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C. F. KEIL, D.D., im> F. DELITZSCH, D.D.. 









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Union Thooleglusl Somln^ 



I nomas Samuel Hastings 
AUG 10 1911 

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Introduction to the Prophetical Histories of the Old Testament, . 1 



Contents, Date, and Character of the Book of Joshua, 13 

The Preamble (Chap. i. 1-9), ...... 27 

I. The Conquest of Canaan (Chap, i.-xd.) :— 

Preparations for entering Canaan (Chap. i. 10— ii. 24), 

Passage through the Jordan (Chap. in. iv.), 

Circumcision of the People, and Celebration of the Passover at 

Gilgal (Chap. v. 1-12), .... 

Appearance of the Angel of the Lord, and Conquest of Jericho 

(Chap. v. 13-vi. 27), 

Achan's Theft and Punishment (Chap, vii.), 

Conquest of Ai; Blessings and Curses upon Gerizim and Ebal 

(Chap. Tiii.), ...... 

Stratagem of the Gibeonites, and their consequent Preservation 


Victory at Gibeon, and Conquest of Southern Canaan (Chap, i.), 
Defeat of the Kings of Northern Canaan ; Subjugation of the whole 

Land (Chap. ».), ..... 

list of the Kings slaughtered by the Israelites (Chap, xii.), 








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II. Division of the Land of Canaan among the Tkibes of Israel 

(Chap, xm.-xxrv.), . . 13J 

Command of God to divide the Land of Canaan j Description of the 

Territory of the Two Tribes and a Half (Chap, xiii.), . 183 

Commencement of the Division of the Land of Canaan ; Inheritance 

of Caleb (Chap, xiv.), . .144 

Inheritance of the Tribe of Jndah (Chap, xv.), 
Inheritance of the Tribe of Joseph (Chap. xvi. xvii.), 
The Tabernacle set up at Shiloh ; Survey of the Land that ha i 

still to be divided ; Inheritance of the Tribe of Ben jam, u 

(Chap, xviii.), .195 

Inheritance of the Tribes of Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, 

Naphtali, and Dan (Chap, xix.), .... l,o 

Selection of Cities of Refuge, or Free Cities (Chap, xx.), . L'09 

Appointment of Towns for the Priests and Levites (Chap, xxi.), . -.'in 
Return of the Two Tribes and a Half to their own Inheritance 

(Chap, xxii.), . . . . . . .16 

Joshua's Farewell and Death (Chap, xxiii. xxiv.), . :;22 

17. r . 



Contents and Character, Origin and Sources, of the Book of 

Judges, ........ 237 


I. Attitude of Israel towards the Canaanites, and towards Jehovah 

its God (Chap. i.-m. 6) :— 
Hostilities between Israel and the Canaanites after Joshua's Death 

(Chap. i. 1-ii. 5), >' 

Conduct of Israel towards the Lord, and Treatment of Israel by the 

Lord, in the Time of the Judges (Chap. ii. 6-iii. 6), 207 

II. History of the People of Israel under the Judges (Chap. m. 7- 

xvi. 81), ... ... 276 

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1. Times of the Judges : Othniel ; Ehud and Shamgar ; Deborah 

and Barak (Chap. iii. 7-v.), .292 

Oppression of Israel by Chushan-rishathaim, and Deliverance by 
Othniel (Chap. iii. 7-11), 292 

Oppression of Israel by Eglon, and Deliverance by Ehud ; Sham- 
gar's heroic Deeds (Chap. iii. 12-31), . . .295 

Oppression of Israel by Jabin, and Deliverance by Deborah and 
Barak (Chap. iv. v.), . . . .300 

Deborah's Song of Victory (Chap, v.), . . . .307 

2. The Times of Gideon and his Family, and of the Judges Tola and 

Jair (Chap, vi.-x. 5), . . . . . .325 

Oppression of Israel by the Midianites, and call of Gideon to be 

their Deliverer (Chap. vi. 1-32), . . .327 

Gideon's Victory over the Midianites (Chap. vi. 33-viii. 8), 338 

Pursuit of the Midianites. Other Acts of Gideon ; his Appoint- 
ment as Judge (Chap. viii. 4-35), .... 351 

Judgment upon the House of Gideon, or Abimelech's Sins and 
End (Chap, ix.), ...... 360 

The Judges Tola and Jair (Chap. x. 1-5), .371 

S. Period of Oppression by the Ammonites and Philistines (Chap. 

x. 6-xvi.), 873 

Israel's renewed Apostasy and consequent Punishment (Chap. x. 

6-18), 373 

Jephthah elected as Prince ; Negotiations with the Ammonites ; 

Victory, Vow, and Office of Judge (Chap, xi.-xii. 7), . 878 

The Judges Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (Chap. xii. 8-15), . . 897 

Samson's Life, and Conflicts with the Philistines (Chap, xiii.- 

xvi), ....... 898 

III. Image-worship of Micah and the Danites ; Infamous Conduct of 
the Inhabitants of Gibeah ; Vengeance taken upon the 
Tribe of Benjamin (Chap, xvii.-xxi.), 


Image-worship of Micah the Ephraimite, and its Removal to Laish- 

Dan (Chap. xvii. xviii.), ..... 429 

War of the Congregation with the Tribe of Benjamin on account of 

the Crime at Gibeah (Chap. xix. xx.), .... 442 

Preservation of the Tribe of Benjamin ; the Remnant provided 

with Wives (Chap, xxi.), .458 

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Contents, Character, and Origin of the Book of Roth, . . 466 


Rath goes with Naomi to Bethlehem (Chap, i.), . . 470 

Ruth gleans in the Field of Boaz (Chap, ii.), . 476 

Rath seeks for Marriage with Boaz (Chap, iii.), 481 

Boaz marries Ruth (Chap, iv.), . 487 

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| HE thordh, or five books of Moses, which contains an 
account of the founding of the Old Testament king- 
dom of God, and the laws which were given through 
Moses, is followed in the Hebrew canon by the writings 
of the " earlier prophets," DWCtn D'tOSJ, prophetce priores. This 
collective name is given to the four historical books of Joshua, 
Judges, Samuel, and Kings, which trace, in the light of divine 
revelation, and of the gradual unfolding of the plan of salvation, 
the historical development of this kingdom of God from the death 
of Moses, the mediator of the old covenant, or from the entrance 
of the people of Israel into the land of Canaan promised to their 
fathers, till the dissolution of the kingdom of Judah, and the 
Babylonian captivity ; the whole embracing a period of nearly 
nine hundred years. The names given to these books are taken 
from the men whom the God-king of Israel called and appointed 
at different times as the leaders and rulers of His people and king- 
dom, and indicate, very suitably on the whole, the historical periods 
to which the books refer. 

The book of Joshua describes the introduction of the people of 
Israel into the promised land of Canaan, through the conquest 
effected by Joshua, and the division of the land among the tribes 
of Israel. As Joshua only completed what Moses had commenced 
but had not been permitted to carry out, on account of his sin at 
the water of strife (Num. xx. 12) ; and as he had not only been 
called by the Lord, and consecrated by the laying on of the hands 
of Moses, to accomplish this work, but had also been favo ured wi th 
direct revelations from God, and with His miracnJeiSfl^lfi inVth^rr" 

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execution of it ; the book which is named after him, and contains 
the account of what he did in the power of the Lord, is more closely 
related to the Pentateuch, both in its form and contents, than any 
othpr book of the Old Testament. In this respect, therefore, it 
might be regarded as an appendix, although it was never actually 
joined to it so as to form part of the same work, but was from the 
very first a separate writing, and simply stood in the same depen- 
dent relation to the writings of Moses, as that in which Joshua stood 
to Moses himself, of whom he was both the servant and successor. 

The book of Judges embraces the period of 350 years, from the 
death of Joshua to the rise of Samuel as a prophet of the Lord ; 
that is to say, the time appointed to the people of Israel to establish 
themselves in .the complete and sole possession of the land that had 
been given them for an inheritance, by fighting against the Canaan- 
ites who remained in the land and exterminating them, and, when 
settled in this inheritance as the congregation of the Lord, to set 
up the covenant concluded with God at Sinai, and to maintain and 
build up the kingdom of God according to the principles and 
ordinances, the laws and rights, prescribed by Moses in the law. 
The Lord had promised His help to the covenant nation in carrying 
on the conflict with the remaining Canaanites, on condition that 
they adhered with fidelity to His covenant, and willingly obeyed 
His commandments. It was but very imperfectly, however, that 
the tribes of Israel observed these conditions, which had been ear- 
nestly impressed upon their hearts, not only by Moses, but also by 
Joshua before his death. They soon grew weary of the task of 
fighting against the Canaanites and destroying them, and contented 
themselves with making them merely tributary ; in fact, they even 
began to form friendships with them, and worship their gods. As a 
punishment for this, the Lord gave them over to their enemies, so 
that they were repeatedly oppressed and deeply humiliated by the 
Canaanites, and the nations that were living round about Canaan. 
But whenever they repented and turned again in their distress to 
the Lord their God, He raised up helpers and deliverers for them 
in the persons of the judges, whom He filled with the power of His 
Spirit, so that they smote the enemy, and delivered both the people 
and the land from their oppression. But inasmuch as in every 
instance the judge was no sooner dead than the people fell into 
idolatry again, they sank deeper and deeper into bondage to the 
heathen, the theocratic constitution fell more and more into decay, 
and the life of the nation as a religious community was rapidly 

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coming to an end. This constant alternation, of apostasy from the 
Lord to the Canaanitish Baals and Astartes and the consequent 
punishment by deliverance into the power of their enemies on the 
one hand, and of temporary retnrn to the Lord and deliverance by 
the judges out of their bondage on the other, which characterizes 
the post-Mosaic period of the Israelitish history, is clearly set forth 
in the book of Judges, and placed distinctly before the eye in 
separate pictures of the various oppressions and deliverances of 
Israel, each one being complete in itself, and the whole arranged 
in chronological order. Whilst the book of Joshua shows how the 
Lord fulfilled His promise to Israel with a mighty arm, and led His 
people into the land promised to the fathers, the book of Judges 
shows how Israel continually broke the covenant of its God in the 
land which He had given it for an inheritance, and thus fell into 
bondage to its foes, out of which the judges were not able to secure 
it a permanent deliverance ; so that the Lord was obliged to create 
a new thing in Israel, in order to carry out His purpose of salva- 
tion, and to found and erect His kingdom in Canaan, through the 
medium of the children of Israel. This new thing consisted in the 
institution of prophecy as promised by Moses, or rather in the intro- 
duction of it into the political and national life, as a spiritual power 
by which it was henceforth to be pervaded, guided, and controlled ; 
as neither the judges, nor the priests as custodiers of the sanctuary, 
were able to uphold the authority of the law of God in the nation, 
or turn the idolatrous nation to the Lord. It is true we meet with 
certain prophets as early as the times of the judges ; but the true 
founder of the Old Testament prophecy (prophetenthums, prophet- 
hood) was Samuel, with whom the prophets first began their con- 
tinuous labours, and the prophetic gift was developed into a power 
which exerted an influence, as strong as it was salutary, upon the 
future development of the Israelitish state. 

The books of Samuel contain the history of Israel from the 
appearance of Samuel as a prophet to the end of the reign of David, 
and include the renewal of the theocracy by the labours of Samuel, 
and the establishment of the earthly monarchy by Saul and David. 
At the close of the period of the judges, when the ark of the cove- 
nant had fallen into the hands of the Philistines, and the removal 
of this visible symbol and substratum of the presence of God from 
the tabernacle had caused the central sanctuary of the congregation 
to lose all its significance as the place where God manifested him- 
self, and when the judgments of God had even fallen upon the 

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members of the high-priesthood itself, in the death of Eli and his 
worthless sons, when the word of Jehovah was dear, and there was 
little prophecy to be found (1 Sam. iii. 1), — the Lord raised up 
Samuel, the son of the pious Hannah, who had been asked for of 
the Lord and consecrated to His service from his mother's womb, 
to be His prophet, and appeared to him continually at Shiloh ; so 
that all Israel acknowledged him as the prophet appointed by the 
Lord, and through his prophetic labours was converted from dead 
idols to serve the living God. In consequence of this conversion, 
the Lord gave to the Israelites, in answer to Samuel's prayer, a 
complete and wondrous victory over the Philistines, by which they 
were delivered from the heavy oppression they had endured for 
forty years at the hands of these foes. From that time forward 
Samuel judged all Israel. But when he had grown old, and his 
sons, who had been appointed by him as judges, failed to walk in 
his steps, the people desired a king to judge them, to go before 
them, and to conduct their wars. In accordance with the command 
of God, Samuel chose Saul the Benjamite as king, and then laid 
down his own office as judge. He continued, however, to the very 
end of his life to labour as a prophet, in and through the schools of 
the prophets, which he had called into existence for the strengthen- 
ing and confirmation of Israel in its fidelity to the Lord ; and not 
only announced to King Saul his rejection by God, on account of 
his frequent resistance to the divine command, as made known to 
him by the prophet, but anointed David to be his successor as king 
over Israel. He died at the close of the reign of Saul, and did 
not live to see the accession and reign of David, with which the 
second book of Samuel is occupied. The reason why the name of 
Samuel is given to both these books, which form, both in style and 
contents, an indivisible whole, is in all probability therefore, that 
Samuel not only inaugurated the monarchy in Israel by anoint- 
ing Saul and David, but exerted so decided an influence upon the 
spirit of the government of both these kings, through his prophetic 
labours, that even the latter may be regarded in a certain sense as 
the continuation of that reformation of the Israelitish state which 
the prophet himself began. It was in David that the true king of 
the kingdom of God under the Old Testament arose, — a mighty 
warrior in conflict with the enemies of Israel, and yet at the same 
time a pious servant of the Lord, — a man of true humility and 
faithful obedience to the word and commandment of God, who not 
only raised the state to a lofty height of earthly power and glory, 

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through the strength and justice of his rule, but who also built up 
the kingdom of God, by reviving and organizing the public worship 
of God, and by stimulating and fostering the true fear of God, 
through the cultivation of sacred song. When God had given him 
rest from all his enemies round about, he wished to build a temple 
to the Lord. But God did not grant him this desire of his heart : 
He gave him a promise, however, instead, viz. that He would build 
him a house, and establish the throne of his kingdom for ever ; and 
that He would raise up his seed after him, who would build a house 
to the name of the Lord (2 Sam. vii.). This promise formed not 
only the culminating point in the life and reign of David, but the 
indestructible basis for the further development of the Israelitish 
state and kingdom, and was not only a sure pledge of the continu- 
ance of the Davidic monarchy, but a firm anchor of hope for the 
covenant nation in all time to come. 

Lastly, the books of Kings carry on the history of the Old 
Testament kingdom of God through a period of 450 years, viz. 
from the accession of Solomon to the Babylonian captivity, and 
furnish the historical proof that the promise given by the Lord to 
His servant David was stedfastly fulfilled. Notwithstanding the 
attempt of Adonijah to usurp the throne, He preserved the whole 
of the kingdom of David to his son Solomon, who had been chosen 
as his successor, and at the very commencement of his reign renewed 
His promise to him, so that Solomon was able to carry out the work 
of building the temple ; and under his wise and peaceful govern- 
ment in Judah and Israel every one could sit in safety under his 
own vine and fig-tree. But when Solomon allowed himself to be 
drawn away by his foreign wives to turn from the Lord and worship 
idols, the Lord chastened him with the rod of men, and with the 
stripes of the children of men; but His mercy did not depart 
away from him, as He had promised to David (2 Sam. vii. 14, 
15). After Solomon's death, the ten tribes, it is true, revolted 
from the house of David, and founded a kingdom of their own 
under Jeroboam ; but one tribe (Judah along with Benjamin) 
remained with his son Rehoboam, and along with this tribe the 
capital, Jerusalem, and the temple. During the whole time that 
this one brother-nation was divided into two distinct kingdoms, 
which were frequently engaged in hostility with one another, the 
Lord preserved the throne to the seed of David ; and the kingdom 
of Judah survived the kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel 134 
years, having as firm a political foundation in the unbroken suc- 

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cession of the royal family of David, as it had a strong spiritual 
foundation in the capital Jerusalem, with the temple which had been 
sanctified by the Lord as the dwelling-place of His name. In the 
kingdom of the ten tribes, on the other hand, Jeroboam introduced 
the germ of what eventually led to it3 destruction, by establishing 
as the state religion the unlawful worship of the golden calves. 
The destruction of his house was at once foretold to him on account 
of this sin (1 Kings xiv. 7) ; and this threat was carried out in the 
person of his son (1 Kings xv. 28 sqq.). As the kings of Israel who 
followed did not desist from this sin of Jeroboam, but, on the con- 
trary, the dynasty of the house of Omri attempted to make the 
worship of Baal the leading religion of the kingdom, and the king 
and people gave no heed to the voice of the prophets, and did not 
return with sincerity of heart to the Lord, He gave up the sinful 
kingdom and people to the consequences of their sins, so that one 
dynasty overthrew another; and after the lapse of 250 years, the 
kingdom, which was already shattered by the frequently recurring 
civil wars, fell a prey to the Assyrians, by whom the whole land 
was conquered, and its inhabitants were led into captivity. The 
kingdom of Judah was also hard pressed by this powerful empire, 
and brought to the very verge of destruction ; but in answer to the 
prayer of the pious king Hezekiah, it was delivered and preserved 
by the Lord for His own and His servant David's sake, until at 
length the godless king Manasseh filled up the measure of its sins, 
so that even the good king Josiah could only suspend the destruc- 
tion for a certain time, but could not ward it off altogether. A 
short time after his death the judgment fell upon Judah and Jeru- 
salem on account of the sins of Manasseh (2 Kings xxiii. 26, 27, 
xxiv. 3), when King Nebuchadnezzar came from Babylon, con- 
quered the land, and laid it waste ; and having taken Jerusalem, 
led away Jehoiachim to Babylon, with a considerable portion of the 
people. And when even Zedekiah, who had been raised by him to 
the throne, rebelled against him, the Chaldeans returned and put 
an end to the kingdom of Judah, by destroying Jerusalem and 
burning the temple, Zechariah himself being deprived of his sight, 
and led away into captivity with a large number of prisoners. Yet 
even when Judah and its king were rejected and scattered among 
the heathen, the Lord did not leave His servant David without any 
light shining ; but after Jehoiachim had been in prison for thirty- 
seven years, paying the penalty of his own and his father's sins, he 
was released from his imprisonment by Evil-merodach, the king of 

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Babylon, and his seat was placed above the seats of the kings who 
were with him in Babylon (2 Kings xxv. 27-30). This joyful 
turn in the destinies of Jehoiachim, with which the books of Kings 
are brought to a close, throws the first gleam into the dark night of 
the captivity of that better future which was to dawn upon the seed 
of David, and through it upon the people of Israel when they should 
be delivered out of Babylon. 

