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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Joshua 16

Introduction

CHAP. XVI.

The general borders of the sons of Joseph. The Canaanites not yet conquered.

Before Christ 1445.

Verse 2

Ver. 2. And goeth out from Beth-el to Luz If now and then Luz and Beth-el are mentioned as one and the same place, as ch. Joshua 18:13. Jdg 1:23 it is, perhaps, because in a length of time they were united, and the inhabitants of the former went to the latter. There are numerous examples in history of these unions of two cities into one. See Huet. Demonst. Evang. Prop. 4. We should apprehend, therefore, with Dupin, that the whole verse might be rendered thus: And goeth out from Beth-el Luzah, to Archi-ataroth. See his Prolegomena, l. i. c. iii. sect. 2.

Verse 5

Ver. 5. And the border of the children of Ephraim, &c.— After marking out the south, east, and west boundaries of the tribe of Ephraim, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, referring to ch. Jos 17:7 the description of its northern limits, the author proceeds to a more exact designation of the extent of the territories of Ephraim; and first he sets out at large the breadth from south to north, or the north-east borders at the broadest part: All we can say respecting which is, that Ataroth-addar was on the south, and Upper Beth-horon on the north-east of that tribe. We are not to expect any satisfactory account respecting this article: the Sacred History is too concise to be extended now, when every thing in the Holy Land is transposed. We can scarcely meet with the ruins of any of some cities which formerly figured there, nor discover the least traces of others. The floods which watered some places are now exhausted and dry; its rivers have taken another course: in a word, it is no longer the same country; and where the descriptions of Sacred Writ are not circumstantiated in the clearest manner, we can only supply them by conjectures more or less probable. Here, for instance, commentators rather guess than conjecture; and therefore we prefer being silent, to following so vague a method.

Verse 6

Ver. 6. And the border went out toward the sea, &c.— The whole verse is very obscure: all that we can observe upon it is, that the portion of Ephraim was inclosed on the north by a line, which went from Upper Beth-horon, among others, to Michmethah, in the way to the Mediterranean, but on the north of that city drew near a little on the east towards Taanah-shiloh, and went on to Janohah. From ch. Jos 17:7 it appears, that Michmethah was opposite Sichem. Taanah-shiloh is probably the same as Taanach, ch. Jos 17:11 which Eusebius places ten miles from Sichem, in the way to the Jordan. As to Janohah, Eusebius sets down a place of that name at ten miles from Sichem, and also in the way to the Jordan.

Verse 9

Ver. 9. And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim were, &c.— The natural sense of these words is, that besides the above-mentioned cities, through which the line of separation of the tribe of Ephraim, from that of Manasseh, crossed, the Ephraimites had some other cities beyond the boundaries of their country, in the land of the half-tribe of Manasseh, see ch. Joshua 17:7-6.17.9. Or else the words may be paraphrased thus: These are the cities which were separated for the children of Ephraim, in the country of Manasseh, with the villages which sprung from them. According to this interpretation, the historian speaks not of cities different from those just mentioned, but of those very cities; and he calls them separate cities, inasmuch as, the lot of the tribe of Manasseh proving too large in proportion to the number of its families, some cities were set apart from them, to be given to the children of Ephraim, who, on the contrary, were too much confined. See Wells. But here we should observe, 1. That, in the numbering of the tribes, the Ephraimites were less numerous than the Manassites by about twenty thousand men. Numbers 28:31. But afterwards Moses foretold to the Ephraimites, that there should be ten of them for one Manassite, Deuteronomy 33:17.; and the event justified the prediction. 2. That several celebrated cities, not mentioned here, fell to the lot of Ephraim. Such, among others, are Ramah, the country of Samuel, known in the New Testament under the name of Arimathea; Shiloh, where the tabernacle resided; Tirzah, the royal city of Jeroboam, and some of his successors; Samaria, the capital of the kingdom of Israel, after the destruction of Tirzah; and Sichem, with the mountains of Ebal, Gerizzim, Sichar, &c.

Verse 10

Ver. 10. And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer, &c.— Gezer was upon the sea-coast, in the district retained by the Philistines. Judges 1:29.

But the Canaanites—serve under tribute Grotius, in his commentary upon these words, thinks that the Gezerites, when become tributaries, were forced to receive the positive laws which God had given to Abraham and Noah, and which tended to exclude all idolatry. But in another part of his works, that great critic observes, that the Gezerites were spared, as, without doubt, they surrendered immediately on being summoned. He observes the same of the Gergesenes, who remained even in the time of Jesus Christ. Matthew 8:28. "This people," says he, "had surrendered from the first; for which reason no mention is made of them in the numbering of the enemy-nations. Deu 20:17 and ch. Joshua 11:1." See de B. & P. lib. 2: cap. 13 sect. 4 n. 2 and Barbeyrac's note on the place. For the rest, it is well known, that the city of Gezer and its inhabitants were destroyed by Solomon, after the conquest made of it by the king of Egypt, in order to give it as a portion to his daughter on her marriage with that prince. 1 Kings 9:16.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 16". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/joshua-16.html. 1801-1803.