Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 13:3

from the Shihor which is east of Egypt, even as far as the border of Ekron to the north (it is counted as Canaanite); the five lords of the Philistines: the Gazite, the Ashdodite, the Ashkelonite, the Gittite, the Ekronite; and the Avvite
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ashdod;   Ashkelon;   Avites;   Egypt;   Ekron;   Gath;   Gaza;   Gazathites;   Geshur;   Lord;   Philistines;   Sihor;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ekron;   Philistines;   Sihor;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Hivites;   Nile, the River;   Philistines, the;   Theocracy, the, or Immediate Government by God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ashdod;   Avim, or Avites;   Gath;   Gaza or Azzah;   Sihor;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ashdod;   Ashkelon;   Caleb;   Ekron;   Gath;   Gaza;   Philistia, philistines;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Joshua, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ashkelon;   Avim;   Ekron;   Gath;   Gaza;   Gittite;   Lebanon;   Lord;   Philistines;   Sihor;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ashkelon;   Avim;   Beriah;   Canaan;   Caphtor;   Gath;   Hittites;   Joshua, the Book of;   Lebanon;   Nile;   Palestine;   Philistia;   River of Egypt;   Shihor of Egypt;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ashdod;   Ashkelon;   Conquest of Canaan;   Gazathite;   Gittite;   Joshua, the Book of;   Rivers and Waterways in the Bible;   Shihor;   Sidon and Tyre;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ashdod;   Ashkelon;   Ekron;   Gazites;   Joshua;   Lord;   Lords of the Philistines;   Machpelah;   Priests and Levites;   Shihor;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ashdod ;   Avim, Avites ;   Ekronites ;   Eshkalonites ;   Gazathites, Gazites ;   Sihor ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ekron;   Nile;   Philistia;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ashdodites,;   Ek'ron;   Esh'kalonites, the;   Gath;   Ga'za;   Ga'zathites, the,;   Leb'anon,;   Philis'tines;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ashdod;   Ashdodites;   Ashkelon;   Ashkelonites;   Avvim;   Ekron;   Gath;   Gazathites;   Gazites;   Gittites;   Joshua, Book of;   Lords of the Philistines;   Negeb;   Palestine;   Philistines;   Shihor;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ashdod;   Avim;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abel-Mizraim;   Ashdod;   Ashkelon;   Avvites, Avva, Avvim;   Ekron;   Gath;   Gaza;   Gentile;   Giants;   Philistines;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

From Sihor, which is before Egypt - Supposed by some to be the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, near to the Arabian Desert; called also the river of Egypt, Numbers 34:5; Jeremiah 2:18. On this subject an intelligent friend favors me with the following opinion: - "The river Sihor is supposed by some to be the Nile, or a branch of it. Others think it the same as what is frequently called the river of Egypt, which lay before or towards the borders of Egypt; which arose out of the mountains of Paran, and ran westward, falling into that bay of the Mediterranean which lies south of the land of the Philistines. This river is often mentioned as the boundary of the Israelites to the southwest, as Euphrates, the great river, was on the northeast. "There was a desert of considerable distance between what is called the river of Egypt and the isthmus of Suez. Solomon reigned to the borders of Egypt, i.e., to this desert; but not in Egypt, nor to the river Nile. "Upon the whole, (though there are difficulties in the matter), I incline to think that the river in question was not the Nile. Sihor (black) might, from some circumstances, be applied to another river as well as the Nile; though some places in Isaiah and Jeremiah seem to restrict it to the Nile." - J. C.

Ekron northward - Ekron was one of the five lordships of the Philistines, and the most northern of all the districts they possessed. Baal-zebub, its idol, is famous in Scripture; see 2 Kings 1:2, etc. The five lordships of the Philistines were Gaza, Ashdod, Askalon, Gath, and Ekron. There is no proof that ever the Israelites possessed Ekron; though, from Joshua 15:11, some think it was originally given to Judah, but the text does not say so; it only states that the border of the tribe of Judah went out Unto the Side of Ekron. From Joshua 19:43, we learn that it was a part of the lot of Dan, but it does not appear to have been possessed by any of those tribes.

