Joshua 19:39
This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.
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19:17-51 Joshua waited till all the tribes were settled, before he asked any provision for himself. He was content to be unfixed, till he saw them all placed, and herein is an example to all in public places, to prefer the common welfare before private advantage. Those who labour most to do good to others, seek an inheritance in the Canaan above: but it will be soon enough to enter thereon, when they have done all the service to their brethren of which they are capable. Nor can any thing more effectually assure them of their title to it, than endeavouring to bring others to desire, to seek, and to obtain it. Our Lord Jesus came and dwelt on earth, not in pomp but poverty, providing rest for man, yet himself not having where to lay his head; for Christ pleased not himself. Nor would he enter upon his inheritance, till by his obedience to death he secured the eternal inheritance for all his people; nor will he account his own glory completed, till every ransomed sinner is put in possession of his heavenly rest.The number of the fortified cities of Naphtali is remarkable, though it does not tally with the catalogue. It was no doubt good policy to protect the northern frontier by a belt of fortresses, as the south was protected by the fenced cities of Judah. Hammath, a Levitical city (compare Joshua 21:32; 1 Chronicles 6:76), is not to be confounded with the Hamath on the northeastern frontier of the land Numbers 13:21. The name (from a root signifying "to be warm") probably indicates that hot springs existed here; and is perhaps rightly traced in Ammaus, near Tiberias. Rakkath was, according to the rabbis, rebuilt by Herod and called Tiberias. The name ("bank, shore") suits the site of Tiberias very well. Migdal-el, perhaps the Magdala of Matthew 15:39, is now the miserable village of "El Mejdel." 34. Aznoth-tabor—on the east of Tabor towards the Jordan, for the border ran thence to Hukkok, touching upon that of Zebulun; and as the territory of Zebulun did not extend as far as the Jordan, Aznoth-tabor and Hukkok must have been border towns on the line which separated Naphtali from Issachar.

to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising—The sixty cities, Havoth-jair, which were on the eastern side of the Jordan, opposite Naphtali, were reckoned as belonging to Judah, because Jair, their possessor, was a descendant of Judah (1Ch 2:4-22) [Keil].

No text from Poole on this verse.

This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali,.... Which Josephus (o) thus describes;"the country to the east, as far as Damascus the city, and upper Galilee, the Naphtalites took, unto Mount Lebanon, and the fountains of Jordan, which flow out of the mount, reaching the northern border of the city Arce:"

according to their families; which was divided among them, according to the number of their families:

the cities and their villages; before enumerated.

(o) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 22.

This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.
39. This is the inheritance] The territory appropriated to Naphtali was thus enclosed on three sides by that of other tribes. (a) On the west was Asher, (b) on the south Zebulun, (c) and on the east Manasseh beyond the Jordan. Cut off from the great plain of Esdraelon by the mass of the mountains of Nazareth, it had communication on the east with the fertile district of the Sea of Galilee, and the splendidly watered country of the springs of the Jordan. The dying Jacob had compared Naphtali to a “spreading terebinth” (Genesis 49:21, mistranslated “a hind let loose”) of the uplands of Lebanon, shooting forth goodly boughs; and the great Lawgiver had described him as satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord (Deuteronomy 33:23), but the grand opportunities so graciously given were not turned to the best account. The capabilities of its plains, of the thoroughfare and traffic of the Sea of Galilee (Genesis 49:13), were not developed by the tribe. One hero—and one only—was produced by it, Barak of Kedesh-Naphtali, who dwelt in the mountain district (Jdg 4:6). See above, Joshua 19:37. But after this exploit, Naphtali, like Asher, resigned itself to intercourse with the heathen, “and learned their works” (Psalm 106:35). See Smith’s Dict. of the Bible; Ritter’s Geog. of Palestine, iv. p. 338; Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine, p. 363. “With the exception of the transient splendour of the days of Barak and of Gideon, the four northern tribes hardly affect the general fortunes of the nation. It is not till the Jewish is on the point of breaking into the Christian Church that these northern tribes acquire a new interest. ‘Galilee’ then, by reason of its previous isolation, springs into overwhelming importance. ‘The land of Zebulun, the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to those who sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up’ (Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:15-16).” Stanley’s Lectures, i. 231.

Verse 39. - The inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali. Of Naphtali, Beyond the not too heroic leader Barak, we hear nothing in the after history of Israel, until the fulfilment of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:1, 2. Galilee, the scene of the greater part of our Lord's teaching and miracles, was divided between Issachar, Asher, Zebulon, and Naphtali. The majority of the places mentioned in the Gospels were Within the borders of Zebulon. But as we learn that our Lord penetrated as far as "the coasts of Caesarea Philippi," in the extreme north of Palestine, He must have preached also in the cities of Naphtali. Naphtali sent a goodly number of warriors to welcome David as "king over all Israel" (1 Chronicles 12:34). The inheritance of Naphtali was in the main fertile, but there was a large mountain district, known as the mountain region of Naphtali (Joshua 20:7). Some of the mountains rose to the height of more than 3,000 feet. Joshua 19:39Jireon (Iron) is probably the present village of Jarn, an hour to the south-east of Bint-Jebeil, with the ruins of an ancient Christian church (Seetzen, ii. pp. 123-4; Van de Velde, R. i. p. 133). Migdal-el, so far as the name is concerned, might be Magdala (Matthew 15:39), on the western shore of the Lake of Gennesareth, between Capernaum and Tiberias (Rob. iii. pp. 279ff.); the only difficulty is, that the towns upon this lake have already been mentioned in Joshua 19:35. Knobel connects Migdal-el with Chorem, so as to form one name, and finds Migdal el Chorem in the present Mejdel Kerum, on the west of Rameh (Seetzen, ii. p. 130; Van de Velde, i. p. 215), a common Mahometan village. But there is nothing to favour this combination, except the similarity in sound between the two names; whereas it has against it not only the situation of the village, which was so far to the west, being not more than three hours from Acca, that the territory of Naphtali can hardly have reached so far, but also the very small resemblance between Chorem and Kerum, not to mention the fact that the accents separate Chorem from Migdal-el, whilst the omission of the copula (vav) before Chorem cannot have any weight, as the copula is also wanting before Zer and Rakkath. Chorem and Beth-anath have not yet been discovered. From the latter place Naphtali was unable to expel the Canaanites (Judges 1:33). Beth-shemesh, a different place from the town of the same name in Issachar (Joshua 19:22), is also still unknown. The total number of towns is given as nineteen, whereas only sixteen are mentioned by name. It is hardly correct to seek for the missing places among the border towns mentioned in Joshua 19:33 and Joshua 19:34, as the enumeration of the towns themselves is introduced by מבצר וערי in Joshua 19:35, and in this way the list of towns is separated from the description of the boundaries. To this we may add, that the town of Karthan or Kirjathaim, which Naphtali gave up to the Levites (Joshua 21:32; 1 Chronicles 6:61), does not occur either among the border towns or in the list of towns, from which we may see that the list of towns is an imperfect one.
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