These four historical writings have been very justly called 
prophetical books of history : not, however, because they all, but 
more especially the books of Samuel and the Kings, give very full 
accounts of the labours of the prophets in Israel ; nor merely be- 
cause, according to the early Jewish tradition, they were written by 
prophets ; but rather because they describe the history of the Old 
Testament covenant nation and kingdom of God in the light of 
the divine plan of salvation, setting forth the divine revelation, as it 
was accomplished in the historical development of Israel, or show- 
ing how the Almighty God and Lord of the whole earth continued 
as King of Israel uninterruptedly to fulfil the covenant of grace 
which He had concluded with the fathers and had set up at Sinai, 
and built up His kingdom, by leading the people whom He had 
chosen as His own possession, notwithstanding all the opposition of 
their sinful nature, further and further onwards towards the goal 
of their divine calling, and thus preparing the way for the salva- 
tion of the whole world. These books, therefore, do not contain a 
general history of the natural development of the Israelitish nation 
from a political point of view, but trace the history of the people of 
God, or Israel, in its theocratic development as a covenant nation, 
and as the channel of that salvation which was to be manifested to 
all nations in the fulness of time. Their authors, therefore, by 
virtue of prophetic illumination, have simply selected and described 
such events and circumstances from among the rich and plentiful 
variety contained in the accounts handed down by tradition, whether 
relating to families, tribes, or the nation as a whole, as were of im- 
portance to the history of the kingdom of God ; that is to say, in 
addition to the divine revelations in word and deed, the wondsrs 
wrought by God, and the prophetic declarations of His counsel and 
will, they have recorded chiefly such points in the life and conduct of 
the nation and its more prominent members as affected advantage- 
ously or otherwise the development of the divine kingdom in Israel. 
Whatever had no inward connection with this higher aim and pecu- 
liar calling of Israel, was, as a rule, passed over altogether, or, at all 

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events, was only touched upon and mentioned so far as it served 
to exhibit the attitude of the nation generally, or of its rulers and 
leaders, towards the Lord and His kingdom. This will help to 
explain not only the apparent inequality in the treatment of the his- 
tory, or the fact that here and there we have long periods merely 
referred to in a few general remarks, whereas, on the other hand, 
the adventures and acts of particular individuals are depicted with 
biographical minuteness, but also another distinctive peculiarity, 
viz. that the natural causes of the events which occurred, and the 
subjective motives which determined the conduct of historical per- 
sonages, are for the most part left unnoticed, or only briefly and 
cursorily alluded to, whilst the divine interpositions and influence 
are constantly brought into prominence, and, so far as they were 
manifested in an extraordinary manner, are carefully and circum- 
stantially described. 

In all these respects the prophetic histories are so intimately con- 
nected with the historical narrative in the books of Moses, that they 
may be regarded as a simple continuation of those books. This 
not only applies to the book of Joshua, but to the other prophetic 
histories also. Just as the book of Joshua is linked on to the death 
of Moses, so the book of Judges is linked on to the death of 
Joshua ; whilst the books of Kings commence with the termination 
of the reign of David, the point to which the history of David is 
brought in the books of Samuel. These books, again, are con- 
nected just as closely with the book of Judges ; for, after giving an 
account of the high-priesthood of Eli, and the birth and youth of 
Samuel, which forms the introduction to the labours of Samuel, 
they describe the continuance and close of the subjugation of Israel 
by the Philistines, the commencement and prolongation of which 
are related in the last section of the book of Judges, although in 
this case the link of connection is somewhat hidden by the appen- 
dices to the book of Judges (chap. xvii.-xxi.), and by the introduction 
to the history of Samuel (1 Sam. i.-iii.). This close connection be- 
tween all the writings in question, which is still further strengthened 
by their evident agreement in the selection and treatment of the 
historical materials, does not arise, as some suppose, from the fact 
that they received a last finish from the editorial hand of some one 
man, by whom this harmony and the so-called theocratic pragma- 
tism which is common to them all was stamped upon the history ; 
but it arose from the very nature of the historical facts themselves, 
i.e. from the fact that the history of Israel was not the result of a 

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purely natural development, but was the fruit and result of the 
divine training of the covenant nation. The prophetic character, 
by which these works are distinguished from the other sacred his- 
tories of the Israelites, consists in the fact that they do not trace the 
theocratic history from an individual point of view, but according 
to its actual course, and in harmony with the successive steps in the 
development of the divine counsels of salvation ; and thus furnish 
their own proof that they were written by prophets, to whom the 
Spirit of the Lord had given a spiritual insight into the divine law 
of the kingdom. 

With regard to the origin of the prophetical books of history, 
and the date of their composition, all that can be determined with 
certainty is, that they were all composed some time after the last 
event which they record, but were founded upon written contem- 
poraneous accounts of the different events referred to. Although 
no sources are mentioned in the books of Joshua, of the Judges, 
and of Samuel, with the exception of the u book of Jasher" (Josh. 
x. 13, and 2 Sam. i. 18), from which the poetical extracts contained 
in the passages have been taken, there can be no doubt that the 
historical materials even of these books have been obtained, so far 
as everything essential is concerned, either from public documents 
or private writings. In the books of Kings we meet for the first 
time with the original sources regularly cited at the close of each 
king's reign ; and, judging from the titles, " book of the Acts of 
Solomon" (1 Bangs xi. 41), and " book of the Chronicles (or 
' daily occurrences,' i.e. contemporaneous history) of the Kings of 
Israel and Judah" (1 Kings xiv. 19, 29, etc.), they were in all 
probability fuller annals to which reference is made, as containing 
further accounts of the acts and undertakings of the several kings. 
We find a similar work cited in the books of the Chronicles under 
different titles, whilst certain prophetic works are referred to for 
the history of particular kings, such as words of Samuel the seer, 
Nathan the prophet, and Gad the seer (1 Chron. xxix. 29) ; of 
Shemaiah the prophet, and Iddo the seer (2 Chron. xii. 15), and 
others ; also the prophecies (vision) of Isaiah (2 Chron. xxxii. 32), 
and words of Jehu the prophet (2 Chron. xx. 34), both of which 
are expressly said to have been received into the book of the kings 
of Israel (or of Judah and Israel). It is obvious from these state- 
ments, not only that prophetic writings and collections of oracles 
were incorporated in the more comprehensive annals of the king- 
dom, but also that the prophets themselves were engaged in various 

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ways in committing the history of Israel to writing. The founda- 
tion for this occupation had no doubt been laid in the companies or 
schools of the prophets, which had been called into existence by 
Samuel, and in which not only sacred music and sacred song were 
cultivated, but sacred literature also, more especially the history of 
the theocracy. Consequently, as Oehler supposes, in all probability 
the foundation was laid even in the caenobium at Ramah (1 Sam. 
xix. 19 sqq.) for that great historical work, which was composed by 
prophets during the following centuries and is frequently referred 
to in the books of Kings, and which certainly lay before the writer 
of the Chronicles, though possibly in a revised form. The task of 
writing down the history of the theocracy was very closely con- 
nected with a prophet's vocation. Called as they were to be watchers 
(zop/iim or mezappim : vid. Micah vii. 4; Jer. vi. 17; Ezek. iii. 17, 
xxxiii. 7) of the theocracy of the Lord, it was their special duty to 
test and judge the ways of the nation and its rulers according to 
the standard of the law of God, and not only to work in every 
possible way for the recognition of the majesty and sole glory of 
Jehovah, to bear witness before both high and low against every 
instance of apostasy from Him, against every violation of His 
ordinances and rights, and to proclaim judgment upon all who 
hardened themselves against the word of God and salvation and 
deliverance to the penitent and desponding ; but also to set forth 
the guidance of Israel in the light of the saving purpose of God, 
and the inviolable rule of divine retribution, — to pass sentence upon 
the past circumstances of the nation, particularly the life and con- 
duct of its kings, according to the standard of the law, — and to 
exhibit in their fate the reality of the divine promises and threats ; 
and through all this to hold up, in the past history of the fathers, 
a mirror for the warning and comfort of future generations. 
With all these facts before us, we are fully warranted in assuming, 
that the prophetic works of history were employed as sources even 
in the composition of the books of Samuel. But this is not a probable 
supposition so far as the times of the judges are concerned, as we can 
find no certain traces of any organized prophetic labours by which 
the national life could be at all deeply influenced, notwithstanding 
the fact, that beside the prophetess Deborah (Judg. iv. 4), there is 
a prophet mentioned in Judg. vi. 7 sqq., and 1 Sam. ii. 27. But 
even if the author of our book of Judges could not avail himself 
of any prophetic writings, we must not on that account deny that 
he may have made use of other written statements and accounts, 

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banded down by contemporaries of the events. In the book of 
Joshna it is almost universally admitted, that at all events the geo- 
graphical portions have been taken from public documents. — For 
further remarks upon this subject, see the introductions to the 
different books. 

The employment of written sources, from living auditors or 
eye-witnesses of the events, in all the prophetic books of history, is 
evident as a general fact from the contents of the books, from the 
abundance of genuine historical details which they contain although 
many of them extend over very long periods of time ; from the 
exactness of the geographical data connected with the different 
accounts, and the many genealogical as well as chronological particu- 
lars ; and, in fact, from the clearness and certainty of the descrip- 
tions given of circumstances and occurrences which are often very 
complicated in their character. But this is still more obvious from 
the style in which the different books are written, where the gradual 
development of the language, and the changes which occurred in 
the course of centuries, are unmistakeably apparent. For whilst the 
books of Kings, which date from the time of the captivity, contain 
many words, forms, and phrases that indicate that corruption of 
the Hebrew through Aramaean idioms, which commenced with the 
invasions of Israel and Judah by the Assyrians and Chaldeans, 
there are no certain traces of the decline of the language to be 
found in the books of Samuel and Judges, but the style throughout 
is the pure style of the age of David and Solomon ; whilst in the 
book of Joshua, as a whole, we still find the old forms of the Mosaic 
times, although the actual archaisms of the Pentateuch have 
already disappeared. This difference in the words employed in the 
•different books cannot be satisfactorily explained from the simple 
fact, that the sources used, and from which extracts were made, 
were written in different ages. To quote but one example, since 
the fuller discussion of this point belongs to the introduction to the 
separate books, this is perfectly obvious from the use of the word 
rrins, in connection with Solomon's governors, in 1 Kings x. 15 ; 
since the author of our books of Kings cannot possibly have taken 
this word from his original sources for the history of Solomon's reign, 
as it was not till the time of the Chaldean and Persian dominion 
that this foreign word was adopted into the Hebrew language. 

The peculiarities in the language of the different prophetic books 
of history do furnish decisive evidence, however, against the hypo- 

thesis propounded by Spinoza, and lately revived by&t<ik?lm ^udt^ 


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ooVIe . 

..■>'- fp .. ., n r, 


Bertheau, viz. that " in the historical books, from Gen. i. to 2 Kings 
xxv., in the form and connection in which we possess them now, 
we have not several historical works which have been composed 
independently of one another, bat rather a connected treatment of 
the history from the beginning of the world to the time of the 
captivity" (Bertlieau), or " one work, which owes its present form 
to one man, or at any rate to one age" (Stahelin). The arguments 
adduced in support of this are all very weak. " The close connec- 
tion in which these writings stand to one another, so that each book 
in succession is closely connected with the one before it, and pre- 
supposes all. that the latter contains, and none goes back to an earlier 
period than that at which the previous book closes" (St&helin), does 
prove indeed that they have not been written independently of 
one another ; but it by no means proves that they belong to one 
author, or even to one age. Nor can we infer that they have been 
composed or finally revised by one man, from the fact, " that very 
often, in some one writing, as it has come down to us, we not only 
find two different styles, or a totally different mode of description, 
so that we can with certainty conclude that the work is founded 
upon two different sources, but these sources run through writings 
that are separated from one another, and are frequently ascribed to 
entirely different ages." For the circumstance, that a writing is 
founded upon two sources, is no proof at all that it is nothing more 
than a portion of a larger work ; and the proof which StdJielin 
adduces of his assertion, that the same source runs through several 
of the works in question, is much too weak and untenable to be 
regarded as an established fact, not to mention that, according to 
the first rules of logic, what applies to several cannot therefore be 
predicated of all. The actual root of this hypothesis is to be found 
in the naturalistic assumption of modern critics, that the theocratic 
spirit, which is common to all the prophetic histories, was not to be 
found in the historical facts, but was simply the " theocratic prag- 
matism" of the historians themselves, which had at the most a certain 
subjective truth, but no objective reality. From such an assump- 
tion, however, it is impossible to come to a correct conclusion with 
regard to either the contents or the origin of the prophetic histories 
of the Old Testament. 

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|HE book of Joshua derives its name, JJCVV, 'Ii;<7o0? Nawj 
or ww? Navri (LXX.), not from its author, but from 
its contents, viz. the history of the guidance of Israel 
into the land of Canaan, the land promised to the 
fathers, by Joshua the son of Nun. It commences immediately 
after the death of Moses, with the command addressed by the 
Lord to Joshua, to lead the children of Israel over the Jordan 
into Canaan, and not only to take possession of this land, but to 
divide it among the tribes of Israel (chap. i. 1-9), and closes with 
the death and burial of Joshua and his contemporary, the high 
priest Eleazar (chap. xxiv. 29-33). The contents may be divided 
into two parts of nearly equal length, — the conquest of Canaan 
(chap. i.-xii.), and the division of it among the tribes of Israel 
(chap, xii.-xxiv.) ; chap. i. 1-9 forming the introduction, and chap. 
xxiv. 29—33 the conclusion. After the introductory notice, that 
when Moses was dead the Lord commanded Joshua, who had 
been called to be the leader of Israel in his stead, to carry out the 
work entrusted to him, and encouraged him by the promise of His 
omnipotent help in the completion of it (chap. i. 1-9), the history 
opens in the first part, (1) with the preparations made by Joshua 
for advancing into Canaan ; viz. (a) the command of Joshua to the 
people to prepare for crossing the Jordan, the summons to the two 
tribes and a half to help their brethren to conquer Canaan (chap. i. 
10-18), and the despatch of spies to Jericho (chap, ii.) ; (b) the 
crossing of the river, which had been laid dry by a divine miracle 
(chap. iii. and iv.) ; and (c) the preparation of Israel for the con- 
quest of the land, by the performance of circumcision and the 

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passover at Gilgal (chap. v. 1-12). Then follow (2) the conquest 
and subjugation of Canaan ; viz. (a) the commencement of it by 
the miraculous fall of Jericho (chap. v. 13-vi. 27), the attack upon 
Ai, and capture of that town, after the expiation of the guilt that 
had been brought upon the congregation through the sin of Achan 
against the ban (chap. vii.-viii. 29), and the solemn act of setting 
up the law in the land on Ebal and Gerizim (chap. viii. 30-35) . 
(J) the further conquest of the land through the subjugation of the 
Gibeonites, who had succeeded surreptitiously in obtaining a treaty 
from Israel which guaranteed their safety (chap, ix.) ; the two great 
victories over the allied kings of Canaan in the south (chap, x.) 
and north (chap, xi.), with the capture of the fortified towns of 
the land ; and lastly, at the close of the first part, the list of the 
conquered kings (ch. xii.). — The second part commences with the 
command of God to Joshua to divide the whole land among the 
nine tribes and a half for a possession, although several parts of it 
still remained unconquered ; as two tribes and a half had already 
received from Moses their inheritance on the eastern side of the 
Jordan, the boundaries and towns of which are then described 
(chap. xiii.). Accordingly Joshua, with the heads of the people 
appointed for the purpose, proceeded to the distribution of the 
land, first of all (a) in the camp at Gilgal, where Caleb was the 
first to receive his inheritance (chap, xiv.), and then, according to 
the lot, the tribes of Judah (chap, xv.) and Joseph, i.e. Ephraim 
and (half) Manasseh (chap. xvi. and xvii.) ; and afterwards (6) at 
Shiloh, where the tabernacle was first of all erected, and a de- 
scription of the land to be divided written down (chap, xviii. 1—10), 
and then the rest of the tribes — Benjamin (chap, xviii. 11-28), 
Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan (chap, xix.) 
— received their inheritance, after which the cities of refuge were 
selected (chap, xx.), and forty-eight cities were given up by the 
twelve tribes for the Levites to occupy (chap, xxi.) ; and finally, 
(c) the warriors belonging to the tribes beyond Jordan were sent 
back by Joshua to their own inheritance (chap. xxii.). To this 
there is appended, in the next place, an account of what Joshua 
did towards the end of his life to establish the tribes of Israel 
securely in their inheritance : viz. (a) an exhortation to the heads 
of the tribes, who were gathered round him, to carry out their 
calling with fidelity (chap, xxiii.) ; and (b) the renewal of the 
covenant at the diet at Shechem (chap. xxiv. 1-28). This is fol- 
lowed by an account of the close of Joshua's life, and the conclu- 

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sion of the whole book (chap. xxiv. 29-33). Thus the two parts 
or halves of the book correspond exactly to one another, both in 
form and in contents. As the events described in ch. i. 10-v. 12 
were preparatory to the conquest of Canaan, so the diets held by 
Joshua after the distribution of the land by lot (chap, xxiii.-xxiv. 
28) had no other object than to establish the covenant people 
firmly in the inheritance bestowed upon them by God, by exhort- 
ing them to be faithful to the Lord. And just as chap. xii. rounds 
off the first part, as a kind of appendix which completes the his- 
tory of the conquest of the land, so chap. xxii. is obviously an 
appendix to the distribution of the land among the triluw, which 
brings to a close 'the dismission of the people to the separate por- 
tions of their inheritance. 

