Page images
PDF
EPUB

croachments of the Idumæans upon the south country appear to have rendered it in that time a border fortress, which being very strong, the invaders of the country did not like to leave behind them in their march to Jerusalem. They then besieged it in the first instance, as it had been customary to besiege Lachish, when the Jewish territory extended more to the south. It was three times besieged by immense armies in the time of Judas Maccabæus, who relieved it on two of these occasions, but on the third, the want of provisions obliged the garrison to capitulate with Antiochus Eupator, who entered Judæa with 100,000 foot and 20,000 horse, besides elephants and chariots; and, as usual, began the war with the siege of Bethzur. This place seems to have been about fifteen miles south of Jerusalem, oa the road to Hebron. Engedi (v. 62) was somewhere not far from the Dead Sea, but no two authorities agree in fixing its position. Josephus says it was about thirty-five miles from Jerusalem. It was formerly called Hazazon-Tamar; a name allusive to the palm-trees, which abounded in this district; it was also famous for its vineyards. Jerome says, that in his time there was a large village, called Engaddi, near the Dead Sea. Historically, the place is chiefly noted for a cave which in its neighbourhood afforded a retreat to David and his men, and where he, for the second time, spared the life of the infatuated king who thirsted for his blood. (See 1 Sam. xxiv.)

32. “ All the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages."-Yet the text itself enumerates thirty-six. This apparent contradiction has been variously obviated. Many Jewish and Christian commentators think that nine towns, afterwards given to Simeon, are on that account omitted in the summing up, although included in the enumeration. Others suppose that the verse before us means to say that twenty-nine of the places included in the enumeration were cities, and the remainder only villages. Lastly, some think the text corrupted, and that we are here to read “thirty six,instead of a twenty-nine,” following the Syriac version, which has preserved a considerable number of true readings, where the Hebrew manuscripts were afterwards corrupted.

63. “ The Jebusiles dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day."-We have already intimated that it is evident, by a comparison of this verse with 2 Sam. v, 6, 7, that even if Joshua himself were not directly the author of this book, it was certainly written in its present form before the time when David drove the Jebusites from the stronghold of Sion. There is an apparent difficulty in this verse, arising

from our finding Jerusalem here placed in the tribe of Judah, when, in ch. xviii. 28, it is assigned to Benjamin. The fact seems to be, that the boundary line between the two tribes was drawn through the valley which separated Mount Sion, on which stood the fortress of the Jebusites, frum Mount Acra, on which the lower city stood, and from Mount Moriah, on which the Temple of Solomon was in aftertimes erected. This boundary line would give Mount Sion to the tribe of Judah, and Mounts Acra and Moriah to Benjamin. It would seem that originally all the hills on which the different parts of the city ultimately stood were called Moriah (Gen. xxii. 2, 4), although ultimately the denomination came to be restricted to the mountain of the Temple.

CHAPTER XVI.

6 And the border went out toward the | The general borders of the sons of Joseph. 5 The sea to Michmethah on the north side; and border of the inheritance of Ephraim. 10 The the border went about eastward unto TaaCanaanites not conquered.

nath-shiloh, and passed by it on the east to And the lot of the children of Joseph 'fell from Janohah; Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho 7 And it went down from Janohah to on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up Ataroth, and to Naarath, and came to Jerifrom Jericho throughout mount Beth-el, cho, and went out at Jordan.

2 And goeth out from Beth-el to 'Luz, 8 The border went out from Tappuah and passeth along unto the borders of Ar-westward unto the river Kanah; and the chi to Ataroth,

goings out thereof were at the sea. This is 3 And goeth down westward to the coast the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Japhleti, unto the coast of Beth-horon the of Ephraim by their families. nether, and to Gezer: and the goings out 9 And the separate cities for the children thereof are at the sea.

of Ephrain were among the inheritance of 4 So the children of Joseph, Manasseh the children of Manasseh, all the cities with and Ephraim, took their inheritance.

their villages. 5 And the border of the children of 10 And they drave not out the CanaanEphraim according to their families was thus: ites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites even the border of their inheritance on the dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, east side was Ataroth-addar, unto Beth- and serve under tribute. horon the upper;

1 Heb. went furth. % Judges 1. 26.

Verse 3. “Goeth down westwurd.”—That is, we suppose, goes down the western declivity of the central mountains towards the sea ; for it is evident enough that the four first verses describe the line from the Jordan to the sea, which formed the southern boundary of the house of Joseph, as a whole. Then comes a particular description of the boundaries of each of the tribes; and, first, of Ephraim.

