9, and Joshua 9:17. Rabbah ( Ha-rabbah, the great) is quite unknown.
The towns in the desert of Judah, which ran along the Dead Sea from the northern border of Judah (Joshua 15:6, Joshua 15:7) to Wady Fikreh on the south, and reached to the districts of Maon, Ziph, Tekoah, and Bethlehem towards the west. This tract of land is for the most part a terrible desert, with a soil composed of chalk, marl, and limestone, and with bald mountains covered with flint and hornstone, and without the slightest trace of vegetation on the side bordering on the Dead Sea (see v. Schubert, Reise, iii. pp. 94, 96; Rob. ii. pp. 202, 475, 477). Yet wherever there are springs even this desert is covered with a luxuriant vegetation, as far as the influence of the water extends ( Seetzen, ii. pp. 249, 258); and even in those parts which are now completely desolate, there are traces of the work of man of a very ancient date in all directions ( Rob. ii. p. 187). Six towns are mentioned in the verses before us. Beth-arabah: see at Joshua 15:6. Middin and Secaca are unknown. According to Knobel, Middin is probably the ruins of Mird or Mardeh, to the west of the northern end of the Dead Sea ( Rob. ii. p. 270).
Nibsan, also unknown. The city of salt (salt town), in which the Edomites sustained repeated defeats (2 Samuel 8:13; Psalms 60:2; 2 Kings 14:7; 1 Chronicles 18:12; 2 Chronicles 25:11), was no doubt at the southern end of the Dead Sea, in the Salt Valley ( Rob. ii. p. 483). Engedi, on the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 47:10), to which David also fled to escape from Saul (1 Samuel 24:1.), according to the Onom. ( s. v. Engaddi) a vicus praegrandis , the present Ain-Jidi, a spring upon a shelf of the high rocky coast on the west of the Dead Sea, with ruins of different ancient buildings (see Seetzen, ii. pp. 227-8; Rob. ii. pp. 214ff.; Lynch, pp. 178-9, 199, 200).
In Joshua 15:63 there follows a notice to the effect that the Judaeans were unable to expel the Jebusites from Jerusalem, which points back to the time immediately after Joshua, when the Judaeans had taken Jerusalem and burned it (Judges 1:8), but were still unable to maintain possession. This notice is not at variance with either Joshua 18:28 or Judges 1:21, since it neither affirms that Jerusalem belonged to the tribe of Judah, nor that Judah alone laid claim to the possession of the town to the exclusion of the Benjamites (see the explanation of Judges 1:8).
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Joshua 15". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany