Nu 34:1-29. The Borders of
the Land of Canaan.
2. this is the … land of
Canaan—The details given in this chapter mark the general
boundary of the inheritance of Israel west of the Jordan. The
Israelites never actually possessed all the territory comprised within
these boundaries, even when it was most extended by the conquests of
David and Solomon.
3-5. your south quarter—The line which
bounded it on the south is the most difficult to trace. According to
the best biblical geographers, the leading points here defined are as
follows: The southwest angle of the southern boundary should be where
the wilderness of Zin touches the border of Edom, so that the southern
boundary should extend eastward from the extremity of the Dead Sea,
wind around the precipitous ridge of Akrabbim ("scorpions"), thought to
be the high and difficult Pass of Safeh, which crosses the stream that
flows from the south into the Jordan—that is, the great valley of
the Arabah, reaching from the Dead to the Red Sea.
5. river of Egypt—the ancient brook
Sihor, the Rhinocolura of the Greeks, a little to the south of
El-Arish, where this wady gently descends towards the Mediterranean
6. the western border—There is no
uncertainty about this boundary, as it is universally allowed to be the
Mediterranean, which is called "the great sea" in comparison with the
small inland seas or lakes known to the Hebrews.
7-9. north border—The principal
difficulty in understanding the description here arises from what our
translators have called mount Hor. The Hebrew words, however,
Hor-ha-Hor, properly signify "the mountain of the mountain," or
"the high double mountain," which, from the situation, can mean nothing
else than the mountain Amana (So 4:8), a member of the great Lebanon range
8. entrance of Hamath—The northern plain
between those mountain ranges, now the valley of Balbeck (see on Nu 13:21).
Zedad—identified as the present Sudud
9. Ziphron—("sweet odor").
Hazar-enan—("village of fountains");
but the places are unknown. "An imaginary line from mount Cassius, on
the coast along the northern base of Lebanon to the entering into the
Bekaa (Valley of Lebanon) at the Kamosa Hermel," must be regarded as
the frontier that is meant [Van De
10-12. east border—This is very clearly
defined. Shepham and Riblah, which were in the valley of Lebanon, are
mentioned as the boundary line, which commenced a little higher than
the sources of the Jordan. Ain is supposed to be the source of that
river; and thence the eastern boundary extended along the Jordan, the
sea of Chinnereth (Lake of Tiberias), the Jordan; and again terminated
at the Dead Sea. The line being drawn on the east of the river and the
seas included those waters within the territory of the western
13-15. The two tribes and the half-tribe have
received their inheritance on this side Jordan—The conquered
territories of Sihon and Og, lying between the Arnon and mount Hermon,
were allotted to them—that of Reuben in the most southerly part,
Gad north of it, and the half Manasseh in the northernmost portion.
16-29. names of the men … which shall divide
the land—This appointment by the Lord before the Jordan
tended not only to animate the Israelites faith in the certainty of the
conquest, but to prevent all subsequent dispute and discontent, which
might have been dangerous in presence of the natives. The nominees were
ten princes for the nine and a half tribes, one of them being selected
from the western section of Manasseh, and all subordinate to the great
military and ecclesiastical chiefs, Joshua and Eleazar. The names are
mentioned in the exact order in which the tribes obtained possession of
the land, and according to brotherly connection.