The book of Joshua is not intended merely as a continuation of 
the history of Israel from the death of Moses to the death of Joshua, 
still less as a description of the acts of Joshua only. The purpose of 
the book is rather to show how, after the death of Moses, the faith- 
ful covenant God fulfilled to the children of Israel, whom He had 
adopted as His people of possession through the mediation of His 
servant, the promise which He had made to the patriarchs ; how the 
Canaanites were destroyed, and their land given to the tribes of 
Israel for an hereditary possession through the medium of Joshua, 
the servant of Moses, whom he had consecrated as leader of the 
people through the laying on of hands and by putting some of his 
honour upon him. As the servant of Moses treading in his foot- 
steps, Joshua finished the work which Moses was not allowed to 
bring to a conclusion on account of his sin at the water of strife, 
viz. the planting and establishment of Israel in Canaan, the land 
of its inheritance, which the Lord had selected for His dwelling 
(Ex. xv. 17) and chosen as the nursery ground of His kingdom. 
As Joshua simply carried on in this respect, and brought to com- 
pletion, the work which Moses had begun, arranged, and set on foot, 
the book of Joshua is naturally connected very closely with the 
books of Moses, though without forming an integral part, or the 
last portion of it, and without being written by Joshua himself. 

The origin of the book of Joshua is involved in obscurity, as 
we can neither find out its author, nor determine with certainty the 
date of its composition. Whereas, on the one hand, the historical 
account bears throughout the mark of having been written by an 
eye-witness, and even by one who had taken part in the events 
described, and the description given of the possessions allotted to 

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the different tribes according to their respective boundaries and the 
cities which they contained is unquestionably founded upon con- 
temporaneous writings, and in one passage the writer actually classes 
himself with those who crossed over Jordan into Canaan under the 
guidance of Joshua (chap. v. 1, " until we were passed over ") ; on 
the other hand we find a number of historical statements in the 
book, which point beyond the life of Joshua and are opposed to 
the idea that it was written by Joshua himself. We do not in- 
clude in these either the closing accounts of the death of Joshua 
and Eleazar (chap. xxiv. 29, 33), or the allusion to the " book of 
the righteous" (chap. x. 13) : for these accounts might have been 
appended to a writing of Joshua's by a later hand; just as in the 
case of the Pentateuch ; and the book of the righteous is not a work 
that was composed after the time of Joshua, but a collection of 
odes in praise of the acts of the Lord in Israel, which were com- 
posed by pious minstrels during the conquest of the land, and were 
added one by one to this collection. Even the frequent repetition 
of the statement that this or the other has continued " to this day," 
furnishes no certain proof that the book was not written in the 
closing years of Joshua's life, when we consider the purely relative 
signification of the formula, which is sometimes used in connection 
with things that only lasted a few years. Apart from such passages 
as chap. xxii. 3, 17, and xxiii. 8, 9, in which no one has discovered 
any allusion to a later time than that of Joshua, we find the formula 
" to this day" in chap. iv. 9, v. 9, vi. 25, vii. 26, viii. 28, 29, ix. 27, 
xiii. 13, xiv. 14, xv. 63, and xvi. 10. But if the remark made in 
chap. vi. 25 with regard to Kahab, " she dwelleth in Israel unto 
this day," was certainly written during her lifetime, such statements 
as that the first encampment of Israel in Canaan " is called Gilgal 
unto this day," on account of the circumcision of the people that 
took place there, and that the valley in which Achan was stoned is 
called Achor "unto this day" (chap. v. 9, vii. 26), or that the 
memorial stones set up in the bed of the Jordan (chap. iv. 9), and 
the heaps of stones raised upon the bodies of Achan and the king 
of Ai (chap. vii. 26, viii. 29), remain "unto this day;" that "unto 
this day" Ai remains an heap (chap. viii. 28), the Gibeonites are 
hewers of wood and drawers of water to the congregation (chap. ix. 
27), and Hebron is the inheritance of Caleb (chap. xiv. 14); that 
the Geshurites and Maachathites have not been expelled (chap. xiii. 
13), nor the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Gezer (chap. xv. 63, xvi. 
10), but dwell among and by the side of Israel " unto this day," 

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may be just as easily understood, if they were made ten or fifteen 
years after the conquest and division of Canaan, as if they were 
made after an interval of eighty or a hundred years. For even in 
giving names, the remark that the new name has remained to this 
day is of greater significance at the end of ten years than after an 
interval of a century, since its permanence would be fully secured 
if it made its way to general adoption during the first ten years. 
The formula " to this day " proves nothing more than that the 
written record was not quite contemporaneous with the events ; but 
it does not warrant us in concluding that the book itself was written 
several generations, or even centuries, after the settlement of Israel 
in Canaan. 

It is different with the accounts of the conquest of Hebron by 
Caleb, Debir by Othniel, and Leshem by the Danites (chap. xv. 
13-19 and xix. 47). Considered by themselves, these conquests 
could no doubt have taken place before the death of Joshua, as he 
lived for some time after the distribution of the land and the settle- 
ment of the different tribes in the possessions allotted to them 
(compare chap. xix. 50 and xxiii. 1, with chap. xxii. 4 and xxi. 
43, 44). But if we compare these accounts with the parallel 
accounts of the same conquests in Judg. i. 10-16 and xviii., there 
can be no doubt that it was after Joshua's death that the places 
mentioned were taken permanently from the Canaanites, and came 
into the actual and permanent possession of the Israelites. For, 
according to Judg. i. 1-15, the Israelites inquired of the Lord, after 
the death of Joshua, who should begin the war with the Canaan- 
ites, i.e. with those who had not yet been destroyed, and received 
this reply, " Judah shall go up : behold, I have delivered the land 
into his hand;" whereupon Judah and Simeon smote the Canaan- 
ites at Bezek, then advanced against Jerusalem, took this city 
and set it on fire, and " afterward " (ver. 9) proceeded against the 
Canaanites on the mountains and in the south, and took Hebron 
and Debir. From this account it is evident at once that even the 
capture of Jerusalem did not take place till after the death of Joshua, 
and that even then the Jebusites were not driven out of Jerusalem, 
but continued to dwell there by the side of the Benjamites (Judg. 
i. 21), so that the same statement in Joshua xv. 63 also points 
beyond the death of Joshua. It is equally evident from Judg. 
xviii. that the Danites of Zorah and Eshtaol did not enter upon the 
expedition against Leshem or Laish till after Joshua's death. This 
also applies to the other statements concerning the failure to expel 


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the Canaanites out of different districts and towns, which are com- 
mon to this book and the book of Judges (compare chap. xiii. 2-5, 
xvi. 10, and xvii. 11, 12, with Judg. iii. 3, i. 29, and i. 27, 28), so 
that we might infer from every one of these passages that this book 
of Joshua was not written till after Joshua's death, and therefore 
that the closing accounts of his death in chap. xxiv. 29-33 formed 
a part of the original work. 

If we endeavour to determine the date of composition more 
exactly, we have first of all to bear in mind the fact, that the wars 
and conquests just referred to cannot have occurred a very long 
time after Joshua's death ; for, in the first place, it was in the very 
nature of things, that when the different tribes of Israel proceeded 
into their different possessions, even if they did not commence the 
attack upon the remaining Canaanites immediately, they would 
certainly do so very, soon, in order that they might obtain complete 
and undisputed possession of the land. Moreover, when the division 
of the land by lot took place, Caleb was eighty-five years old ; and 
yet he lived to see the capture of Hebron and Debir, and even took 
part in it, inasmuch as he not only promised but was able to give 
his daughter to the conqueror of Debir for a wife (chap. xv. 13-19 ; 
Judg. i. 11 sqq.). It was no doubt shortly after these wars, in 
which Judah took possession of the mountains, but was unable to 
■destroy the Canaanites who dwelt in the valley, because of their 
possessing iron chariots (Judg. i. 19), that the Danites felt obliged 
to go northwards to conquer Leshem, and take it for a possession, 
«n account of the inheritance assigned them by lot between Judah 
and Ephraim being too small for them, because the Canaanites had 
not been expelled. And whilst all these occurrences, which are 
mentioned in the book of Joshua, fell within the period immediately 
succeeding the death of Joshua, we can find distinct evidence in 
the book itself that it was not written after, but before, the establish- 
ment of the monarchy in Israel. According to chap. xvi. 10, the 
Canaanites were still dwelling in Gezer ; yet they were destroyed 
at the close of David's reign, or the commencement of that of 
Solomon, when Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, conquered the town 
(1 Kings ix. 16). According to chap. xv. 63, the Jebusites had not 
yet been driven out of Jerusalem ; but this was accomplished by 
David at the beginning of his reign over all the tribes of Israel 
(2 Sam. v. 3, 6-9). According to chap. ix. 27, the place for the 
temple had not yet been chosen, but this was done in the time of 
David (2 Sam. xxiv. 18 sqq. ; 1 Chron. xxi. 16 sqq). And the 

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Gibeonites were still hewers of wood and drawers of water to the 
congregation for the altar of the Lord, by virtue of the treaty which 
Joshua and the elders had made with them ; whereas this treaty 
was violated . by Saul, who endeavoured to destroy the Gibeonites 
(2 Sam. xxi. 1 sqq.). If we add to this, that our book shows no 
traces whatever of later times and circumstances either in its style 
or contents, but that it is closely connected with the Pentateuch 
in the language as well as in its peculiar stand-point, — for example, 
when the only Phoenicians mentioned are the Sidonians, and they 
are reckoned as belonging to the Canaanites who were to be 
destroyed (chap. xiii. 4-6), whereas in the time of David we find 
the circumstances entirely changed (2 Sam. v. 11 ; 1 Kings v. 15 ; 
1 Chron. xiv. 1) ; and again when Sidon is referred to as the chief 
city of Phoenicia, and the epithet "great" is applied to it (chap. xi. 
8, xix. 28), whereas Tyre had outstripped Sidon even in the days 
of David, — the conclusion becomes an extremely probable one, that 
the book was written not later than twenty or twenty-five years 
after the death of Joshua, in all probability by one of the elders 
who crossed the Jordan with Joshua, and had taken part in the 
conquest of Canaan (vid. chap. v. 1, 6), but who survived Joshua 
a considerable time (chap. xxiv. 31 ; Judg. ii. 7). 

But even if the book of Joshua was not composed till some time 
after -the events recorded (and the authorship cannot be determined 
with certainty), this does not affect its hittorico^prophetic character ; 
for both the contents and form of the book show it to be an in- 
dependent and simple work composed with historical fidelity, and a 
work which is as thoroughly pervaded with the spirit of the Old 
Testament revelation as the Pentateuch itself. However closely it 
is connected with the Pentateuch both in language and contents, 
there is no tenable ground for the hypothesis set up in various 
forms by modern critics, that it has arisen, just like the Pentateuch, 
from the fusion of two or three earlier writings, and was composed 
by the so-called " Deuteronomist." For, even if we leave altogether 
out of sight the fact that this hypothesis is unfounded and untenable 
in the case of the Pentateuch, the supposed community of author- 
ship between the book of Joshua and that of Deuteronomy, as well 
as the rest of the Pentateuch, in the revised form in which it has 
come down to us, is founded chiefly upon the opinion that the death 
of Moses, with which the Pentateuch closes, " does not form a 
fitting conclusion for a work which commenced with the creation, 
and treated the earlier history in the manner in which this is done 

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in the Pentateuch ;" because " it is hardly conceivable that a 
historical work, which was written at any rate some time after the 
conquest of the land of Canaan by the Israelites, should describe 
all the preparations that were made for the conquest of the land, 
and then break off without including either the capture of the 
land, or the division of it among the remaining tribes" (Bleek's 
Einleitung, Stdhelin, and others). But, in the first place, it is to be 
observed that the Pentateuch was not written " some time after the 
conquest of Canaan by the Israelites," and is not to be regarded as 
a historical work in the sense intended by these critics. It is the 
law book of the Old Testament, to which, as even Bleek admits, 
the book of Deuteronomy forms an appropriate close. And, in the 
second place, although the book of Joshua is closely connected with 
the Pentateuch, and carries on the history to the conquest of the 
promised land by the Israelites, there is evidence that it is an inde- 
pendent work, in the fact that it repeats the account of the conquest 
of the land on the east of Jordan, and its distribution by Moses 
among the two tribes and a half, and also of the cities of refuge 
which Moses had already appointed in that part of the land, for the 
purpose of giving a full and complete account of the fulfilment of 
the promise made by God to the patriarchs, that their seed should 
receive the land of Canaan for a possession ; and still more in the 
peculiarities of language by which it is obviously distinguished from 
the books of Moses. In the book of Joshua not only do we find 
none of the archaisms which run pretty uniformly through all the 
books of the Pentateuch, such as wn for wn, 1W for n-jjH, fon 
for n ?^, and other words which are peculiar to the Pentateuch ; 
but we find, on the other hand, words and expressions which never 
occur in the Pentateuch, e.g. the constant form Irnr (chap. ii. 1-3, 
etc., in all twenty-six times) instead of the form inv, which is quite 
as uniformly adopted in the Pentateuch (Num. xxii. 1, xxvi. 3, 
etc., in all eleven times) : also n»?OD, for the kingdom of Sihon 
and Og (chap. xiii. 12, 21, 27, Z0, 31), instead of rofeo (Num. 
xxxii. 33 ; Deut. iii. 4, 10, etc.) ; Nlaj? (chap. xxiv. 19) instead of 
KJi? (Ex. xx. 5, xxxiv. 14 ; Deut. iv. 24, v. 9, etc.) ; VOW, fama 
(chap. vi. 27, ix. 9), for VOp (Gen. xxix. 13, etc.) ; N t > , ! (chap. xxii. 
25) for hkt (Deut. iv. 10, v. 26, etc.) ; and lastly, ^nn niaa 
(chap. i. 14, vi. 2, viii. 3, x. 7) for ^n \J3 (Deut. iii. 18) ; 1&, a 
bottle (chap. ix. 4, 13), for Don (Gen. xxi. U, 15, 19) ; mta, to set 
on fire or burn (chap. viii. 8, 19) ; rus, to spring down (chap. xv. 
18) ; PViJ, a prince or leader (chap. x. 24) ; age*, to rest (chap. xi. 23, 

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xiv. 15) ; and other words besides, which you seek for in vain in 
the Pentateuch, whereas they frequently occur in the later books. 1 

Whilst the independence of the book of Joshua is thus placed 
beyond all doubt, its internal unity, or the singleness of the author- 
ship, is evident in general from the arrangement and connection of 
the contents, as shown above, and in particular from the fact, that 
in the different parts of the book we neither meet with material 
differences or discrepancies, nor are able to detect two different 
styles. The attempt which was formerly made by De Wette, Hauff, 
and others, to show that there were material discrepancies in the 
different parts, has been almost entirely given up by Bleek and 
Stahelin in their introductions. What Bleek still notices in this 
respect, in chaps, iii. and iv., viii. 1-20 and other passages, will be 
examined in our exposition of the chapters in question, along with 
the arguments which Knobel employs against the unity of the book. 
The many traces of different modes of thought which were ad- 
duced by St&helin in 1843, have been dropped in his special intro- 
duction (1862) : the only one that he insists upon now is the fact, 
that the way in which Joshua acts in chap, xviii. 1-10 is very dif- 
ferent from chap. xiv. sqq. ; and that in the historical sections, as a 
rule, Joshua is described as acting very differently from what would 
be expected from Num. xxvii. 21, inasmuch as he acts quite inde- 
pendently, and never asks the high priest to give him an answer 
through the Urim and Thummim. This remark is so far correct, 
that throughout the whole book, and not merely in the historical 
sections, Joshua is never said to have inquired the will of the Lord 
through the medium of the Urim and Thummim of the high priest, 
and Eleazar is not mentioned at all in the historical portions. But 
it does not follow from this that there is any such difference in the 
mode of thought as would point to a difference of authorship. For, 

1 How completely the hypothesis that the book of Joshua was written by 
the Deuteronomist is wrecked on these differences in language, is evident even 
from the attempts which have been made to set them aside. For example, when 
StOhelin observes that the later editor retained the form ^m? in the Pentateuch 
as he found it in the original work, whereas in the book of Joshua he altered 
the original work into the form he commonly used, this assumption is just as 
incredible as the hitherto unheard of assertion that the archaistic use of tttil as 
a feminine instead of ton is traceable to a later form. What can have induced 
the later editor, then, to alter the form rD^DD, which he so commonly uses in 
Deuteronomy, into rM^DD in Joshua? The "reliable" Bleek prefers, there- 
fore, to take no notice of these differences, or at least to express no opinion 
about them. 

