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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 15

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-63


Division of West Palestine among the Nine and a Half Tribes remaining. Appointment of the Cities of Refuge, and the Cities of the Levites

Joshua 15-21

1. Territory of the Tribe of Judah

Joshua 15:0

a. Its Boundaries

Joshua 15:1-12

1This 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. 2And their south border was from the shore [end] of the salt sea, from the bay [Heb. tongue] that looketh southward: 3And it went out to the south side to [of] Maaleh [the ascent of] Acrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto [of] Kadesh-barnea, and passed along to 4Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa: From thence it [and] passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river [water-course] of Egypt; and the goings out of that [the] coast [border] were1 at the2 sea; this shall be your south coast [border].

5And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of the Jordan: and their [the] border in the north quarter was from the bay [tongue] of the sea, at the uttermost part [the end] of the Jordan: 6And the border went up to Beth-hogla, and passed along by the north of Beth-arabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben: 7And the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward looking [and turned northward] toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river [water-course]: and the border passed toward the waters of En-shemesh [Sun-spring], and the goings out thereof were at En-rogel [Fullers-spring]: 8 And the border went up by [into] 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 [Rephaim] northward: 9And the border was drawn3 from the top of the hill [mountain] 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 Kirjath-jearim: 10And the border compassed [took a compass] from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim (which is Chesalon) on the north side [Fay, more exactly: to the side northward of Har-jearim, that is Chesalon], and went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed on to Timnah: 11And 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.

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

b. Caleb’s Possession. His Daughter Achsah. Conclusion to Joshua 15:1-12

Joshua 15:13-20. Comp. Joshua 14:6-15; Judges 1:10-15

13And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the Lord [Jehovah] to Joshua, even the city of Arba [Kirjath-arba, Joshua 14:15] the father of Anak, which city is Hebron. 14And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children [sons] of Anak. 15And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher [Book-city, comp. Joshua 15:49]. 16And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah 17my daughter to wife. And Othniel, the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. 18And it came to pass, as she came unto him [came in], that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted 19off her [the] ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou? Who answered [And she said], Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me4 a south land [prop. a land of the south-country]; give me also springs of water: and he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs. 20This is the inheritance [possession] of the tribe of the children [sons] of Judah according to their families.

c. Catalogue of the Cities of the Tribe of Judah

Joshua 15:21-63

α. Cities in the South

Joshua 15:21-32

21And the uttermost cities5 of the tribe of the children [sons] of Judah toward 22the coast [border] of Edom southward were Kabzeel, and Eder, and Jagur, And 23 24Kinah, and Dimonah, and Adadah, And Kedesh, and Hazor, and Ithnan, Ziph, and Telem, and Bealoth, 25And Hazor, Hadattah [Hazor-hadattah], and Kerioth, 26 27and Hezron [Kerioth-hezron] which is Hazor, Amam, and Shema, and Moladah, 28And Hazar-gaddah, and Heshmon, and Beth-palet, And Hazar-shual, and Beer-sheba, 29and Bizjoth-jah, Baalah, and Iim, and Azem, 30And Eltolad, and Chesil, 31and Hormah, And Ziklag, and Madmannah, and Sansannah, 32And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with [and] their villages.

β. Cities in the Lowland

Joshua 15:33-47

33 34And in the valley [lowland], Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah, And Zanoah, and En-gannim, Tappuah, and Enam, 35Jarmuth, and Adullam, Socoh, and Azekah, 36And Sharaim, Adithaim, and Gederah, and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with [and] their villages:

37Zenan, and Hadashah, and Migdalgad, 38And Dilean, and Mizpeh, and Jok, 39theel, Lachish, and Bozkath, and Eglon, 40And Cabbon, and Lahmam,6 and Kithlish, 41And Gederoth, Beth-dagon, and Naamah, and Makkedah; sixteen cities with [and] their villages:

42 43 44Libnah, and Ether, and Ashan, And Jiphtah, and Ashnah, and Nezib, And Keilah, and Achzib, and Mareshah; nine cities with [and] their villages:

45Ekron, with [and] her towns [Heb. daughters], and her villages: 46From Ekron even unto the sea [or, and westward], all that lay near [by the side of] 47Ashdod, with [and] their villages: Ashdod with [omit: with] her towns and her villages; Gaza, with her towns [daughters] and her villages, unto the river [water-course] of Egypt, and the great sea7 and the border thereof.

γ. Cities on the Mountain

Joshua 15:48-60

48And in the mountains [prop. on the mountain], Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh, 49And Dannah, and Kirjath-sannah, which is Debir, 50And Anab, and Eshtemoh, and Anim, 51And Goshen, and Holon, and Giloh; eleven cities with [and] their villages:

52 53Arab, and Dumah, and Eshean, And Janum,8 and Beth-tappuah, and Aphekah, 54And Humtah, and Kirjath-arba (which is Hebron) and Zior; nine cities with [and] their villages:

55Maon, Carmel, and Ziph, and Juttah, 56And Jezreel, and Jokdeam, and Zanoah, 57Cain, Gibeah, and Timnah; ten cities with [and] their villages. 58Halhul, Beth-zur, and Gedor, 59And Maarath, and Beth-anoth, and Eltekon; six cities with [and] their villages:9

60Kirjath-baal (which is Kirjath-jearim) and Rabbah; two cities with [and] their villages.

δ. Cities in the Wilderness

Joshua 15:61-63

61In the wilderness, Beth-arabah, Middin, and Secacah, 62And Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and En-gedi; six cities with [and] their villages.

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


The beginning of the account concerning the division of Palestine having been given in Joshua 15:1-6 of the preceding chapter, we find the continuation of it in Joshua 15:1 and onward. The enumeration of names which now follows, embracing five chapters in all, with only three interruptions (chaps. Joshua 15:3-19; Joshua 17:3-18; Joshua 18:1-10) and those instructive, is extremely valuable for the geography of Palestine. It suggests a comparison with Homer’s catalogue of ships, Il. ii. 484 ff. For the cartographic presentation of the places named the maps of Kiepert, Van de Velde, and Menke may be consulted. [Osborne’s Wall-map, also, and the maps accompanying Robinson’s Researches]. In Joshua 15:0 we have given us the province of the tribe of Judah, (a) its bounds (Joshua 15:1-12); (b) Caleb’s possession (Joshua 15:13-19); (c) a list of the cities (Joshua 15:20-63).

a. Joshua 15:1-12. Its Boundaries, Joshua 15:1. And there was the lot of the tribe of the sons of Judah, according to their families: toward (אֶל not על) the border of Edom, (toward) the wilderness of Zin, southward, in (מִן as Genesis 2:8; Genesis 11:2) the extreme south;i.e. the territory of the tribe of Judah embraced the most southern part of the land, so that, as Keil rightly supposes, it touched Edom in the east and in the south had the wilderness of Zin as its border. The position of this wilderness is determined, from Numbers 20:1; Numbers 27:14; Numbers 33:36, by that of Kadesh-barnea concerning which we have already spoken, on Joshua 14:6. According to this view, the wilderness of Zin also must be sought in the Arabah, and according to Numbers 13:26, should have formd the northern part of the wilderness of Paran. Cf. the Articles Zin and Paran in Winer, ii. 135 and 192 [and in the Dict. of the Bible].—The general account of the position of the land of Judah is followed (Joshua 15:2-12) by the more particular description of the boundaries; and first, the south border is drawn (Joshua 15:2-4) so as to coincide in general with Numbers 34:3-5.

Joshua 15:2. Its starting-point is the end of the Salt sea, more exactly still, the tongue which turns southward. “This tongue is the south (more accurately southernmost) part of the Dead Sea, below the promontory which stretches far into the sea west of Kerah (Robinson, ii. 231–234), and extending quite to the southern point at the so-called salt-mountain, and salt-morass from which the border of Judah began” (Keil). The Salt-mountain (Kaschm Usdum), and salt-swamp are accurately given on Kiepert’s Map.

From this point the border runs in a tolerably direct course toward the south, as we learn from Joshua 15:3 which says: It went out toward the south side of the ascent of Acrabbim. On Acrabbim comp. Joshua 11:17. If the mountain Acrabbim is the same as the Bald mountain, mentioned Joshua 11:17; Joshua 12:7, as a south boundary, this height (Knobel: ascent) of Acrabbim would be a pass in this Bald mountain. Knobel who rejects the identity of the Bald and Acrabbim mountains, believes that the latter was the steep pass es-Sufah, S. W. of the Dead Sea, which view is indicated by Menke on his map, while Kiepert’s sketch supports our opinion. From this south-side of the hill of Acrabbim, the border goes over toward Zin, i.e. perhaps a definite place (Keil) or mountain (Knobel) in the wilderness of Zin and deriving its name therefrom. Thence it went up to the side of Kadesh-barnea, and passed along to Hezron,…. and went out at the water-course of Egypt, and the goings out of the border were at the sea. In other words: The border went constantly southward to Kadesh-barnea (Numbers 34:3). South of Kadesh it turned toward the west, since it came out finally at the torrent of Egypt (comp. Joshua 13:3) and at the sea. Hezron (Joshua 15:25 with the addition “that is Hazor”) Adar, Karkaa, Azmon, are to us unknown places. The torrent of Egypt was spoken of Joshua 13:3. The sea is evidently the Mediterranean sea. Ruins of considerable cities are still met with in these regions then allotted to the tribe of Judah (Robinson, i. 290, 318; ii. 591 f.).

Joshua 15:4. This shall be your south border. The jussive is to be explained, as Masius and Keil observe, by reference to Numbers 32:2.

Next, in Joshua 15:5 a, the east border is given: the salt sea in all its extent from south to north, to the end of the Jordan,i.e. to its embouchure at the Dead Sea.

Joshua 15:5-11. North Border. This went forth from the northern tongue of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan, and is given a second time, Joshua 18:15-19, as the south line of Benjamin.

Joshua 15:6. It went up toward Beth-hogla, a boundary point between Judah and Benjamin, belonging to the latter, perhaps the same as the threshing floor of Atad and Abel-mizraim (mourning of the Egyptians) Genesis 1:10, between Jericho and the Jordan, discovered again by Robinson, ii. 268 in Ain Hadschla, (cf. von Raumer, p. 177). From Beth-Hogla it passed on northwardly to Beth-Arabah, which is ascribed now to Judah (Joshua 15:61), now to Benjamin (Joshua 18:22), and lay (Joshua 15:61) in the wilderness at the north end of the Dead Sea; and went up to the stone of Bohan, the son of Reuben. This stone of Bohan “must from the עָלָה and יָרד, Joshua 18:17, have lain nearer the mountain, that is, more to the west or southwest” (Knobel). Keil seeks it on the same grounds “nearer the mountain,” and declines any more exact determination. Further conjectures see in Knobel, p. 415.