Counted to the Canaanite - It is generally allowed that the original possessors of this country were the descendants of Canaan, the youngest son of Ham. The Philistines sprang from Mizraim, the second son of Ham, and, having dispossessed the Avim from the places they held in this land, dwelt in their stead. See Genesis 10:13, Genesis 10:14.

Five lords of the Philistines - These dynasties are famous in the Scriptures for their successful wars against the Israelites, of whom they were almost the perpetual scourge.

Also the Avites - These must not be confounded with the Hivites. The Avites seem to have been a very inconsiderable tribe, who dwelt in some of the skirts of Palestine. They had been originally deprived of their country by the Caphtorim; and though they lived as a distinct people, they had never afterwards arrived to any authority.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Sihor is derived from a root signifying “to be black,” and is suitable enough as an appellative of the Nile Isaiah 23:3. Here it most probably stands for “the river of Egypt” (Numbers 34:3 note), the modern “Wady el Arish”.

Ekron (“Akir”) lay on the northern boundary of Judah Joshua 15:11, and was actually conquered by the men of that tribe Judges 1:18, though assigned in the allotment of the land to Dan Joshua 19:43. It seems to have fallen again into the hands of the Philistines in the days of the Judges 1 Samuel 5:10, was reconquered by Samuel (compare 1 Samuel 7:14), but figures in subsequent times as a Philistine city only (compare 1 Samuel 17:52; 2 Kings 1:2, 2 Kings 1:16, etc.).

Lords - The Hebrew word סרן seren means “an axle,” and is applied as a title special to the chiefs (compare Judges 3:3 and marginal references) of the Philistines Genesis 10:14.

Gaza was the most southern of the Philistine cities (compare Joshua 10:41; Joshua 11:22). It was allotted to the tribe of Judah Joshua 15:47, and was, with Askalon, taken by the warriors of that tribe Judges 1:18. Both cities were soon re-occupied by the Philistines, and subsequently are always mentioned as Philistine cities. Gaza lay on the direct route of the Egyptian armies in their invasions of Syria, by whom it was captured more than once. Special judgments are denounced against Gaza for the cruelty of its people toward the Jews in the time of their humiliation Amos 1:6-7; Zephaniah 2:4; Zechariah 9:5, and in the time of Jerome the ancient city was a ruin of which the foundations could hardly be traced, and the then existing town was built on another site. Gaza was in later times an episcopal see, and is now a thriving place containing some 15,000 inhabitants, a larger population than that of Jerusalem.

Ashdod (“Esdud;” Azotus, Acts 8:40) was, like Gaza, allotted to Judah (see Joshua 15:46-47), but was soon regained by the Philistines, and became a principal seat of their Dagon worship. Here the ark of God was taken after its capture by the Philistines (1 Samuel 5:1 ff). Its name (“fortress,” “castle”), no less than its history (compare 2 Chronicles 26:6; Isaiah 20:1; Nehemiah 4:7, etc.) indicates its importance as a stronghold; it withstood for twenty-nine years the longest siege on record by the Egyptian king Psammetichus. Like Gaza, it was doomed by the Jewish prophets to desolation, and it was utterly destroyed by the Maccabees (Judges 1:18), the birthplace of Herod the Great, figures as an important town and seaport in the history of the Crusades, and very massive ruins still attest the ancient strength and grandeur of the place. It is situated about midway between Gaza and Ashdod.

Gath seems to have been first taken by David 1 Chronicles 18:1. It is not named again in the book of Joshua. It was the town of Goliath 1 Samuel 17:4, and is mentioned in David‘s elegy over Saul as a leading Philistine city 2 Samuel 1:20. It was the nearest of the Philistine cities to Jerusalem, but both the name and the city have perished; its site is conjecturally placed (by Condor) at Tell es Safi.

