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15. Allotment for Judah
1And the lot for the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families was unto the border of Edom, even to the wilderness of Zin southward, at the uttermost part of the south. 2And their south border was from the uttermost part of the Salt Sea, from the bay that looketh southward; 3and it went out southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and went up by the south of Kadesh-barnea, and passed along by Hezron, and went up to Addar, and turned about to Karka; 4and it passed along to Azmon, and went out at the brook of Egypt; and the goings out of the border were at the sea: this shall be your south border. 5And the east border was the Salt Sea, even unto the end of the Jordan. And the border of the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the end of the Jordan; 6and the border went up to Beth-hoglah, and passed along by the north of Beth-arabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben; 7and the border went up to Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is over against the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south side of the river; and the border passed along to the waters of En-shemesh, and the goings out thereof were at En-rogel; 8and the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the side of the Jebusite southward (the same is Jerusalem); and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the uttermost part of the vale of Rephaim northward; 9and the border extended from the top of the mountain unto the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border extended to Baalah (the same is Kiriath-jearim); 10and the border turned about from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim on the north (the same is Chesalon), and went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed along by Timnah; 11and the border went out unto the side of Ekron northward; and the border extended to Shikkeron, and passed along to mount Baalah, and went out at Jabneel; and the goings out of the border were at the sea. 12And the west border was to the great sea, and the border thereof. This is the border of the children of Judah round about according to their families.
13And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a portion among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of Jehovah to Joshua, even Kiriath-arba, which Arba was the father of Anak (the same is Hebron). 14And Caleb drove out thence the three sons of Anak: Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. 15And he went up thence against the inhabitants of Debir: now the name of Debir beforetime was Kiriath-sepher. 16And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kiriath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. 17And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. 18And it came to pass, when she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she alighted from off her ass; and Caleb said, What wouldest thou? 19And she said, Give me a blessing; for that thou hast set me in the land of the South, give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.
20This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.
21And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the border of Edom in the South were Kabzeel, and Eder, and Jagur, 22and Kinah, and Dimonah, and Adadah, 23and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Ithnan, 24Ziph, and Telem, and Bealoth, 25and Hazor-hadattah, and Kerioth-hezron (the same is Hazor), 26Amam, and Shema, and Moladah, 27and Hazar-gaddah, and Heshmon, and Beth-pelet, 28and Hazar-shual, and Beer-sheba, and Biziothiah, 29Baalah, and Iim, and Ezem, 30and Eltolad, and Chesil, and Hormah, 31and Ziklag, and Madmannah, and Sansannah, 32and Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages.
33In the lowland, Eshtaol, and Zorah, and Ashnah, 34and Zanoah, and En-gannim, Tappuah, and Enam, 35Jarmuth, and Adullam, Socoh, and Azekah, 36and Shaaraim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages.
37Zenan, and Hadashah, and Migdal-gad, 38and Dilean, and Mizpeh, and Joktheel, 39Lachish, and Bozkath, and Eglon, 40and Cabbon, and Lahmam, and Chitlish, 41and Gederoth, Beth-dagon, and Naamah, and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages.
42Libnah, and Ether, and Ashan, 43and Iphtah, and Ashnah, and Nezib, 44and Keilah, and Achzib, and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages.
45Ekron, with its towns and its villages; 46from Ekron even unto the sea, all that were by the side of Ashdod, with their villages.
47Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; unto the brook of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof.
48And in the hill-country, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh, 49and Dannah, and Kiriath-sannah (the same is Debir), 50and Anab, and Eshtemoh, and Anim, 51and Goshen, and Holon, and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages.
52Arab, and Dumah, and Eshan, 53and Janim, and Beth-tappuah, and Aphekah, 54and Humtah, and Kiriath-arba (the same is Hebron), and Zior; nine cities with their villages.
55Maon, Carmel, and Ziph, and Jutah, 56and Jezreel, and Jokdeam, and Zanoah, 57Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah; ten cities with their villages.
58Halhul, Beth-zur, and Gedor, 59and Maarath, and Beth-anoth, and Eltekon; six cities with their villages.
60Kiriath-baal (the same is Kiriath-jearim), and Rabbah; two cities with their villages.
61In the wilderness, Beth-arabah, Middin, and Secacah, 62and Nibshan, and the City of Salt, and En-gedi; six cities with their villages.
63And as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.
1. I have already premised, that I would not be very exact in delineating the site of places, and in discussing names, partly because I admit that I am not well acquainted with topographical or chorographic science, and partly because great labor would produce little fruit to the reader; 144144 French, “Jai desia par ci devant adverti que je ne seroye point curieux a desrire ou peindre la situation des lieux, et a espulcher tous les noms, en partie parce que je confesse franchement que je ne suis pas bien exerce a faire descriptions de lieux ou de regions; en partie d’autant que d’un grand travail qu’il faudroit prendre, il n’en reviendroit que bien peu de fruict aux lecteurs;” “I have already before this intimated that I would not be curious in describing or painting the situation of places, and in expiscating all the names, partly because, I frankly confess, that I am not much experienced in making descriptions of places or countries, partly because from the great labor which it would be necessary to take, very little benefit would redound to the reader.” It may be added that these descriptions of boundaries, how minutely soever they may be detailed, must, from their very nature, leave a very vague impression on the mind of the most careful reader, and are much less adapted for the ear than for the eye, which, by a single glance at a map, furnishes information much more vivid, distinct, and accurate than can be obtained from pages of description. At the same time it ought to be remembered, that accurate and detailed descriptions of the boundaries of the different tribes were absolutely indispensable to the Israelites themselves, to whom they formed a kind of title-deeds, vindicating their right of possession, and securing them against encroachment. — Ed. nay, perhaps the greater part of readers would toil and perplex themselves without receiving any benefit. With regard to the subject in hand, it is to be observed, that the lot of the tribe of Judah not only falls on elevated ground, the very elevation of the territory, indicating the dignity of the future kingdom, but a similar presage is given by its being the first lot that turns up. What had already been obtained by arms, they begin to divide. The names of the ten tribes are cast into the urn. Judah is preferred to all the others. Who does not see that it is raised to the highest rank, in order that the prophecy of Jacob may be fulfilled? Then within the limits here laid down, it is well known that there were rich pastures, and vineyards celebrated for their productiveness and the excellence of their wines. In this way, while the lot corresponds with the prophecy of Jacob, it is perfectly clear that it did not so happen by chance; the holy patriarch had only uttered what was dictated by the Spirit.
If any are better skilled in places, a more minute investigation will be pleasant and useful to them. But lest those who are less informed feel it irksome to read unknown names, let them consider that they have obtained knowledge of no small value, provided they bear in mind the facts to which I have briefly and summarily adverted — that the tribe of Judah was placed on elevated ground, that it might be more conspicuous than the others, until the scepter should arise from it — and that a region of fruitful vineyards and rich pastures was assigned to his posterity — and, finally, all this was done, in order that the whole people might recognize that there was nothing of the nature of chance in the turning up of a lot, which had been foretold three centuries before. Besides, it is easy for the unlearned to infer from the long circuit described, that the territory thus allocated to one tribe was of great extent. 145145 As originally laid out, it contained nearly a third of the whole Israelitish territory west of the Jordan. — Ed. For although some diminution afterwards took place, its dominions always continued to be the largest.
It is necessary, however, to bear in mind what I formerly observed, that nothing else was determined by the lot than that the boundary of the children of Judah was to be contiguous to the land of Edom and the children of Sin, and that their boundary, in another direction, was to be the river of Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea — that those who had been selected to divide the country proceeded according to the best of their judgment, in proportioning the quantity of territory allotted to the number of their people, without extending their boundaries any farther — and that they followed the same method in other cases, as vicinity or other circumstances demanded.
Any error into which they fell, did not at all affect the general validity of their decision. For as they were not ashamed partly to recall any partition that might have been made without sufficient consideration, so the people in their turn, while they acknowledged that they had acted in the matter with the strictest good faith and honesty, submitted the more willingly to whatever they determined. Thus, notwithstanding any particular error, their general arrangements received full effect.
It will be worth while to make one remark on the city Jebus, whose name was afterwards Jerusalem. Although it had been already chosen, by the secret counsel of God, for his sanctuary, and the seat of the future kingdom, it however continued in the possession of the enemy down to the time of David. In this long exclusion from the place on which the sanctity, excellence, and glory of the rest of the land were founded, there was a clear manifestation of the divine curse inflicted to punish the people for their sluggishness: since it was virtually the same as if the land had been deprived of its principal dignity and ornament. But on the other hand, the wonderful goodness of God was conspicuous in this, that the Jebusites who, from the long respite which had been given them, seemed to have struck their roots most deeply, were at length torn up, and driven forth from their secure position.
