And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, to Zoar.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the south—i.e., the Negeb.
And the plain—i.e., the plain of Jordan.
The valley of Jericho.—The city of palm trees may or may not be identical with that place.Genesis 19:22.
De 34:1-12. Moses from Mount Nebo Views the Land.
1. Moses went up from the plains of Moab—This chapter appears from internal evidence to have been written subsequently to the death of Moses, and it probably formed, at one time, an introduction to the Book of Joshua.
unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah—literally, the head or summit of the Pisgah; that is, the height (compare Nu 23:14; De 3:17-27; 4:49). The general name given to the whole mountain range east of Jordan, was Abarim (compare De 32:49), and the peak to which Moses ascended was dedicated to the heathen Nebo, as Balaam's standing place had been consecrated to Peor. Some modern travellers have fixed on Jebel Attarus, a high mountain south of the Jabbok (Zurka), as the Nebo of this passage [Burckhardt, Seetzen, &c.]. But it is situated too far north for a height which, being described as "over against Jericho," must be looked for above the last stage of the Jordan.
the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead—That pastoral region was discernible at the northern extremity of the mountain line on which he stood, till it ended, far beyond his sight in Dan. Westward, there were on the horizon, the distant hills of "all Naphtali." Coming nearer, was "the land of Ephraim and Manasseh." Immediately opposite was "all the land of Judah," a title at first restricted to the portion of this tribe, beyond which were "the utmost sea" (the Mediterranean) and the Desert of the "South." These were the four great marks of the future inheritance of his people, on which the narrative fixes our attention. Immediately below him was "the circle" of the plain of Jericho, with its oasis of palm trees; and far away on his left, the last inhabited spot before the great desert "Zoar." The foreground of the picture alone was clearly discernible. There was no miraculous power of vision imparted to Moses. That he should see all that is described is what any man could do, if he attained sufficient elevation. The atmosphere of the climate is so subtle and free from vapor that the sight is carried to a distance of which the beholder, who judges from the more dense air of Europe, can form no idea [Vere Monro]. But between him and that "good land," the deep valley of the Jordan intervened; "he was not to go over thither."Numbers 34:3-5 Joshua 15:1-4, as the western quarter of Judah was described in the words next foregoing. The plain of the valley of Jericho; or, in which lies Jericho; which was in the tribe of Benjamin.
The city of palm trees, i.e. Jericho, so called both here and Judges 1:16 3:13 2 Chronicles 28:15, from the multitude of palm trees which were in those parts, as Josephus and Strabo write; from whence and the balm there growing it was called
Jericho, which signifies odoriferous, or sweet-smelling.
the plain of the valley of Jericho; which lay before him, a delightful plain; see Joshua 5:10,
the city of palm trees; so Jericho was called, because of the multitude of palm trees which grew there, and which Josephus not only testifies (r), who speaks of it as a plain planted with palm trees, and from whence balsam comes; but several Heathen writers: Pliny says (s) Jericho was set with palm trees; Diodorus Siculus (t) speaks of the country about Jericho as abounding with palm trees, and in a certain valley, meaning the vale or plains of Jericho, is produced that which is called balsam; so Strabo says (u), Jericho is a plain surrounded with mountains abounding with palm trees, where there is a plantation of palm trees, with other fruit trees, the space of a hundred furlongs:
unto Zoar; near the salt sea; see Genesis 19:22.And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. the South] Heb. the Negeb, see on Deuteronomy 1:7.
the Plain] Heb. kikkar, the root meaning of which, to judge from its use alike for a district, a loaf and a weight, must be round or oval. Render the Round: here in apposition (delete of) to the Biḳ‘ah (lit. space cleft or laid open between hills, HGHL 385, 654 f.), or Valley, of Jericho; called also the kikkar of Jordan, Genesis 13:10 f., 1 Kings 7:46. If (as the present writer still holds, cp. HGHL 505 ff.) the overwhelmed Cities of the Kikkar (Genesis 13:12; Genesis 19:29) lay not at the N., but at the S., end of the Dead Sea, the name the Kikkar, like the Ar. ghor to-day, was applied to the ‘Arabah at both ends of that sea.
the city of palm trees] Jdg 1:16; Jdg 3:13; 2 Chronicles 28:15. The district of Jericho was celebrated for its palms from a remote antiquity down to Roman times, and even to those of the Crusades. See for details HGHL 266 and note 4.
unto Zoar] The position of this town, S. of the Dead Sea, is strongly attested, HGHL 506 f. The present passage is not decisive, for it is uncertain whether unto Zoar refers only to the Valley of Jericho, or to the whole of the southern regions included in the v.
The originality of this geographical list is doubtful. Sam. has instead the ideal description of the Promised Land, from the River of Egypt unto the Great River, the River Euphrates, and unto the Western Sea.
"Who is as God, a righteous nation, who rides in heaven to thy help, and in His exaltation upon the clouds. Abiding is the God of olden time, and beneath are everlasting arms: and He drives the enemy before thee, and says, Destroy." The meaning is: No other nation has a God who rules in heaven with almighty power, and is a refuge and help to his people against every foe. Jeshurun is a vocative, and the alteration of כּאל into כּאל, "as the God of Jeshurun," according to the ancient versions, is to be rejected on the simple ground that the expression "in thy help," which follows immediately afterwards, is an address to Israel. Riding upon the heaven and the clouds is a figure used to denote the unlimited omnipotence with which God rules the world out of heaven, and is the helper of His people. "In thy help," i.e., as thy helper. This God is a dwelling to His people. מענה, like the masculine מעון in Psalm 90:1, and Psalm 91:9, signifies "dwelling," - a genuine Mosaic figure, to which, in all probability, the houseless wandering of the people in the desert, which made them feel the full worth of a dwelling, first gave rise. The figure not only implies that God grants protection and a refuge to His people in the storms of life (Psalm 91:1-2, cf. Isaiah 4:6), but also that He supplies His people with everything that can afford a safe abode. "The God of old," i.e., who has proved Himself to be God from the very beginning of the world (vid., Psalm 90:1; Habakkuk 1:12). The expression "underneath" is to be explained from the antithesis to the heaven where God is enthroned above mankind. He who is enthroned in heaven above is also the God who is with His people upon the earth below, and holds and bars them in His arms. "Everlasting arms" are arms whose strength is never exhausted. There is no need to supply "thee" after "underneath;" the expression should rather be left in its general form, "upon the earth beneath." The reference to Israel is obvious from the context. The driving of the enemy before Israel is not to be restricted to the rooting out of the Canaanites, but applies to every enemy of the congregation of the Lord.
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