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51 These are the inheritances, which an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the congregation. So they made an end of ditribes of the children of Israel, divided for viding the country.
7 Num. 34. 17.
Verse 1. “ The tribe...of Simeon... their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.”—Jacob at his death had predicted that Simeon and Levi should be dispersed in Israel, for their cruelty to the Shechemites; and we seem to see this fulfilled in the distribution of the land. Both the brothers had their allowance from out that which belonged to the other tribes. Levi had cities out of every tribe, and Simeon had his inheritance out of the single tribe of Judah. The original surveyors would seem to have made the portion of Judah so disproportionately large, that this tribe probably felt it inconvenient to have so much territory to defend, and readily agreed to allow a portion for another tribe to be deducted: or rather, perhaps, we should say, for two other tribes; for although Dan's lot is not expressly said, like that of Simeon, to have been subtracted from that of Judah, it is evident that at least the greater part of it was, as most of the towns mentioned as being in Dan's lot (verse 48) have previously been mentioned as originally belonging to Judah. The boundaries of Simeon's lot are not specified, being included within those of Judah; we do not therefore exactly know the extent and limits of this portion. The maps vary considerably in this respect, as every new map-maker can here make a display of originality with safety. They generally agree in placing the lot of Simeon between that of Judah, as restricted, on the east, and the Philistines on the west, based on a part of the southern boundary line of Judah. We observe, from a comparison of different maps, that of late years there has been a disposition to put the lot of Simeon more entirely to the west of Judah, and to contract the extent of the southern frontier which some of the older maps assign. We think this is decidedly wrong: for we know no authority for placing it exclusively or principally on the west, whereas we have the best authority for spreading it as far as possible along the southern frontier. All the towns mentioned here as given to Simeon, are in chap. xv. enumerated among the cities of Judah, and are, without exception, placed in that part of the list which refers to "the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah, towards the coast of Edom southward.” With this Josephus concurs, saying that Simeon took by lot that part of Idumea which lay nearest to Egypt and Arabia. Yet, notwithstanding this, we have seen maps which exclude Simeon altogether from any share of the southern border, pinning it up between Dan on the north, Judah on the east and south, and the Philistines on the west.
10. “ Zebulun.”—The boundaries of this tribe, as here stated, have become by time so unintelligible, that it is impossible to lay them down with certainty. It is perhaps enough to know that it lay to the north, and, as some think, partly also to the west of Issachar: and that it extended from the shores of the lake of Chinneroth towards the Mediterranean. The great anxiety has been how to provide Zebulun with a sea-coast, according to the supposed meaning of the prophetic blessing delivered by Moses before his death (Deut. xxxiii. 19; and see the note there); but the best endeavours for this purpose have only succeeded in making the tribe push out a piece of its west end to the sea, somewhere about the river Kishon. We are inclined to think that if the explanation given in the note just referred to, with respect to " the abundance of the sea," promised to Zebulun, be not correct, the expression may refer to the sea of Chinneroth, a considerable part of the western coast of which this tribe did unquestionably possess.
15. “ Twelve cities with their villages.”—These, certainly, were not all the towns of Zebulun, which tribe, at the last census, exceeded all the tribes, except three, in population. These towns seem to be merely such as occurred rear the boundaries which separated this from other tribes, and which, with their districts and intermediate villages, completed the boundary chain. There must have been other towns in the interior. Thus we see, in chap. xxi. 34, 35, Zebulun gives four cities to the Levites, two of which (Kortah and Dimnah) are not to be found in the present list. Of the cities named here, the most remarkable are—Jokneam (v. 11), mentioned in chap. xii. as one of the royal cities, under the name of “ Jokneam of Carmel;" the possession of which must certainly have approximated the western frontier of Zebulun to the sea. But we are, however, to remember that the boundaries in general sometimes include much unconquered country. The Hebrews do, however, seem to have possessed the coast from Joppa to Carmel ; but not any south of the former point, or north of the latter. The coast south of Joppa was retained by the Philistines, and that north of Carmel by the Phænicians. Chisluth-tabor (v. 12). This must have been a town near Mount Tabor, on which our Lord is supposed to have been transfigured. The tribe also contained Nazareth, where he was brought up, and the shores of the sea of Tiberias, where many of his miracles were performed. Gulah-hepher (v. 13), which was the birth-place of the prophet Jonah (2 Kings xiv. 25), whose grave continued to be shown there in the time of Jerome, when the place existed as a small village. Shimron (verse 15) is one of the royal cities mentioned in chap. xii. Idalah is conjectured by Bochart to have been so called from the worship of Venus, Idalia being one of her names. Bethlehem must not be confounded with the birthplace of our Saviour, which was another place of the same name in the tribe of Judah, and which is called “ Bethlehein-judah,” to distinguish it from this Bethlehem in Zebulun.