Avites - See Deuteronomy 2:23 note.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-13.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

From Sihor, which is before Egypt,.... Which Jarchi and Kimchi interpret of the river Nile, and so that river is called, Jeremiah 2:18; it seems to have this name from the waters of it being black and turbid; and hence it was called by the Greeks "Melas"; and by the Latins "Melo"; though it is thought, that not properly the river itself is here meant, which did not reach to the borders of Palestine, but a branch of it, a rivulet from it, for so a travellerF1Jodocus a Gistella apud Drusium in loc. writes,"in a journey of about five days from Gaza towards Egypt, the hithermost arm of the Nile is received by the sea, and is commonly called Carabus?"

even unto the borders of Ekron northward: that is, from the southwest of Palestine, near to which was the river Nile, to the northern part of it, where stood the principality of Ekron, one of the five which belonged to the Philistines:

which is counted to the Canaanite; which was reckoned as belonging to the posterity of Canaan, though the Philistines got possession of it, who descended from Mizraim; and indeed it was only accounted as belonging to Canaan and his sons; of right, and according to the grant of God, it belonged to the seed of Abraham:

five lords of the Philistines; who had not kings, as other countries and cities in the land of Canaan had, and their cities were called lordships, principalities, and not kingdoms, and are as follow:

the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites,

and the Ekronites: so called from Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron, the cities they were in possession of:

also the Avites; it is not certain whether these were a distinct principality from the other five, or a people dispersed among them; which seems most likely, since those were the original inhabitants, but were driven out or destroyed by the Philistines, though it seems some remained and dwelt among them; see Deuteronomy 2:23.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-13.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:

Counted to the Canaanites — That is, which though now possessed by the Philistines, who drove out the Canaanites the old inhabitants of it, Deuteronomy 2:23; Amos 9:7, yet is a part of the land of Canaan, and therefore belongs to the Israelites.

The Avites — Or, the Avims, as they are called, Deuteronomy 2:23, who though they were expelled out of their ancient seat, and most of them destroyed by the Caphtorims or Philistines, as is there said, yet many of them escaped, and planted themselves not very far from the former.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 13:3 From Sihor, which [is] before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, [which] is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:

Ver. 3. From Sihor.] Or Nile, which hath its name Sihor from blackness, and Nile from muddiness. So much of Egypt as this river watereth, is a black mould, so fruitful, as they do but throw in the seed, and have four rich harvests in less than four months, as travellers tell us.

Also the Avites.] Who, belike, still held part of their old possession. [Deuteronomy 2:22-23]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-13.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 3. From Sihor, which is before Egypt Here the sacred historian, intending, in a particular manner, to describe the extent of the country of the Philistines, fixes its northern limits at the river Sihor, which, it is generally thought, was only the Pelusiack branch of the Nile. See on Numbers 34:5.

Le Clerc, Calmet, Mills, Bishop Clayton, and many others, are of this opinion.

Even unto the borders of Ekron northward Ekron was a considerable city in the land of the Philistines, particularly famous for the altars of Beelzebub, called, in the New Testament, the prince of the devils. He was esteemed the chief deity of the country. Ekron was a portion of the tribe of Judah, and afterwards of Dan; but neither of them took it from its original possessors.

Which is counted to the Canaanite The first possessors of the country were the descendants of Canaan, the youngest son of Ham. With respect to the Philistines, they, it is well known, sprung from Mizraim, the second son of Ham; and, in a course of time, dispossessed the Avims of the places they held in the land of Canaan, and there settled themselves under the name of Philistines. See on Genesis 10:13 and Deuteronomy 2:23.

Five lords of the Philistines The whole country of the Philistines, from Sihor to Ekron, was divided into five governments. The Scripture calls them chiefs, saraim, or saranaim; an old Phoenician word, as some think, signifying the same as sarim in Hebrews 1.e. prince or governor: the LXX translate it, satrapes, and the Vulgate petty kings; which does not answer, so well as the expression used by the LXX, to the idea that the Scripture gives of the government of the Philistines, which was rather aristocratical than monarchical. Achish, king of Gath in the time of David, is perhaps the only one of these lords who became absolute in his government. The land of the Philistines was of inconsiderable extent, not above forty English miles long, and very narrow, but rendered famous for its fertility and commerce. The Avites are to be distinguished from the Hivites, who inhabited the country near mount Hermon, to the north of Canaan; the latter dwelt on the west, and did not make a separate government. Though they, as well as the Philistines, were deprived of their country by the Caphtorims, yet some of them remained in certain districts, where they lived under the dominion of their conquerors.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-13.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Sihor; a river, of which see Isaiah 23:3 Jeremiah 2:18.

