Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.XIX.
INHERITANCE OF SIMEON(Joshua 19:1-9).
(1) Their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.—The southern part of the inheritance of Judah was given up to Simeon. (See Judges 1:3; Judges 1:17.) In this fact a prophecy was fulfilled; for the effect of the allotment was to separate Simeon from the tribes with whom he had been united in the journey through the wilderness (viz., Reuben and Gad), who had cast off Simeon, and united themselves with the half tribe of Manasseh instead. Being also separated from Levi, Simeon was still further isolated: with the result that in the final separation of Israel and Judah, after Solomon’s death, the tribe of Simeon, though adhering to the kingdom of the ten tribes (for the children of Simeon were counted strangers in Judah—2Chronicles 15:9), was separated from the territory of that kingdom by the whole breadth of the kingdom of Judah. Thus were Jacob’s words brought to pass, which he spoke on his death-bed regarding Simeon and Levi: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
(2) Beer-sheba.—Bir-es-seba. Sheba (Shema).
(7) Ain, Remmon.—Timm er-Rumâmîn.
The rest of the cities of Simeon are not identified in Conder’s Biblical Gazetteer, with the exception of Sharuhen (Tell esh-Sherî’ah, north-west of Beer-sheba).
(9) The part of the children of Judah was too much for them.—In Judges 1 we read that Judah invoked the assistance of Simeon to complete the conquest of his inheritance, and also assisted Simeon to conquer his. This fact illustrates the character of the conquest of Canaan by Joshua, and shows that when his work was done, something was still left for the individual tribes to do.
(10) The third lot . . . for the children of Zebulun . . . Sarid (Syriac, Asdod; LXX., Seddouk) should be apparently spelt with consonants s, D, D. It is identified as Tell Shadûd (sheet 8). From this point a line is drawn westward (past M’alûl, sheet 5) to Jokneam (Tell Keimûn, same sheet), a place at the south-east end of the Carmel ridge. This is the south boundary. We may note that it does not touch the sea, but leaves room for the territory of Asher to interpose (comp. Joshua 17:10-11). Returning to Sarid, the boundary is next (Joshua 19:12) drawn eastward to Chisloth-tabor (Iksâl, sheet 6), Daberath(Dabûrieh, sheet 6), Japhia (Yâfa, sheet 5), Gittah-hepher (El-Mesh-hed, sheet 6).
And turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrising unto the border of Chislothtabor, and then goeth out to Daberath, and goeth up to Japhia,(12) And goeth up to Japhia.—Better, and had gone up to Japhia, which lies west of the two places previously named. Daberath is the south-east boundary. El-Mesh-hed lies north of this.
And from thence passeth on along on the east to Gittahhepher, to Ittahkazin, and goeth out to Remmonmethoar to Neah;(13) Remmon-methoar to Neah.—Better, Remmon that stretcheth to Neah. Remmon is identified as Rummâneh, due north of Gittah-hepher (sheet 6).
And the border compasseth it on the north side to Hannathon: and the outgoings thereof are in the valley of Jiphthahel:(14) Hannathon (Kefr-’Andn, sheet 9) is the northeast corner of the boundary. The valley (ravine) of Jiphthah-el (God’s opening) seems to be the gorge running south-west from the north of Hannathon towards the plain.
And Kattath, and Nahallal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities with their villages.(15) Nahallal.—(‘Ain Mahil, sheet 6).
Shimron.—(Simûmieh, west of Nazareth, sheet 5).
Idalah.—(El Huwârah, a ruin just south of Bethlehem, sheet 5).
Beth-lehem.—(Beit-Lahm, sheet v.). It seems right to refer Ibzan of Bethlehem (Judges 12:8; Judges 12:10) to this town. The other Bethlehem is called in Judges and Ruth, Bethlehem-Judah; and in Micah, Bethlehem-Ephratah (Judges 17:7; Judges 19:1; Ruth 1:1; Micah 5:2). Bethlehem-Judah is designated Bethlehem only when it is impossible to mistake it for Bethlehem of Zebulun (e.g., Ruth 1:19, and 1Samuel 16:4).
Twelve cities.—Ittah-kazin, Neah, Dabbasheth, and Kattath have not been identified, and they may not all be names of towns.
And the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families.(17) The fourth lot . . . to Issachar.—These two tribes were located next to the house of Joseph on the north. It should be remembered that Issachar and Zebulun had been associated with Judah to form the same camp and division of the army in the wilderness. This association, lasting forty years, must have created many ties between these two tribes and their leader Judah. It was no ordinary wisdom that placed the descendants of Rachel (Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh) between Judah on the south and Judah’s two associates on the north—to cement the union of all Israel, and as far as possible to prevent discord.