17. “ Issachar.”—The following seem to be the most distinguished of the towns i the ensuing verses :-Jezreel, which must have been a very important place, as it gave its name to the most extensive plain or valley in which it was situated. (See an account of this plain under Judges vi. 33.) It also became, interchangeably with Samaria, a royal residence of the kings of Israel, particularly of Ahab, much of whose history is connected with this place. Here was the coveted vineyard of Naboth; and here the infamous contrivance by which that vineyard was obtained was punished, for in " the portion of Jezreel” dogs licked the blood of Ahab, and ate Jezebel his wife. In the time of Eusebius and Jerome, Jezreel subsisted as a considerable town under the name of Esdraela, into which the Greeks had softened the original name; the plain also obtained the name of the plain or valley of Esdraelon, under which it is still usually described. Shunem (v. 18). In the part of the great plain near Shunem, the Philistines encamped previous to the battle in which Saul was defeated and killed (1 Sam. xxviii. 4); the account given there shows that it was not very distant from Jezreel, as we might also infer from its being here mentioned next but one after that city. Yet Biblical topographers are not agreed whether to place it on the northern or southern frontier of Issachar, and probability certainly hesitates between the alternatives. The place was the residence of the noble-minded Shunamite woman, whose hospitable treatment of Elisha was in the end rewarded by the restoration of her only son to life. (2 Kings iv.) Remeth (21). Issachar gave a town called Ramoth to the Levites (1 Chron. vi. 73), which is probably the same as the Jarmuth of chap. xxi. 29, and both are identical with the present town. It was therefore one of the royal cities mentioned in chap. xii. Tabor (22). This was a town near the base of the mountain, but not Mount Tabor itself, which was in the tribe of Żebulun, although Mount Tabor did indeed extend its base to the northern frontier of Issachar, and therefore might be said to reach unto Tabor.
24. “ Asher.”—Michaelis is decidedly of opinion that the passage at which we have now arrived does not give to the tribe of Asher the strip of land along the coast, which was then, and for many ages after, possessed by the Phænicians. Some considerations on this subject may be found in the note to Num. xxxiv. 6; and for something further we refer to Judges i. 31. We now confine ourselves to the single point before us, and as the text certainly will allow the interpretation which Michaelis gives, and as, if true, it obviates some of the difficulties which we have mentioned in the note to Num. xxxiv., we give it in his own words. After having argued, from the silence of Moses, against the inclusion of the Sidonians among the devoted nations, he proceeds to contend, that the present passage is altogether in favour of the view he has taken. He says: “ The passage in chap. xix. 24–31 describes the portion of the tribe of Asher which lay nearest to Phænicia. This portion, in the first place, touches the sea near Mount Carmel and the river Belus: its boundary line runs thence landward, a great way to the north ; and then turns back again southward, past Sidon and Tyre, but without reaching the sea in this quarter.---Sidon is mentioned indeed in verse 28, but in verse 29 is not included among the cities assigned to this tribe ; for it is only near Ecdippa (Achzib) that it comes to touch the coast again; so that the small tract of coast north from Ecdippa, which we call Phænicia, remained to the Canaanites.... This passage is the more decisive, as it speaks not of territories actually conquered, but pointed out for conquest, and to be divided by lot. It cannot therefore be said to be the fault of the Asherites that they did not conquer the sea-coast.” According to this view, Asher was only intended to have the coast from Carmel to Achzib; that is, rather more than the entire coast of the Bay of Acre: from Achzib northward, the western boundary line of the tribe being drawn behind the Sidonian territory. A careful consideration of the text may render this view not improbable. But there are two very serious objections, which the learned author we have cited thus meets and answers. “Objection-In Josh. xix. 28, the boundary of Asher is said to reach ‘unto the great city Sidon.' Answer—So it does, undoubtedly; but still not so as to include that city, else it would here reach unto the sea, and that, according to verse 29, it only does first at Achzib: besides, Sidon must not be reckoned among the cities allotted to Asher, else their number will amount to twenty-three instead of twenty-two." Twenty-two is the number given in verse 30. "Objection-In Josh, xix. 29, the city of Tyre is mentioned among the boundaries of the tribe of Asher. Answer-It cannot have then been so ; for it was not then in being as a city, having, according to Josephus (Ant. viii. c. 3, § 1), been first built but 240 years before Solomon's Temple ; and his account is the more to be depended upon because he has generally taken the history of the Tyrians from writers of their own, now no longer extant. Tyre was then only a castle or tower, near the haven ; although, seemingly, a city lay more inland, and this, the city near the stronghold of Tyre”(so he translates the original, which is 7-22 7yegyn: the sense he gives is possible, but we should think the common version preferable; his argument, however, does not depend upon his version) --" as the historian expresses it, fell to the tribe of Asher. It is clear, at least, that to this tribe the historian does not give what he calls the stronghold of Tyre, but a different city.”. The strongest of all objections to this view is, however, to be found in Judg. 1, 31, where the Sidonians are mentioned among those whom the Asherites did not expel. (See the note on that text.)