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on the one hand, Joshua is blamed in chap. ix. 14 for having made 
a treaty with the Gibeonites, without asking at the mouth of 
Jehovah, and in this there is evidently a gentle allusion to Num. 
xxvii. 21 ; and on the other hand, even Num. xxvii. 21 by no means 
implies that God would only make known His will to Joshua 
through the Urim and Thummim : so that when Joshua is there 
referred to the high priest for instructions, all other communications, 
such as those which he received directly from the Lord with regard 
to the conquest and division of Canaan, are thereby precluded. If 
the Lord made known to him what he was to do in this respect, 
partly by the direct communication of His will, and partly by His 
angel (chap. v. 13 sqq.), there was no occasion at all for Eleazar to 
be mentioned in the historical portion of the book, since the direction 
of the army to fight battles and conquer towns did not form part of 
the official functions of the high priest, even if he did accompany 
Joshua in his campaigns. In the geographical portion, however, 
Eleazar is only mentioned in connection with the committee of heads 
of the nation appointed according to the law in Num. xxxiv. 17 sqq. 
for the distribution of the land (chap. xiv. 1, six. 51, xxi. 1) ; and 
even here he does not stand out with any peculiar prominence, as 
Joshua was still at the head of the whole nation when this was per- 
formed (chap. xiii. 1, 7). Consequently, not only did Caleb apply 
to Joshua with the request for the inheritance promised him by the 
Lord (chap. xiv. 6 sqq.) ; but even in other cases, where there was 
no reason for enumerating the different members of the commission 
for dividing the land, Joshua is mentioned as appointing and super- 
intending the casting of the lots (chap, xviii. 3-10, xx. 1). The 
proofs adduced of the " double style" of the book are equally weak. 
The principal ones are the fact, that the word generally used for 
tribe in the historical sections is shebet, whereas mattek is the word 
employed in the geographical sections, and that in the latter the 
word macfialoketh is altogether wanting (chap. xi. 23, xii. 7). But 
the interchange of shebet and matteh may be fully explained from 
the difference in the meaning of these two words, shebet denoting 
the tribe as a political corporation, possessing independence and 
power, and matteh having simple regard to its genealogical aspect, — 
a distinction which is not overthrown by the assurance, that " in 
chap. vii. 14, 16, 18, and xxii. 1, as compared with chap. xiii. 29, 
and in chap. xii. 12, as compared with Num. xxxiv. 18, the charge 
is perfectly arbitrary." But whether it be involuntary or carefully 
considered, there is no ground for inferring that there have been 

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two writers engaged upon the work, for the simple reason that both 
words occur in the historical as well as the geographical sections, — 
sometimes, in fact, in the very same verse, e.g. chap. xiii. 29 and 
Num. xviii. 2, where we cannot possibly imagine a fusion of dif- 
ferent documents to have taken place. (For further remarks, see 
at chap. vii. 1.) The word machaloketh, however, is not synony- 
mous with mishpacJuth, as Stdhelin supposes, but denotes the various 
subdivisions of the tribes into families, fathers' houses and families ; 
and this also not only occurs in chap. xi. 23 and xii. 7, but in the 
geographical portion also, in chap, xviii. 10. The other remark, 
viz. that u in the place of the rfaK 'EW}, who are the leading actors 
in the geographical sections, we find the elders, judges, heads 
Ctrtn and tr\tfo? in the historical, or else simply the shoterim (chap, 
i. 10, iii. 2, viii. 33, xxiii. 2, xxiv. 1), or the elders," is neither quite 
correct, nor in the least degree conclusive. It is incorrect, inas- 
much as even in the geographical portion, namely chap. xvii. 4, the 
CtPfcO are mentioned instead of the ntaK 'Ptn, along with Eleazar 
and Joshua. But the notion upon which this argument is founded 
is still more erroneous, viz. that " the Of^fi, ntoK Wi, D'JjJT, tftpBtf 
and anti& are all the same, as we may clearly see from Deut. i. 15 ;" 
for the identity of the terms elders and heads with the terms judges 
and officers (shoterim) cannot possibly be inferred from this passage, 
in which the judges and shoterim are said to have been chosen from 
the elders of the nation. Even the " heads of the fathers' houses" 
(see at Ex. vi. 14) were only a section of the princes and heads of 
the nation, and those mentioned in the book of Joshna are simply 
those who were elected as members of the distribution committee, 
and who are naturally referred to in connection with the division of 
the land by lot ; whereas the judges and shoterim had nothing to do 
with it, and for this very reason are not mentioned at all in the 
geographical sections. — And if, instead of confining ourselves to the 
words, we turn our attention to the facts, all the peculiarities that 
we meet with in the different parts of the book may be explained 
in this way, and the seeming differences brought into harmony. In 
a work which embraces two such different subjects as the forcible 
conquest and the peaceable distribution of the land of Canaan, the 
same ideas and expression cannot possibly be constantly recurring, 
if the words are to be at all in conformity with the actual contents. 
And not the smallest conclusion can be drawn from such differences 
as these with regard to the composition of the book ; much less can 
they be adduced as proofs of diversity of authorship. Moreover, the 

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unity of authorship is not to be overthrown by proving, or showing 
it to be probable, that the author made use of written documents 
for some of the sections — such, for example, as the official records 
prepared for the distribution of the land by lot — in bis description 
of the possessions of the different tribes. 

Lastly, the historical fidelity of the book of Joshua cannot justly 
be called in question ; and so far as all the narratives and descrip- 
tions are concerned, which lie within the sphere of the ordinary 
laws of nature, this is generally admitted. This applies not only to 
the description of the possessions of the different tribes according 
to their boundaries and towns, which are almost universally acknow- 
ledged to have been derived from authentic records, but to such 
historical passages as the words of Caleb (chap. xiv. 6 sqq.), the 
address of Phinehas, and the reply of the two tribes and a half (chap, 
xxii.), the complaint of the children of Joseph on account of the 
smallness of the possessions that had fallen to their lot, and Joshua's 
answer (chap. xvii. 14 sqq.), which are so thoroughly original, and so 
perfectly appropriate to the persons and circumstances, that their 
bistorical credibility cannot be disputed. 1 It is chiefly at the mira- 
culous occurrences that the opponents of the biblical revelation have 
taken offence : partly therefore because of the miracles themselves, 
and partly because the statement that God commanded the destruc- 
tion of the Canaanites is irreconcilable with correct (?) views of 
the Godhead, they deny the historical character of the whole book. 
But the miracles recorded in this book do not stand alone ; on the 
contrary, they are most intimately connected with the great work 
of divine revelation, and the redemption of the human race ; so that 
it is only through unscriptural assumptions as to the character of 
God, and His operations in nature and the world of men, that they 
can be pronounced unreal, or altogether denied. And the objec- 
tion, that the destruction of the Canaanites, as an act commanded 
by God, " cannot be reconciled even with only half correct notions 
of the Deity," as Eichhorn maintains, rests upon totally unscriptural 
and irrational views of God and the divine government, which 

1 Even Eichhorn, for example, says in his Introduction, " The words of 
Caleb, in chap. xiv. 1 sqq., in which he asks for the inheritance that had been 
promised him, bear too strongly the characteristics of an appeal from the mouth 
of an old man of eighty years of age, and breathe too thoroughly in every word 
his spirit, and age, and peculiar situation, for it to be possible that it should be 
merely the composition of a later -writer, who placed himself in imagination in 
his situation, and put the words into his mouth." 

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deny a priori all living influence on the part of the "Deity" upon 
the earth and its inhabitants. Bnt the true God is not a Deity 
who can neither help nor injure men (Jer. x. 5) ; He is the al- 
mighty creator, preserver, and governor of the world. This God was 
Jehovah, who chose Israel for His own people, " a living God, an 
everlasting King" (Jer. x. 10) ; who not only fixed for the nations 
the hounds of their habitations, but their appointed times as well, 
that they should seek Him, if haply they might feel after Him, and 
find Him (Deut. xxxii. 8 ; Acts xvii. 26, 27) ; who, because He 
has given to every nation upon earth life and being, property and 
land, to be rightly used, and to promote their own happiness through 
the glorification of the name of God, possesses both the power and 
the right to deprive them of all their possessions, and wipe out 
every trace of them from the earth, if they dishonour and disgrace 
the name of God by an obstinate abuse of the blessings and gifts 
entrusted to them. Thus the only true God, who judges the earth 
in eternally unchangeable wisdom and righteousness, and manifests 
His wrath in great judgments, as well as His mercy in innumerable 
blessings to all the children of men, had promised to Abraham that 
He would give him the land of Canaan for a possession for his 
seed the children of Israel, when the iniquity of the Amorites, who 
possessed it at that time, was full, i.e. had reached its full measure 
(Gen. xii. 7, xv. 13-16). The expulsion of the Canaanites, there- 
fore, from possessions which they had no doubt rightfully held, but 
to which they had forfeited their right through the misuse they had 
made of them, is to be regarded quite as decidedly as an act of 
penal justice on the part of God, as the presentation of this land to 
Israel was an act of His free grace; and the destruction of the 
Canaanites by the Israelites, as well as their capture of the pos- 
session which the Canaanites had forfeited through their sins (yid. 
Lev. xviii. 24-28 ; Deut. xii. 29-31), was perfectly justifiable, if, as 
our book affirms, the Israelites were only acting as instruments in 
the hands of the Lord. It is true they were not warranted in 
carrying on a war of extermination against the Canaanites simply 
because the land had been given them by God, any more than David 
was warranted in putting Saul to death and wresting the kingdom 
from him, although he had been rejected by the Lord, simply 
because Samuel had promised him the kingdom by the command of 
God, and had even anointed him king over Israel. But the Israelites 
did not proceed from Egypt to Canaan of their own accord, or 
by their own power ; they were brought out of this land of their 

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bondage by the God of their fathers with a mighty arm, and led by 
Him through the wilderness into the promised land. Joshua acted, 
as Moses had done before him, by the immediate command of God ; 
and the fact that this command was real and well-founded, and not 
a mere fancy, is proved by the miraculous signs through which God 
accredited the armies of Israel as the servants of His judicial right- 
eousness, who were fighting in His name and by His command, 
when the Lord of the whole earth divided the waters of Jordan 
before them, threw down the walls of Jericho, filled the Canaanites 
with fear and despair, killed them with hailstones at Gibeon, and 
brought to nought all their plans and endeavours to resist the 
advance of Israel, so that Joshua smote great and mighty nations, 
and no one could stand before him. Hence the Psalmist was able 
to write, " Thou didst drive out the heathen with Thy hand, and 
plantedst them (the Israelites) ; Thou bast destroyed nations, and 
cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own 
sword, neither did their own arm help them ; but Thy right hand, 
and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, because Thou 
hadst a favour unto them" (Ps. xliv. 2, 3). — And whilst the Israelites 
were thus proved to be the executors of the penal judgments of 
God, they acted in perfect accordance with this vocation by the 
manner in which they carried out the judgment entrusted to them. 
They submitted cheerfully and obediently to all the appointments 
of Joshua ; they sanctified themselves by the circumcision of all 
who had remained uncircumcised in the desert and by keeping the 
passover at Gilgal ; they set up the law of the Lord upon Ebal and 
Gerizim ; they executed the ban upon the Canaanites, as the Lord 
had commanded, and punished Achan and his house for transgress- 
ing this ban, that they might expunge the sin from their midst ; 
they vowed, in the most solemn manner, that when they had come 
into peaceable possession of the promised inheritance, they would 
renounce all idolatry, would serve Jehovah their God alone, and 
would hearken to His voice, to renew the covenant with the Lord ; 
and they served the Lord as long as Joshua lived, and the elders 
after him, who knew all the works of the Lord which He had done 
for Israel. — (For further remarks upon this subject, see Hengsten- 
bercfs Dissertations on the Pentateuch, vol. ii. pp. 387-417, Eng. 
trans., Art. " On the Right of the Israelites to Palestine.") 

Thus the contents of the book have their higher unity and their 
truth in the idea of the justice, holiness, and grace of God, as they 
were manifested in the most glorious manner in the great historical 

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CHAP. L 1-9. 27 

event which forms the subject of the whole. Whilst justice was 
revealed in the case of the Canaanites, and grace in that of the 
Israelites, the holiness of the Almighty God was manifested in 
both, — in the Canaanites, who were liable to judgment, through 
their destruction ; and in the Israelites, who were chosen to fellow- 
ship with the Lord, through the sanctification of their lives to the 
faithful performance of the duties of their vocation, both to the 
honour of God and the glory of His name. 

The different views that have been expressed as to the time 
when the book was written are given more fully in KeiCs Commen- 
tary on Joshua (1847, Eng. trans. 1857), where the exegetical aids 
are also given. 



Chap. i. 1-9. 

After the death of Moses the Lord summoned Joshua, the servant 
of Moses, whom He had appointed as the leader of Israel into 
Canaan, to go with all the people across the Jordan, and take the 
land which bad been promised to the fathers on oath, assuring him 
at the same time of His powerful aid, on condition that he observed 
the law of Moses faithfully. This summons and promise of God 
form the preamble to the whole book, which is linked on to the 
conclusion of the Pentateuch by the introductory words, " And it 
came to pass after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord," 
though it is not so closely connected as to warrant the conclusion 
that the two works have been written by the same author. — Ver. 1. 
The imperfect with vav consec, the standing mode of expressing 
a continued action or train of thought, " simply attaches itself by 
the conjunction 'and' to a completed action, which has either 
been mentioned before, or is supposed to be well known" (Ewald, 
§ 231, &.). " After the death of Moses" i.e. after the expiration of 
the thirty days of general mourning for him (yid. Deut. xxxiv. 8). 
" Servant of Jehovah" is a standing epithet applied to Moses as an 
honourable title, and founded upon Num. xii. 7, 8 (vid. Deut. 
xxxiv. 5 ; 1 Kings viii. 56 ; 2 Kings xviii. 12 ; Ps. cv. 26, etc.). 