5. The border of their inheritance on the east side was Ataroth-addar."— The real obscurities of this very difficult chapter have been greatly increased by the indistinctness of translation which characterises the chorographical chapters of our version, and which was a necessary consequence of the extremely limited acquaintance with the face of the country, which was possessed when that version was made. On this we have remarked, in a note to Num. xxxiv. 2. The version of the present text would convey the idea that the eastern boun lary is described ; whereas, in fact, it seems clearly to be the western. The southern boundary line is extended beyond Ataroth addar, and includes the uucup

566

quered country even to the sea, in the preceding general definition; but now, in describing the territory of Ephra'm more restrictedly, with a view to what was actually possessed, Ataroth-addar, which seems to have been the westernmost town actually possessed by the Ephraimites on their southern border, is taken as the point whence to draw northward the western boundary line. Accordingly, Dr. Boothroyd thus renders the clause which now engages our attention: “The boundary of their inheritance went on the east side of Ataroth-addar to upper Beth-horon.” This is the only explanation which can render intelligible the details of this very difficult chapter ; but it must be confessed that the boundaries of Ephraim and Manasseh have, from local changes, become more unintelligible to us than those of almost any other tribes. One thing seems certain, that from Ataroth-addar to Beth-horon the upper, and thence to Michmethah, describes the breadth of Ephraim's lot from north to south in its eastern part; then the northern boundary is described (verses 6 and 7) from Michmethah eastward to the Jordan. Verse 8 seems a retrospect of the northern boundary backward from east to west, to describe the larger nominal boundary from Jordan to the sea. The eastern boundary, being formed by the Jordan, is not here particularly described.

There is no list of towns in this account of Ephraim's lot. Those which are incidentally mentioned in the definition of boundaries are either of no historical consequence, or have been already noticed under chap. xii. Besides these, Ephraim contained the towns of Shechem und Shiloh, and ultimately Samaria, the capital of the kingdom of Israel, was founded within its limits.

CHAPTER XVII.

Shechem ; and the border went along on the

right hand unto the inhabitants of En-tap| The lot of Manasseh. 8 His coast. 12 The Ca

puah. naanites not driven out. 14 The children of Joseph

8 Now Manasseh had the land of Tapobtain another lot.

puah : but Tappuah on the border of MaThere was also a lot for the tribe of Manas- nasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim; seh; for he was the 'firstborn of Joseph; to 9 And the coast descended unto the 'river wit, for 'Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, Kanah, southward of the river: these cities the father of Gilead : because he was a man of Ephraim are among the cities of Manasof war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. seh : the coast of Manasseh also was on the

2 There was also a lot for 'the rest of the north side of the river, and the outgoings of children of Manasseh by their families ; for it were at the sea : the children of Abiezer, and for the children 10 Southward it was Ephraim's, and of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and northward it was Manasseh's, and the sea is for the children of Shechem, and for the his border; and they met together in Asher children of Hepher, and for the children of on the north, and in Issachar on the east. Shemida : these were the male children of 11 And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Manasseh the son of Joseph by their fami- | Asher Beth-shean and her towns, and lblies.

leam and her towns, and the inhabitants of 3 | But “Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the En-dor and her towns, and the inhabitants son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitand these are the names of his daughters, ants of Megiddo and her towns, even three Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and countries. Tirzah.

12 Yet the children of Manasseh could 4 And they came near before Eleazar the not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, but the Canaanites would dwell in that and before the princes, saying, The LORD land. commanded Moses to give us an inheritance 13 Yet it came to pass, when the children among our brethren. Therefore according of Israel were waxen strong, that they put to the commandment of the LORD he gave the Canaanites to tribute; but did not them an inheritance among the brethren of utterly drive them out. their father.

14 And the children of Joseph spake unto 5 And there fell ten portions to Manas- Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but seh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I which were on the other side Jordan; am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD

6 Because the daughters of Manasseh had hath blessed me hitherto ? an inheritance

among

his sons: and the rest 15 And Joshua answered them, If thou of Manasseh's sons had the land of Gilead. be a great people, then get thee up to the

7 | And the coast of Manasseh was from wood country, and eut down for thyself there Asher to Michmethah, that lieth before in the land of the Perizzites and of the @giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for | Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, thee.

Gen. 41. 51, and 46. 20.

2 Gen, 50. 23. Num. 32. 39. 8 Num. 26. 29.

5 Or, brook of reeds.

4 Num. 26. 33, and 27. 1, and 36. 2.

saying, Thou art a great people, and hast 16 And the children of Joseph said, The great power: thou shalt not have one lot hill is not enough for us : and all the Ca only: naanites that dwell in the land of the valley 18 But the mountain shall be thine; for have chariots of iron, both they who are of it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down : and Beth-shean and her towns, and they who are the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou of the valley of Jezreel.

shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they 17 And Joshua spake unto the house of have iron chariots, and though they be strong.