28. “Great Zidon.”—The country of the Phænicians, in which, at this early period, flourished a town thus empha tically distinguished, was of very limited dimensions even at the time when the nation arrived at its highest condition
of splendour and power. It comprehended that part of the Syrian coast which extends from Tyre northward to Aradus. This strip of land reached to about fifty leagues from north to south; but its utmost breadth did not exceed eight or ten leagues. The coast abounded in bays and harbours, and its breadth was traversed by mountains, branching from Libanus, several of which advanced their promontories into the sea. The summits of these mountains were covered with forests, which afforded to the Phænicians the most valuable timber for the construction of their ships and habitations. This explains how it happens that the first time this people is brought personally under our notice in the Bible is in the character of persons skilled in the hewing and transport of wood ; including, no doubt, much ability in the preparation and application to various uses. When Solomon was going to build the Temple, he communicated to the king of Tyre his wish to enter into an engagement for a supply of timber, knowing, as he said, “ there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians." The answer of the Tyrian king is remarkable,—“I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar and concerning timber of fir: my servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea ; and I will convey them by sea, in floats, unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and I will cause them to be discharged there.” (1 Kings v.) This was speaking like a man accustomed to the business. The waves breaking violently against the steep cliffs, seem to have detached several capes from the terra firma, forming islands, which the Phænicians were not tardy in covering with numerous colonies and Hourishing towns.
In this tract of country the great city of Sidon was founded. If it owed its foundation to Sidon, the eldest son of Canaan, whose name it seems to bear, it must have been one of the most ancient cities in the world. This is the common opinion, supported by the authority of Josephus. The town was, at any rate, very ancient; it must have existed long before the time of Joshua, for it is here called great-and a city must have time to acquire greatness. Some indeed have taken occasion, from the expression “Great Zidon,” to conclude that there were two Sidons-one much more considerable than the other; but no geographer or historian takes notice of any Sidon but this “Great Zidon.” The greatness of Sidon was the result of its skill in manufactures, and of its attention to commerce. The skill of the Sidonians in felling timber, and in applying it to use, has been already mentioned. They built ships. If they were not the first ship-builders and navigators of the world, they were undoubtedly the first who ventured beyond their own coasts, and the first that established anything that can be called a maritime commerce.
The Sidonians are said to have been the first manufacturers of glass (see the note on Deut. xxxiii. 19). Homer mentions them frequently, and always as excelling in many ingenious and useful arts, giving them the title of roubaidados; and, accordingly, all superior articles of dress, all good workmanship in making vessels for use, and all ingeniously contrived trinkets and toys, are ascribed by him to the skill and industry of the Sidonians. Thus, the queen of Troy, intending to offer a mantle to Pallas,
“Herself, the while, her chamber, ever sweet
It glitter'd, and was lowest placed of all.”
“A silver goblet, of six measures ; earth
Own’d not its like for elegance of form.
Had borne it, and the boon to Thaos giv'n.” When Telemachus expressed strong admiration of the wealth and splendour, in gold and silver, ivory and brass, which the palace of Menelaus exhibited, the latter accounts for it by observing that his treasures had been collected in his perilous wanderings, during which he had visited the shores of Cyprus, Phoenicia, Sidon, and Egypt. Lastly, in another place (Odyss. xv.), a story occurs, replete with indications of the character and pursuits of the Sidonians. At the island of Syria,
“ It chanced that from Phænicia, famed for skill
By sharpers mann'd, and laden deep with toys."