Joshua 15:7. From the stone of Bohan it went up toward Debir which lay in the vicinity of Gilgal, to be distinguished evidently from the Canaanitish royal city conquered by Joshua near Hebron (Joshua 10:29; Joshua 10:38; Joshua 12:13; Joshua 15:15; Joshua 15:49; Joshua 21:5; Joshua 1:0 Chron. 7:58),—from the valley of Achor, Joshua 7:26. Now it turned northward toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the water-course. Keil supposes this Gilgal not to be the place of encampment mentioned Joshua 4:19, because here “its position is determined with reference to another place than Jericho.” This reason would have force only if “the other place,” the ascent of Adummim, could not be shown to have been in the same region. But so long ago as the time of Jerome, he observes that the ascent of Adummim (now Galaat el Demm) (Ritter, xv. 493 [Gage’s transl. iii. 10], Tobler, Denkwürdigkeiten, p. 698), lay on the road from Jerusalem: “est autem confinium tribus Judœ et Benjamini, descendentibus ab Ælia ubi et castellum militum situm est, ob auxilia viatorum.” He has in mind, as we may suppose, since from the context Luke 10:30 flits before him, the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. But Gilgal lay near Jericho, according to Joshua 4:19 being itself not a city but a larger circuit, whence, Joshua 18:17, we read of גלילו̇ת. The watercourse is the Wady Kelt, south of Riha. Further particulars see in Knobel, pp. 416, 417. With this view von Raumer also agrees, comp. pp. 198 with 169.

The border now goes to the Sun-spring as in Joshua 18:17. “That is the present Ain el-Hodh, or Apostles’ Spring, three-quarters of an hour northeast of Jerusalem, the only spring on the road to Jericho. Seetzen, ii. p. 273, Tobler, Topographie, etc., ii. p. 398 ff.” (Knobel). From the Sun-spring it went (see the side map to Map iii. in Menke) in a southwest direction (conversely Joshua 18:7) to the Fullers’ Spring (עינ רגל, Spies’ Spring would be עֵינ מרַגֵּל, cf. Genesis 13:9 ff.; Joshua 6:22). This spring is mentioned again, 2Sa 17:17; 1 Kings 1:9. It is the present deep and copious Well of Job (von Raumer, p. 307), or of Nehemiah, on the south side of Jerusalem, where the valleys of Kidron and Hinnom unite (Robinson, i. 354–491; Tobler, ii. p. 50 ff.)” (Knobel). Furrer (p. 57) says concerning it: “Somewhat south of the gardens (p. 56) which spread themselves in the moderately broad valley formed by the junction of the ravines of Hinnom and Kidron together with the Tyropœon, we come to an old well, called En Rogel in the O. T., at the present time, Job’s Well. Although it is more than one hundred feet deep [Robinson, one hundred and fifty feet], it overflows, upon a long continuance of rainy weather, which is regarded in Jerusalem as a joyful occurrence, indicating a good year. The over flow meanwhile lasts but a short time. I struck the water at a depth of twenty-eight feet…… The scenery about the fountain is very attractive. The hills rise high on the east and west. To the north one sees the spurs of Zion and Moriah, but little of the city walls. Southward the eye follows the course of the valley to its turn toward the southeast. There a declivity of the mountain with its olive trees and beautiful green fields formed a very pleasing back-ground.”10

Joshua 15:8. From En-rogel the border went up into the valley of the son of Hinnom, on the south side of the Jebusite, that is Jerusalem. The direction accordingly runs southwest on the south side of Jerusalem, where the valley mentioned lies. It is noted also, Joshua 18:16; Nehemiah 11:30, as a border between Judah and Benjamin. It was the place where, after Ahaz, the horrible sacrifice of children was offered (2 Kings 23:10; 2Ch 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:2; Jeremiah 19:6; Jeremiah 32:35). The man from whom it derived its name is as little known as Bohan the son of Reuben (Joshua 15:6). On account of the offerings to Moloch, the valley became “a symbol of Hell, the name of which, γεέννα (Chald. נְּחִנָּם, in whichםנֹּחִ־יגֵּ is perceptibly audible) is thence derived, cf. Matthew 5:22, εἰς τὴν γέενναν το͂υ πυρός. Hitzig and Böttcher (apud Winer, i. 492) dispute the common view that the valley was named after a person, Hinnom, and take חִנֹּם as an appellative = moaning, wailing; certainly a very appropriate designation of the scene of the sacrifice of so many innocent victims. This hypothesis falls in well with Kethib, 2 Kings 23:10, נּי בני ח׳.—יְבוּסִי “for the complete expression עִיר הָיבוּסִי, Judges 19:11. Jerusalem is in the same connection, called also וְבוּם, Judges 19:11; 1 Chronicles 11:4” (Knobel). All in the time before David. So Bethel was earlier called Luz (Genesis 28:19), Bethlehem Ephrath, Genesis 35:16; Micah 5:1. Out of the valley of Hinnom the border now ascended to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of giants northward. The mountain on which the border went up lies according to this statement west of the vale of Hinnom and at the north end of the vale of Rephaim. This vale of Rephaim is one which extends in a southwest direction from Jerusalem to Mar Elias, one hour long, a half hour wide, fertile (Isaiah 17:5), and still well cultivated, a valley-plain (עֶמֶק) not properly a vale (עֵי ,בּקְעָה) “spacious enough to serve as a camp for an army (2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 5:22; 2 Samuel 23:13; 1 Chronicles 11:5),” named after the old gigantic race of Canaanites, the Rephaim, from whom sprang Og king of Bashan (Joshua 12:4). “It is bounded on the north by a slight rock-ridge, which constitutes the border of the valley of Hinnom, Winer, ii. 332; Robinson, i. 324; Tobler, ii. 401 ff.) That is the mountain which is here meant.

Joshua 15:9. From the summit of this mountain, the line was drawn (תָּאר, related to תּוּר, to go around, from which תּאַר, outline, form, shape of the body, 1 Samuel 28:14) to the fountain of the water of Nephtoah. This fountain of the water of Nephtoah, i.e. Liftah, one hour northwest of Jerusalem, irrigates a strip of smiling gardens, and its excellent water is carried also to Jerusalem (Dieterici, Reisebilder, ii. p. 221 f.; Tobler, ii. 258 ff. apud Knobel) Valentiner, p. 95, observes: “Liftah numbers its fighting men by hundreds, and provides Jerusalem, among other things, with water from its copious fountain. From its position it is doubtless to be regarded as the fountain of Nephtoah, from which the dividing line between Judah and Benjamin ran on to the cities of Mount Ephron. This latter must not be confounded with Ephraim, which lay further north, Joshua 15:9; Joshua 18:15.” From this fountain it ran as Valentiner, with reference to our passage, correctly states, up to the cities of Mount Ephron, and was drawn to Baalah, which is Kirjath-jearim This mount Ephron is not elsewhere mentioned. It was certainly between Liftah and Kureyet el-Enab, therefore probably the prominent ridge, on which stand the places Soba, Kartal, Kulonieh, etc., and near which the road from Jerusalem to Joppa runs, Robinson, ii. 328 ff.” (Knobel). Baala, that is, Kirjath-jearim, one of the cities marked in Joshua 9:17; Joshua 18:25-26; Ezra 2:25; Nehemiah 7:29, as belonging to Gibeon, “now Kureyet el-Enab, three hours northwest of Jerusalem, see Joshua 15:60,” (Knobel). The border still followed constantly a northwest course.

Joshua 15:10. Now, however, it took a compass (bent around, נָסַבּ) from Baala westward unto mount Seir. This mount Seir must not be mistaken for the Edomite mountain (Genesis 32:3; Numbers 24:18; Deuteronomy 2:4-5; Deuteronomy 2:29; Joshua 24:4); rather the mountain range is intended which runs in a southwest direction as far as the Wady Surar. The name has perhaps been preserved in Sairah, Robinson, ii. 363” (Winer, ii. 443). Cf. also Robinson, Later Bibl. Res., p. 155, who gives the height of the ridge as one thousand five hundred feet above the level of the sea.

Passed along to the side of mount Jearim (which is Chesalon) towards the north. Chesalon, probably, now Kesla (Robinson, ii. 363, more definitely, Later Bibl. Res. p. 154), was called also Har-jearim = mountain of forests, as Baala or Kirjath-jearim, = city of forests, or forest-town. The region appears therefore to have been earlier thickly covered with woods. Thence the border went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed on to Timnah. Beth-shemesh = house of the sun, here under this name as a border town of Judah; Joshua 19:41, called Ir-shemesh and counted as a border town of Dan; according to Joshua 21:9; Joshua 21:16; Joshua 1:0 Chron. 7:59, a city of the priests, known especially from the narrative concerning the ark of the covenant, 1 Samuel 6:9-20. Robinson (3:17–20) found, “to the west of the village Ain Schems, on the plateau of a low swell or mound, between the Surar on the north and a smaller Wady on the south, the manifest traces of an ancient site. Here are the vestiges of a former extensive city consisting of many foundations, and the remains of ancient walls of hewn stone…… Both the name and the position of this spot seem to indicate the site of the ancient Beth-shemesh of the Old Testament,” comp. Later Bibl. Res., p. 153; also, Furrer, p. 187–211, especially 198–201. Timnah, or Timnatha (Joshua 19:43) belonging to Dan, now Tibneh, west of Beth-shemesh (Furrer, p. 200), the home of Samson (Judges 14:1-4). In the vineyards of Timnah, without anything in his hand he killed the lion (Judges 14:5-6).

Joshua 15:11. Now the boundary, following a northwest course, went out unto the side of Ekron northward,i.e. to a point lying in the vicinity of Ekron north of this Philistine city. Then it was drawn to Shicron (Socreir, Sugheir; Knobel, p. 419), and passed along to mount Baala. This mount Baala is probably, as Keil and Knobel also suppose, “the short line of hills running almost parallel with the coast, which Robinson observed west of Ekron (Akir), iii. 22, 23. From this mount Baala the border went out unto Jabneel, and then to the sea, where its goings out were. Jabneel or Jabneh (2 Chronicles 26:6, יבְנֶה), destroyed by Uzziah, the Jamnia so often mentioned in the books of Maccabees (1Ma 4:15; 1Ma 5:58; 1Ma 10:69; 1Ma 15:40; 2Ma 12:9). After the destruction of Jerusalem, there was here a high school of the Jews and a Sanhedrim (Reland, p. 823, after the Talmud; apud von Raumer, p. 204). It is now Jebna, “a large village on an insignificant hill west of Akir (Knobel, after Tobler, Dritte Wanderung, p. 20 f.; Wittmann’s Reisen, ii. p. 7). Another Jabneel, which is mentioned Joshua 19:33, lay on Lebanon.