Which is counted to the Canaanite, i.e. which, though now possessed by the Philistines, who drove out the Canaanites, the old inhabitants of it, Deuteronomy 2:23 Amos 9:7; yet is a part of the land of Canaan, and therefore belongs to the Israelites.

The Avites, or the Avims, as they are called, Deuteronomy 2:23; who though they were expelled out of their ancient seat, and most of them destroyed by the Caphtorims or Philistines, as is there said, yet many of them probably escaped, and planted themselves in some other place not very far from the former.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.Sihor is not, in this passage, the Nile, as some have supposed, but rather the Wady el-Arish or Rhinocorura, which is before Egypt, that is, east of Egypt, constituting the southern boundary of Canaan. It is also called “the river of Egypt.” Joshua 15:4. Ekron, the most northerly city of the Philistines, is represented by the modern village of Akir twenty-four miles west of Jerusalem, containing about fifty mud houses, without a remnant of antiquity except two large, finely built wells. [

Which is counted to the Canaanite — As all that belonged to the Canaanite was now to be divided among the nine and one half tribes of Israel, it was important to know the whole extent of their ancient territory. The Philistines were not of Canaanitish but Egyptian origin, being descended from Mizraim.

Genesis 10:14. They seem to have expelled the original Canaanites, and dwelt in their coasts by the sea.]

Gazathites, and Ashdothites — See Joshua 11:22, note. Eshkalon stood upon the Mediterranean, about fifteen miles north of Gaza. Retaining nearly the same name, it now consists of very thick walls and ruins of temples and theatres.

Gittites — People of Gath.

Avites — An early, but probably not an aboriginal, people in Philistia.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-13.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Egypt. Hebrew, "from the Shicor, (or Sichor) which is on the face, (or over-against) Egypt." Jeremias (ii. 18,) informs us that this river was in Egypt which is not true of the torrent of Rhinocorure; which the Septuagint and many commentators, understand in this place to be the boundary fixed for the promised land. Strabo, &c., attribute that torrent to Phœnicia; which they extend as far as Pelusium. St. Jerome (in Amos vi.) seems dubious whether the branch of the Nile passes by that city, or the aforesaid torrent be meant. David collected all his forces from the Sichor, or the torrent of Egypt, to the entrance of Emath, 1 Paralipomenon xiii. 5. Epiphanes constituted Lysanias governor of all the countries between the Euphrates and the river of Egypt, (2 Machabees iii. 32,) and he undoubtedly had extended his conquests as far as the Nile. Though the country beyond Gaza be now mostly barren, and therefore little inhabited or noticed, yet the Israelites were entitled to assert their right to it, as they seem to have done by taking possession of Gosen, chap. x. 41. Some parts were formerly well peopled, 1 Kings xxvii. 8. It is not unusual for the Nile, and other great rivers, to be styled torrents. The Hebrew nel, is often applied to rivers, Ecclesiastes i. 7. The troubled state in which the waters of the Nile generally appear, is very remarkable, as their taste is most excellent. The natives have discovered a method of rendering them clear, by the mixture of almond powder. The names of this river bear some relation to the Hebrew term which is here used. It was formerly called Sirius. The Ethiopians style it Schichri. Another name was Melas, or Egyptus, denoting "blackness." The people of the country idolized this river, because it supplied the want of rain. (Tibul, i. 8.) (Calmet) --- Accaron, the most northern city of the Philistian principalities, (Haydock) attributed to Juda or Dan, though neither held it for any length of time. Beelzebub was chiefly adored here, 4 Kings i. 2. --- Lords, who seem to have been independent. They are styled Sornim, as the next in dignity to the king of Persia was a Surena. (Marcellin. 24.) The Philistines took this country from the Chanaanites, or Eveans, (Calmet) who are a different people from the Hevites. (Bochart)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Sihor. Hebrew "the Sihor".

lords. Hebrew seren, a prince; first occurrence. Used only of the Philistine princes. Joshua 13:3. Judges 3:3; Judges 16:5, Judges 16:8, Judges 16:18, Judges 16:23, Judges 16:27, Judges 16:30; 1 Samuel 5:8, 1 Samuel 5:11; 1 Samuel 6:4, 1 Samuel 6:12, 1 Samuel 6:16, 1 Samuel 6:18; 1 Samuel 7:7; 1 Samuel 29:2, 1 Samuel 29:6, 1 Samuel 29:7; 1 Chronicles 12:19.

the Gittites. Some codices, with three early printed editions, Septuagint, and Syriac, read "and the."

