Joshua Chapter 19
Verses 1-48: The territories of the remaining six tribes of Israel are detailed here. Some scholars suggest the order in which they received their allotment was based on a rank determined by who their birth mothers were. Following Rachel’s son, Benjamin (18:11-28), allotments went to the sons of Leah (“Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar”); the son of Zilpah, Leah’s maid (“Asher”); and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid (“Naphtali, Dan”).
Verses 1-9: This area was a southern portion of Judah’s territory, since that allotment was more than Judah needed (verse 9).
Joshua 19:1 “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.”
That is, the second of the seven lots, of which Benjamin’s was the first. Otherwise there were the two lots of Judah and Joseph, which preceded both these.
“Even for the tribe of the children of Simeon, according to their families”: For though many of their cities had been given by lot to the tribe of Judah, yet it seems as if there were others they had by a special lot cast for them. As many as were sufficient for their families.
“And their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah”: Which was done partly because this was but a small tribe, and particularly because the lot put up, which fell to the tribe of Judah, was too large for it. More than they could occupy, too much being put to this lot by the first measurers of the land. And partly to fulfil the prophecy of Jacob, that the Simeonites should be scattered in Jacob, and divided in Israel (Gen. 49:7). And hence it is that the lots of these two tribes lying together, and being so intermixed, that the tribe of Judah called upon that of Simeon to join them in fighting against the Canaanites. And taking out of their hands the cities that belonged to them (Judges 1:3).
Simeon at the last census, was the smallest of the tribes of Israel. It appears that the tribe of Judah had been allotted more territory than they needed, and now are willingly giving the southernmost area of their land to Simeon.
Joshua 19:2 “And they had in their inheritance Beer-sheba, and Sheba, and Moladah,”
Or, Beer-sheba, that is, Sheba. For so the particle “vau” is sometimes used, and must be so used here. Or otherwise, instead of thirteen, it will appear that there are fourteen cities, contrary to the account of them (Joshua 19:6). So Kimchi and Ben Melech make them one city. And it may be observed, that in the recounting of the cities of Simeon (1 Chron. 4:28); Sheba is left out, and only Beer-sheba is mentioned. Which, was a well-known place in the farthest border of the land of Israel southward, and the reason of its name is manifest (Gen. 21:31; see note on Joshua 15:28).
“And Moladah”: Another of the cities of Judah (Joshua 15:26).
Joshua 19:3 “And Hazar-shual, and Balah, and Azem,”
See note on (Joshua 15:28).
“And Balah, and Azem”: Of these places see notes on (Joshua 15:29). For Balah is the same with Baalah there, and with Bilhah (1 Chron. 4:29); and Azem with Ezem there.
Joshua 19:4 “And Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormah,”
These were all cities of Judah (Joshua 15:30). Eltolad is the same with Tolad, and Bethul with Bethuel (1 Chron. 4:29), and with Chesil (Joshua 15:30). Mentioned there along with Hormah (see note on Joshua 15:30).
Joshua 19:5 “And Ziklag, and Beth-marcaboth, and Hazar-susah,”
Another of the cities of Judah (see note on Joshua 15:31).
“And Beth-marcaboth, and Hazar-susah”: Or Hazar-susim as in (1 Chron. 4:31). The one signifies a chariot house, and the other a court or stable for horses. Which made Bochart conjecture, that they were places where Solomon kept his chariots and horses. But it should be observed that these were the names by which these places went in the times of the old Canaanites. And seem to me rather where some of their kings had their horses and chariots. Or rather where there were temples dedicated to the horses and chariots of the sun (see 2 Kings 23:11).
Joshua 19:6 “And Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages:”
Whether the first is the same with Lebaoth, a city of Judah (Joshua 15:32), and with the Bethleptepha of Josephus, and the Betholene of Pliny, is not certain. Both these places are thought to be the same with Beth-birei and Shaaraim in (1 Chron. 4:31). Of the latter of which see (Joshua 15:36). Those who take Sheba (Joshua 19:2), to be the same with Shema (Joshua 15:26), make but one city here. And take away the last, as the Greek version does. And render the word “and their fields”, and so the number still is as follows.
“Thirteen cities and their villages”: The sum total of those enumerated above.
We see from this that this had already been allotted to Judah, but Judah received more than they could use. Now these thirteen cities are given by Judah to the tribe of Simeon. It is interesting that there are fourteen cities listed, and they are spoken of as thirteen. It is possible that Beer-sheba and Sheba are speaking of the same city. “Beer-sheba” means the well of the oath.
Joshua 19:7 “Ain, Remmon, and Ether, and Ashan; four cities and their villages:”
Of the two first, which were cities of Judah (see note on Joshua 15:32).
“And Ether, and Ashan”: Of the two last (see Joshua 19:42).
“Four cities and their villages”: Ain, Remmon, therefore, could not be one city, at this time, as it seems to have been in the times of Nehemiah (Neh. 11:29). Or otherwise there would have been but three cities.
Joshua 19:8 “And all the villages that [were] round about these cities to Baalath-beer, Ramath of the south. This [is] the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families.”
Not only the suburbs adjoining to those cities which are mentioned before, but the several small distinct towns and villages, scattered up and down in the country.