Joshua 15:12. Gives the West Border.The great sea,i.e., the Mediterranean. The borders thereof (הַנְּבוּל), is to be explained as in Joshua 13:23; Joshua 13:27, cf. also Numbers 34:6.

b. Joshua 15:13-20 (comp. Joshua 14:6-15; Judges 1:10-15). Caleb’s Possession. His daughter Achsah. Conclusion to a. Nothing is said here as in the episode, Joshua 14:6-15, of any demand of Caleb, but simply Joshua 15:13 that Joshua gave Hebron to Caleb, according to the command of God. On the other hand we have here, in almost literal agreement with the account in Judges 1:10-15, the story of Achsah, whom Caleb gave as a reward for the conquest of Debir, which is not alluded to in Joshua 14:0.

Joshua 15:13. It is stated that Joshua, according to the command of Jehovah (אֶל פִּי יי, here and Joshua 17:3, with which Gesenius compares Psalms 5:1; Psalms 80:1, אֶל־הַנְּחִילוֹת, and also 1 Samuel 26:4, אֶל־נָכוֹן), gave Caleb his portion (חֵלֶק) among the children of Judah. This command must have been communicated to Joshua then, as they were dividing the land (Knobel). A complete account of the facts is wanting, for Joshua 14:9, which Keil would apply here, speaks not of a command of God to Joshua but of an oath of Moses to Caleb, cf. further the explanation of Joshua 14:9. Hebron is here called Kirjath-arba as in Joshua 15:54; Joshua 20:7; Joshua 21:11; Genesis 23:2; Genesis 35:27 (Knobel).

Joshua 15:14-19. The history of Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, is introduced with the remark that Caleb drove out of Hebron the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, descendants (יְליִדֵי) of Anak.

Joshua 15:15. Thence he proceeded against the inhabitants of Debir. According to Joshua 11:21, Joshua had conquered and devoted Debir. On the position of this city see on Joshua 11:21. Debir before was Kirjath-sepher. Joshua 15:49, the same city is called קִרְיַת־סַנָּה. On this diversity of names cf. Keil on Joshua 10:38. The there quoted explanation of Bochart (Can. ii. 17) on סַנָּה: “Id Phœnicibus idem fuit quod Arabibus Sunna, lex, doctrina, jus canonicum,” suits better to קִריַת־סֵפֶר than if, as Gesenius supposes, סַנְסַנָּה=סַנָּה, ramus palmœ, and קִריַת־סַנּה therefore = palm city.

Joshua 15:16. Caleb, like Saul, 1 Samuel 17:25, promises his daughter Achsah as a wife to whomsoever would conquer the city, which was found difficult to take. עֵכֶס=עכסְהָ signifies properly foot-chains, cf. Isaiah 3:18.

Joshua 15:17. And Othniel, son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it. So we translate,11 according to the view of the Masoretes, with Keil, Bunsen, and Winer (ii. 185) who appeal to Judges 1:13; Judges 3:9. Omitting the comma after Kenaz, and making “the brother” in apposition with Kenaz (Kenaz the brother) is grammatically allowable, but is not the most obvious, cf. Judges 1:13 (Bunsen). Vulg. frater; LXX. ἀδελφοῦ. Othniel (עְָתְניאֵל = lion of God) was, according to Judges 3:9, the first Judge of Israel, who delivered his people from the tyranny of the Mesopotamian King Chushan-rishathaim. On the allowableness of his marriage, see Michaelis, Ehegesetze Mosis, § 82, Laws of Moses, § 117.

Joshua 15:18. Achsah had not gone with the rest into the war, but had remained with her father probably in Hebron. As now she came to Debir to become Othniel’s wife, She moved him (וַתְסִיתֵהוּ from סוּת or סִית not used in Kal, perhaps “to be excited,” then in Hiphil, “to incite;” so here and Judges 1:14; 2 Chronicles 18:2; in particular, “to tempt to something wrong,” Deuteronomy 13:7; Isaiah 36:8; Jeremiah 38:22, and often) to ask of her father a field (Judges 1:14 more definitely the field which belonged to Debir), and lighted off (וַתִּצִנַח from the rare צָנַח cognate with צָנַצ, Judges 1:14; Judges 4:21 = to sink down, to go under; LXX: και ἐβόησεν ἐκ το͂υ ὄνου; Vulg.: “suspiravitque ut sedebat in asino.” This translation of the LXX. followed by the Vulg., raises the conjecture that the LXX., instead of the unusual וַתִּצְנַח, read וַתִּצעַק) from the ass. “Whether Othniel followed her is not said. She herself proceeded further, and on approaching her father she sprang from the ass and humbled herself before him (Knobel). So did Rebecca also at her first meeting with Isaac (Genesis 24:64). Caleb perceived that she had something unusual to present to him, and asked: What is to thee?What wouldest thou? or what dost thou wish?

Joshua 15:19. And she said: Give me a blessing, בְּרָכָה, i.e., as in Genesis 33:11, a gift, a present, as Genesis 33:10, מִנְתָה is used instead of it. This gift should consist in springs of water, since Caleb had given her toward the south country (נֶגֶב, comp. Joshua 10:40). It is to be noted, first, that here Debir is reckoned as belonging to the Negeb, while the city in Joshua 15:49 is counted to the mountain; probably, as Knobel suggests, because the region was like the Negeb. Besides, the Negeb begins, at least, in that section. Secondly,מַיּם גֻּלּוֹת occurs only here and Judges 1:15, and is explained either “water springs” (Bunsen: Wasserstrudel, whirlpool or eddy), as Gesenius and Keil prefer, or, according to Bertheau and Knobel, who quote Zechariah 4:2-3; Ecclesiastes 12:6; 1 Kings 7:41, “water-holders,” inclosed fountains, which גַּל, Song of Solomon 4:12, should also mean. We venture not to decide, but certainly hold the translation “water springs” in a poetically colored passage, to be finer than the transfer of “water-holders.” Neither can we exactly approve Bunsen’s “Wasserstrudel.” Thirdly, we notice that Achsah names the springs instead of the fields which were watered by them, in order doubtless “to express the direct antithesis to the נֶגֶב:” perhaps also from feminine shrewdness and cunning, that she might not directly bring out her proper wish. That gardens and fields in Palestine are even to the present day watered from springs and cisterns is well known, cf. what was said above on Joshua 15:7, also Song of Solomon 2:6; Robinson, i. 541; ii. 285; iii. 95.

And he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs. Caleb responds to the wish of his daughter, and gives her higher and lower springs, that is, higher and lower fields watered by springs. How large this possession was cannot be determined. Finally let us remark, in passing, that Handel, in his Oratorio of Joshua, brings forward Othniel and Achsah as chief personages.

Joshua 15:20 Belongs as a conclusion to Joshua 15:1-12. Its position shows that Joshua 15:13-19 were inserted. So also Keil: “the 20th verse contains the subscription or conclusion to the first division of our chapter, with which the description of the bounds of the inheritance of Judah closes.”

c. List of the Cities of the Tribe of Judah. From Joshua 15:21 on follow the names of the cities of the tribe of Judah, and a. the cities in the south country (Joshua 15:21-32); β. the cities in the lowland (Joshua 15:33-47);γ. the cities on the mountain (Joshua 15:48-60); δ. the cities in the wilderness (Joshua 15:61-62). The whole is concluded with a notice (Joshua 15:63) concerning the Jebusites.

a. Joshua 15:21-32. Cities in the South Country. Joshua 15:21, מִקְצֶה, at the extremity or end; מִן, as in Joshua 15:1. In the south-country, מִנֶּגֶב; cf. Joshua 10:40. The enumeration begins within the Negeb at the east, as Joshua 15:2 ff. in giving the boundaries. First we have nine cities named and connected by the copula, which Luther in his translation omits, while the LXX. and Vulg. have it. Kabzeel or Jekabzeel (יְקַבְצְאֵלNeh 11:25 = which God gathers) was the birth-place of Benaiah one of David’s heroes, 2 Samuel 23:30. Eder, Jagur, not to be made out.

Joshua 15:22. Kinah, “Perhaps the place of the Kenites who settled in the territory of Arad, Numbers 10:32” (Knobel).

Dimona = Dibon, Nehemiah 11:25. “Probably the ruins ed-Dheib, northeast of Arad (Van de Velde, Mem. 252),” Knobel.

Adah. = Sudeid (Rob. ii. 474). The country here is hilly and cut up by small ravines, but without steep declivities, and sparsely covered with a thin and now dried up growth of grass. (Rob. l. c.)

Joshua 15:23. Kedesh, Hazor, Kadesh-barnea and Hezron (Joshua 15:3), Ithnan—unknown.

Joshua 15:24. A second group of five cities follows, a pentapolis. Ziph, perhaps = Kuseifeh (Rob. ii. 191, 195), southwest of Arad. Another Ziph lies on the mountain, Joshua 15:55.—Telem we, after the example of Kimchi, with von Raumer (p. 222) and Knobel, regard = טְלָאִים, where Saul mustered his army before he moved against the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:4). The position, in the Negeb, suits this view. When Keil (Com. on Josh, in h. 1.) objects to this assumption that the words טֶלֶם (oppression) and טְלָאִים (young lambs), came from two quite different roots; it is a sufficient answer to say, with Gesenius, that one of the names may be altered (perhaps by corrupt pronunciation), which is easily possible with names of places. Supposing this, it is more probable that טֶלֶם is derived from the longer טְלָאים than the reverse.

Bealoth = Bealoth-beer, Ramath-negeb, Ramoth-negeb (Joshua 19:8), on the road toward Hebron, marked on Menke’s map.

Joshua 15:25. Hazor-hadata, ח׳חֶדָתָּה = New Hazor, since חָדָשׁ=חַדַת). Perhaps Hudhairah (Rob. App. p. 114).

Kerioth-hezron, which is Hazor. Against the Masoretes, but with the LXX. and Syr., we join קְרִ וֹת and חֶצְרוֹן in one name, as Reland, Maurer, Keil, and Knobel have done. In favor of this the analogy of Kirjath-arba (Joshua 15:13) and Kirjath-jearim (Joshua 15:9) adduced by Maurer, is of decisive weight. “Possibly the place Kuryatein north of Arad (Rob. ii. 472),” (Knobel).