6 Or, Rephaim, Verse 1. “ Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Giiead...had Gilead and Bashun.”—This must doubtless be understood of the descendants of Machir, not of himself personally; for he was old enough to have a son before the death of his grandfather Joseph (Gen. l. 23), which took place 190 years before the first division of the lands in Canaan. For the same reason, it is not likely that even Gilead was alive at this time, he being born at least 190 years before the present date.

“- he was a man of war.”—Expositors differ whether to understand this of Machir himself, or as describing the warlike character of his descendants. If it applies to Machir, it would seem that he must have acquired this distinetion in Egypt: perhaps in the Egyptian army, before that other king arose that knew not Joseph ;" or else, in the sanguinary conflicts in which the Israelites were sometimes engaged, on their own account, during their sojourn in Goshen. See 1 Chron. vii. 21, and the note there.

4. He gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father." —See Num. sxvii. 7. This has been variously understood. The Talmud says that the daughters of Zelophehad had four out of ten shares in the right of their grandfather Hepher, their father Zelophehad, and their father's brother, who is alleged to have died in the wilderness without children. The truth rather seems to be, that there was a portion for each of the six leading families; but Zelophehad having no sons, his portion was divided among his five daughters.

11. “ Beth-shean.”-See 1 Sam. xxxi. 10.

En-dor.”—Famous for the visit which Saul, when encamped in the neighbourhood, paid to the place, in order to consult the woman that had a familiar spirit. See the note on 1 Sam. xxviii. 7.

Dor... Taanach... Megiddo."-See chap. xii. Tirzah, also mentioned in that chapter, was in this tribe. 12. “ The children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities.”—We suppose this means that they felt that they could not do so on their own resources, and they allowed this consciousness to discourage them from making the attempt; forgetful that God had promised to exert his omnipotence, to put them in possession of the land he had promised to their fathers. If they could not drive out the inhabitants, it must be because God did not assist them; and if he did not assist them, it was because they tacitly declined his assistance. The great “captain of the Lord's host” was not bound to lead and fight for those who did not seek his counsel, and who chose to act independently of his supreme authority and direction. The fact seems to be, that except when Joshua, who knew his duty, led them in person, they did not seek the Divine aid, and were therefore left to their own resources, unless when extraordinary occasions led them to implore that help which they habitually neglected. This accounts for the fact, that many of the tribes left so much territory unconquered. See further on Judges ii. 21.

14. “ Why hast thou gwen me but one lot and one portion to inherit P”—The conduct of Joshua in the ensuing transaction will be the better understood, when it is recollected that he was himself an Ephraimite; and that, therefore, the tribes of Joseph seem to have fattered themselves that, in virtue of their relationship, they might hope for some special mark of his favour. They were much mistaken in his character: and got nothing from him but good advice. It seems that, being a great people, they found that the hills in their lot were insufficient. The plain they could not possess on account of the iron chariots of the enemy; and the hills to which they were confined were much occupied with woods, which seem to have afforded retreats to the old inhabitants. Joshua's answer is plain and forcible. He retorts their argument. He had no wish that they should be confined within their present limits. But if they were so great a people as they said, what hindered them, relying upon the Lord's assistance, from clearing the wood country, and from expelling the Canaanites from the plains, even though they had iron chariots and though they were strong?

CHAPTER XVIII.

3 And Joshua said unto the children of : The tabernacle is set up at Shiloh.

2 The re

Israel, How long are ye slack to go to posmainder of the land is described, and divided into sess the land, which the Lord God of your seven parts. 10 Joshua divideth it by bot. 11 The fathers hath given you ? lot and border of Benjamin. 21 Their cities. 4 Give out from among you

three men And the whole congregation of the children for each tribe: and I will send them, and of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and they shall rise, and go through the land, set up the tabernacle of the congregation and describe it according to the inheritance there. And the land was subdued before of them; and they shall come ugain to me. them.

5 And they shall divide it into seven 2 And there remained among the chil- parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on dren of Israel seven tribes, which had not the south, and the house of Joseph shall yet received their inheritance.

abide in their coasts on the north.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

6 Ye shall therefore describe the land | land, and describe it, and come again to me, into seven parts, and bring the description that I may here cast lots for you before the hither to me, that I may cast lots for you Lord in Shiloh. here before the LORD our God.