“To Baalath-beer, Ramath of the south”: This is the same with Baal in (1 Chron. 4:33). Or south Ramoth, as it is called (1 Sam. 30:27). All these are the names of one and the same city.
“This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon. And were divided among them according to the number of their respective families. At least, these were the chief and principal of them. For all that they possessed are not mentioned, particularly one called Tochen (1 Chron. 4:32). And another, the name of which is Etam there. Unless that is thought to be the same with Ether here in (Joshua 19:7). Josephus says, this tribe took by lot that part of Idumea which lay near to Egypt and Arabia.
It appears these cities were near the wilderness of Zin. They were somewhere near the border of Edom. We see then, all together there were around 17 cities and a number of smaller villages, in this inheritance.
Joshua 19:9 “Out of the portion of the children of Judah [was] the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them.”
Simeon’s “inheritance” within the borders of “Judah’s” allotment (compare Judges 1:3), is in accordance with the prophetic blessing of Jacob (Gen. 49:5-7). Despite their relative insignificance as a tribe, a contingent of Simeonites in David’s army is given honorable mention (1 Chron. 12:25). Although omitted from Moses’ blessing (Deut. Chapter 33), they reappear in the roster of Israelite tribes in (Rev. 7:7).
It is not explained who decided that Judah had been allotted too much, probably it was Joshua himself. Simeon’s tribe became smaller with time it appears. There seems to be no border given for the tribe of Simeon.
Verses 10-16: “Zebulun”: This allotment lay west of the Lake of Chinneroth (Sea of Galilee), and ran to the Mediterranean Sea.
Joshua 19:10 “And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families: and the border of their inheritance was unto Sarid:”
Who, though younger than Issachar, has his lot before him. Agreeably to the order in which his blessing is predicted, both by Jacob and Moses (Gen. 49:13).
“And the border of their inheritance was unto Sarid”: Or “by Sarid”, as Masius, who takes this to be the southwest border of Zebulun, being near Carmel. In which he seems to be right.
Zebulun’s inheritance seems to be located north and west of Issachar. Naphtali is their northern neighbor. Sarid seems to be at the center of the southern border of Zebulun. It was southwest of the present-day Nazareth.
Joshua 19:11 “And their border went up toward the sea, and Maralah, and reached to Dabbasheth, and reached to the river that [is] before Jokneam;”
Westward towards the Mediterranean Sea, which fulfilled the prophecies of Jacob and Moses. That Zebulun should dwell by the sea, be a haven of ships. And take of the abundance of the seas, as in the places before referred to. And so Josephus says, the Zebulonites took the land unto the lake of Gennesaret, by or about Carmel and the sea.
“And Maralah”: Which Jerom calls the ascent of Zebulun. For from hence it went up from the sea, and reached to Dabbasheth; which Jerom calls Dasbath. The word signifies a hump that is on a camel’s back (Isa. 30:6). So called, because when that is hurt by burdens, it is cured with honey. It seems to denote some place or city at a point of land or promontory, that stood out towards the sea, as that of Carmel. Or some city on the back of Carmel, resembling a camel’s hump.
“And reached to the river that is before Jokneam”: Of Jokneam (see Joshua 12:22). And this river was either the river Kishon, or Belus, sometimes called Pagida. From whence sand was taken to make glass of, and was near Carmel, as Jokneam was.
Joshua 19:12 “And turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrising unto the border of Chisloth-tabor, and then goeth out to Daberath, and goeth up to Japhia.”
This describes the southern border, going on from west to east.
“Towards the sunrising, unto the border of Chisloth-tabor”: This Jerom places in the tribe of Issachar, it bordered on both tribes. And he says, that in his time there was a little village called Chaselus, eight miles from Diocaesarea, at the foot of Mount Tabor in the plains.
“And then goeth out to Daberath”: Which also was a city in the tribe of Issachar, given to the Levites (Joshua 21:28). Jerom speaks of a little village of the Jews by Mount Tabor, of the country belonging to Diocaesarea, called Dabira. This place is still in being. Mr. Maundrell says, at the bottom of Tabor westward stands Debarah, supposed by some to take its name from Deborah, the famous judge and deliverer of Israel.
“And goeth up to Japhia”: This Jerom says is the town called Sycamine, as you go from Caesarea to Ptolemais, above the sea, because of Mount Carmel, called Epha. Thought by some to be the Jebba of Pliny. It seems, however, to be the Japha of Josephus, which he speaks of as being a strong fortified place both by nature and art.
Joshua 19:13 “And from thence passeth on along on the east to Gittah-hepher, to Ittah-kazin, and goeth out to Remmon-methoar to Neah;”
Which was the native place of Jonah the prophet (2 Kings 14:25). And where Jerom says his grave was shown, and was a small village in his time two miles from Sip-pore, then called Diocaesarea.
“To Ittah-kazin”: Of this place we have no account elsewhere.
“And goeth out to Remmon-methoar to Neah”: Where the eastern border ended. Some versions make Remmon-methoar distinct places; but where either of them were exactly, is not known. Some, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, render the word “Methoar which goes about”; that is, the border went about from Remmon to Neah. Which by Jerom is called Anna, and who observes, that there is another village called Anna, ten miles from Neapolis, as you go to Aelia. And by whom also Methoar is reckoned a distinct place, and called Amathar.