Joshua 15:26. Third group, consisting again, like the first, of nine cities,—Amam, unknown.

Shema, a place of the Simeonites; Joshua 19:2 associated with Beer-shaba and Moladah; שֶׁבַצ, probably the same name, as בּ and מ are often interchanged.

Moladah, according to Joshua 19:2 likewise a place belonging to Simeon, now Milh (Rob. ii. pp. 619, 621). “Moladah was at a later period inhabited by the sons of Judah who returned from the exile (Nehemiah 11:25-26). Probably identical with Malatha, an Idumean fortress (Joseph. Ant. xviii. 6, 2); often named in the Onom.” (von Raumer, p. 214). It lies on the road to Hebron, northwest of Baalath-beer. Robinson found here two wells about forty feet in depth, and walled around with good mason-work, one of them seven and a half feet, and the other five feet in diameter. The water appeared to be not good, but the Arabs of the Tiyahah watered their animals here as did the Kudeirât at Beer-sheba (Rob. l. c. note). On the plain lying near the wells to the south, the stones of a ruined town, or large village, are scattered over a space of nearly half a mile square, all unhewn. These wells and ruins in all probability mark the site of Moladah of the O. T., the Malatha of the Greeks and Romans (Rob. ubi sup.). On the etymological difficulty in deriving Milh from Moladah or Malatha, cf. the foot-note, p. 621.

Joshua 15:27. Hazor-gadah, Heshmon, Beth-palat, unknown.

Joshua 15:28. Hazor-shual (חַצר שׁוּעַל = Fox-yard; [Gesen. village of Jackals], cf. the Lex. under חצר for other like compounds), a place of the Simeonites, Joshua 19:3; 1 Chronicles 4:28, inhabited, like Moladah and Shema, after the exile, by men of Judah, Nehemiah 11:27. Possibly Th’aly (Rob. iii. App. 114).

Beer-sheba, בְּאר שֶׁבַע, i.e. “well of seven, meaning the seven lambs which Abraham sacrificed when he made a covenant with Abimelech (Genesis 21:28-32).” So von Raumer, p. 176. Others, e.g. Ges., explain, with reference to Genesis 26:30, by puteus jurisjurandi, well of the oath, making שׁבוּעָה = שֶׁבַצ. Hitzig again (ubi sup. p. 26) in another way; “if the wilderness between Pelusium and Gaza extends for the distance of seven days’ journey, Beershaba (properly, Bir sib) signifies “well of the seven day camel” (which has borne the seven days’ thirst)—in the Arabic; and Arabs carry (Genesis 37:25) into Egypt, on the backs of camels, the costly productions of Gilead.” Lange (Com. on Genesis 21:28 ff.) would not press the antithesis between “seven-well” and “oath-well.” “The form designates it as the seven wells, but the seven designates it as in fact the well of the oath.” In this view שׁבצ is taken as = seven, but at the same time it commemorates that נִשִׁבַּע, to swear, means primarily to “seven one’s self” “to confirm by seven.” Cf. Herod. iii. 8, according to whom seven things were chosen among the Arabians for the confirmation of an oath. Beer-sheba is very often mentioned in the history of the patriarchs (Genesis 21:14; Genesis 21:28-33; Genesis 22:19; Genesis 26:23; Genesis 28:10; Genesis 46:1). According to the passage before us it belonged to Judah; from Joshua 19:2, 1 Chronicles 4:28, it was ascribed also to Simeon. It is often named in the formula “from Dan to Beersheba” (Judges 20:1; 2 Samuel 17:11; 2 Chronicles 30:5). At present it is called Bir es-seba, on the north side of the Wady es-Seba, close on its banks, where two wells now bear this name (Robinson, i. 300–303). These two wells lie at some distance from each other, are round and walled up in a very firm and permanent manner, and furnish clear and excellent water in great abundance. The ruins on some low hills north of the well probably indicate the existence there formerly of a small and straggling city (Robinson, ubi sup.). Euseb.: κώμη μεγίστη. Hieron.: vicus grandis.


Joshua 15:29. The names of 13 places are added, which lay to the west and southwest. Baala = Deir el-Belah (Robinson, iii. App. p. 118), some hours southwest of Gaza on the north border of the Negeb with a great forest of palm trees, and remnants of marble pillars (Ritter, 16. 41, 42 [Gage’s Trans. i.30, 31]). The considerable plantation of date-palms at this place is remarkable from the fact that here alone in Palestine the dates still ripen; here, therefore, we pass the north limit of date culture (Ritter l.c.).

Ijim, “or עַיִּים, as we may judge from, ̓Αυείμ in the LXX. Cod. Alex., is passed over in the enumeration of Simeonite cities Joshua 19:1 ff. and may have been not of much importance” (Knobel). The site cannot now be determined.

Ezem also belonging, like Baala, to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:3) = Abdeh, a place of very considerable ruins on a ridge of rocks, and once strong, עֶצֶם = firmness, strength (Knobel).

Joshua 15:30. Eltolad, later given likewise to Simeon, Joshua 19:4. In 1 Chronicles 4:29 it is called merely Tholad (Keil). This also remains undiscovered.

Chesil, כְּסִיל. According to Job 9:9; Job 38:31; Amos 5:8, כּ׳ is a constellation in the heavens, probably Orion. Since the place is named Jos 19:4; 1 Chronicles 4:30; כְּתוּל and כְּתוּאֵל, since further 1 Samuel 30:27, “the same place is manifestly” called בֵּית־אֵל, it must have been the seat of a sanctuary as Knobel rightly conjectures. May not, as the name indicates, that very constellation of Orion (Chesil) have been worshipped here, especially as Jerome reports (Vit. Hilar, ep. 25, ap. Robinson, i. p. 298) that the inhabitants had worshipped Venus and the Morning Star? True, the morning star is mentioned and not Orion, but Jerome hardly had so exact information. At all events, worship of the stars then existed, and that is the main thing. Probably Chesil is = Elusa, where in pre-Islamite times a sanctuary of Arabic tribes existed (comp. Tuch, Zeitschrift der deutsch-morgenl. Ges., iii. p. 194 f. ap. Knobel). Elusa lies five and a half hours south of Beer-sheba (comp. Robinson, i. pp. 296–298). Horma “or Zephat, now Sepata, two and a half hours southwest of Chalaza; see Numbers 14:45” (Knobel).

Joshua 15:31. Ziklag, later belonging to Simeon, Joshua 19:5; Joshua 1:0 Chr. 5:30. Familiar from the history of David (1 Samuel 27:6; 1 Samuel 30:1; 2 Samuel 1:1; 2 Samuel 4:10; 1 Chronicles 13:1). Perhaps Tel el-Hasy, northeast of Gaza (von Raumer, p. 225), from which one has an extensive view, westward to the sea, in the east toward the mountains of Hebron, northward to mount Ephraim, and southward to the plains of Egypt (Ritter, xvi. 133 [Gage, iii. 246, 247]). Knobel seeks Ziklag to the southwest of Milh, where a place, Gasludh, lies on the road to Abdeh (Robinson, ii. 621), some hours east of Sepata. The etymology of Ziklag (צִקְלַנ ,צִיקְלַג) is doubtful; perhaps, as Gesen. supposes, from צִי קְלַק, wilderness of destruction.

Madmanna = Minyay or Minnieh, south of Gaza (Robinson, iii. 287 f.), on the route of the pilgrims during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Sansanna—unknown. The name signifies “palm-branch.” Instead of Madmanna and Sansanna, elsewhere Beth-markaboth (“Wagon-house,” Knobel, Keil) and Hazar-suza or Susim (“Horse-yard,” Knobel; “Horse-village,” Keil) are mentioned (Joshua 19:3) as cities of the Simeonites. Are they possibly stations of wagons and horses, as Knobel conjectures?

Joshua 15:32. Lebaoth or Beth-lebaoth, belonging to the Simeonites, Joshua 19:6; in 1 Chronicles 4:31, the name of the place is Beth Birei. Perhaps Lebhem, eight hours south of Gaza.

Shilhim, called, Joshua 19:6, Saruhen (שָׁרוּהֵן), a place of the Simeonites, 1 Chronicles 4:31 = el-Scheriat, about midway between Gaza and Beer-sheba; a scene of ruins (Van de Velde, Narrative, ii. p. 144, and Mem. p. 113, apud Knobel).

Ain, Rimmon, in Joshua 19:7; 1 Chronicles 4:32; Nehemiah 11:29, treated as one place. Rimmon is discovered in the ruins Um er-Rumamim, about three hours north of Beer-sheba. Only about thirty minutes south of it is the well el-Khulweilifeh, with remains of buildings (Robinson, iii. 8), on the road from Hebron to Gaza. Compare, further, Knobel on this verse.

All the cities twenty-nine and their villages. There are not twenty-nine but thirty-six, namely, (1) group first, 9; (2) group second, 5; (3) group third, 9; (4) group fourth, 13 = 36. So indeed the Syriac reads. Since, however, all the other ancient versions have twenty-nine, the Syriac probably gives a “critical correction.” The matter is capable of the simple explanation that the original ancient list had only twenty-nine cities, but later, as even Keil concedes, “a supplementary hand added still others without altering the sum total to correspond.”

β. Jos 15:33-47. Cities in the Lowland. Joshua 15:33. In the lowland. See Joshua 10:40. It only needs to be remarked here that the foot-hills (אַשֵׁדוֹת) mentioned Joshua 10:40; Joshua 11:16 are here reckoned in with the lowland. They are designated also as the land of Goshen, as was explained, Joshua 10:40, (Joshua 11:16), and form the east border of the Shephelah of Judah. The places mentioned by the author are arranged in three groups. The first of these (Joshua 15:33-36) lies in the northeast part of the lowland.

Eshtaol and Zorea mentioned in reverse order, Joshua 19:41; Judges 13:25; Judges 16:31. Here ascribed to Judah, there to Dan. Eshtaol is the present Um-Eschteiyeh (Robinson, ii. 342). Zorea was Samson’s home (Judges 13:2), visited in modern times by Robinson (Later Bibl. Res. p. 153), Tobler (Dritte Wanderung, p. 150) and Furrer (p. 200). The prospect from the summit of Zorea is, according to Robinson’s statement, beautiful and very extensive, especially toward Beth-shemesh. The well, the fields, the mountains, the women who bore water, all transported the travellers back into the earliest times, when in all probability the mother of Samson in the same manner came to the well, and laboriously carried her water-jar home. Between Zoreah and Eshtaol Samson was buried in his father Manoah’s tomb (Judges 16:31.)