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On " Joshua, Moses 1 minister," see at Ex. xvii. 9 and Num. xiii. 16. 
Minister (meshareth), as in Ex. xxiv. 13, etc. Although Joshua 
had already been called by the mouth of the Lord to be the suc- 
cessor of Moses in the task of leading the people into Canaan 
(Num. xxvii. 15 sqq.), and had not only been presented to the people 
in this capacity, but had been instituted in this office by the Lord, 
with the promise of His help (Deut. xxxi. 3-7 and 23), the word 
of the Lord came to him a second time after the death of Moses, 
with the command to enter upon the office to which he had been 
called, and with the promise that He would help him to fulfil its 
duties, as he had already helped His servant Moses. " Because even 
some of the bravest men, although fully prepared beforehand, either 
stand still or hesitate when the thing has to be done : this exhorta- 
tion to Joshua, to gird himself at once for the expedition, was by 
no means superfluous ; though his call was ratified again not only 
for his own sake, but in order that the people might not hesitate to 
follow him with their minds collected and calm, when they saw 
that he took no step without the guidance of God" (Calvin). — 
Joshua received this word of the Lord by a direct address from 
God, and not through the intervention of the Urim and Thummim 
of the high priest ; for this appointed medium for the revelation of 
the will of God, to which he had been referred on the occasion of 
his first call (Num. xxvii. 21), whenever difficulties should arise in 
connection with his office, was not sufficient for the renewal and 
confirmation of his divine calling, since the thing required here was 
not merely that the will of God should be made known to him, but 
that he should be inspired with courage and strength for the fulfil- 
ment of it, i.e. for discharging the duties of his office, just as he 
afterwards was when in front of the fortified town of Jericho which 
he was directed to take, where the angel of the Lord appeared to 
him and assured him of its fall (chap. v. 13). Moreover, the conquest 
of Canaan formed part of the work which the Lord entrusted to His 
servant Moses, and in which therefore Joshua was now Moses' 
successor. Consequently the Lord would be with him as He had 
been with Moses (ver. 5) ; and for this reason He revealed His will 
directly to him, as He had done to Moses, though without talking 
with him mouth to mouth (Num. xii. 8). — Ver. 2. As Moses had 
died without having brought the Israelites to Canaan, Joshua was 
to arise and go with all the nation over this Jordan (i.e. the river 
then before him) into the land which the Lord would give them. — 
Ver. 3. " Namely, every place that the sole of your foot shall tread 

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CHAP. I. 1-9. 29 

upon? i.e. I have given you the whole land, not excepting a single 
foot's breadth. The perfect, " / have given" refers to the counsel 
of God as having been formed long before, and being now about to 
be carried into execution. These words, which are connected with 
Deut. xi. 24, sp far as the form is concerned, rest upon the promise 
of God in Ex. xxiii. 30, 31, to which the words " as I said unto 
Moses" refer. — Ver. 4. The boundaries of the land are given as in 
Deut. xi. 24, with the simple difference in form, that the boundary 
line from the desert (of Arabia) and Lebanon, i.e. from the southern 
and northern extremity, is drawn first of all towards the east to the 
great river, the Euphrates, and then towards the west to " the great 
sea, toward the going down of the sun," i.e. the Mediterranean ; and 
then between these two termini ad quern the more precise definition 
is inserted, " all the land of the Hittites ; " whereas in Deuteronomy 
the southern, northern, and eastern boundaries are placed in anti- 
thesis to the western boundary, and the more precise definition of 
the country to be taken is given by an enumeration of the different 
tribes that were to be destroyed by the Israelites (ver. 23). On 
the oratorical character of these descriptions, see at Gen. xv. 18. 
The demonstrative pronoun "this," in connection with Lebanon, 
may be explained from the fact that Lebanon, or at all events Anti- 
libanus, was visible from the Israelitish camp. The expression " the 
Hittites" (see at Gen. x. 15) is used here in a broader sense for 
Canaanites in general, as in 1 Kings x. 29 ; 2 Kings vii. 6 ; Ezek. 
xvi. 3. The promise in ver. 5a is adopted from Deut. xi. 25, 
where it was made to the whole nation, and specially transferred to 
Joshua ; and ver. 5i is repeated from Deut. xxxi. 8, as compared 
with ver. 6. — Vers. 6-9. The promise is followed by the condition 
upon which the Lord would fulfil His word. Joshua was to be 
firm and strong, i.e. well-assured, courageous, not alarmed (vid. 
Deut. xxxi. 6). In the first place (ver. 6), he was to rely firmly 
upon the Lord and His promise, as Moses and the Lord had already 
told him (Deut. xxxi. 7 and 23), and as is again repeated here, 
whilst at the same time the expression, " thou shalt divide for an 
inheritance," recalls to mind Deut. i. 38, iii. 28 ; and in the second 
place (vers. 7, 8), he was to strive to attain and preserve this firm- 
ness by a careful observance of the law. " Observe to do" etc., as 
Moses had already impressed upon the hearts of all the people (Deut. 
v. 29, cf. xxviii. 14 and ii. 27). The suffix in ^st? is to be ex- 
plained on the supposition that the speaker had the book of the law 
in his mind. The further expansion, in ver. 8, is not only attached 

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to the exhortations, with which Moses urges upon all the people in 
Dent. vi. 6, 7, and xi. 18, 19, an uninterrupted study and laying to 
heart of the commandments of God, but even more closely to the 
directions to the king, to read every day in the law (Dent. xvii. 19). 
" Not to depart out of the mouth" is to be constantly in thcmouth. 
The law is in our mouth, not only when we are incessantly preach- 
ing it, but when we are reading it intelligently for ourselves, or con- 
versing about it with others. To this there was to be added medi- 
tation, or reflection upon it both day and night (vid. Ps. i. 2). njn 
does not mean theoretical speculation about the law, such as the 
Pharisees indulged in, but a practical study of the law, for the pur- 
pose of observing it in thought and action, or carrying it out with 
the heart, the mouth, and the hand. Such a mode of employing it 
would be sure to be followed by blessings. u Tlien shall thou make 
thy way prosperous," i.e. succeed in all thine undertakings (vid. 
Deut. xxviii. 29), " and act wisely" (as in Deut. xxix. 8). — Ver. 9. 
In conclusion, the Lord not only repeats His exhortation to firmness, 
but the promise that He gave in vers. 5 and 6. " Have I not" 
(nonne) is a rhetorical mode of saying, " Behold, I have," the assur- 
ance being clothed in the form of an affirmative question. On the 
words u be not afraid" etc., see Deut. xxxi. 6 and 8. 


Chap, i.-xii. 

preparations fob entering canaan. — chap. i. 10-n. 24. 

In consequence of the divine command (chap. i. 2-9), Joshua 
began without delay to make the necessary preparations for carry- 
ing out the work appointed him ; first of all by issuing instructions 
to the people to make ready for crossing the river (i. 10, 11) ; 
secondly, by reminding the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half Ma- 
nasseh of their promise to help the other tribes to conquer Canaan, 
and calling upon them to fulfil it (vers. 12-18) ; and thirdly, by 
sending two spies to Jericho, to explore the land, and discover the 
feelings of its inhabitants (chap. ii.). 

Chap. i. 10-18. Preparations for crossing the Jordan. 

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CHAP. I. 10-18. 31 

— Vers. 10, 11. For the purpose of carrying oat the commands of 
the Lord, Joshua first of all directed the officers of the people 
(shoterim : see at Ex. v. vi.), whose duty it was, as the keepers of 
the family registers, to attend not only to the levying of the men 
who were bound to serve in the army, but also to the circulation of 
the commands of the general, to issue orders to the people in the 
camp to provide themselves with food, so that they might cross the 
Jordan within three days, and take the land that was promised 
them by God. By zedah, provision for a journey (Gen. xlii. 25, 
etc.), we are not to understand manna, for that had already ceased 
(see at chap. v. 12), but simply the natural produce of the inhabited 
country. The expression " in tliree days," i.e., as we may see from 
comparing Gen. xl. 13, 19, with ver. 20, on the third day from the 
publication of the command, " will ye go over the Jordan" is not to 
be regarded as a prediction of the time when the crossing actually 
took place, but to be taken as the latest time that could be allowed 
to the people to prepare for crossing : viz. in this sense, " Prepare 
you victuals for crossing over the Jordan within three days," ue. 
that you may be able to leave Shittim within that time, to cross 
over the Jordan, and commence the conquest of Canaan. If we 
understand the words in this way, they are in perfect harmony with 
chap. ii. and iii. According to chap, ii., Joshua sent out spies from 
Shittim to Jericho, who were obliged to hide themselves for three 
days in the mountains after their flight from that city (chap. ii. 22), 
before they could return to the Israelitish camp ; so that they were 
absent three or four days at any rate, and came back at the earliest 
in the evening or night of the fourth day after they had been sent 
out. It was not till the morning after this that the Israelites left 
Shittim and proceeded to the Jordan, where they halted again. 
Then, three days afterwards, they went across the river (chap. iii. 
1, 2), so that at least 4 + 1 + 3, i.e. eight whole days must have 
intervened between the day when the spies were sent out and the 
day on which the people crossed the river. Joshua no doubt 
intended to proceed to the Jordan and cross it within three days 
after despatching the spies ; he therefore sent the spies to Jericho 
on the same day on which he issued the command to the people to 
prepare for crossing within three days, so that he might reasonably 
hope that they would fulfil their commission and return in two or 
three days. But as they were compelled to hide themselves for 
three days in the mountains, in consequence of the unexpected 
discovery of their arrival in Jericho, and the despatch of men in 

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pursuit of them, Joshua could not remove with the people from 
Shittim and proceed to the Jordan till the day after their return ; 
and even then he could not cross the river at once, but waited three 
days after reaching the bank of the river before he crossed to the 
other side (vid. chap. iii. 1 sqq.). 1 

Vers. 12-18. Joshua's appeal to the two tribes and a half, to 
remember the condition on which Moses gave them the land on the 
east of the Jordan for an inheritance, and to fulfil it, met with a 
ready response; so that these tribes not only promised to obey his 
commandments in every respect, but threatened every one with 
death who should refuse obedience. In recalling this condition to 
the recollection of the tribes referred to, Joshua follows the expres- 
sions in Deut. iii. 18-20, where Moses himself recapitulates his 
former command, rather than the original passage in Num. xxxii. 
The expression " this land" shows that the speaker was still on the 
other side of the Jordan. D , ?'on> voiih the loins girded, i.e. prepared 
for war, synonymous with O^n j n Deut. iii. 18 and Num. xxxii. 32 
(see at Ex. xiii. 18). tyl niarjr, all the mighty men of valour, i.e. 
the brave warriors (as in chap. vi. 2, viii. 3, x. 7, and very frequently 
in the later books), is not common to this book and Deuteronomy, 
as Knobel maintains, but is altogether strange to the Pentateuch 
(see p. 9). The word "all" (ver. 14, like Num. xxxii. 21, 27) 
must not be pressed. According to chap. iv. 13, there were only 
about 40,000 men belonging to the two tribes and a half who crossed 
the Jordan to take part in the war; whereas, according to Num. 
xxvi. 7, 18, 34, there were 110,000 men in these tribes who were 
capable of bearing arms, so that 70,000 must have remained behind 
for the protection of the women and children and of the flocks and 
herds, and to defend the land of which they had taken possession. 
On ver. 15 see Deut. iii. 18 ; and on the more minute definition of 
" on this side (lit. beyond) Jordan " by " toward the sun-rising" 

1 In this way the different statements in the three chapters harmonize per- 
fectly well. But the majority of commentators have arranged the order of 
succession differently and in a very arbitrary way, starting with the unwarrant- 
able assumption that the time referred to in this verse, " within three days," is 
identical with that in chap. iii. 2, " it came to pass after three days." Upon 
the strength of this groundless assumption, Knobel maintains that there is great 
confusion in the order of succession of the events described in chap, i.-iii., that 
chap. i. 11 is irreconcilable with chap. iii. 1-6, and that accounts written by 
three different authors have been mixed up together in these chapters. (For 
the different attempts to reconcile the accounts, see Keits Commentary on 
Joshua, pp. 72-75, note, Eng. trans. Clark, 1857.) 

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CHAP. II. 1. 33 

compare the remarks on Num. xxxii. 19. The answer of the two 
tribes and a half, in which they not only most cheerfully promise 
their help in the conquest of Canaan, but also express the wish that 
Joshua may have the help of the Lord (ver. 17 compared with 
ver. 4), and after threatening all who refuse obedience with death, 
close with the divine admonition, "only be strong and of a good 
courage " (ver. 18, cf. ver. 6), furnishes a proof of the wish that 
inspired them to help their brethren, that all the tribes might 
speedily enter into the peaceable possession of the promised inherit- 
ance. The expression " rebel against the commandment " is used 
in Deut. i. 26, 43, ix. 23, 1 Sam. xii. 14, to denote resistance to 
the commandments of the Lord ; here it denotes opposition to His 
representative, the commander chosen by the Lord, which was to 
be punished with death, according to the law in Deut. xvii. 12. 

Chap. ii. Two Spies sent over to Jericho. — Ver. 1. 
Although Joshua had receiwd a promise from the Lord of His 
almighty help in the conquest of Canaan, he still thought it neces- 
sary to do what was requisite on his part to secure the success of 
the work committed to him, as the help of God does not preclude 
human action, but rather presupposes it. He therefore sent two 
men out secretly as spies from Shittim the place of encampment 
at that time (see at Num. xxv. 1), to view, i.e. explore, the land, 
especially Jericho, the strongly fortified frontier town of Canaan 
(chap. vi. 1). The word " secretly " is connected by the accents 
with "saying," giving them their instructions secretly; but this 
implies that they were also sent out secretly. This was done partly 
in order that the Canaanites might not hear of it, and partly in 
order that, if the report should prove unfavourable, the people 
might not be thrown into despair, as they had been before in the 
time of Moses. The spies proceeded to Jericho, and towards evening 
they entered the house of a harlot named Kahab, and lodged there, 
lit. laid themselves down, intended to remain or sleep there. Jericho 
was two hours' journey to the west of the Jordan, situated in a plain 
that was formerly very fertile, and celebrated for its palm trees and 
balsam shrubs, but which is now quite desolate and barren. This 
plain is encircled on the western side by a naked and barren range 
of mountains, which stretches as far as Beisan towards the north and 
to the Dead Sea on the south. Every trace of the town has long 
since passed away, though it evidently stood somewhere near, and 
probably on the northern side of, the miserable and dirty village of 


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Mha, by the Wady Kelt (see Robinson, Pal. ii. pp. 279 sqq., 289 
sqq. ; v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 206 sqq.). Rahab is called a zonah, ix. 
a harlot, not an innkeeper, as Josephus, the Chaldee version, and 
the Rabbins render the word. Their entering the house of such a 
person would not excite so much suspicion. Moreover, the situation 
of her house against or upon the town wall was one which facili- 
tated escape. But the Lord so guided the course of the spies, that 
they found in this sinner the very person who was the most suitable 
for their purpose, and upon whose heart the tidings of the miracles 
wrought by the living God on behalf of Israel had made such an 
impression, that she not only informed the spies of the despondency 
of the Canaanites, but, with believing trust in the power of the God 
of Israel, concealed the spies from all the inquiries of her country- 
men, though at the greatest risk to herself. 

Vers. 2-6. When the king of Jericho was informed of the fact 
that these strange men had entered the house of Rahab, and sus- 
pecting their reason for coming, summoned Rahab to give them 
up, she hid them (lit. hid him, i.e. each one of the spies : for this 
change from the plural to the singular see Ewald, § 219), and said 
to the king's messengers : J3, recte, u It is quite correct, the men 
came to me, but I do not know where they were from ; and when in 
the darkness the gate was at the shutting (i.e. ought to be shut : for 
this construction, see Gen. xv. 12), they went out again, I know 
not whither. Pursue them quickly, you will certainly overtake 
them." The writer then adds this explanation in ver. 6 : she had 
hidden them upon the roof of her house among stalks of flax. The 
expression " to-night" (lit. ilie night) in ver. 2 is more precisely de- 
fined in ver. 5, viz. as night was coming on, before the town-gate 
was shut, after which it would have been in vain for them to attempt 
to leave the town. " Stalks of flax," not " cotton pods " (Arab., 
J. D. Mich.), or " tree-flax, i.e. cotton," as Thenius explains it, but 
flax stalks or stalk-flax, as distinguished from carded flax, in which 
there is no wood left, Xivoicakaur}, stipula lini (LXX., Vulg.). Flax 
stalks, which grow to the height of three or four feet in Egypt, 
and attain the thickness of a reed, and would probably be quite as 
large in the plain of Jericho, the climate of which resembles that of 
Egypt, would form a very good hiding-place for the spies if they 
were piled up upon the roof to dry in the sun. The falsehood by 
which Rahab sought not only to avert all suspicion from herself of 
any conspiracy with the Israelitish men who had entered her house, 
but to prevent any further search for them in her house, and to 

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CHAP. II. 7-14. 35 

frustrate the attempt to arrest them, is not to be justified as a lie of 
necessity told for a good purpose, nor, as Grotius maintains, by the 
unfounded assertion that, " before the preaching of the gospel, a 
salutary lie was not regarded as a fault even by good men." Nor 
can it be shown that it was thought " allowable," or even " praise- 
worthy," simply because the writer mentions the fact without express- 
ing any subjective opinion, or because, as we learn from what fol- 
lows (vers. 9 sqq.), Bahab was convinced of the truth of the miracles 
which God had wrought for His people, and acted in firm faith 
that the true God would give the land of Canaan to the Israelites, 
and that all opposition made to them would be vain, and would be, 
in fact, rebellion against the Almighty God himself. For a lie is 
always a sin. Therefore even if Rahab was not actuated at all by 
the desire to save herself and her family from destruction, and the 
motive from which she acted had its roots in her faith in the living 
God (Heb. xi. 31), so that what she did for the spies, and thereby 
for the cause of the Lord, was counted to her for righteousness 
(" justified by works," James ii. 25), yet the course which she 
adopted was a sin of weakness, which was forgiven her in mercy 
because of her faith. 1 