Joshua 19:14 “And the border compasseth it on the north side to Hannathon: and the outgoings thereof are in the valley of Jiphthah-el:”
This is the northern border of the tribe, which took a circuit from the last place to this. Of which and the following place we have no account. Jerom only makes mention of them as in the tribe of Zebulun.
“And the outgoings thereof are in the valley of Jiphthah-el”: Here the northern border ended, which, Masius conjectures, was part of the valley of Carmel.
It appears, this is a narrow strip of land that goes approximately from mount Tabor on the east, to Mount Carmel on the west. Some scholars believe Mount Tabor to be the mount of the transfiguration. Others believe it could not have been, because it was a fortress. Gittah-hepher is believed to be the birthplace of Jonah. “Compasseth” is speaking of the border curving around Neah.
Joshua 19:15 “And Kattath, and Nahallal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and Beth-lehem: twelve cities with their villages.”
Of the two first of these we read nowhere else, but in (Joshua 21:34).
“And Shimron”: Was a royal city, the king of which Joshua took and hanged (Joshua 11:1).
“And Idalah”: Is a place Bochart conjectures where the goddess Venus was worshipped. Idalia being one of her names.
“And Bethlehem”: Is a different place from that which was the birthplace of our Lord, called Bethlehem of Judah, to distinguish it from this.
“Twelve cities with their villages”: More are named, but some of them belonged to other tribes, and only lay on the borders of this. And others might not be properly cities, but small towns.
Beth-lehem here, is not the same as the “Bethlehem” where Jesus was born. They both mean house of bread however.
Joshua 19:16 “This [is] the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.”
Which was allotted to it and divided, according to the number of its families.
“These cities with their villages”: Before enumerated, excepting such as only bordered on them. Though indeed there were other cities which belonged to them, or might be after given them, not here mentioned. As Kartah and Dimnah (Joshua 21:34-35).
Some of these areas are very small, because the tribes are small. The cities are not named the same now as they were then, and it makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly where each tribe’s boundary was.
Verses 17-23: “Issachar”: The area basically ran just below the Sea of Galilee from the Jordan west over to Mt. Tabor, circling southwest almost to Megiddo, north of Manasseh’s portion.
Joshua 19:17 “[And] the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families.”
The fourth of the seven drawn at Shiloh.
“For the children of Issachar, according to their families”: Among whom the inheritance that came to them by the lot was divided, according to the number of them.
The inheritance of Issachar was between Zebulun and Manasseh on the side of the Jordan River.
Joshua 19:18 “And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem,”
Which was a royal seat in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 21:1). And according to Jerom was near to Maximianopolis. And the same writer says in his day a large village of this name was shown in the great plain between Scythopolis and Legion (he means the plain of Jezreel), and it was the border of Issachar.
“And Chesulloth”: Was different from the Chisloth-tabor (Joshua 19:12). That, as Masius observes, was to the north, this to the south of Mount Tabor.
“And Shunem”: Is a place well known for being the dwelling place of a certain woman in the times of Elisha. Whose son the prophet raised from the dead (2 Kings 4:8). Jerom calls it Sonam, where the Shunammite woman was. But this city here seems to be what he calls Salem, in the tribe of Issachar. And he adds, that there was shown in his day a village by this name, five miles from Mount Tabor to the south. According to Bunting, it was forty-eight miles from Jerusalem to the north, not far from Nain.
The valley of Jezreel has been a battlefield throughout history. History records twenty great battles that have been fought in this very place. In 1 Samuel the 29th chapter, there is a mention of the Philistines coming against the army of Israel here. Deborah and Barak led a battle here as well.
Joshua 19:19 “And Haphraim, and Shihon, and Anaharath,”
The first of these is by Jerom called Haphraim, a city of the tribe of Issachar. And adds, there is at this day a village called Affarea, six miles from Legion to the north.
“And Shihon”: Of Seon or Soen, the same with Shihon here, he says. There was a village of this name shown in his time near Mount Tabor.
“And Anaharath”: Of which we have no account elsewhere.
Joshua 19:20 “And Rabbith, and Kishion, and Abez,”
The first of these Jerom calls Rabbith in the tribe of Issachar.
“And Kishion”: As Masius notes, seems to given name to the river Kishon near it. Some take it to be the same with Kedesh (1 Chron. 6:72).
“And Abez”: Of which no mention is made elsewhere.
Joshua 19:21 “And Remeth, and En-gannim, and En-haddah, and Beth-pazzez;”
Remeth seems to be the same with Jarmuth (Joshua 21:29). And with Ramoth (1 Chron. 6:73).
“And En-gannim seems to be the same with Anem in (1 Chron. 6:73). There were several of this name, which seem to have been places full of gardens, and well-watered. For the word signifies a fountain of gardens.
“And En-haddah”: Jerom says, in his time there was a village called Enadda, ten miles from Eleuthero-polis, as you go from there to Aelia. But seems not to be the same with En-haddah here.