Ashna, unknown. Knobel would read אַשְׁוָה after ̓́Ασσα of the LXX. Cod. Vat.

Joshua 15:34. Sanoah, now Sanna, not far from Zorea (Robinson, ii. 343) to the southeast. “The other, Zanoah, on the mountain, Joshua 15:56, has not yet been discovered by modern explorers” (Keil).

En-gannim, Tappuah, unknown. Enam, mentioned Genesis 38:14; Genesis 38:21; perhaps Beth-anan, Tobler, p. 137 (Knobel).

Joshua 15:35. Jarmuth, a Canaanitish capital (Joshua 12:11, comp. Joshua 10:3-27). Since יַרְמוּת, as Knobel observes = רָמָה ,רֶמֶת, Joshua 19:21, and therefore, judging from the meaning of these words, lay upon a height, the modern Jarmuk (Robinson, ii. 344), which stands on a hill, and exhibits cisterns and remains of buildings of high antiquity, may be regarded as ancient Jarmuth.

Adullam. Probably Deir Dubban, two hours north of Beit Jibrin, where are great and remarkable caves, fully described by Robinson (ii. 353 f.). He does not decide whether they are natural or artificial. The circumstance that they are very regularly hewn out leads us to conclude that they are of artificial origin, which, however, may well have been in part natural, since the mountain of Judah is cavernous. [Robinson seems to indicate no doubt at all of the purely artificial character of the caves, only questioning whether the “pits” through which they are entered “are natural or artificial.” Their object also was to him quite a puzzle.—Tr.]

Socho, and Azeka, lay near Ephes-dammim (Damun), 1 Samuel 17:1. Azeka has been already mentioned (Joshua 10:10 f.) Goliath’s battle with David took place between Azeka and Socho (1 Samuel 17:1 ff.). Socho, now Shuweikeh, but not to be confounded with Socho on the mountain (Joshua 15:48), which is also called Shuweikeh, lies about seventeen miles southwest of Jerusalem on the Wady Sumt, whose beautiful vale Robinson (ii. 349 f.) regards as the terebinth-vale (“valley of Elah”), celebrated for the combat between David and the giant (von Raumer, p. 222).

Joshua 15:36. Sharaim, “according to 1 Samuel 17:52, westward of Socho and Azeka = Tel Sakarieh and Kefr Sakarieh” (Knobel). The dual form of the name indicates two villages out of which the ancient Sharaim may have already grown, and properly signifies “two doors.” Adithaim, unknown; a dual form again.

Gedera, הַגְּדֵרָה with the article, properly, “the wall.” In Joshua 12:13 the king of גֶּדֶר (walled place) is mentioned. Probably the same place. Whether Gederoth also (Joshua 15:41) is the same, as Knobel would have it, is to me doubtful. Different towns might naturally be called simply walled places. We may compare frequent elements of modern names, Burg, Ville, House, etc. Another related name is גְּדוֹר, Joshua 15:58.

Gederothaim is omitted by the LXX. If we follow them, as Winer (ii. 471) and Knobel do, we make out only fourteen cities according to the sum total given, otherwise fifteen, as above thirty-six instead of twenty-nine.

Joshua 15:37-41. Second Group. It includes sixteen cities, lying “south” and “west” of the first, Joshua 15:37. Zenan, probably indentical with Zaanan (Micah 1:11); perhaps Chirbet es-Senat.

Hadashah. “The smallest place in Judah, with only fifty dwellings (Mischn. Erubin, pp. 5, 6”), Knobel. Not identical with Adasa, north of Jerusalem. Von Raumer has entirely omitted the little place.

Migdal-gad = Tel Iedeideh, after which the Wady Iedeideh is named (Tobler, p. 124 f.)

Joshua 15:38. Dilean, perhaps Beit Dula (Tobler, p. 150). Mizpeh. We have already found a land of Mizpeh on Hermon, Joshua 11:3-8, where the name was explained and its frequent occurrence noticed. The most celebrated place of the name is yet to be mentioned, Joshua 18:26. The one before us is possibly the present Tel es-Safieh (Robinson, ii. 363) on a low hill, “but lying sufficiently above the surrounding country to be seen at the distance of some hours in every direction;” called in the Middle Ages Alba specula or Alba custodia [Blanchegarde], a castle, in the vicinity of which some romantic adventures of Richard Cœur de Lion are reported to have taken place. These are enumerated by Robinson (ubi sup. p. 366).

Joktheel, perhaps Keitulaneh (Robinson, iii. App. 126), where are ruins.

Joshua 15:39. Lachish, according to Joshua 10:3 ff.; Joshua 12:11, a Canaanitish capital, later, like many of these cities, fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:9). Here Amaziah died (2 Kings 14:19). Sennacherib besieged Lachish, and moved from hence to Libnah (Isaiah 36:2; Isaiah 37:8). Nebuchadnezzar also contended against the royal city of chariots (Micah 1:13), which had become a beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion, doubtless through temptation to idolatry (Jeremiah 34:7). The position is questionable. Robinson (ii. p. 388) decided against Um Lakis, which suits as far as the name is concerned, partly because the trifling remains give no indication of a once fortified and strong city, and partly because the position does not agree with what is known of the ancient city. He is followed by Knobel, who thinks he has recognized Lachish in Zukkarijeh, two and a half hours southwest of Beit Jibrin. On the other hand von Raumer, Keil, and Van de Velde on his map, unite upon Um Lakis as the ancient city, mainly on the ground that Eglon, mentioned here in the same verse, and confidently recognized by Robinson (ii. 392) in Ajalan, was again, according to his own statement (ubi sup. 389) only three quarters of an hour distant from Um Lakis. We likewise adopt this latter view. Eglon has been already named Joshua 10:1 ff. Joshua 10:36.—Bozkath, perhaps Tubukah (Robinson, ii. pp. 388, 648), spelled Tubaka by Van de Velde and Knobel.

Joshua 15:40. Cabbon = Kubeibeh, two and a-half hours east of Ajlon (Eglon), upon a stony barren height. So Knobel supposes, and the name certainly sounds like; but Robinson observes very moderately that “there seemed to be nothing to mark it particularly as an ancient site” (p. 394).

Lachmas, LXX.: Λαμάς; Vulg.: Leheman; hence Luther: Lehmam. The LXX. support the reading לַחְמם, the Vulg. goes back to the other reading, לַחְמַם. The correctness of the latter is favored by the circumstance that Tobler (Dritte Wanderung, p. 129) has actually found south of Beit Jibrin, a place of ruins, el-Lahem.

Kithlish, undetermined. To compare Tell Kilkis or Chilchis, not far from Kubeibeh, as Knobel does, would be somewhat rash, since in this case (1) a transposition of the ל, (2) a change of ת into כ must be assumed, which is not so easy to suppose as the more frequent interchange of ל and מ.

Joshua 15:41. Gederoth, comp. Joshua 15:36.—Bethdagon and Naamah and Makkedah,—a tripolis. Beth-dagon to be distinguished from the border-town of Asher mentioned Joshua 19:27, now Beth-Dejan between Joppa (Jaffa) and Lydda (Lod, Ludd), on a knoll to the left of the road (Furrer, p. 10), but according to Tobler (Nazareth nebst Anhang der vierten Wanderung, p. 306), on the right. The name indicates the Philistine worship of Dagon. Naamah cannot be made out. Makkedah, already spoken of more than once (Joshua 10:10; Joshua 10:16 ff.) in the account of the battle of Gibeon, also Joshua 12:16, was a royal city of the Canaanites, according to the Onom., three hours east of Eleutheropolis (assuming that this statement of the Onom. does not rest, as Keil, on Joshua 10:10, supposes, on an error, and mean west instead of east). This would be, and so Knobel takes it, about the region of Terkumieh, or, if east be understood as = southeast, of Morak. Both places lie at the foot of the mountain of Judah.—Sixteen cities and their villages. In this instance there are actually sixteen.

Joshua 15:42-44. Third Group, “further south, embracing nine places.” Libnah, conquered by Joshua (Joshua 10:29-30), a Canaanite capital (Joshua 12:15), later a city of the Levites (Joshua 21:13; 1 Chronicles 6:57), according to the Onom., Libna in regione Eleutheropolitana. Robinson (ii. p. 389) could find no trace of it. Knobel conjectures that it may be the ruins Hora-Hawara (Robinson, iii. App. 115), discovered by Seetzen (3:31), because the Arab, hawara, like לבנה, signifies “white,” and therefore this is the Arab. translation of the Hebrew name (comp. similar examples, Joshua 15:28-36). But we cannot accept this acute hypothesis. For, although in the Negeb, where Tel Hora stands on Van de Velde’s Map, on the road leading north from Beer-sheba, “the Arabic designation of the cities may have been introduced early” (p. 425), so that the names were formally translated, still we have not yet, at least among the cities of Judah, found a single example of this kind. Nay, what specially concerns the case before us, the Arabic geographers in the Middle Ages, as Knobel himself informs us, are still acquainted with a Libna [spelled Lobna] in Palestine, e.g. Maraszid, iii. p. 5, Jakut, Moscht, p. 379.

Ether and Ashan; afterwards belonging to Simeon, Jos 19:7; 1 Chronicles 4:32. Prabobly to be sought in the south, toward the Negeb.

Joshua 15:43. Jiphta and Ashnah and Nezib, undeterminable.

Joshua 15:44. Kegila, according to the Onom., eight miles from Eleutheropolis toward Hebron; rescued by David from the hand of the Philistines (1 Samuel 23:5), but ungratefully treacherous toward him (1 Samuel 23:12). On Kiepert’s Map, Jedna [Rob., iii. App. 117] or Idhna, about southwest of Terkumieh, in accordance with the statement of the Onom. Knobel maintains, on the contrary, that Κεειλά, Ceila, or, ̓Εχεγά of the Onom. now Kila (Tobler, p. 151), belongs here, and finds Kegila rather in the ruins called Khugaleh ([Jughaleh?] Robinson, iii. App. 115), in the south of the Jebel el-Chalil (Robinson writes el-Khulil). The similarity of the name speaks for this position in the plain, which suits also with רַד, 1 Samuel 23:4.

Achzib, or כְּזִיב, is also mentioned Micah 1:14; Genesis 38:5, in the plain. Perhaps Kesaba, Kussabeh (Robinson, ii. 391), a place with springs, and with ruins in the vicinity.