Vers. 7-14. Upon this declaration on the part of the woman, 
the king's messengers (" the men ") pursued the spies by the road to 
the Jordan which leads across the fords. Both the circumstances 
themselves and the usage of the language require that we should 
interpret the words in this way ; for ririawsn ?y cannot mean u as 
far as the fords," and it is very improbable that the officers should 
have gone across the fords. If they did not succeed in overtaking 
the spies and apprehending them before they reached the fords, they 
certainly could not hope to do this on the other side of the river 
in the neighbourhood of the Israelitish camp. By " the fords" 
with the article we are to understand the ford near to Jericho which 
was generally used at that time (Judg. iii. 22 ; 2 Sam. xix. 16 sqq.) ; 
but whether this was the one which is commonly used now at the 

1 Calvin'g estimate is also a correct one : " It Las often happened, that even 
when good men have endeavoured to keep a straight course, they have turned 
aside into circuitous paths. Rahab acted wrongly when she told a lie and said 
that the spies had gone ; and the action was acceptable to God only because 
the evil that was mixed with the good was not imputed to her. Yet, although 
God wished the spies to be delivered, He did not sanction their being protected 
by a lie." Augustine also pronounces the same opinion concerning Rahab as 
that which he expressed concerning the Hebrew midwives (see the comm. on 

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mouth of Wady Shaib, almost in a straight line to the east of Jericho, 
or the more southerly one, el Helu, above the month of Wady Hes- 
ban (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 254), to the south of the bathing-place of 
Christian pilgrims, or el Meshra {Lynch, p. 155), or el Moektaa 
(Seetzen, ii. p. 320), it is impossible to determine. (On these and 
other fords near Beisan, and as far up as the Sea of Galilee, see Rob. 
ii. p. 259, and Ritter Erdk. xv. pp. 549 sqq.) After the king's mes- 
sengers had left the town, they shut the gate to prevent the spies 
from escaping, in case they should be still in the town. ">^S3 nn« 
for 1SW nrw is uncommon, but it is analogous to i^« J?"*™*? in Gen. 
vi. 4. — Vers. 8 sqq. Notwithstanding these precautions, the men 
escaped. As soon as the officers had left Rahab's house, she went 
to the spies, who were concealed upon the roof, before they had lain 
down to sleep, which they were probably about to do upon the roof, 
— a thing of frequent occurrence in the East in summer time, — and 
confessed to them all that she believed and knew, namely, that God 
had given the land to the Israelites, and that the dread of them had 
fallen upon the Canaanites (" us," in contrast with "you," the Israel- 
ites, signifies the Canaanites generally, and not merely the inhabi- 
tants of Jericho), and despair had seized upon all the inhabitants of 
the land. The description of the despair of the Canaanites (ver. 9) 
is connected, so far as the expressions are concerned, with Ex. xv. 
15 and 16, to show that what Moses and the Israelites had sung 
after crossing the Red Sea was now fulfilled, that the Lord had 
fulfilled His promise (Ex. xxiii. 27 compared with Deut. ii. 25 and 
xi. 25), and had put fear and dread upon the Canaanites. — Ver. 10. 
The report of the drying up of the Red Sea (Ex. xiv. 15 sqq.), of 
the defeat of the mighty kings of the Amorites, and of the conquest 
of their kingdoms, had produced this effect upon the Canaanites. 
Even in the last of these occurrences the omnipotence of God had 
been visibly displayed, so that what the Lord foretold to Moses 
(Deut. ii. 25) had now taken place ; it had filled all the surround- 
ing nations with fear and dread of Israel, and the heart and courage 
of the Canaanites sank in consequence. — Ver. 11. " Wlien we Iieard 
this " — Rahab proceeded to tell them, transferring the feelings of 
her own heart to her countrymen — " our heart did melt " (it was thus 
that the Hebrew depicted utter despair ; " the hearts of the people 
melted, and became as water," chap. vii. 5), " and there did not re- 
main any more spirit in any one : " i.e. they lost all strength of mind 
for acting, in consequence of their fear and dread (yid. chap. v. 1, 
though in 1 Kings x. 5 this phrase is used to signify being out of 

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CHAP. N. 15-24. 37 

one's-self from mere astonishment). " For Jehovah your God is 
God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath!' To this confes- 
sion of faith, to which the Israelites were to be brought through the 
miraculous help of the Lord (Deut. iv. 39), Kahab also attained ; 
although her confession of faith remained so far behind the faith 
which Moses at that time demanded of Israel, that she only dis- 
cerned in Jehovah a Deity (Elohim) in heaven and upon earth, and 
therefore had not yet got rid of her polytheism altogether, however 
close she had come to a true and full confession of the Lord. But 
these miracles of divine omnipotence which led the heart of this 
sinner with its susceptibility for religious truth to true faith, and 
thus became to her a savour of life unto life, produced nothing but 
hardness in the unbelieving hearts of the rest of the Canaanites, so 
that they could not. escape the judgment of death. — Vers. 12-14. 
After this confession Rahab entreated the spies to spare her family 
(father's house), and made them promise her on oath as a sign of 
their fidelity, that on the capture of Jericho, which is tacitly assumed 
as self-evident after what had gone before, they would save alive 
her parents, and brothers and sisters, and all that belonged to them 
(i.e., according to chap. vi. 23, the children and families of her 
brothers and sisters), and not put them to death ; all of which they 
promised her on oath. " A true token," lit. a sign of truth, i.e. a 
sign by which they guaranteed the truth of the kindness for which 
she asked. This sign consisted in nothing but the solemn oath 
with which they were to confirm their assurance, and, according to 
ver. 14, actually did confirm it. The oath itself was taken in these 
words, u our soul shall die for you," by which they pledged their life 
for the life of Rahab and her family in this sense : God shall punish 
us with death if we are faithless, and do not spare thy life and 
the lives of thy relations. Though the name of God is not really 
expressed, it was implied in the fact that the words are described as 
swearing by Jehovah. But the spies couple their assurance with 
this condition, "if ye utter not this our business," do not betray us, 
sc. so that we should be pursued, and our life endangered ; " then 
will we show thee mercy and truth" (cf. Gen. xxiv. 27). 

Vers. 15-24. Rahab then let them down by a rope through the 
window, namely, into the open country ; for her house stood against 
or upon the town wall, so that she lived upon the wall, and advised 
them to get to the mountains, that they might not meet the men 
who had been sent out in pursuit of them, and to hide themselves 
there for three days, when the pursuers would have returned. — 

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Vers. 17-20. In conclusion, the spies guarded against any arbi- 
trary interpretation and application of their oath, by imposing three 
conditions, on the non-fulfilment of which they would be released 
from then- oath, rwn for ntftn is to be explained in ver. 17 from 
the fact that the gender is often disregarded in the use of the pro- 
noun (see Ewald, § 183, a.), and in ver. 18 from the fact that there 
the gender is determined by the nomen rectum (see Ewald, § 317, d.). 
— Ver. 18. The first condition was, that when the town was taken 
Hahab should make her house known to the Israelites, by binding 
" the cord of this crimson thread" i.e. this cord made of crimson 
thread, in the window from which she had let them down. The 
demonstrative " this" leads to the conclusion adopted by Luther and 
others, that " this cord" is the rope (ion) mentioned in ver. 15, as no 
other cord had been mentioned to which they could refer ; and the 
fact that nothing has been said about the sign in question being 
either given or received, precludes the idea that the spies gave the 
cord to Rahab for a sign. The crimson or scarlet colour of the 
cord (^B* = "OB* njCTn ; see at Ex. xxv. 4), as the colour of vigorous 
life, made this cord an expressive sign of the preservation of Rahab' s 
life and the lives of her relations. The second condition was, that 
when the town was taken, Rahab should collect together her parents, 
and her brothers and her sisters, into her own house. — Ver. 19. 
Whoever went outside the door, his blood should be upon his own 
head ; i.e. if he was slain outside by the Israelitish soldiers, he should 
bear his death as his own fault. But every one who was with her 
in the house, his blood should fall upon their (the spies') head, if 
any hand was against them, i.e. touched them or did them harm 
(yid. Ex. ix. 3). The formula, " his blood be upon his head," is 
synonymous with the legal formula, " his blood be upon him" 
(Lev. xx. 9). The third condition (ver. 20) is simply a repetition 
of the principal condition laid down at the very outset (ver. 14). — 
Ver. 21. When Rahab had accepted all these conditions, she let the 
men go, and bound the red cord in the window. It is not to be 
supposed that she did this at once, but merely as soon as it was 
necessary. It is mentioned here for the purpose of bringing the 
subject to a close. — Ver. 22. The spies remained three days in the 
mountains, till the officers returned to the town, after searching for 
them the whole way in vain. The mountains referred to are pro- 
bably the range on the northern side of Jericho, which afterwards 
received the name of Quarantana (Arab. Kuruntul), a wall of rock 
rising almost precipitously from the plain to the height of 1200 or 

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CHAP. III. IV. 39 

1500 feet, and full of grottoes and caves on the eastern side. These 
mountains were well adapted for a place of concealment ; moreover, 
they were the nearest to Jericho, as the western range recedes 
considerably to the south of Wady Kelt (vid. Bob. ii. p. 289). — 
Vers. 23, 24. After this they returned to the camp across the 
Jordan, and informed Joshua of all that had befallen them, and 
all that they had heard. On ver. 24, see ver. 9. 


The following morning, after the return of the spies into the 
camp, Joshua proceeded with the people from Shittim to the bank 
of the Jordan, to complete the necessary preparations there, and 
then cross the river and enter Canaan (chap. iii. 1). The crossing 
of this boundary river of Canaan, or rather the passage through the 
bed of the river, which had been dried up by a miracle of divine 
omnipotence at the place of crossing, is narrated in these two 
chapters in the following manner : first (chap. iii. 16-6), the final 
preparations for crossing ; and then the passage through the bed 
of the river, and the erection of stones as a permanent, memorial of 
this miracle. This is arranged in three parts : viz. vers. 7-17, the 
commencement of the crossing ; chap. iv. 1-14, its further progress ; 
and chap. iv. 15-24, its close. The account is also arranged upon ' 
the following plan : in every one of these three sections the com- 
mand of God to Joshua is mentioned first (cf. chap. iii. 7, 8, iv. 
2, 3, iv. 15, 16) ; then the communication of this command to the 
people by Joshua; and finally its execution (chap. iii. 9-17, iv. 
4-13, iv. 17-20). This arrangement was adopted by the author 
for the purpose of bringing distinctly out to view, not only the 
miracle itself, but also the means with which God associated the 
performance of the miracle, and also of impressing deeply upon the 
memory of the people both the divine act and the end secured. In 
doing this, however, some repetitions were inevitable, in conse- 
quence of the endeavour, so peculiar to the Hebrew mode of writing 
history, to mark and round off the several points in the occurrences 
described, by such comprehensive statements as anticipate the actual 
course of events. It is to this arrangement and dovetailing of the 
different points that we must attribute the distribution of the reve- 
lation and commands which Joshua received from God, over the 
several portions of the history; and consequently we are not to 
suppose, that at each separate point during the passage God revealed 

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to Joshua what he was to do, but must rather assume that He 
actually revealed and commanded whatever was requisite all at once, 
on the day before the miraculous passage. 1 

Chap. iii. 1-6. Arrangements for the Passage through the Jordan. 
— When they reached the Jordan, the Israelites rested till they 
passed over. JO, to pass the night ; then in a wider sense to tarry, 
Prov. xv. 31 ; here it means to rest. According to ver. 2, they 
stayed there three days. " At the end (after the expiration) of three 
days" cannot refer to the three days mentioned in chap. i. 11, if 
only because of the omission of the article, apart from the reasons 
given in the note upon chap. i. 11, which preclude the supposition 
that the two are identical. The reasons why the Israelites stayed 
three days by the side of the Jordan, after leaving Shittim, are not 
given, but they are not difficult to guess ; for, in the first place, 
before it could be possible to pass into an enemy's country, not only 
with an army, but with all the people, including wives, children, 
and all their possessions, and especially when the river had first of 
all to be crossed, it must have been necessary to make many prepa- 
rations, which would easily occupy two or three days. Besides this, 
the Jordan at that time was so high as to overflow its banks, so that 
it was impossible to cross the fords, and they were obliged to wait 
till this obstruction was removed. But as soon as Joshua was 
assured that the Lord would make a way for His people, he issued 
the following instructions through the proper officers to all the 
people in the camp : " When ye see the ark of the covenant of the 
Ijord your God, and (see) the Levitical priests bear it, then ye shall 
remove from your place, and go after it : yet there shall be a space 
between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure : come not 
near unto it; that ye may know tlie way by which ye must go : for ye 
have not passed this way yesterday and the day before" On the 
expression " the Levitical priests," see at Deut. xxxi. 25, as com- 
pared with ver. 9 and xvii. 9. ^3, both here and in chap. viii. 11, 
should probably be pointed fa'3 (vid. Ewald, § 266, a.). This com- 
mand referred simply to the march from the last resting-place by 
the Jordan into the river itself, and not to the passage through the 

1 The assertion made by Paulus, Eichhorn, Bleek, Knobel, and others, that 
the account is compounded from two different documents, is founded upon 
nothing else than a total oversight of the arrangement explained above and 
doctrinal objections to its miraculous contents. The supposed contradictions, 
which are cited as proofs, have been introduced into the text, as even Hauff 
acknowledges (Offenbarungsgl. pp. 209, 210). 

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CHAP. HI. 1-6. 41 

river, daring which the priests remained standing with the ark in 
the bed of the river until the people had all passed through (vers. 8 
and 17). 1 The people were to keep about 2000 cubits away from 
the ark. This was not done, however, to prevent their going wrong 
in the unknown way, and so missing the ford, for that was impos- 
sible under the circumstances ; but the ark was carried in front of 
the people, not so much to show the road as to make a road by 
dividing the waters of the Jordan, and the people were to keep at 
a distance from it, that they might not lose sight of the ark, but 
keep their eyes fixed upon it, and know the road by looking at the 
ark of the covenant by which the road had been made, i.e. might 
know and observe how the Lord, through the medium of the ark, 
was leading them to Canaan by a way which they had never tra- 
versed before, i.e. by a miraculous way. — Vers. 5, 6. Joshua then 
issued instructions (a) to the people to sanctify themselves, because 
on the morrow the Lord would do wonders among them ; and (b) 
to the priests, to carry the ark of the covenant in front of the people. 
The issuing of these commands with the prediction of the miracle 
presupposes that the Lord had already made known His will to 
Joshua, and serves to confirm our conclusions as to the arrangement 
of the materials. The sanctification of the people did not consist 
in the washing of their clothes, which is mentioned in Ex. xix. 10, 
14, in connection with the act of sanctification, for there was no 
time for this ; nor did it consist in merely changing their clothes, 
which might be a substitute for washing, according to Gen. xxxv. 2, 
or in abstinence from connubial intercourse (Ex. xix. 15), for this 
was only the outward side of sanctification. It consisted in spiri- 
tual purification also, i.e. in turning the heart to God, in faith and 
trust in His promise, and in willing obedience to His command- 
ments, that they should lay to heart in a proper way the miracle of 
grace which the Lord was about to work in the midst of them and 
on their behalf on the following day. " Wonders :" those miracu- 
lous displays of the omnipotence of God for the realization of His 
covenant of grace, which He had already promised in connection 

1 Knobel maintains that this statement, according to which the Israelites 
were more than 2000 cubits from the place of crossing, is not in harmony with 
ver. 1, where they are said to have been by the Jordan already; but he can only 
show this supposed discrepancy in the text by so pressing the expression, they 
" came to Jordan," as to make it mean that the whole nation was encamped so 
close to the edge of the river, that at the very first step the people took their 
feet would touch the water. 