“And Beth-pazzez”: Of Beth-pazzez no mention is made elsewhere. “Beth” signifies a “house”, and “Pazzez” in the Arabic tongue signifies “silver”; so this with the old Canaanites might be a treasure city, like those in Egypt (Exodus 1:11). But where a word begins with “Beth”, as the name of a place, I always suspect there was an idol temple there. Now as the word in Hebrew signifies the same as “Peor”, opening, here might be a temple to that deity.
Joshua 19:22 “And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Beth-shemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.”
Tabor was the name of a mountain in those parts. It is generally supposed to be the mountain on which our Lord was transfigured, though it is not sufficiently evident. see (Jer. 46:18). There was a city of this name near it (1 Chron. 6:77), and which is meant here, and which either gave unto or received name from the mount.
“And Shahazimah”: Is not mentioned anywhere else.
And Beth-shemesh”: There seem to have been several cities, at least more than one, of the name of Beth-shemesh. One in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 21:16). And another in the tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 19:38). Which perhaps may be the same with this, it lying on the borders of both tribes.
“And the outgoings of their border were at Jordan”: Here it ended: so Josephus says, that the border of this tribe in the length of it were Mount Carmel (at one end), and the river (i.e. Jordan, at the other). And at the breadth of it the mountain Itabyrium, or Mount Tabor. It had Jordan on the east, the sea on the west, Zebulun on the north, and Manasseh on the south.
“Sixteen cities with their villages”: Which was the sum total of them.
“En-gannim” was thought to be the “garden house” mentioned where Ahaziah, king of Judah, was wounded. This seemed to be one of the Levitical cities of Issachar. Chisloth-tabor is probably the same as Tabor.
Joshua 19:23 “This [is] the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their families, the cities and their villages.”
Which fell to them by lot, as before described.
“According to their families”: Was divided among them, according to the number of them.
“The cities and their villages”: The cities before enumerated, and the villages adjacent to them.
The land they had received was a continual battleground. Some scholars believe their land stretched from Jezreel to the Jordan, and from the sea of Tiberias to the border of Manasseh.
Verses 24-31: “Asher”: This territory was a long, broad strip flanking the Mediterranean on the west, then Naphtali’s and Zebulun’s claims on the east, running south to Manasseh’s. It reached from Mt. Carmel in the south to the area of Tyre in the north.
Joshua 19:24 “And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.”
Which entitled them to an inheritance next described.
“According to their families”: Which was sufficient for them, and divided to them according to their number.
Asher’s inheritance was actually west of Naphtali’s.
Joshua 19:25 “And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph,”
Helkath seems to be the same with Hukok (1 Chron. 6:75). And according to Masius it lay ten or twelve miles above Ptolemais.
“And Hali”: Of which we read nowhere else.
“And Beten”: Is by Jerom called Bathne, and was in his time a village by the name of Bethebem, eight miles from Ptolemais to the east. Reland seems to think it might be the Ecbatana of Pliny, which he speaks of as near Mount Carmel, and not far from Ptolemais.
“And Achshaph”: Was a royal city, whose king was taken by Joshua (see Joshua 11:1).
Joshua 19:26 “And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihor-libnath;”
Of the two first of these there is no mention elsewhere.
“And Misheal”: Is the same with Mashal (1 Chron. 6:74). And is by Jerom called Masan.
“And reacheth to Carmel westward”: Or, “to the sea”, as Carmel is called “Carmel by the sea” (see note on Jer. 46:18). It is hereby distinguished from Carmel in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:55). Pliny calls it a promontory.
“And to Shihor-libnath”: The Vulgate Latin and Septuagint versions make two places of it. But the sum of the cities after given will not admit of it. More rightly Junius renders it Sihor by Libhath, and takes Sihor to be the river Belus, or Pagidus. So called either because of its likeness to the Nile, one of whose names is Sihor (Jer. 2:18). Or because its waters might be black and muddy.
Joshua 19:27 “And turneth toward the sunrising to Beth-dagon, and reacheth to Zebulun, and to the valley of Jiphthah-el toward the north side of Beth-emek, and Neiel, and goeth out to Cabul on the left hand,”
“To Beth-dagon”: There was a city of this name in the tribe of Judah (see Joshua 15:41). Dagon, being a god of the Phoenicians, had temples built for him in various places in Canaan.
“And reacheth to Zebulun”: Not the tribe of Zebulun, but a city so called. The same Josephus calls a strong city of Galilee. Which had the name of Men, perhaps from the population of it, and separated Ptolemais from Judea.
“And to the valley of Jiphthah-el”: See (Joshua 19:14).
“Toward the north side of Beth-emek”: Of Beth-emek no mention is made elsewhere. Perhaps here as an idol temple before dedicated to the god of the valleys (see 1 Kings 20:28).
“And Neiel”: Which the Greek version calls Inael, of which Jerom says, it is a certain village called Betoaenea, fifteen miles from Caesarea, situated on a mountain to the east, on which are said to be wholesome baths.
“And goeth out to Cabul on the left hand”: Not the land of Cabul (1 Kings 9:13). But a city, which Josephus calls a village on the borders of Ptolemais. The Jews speak of a city of this name, destroyed because of contentions in it.