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:

Ekron, [Septuagint, Akkaroon] - now Akir (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 3:, 22-25), the northernmost of the five townships of the Philistines (see the note at Joshua 15:11; Joshua 15:45, and at Joshua 19:43).

Which is counted to the Cannanite. The land occupied by these was promised to the Israelites, because, previously to the Philistine invasion, it had belonged to the doomed Canaanites.

Five lords of the Philistines, [ carneey (Hebrew #5633), princes] - the special designation of the five Philistine rulers; metaphorically for axles, or hinges - i:e., of a people.

The Gazathites - or Gazites, the inhabitants of Gaza, which stood on the southern border of Canaan.

The Ashdothites - of Ashdod [Septuagint, Azootos (Greek #108)], now Esdud, 18 geographical miles northeast of Gaza.

The Eshkalonites - of Ashkelon, Askelon [Septuagint, Askaloon], the only maritime town of the Philistines.

The Gittites - of Gath. The site of this ancient city has been identified by Porter with 'a conspicuous hill called Tell-es-Safieh, about 200 feet high, with steep sides. It is about 7 miles from Beth-shemesh, 8 miles from Shochoh toward Ekron, and 6 miles north of Eleutheropolis.' All these names are in the Hebrew singular: the Gazathite, etc.

Also the Avites - or Avim (dwellers in ruins). A nomadic tribe, who may have pushed their way, as Stanley says ('Sinai and Palestine,' app., sec. 85), from the desert, and established their circuit of pastoral encampments on the fertile district as far as Gaza, until they were dispossessed by the invading Philistines (Deuteronomy 2:23; also Genesis 10:17-19). Mr. Grove thinks, from the enumeration of places in the context being from south to north, it must be inferred that the Avites had effected a settlement northward of the Philistine Pentapolis. But there is no foundation for that suggestion, nor for Stanley's conjecture that they were nomads from the desert. They must have been of the same race as the Canaanites; and, in fact, the two clauses, "also the Avites (Joshua 11:4) from the south," which in our translation appear separate and distinct, are in the Septuagint and other versions closely connected [ek Thaiman], the word "south" being taken as the proper name of a territory south of that of the Philistines. The sum, then, of what is said here and elsewhere concerning the Avites is, that their northern boundary was Gaza, while their southern one was Teman, and that their territory was included in the enumeration of the districts in Palestine 'that yet remained to be possessed.' [From the Septuagint calling them hoi Euaioi, the name which that version always applies to the Hivites, it has been concluded by some that the Avites and Hivites were synonymous appellations of the same people. There is a radical distinction between the two Hebrew words `Awiym (Hebrew #5757) and Hiwiy, and yet it is very singular that both the Septuagint and Jerome should translate both by the same word.]

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-13.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:
Sihor
Jeremiah 2:18
which is counted
Genesis 10:15-19; Numbers 34:2-14
five Lords
Judges 3:3; 1 Samuel 6:4,16,17; Zephaniah 2:4,5; The Philistine were not descended from Canaan, but from Mizraim, the son of Ham; Ge:; with ver. 13;) yet they were numbered with the Canaanites in this distribution.
Avites
Deuteronomy 2:23
Avims
Reciprocal: Joshua 15:4 - river;  Joshua 15:45 - Ekron;  Joshua 15:47 - the river;  Judges 1:18 - GeneralJudges 16:5 - the lords;  1 Samuel 6:18 - the five lords;  1 Samuel 29:2 - the lords;  1 Kings 8:65 - the river;  1 Chronicles 13:5 - Shihor;  2 Chronicles 7:8 - from the entering;  Isaiah 14:29 - whole;  Ezekiel 48:28 - the river;  Obadiah 1:19 - the plain;  Acts 8:26 - Gaza

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 13:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-13.html.