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with the conquest of Canaan (Ex. xxxiv. 10). In ver. 6, where the 
command to the priests is given, the fulfilment of the command is 
also mentioned, and the course of events anticipated in consequence. 
Vers. 7-17. Commencement of the Crossing. — First of all (in 
vers. 7 and 8), the revelation made by God to Joshua, that He 
would begin this day to make him great, Le. to glorify him before 
the Israelites, and the command to the priests who bore the ark of 
the covenant to stand still in the river, when they came to the water 
of the Jordan ; then (vers. 9-13) the publication of this promise and 
command to the people; and lastly (vers. 14-17), the carrying out 
of the command. ?n?> I will begin to make thee great. The mira- 
culous guidance of the people through the Jordan was only the 
beginning of the whole series of miracles by which the Lord put 
His people in possession of the promised land, and glorified Joshua 
in the sight of Israel in the fulfilment of his office, as He had glori- 
fied Moses before. Just as Moses was accredited in the sight of 
the people, as the servant of the Lord in whom they could trust, by 
the miraculous division of the Red Sea (Ex. xiv. 31), so Joshua was 
accredited as the leader of Israel, whom the Almighty God acknow- 
ledged as He had His servant Moses, by the similar miracle, the 
division of the waters of Jordan. Only the most important points 
in the command of God to the priests are given in ver. 8. The 
command itself is communicated more fully afterwards in the ad- 
dress to the people, in ver. 13. When they came with the ark to 
the end of the waters of Jordan, — i.e. not to the opposite side, but 
to the nearest bank ; that is to say, as soon as they reached the. 
water in the bed of the river, — they were to stand 6till {yid. ver. 15, 
and chap, iv.'ll), in order, as we see from what follows, to form a 
dam as it were against the force of the water, which was miracu- 
lously arrested in its course, and piled up in a heap. Moses divided 
the waters of the Red Sea with his rod; Joshua was to do the same 
to the Jordan with the ark of the covenant, the appointed symbol and 
vehicle of the presence of the Almighty God since the conclusion of 
the covenant. "Wherever the ordinary means of grace are at hand, 
God attaches the operations of His grace to them ; for He is a God 
of order, who does not act in an arbitrary manner in the selection 
of His means. — Vers. 9, 10. The summons to the children of Israel, 
i.e. to the whole nation in the persons of its representatives, to draw 
near (Wl for *&&, as in 1 Sam. xiv. 38 ; Ruth ii. 14) to hear the 
words of the Lord its God, points to the importance of the follow- 
ing announcement, by which Israel was to learn that there was a 

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CHAP. in. 7-17. 43 

living God in the midst of it, who had the power to fulfil His word. 
Jehovah is called a " living God," in contrast with the dead gods of 
the heathen, as a God who proved himself to be living, with special 
reference to those " divine operations by which God had shown 
that He was living and watchful on behalf of His people ; just as 
His being in the midst of the people did not denote a naked presence, 
but a striking degree of presence on the part of God in relation to 
the performance of extraordinary operations, or the manifestation 
of peculiar care" (SeJ. Schmidt). The God of Israel would now 
manifest himself as a living God by the extermination of the 
Canaanites, seven tribes of whom are enumerated, as in Deut. vii. 1 
(see the remarks on this passage). Joshua mentions the destruction 
of these nations as the purpose which God had in view in the mira- 
culous guidance of Israel through the Jordan, to fill the Israelites 
with confidence for their entrance into the promised land. 1 — Vers. 
11-13. After this inspiriting promise, Joshua informed the people 
what the Lord intended to do first : " Belwld, the ark of the cove- 
nant of the Lord of the whole earth will go before you into Jordan" 
}*i«iT73 ]i*re» is a genitive dependent upon rvnan tf-iK, the strict sub- 
ordination of the construct state being loosened in this case by the 
article before the nomen regens. The punctuators have therefore 
separated it from the latter by sakeph-katon, without thereby explain- 
ing it as in opposition or giving any support to the mistaken expo- 
sition of Buxtorff and Drusius, that " the ark of the covenant is 
called the ruler of the whole earth." The description of Jehovah 
as "Lord of the whole earth," which is repeated in ver. 13, is 
very appropriately chosen for the purpose of strengthening con- 
fidence in the omnipotence of the Lord. This epithet " exalted 
the government of God over all the elements of the world, that the 
Israelites might have no doubt that as seas and rivers are under His 
control, the waters, although liquid by nature, would become stable 
at His nod" (Calvin). The expression, "passeth over before you into 
Jordan," is more precisely explained in the course of the narrative : 

1 " He extends the force of the miracle beyond their entrance into the land, 
and properly so, since the mere opening of a way into a hostile country, from 
which there would be no retreat, would be nothing but exposure to death. For 
they would either easily fall, through being entangled in difficulties and in an 
unknown region, or they would perish through want. Joshua therefore foretold, 
that when God drove back the river it would be as if He had stretched out His 
hand to strike all the inhabitants of the land, and that the proof which He gave 
of His power in their crossing the Jordan would be a certain presage of victory, 
to be gained over all the tribes." 

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the ark of the covenant went (was carried) before the people into 
the river, and then stood still, as the bulwark of the people, till the 
passage was completed; so that the word "before" indicates the 
protection which it would afford. — Ver. 12. " And take to you (i.e. 
appoint) twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, one for each tribe" 
For what purpose is not stated here, but is apparent from what 
follows (chap. iv. 2 sqq.). The choice or appointment of these men 
was necessarily commanded before the crossing commenced, as they 
were to stand by the side of Joshua, or near the bearers of the ark 
of the covenant, so as to be at hand to perform the duty to be en- 
trusted to them (chap. iv. 3 sqq.). Joshua then concludes by fore- 
telling the miracle itself : "It will come to pass, that wlien the soles 
of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord shall settle down 
in the water of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan slut 11 be cut off ; 
namely, the waters flowing down from above, and shall stand still as 
one heap." " Shall be cut off" so as to disappear ; namely, at the 
place where the priests stand with the ark of the covenant. This 
took place through the waters standing still as a heap, or being 
heaped up, at some distance above the standing-place. *1HK 13 is an 
accusative of more precise definition. The expression is taken from 
the song of Moses (Ex. xv. 8). 

The event corresponded to the announcement. — Vers. 14—16. 
When the people left their tents to go over the Jordan, and the 
priests, going before with the ark of the covenant, dipped their 
feet in the water (" the brim of the water," ver. 15, as in ver. 8), 
although the Jordan was filled over all its banks throughout the 
whole time of harvest, the waters stood still: the waters flowing 
down from above stood as a heap at a very great distance off, by 
the town of Adam, on the side of Zarthan ; and the waters flowing 
down to the salt sea were entirely cut off, so that the people went 
through the dried bed of the river opposite to Jericho. Vers. 14- 
16 form one large period, consisting of three protases (vers. 14, 15), 
the first and third of which are each of them more precisely defined 
by a circumstantial clause, and also of three apodoses (ver. 16). In 
the protases the construction passes from the infinitive (VW3 and 
Nta3) into the finite verb ($>3tM), — a thing of frequent occurrence 
(see Ewald, § 350). The circumstantial clause (ver. 15J), "and 
the Jordan was filed over all its banks all the days of harvest," 
brings out in all its fulness the miracle of the stoppage of the water 
by the omnipotence of God. Every attempt to explain the miracle 
as a natural occurrence is thereby prevented; so that JEiclihorn 

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CHAP. III. 7-17. 45 

pronounces the clause a gloss, and endeavours in this manner to 
get rid of it altogether. Vni"i3"73"7j7 might mean full against all its 
banks, flowing with its banks full, or "full to the brim" {Robinson, 
Pal. ii. p. 262, according to the LXX. and Vulg.) ; but if we 
compare chap. iv. 18, "the waters of Jordan returned to their place, 
and went over all its banks as before," with the parallel passage in 
Isa. viii. 7, " the river comes up over all its channels and goes over 
all its banks," there can be no doubt that the words refer to an 
overflowing of the banks, and not merely to their being filled to the 
brim, so that the words must be rendered "go over the banks." 
But we must not therefore understand them as meaning that the 
whole of the Ghor was flooded. The Jordan flows through the 
Ghor, which is two hours' journey broad at Beisan, and even 
broader to the south of that (see at Deut. i. 1), in a valley about a 
quarter of an hour in breadth which lies forty or fifty feet lower, 
and, being covered with trees and reeds, presents a striking contrast 
to the sandy slopes which bound it on both sides. In many places 
this strip of vegetation occupies a still deeper portion of the lower 
valley, which is enclosed by shallow banks not more than two or 
three feet high, so that, strictly speaking, we might distinguish 
three different banks at the places referred to : namely, the upper 
or outer banks, which form the first slope of the great valley ; the 
lower or middle banks, embracing that strip of land which is covered 
with vegetation ; and then the true banks of the river's bed (see 
Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 593 sqq., and Robinson, Pal. ii. pp. 254 sqq., 
and Bibl. Researches, pp. 333 sqq.). The flood never reaches 
beyond the lower line of the Ghor, which is covered with vegetation, 
but even in modern times this line has sometimes been overflowed. 
For example, Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 255, compared with p. 263) found 
the river so swollen when he visited it in 1838, that it filled its bed 
to the very brim, and in some places flowed over and covered the 
ground where the bushes grew. This rise of the water still takes 
place at the time of harvest in April and at the beginning of May 
(see at Lev. xxiii. 9 sqq.;, and therefore really at the close of the 
rainy season, and after the snow has been long melted upon Hermon, 
as it is then that the lake of Tiberias reaches its greatest height, in 
consequence of the rainy season and the melting of the snow, so 
that it is only then that the Jordan flows with its full stream into 
the Dead Sea (Robinson, ii. p. 263). At this time of the year the 
river cannot of course be waded through even at its shallowest 
fords, whereas this is possible in the summer season, when the water 

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is low. It is only by swimming that it can possibly be crossed, and 
even that cannot be accomplished without great danger, as it is ten 
or twelve feet deep in the neighbourhood of Jericho, and the current 
is very strong (vid. Seetzen, R. ii. pp. 301, 320-1 ; Rob. ii. p. 256). 
Crossing at this season was regarded as a very extraordinary feat in 
ancient times, so that it is mentioned in 1 Chron. xii. 15 as a heroic 
act on the part of the brave Gadites. It may possibly have been 
in this way that the spies crossed and recrossed the river a few days 
before. But that was altogether impossible for the people of Israel 
with their wives and children. It was necessary, therefore, that 
the Lord of the whole earth should make a road by a miracle of 
His omnipotence, which arrested the descending waters in their 
course, so that they stood still as a heap "very far" se. from the 
place of crossing, '* by the town of Adam" (0^3 must not be altered 
into D"ttf?> from Adam, according to the Keri), " which is by the side 
of Zarlhan." The city of Adam, which is not mentioned anywhere 
else (and which Luther has erroneously understood as an appella- 
tive, according to the Arabic, "people of the city"), is not to be 
confounded with Adamah, in the tribe of Naphtali (chap. xix. 36). 
The town of Zarthan, by the side of which Adam is situated, has 
also vanished. Van de Velde and Knobel imagine that the name 
Zarthan has been preserved in the modern Kurn (Horn) Sartabeh, 
a long towering rocky ridge on the south-west of the ford of Damieh, 
upon which there are said to be the ruins of a castle. This conjec- 
ture is not favoured by any similarity in the names so much as by 
its situation. For, on the one hand, the mountain slopes off from 
the end of this rocky ridge, or from the loftiest part of the horn, 
into a broad shoulder, from which a lower rocky ridge reaches to 
the Jordan, and seems to join the mountains on the east, so that 
the Jordan valley is contracted to its narrowest dimensions at this 
point, and divided into the upper and lower Ghor by the bills of 
Kurn Sartabeh; and consequently this was apparently the most 
suitable point for the damming up of the waters of the Jordan (see 
Robinson, Bibl. Researches, pp. 293-4). On the other hand, this 
site tallies very well with all the notices in the Bible respecting the 
situation of the town of Zarthan, or Zeredetha (1 Kings vii. 46, 
compared with 2 Chron. iv. 17) : viz. at 1 Kings iv. 12, where 
Zarthan is said to have been by the side of the territory of Beth- 
shean; also at 1 Kings vii. 46, where Zarthan and Succoth are 
opposed to one another ; and at Judg. vii. 22, where the reading 
should be nnns, according to the Arabic and Syriac versions. 

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CHAP. IV. 1-14. 47 

Hence Knobel supposes that Adam was situated in the neighbour- 
hood of the present ford Damieh, near to which the remains of a 
bridge belonging to the Roman era are still to be found (Lynch, 
Expedition). The distance of Kurn Sartabeh from Jericho is 
a little more than fifteen miles, which tallies very well with the 
expression "very far." Through this heaping up of the waters 
coming down from above, those which flowed away into the Dead 
Sea (the sea of the plain, see Deut. iv. 49) were completely cut off 
(tfrpj «an are to be taken together, so that ran merely expresses 
the adverbial idea wholly, completely), and the people went over, 
probably in a straight line from Wady Hesban to Jericho. — Ver. 17. 
But the priests stood with the ark of the covenant " in Hie midst of 
Jordan," i.e. in the bed of the river, not merely by the river, " upon 
dry ground, J5H," Ut. firmando, i.e. with a firm foot, whilst all Israel 
went over upon dry ground, " till all the people were passed over" 
This could easily have been accomplished in half a day, if the people 
formed a procession of a mile or upwards in breadth. 

Chap. iv. 1-14. Crossing the River. — In the account of the 
crossing, the main point is their taking twelve stones with them 
from the bed of the river to the opposite side to serve as a memorial. 
To set forth the importance of this fact as a divine appointment, 
the command of God to Joshua is mentioned first of all (vers. 2, 3) ; 
then the repetition of this command by Joshua to the men appointed 
for the work (vers. 4-7) ; and lastly, the carrying out of the in- 
structions (ver. 8). This makes it appear as though God did not 
give the command to Joshua till after the people had all crossed 
over, whereas the twelve men had already been chosen for the 
purpose (chap. iii. 12). But this appearance, and the discrepancy 
that seems to arise, vanish as soon as we take the different clauses, 
— which are joined together here by vav consec, according to the 
simple form of historical composition adopted by the Hebrews, 
" and Jehovah spake, saying," etc. (vers. 2, 3) ; " and Joshua called 
the twelve men," etc. (ver. 4), — and arrange them in logical order, 
and with their proper subordination to one another, according to our 
own modes of thought and conversation, as follows : " Then Joshua 
called the twelve men, — as Jehovah had commanded him, saying, 
1 Take you twelve men out of the people,' etc., — and said to them," * 

1 So far as the meaning is concerned, Kimchi, Calvin, and many others, were 
perfectly correct in taking vers. 16-3 as a parenthesis, and rendering notf*l as a 
pluperfect, though, grammatically considered, and from a Hebrew point of view, 
the historical sense with vav consec. does not correspond to oar pluperfect, bnt 

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etc. — Vers. 1 sqq. When all the people had crossed over Jordan, 1 
Joshua issued to the twelve men who had been appointed by the 
twelve tribes the command given to him by God : " Go before the 
ark of Jehovah into the midst of Jordan, and take every man a stone 
upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israel- 
ites" or, as it is expressed in the fuller explanation in the divine 
command in ver. 3, "from the standing-place of the priests, the setting 
up of twelve stones (pn is an infinitive used as a substantive, or 
else it should be pointed as a substantive), and carry them over with 
you, and lay them down in the place of encampment where ye shall 
pass the niglit." — Vers. 6, 7. This (viz. their taking the twelve 
stones with them and setting them up) was to be a sign in Israel ; 
the stones were to serve as a memorial of the miraculous crossing 
of the Jordan to all succeeding generations. For the expression 
a if your children ask to-morrow (in future)," etc., see Ex. xiii. 14, 
xii. 26, 27, and Deut. vi. 20, 21.— Ver. 8. The children of Israel 
carried out these instructions. The execution is ascribed to the 
" children of Israel," i.e. to the whole nation, because the men 
selected from the twelve tribes acted in the name of the whole 
nation, and the memorial was a matter of equal importance to all. 
WrBJ does not signify that they set up the stones as a memorial, but 
simply that they laid them down in their place of encampment. 
The setting up at Gilgal is mentioned for the first time in ver. 20. 
In addition to this, Joshua set up twelve stones for a memorial, on 
the spot where the feet of the priests had stood as they bore the ark 
of the covenant, which stones were there " to this day" i.e. the time 
when the account was written. There is nothing to warrant our 
calling this statement in question, or setting it aside as a probable 
gloss, either in the circumstance that nothing is said about any 
divine command to set up these stones, or in the opinion that such 

always expresses the succession either of time or thought. This early Hebrew- 
form of thought and narrative is completely overlooked by Knobel, when he 
pronounces vers, lft-3 an interpolation from a second document, and finds the 
apodosis to ver. la in ver. 4. The supposed discrepancy — namely, that the setting 
up of the memorial is not described in vers. 5 sqq. as a divine command, as in 
vers. 8, 10 — by which Knobel endeavours to establish his hypothesis, is merely a 
deduction from the fact that Joshua did not expressly issue his command to the 
twelve men as a command of Jehovah, and therefore is nothing more than an 
unmeaning argumentum e silentio. 

1 The piska in the middle of ver. 1 is an old pre-Masoretic mark, -which the 
Masorites have left, indicating a space in the midst of the verse, and showing 
that it was the commencement of &parashah. 