Joshua 19:28 “And Hebron, and Rehob, and Hammon, and Kanah, [even] unto great Zidon;”
Hebron seems to be the same with Abdon (Joshua 21:30). And being changed, of which there are other instances. And hereby this is distinguished from another Hebron in the tribe of Judah, more commonly known (Joshua 15:54).
“And Rehob”: In the time of Jerom, there was a village called Rooba, four miles from Scythopolis. And which he says was a city separated to the Levites, as this was, or one of the same name in this tribe. For there was another (Joshua 19:30; see note on Joshua 21:31). But whether either of them is the same with this is not certain.
“And Hammon”: Of this city we read nowhere else.
“And Kanah”: This Kanah is generally thought to be the same where Christ wrought his first miracle (John 2:1). Jerom expressly says, there was a Cana in the tribe of Asher, where our Lord and Savior turned water into wine (John 2:1). And from whence was Nathanael (John 21:2); and it is at this day, adds he, a town in Galilee of the Gentiles.
“Taking leave of Nazareth, (he says), and going at first northward, we crossed the hills that encompassed the vale of Nazareth at that side. After which we turned to the west, and passed in view of Cana of Galilee. The place signalized with the beginning of Christ’s miracles (John 2:11). In an hour and a half more we came to Sepharia;”
Joshua 19:29 “And [then] the coast turneth to Ramah, and to the strong city Tyre; and the coast turneth to Hosah; and the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to Achzib:”
Which was a city in the tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 19:36). And on the borders of Asher; though Jerom distinguishes them, and speaks of a Ramah in Asher, and another in Naphtali. As different cities of the same name. As there were several of this name, so called from their being built on an eminence.
“And to the strong city Tyre”: It is thought this is not to be understood of the famous city. So much spoken of in other parts of Scripture, and in profane history. Since, as it is observed, that is not mentioned in Scripture until the times of David. And though Homer makes frequent mention of Sidon, yet never of Tyre. The words signify the strong fortress of a rock or a fortress on a high rock; so Kimchi and Ben Melech. And it might be a fortified city, which being built on a rock, might have the name of Zor or Tyre, and not be the famous city of that name. Jerom renders it the fortified city of the Assyrians.
“And the coast turneth to Hosah”: Of which we nowhere else read.
“And the outgoings thereof are at the sea”: The Mediterranean Sea; where the coast ended this way.
From the coast to Achzib; this Jerom says is Ecdippa, nine miles from Ptolemais, as you go to Tyre; and this is confirmed by a learned traveler. It is now called Zib (see notes on Micah 1:14).
Joshua 19:30 “Ummah also, and Aphek, and Rehob: twenty and two cities with their villages.”
Ummah is not mentioned anywhere else.
“And Aphek”: Of which; see note on (Joshua 12:18).
“And Rehob”: Of which see note on (Joshua 19:28).
“Twenty and two cities with their villages”: There are more set down in the account, but some of them did not belong to the tribe, only were on the border of it.
Mount Carmel had been included in Asher’s inheritance. This is speaking of near there. At Beth-dagon, they worshipped the fish-god. Hebron here should have been Ebron. This is not the Hebron in Judah. Tyre and Zidon (Sidon), were both famous Phoenician cities. Asher really never quite subdued Zidon, and this entire area that Joshua gave to them. The coast mentioned, is on the northern portion of the Mediterranean Sea.
Joshua 19:31 “This [is] the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.”
As before described, a goodly heritage. It was, according to the prediction of Jacob and Moses (Gen. 49:20), a very fruitful country. Josephus says, the country from Carmel called the valley, because it was such, even all over against Sidon, fell to the Asherites. Asher had Mount Libanus on the north, Naphtali on the east, Zebulun on the south and southeast, the sea on the west.
“According to their families”: The number of them, so their lot was divided to them.
“These cities with their villages”: Before named.
Asher’s land seemed to be on the coast in a long narrow strip.
Verses 32-39: “Naphtali”: This region took in a long stretch of land with a border at the norther edge of all the Israelites inheritances, a line on the west dividing it from Asher, southward to follow Zebulun’s northern border. Then it struck eastward toward the Sea of Galilee with land to the west alongside that sea and down to Issachar’s claim, over to the Jordan River. The eastern line ran northward, including the city of Hazor and also Dan, then swung north of Dan. Jesus’ Galilean ministry would take place largely in this area (Isa. 9:1-2; Matt. 4:13-17).
Joshua 19:32 “The sixth lot came out to the children of Naphtali, [even] for the children of Naphtali according to their families.”
The tribe of Naphtali, and directed what should be the inheritance of this tribe.
“Even for the children of Naphtali, according to their families”: Which was to be divided among them.
This allotment is located just north of Zebulun and south of Dan.
Joshua 19:33 “And their coast was from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum; and the outgoings thereof were at Jordan:”
“Allon”: This may have been an oak forest (if taken in a collective sense, as the word possibly means in Gen. 12:6), near Kedesh and northwest of the waters at Merom. According to (Judges 4:11). It was the site where Jael killed Sisera with a hammer and a tent peg (4:21).