Maresha, likewise fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:8). The scene of Asa’s victory (2 Chronicles 14:9-13), home of an otherwise unknown prophet Eliezer (2 Chronicles 20:37), afterward Marissa (πόλις δυνατή, Joseph. Ant.Joshua 14:5; Joshua 14:3; Joshua 13:9), mentioned in the contests of the Maccabees (1Ma 5:65-68), restored by Gabinius, destroyed by the Parthians. Robinson supposes (Joshua 2:4) that Eleutheropolis (Betogabris, Beit Jibrin), arose after this destruction of Maresha, and was built out of its materials. Its foundation walls he thinks he found one and a half hours south of Beit Jibrin. With this Tobler agrees (pp. 129, 142 f.), who mentions a place of ruins, Marasch, twenty-four minutes from Beit Jibrin, marked also on Van de Velde’s Map as the ancient Maresha. Knobel seeks it four hours south of Beit Jibrin, where lies a place Mirsim (Robinson, iii. App. p. 117). Improbable. Maresha is, at all events, distinct from Moresheth-gath, the home of the prophet Micah (comp. von Raumer, p. 215, Rob. ii. 4).—Nine cities and their villages. The number is correct again, as at Joshua 15:41.

Joshua 15:45-47. Fourth Group. This includes the Philistine cities, Ekron, which Joshua 19:40 is ascribed to Dan, Ashdod and Gaza, and their daughters, and their villages. But according to Joshua 15:11 the border of Judah runs north of Ekron, toward the sea, and so includes the Philistine cities. Of “daughters” i.e. subject cities, no mention has been made in the preceding lists, while here the statement of number at the close of the several groups is wanting. The section is, accordingly, a manifest addition from some other source, as Ewald (Gesch. ii. p. 258), Bertheau (Komm. Zum Buche d. Richt. p. 28), Knobel (p. 419), with perfect right maintain. Zealously to deny this, as Keil does (Com. on Josh. in loc.) we regard as perfectly unnecessary, especially as Keil himself (Joshua 15:32) cannot help assuming a “supplementary hand.” If a supplement is anywhere possible, then certainly also “a later addition,” since both come substantially to the same result. Besides, it is also “very striking,” as Keil himself says (l. c.), that Gath and Ashkelon are here wanting, whereas in Joshua 13:3, they are mentioned, and that too, as cities which had their own princes, and so cannot be reckoned among the “daughters” of the rest. Verses 45–47, therefore, make the impression not only of an addition, but still more definitely that of a fragmentary addition. For the rest we refer to the explanation already given Joshua 13:3 of the position of the several places, which, after wars renewed through centuries, were first conquered by the Israelites in the age of the Maccabees. Comp. Knobel’s excursus [?] on this passage.

γ. Jos 15:48-60. Cities on the Mountain, Joshua 15:48-51. First Group, wholly in the south, embracing eleven cities.—On the mountain. See Joshua 10:40.—Shamir, perhaps Um Schaumereh (Robinson, iii. App. p. 115).—Jattir, a priests’ city (Joshua 21:14; 1 Chronicles 6:57), probably Attir (Rob. ii. 194, 625).—Socho, different from Socho in the lowland (Joshua 15:35), but like that now called Suweikeh (Robinson, ii. 195), about ten miles S. S. W. from Hebron (von Raumer, p. 222).

Dannah, passed over by von Raumer. Perhaps, in Knobel’s judgment, we are to read דַּענָה = הָנִה = Zannte, the last inhabited place on the southwest part of the mountain, five hours south of Hebron (Robinson [Zanuta], ii. 626, iii. App. 116).—Kirjath-Sannah, that is Debir. Concerning this, see on Joshua 10:38, and also Joshua 15:15 here.

Joshua 15:50. Anab, “a home of Anakim (Joshua 11:21), still existing under the old name east of Thabarieh, (Seetzen, iii. 6, Robinson, ii. 195)” (Knobel). It has, according to Robinson, a small tower.

Eshtemoh, situated very high, according to Schubert, 2225 feet above the sea. A city of the priests, Joshua 21:14; now Semua, a considerable village, which Robinson saw (ii. 196) from Thabarieh. Around it (ii. 626) are broad valleys, “not susceptible of much tillage, but full of flocks and herds all in fine order.” The travellers halted among the olive trees in the moist southern valley. At several places in the village they saw remains of walls built of large stones, beveled around the edges, but left rough between, some of which were more than ten feet long. Eshtemoh, or Eshtemoa (אֶשְׁתְּמוֹעַ), appears from the extent of these walls to have been, as Robinson judges, a spacious town. It once received from David a part (1 Samuel 30:28) of the booty from the Amalekites.

Anim, probably the present Ghuwein (von Raumer, p. 171, Knobel), south of Semua. So Wilson (i. 354 ap. von Raum. against Robinson, who regards Ghuwein as Ain, ver 32).

Joshua 15:51. Goshen, not determined.—Holon, a priests’ city (Jos 21:15; 1 Chronicles 6:58 [Hilen]), not yet discovered.—Giloh, birthplace of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:12), where the traitor against David hanged himself (2 Samuel 17:23).—Eleven cities. The number is correct.

Joshua 15:52-54. Second Group, north of the first, west of the third group. See Menke’s Map.

Joshua 15:52. Arab, omitted by von Raumer; perhaps, as Knobel thinks, Husn el Ghurab near Semua (Robinson, i. 312). This is very questionable, since Robinson only heard from the Arabs of a ruin el-Ghurab, but did not see it.

Dumah,דּוּמָה, LXX.: Ρουμά, stated in the Onom. to have been seventeen miles from Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin), now Daumeh, a ruined village, not far from Hebron in the Wady Dilbeh (Robinson, i. 314). In Isaiah 21:11 Dumah is the proper name of an Ishmaelite tribe in Arabia, with which comp. Genesis 25:14.

Eshean (אֶשְׁעָן), elsewhere not mentioned. Since the Cod. Vat. of the LXX. has Σομά, we might read with Knobel, after 1 Chronicles 2:43 f.שְׁמע, and compare the place of ruins Simir (Robinson, iii. App. p. 114), south of Daumeh. Von Raumer has passed over this place also, as being unrecognizable. Keil likewise.

Joshua 15:53. Janum. On the reading comp. the foot-note on the text. Not discovered.

Beth-tappua not to be confounded (a) with Tappuah in the lowland (Joshua 15:34), (b) with the En Tappuah mentioned Joshua 17:7, which was assigned to Manasseh. The name of both towns refers to fruit culture, since תַּכּוּחַ (from יָפַת, to emit odors) signifies apple (Song of Solomon 7:9; Proverbs 25:11), or apple-tree12 (Song of Solomon 2:3; Song of Solomon 8:5). Robinson found apples and pears in the neighborhood of Gophna, now Jifna [Jufna], (Robinson, iii. 77–80), four and one half hours north of Jerusalem. Comp. also von Raumer, p. 100. Beth-tappuah would thus be = apple-house. The name has been preserved in Taffuh, a place about two hours west of Hebron. It still lies (Robinson, ii. 428) “in the midst of olive-groves and vineyards with marks of industry on every side.” This circumstance favors our interpretation of the name, since where olive trees and vines flourish apple trees can and could be produced. Knobel, on the contrary, explains תַּפּוּחַ, from טָפַח and צָפַח, by “extent,” “breadth,” “surface,” and adduces, in support of this interpretation of the name, the fact that both our Beth-tappuah and En-tappuah (Joshua 17:7) lay in a plain. To sustain our view, which von Raumer also gives (p. 181), we may adduce the analogy of Bethphage בֵּית־פַּגֵּא, Chald. for the Heb. בֵּית־פַּג (Song of Solomon 2:13), = Fig-house.

Apheka not the same as Aphek (Joshua 12:18; Joshua 13:4), which lay in the plain not far from Jezreel (1 Samuel 29:1; 1 Kings 20:26; 1 Kings 20:30), where Saul was slain by the Philistines, Benhadad the Syrian by the Israelites; but on Mount Judah, near Hebron, “probably between Hebron and Tuffah” (Keil). Against the opinion of von Raumer (p. 172) that the battle of 1 Samuel 4:1 may have taken place here, comp. Thenius on that passage. Aphek on the mountain of Judah has not yet been discovered. The frequent occurrence of the name אְַפֵק or אְַפִיק (Judges 1:31), or הקָפֵאֲ here, is explained, as in the case of גֶּדֶר ,גּדֵרָה ,גְּדוֹר, from the meaning of the word which signifies strength, and then Fort, Burg (see Gesen.). It is derived from אָפַק, to be strong.

Joshua 15:54. Humtah, not yet found. The name (חֻמְטָה) appears to be related to חֹמֶט, Leviticus 11:30, LXX. σᾶιρα, Vulg. lacerta, probably a species of lizard (Gesen.). Lizards are mentioned by Seetzen (pp. 446–448) ap. von Raumer (p. 105). There are such still in Palestine [Tristram, pp. 495, 536], and a place might be named after this creature just as well as after the fox or jackal (Hazor-shual, Joshua 15:28).

Kirjath Arba, that is, Hebron. See Joshua 15:13. Comp. besides, the more particular account of this city on Joshua 10:36.

Zior. The name is perhaps retained, as Knobel suggests, in that of the ridge Tughra near Hebron (see Rosenm. Zeitschr. der D. M. G. xi. p. 56). There are nine of the cities as stated.

Joshua 15:55-57. Third Group. East and northeast of the first, (Knobel: northward; but see Menke’s Map) and southeast (Knobel: east) of the second.

Maon, now Main, “without doubt the Maon of Nabal (Robinson, 2. 194; 1 Samuel 25:2). It stood on the summit of a conical rock (Robinson, p. 193), which is crowned with ruins of no great extent. David kept himself in the wilderness of Maon (1 Samuel 23:24 ff; 1 Samuel 25:2).

Carmel, a name familiar in the history of Saul (1 Samuel 15:12), of David (1Sa 25:2; 1 Samuel 25:5; 1 Samuel 25:7; 1 Samuel 25:40; 1 Samuel 27:3), of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:10); in Roman times a castle (Robinson, p. 198) with a garrison. It appears in the history of King Amalrich in the Middle Ages, a. d. 1172 (Robinson, p. 199). Now called Kurmul, with vast ruins from antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Ziph. When its inhabitants proved treacherous toward David (1 Samuel 23:19; 1 Samuel 26:1; Psalms 54:2), he removed (1 Samuel 23:14-15; 1 Samuel 23:19 ff.) from the wilderness of this name to the wilderness of Maon. Rehoboam fortified the city, whose ruins, according to Robinson (ii. 191), “lie on a low hill or ridge between two small Wadies which commence here and run toward the Dead Sea.” Now called Zif, about one and three fourth hours southeast of Hebron (von Raumer, p. 222). Not to be confounded with Ziph, Joshua 15:24.