9 And the men went and passed through 7 But the Levites have no part among the land, and described it by cities into you; for the priesthood of the LORD is their seven parts in a book, and came again to inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and Joshua to the host at Shiloh. half the tribe of Manasseh, have received 10 And Joshua cast lots for them in their inheritance beyond Jordan on the Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua east, which Moses the servant of the LORD divided the land unto the children of Israel

according to their divisions. 84 And the men arose and went away: and 11 And the lot of the tribe of the chilJoshua charged them that went to describe dren of Benjamin came up according to their the land, saying, Go and walk through the families: and the coast of their lot came

gave them.

forth between the children of Judah and the toward Geliloth, which is over against the children of Joseph.

going up of Adummim, and descended to 12 And their border on the north side 'the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben, was from Jordan; and the border went up 18 And passed along toward the side to the side of Jericho on the north side, and over against Arabah northward, and went went up through the mountains westward ; down unto Arabah: and the goings out thereof were at the wil- 19 And the border passed along to the derness of Beth-aven.

side of Beth-hoglah northward : and the out13 And the border went over from thence goings of the border were at the north *bay toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is of the salt sea at the south end of Jordan: Beth-el, southward; and the border de- this was the south coast. scended to Ataroth-adar, near the hill that 20 And Jordan was the border of it on lieth on the south side of the nether Beth- the east side. This was the inheritance of horon.

the children of Benjamin, by the coasts 14 And the border was drawn thence, and thereof round about, according to their facompassed the corner of the sea southward,milies. from the hill that lieth before Beth-horon 21 Now the cities of the tribe of the chilsouthward ; and the goings out thereof were dren of Benjamin according to their families at Kirjath-baal, which is Kirjath-jearim, a were Jericho, and Beth-hoglah, and the city of the children of Judah: this was the valley of Keziz, west quarter.

22 And Beth-arabah, and Zemaraim, and 15 And the south quarter was from the Beth-el, end of Kirjath-jearim, and the border went 23 And Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah, out on the west, and went out to the well of 24 And Chephar-haammonai, and Ophni, waters of Nephtoah:

and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages : 16 And the border came down to the end 25 Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth, of the mountain that lieth before the valley 26 And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the Mozah, valley of the giants on the north, and de- 27 And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah, scended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side 28 And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which of Jebusi on the south, and descended to is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourEn-rogel.

teen cities with their villages. This is the 17 Ånd was drawn from the north, and inheritance of the children of Benjamin acwent forth to En-shemesh, and went forthcording to their families.

1 Chap. 15. 6, 2 Or, the plain. 8 Heb. tongue.

Verse 1. “ Shiloh.”—The camp, with the tabernacle, had remained a long time at Gilgal ; and now Joshua, doubtless according to the Divine intimation, determines to remove both to a more central situation at Shiloh. This place was in the tribe of Ephraim, about twenty-five miles north of Jerusalem. The ark remained here about 300 years, that is, till it was taken by the Philistines (1 Sam. iv. 3). From some expressions in Jeremiah (vii. 14, and xxvi. 6, 9), it would appear that the town had at some period been desolated, as a punishment for its iniquity and disobedience. Jerome says that in his time there were scarcely any ruins of Shiloh to be seen: a demolished altar only continued to be shown

3. How long are ye slack to go to possess the land ?_From this reproof of the dilatoriness of the seven tribes, compared with the duration assigned to “a long time,” in xi. 18, Dr. Hales thinks we are to date this second division six years after that to which the preceding chapters refer. This agrees with the Jewish accounts, which usually assign six or seven years for the conquest of the land, and an equal period till it was finally divided, making twelve or fourteen years altogether.

9. Described it by cities into seven parts in a book.”—The attentive reader of the previous portion of Scripture will feel no surprize to meet thus early with a regular survey of the land, the particulars being written down, and probably described in maps, and the whole territory being fairly divided into seven provinces. An undertaking of so much difficulty and importance, and of a character so perfectly scientific, affords an interesting point of attention. It renders it certain that there existed, even at this time, some degree of mathematical science. This may have been acquired in Egypt; the people of which country prided themselves upon being the authors of geometrical science, which, they say, originated in the peculiar circumstances of their territory, (See the note on Num. xix. 14.) Beside the frequent remeasurement of private boundaries, which the annual inundations of the Nile rendered necessary, the country at large was divided into nomes or provinces, and these into lesser districts. Even the book of Genesis bears witness to this division of Egypt into provinces. When Joseph became Pharaoh's prime-minister, he is represented as visiting the different provinces of the empire in order to acquaint himself with their condition, and to take the measures necessary against the seven years of threatened famine. "The Hebrews had therefore only to apply to their new country the rules of surveying and principles of division, with which they had become acquainted in Egypt. No doubt the surveyors made maps of the described country. The idea of a map is exceedingly simple. Maps were in use among not only the Mexicans, but the North American Indians: and in his late expedition, Captain Ross found that the Esquimaux readily seized

570

« PreviousContinue »