Joshua 19:34 “And [then] the coast turneth westward to Aznoth-tabor, 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.”
This was the southern border, reaching from east to west. It began at Aznoth-tabor, which Jerom says was a village in his time belonging to the country of Diocaesarea, in the plains. There is another place called Chisloth-tabor, on the borders of Zebulun (Joshua 19:12).
“And goeth out from thence to Hukkok”: There the southern border ended, which was in the border of Asher, and is the same with Helkath (Joshua 19:25). With which compare (1 Chron. 6:75).
“And reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and reacheth to Asher on the west side and to Judah upon Jordan towards the sunrising”: So that as it was bounded by Lebanon, on the north. Near to which some of the cities were, mentioned in (Joshua 19:33). It had Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west, and Jordan to the east. For by Judah is not meant the tribe of Judah, from which Naphtali was at a great distance. But a city so called, as Fuller seems rightly to conjecture.
“Judah upon Jordan” here, is actually speaking of the daughter’s land in the Manasseh territory west of the Jordan.
Joshua 19:35 “And the fenced cities [are] Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth,”
The later name of Ziddim, according to the Talmud, was Cepharchitiya. Or the village of wheat, perhaps from the large quantity or goodness of wheat there.
“Zer”: Is called by Jerom Sor, and interpreted Tyre. The metropolis of Phoenicia, very wrongly. And, in the tribe of Naphtali.
“And Hammath”: Probably was built by the youngest son of Canaan (Gen. 10:18). Or had its name in memory of him. It lay to the north of the land of Israel (see Numbers 34:8).
“Rakkath, and Chinnereth”: Rakkath according to the Jewish writers is the same with Tiberias, as Chinnereth with Gennesaret. From where the lake or sea of Tiberias, and the country and lake of Gennesaret, had their names, often mentioned in the New Testament. Gennesaret was a most delicious and fruitful spot, and fulfilled the prophecy of Moses (Deut. 33:23), concerning Naphtali.
Joshua 19:36 “And Adamah, and Ramah, and Hazor,”
Adamah is different from Adami (Joshua 19:33). And may seem to confirm the notion of some, that Nekeb there is an epithet of it, and so distinguishes it from Adamah here.
“And Ramah”: Of Ramah, as there were several places of this name (see Joshua 19:29).
“And Hazor”: Was a royal city, of which (see Joshua 11:1).
Joshua 19:37 “And Kedesh, and Edrei, and En-hazor,”
This is Kedesh in Galilee, in Mount Naphtali, to distinguish it from others of the same name. It was one of the cities of refuge (Joshua 20:7). Jerom says in his day it was called Cidissus, and was twenty miles from Tyre by Paneas (see note on Joshua 12:22).
“And Edrei”: Is a different place from one of that name in the kingdom of Og (Num. 21:33).
“And En-hazor”: Of which we read nowhere else.
Joshua 19:38 “And Iron, and Migdal-el, Horem, and Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.”
Of Iron no mention is made elsewhere.
“And Migdal-el”: Which Jerom calls Magdiel, he says was shown a small village, five miles from Dara, as you go to Ptolemais.
“And Horem”: Is not mentioned anywhere elsewhere.
“And Beth-anath”: Jerom also relates, that Bathana, in the tribe of Naphtali, was a village that went by the name of Betbanes, fifteen miles from Caesarea.
“And Beth-shemesh”: Was another city, in which was a temple dedicated to the sun, when inhabited by the Canaanites (see Joshua 19:22). And so in Beth-anath there might be a temple dedicated to some deity, though now uncertain what.
“Nineteen cities with their villages”: There are more mentioned, but some of them might be only boundaries, and so belonged to another tribe.
This is the first mention of fenced cities. This perhaps was a way of warding off war from the north. They were probably, like fortresses. Kedesh was the residence of Barak. “Migdal-el” is the same as the city of Magdala in the New Testament, where Mary Magdalene was from. It was on the lake of Gennesaret.
Joshua 19:39 “This [is] the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.”
Which Josephus 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.
Naphtali’s inheritance was a small inland land, between their other tribal brothers.
Verses 40-48: “Dan”: The tribal allotment was a narrow, U-shaped strip just north of Judah’s claim and south of Ephraim’s. The Mediterranean coast lay on the western arm of the “U”. Joppa was on the coast near the north end. Later the Danites, failing to possess their original claim (Judges 1:34-36), migrated northeastward to a territory by Laish or Leshem (Joshua 19:47). They conquered this area north of the Sea of Galilee and Hazor, and renamed it Dan (Joshua 19:47-48; Judges 18:27-29).
Joshua 19:40 “[And] the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families.”
Which was the last lot drawn, and which appointed an inheritance to this tribe.
“According to their families; the number of them.
Dan’s inheritance was the furthest north of any of them.
Joshua 19:41 “And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Ir-shemesh,”
The tribe of Dan is not described by places of the boundaries, as other tribes. But by its cities, which were chiefly, at least several of them, taken out of the tribe of Judah. As the two first of these most manifestly were (see notes on Joshua 15:33).
