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The Territory of Simeon


The second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of Simeon, according to its families; its inheritance lay within the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. 2It had for its inheritance Beer-sheba, Sheba, Moladah, 3Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem, 4Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, 6Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen—thirteen towns with their villages; 7Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan—four towns with their villages; 8together with all the villages all around these towns as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negeb. This was the inheritance of the tribe of Simeon according to its families. 9The inheritance of the tribe of Simeon formed part of the territory of Judah; because the portion of the tribe of Judah was too large for them, the tribe of Simeon obtained an inheritance within their inheritance.

The Territory of Zebulun

10 The third lot came up for the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families. The boundary of its inheritance reached as far as Sarid; 11then its boundary goes up westward, and on to Maralah, and touches Dabbesheth, then the wadi that is east of Jokneam; 12from Sarid it goes in the other direction eastward toward the sunrise to the boundary of Chisloth-tabor; from there it goes to Daberath, then up to Japhia; 13from there it passes along on the east toward the sunrise to Gath-hepher, to Eth-kazin, and going on to Rimmon it bends toward Neah; 14then on the north the boundary makes a turn to Hannathon, and it ends at the valley of Iphtah-el; 15and Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem—twelve towns with their villages. 16This is the inheritance of the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families—these towns with their villages.

The Territory of Issachar

17 The fourth lot came out for Issachar, for the tribe of Issachar, according to its families. 18Its territory included Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem, 19Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21Remeth, En-gannim, En-haddah, Beth-pazzez; 22the boundary also touches Tabor, Shahazumah, and Beth-shemesh, and its boundary ends at the Jordan—sixteen towns with their villages. 23This is the inheritance of the tribe of Issachar, according to its families—the towns with their villages.

The Territory of Asher

24 The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher according to its families. 25Its boundary included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal; on the west it touches Carmel and Shihor-libnath, 27then it turns eastward, goes to Beth-dagon, and touches Zebulun and the valley of Iphtah-el northward to Beth-emek and Neiel; then it continues in the north to Cabul, 28Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, Kanah, as far as Great Sidon; 29then the boundary turns to Ramah, reaching to the fortified city of Tyre; then the boundary turns to Hosah, and it ends at the sea; Mahalab, Achzib, 30Ummah, Aphek, and Rehob—twenty-two towns with their villages. 31This is the inheritance of the tribe of Asher according to its families—these towns with their villages.

The Territory of Naphtali

32 The sixth lot came out for the tribe of Naphtali, for the tribe of Naphtali, according to its families. 33And its boundary ran from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim, and Adami-nekeb, and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum; and it ended at the Jordan; 34then the boundary turns westward to Aznoth-tabor, and goes from there to Hukkok, touching Zebulun at the south, and Asher on the west, and Judah on the east at the Jordan. 35The fortified towns are Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37Kedesh, Edrei, En-hazor, 38Iron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh—nineteen towns with their villages. 39This is the inheritance of the tribe of Naphtali according to its families—the towns with their villages.

The Territory of Dan

40 The seventh lot came out for the tribe of Dan, according to its families. 41The territory of its inheritance included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh, 42Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon, 46Me-jarkon, and Rakkon at the border opposite Joppa. 47When the territory of the Danites was lost to them, the Danites went up and fought against Leshem, and after capturing it and putting it to the sword, they took possession of it and settled in it, calling Leshem, Dan, after their ancestor Dan. 48This is the inheritance of the tribe of Dan, according to their families—these towns with their villages.

Joshua’s Inheritance

49 When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the Israelites gave an inheritance among them to Joshua son of Nun. 50By command of the L ord they gave him the town that he asked for, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim; he rebuilt the town, and settled in it.

51 These are the inheritances that the priest Eleazar and Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites distributed by lot at Shiloh before the L ord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.

Next followed the lot of the tribe of Simeon, not as a mark of honor, but rather as a mark of disgrace. Jacob had declared with regard to Simeon and Levi, “I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:7) The punishment of Levi, indeed, was not only mitigated, but converted into an excellent dignity, inasmuch as his posterity were placed on a kind of watch-towers to keep the people in the paths of piety. In regard to Simeon, the dispersion of which Jacob prophesied, manifestly took place when certain cities within the territory of Judah were assigned to his posterity for their inheritance. For although they were not sent off to great distances, yet they dwelt dispersed, and as strangers in a land properly belonging to another. Therefore, on account of the slaughter which they had perpetrated with no less perfidy than cruelty, they were placed separately in different abodes. In this way the guilt of the father was visited upon his children, and the Lord ratified in fact that sentence which he had dictated to his servant. The truth of the lot also was clearly proven.

In the circumstance of a certain portion being withdrawn from the family of Judah, we again perceive that though the dividers had carefully endeavored to observe equity, they had fallen into error, which they were not ashamed to correct as soon as it was discovered. And though they were guided by the Spirit, there is nothing strange in their having been partially mistaken, because God sometimes leaves his servants destitute of the spirit of judgment, and suffers them to act like men on different occasions, that they may not plume themselves too much on their clear-sightedness. We may add that the people were punished for their carelessness and confident haste, because they ought at the outset to have ascertained more accurately how much land could be properly assigned to each. This they neglected to do. Through their unskillful procedure, the children of Judah had received a disproportion accumulation of territory, and equity required that they should relinquish a part. It would also have been better for themselves to have their limits fixed with certainty at once than to be subjected to a galling spoliation afterwards. Add that each tribe had indulged the vain hope that its members would dwell far and wide, as if the land had been of unlimited extent.

9. Out of the portion of the children of Judah, etc The praise of moderation is due to the tribe of Judah for not contending that the abstraction of any part of the inheritance already assigned to them was unjust. They might easily have obtruded the name of God, and asserted that it was only by his authority they had obtained that settlement. But as it is decided by the common consent of all the tribes that more has been given to them than they can possess without loss and injury to the others, they immediately desist from all pretext for disputing the matter. And it is certain that if they had alleged the authority of God, it would have been falsely and wickedly, inasmuch as though their lot had been determined by him in regard to its situation, an error had taken place with regard to its extent, their limits having been fixed by human judgment wider than they ought. Therefore, acknowledging that it would have been wrong to give them what would occasion loss to others, they willingly resign it, and give a welcome reception to their brethren, who must otherwise have remained without inheritance, nay, submit to go shares with them in that which they supposed they had acquired beyond controversy.

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