13. And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh, etc Were we to judge from the actual state of matters, it would seem ridiculous repeatedly to celebrate an imaginary grant from which Caleb received no benefit while Joshua was alive. But herein due praise is given both to the truth of God, and to the faith of his saint in resting on his promise. Therefore, although sneering men, and the inhabitants of the place itself, if the rumor had reached them, might have derided the vain solicitude of Caleb, and the empty liberality of Joshua, the contempt thus expressed would only have proved them to be presumptuous scoffers. God at length evinced the firmness of his decree by the result, and Caleb, though he saw himself unable to obtain access to the mountain, testified that he was contented with the mere promise of God, the true exercise of faith, consisting in a willingness to remain without the fruition of things which have been promised till the period actually arrive. Moreover, this passage, and others similar to it, teach us that the giants who are usually called Enakim, were so named after their original progenitor, Enac, and that the word is hence of Gentile origin. The time when Caleb routed the sons of Enac we shall see in a short time. This passage also shows us that Caleb, when he brought forward the name of Moses, did not make a mere pretence, or utter anything that was not strictly true; for it is now plainly declared, that Moses had so appointed, in conformity with the command of God.
Here we have a narrative of what plainly appears from the book of Joshua to have taken place subsequent to the death of Joshua; but lest a question might have been raised by the novelty of the procedure, in giving a fertile and well watered field as the patrimony of a woman, the writer of the book thought proper to insert a history of that which afterwards happened, in order that no ambiguity might remain in regard to the lot of the tribe of Judah. First, Caleb is said, after he had taken the city of Hebron, to have attacked Debir or Ciriath-sepher, and to have declared, that the person who should be the first to enter it, would be his son-in-law. And it appears, that when he held out this rare prize to his fellow-soldiers for taking the city, no small achievement was required. This confirms what formerly seemed to be the case, that it was a dangerous and difficult task which had been assigned him, when he obtained his conditional grant. Accordingly, with the view of urging the bravest to exert themselves, he promises his daughter in marriage as a reward to the valor of the man who should first scale the wall.
It is afterwards added that Othniel who was his nephew by a brother, gained the prize by his valor. I know not how it has crept into the common translation that he was a younger brother of Caleb; for nothing in the least degree plausible can be said in defense of the blunder. Hence some expositors perplex themselves very unnecessarily in endeavoring to explain how Othniel could have married his niece, since such marriage was forbidden by the law. It is easy to see that he was not the uncle, but the cousin of his wife.
But here another question arises, How did Caleb presume to bargain concerning his daughter until he was made acquainted with her inclinations? 146146 If we are to indulge in conjectures on the subject, this question might be answered by another, How do we know that Caleb had not consulted her inclinations, and instead of resting satisfied with the vague imaginings here ascribed to him, actually obtained her consent to the proposal which he was about to make? It may not have been, as Calvin supposes, a sudden thought which struck him in the heat of battle, but a calm resolve formed before he set out on his expedition against Debir, and intended to reward the most valiant of those who had assisted him in his war against the giants. And it is even not impossible that both he and his daughter, to whom Othniel, from his near relationship, must have been well known, had no doubt from the prowess he had previously exhibited, that he would outstrip all his competitors and carry off the prize. These, of course, are mere conjectures, but they are at least as plausible as those indulged in by other expositors, who, after raising the question, appear to have given themselves much unnecessary trouble in attempting to solve it. — Ed. Although it is the office of parents to settle their daughters in life, they are not permitted to exercise tyrannical power and assign them to whatever husbands they think fit without consulting them. For while all contracts ought to be voluntary, freedom ought to prevail especially in marriage that no one may pledge his faith against his will. But Caleb was probably influenced by the belief that his daughter would willingly give her consent, as she could not modestly reject such honorable terms; 147147 French, “Pource qu’un tel partie et condition si honorable ne pouvoit estre refusee honnestement et sans impudence;” “Because such a party and so honorable a condition could not be refused honestly (honorably) and without impudence.” — Ed. for the husband to be given her was no common man, but one who should excel all others in warlike prowess. It is quite possible, however, that Caleb in the heat of battle inconsiderately promised what it was not in his power to perform. It seems to me, however, that according to common law, the agreement implied the daughter’s consent, and was only to take effect if it was obtained. 148148 In other words, Caleb promises his daughter not absolutely to the man who should take the city, but to the man who, in addition to the prowess exerted in taking it, should also have the address to gain the daughter’s consent. It is difficult to believe that the promise made was either so meant by Caleb, or so interpreted by his followers. He very probably and, as the event showed, justly judged that his influence as a parent would either win or command his daughter’s consent. — Ed. God certainly heard the prayer of Caleb, when he gave him a son-in-law exactly to his mind. For had the free choice been given him, there was none whom he would have preferred.