With regard to Judah and Zebulun, it is noticeable that we find their union reproduced in the earthly history of our Lord. Mary, who was of the house of David, and Joseph of the same lineage, are found dwelling in Nazareth, in the tribe of Zebulun. Thus the north and the south alike had “part in David,” and inheritance in David’s Son. There is a Bethlehem (Joshua 19:15) in Zebulun as well as in Judah. The name is not found in any other tribe.
And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem,(18) Zerin (sheet 8), Iksal (sheet 6), Sûlem (sheet 9).
And Hapharaim, and Shion, and Anaharath,(19) El Farrîyeh (sheet 6),En-N’aûrah (sheet 9, near Endor).
And Rabbith, and Kishion, and Abez,(20) Râba (sheet 12), El Beida (sheet 5).
And Remeth, and Engannim, and Enhaddah, and Bethpazzez;(21) Er-Rameh (sheet 11), Jenin (sheet 8), Kefr- adán (sheet 8).
And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Bethshemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.(22) Tabor (? Deburieh, sheet 6). Beth-shemesh (‘Ain Esh-shemsiyeh, near Beth-shean). The rest are not identified. Of these places, Shunem and Jezreel are famous in later history: Shunem especially in the story of Elisha (2 Kings 4).
And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.(24) The fifth lot . . . for . . . Asher . . . (and Joshua 19:32) the sixth . . . for . . . Naphtali.—Asher and Naphtali had been associated with Dan in the exodus, and with him had encamped on the north side of the tabernacle, and had brought up the rear. These two, each dissociated from his own brother (viz., Asher from Gad and Naphtali from Dan), are paired together in their inheritance in Palestine (comp. Naphtali and Manasseh in Revelation 7, and see Names on the Gates of Pearl, pp. 199, 200). The tribe of Asher was more akin to the house of Judah, for Zilpah, the mother of Asher, was Leah’s handmaid; and the tribe of to the house of Joseph, for Bilhah, Naphtali’s mother, was Rachel’s handmaid. But in all cases the lot of the inheritance of the tribe seems to have fallen in such a way as to favour the construction of a united Israel—a Dodecaphulon, to use St. Paul’s word—an organised body of twelve tribes.
And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph,(25) Their border.—The border of Asher on the west is the Mediterranean. On the east of Asher lies the tribe of Naphtali, but most of the towns named in these verses lie well within the territory of Asher. The northern end of the territory of this tribe lies beyond the limits of the Ordnance Survey, for it reaches “unto great Zidon” (Joshua 19:28). The southern boundary is said to be Carmel (Joshua 19:26), but no town is identified south of Cabul (Kabûl, south-east of Akkah, sheet 5).
The towns identified are as follows:—
(25) El B’aneh, EL-Yasif or Kefr Yasif (sheet 3).
(26) Khurbet-el-Amûd, and M’aîsleh (? Kh.-Muslih) (sheet 3).
Shihor-libnath (river of glass), the river Belus (sheet 5).
(27) Beth-dagon (Tell-’ Daûk), near the mouth of the Belus.
Neiel.—(Y’Arûn, sheet 5).
Cabul.—(Kabûl, south-east of Akkah, sheet 5).
(28) Hebron.—(Abdon, Kh.-Abdeh, sheet 3). Hammon (El Hama, sheet 3).
Kanah (south-east of Tyre, sheet 1).
(29) Tyre.—(es-Sûr, sheet 1). Hosah (‘Ozziyeh, sheet 1). Achzib (es-Zib, sheet 3, on the coast). (See Joshua 15:44 for another place of same name.) Ummah (Kh.-Almah, north of Achzib).
And their coast was from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum; and the outgoings thereof were at Jordan:(33) And their coast was . . .—This verse is thus translated by Conder, “Their coast was from Heleph and the Plain of Bitzanannim and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel,unto Lakum,and the outgoings were at Jordan.”
The east border of the tribe is Jordan, including the waters of Merom and the Sea of Galilee. The tribe of Issachar on the south, and the tribes of Zebulun and Asher on the west, are conterminous with Naphtali.
The places mentioned are identified as follows:—
Heleph.—(Beit Lif, sheet 4). The plain of Bitzanannim (Kh.-Bessum, sheet 6). Adami (Kh.-Admah, sheet 9): this is the southernmost of all the towns named. Nekeb (Kh.-Seiyâdeh, sheet 6). Jabneel (Yemma, sheet 5). All the above places, except Heleph, lie near the Sea of Galilee, on the south-west side.
And then the coast turneth westward to Aznothtabor, and goeth out from thence to Hukkok, and reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and reacheth to Asher on the west side, and to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising.(34) Hukkok (Yakûk, sheet 6), in the same region as the above, but a little further north, near the northeast boundary of Zebulun. Of Judah upon Jordan we can say nothing with certainty.