“A fair Phænician, tall, full-sized, and skill'd
In works of elegance." And on being interrogated, she tells her countrymen,
“I am of Sidon, famous for her wealth,
By dyeing earn’d.” In pursuance of a plot laid between them, one of the men went to the palace, as if to dispose of Sidonian wares :
“ An artist, such he seem'd, for sale produced
Beads of bright amber, riveted in gold.” These indications concerning a people situated so near to the Hebrews, and, in the end, so closely connected with them, are in no small degree interesting. The superiority in manufactures and commerce does not, however, form the only distinction of the Sidonians, for they were also great adepts in the sciences of their time-particularly astronomy and arithmetical calculation. As might naturally be expected, under such prosperous circumstances, the people lived in ease and luxury. For this they were early remarkable, as we see from a comparison used in speaking of the town of Laish:—"The people who dwelt in it were careless; afier the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; and there was nothing to molest them in the land: they possessed also riches without restraint,” (Judg. xviii. 7-Boothroyd's version.) Ultimately, however, Sidon was eclipsed, in all its characteristics of superiority, by Tyre, which is called in the Bible
“ the daughter of Sidon,” it having been in its origin a settlement of the Sidonians. Whether the historical Tyre at this time existed is a question that occasions some discussion. The text of verse 29 is certainly by no means conclusive on this subject, into which we shall not at present enter further than to observe that if the old continental Tyre of history did at this time exist, it was evidently in its infant state, in which it could not be mentioned in comparison with that “great Sidon,” which it was in the end destined to overshade. In support of the negative, much stress has been laid upon the silence of Homer, who so frequently mentions Sidon, but never Tyre. As we have just been quoting Homer, we may observe that there is nothing in this argument to rescue it from the suspicion which usually rests on arguments drawn from mere silence. Tyre existed and had a king in the time of David, and in the time of Solomon was a great commercial city; and the time of Homer is from one to two centuries later than the times of David and Solomon. Hereafter Tyre will come much under our notice: meanwhile we give a cut exhibiting its present condition.
Although Sidon lost its superiority under the predominating influence of Tyre, it long remained a place of very cousiderable importance. Its general history is so much connected with that of Tyre, that we shall not here inention it separately: Tyre is now a complete desolation ; but Sidon still subsists as a town, and carries on some traffic with the neighbouring coasts. It is now called Saide or Seide. The inhabitants are estimated at about 15,000, who are chiefly occupied in spinning cotton, which with silk and boots, shoes, and slippers of morocco leather, form the principal articles of their trade. The port is now nearly choked up with sand. The town rises immediately from the strand, and presents a rather imposing appearance as viewed from a distance; but the interior is wretched and gloony, illbuilt, dirty, and full of ruins. Outside the walls, fragments of columns and other remains of the ancient city may still be discovered. As we give a cut of a part of the coast between Tyre and Sidon, the following remarks from Mr. Jowett’s ‘ Christian Researches in Syria,' will be interesting :-“ About halfway between Saide (Sidon) and Sour (Tyre) are very extensive ruins of towns which once connected these two cities; but of these ruins, there is scarcely one stone left upon another. They consist chiefly of lines which show, rased even with the soil, the foundation of houses-many stones irregularly scattered—a few cisterns with half-defaced sculpture on them; and, at a considerable distance from the path, there are at one spot several low columns, either mutilated or considerably sunk in the earth. These relics show, what it needed indeed no such evidence to prove, that in peaceable and flourishing times, on this road between two such considerable cities as Tyre and Sidon, there must have been many smaller towns for business, pleasure, or agriculture, delightfully situated by the sea-side ; but peaceful security has long been a blessing unknown to these regions; and we may apply to them the language of Judges v. 7, “ The villages ceased; they ceased in Israel”
31. " These cities.”—In the above list of names of places belonging to this tribe, there are none of any consequence that have not already passed under our notice. Mount Carmel will be noticed under 1 Kings xviii. 19.
39. “ Naphtali.”—The chief of the towns mentioned as belonging to this tribe are those of Hazor, Cinnereth, and Kadesh, which have already been noticed. The list here given, does not, however, include several which are in future parts of Scripture mentioned as belonging to this tribe. These will, in due course, come under our consideration.
48. “ Dan.”-Scarcely any cities in the above list claim particular notice, as some of them have been mentioned under the lot of Judah, from which a considerable part, if not the greatest part, of Dan's was taken ; and others were
retained by the Philistines. Japho (in verse 46) is unquestionably the same that is called Joppa in other parts of Scripture, and now Jaffa. An account of it will be found in the note to Jonah i. 3. The circumstance alluded to in verse 47, is more particularly detailed in Judges xviii. (See the note there.) As this event did not take place till after the death of Joshua, its appearance here has been used as an argument against Joshua's being the author of the book. We are not certain that he was; but this is no argument against it, as the verse may have been afterwards inserted by Samuel, Ezra, or some other authorised person, to complete the account of the possessions of the Danites.
1 God commandeth, 7 and the children of Israel appoint the six cities of refuge. THE LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof 1 spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.
5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the
1 Exod. 21. 13, Num. 35, 6, 11,14. Deut. 19. 2. 2 Num, 35, 25,
3 Heb. sanctified. 4 Deut. 4. 43. 1 Chron. 6. 78.