18. And it came to pass as she came unto him, etc Although we may conjecture that the damsel Acsa was of excellent morals and well brought up, as marriage with her had been held forth as the special reward 149149 French, “Pour un salaire exquis et precieux;” “As an exquisite and precious recompense.” — Ed. of victory, yet perverse cupidity on her part is here disclosed. She knew that by the divine law women were specially excluded from hereditary lands, but she nevertheless covets the possession of them, and stimulates her husband by unjust expostulation. In this way ambitious and covetous wives cease not to molest their husbands until they force them to forget shame, modesty, and equity. For although the avarice of men also is insatiable, yet women are apt to be much more precipitate. The more carefully ought husbands to be on their guard against being set as it were on flame by the blast of such importunate counsels. 150150 Latin, “Foeminae tamen magis praecipites feruntur.” French, “Les femmes sont beaucoup plus bouillantes, et se laissent transporter plus aisement. Et d’autant plus sogneusement les maris se doyvent donner garde, de peur que par leurs conseils importuns, qui sont comme des soufflets, ils ne soyent embrasez;” “Women are much more fervid, and allow themselves to be more easily carried away. And so much the more carefully should husbands be on their guard, lest by their importunate counsels, which are like bellows, they be blown into flame.” — Ed.
But a greater degree of intemperance is displayed when she acquires additional boldness from the facility of her husband and the indulgence of her father. Not contented with the field given to her, she demands for herself a well-watered district. And thus it is when a person has once overleaped the bounds of rectitude and honesty, the fault is forthwith followed up by impudence. Moreover, her father in refusing her nothing gives proof of his singular affection for her. But it does not therefore follow that the wicked thirst of gain which blinds the mind and perverts right judgment is the less hateful. In regard to Acsa’s dismounting from the ass, some interpreters ascribe it to dissimulation and craft, as if she were pretending inability to retain her seat from grief. In this way her dismounting or falling off is made an indication of criminality and defective character. It is more simple, however, to suppose that she placed herself at her father’s feet with the view of accosting him as a suppliant. Be this as it may, by her craft and flattery she gained his consent, and in so far diminished the portion of her brothers. 151151 French, “Quoy qu’il en soit, cette femme attira a soy par astuce et flatteries le droit d’autruy, et par ce moyen, la part et portion de ses freres en fut d’autant amoindrie;” “Be this as it may, this woman attracted to herself by craft and flattery the right of another, and by this means the part and portion of her brothers was so far lessened.” The censure here passed upon Achsah is rather more severe than the circumstances seem to warrant. It ought to be remembered, that in cases of succession the preference given to males is only conventional, and that by natural law her brothers’ title was not a whit better than her own. — Ed.
20. This is the inheritance, etc He had formerly, indeed, traced out the boundaries of the children of Judah; but it is now shown for a different reason how large and fertile the territory was which the Lord in his great liberality had bestowed upon them. One hundred and thirteen cities with their towns and villages are enumerated. The number attests not only the populousness, but also the fertility of the country. And there cannot be a doubt that by the divine blessing a new degree of fertility was imparted to it. The goodness of God was, however, manifested in the very nature of the land selected for his people, a land abounding in all kinds of advantages. If we attend to the number of souls in the tribe, we shall find that one half of the country would have been amply sufficient for their habitation. For when eight hundred were allocated in each of the cities, the remainder had the towns and the villages. It is no doubt true that a portion was afterwards withdrawn and given to the tribe of Simeon. For in this was accomplished the dispersion of which Jacob had prophesied,
“I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”
They were accordingly admitted by the children of Judah as a kind of guests.
63. As for the Jebusites, etc This furnishes no excuse for the people, nor is it set down with that view; for had they exerted themselves to the full measure of their strength, and failed of success, the dishonor would have fallen on God himself, who had promised that he would continue with them as their leader until he should give them full and free possession of the land, and that he would send hornets to drive out the inhabitants. Therefore, it was owing entirely to their own sluggishness that they did not make themselves masters of the city of Jerusalem. This they were not able to do; but their own torpor, their neglect of the divine command from a love of ease, were the real obstacles.
This passage is deserving of notice: we ought to learn from it to make vigorous trial of our strength in attempting to accomplish the commands of God, and not to omit any opportunity, lest while we are idly resting the door may be shut. A moderate delay might have been free from blame; but a long period of effeminate ease in a manner rejected the blessing which God was ready to bestow. 152152 Some of the Jewish expositors, unwilling to admit the cowardice and sluggishness of their countrymen, fable that the Jebusites were permitted to remain in possession because they were descendants of Abimelech, and in consequence of the covenant made between him and Abraham, (Genesis 21:22, 32,) could not be lawfully expelled. — Ed.