“And Ir-shemesh”: Signifies the city of the sun, as the Targum interprets it. And was so called very probably from a temple in it, dedicated to the idolatrous worship of the sun. But a different place from Beth-shemesh in other tribes. Though those of that name, as this, had it for the like reason. And so Heliopolis, in Egypt, which signifies the same, where was a temple of the same kind.
Joshua 19:42 “And Shaalabbin, and Ajalon, and Jethlah,”
The first of these is the same with Shaalbim (Judges 1:35). And which Jerom calls Selab, in the tribe of Dan. And which he says was in his day shown a large village on the borders of Sebaste, by the name of Selaba.
“And Ajalon”: Is famous for the standing still of the moon in its valley while Joshua pursued his enemies (see notes on Joshua 10:12).
“And Jethlah”: Of which we read nowhere else.
Joshua 19:43 “And Elon, and Thimnathah, and Ekron,”
Of Elon no mention is made elsewhere.
“And Thimnathah”: Is a different place from Timnah in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:10). Jerom speaks of the Thamnitic country, so called from the village Thamna, which seems to be this.
“And Ekron”: Was one of the five principalities of the Philistines, and never possessed by the Israelites. It first fell by lot to the tribe of Judah, and afterwards given to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 15:45).
Joshua 19:44 “And Eltekeh, and Gibbethon, and Baalath,”
Eltekeh was a city given to the Levites (Joshua 21:23). And supposed by some to be the same with Eltekon in the tribe of Judah given to the Danites (Joshua 15:59).
“And Gibbethon”: Was in the hands of the Philistines in the reign of Asa (1 Kings 15:21). And in the same place Jerom calls Gabatha a city of the strangers, or Philistines. And which lie places near Bethlehem in the tribe of Judah.
“And Baalath”: Is not the same with Baalah (Joshua 15:29). But the Baalath rebuilt by Solomon (1 Kings 9:18). Called by Josephus Baleth, and spoken of by him as near to Gazara in the land of the Philistines. Of these two last cities, the Talmudists say that their houses belonged to Judah, and their fields to Dan.
Joshua 9:45 “And Jehud, and Bene-berak, and Gath-rimmon,”
Of Jehud no mention is made elsewhere.
“And Bene-berak”: Signifies sons of lightning (see Mark 3:17). Jerom speaks of tills as the name of two places. Bane in the tribe of Dan, and Barach in the same tribe, and which was in his day near Azotus. This place was famous in later times among the Jews for being a place where one of their noted Rabbins, R. Akiba, abode and taught for some time.
“And Gath-rimmon”: Was in Jerom’s time a very large village, twelve miles from Diospolis, or Lydda, as you go from Eleuthero-polis to it. It was a city given to the Levites (Joshua 21:24).
Joshua 19:46 “And Me-jarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before Japho.”
Of the two first of these we read nowhere else.
“With the border before Japho”: Japho is the same with Joppa, now called at this day Jaffa, a port in the Mediterranean Sea. Famous for being the place where Jonah took shipping (see notes on Jonah 1:3). And where the Apostle Peter resided some time (see Acts 9:36; 9:38). It is not certain whether Joppa itself was in the tribe of Dan, or only on the borders of it. The coast of Dan reached “over against” it, as it may be rendered, and included the villages and little cities that were near it. For such there were, as Josephus testifies.
It seems Zorah and Eshtaol were abandoned by Judah, and given to Dan. Samson was born in this rough terrain area. “Ir-shemesh” means city of the sun. The worship of the sun was prevalent here. “Japho” is the same as Joppa, where Peter had his vision.
Verses 47-48: The tribe of Dan was forced into the mountains, so they settled in “Leshem”, an area where victory came easier to them. For more on the conquest of Dan (see Judges chapter 18).
Joshua 19:47 “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.”
“Dan” was a city near the southern foot of Mount Hermon, to which the Danites migrated (Judges chapter 18). It was the northernmost limit of ancient Israel, as indicated in the common phrase, “from Dan to Beer-sheba” (Judges 20:1; 1 Sam. 3:20). Its ancient name was Laish or Leshem (verse 47; Judges 18:7, 29). Dan had some connection with Sidon on the coast (Judges 18:7). The tribe of Dan burned the city and rebuilt it when they migrated, giving it the name of their tribal ancestor (Judges 18:29). Dan lay in the valley near Beth-rehob (Judges 18:28). The Danites set up a graven image in the sanctuary they established (Judges 18:30). Jeroboam declared Beth-el and Dan as centers of worship to replace Jerusalem when the kingdom was divided in 931 B.C. (1 Kings 12:29). He made two golden calves and placed one at Beth-el and the other at Dan (1 Kings 12:27-29). This idolatrous shrine and the ritual at Dan continued till the conquest by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29).
The borders of Dan reached out to the extreme borders of Palestine. Dan had a small but very fertile land. The fighting Leshem was beyond the lines they had been allotted, but they felt they needed that extra land and took it. They even re-named Leshem, Dan.
Joshua 19:48 “This [is] the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.”
Before described by its cities, which were in it. This tribe was bounded by Ephraim on the north, by Judah on the east, by Simeon on the south, and by the Mediterranean Sea on the west. Josephus says, the Danites enjoyed the vale which lies to the setting sun, bounded by Azotus and Doris. And all Jamnia and Getta, from Accaron (or Ekron) to the mountain from whence the tribe of Judah begins.