And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth,(35) The fenced cities.—Observe the protection of the northern border by fortresses. Ziddim (Hattin), Hammath (Hammâm Tabarîya), Rakkath (Tiberias), and Chinnereth (not identified, but giving a name to the Sea of Galilee, and therefore evidently close by), are all in sheet 6, near the lake.
(36,37) Adamah (Ed-Dâmeh,?Daimah, sheet 6), Ramah (Râmeh), Hazor (Hadîreh), Kedesh (Kades), Edrei (Y’ater), En-hazor (Hazireh), and Iron (Y’arum), are all in sheet 4, north of the above. The town of Hazor has been variously identified by previous writers, but Conder expresses no doubt as to its being Hadîreh, which certainly occupies a commanding position above a stream that flows into Lake Merom.
And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.(38) Migdal-el and Horem are identified as Kh.-Mujeidil and Hârah on sheet 2, further north again; and Beth-anath as ‘Ainatha (sheet 4).
And the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families.(40) The seventh lot . . . of the children of Dan.—Dan was the most numerous tribe, next to Judah, in each census taken during the exodus. (See Numbers 1, 26) This tribe had also had a post of honour in being commander of the rear-guard during the march. A similar post is here assigned to Dan in Palestine, viz., next to Judah, on the side of the Philistine territory. The Philistines were the most powerful and warlike of the unconquered nations of Palestine. The wisdom of guarding Israel on their frontier by the two strongest of the tribes is manifest. It was Samson, a Danite, who began to deliver Israel from them, and David completed the work. Though there were Philistine wars in the time of the later kings, they never had dominion over Israel after David’s time.
And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Irshemesh,(41) And the coast . . .—Zorah and Eshtaol, in the tribe of Dan, had been originally assigned to Judah (Joshua 15:33); so also Ekron. But it is not clear whether they are mentioned here as marking the border of Dan and Judah, or actually in the territory of the former. However, Dan is wedged in, as it were, between the powerful tribes of Judah and Ephraim, the unconquered Philistines, and the sea. It is not surprising that their coast “went out from them” (Joshua 19:47) when it was partly unconquered, partly taken from other tribes in the first instance. Conder says it was carved out of the country of Ephraim.
(41-46) All the towns mentioned here are identified by Conder.
Ir-shemesh—Ain Sheme Shaalabbin—Selbît
Jethlah—(Ruin) Beit Tul
Are all in sheet 17
Ekron-(akir, sheet 16)
Gibbethon-(Kibbiah, sheet 14)
Baalath—(Belaîn, sheet 14)
For Gath-rimmon, Conder suggests Gath; but this he identifies with Tell-es-Safi, which is well within the territory of Judah (to the south of sheet 16).
Me-jarkon, “the yellow water,” is thought to be the river ’Aujeh (sheet 13), and Rakkon, Tell-er-Rakkeit, to the north of the mouth of it. Japho is Jaffa, on the same sheet.
And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.(47) And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them.—The words “too
little” are not in the original; and it seems better to translate literally: And the coast of the children of Dan went out from them—i.e., their territory was partly re-conquered by the Philistines. Something similar seems to have occurred in several districts of the country. The Israelites not taking advantage of the impression produced by Joshua’s great victories to occupy the territory assigned to them, the nations of Canaan re-possessed themselves of their former abodes. and held them against Israel. The Philistines are expressly said to have been left to prove Israel. Joshua was not permitted to exterminate them. And although Dan and Judah, numerically the two strongest of all the tribes (both in the census in the plains of Moab and at Sinai), were placed next to the Philistines, and had the task of conquering that nation assigned to them, still it was not effected. We read in Judges 1, “The Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains, for they would not suffer them to come down into the valley.”
Hence the Danites, instead of attacking the Philistines and Amorites in their inheritance, preferred to form a new settlement in the north, and put to the sword “a people quiet and secure,” who “had no deliverer,” rather than “run with patience the race set before them.” They were not minded to resist unto blood, striving against their foes. (See the narrative in Judges 18, especially Joshua 19:27-28.)
When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them:(49, 50) When they had made an end . . . gave an inheritance to Joshua . . . according to the word of the Lord they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnath-serah in mount Ephraim (Kefr Hâris, sheet 14).—Historically and typically the fact is noticeable. (a) Historically. Joshua waited for his own inheritance until the last. He sought not his own interest, but that of the people. He asked no kingdom for himself or his family, only a city, which he built, and dwelt therein. (6) Typically. “They gave him the city which he asked, according to the word of the Lord.” What does this mean in the case of the true Joshua? “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.” He must reign till God hath put all enemies under His feet. Then, and not till then, will He take His own personal inheritance, and be subject to Him that put all things under Him. Timnath-serah means an abundant portion, a portion of abundance. Though small, it was enough for Joshua. It will be enough for his Antitype, when “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied.” It is afterwards called Timnath-heres, the portion of the Sun. “His going forth is from the end of heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it, and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”