Juttah (יוּטּֽה), according to Joshua 21:16, a priest-city, now Jutta (Robinson, I. c.), “having the appearance of a large, modern Mohammedan town” (p. 628). It was, probably, according to the conjecture first proposed by Reland (Palœst. p. 870), adopted by Bachiene, Rosenmüller (and also by Robinson), the abode of the priest Zachariah, the πόλις ’Ιούδα (Luke 1:39). Reland supposes (Robinson, ii. 628, note) that π. ̓Ιούα has been changed by error of the text, or softer pronunciation (comp. von Raumer, p. 208, Anm. p. 222).

Joshua 15:56. Jezreel (יִזְרְעֵאל, “whom or what, God plants”), different from the Jezreel in the plain of Esdraelon (Joshua 17:16), and mentioned elsewhere only as the home of Ahinoam, the second wife of David (not reckoning Michal whom Saul, 1 Samuel 25:44, gave to Shalti). Not to be identified. Jokdeam and Zanoah, likewise undiscovered, and not elsewhere named.

Joshua 15:57. Cain (הַקַּיִן with the art. prop. “the lance”), perhaps Jukin (Robinson, 2. 190), as Knobel proposes (p. 437), “a Mohammedan Makâni (station, grave), where they say Lot stopped after his flight from Sodom” (Robinson, l. c.).

Gibeah (גִּבְעָה = hill), a very common name of place (Joshua 18:28, Gibeah in the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeah of Saul, 1Sa 11:4; 1 Samuel 13:2; 1 Samuel 15:2, and often, besides Gibeah in the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua 24:33). It shares with the topographical names כֶּבַע (Joshua 18:24; Joshua 21:17), and גִּבְעְוֹ (Joshua 10:2; Joshua 11:19), and also that of the “judgment hall,” Γαββαθᾶ, John 19:13, the derivation from the same root גַּבַה (to be high, to be arched) and signification. Robinson (Joshua 2:14) believes that in the village of Jeba (Jebah) in the Wady el-Musurr, southwest of Bethlehem, he had “with little doubt” discovered again Gibeah of Benjamin. This Gibeah is also, in his view, probably the Gabatha of Eusebius and Jerome, twelve Roman miles from Eleutheropolis. Von Raumer agrees with him, while Keil and Knobel differ, on the grounds that this place lies without the district of this division of cities, and that the similarity of name proves nothing, since this, as just now shown, very often recurs elsewhere. Indeed, Robinson himself (3. 151), as Keil points out, found another village, Jebak, north of Shechem! For these reasons we also side with the two latter interpreters. Perhaps our Gibeah is (although we cannot assert this, with the certainty which Knobel expresses), one of the viculi called Gabaa and Gabatha, contra orientalem plagam Daromœ, in the Onom.s. v. Gabathon.

Timnah, to be carefully distinguished from Timnah between Beth-shemesh and Ekron (Joshua 15:10; Joshua 19:43; Judges 14:0; Judges 15:1-6), but certainly identical (so von Raumer, p. 224, and Knobel, p. 437, against Keil, in loc.) with Timnah (Genesis 38:12-14), to which Judah went up to his sheep-shearers. Not yet discovered. On Mount Ephraim lay (חֶרֶס תִּמִנַת), Joshua 19:50; Joshua 24:30. The name (from מָנָה) signifies “portion assigned,” Gesen. There are ten cities as stated.

Joshua 15:58-59. Fourth Group. This lies north of the second and third. Halhul, still called Halhul or Hulhul, in a well cultivated region, and chief city of a district. Beautiful fields and vineyards are seen there (Robinson, Later Bibl. Res., p. 281), and also many cows and goats. Noticeable is Robinson’s remark: “The identity of no ancient site is more undisputed, though it seems not to have been recognized before our former journey” (l. c. comp. Bibl. Res. 1. 319). The place lies north of Hebron on the way to Jerusalem (comp. also Valentiner, Das heilige Land, p. 38).

Beth-zur, now Beit-Sur (Robinson, Later Bibl. Res. p. 276 f.), whose principal relic is a ruined tower, of which only one side is left. The place appears to have been small but very strong, according to Josephus (Ant. xiii. 5, 6), the strongest fortress in all Judæa. It is frequently mentioned in the First Book of Maccabees (1Ma 4:29; 1Ma 4:61; 1Ma 6:7; 1Ma 6:26; 1Ma 6:31 f., 1Ma 6:49 f.; 1Ma 9:52, etc.), seldom in the O. T. (2 Chronicles 11:7; Nehemiah 3:16). Here, according to an old tradition found in the Onom., Philip (Acts 8:26-40) baptized the Eunuch (von Raumer, p. 182.)

Gedor, referred to, 1 Chronicles 12:7, as the home of Joelah and Zebadiah, two followers of David; now Jedur, “on the brow of a high mountain ridge” (Robinson, ii. 338), about northwest of the road between Hebron and Jerusalem; a small ruin marked by one tree (Robinson, Later Bibl. Res. p. 276 f.).

Verse 59. Maarath, unknown. Beth-anoth (בֵּ׳ת־עֲנוֹת, house of answers, of Echo, Gesen.), distinct from בֵּית־ענָה in the tribe of Naphtali, Joshua 19:38; Judges 1:33, now Beit Ainun, with ruins which Wolcott visited in 1842. Robinson (Later Bibl. Res. p. 280 f.) saw it from Er Rameh. Elthekon not discovered.

Fifth Group. According to the addition of the LXX. which Jerome also has, on Micah 5:2. “Certainly,” says Knobel rightly, “this is no invention of the LXX. but a translation of the original text, which therefore lay more complete before them. Otherwise a large piece of the mountain of Judah with numerous places would be passed over, which, considering the completeness of the author elsewhere, has not the slightest probability. The gap in the Masoretic text originated with a transcriber who having read the וחצריתן, Joshua 15:59, supposed he had read the וחצריתן at the end of this division.” To this view Keil also assents, while he refers to the naive opinion of Jerome, that the words had probably been rejected by the Jews from malice (malitia), “ne Christus de tribu Juda ortus videretur,” against which Clericus, “quite rightly” objected, “Non video cur a Judœis propterea erasa essent, cum sit alias in V. T. sat frequens mentio Bethlehemi Davidis patriœ.” Menke also follows this view on his map, while Maurer on the other hand, and Bunsen, declare against the addition. The former—since the LXX. in this book have allowed themselves many additions as well as omissions and arbitrary changes—thinks most probably “eos totum hoc comma ex loco quocunque alio, proprio Marte huc transtulisse.” The possibility of such a proceeding need not be denied; but here, as Keil and Knobel rightly urge, our Masoretic text presents a manifest hiatus which is excellently filled up by the addition of the LXX. Bunsen says: “The forms of many of these names are decidedly not Hebrew; besides, except Tecoah and Bethlehem, not one of the cities is elsewhere mentioned in the O. T. We have, therefore, here an old Aramaic gloss, which some MSS. afterwards received into the text.” Reply: The first reason proposed by Bunsen is an assertion without proof; and the second has no weight, because very many of the cities mentioned in this chapter are named nowhere else in the O. T., e.g. Joshua 15:56, Jokdeam and Zanoah; Joshua 15:54, Humtah; Joshua 15:53, Jamun; Joshua 15:43, Nezib, etc. We, therefore, regard the addition of the LXX. as a highly valuable complement to the Masoretic text, serving to fill up the catalogue of the cities. In an English translation it would read: Tekoa and Ephrata (that is Bethlehem), and Phagor and Aitam (Aitan), and Kulon and Tatami (Tatam), and Soresh (Thobesh), and Karem and Gallim, and Baither (Theter), and Manocho; eleven cities and their villages.

Tekoah (תְּקוֹע), two hours south of Bethlehem, the home of the prophet Amos (Joshua 1:1), who is said to have been buried here; fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:6), and elsewhere mentioned in the O. T., e.g.2 Samuel 14:2; Jeremiah 6:1; Nehemiah 3:5; Nehemiah 3:27; now Tekuah (Robinson, 2. 182–184 [Tristram, p. 406]), on a hill covered with ruins; which agrees with Jeremiah 6:1. Concerning the neighboring Frankenberg (Frank Mountain), which the Franks are reported to have held for forty years after the loss of Jerusalem, comp. von Raumer’s “Excursus,” p. 223.

Ephratah (i.e. Bethlehem). Both names are applied, Ruth 4:11; Micah 5:1, unquestionably to the city now before us, Bethlehem-Judah (Judges 17:7; Judges 17:9; Jdg 19:1-2; 1 Samuel 17:12; Ruth 1:1-2). It was different from the Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15); but whether this Bethlehem-Ephratah can be meant Genesis 35:16; Genesis 35:19. is doubtful, comp. Lange’s Com. on Gen. p. 569. The name בֵּית־לֶחֶם = house of bread, bread-house (Winer, 1. 172) is clear; אֶפְרַת also, or אֶפְרָהָה, is without difficulty derived from פָּרָה, with which the related אֶפְרַים may be compared. In this view א׳ would be = “the fruitful,” “a name,” as Lange remarks (ubi sup.), “which corresponds with the added name Bethlehem.” Besides the place is, as may be seen from Ruth, Joshua 2:0. and from the descriptions of modern travellers, really fruitful. Thus Furrer relates: “The nearer we approached Bethlehem, the better cultivated we found the fields. … . But surprisingly lovely was to us the sight of the Wady Charubeh, the valley above which, high in the south, lies the little town of Bethlehem, two thousand seven hundred and four feet above the sea. There olive and fig trees were growing in rich abundance. Vineyards spread themselves out on the northwestern slope, whose watch-towers gently reminded us of long past times.” Bethlehem is now called Beit-Lahm, that is, house of flesh, and is inhabited, since 1834, almost exclusively by Christians, of whom Tobler thinks, there may be three thousand. The remaining three hundred inhabitants are Mohammedans. There are no Jews there. The historical importance of Bethlehem as David’s city (Ruth 4:11; 1Sa 16:4; 1 Samuel 17:12; 1 Samuel 17:15; 1Sa 20:6; 1 Samuel 20:28; Micah 5:1), and as the birthplace of Christ (Matthew 2:1 ff.; Luke 2:4; Luke 2:15) is well known. Further particulars concerning the place see in Seetzen, 2:37 ff.; Robinson, 2. 157–163; Tobler, Topographie von Jerusalem, ii. 464; and Bethlehem in Palästina, p. 2 ff.; Furrer, Wanderung en durch Palästina, p. 167 ff.; Valentiner, Das heil. Land, p. 28 ff.; von Raumer, p. 313 ff.; Ritter, Erdkunde, xvi. p. 284 ff. [Gage’s transl. 3:339–50].