“According to their families”: Which inheritance was distributed according to the number of their families.
“Their cities with their villages”: Before named.
Their land went as far north as Leshen (Dan), and as far south as the border with Naphtali.
Last of all, “Joshua”, Israel’s great leader, is assigned a city in “Ephraim. Timnath-serah” (called also Timnath-heres, Judges 2:9). It lay some 16 miles southwest of Shechem. Thus, the west bank assignments that began with Caleb (14:6-15), are completed and the two heroes of the faith (compare Num. 14:30), have received a just reward for their labors. Their territorial assignments form “literary bookends” to the intervening “volumes” relative to the allotments west of the Jordan.
Joshua 19:49 “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:”
After every tribe had received its allotted land, the tribes came together and gave “inheritance … to Joshua” in gratitude for his leadership. It is always important to honor godly, faithful leaders.
Joshua was a true man of God. He did not think of his own welfare until after he had made provision for all of the people he served. Joshua had to live as everyone else, so it was right that he would receive an inheritance.
Joshua 19:50 “According to the word of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, [even] Timnath-serah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein.”
Or from the mouth of the Lord. Either according to the oracle of Urim and Thummim, which Eleazar consulted on this occasion. Or according to what the Lord had said to Moses, at the same time that Hebron was ordered to Caleb (Joshua 14:6). And;
“They gave him the city which he asked, even Timnath-serah in Mount Ephraim”: He chose a place in his own tribe, for he was of the tribe of Ephraim. And it seems that what he chose was none of the best of places. For Paula, as Jerom relates, when she travelled into those parts, wondered that the distributor of the possessions of the children of Israel should choose such a rough and mountainous place for himself. Of its situation (see Joshua 24:30).
“And he built the city, and dwelt therein”: He rebuilt it, and fitted it for his own habitation, and for those that belonged to him. Timnath-serah means “an abundant portion” or “a place in the sun”. Joshua’s great reward was in seeing the promises of God fulfilled before his very eyes (Joshua 21:45). And the children of Israel serving the Lord during his lifetime (Joshua 24:31). Joshua may have received but a small inheritance in the promised land but this was just an earnest of his future glorious inheritance in eternity. The saints of God have the best portion saved for the last (John 2:10).
Timnath-serah was a city of his own tribe’s. Timnath means “of the sun”. It is reported that Joshua had a sun on his tomb showing that during his leading of Israel, the sun had stood still. The location of the city Joshua chose is in the land of Ephraim. It appears that Joshua either built or re-built the city, and lived there with his family.
Joshua 19:51 “These [are] the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. So they made an end of dividing the country.”
Both the spiritual leader (“Eleazar”). and the political leader (“Joshua”), were present at the division of the land. The distribution of the inheritance was done in good order and with God’s oversight.
We remember from earlier in these lessons, that the reason for casting the lots at the tabernacle was for God to oversee the operation. We see again that it was not just Joshua, but Eleazar the priest and the heads of the tribes that worked together in this. All aspects of the lives of these Israelites were covered in this. The ruler of the state and the ruler of the church, along with the representatives of the people, were involved. There would be no room for argument later about what parcel each received. We see from this, that the authority of God should control every aspect of our lives. There really is no way to separate our spiritual life from our physical life. Our good and welfare depend entirely upon our relationship with our God. Christians should allow Jesus to control every part of their lives.
Joshua Chapter 19 Questions
1. Where was Simeon’s inheritance?
2. _________, at the last census, was the smallest of the tribes.
3. How many cities are listed for Simeon in verse 6?
4. Why are they taking this inheritance away from Judah?
5. It is possible that Beer-sheba and _________ are the same city.
6. What does “Beer-sheba” mean?
7. The cities in verse 7 and 8 were near the _____________ of ________.
8. Who decided Judah had too much land?
9. Where was Zebulun’s inheritance located?
10. The inheritance of Zebulon reaches to what two mountains?
11. What do some scholars believe about mount Tabor?
12. Why do some other scholars believe this could not be?
13. What does “Beth-lehem” mean?
14. The inheritance of Issachar was between what two tribes?
15. The valley of Jezreel has been a ______________ throughout history.
16. How many great battles fought there, have been recorded?
17. What two people mentioned in this lesson led a battle here?
18. “En-gannim” is thought to be the _________ ________ where Azariah, king of Judah, was wounded.
19. Asher’s inheritance was actually west of ____________.
20. At Beth-dagon, they worshipped the ___________.
21. Tyre and Sidon were both famous ______________ cities.
22. Where was Naphtali’s inheritance located?
23. What is “Judah upon Jordan” speaking of?
24. Why were the cities fenced?
25. “Migdal-el” is the same as _____________.
26. _______ inheritance was the furthest north of all the tribes.
27. “Ir-shemesh” means what?
28. “Japho” is the same as ________.
29. Dan had a small, but very _________ land.
30. What name did they change Leshem to?
31. When they had finished dividing the land, they gave an inheritance to ___________.
32. Where was his inheritance?
33. During the leading of Israel by _________, the sun stood still.