Phagor, now Faghur between Hebron and Bethlehem, west of the road (Robinson, Later Bibl. Res. p. 275, Tobler, Dritte Wanderung, p. 91 ff.).

Aitam (עָיטָם) mentioned 2 Chronicles 11:6, among the cities fortified by Rehoboam, immediately after Bethlehem. The name is still preserved in the Wady and Ain Attar between Bethlehem and Faghur, in Tobler, ubi sup. p. 88 ff. (Knobel). Once, in Solomon’s time, a pleasant place with gardens, and perhaps also with a pleasure palace of the king (Furrer, p. 177, Anm. 1).

Kulon, now Kulonieh or Kalonieh, lying high above the pilgrim road to Jerusalem (Furrer, p. 141). The moderately extensive ruins of ancient Kulon which Hitzig, Sepp, Van Osterzee (Lange’s Comm. on Luke, Joshua 24:13), Furrer, and apparently also Tobler (Nazareth in Paläst. u. s. w. pp. 316, 319), understand to be the Emmaus of the N. T. “lie near the bottom of the valley whose loveliness is very beautifully described by Furrer. “A copious spring,” he says, “concealed under an overarching rock, by a double outlet irrigated gardens, in which numerous almond trees with pink blossoms gleamed through the dark green foliage of the orange-trees. Up the surrounding slopes, vineyards and rows of olive trees rose by a succession of terraces. The prospect extends not far in any direction; but its seclusion heightens the charm of the happy, pleasant vale” (p. 142). The distance from Jerusalem is about one and a half hours.

Tatami, or Tatam, is not identified, nor Gallim; for the Gallim named, Isa 10:30; 1 Samuel 25:44, lay north of Jerusalem in Benjamin (Knobel).

Sores, now Saris, “on a proud hill” (Furrer, p. 139), up which terraces of olive-trees ascend, four hours west of Jerusalem (comp. also Robinson, Later Bibl. Res. p. 154 ff.).

Karem, now Ain Karem, three quarters of an hour west of Jerusalem (Furrer, p. 210), with a splendid cloister, whose garden walls are overhung by tall cypress-trees, in the midst of a landscape which surprises the traveller by its loveliness and beauty (Robinson, 2. 141–157, Later Bibl. Res. p. 271 f., Tobler, Topog. 2. 344 ff).

Beither, now Better, southwest of Jerusalem (Furrer, p. 191), situated high up on a mountain side above fine green terraces, surrounded with olive and fig trees; mentioned, Song of Solomon 2:17, where the חָרֵי בֶתֶר are best explained as mountains of Bether. בֶּתֶר signifies part, piece, Genesis 15:10; Jeremiah 34:18-19. Cognate is בִּתְרוֹן, prob. mountain defile, 2 Samuel 2:29. בִּתְרוֹן ,בֶּתֶר is what we technically call terrain coupé (a country cut up, broken country). Of this character is the country about Bether (Furrer, p. 192).

Manocho, according to Knobel’s highly probable conjecture = מָנחַת, 1 Chronicles 8:6, to which place Benjamites were carried from Geba.

Joshua 15:60. Sixth Group, northwest of the fifth, embracing only two cities. Kirjath-jearim, Joshua 15:9. As was there remarked, this place was = to Kureyet el-Enab, three hours northwest of Jerusalem. “The old ‘city of the woods’ has become in modern times the ‘city of wine,’ ” as Robinson (ii. 335) interprets the ancient and the present name. People from Kirjath-jearim once brought up the ark from Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 6:21; 1 Samuel 7:1-2). Of the vineyards some still exist, according to Valentiner, p. 19, on the east side of the place. Rabba, not to be identified.

δ. Joshua 15:61-62. Cities in the Wilderness. The wilderness of Judah bordered in the east on the Dead Sea, in the south on the Negeb, on the territory of the third, fourth, and fifth groups of cities (westward) on Mount Judah (see Menke’s map, iii.), in the north on the border line of the tribe of Judah as given Joshua 15:6-7. This whole region is with good reason designated as a wilderness (מִדְבּֽר), since, with the exception of En-gedi and certain spots where springs occur, it is a wild, barren, “frightful” (Furrer, p. 149) solitude. Thus the neighborhood of the Cloister of Mar Saba, e.g. wears the appearance of terrible desolation and loneliness. “In vain the eye searches far and near for some green thing to cover the weather-worn chalk rock of the gullied mountain. In summer the intolerable heat blazes upon the naked rocks, and the winter rains rush down from the heights to no profit” (Furrer, p. 161). The roads through this wilderness, on which the starry heavens look down at night with wondrous beauty (Furrer, u. s.), lead frequently to steep precipices; sometimes so abruptly down the rocks that it needs all the sagacity and practice of the animals not to fall (Furrer, p. 149). In this solitude David once spent his time (1 Samuel 23:24; Psalms 63:1; Psalms 54:2), here John the Baptist preached (Matthew 3:1) here Christ was tempted (Matthew 4:1; Mark 2:12-13; Luke 4:1). Comp. further, Knobel, p. 440; Robinson, ii. 187, 202 ff., 474 ff.; von Schubert, iii. pp. 94, 96, 102 ff.; Seetzen, ii. p. 220 ff.; von Raumer, p. 47.

Joshua 15:61-62. Beth-arabah, Joshua 15:6. Probably Kaffr Hajla (Knobel). Middin, Secacah, Nibshan, not mentioned elsewhere, unknown.

The city, of Salt (Ir-hamelah, עיר־הַמֶּלַת), LXX.: ἡ πόλις τῶν ἁλῶν. Vulg.: civitas salis. Luther: Salzstadt [Salt city]. Probably near the valley of Salt where the Edomites suffered several defeats (Knobel), and so, tolerably far south, comp. 2 Samuel 8:13; Psalms 60:2; 2Ki 14:7; 1 Chronicles 18:12; 2 Chronicles 25:11; and so Robinson, ii. 483.

En-gedi (אֶיּן־גּדִי, Goat-fountain), now Ain Jidy, on the west side of the Dead Sea, with a rich, warm (81° F., Robinson, ii. 210), sweet spring of water (Furrer, p. 159), which once refreshed palms and balsam-shrubs. “The Canticles sing (Joshua 1:14) of a ‘cluster of the Hennah’13 from the vineyards of En-gedi. Here flourishes the giant Asclepias, which bears the fruit so famous under the name of Apples of Sodom” (Furrer, p. 159). The vegetation is tropical. By the fountain are the remains of various edifices apparently ancient, although the spot where the old city stood appears to have been further down (Robinson, ii. 216). Here David tarried, 1 Samuel 24:2. Whether Hazezon-Tamar (Genesis 14:7; comp. 2 Chronicles 20:2) was the same place as En-gedi, is doubtful; von Raumer (p. 188) and Keil are in favor of the supposition, Knobel (on this verse) is against it.

Joshua 15:63. A passing statement that the children of Judah were not able to drive out the Jebusites. The same verse is repeated, Judges 1:21, with the difference only that, instead of the children of Judah, the children of Benjamin are named, to whom, according to Joshua 18:28, the place was allotted. See more on Joshua 18:28. On the importance of this verse for determining the date of the composition of our book, see the Introd. § 2.


[1]The Kethib והיה, although we cannot allowably express it as a sing in the translation, is to be retained in the text rather than the needless Keri וְהָיוּ. Comp. Joshua 11:2. Ewald’s Lehrg. § 306, a.

[2][Joshua 15:1.—This verse would read more exactly as follows: And there was the lot for the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families: toward the border of Edom, the wilderness of Zin southward, in the extreme south.—Tr.]

[3][Ver.9.—Gesenius inclines to the meaning “stretched” “extended,” for תָּאַר in the Kal and Piel; and so De Wette, Fay, and others translate; but as Fürst and Winer (Simonis) approve in these conjugations the definition “mark off,” defisire, which all admit to be the sense of the Piel, there seems to be no necessity for changing the English version.—Tr.]

[4][Joshua 15:19.—נְתַתָּני. Since the suf. י cannot well be taken as a dat. but only as an acc., many have understood אֶרֶץ ה׳ adverbially, “into a land,” etc. So Fay, following Knobel: Nach dem Mittagslande hast du mich gegeben. So also the LXX.: ὅτι εἰς γῆν Νάγεβ δεδωκάς με; but the Vulgate more simply regards this as a case where the verb of giving governs two accusatives; terram australem et torrentem dedisti mihi. Gesen. Lex. s. v. נָתַן p. 703, 1. Witt this agree De Wette, Maurer, Keil, Zunz.—Tr.]

[5][Ver 21.—And the cities were, in [or from] the extremity of the tribe of the sons of Judah, toward the border of Edom, in the south-country: Kabzeel, etc.—Tr.]

[6]Numerous Codd. and Editions read לַחְמַם (Lahmas) instead of לַחְמַם.

[7]So according to the Keri הַנָּדוֹל, while the Kethib would have it written הַגְּבוּל. On the reading of the Kethib, comp. Joshua 15:12.

[8]So the Keri וְיָנוּם the Kethib reads וְיָנִים, hence Bunsen: Janim. We stand by the reading of the Masoretes with the LXX. (Ιανούμ), Vulg. (Janum), Luther, and De Wette.

[9]Between verses 59 and 60 the LXX. have (A B E X) the addition: Θεκὼ καὶ ’́Εφρατα (αὕτη ἐστί Βεθλεέμ) καί φαγὼρ, και ’Αιτάμ (Αἰτάν in Cod. Vat.) και Κουλὸν καὶ Ταταμὶ (Τατάμ in cod. Vat.) καί Σωρής (Θωβής in Cod. Vat.) και Καρὲμ καὶ Γαλλὶμ καὶ Βαιθὴρ (Θεθήρ in Cod. Vat.) καὶ Μανοχώ. πόλεις ἕνδεκα καὶ αἱ κῶμαι αὐτῶν.) See further on this in the Exegetical notes.

[10][A full account of this spring (called there “Well of the Messengers”) is given in Gage’s Ritter, iv. 145–148.—Tr.]

[11][Punctuation in English can but imperfectly serve the purpose here of the nominative ending as distinct from that of the genitive, in German, to indicate that brother is in apposition with Othniel, thus making the latter Caleb’s brother.—Tr.]

[12][Tristram (Land of Israel, p. 609 f.) strenuously maintains that the Apricot is the apple of Scripture.—Tr.]

[13][Dict. of the Bible, art. “Camphire.”—Tr.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 15". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/joshua-15.html. 1857-84.
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