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chap. rv. 1-14 49 

a memorial would have failed of its object, as it could not possibly 
have remained, but would very speedily have been washed away by 
the stream. The omission of any reference to a command from 
God proves nothing, simply because divine commands are frequently 
hinted at but briefly, so that the substance of them has to be gathered 
from the account of their execution (compare chap. iii. 7, 8, with 
iii. 9-13, and iv. 2, 3, with iv. 4-7) ; and consequently we may 
assume without hesitation that such a command was given, as the 
earlier commentators have done. Moreover, the monument did not 
fail of its object, even if it only existed for a short time. " The 
account of its erection, which was handed down by tradition, would 
necessarily help to preserve the remembrance of the miraculous 
occurrence. But it cannot be so absolutely affirmed that these 
stones would be carried away at once by the stream, so that they 
could never be seen any more. As the priests did not stand in the 
middle or deepest part of the river, but just in the bed of the river, 
and close to its eastern bank, and it was upon this spot that the 
stones were set up, and as we neither know their size nor the firm- 
ness with which they stood, we cannot pronounce any positive 
opinion as to the possibility of their remaining. It is not likely that 
they remained there for centuries ; but they were intended rather as 
a memorial for the existing generation and their children, than for 
a later age, which would be perpetually reminded of the miraculous 
help of God by the monument erected in Gilgal. — Vers. 10, 11. 
Whilst Joshua was carrying out all that Jehovah had commanded 
him to say to the people, according to the command of Moses, — 
that is to say, whilst the people were passing through the Jordan 
before the ark, and the twelve men were carrying over the stones 
out of the river to the resting-place on the other side, and Joshua 
himself was setting up twelve stones in Jordan for a memorial, — 
during all this time, the priests stood with the ark in the bed of the 
river ; but after all the people, including the twelve men who took 
the stones out of the Jordan, had finished crossing, the ark of the 
Lord passed over, with the priests, before the people : that is to say, 
it stationed itself again, along with the priests, at the head of the 
people. The words "according to all that Moses had commanded 
Joshua" do not refer to any special instructions which Moses had 
given to Joshua with reference to the crossing, for no such instruc- 
tions are to be found in the Pentateuch, nor can they be inferred 
from Num. xxvii. 23, Dent. iii. 28, or xxxi. 23 ; they simply affirm 
that Joshua carried out all the commands which the Lord had 

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given him, in accordance with the charge which he received from 
Moses at the time when he was first called. Moses had called him 
and instructed him to lead the people into the promised land, in 
consequence of a divine command ;-and had given him the promise, 
at the same time, that Jehovah would be with him as He had 
been with Moses. This contained implicite an admonition to Joshua 
to do only what the Lord should command him. And if this was 
how Joshua acted, the execution of the commands of God was also 
an observance of the command of Moses. The remark in ver. 106, 
" and the people hastened and passed over" i.e. passed hastily through 
the bed of the river, is introduced as an explanation of the fact that 
the priests stood still in the bed of the river the whole time that the 
crossing continued. As the priests stood in one spot whilst all the 
people were passing over, it was necessary that the people should 
hasten over, lest the strength of the priests should be exhausted. 
This reason for hastening, however, does not preclude the other, — 
namely, that the crossing had to be finished in one day, before night 
came on. The statement in ver. 11, that when all the people had 
passed over, the ark of the Lord also passed over with the priests, 
is so far anticipatory of the actual course of the events, that up to 
this time nothing has been said about the fighting men belonging 
to the two tribes and a half having passed over (vers. 12, 13) ; nor 
has the command of God for the ark to pass over been mentioned 
(vers. 15 sqq.), though both of these must have preceded the crossing 
of the ark in order of time. It is to be observed, that, in the words 
u the ark of the Lord passed over, and tlie priests," the priests are 
subordinate to the ark, because it was through the medium of the 
ark of the Lord that the miracle of drying up the river had been 
effected : it was not by the priests, but by Jehovah the Almighty 
God, who was enthroned upon the ark, that the waters were com- 
manded to stand still. "Before the people" (Eng. Ver. "in the 
presence of the people") has the same signification in ver. 11 as in 
chap. iii. 6, 14. — Vers. 12, 13. The account of the fighting men of 
the tribes on the east of the Jordan passing over along with them, 
in number about 40,000, is added as a supplement, because there 
was no place in which it could be appropriately inserted before, and 
yet it was necessary that it should be expressly mentioned that these 
tribes performed the promise they had given (chap. i. 16, 17), and 
in what manner they did so. The words "131 '"^JW do not imply 
that these 40,000 men crossed over behind the priests with the ark, 
which would not only be at variance with the fact so expressly 

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CHAP. IV. lfr-24 51 

stated, that the ark of the covenant was the medium of the miracu- 
lous division of the water, but also with the distinct statement in 
ver. 18, that when the priests, with the ark, set their feet upon the 
dry land, the waters filled the river again as 'they had done before. 
The imperfect with vav consec. here expresses simply the order 
of thought, and not of time. " Arboili Jericho" die steppes of 
Jericho, were that portion of the Arabah or Ghor which formed 
the environs of Jericho, and which widens here into a low-lying 
plain of about three and a half or four hours' journey in breadth, 
on account of the western mountains receding considerably to the 
south of the opening of the Wady Kelt {Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 263 
sqq.). — In ver. 14 the writer mentions still further the fact that 
the Lord fulfilled His promise (in chap. iii. 7), and by means of 
this miracle so effectually confirmed the authority of Joshua in 
the eyes of Israel, that the people feared him all the days of his 
life as they had feared Moses. " This was not the chief end of 
the miracle, that Joshua increased in power and authority; but 
since it was a matter of great importance, so far as the public 
interests were concerned, that the government of Joshua should be 
established, it is very properly mentioned, as an addition to the 
benefits that were otherwise conferred, that he was invested as 
it were with sacred insignia, which produced such a feeling of 
veneration among the people, that no one dared to treat him with 
disrespect" {Calvin). 

Vers. 15-24. Termination of the miraculous Passage through the 
Jordan. — As soon as the priests left their standing-place in the river 
with the ark of the covenant, according to the command of God 
made known to them by Joshua, and the soles of their feet " tore 
tliemselves hose upon the dry ground" ( n ?"J0v v ^h constructio 
prcegnans, for they tore themselves loose from the soft soil of the 
river, and trode upon the dry or firm ground), the waters of the 
Jordan returned again to their place, and went over all its banks as 
before (vid. chap. iii. 15). This affirms as clearly as possible that 
it was the ark which kept back the stream. — Ver. 19. The crossing 
took place on the tenth day of the first month, that is to say, on 
the same day on which, forty years before, Israel had begun to 
prepare for going out of Egypt by setting apart the paschal lamb 
(Ex. xii. 3). After crossing the river, the people encamped at 
Gilgal, on the eastern border of the territory of Jericho. The 
place of encampment is called Gilgal proleptically in vers. 19 and 
20 (see at chap. v. 9). — Vers. 20 sqq. There Joshua set up the 

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twelve stones, which they had taken over with them out of the 
Jordan, and explained to the people at the same time the import- 
ance of this memorial to their descendants (vers. 21, 22), and the 
design of the miracle which had heen wrought by God (ver. 24). 
On vers. 21, 22, see vers. 6, 7. "WK (ver. 23), quod, as (see Deut. 
ii. 22). The miracle itself, like the similar one at the Dead Sea, 
had a double intention, viz. to reveal to the Canaanites the omni- 
potence of the God of Israel, the strong hand of the Lord (compare 
Ex. xiv. 4, 18, with chap. vi. 6 ; and for the expression " the hand 
of the Lord is mighty," see Ex. iii. 19, vi. 1, etc.), and to serve as 
an impulse to the Israelites to fear the Lord their God always (see 
at Ex. xiv. 31). 


When the Israelites had trodden the soil of Canaan, Joshua 
began immediately to make arrangements for conquering the land, 
and destroying its inhabitants. As the Lord had only promised 
him His assistance on condition that the law given by Moses was 
faithfully observed (chap. i. 7 sqq.), it was necessary that he should 
proceed first of all to impose it as an inviolable obligation, not only 
upon himself, but also upon all the people entrusted to his charge, 
to fulfil all the precepts of the law, many of which could not be 
carried out during the journey through the wilderness, whilst many 
others had only been given with special reference to the time when 
the people should be dwelling in Canaan. The first duty which 
devolved upon him in this respect, was to perform the rite of cir- 
cumcision upon the generation that had been born in the wilderness, 
and had grown up without circumcision, so that the whole congre- 
gation might be included in the covenant of the Lord, and be able 
to keep the passover, which was to be celebrated in a few days in 
the manner prescribed by the law. 

Vers. 1-9. Circumcision op the People. — Ver. 1. Whilst, 
on the one hand, the approach of the passover rendered it desirable 
that the circumcision of those who had remained uncircumcised 
should be carried out without delay, on the other hand the exist- 
ing circumstances were most favourable for the performance of this 
covenant duty, inasmuch as the miracle wrought in connection with 
the passage through the Jordan had thrown the Canaanites into 

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CHAP. V. 1-9. 53 

such alarm that there was no fear of their attacking the Israelitish 
camp. To indicate this, the impression produced by this miracle is 
described, namely, that all the kings of Canaan had been thrown 
into despair in consequence. All the tribes of Canaan are grouped 
together here under the names of Amorites and Canaanites, the 
tribes in possession of the mountains being all called Amorites, and 
those who lived by the sea, i.e. by the shore of the Mediterranean, 
Canaanites (yid. chap. i. 4) : for the Amorites upon the moun- 
tains were the strongest of all the Canaanitish tribes at that time 
(see at Gen. x. 16); whilst the name Canaanite, i.e. the bent one 
(see at Gen. ix. 25), was peculiarly appropriate to the inhabitants 
of the lowlands, who relied upon trade more than upon warfare, 
and were probably dependent upon the strong and mighty Amorites. 
The application of the expression " beyond Jordan" (Eng. Ver. " on 
the side of") to the country on this side, may be explained on the 
ground that the historian was still writing from the stand-point of 
the crossing. But in order to prevent any misunderstanding, he 
adds " towards the west," as he had previously added " towards the 
sunrise," in chap. i. 15, when speaking of the land, on the eastern 
side. That we have the report of an eye-witness here is evident 
from the words, " until we were passed over :" the reading of the 
Keri, D"J3jf (till they were passed over), is nothing but an arbitrary 
and needless conjecture, and ought not to have been preferred by 
Bleek and others, notwithstanding the fact that the ancient versions 
and some mss. also adopt it. — Vers. 2-8. At that time (sc. the 
time of their encampment at Gilgal, and when the Canaanites were 
in despair) Joshua had the people " circumcised again, the second 
time." The word n\Jt? (a second time) is only added to give em- 
phasis to 3}gf, or as an explanation of it, and is not to be pressed, 
either here or in Isa. xi. 11, as though it denoted the repetition of 
the same act in every respect, i.e. of an act of circumcision which 
had once before been performed upon the whole nation. It merely 
expresses this meaning, u circumcise the people again, or the second 
time, as it was formerly circumcised" (t.e. a circumcised people, not 
in the same manner in which it once before had circumcision per- 
formed upon it). When the people came out of Egypt they were 
none of them uncircumcised, as distinctly affirmed in ver. 5 ; but 
during their journey through the wilderness circumcision had been 
neglected, so that now the nation was no longer circumcised, and 
therefore it was necessary that circumcision should be performed 
npon the nation as a whole, by circumcising all who were uncir- 

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cumcised. The opinion of Masius and 0. v. Gerlach, that the expres- 
sion "the second time" refers to the introduction of circumcision, 
when Abraham was circumcised with all his house, is very far- 
fetched. D^v nta"in are not " sharp knives," but " stone knives," 
which were used according to ancient custom (see at Ex. iv. 25), 
literally knives of rocks (the plural zurim is occasioned by charboth, 
as in Num. xiii. 32, etc. ; the singular might have been used : see 
Ewald, § 270, c). — Ver. 3. Joshua had the circumcision performed 
" at the hill of the foreskins" as the place was afterwards called 
from the fact that the foreskins were buried there. — Vers. 4-7. 
The reason for the circumcision of the whole nation was the follow- 
ing : all the fighting men who came out of Egypt had died in the 
wilderness by the way ; for all the people that came out were cir- 
cumcised ; but all that were born in the wilderness during the jour- 
ney had not been circumcised (pntiao aJ | l *'??> on their coming out 
of Egypt, which only came to an end on their arrival in Canaan). 
They walked forty years in the wilderness ; till all the people — that 
is to say, all the fighting men — who came out of Egypt were con- 
sumed, becaus^ they had not hearkened to the voice of the Lord, 
and had been sentenced by the Lord to die in the wilderness (ver. 6 ; 
cf. Num. xiv. 26 sqq., xxvi. 64, 65, and Deut. ii. 14-16). But 
He (Jehovah) set up their sons in their place, i.e. He caused them 
to take their place ; and these Joshua circumcised (Le. had them 
circumcised), for they were uncircumcised, because they had not 
been circumcised by the way. This explains the necessity for a 
general circumcision of all the people, but does not state the reason 
why those who were born in the wilderness had not been circum- 
cised. All that is affirmed in vers. 5 and 7 is, that this had not 
taken place " by the way." The true reason may be gathered from 
ver. 6, if we compare the statement made in this verse, " for the 
children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the 
men that were capable of bearing arms were consumed . . . unto whom 
the Lord sware that He would not show them the land promised to 
the fathers," with the sentence pronounced by God to which these 
words refer, viz. Num. xiv. 29-34. The Lord is then said to have 
sworn that all the men of twenty years old and upwards, who had 
murmured against Him, should perish in the wilderness ; and though 
their sons should enter the promised land, they too should pasture, 
i.e. lead a nomad life, for forty years in the wilderness, and bear 
the apostasy of their fathers, till their bodies had fallen in the desert. 
This clearly means, that not only was the generation that came out 

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CHAP. V. 1-9. 55 

of Egypt sentenced to die in the wilderness because of its rebellion 
against the Lord, and therefore rejected by God, but the sons of 
this generation had to bear the whoredom, i.e. the apostasy of their 
fathers from the Lord, for the period of forty years, until the latter 
had been utterly consumed ; that is to say, during all this time they 
were to endure the punishment of rejection along with their fathers : 
with this difference alone, that the sons were not to die in the wil- 
derness, but were to be brought into the promised land after their 
fathers were dead. The sentence upon the fathers, that their bodies 
should fall in the desert, was unquestionably a rejection of them on 
the part of God, an abrogation of the covenant with them. This 
punishment was also to be borne by their sons ; and hence the reason 
why those who were born in the desert by the way were not cir- 
cumcised. As the covenant of the Lord with the fathers was abro- 
gated, the sons of the rejected generation were not to receive the 
covenant sign of circumcision. Nevertheless this abrogation of the 
covenant with the generation that had been condemned, was not a 
complete dissolution of the covenant relation, so far as the nation 
as a whole was concerned, since the whole nation had not been 
rejected, but only the generation of men that were capable of bear- 
ing arms when they came out of Egypt, whilst the younger genera- 
tion which had grown np in the desert was to be delivered from the 
ban, which rested upon it as well, and brought into the land of 
Canaan when the time of punishment had expired. For this reason 
the Lord did not withdraw from the nation every sign of His grace ; 
but in order that the consciousness might still be sustained in the 
young and rising generation, that the covenant would he set up 
again with them when the time of punishment had expired, He left 
them not only the presence of the pillar of cloud and fire, but also 
the manna and other tokens of His grace, the continuance of which 
therefore cannot be adduced as an argument against our view of 
the time of punishment as a temporary suspension of the covenant. 
But if this was the reason for the omission of circumcision, 1 it did 

1 This reason was admitted even by Calvin, and has been well supported by 
Hengstenberg (Diss. ii. pp. 13 sqq.). The arguments adduced by Kurtz in oppo- 
sition to this view are altogether unfounded. We have already observed that 
the reason for the suspension is not given in ver. 7 ; and the further remark, 
that in ver. 5 (" all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as 
they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised ") the book of 
Joshua dates the suspension not from the sentence of rejection, but expressly 
and undoubtedly (?) from the departure from Egypt, has no force whatever, 
unless we so press the word all (" all the people that were born in the desert ") 

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not commence till the second year of their journey, viz. at the time 
when the murmuring nation was rejected at Kadesh (Num. xiv.) ; 
so that by " all the people that were born in the wilderness " we are 
to understand those who were born after that time, and during the 
last, thirty-eight years of their wanderings, just as "all the people 
that came out of Egypt" are to be understood as signifying only 
those men who were twenty years old and upwards when they came 
out. Consequently circumcision was suspended as long as the nation 
was under the ban of the divine sentence pronounced upon it at 
Kadesh. This sentence was exhausted when they crossed the brook 
Zared and entered the country of the Amorites (compare Deut. ii. 
14 with Num. xxi. 12, 13). Why, then, was not the circumcision 
performed during the encampment in the steppes of Moab either 

as not to allow of the slightest exception. But this is decidedly precluded by 
the fact, that we cannot imagine it possible for God to have established His 
covenant with the people at a time when they had neglected the fundamental 
law of the covenant, the transgression of which was threatened with destruction 
(Gen. xvii. 14), by neglecting to circumcise all the children who had been born 
between the departure from Egypt and the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai. 
We are also prevented from pressing the little word " all " in this manner by 
the evident meaning of the words before us. In vers. 4 and 5 the Israelites are 
divided into two classes: (1) All the people that came out of Egypt and were 
circumcised; and (2) All the people that were born in the desert and were 
uncircumcised. The first of these died in the wilderness, the second came to 
Canaan and were circumcised by Joshua at Gilgul. But if we should press the 
"word " all " in these clauses, it would follow that all the male children who 
were under twenty years of age at the time of the exodus, either died in the 
desert or were circumcised a second time at Gilgal. Lastly, it does not follow 
from ver. 6 that the circumcision was suspended for exactly forty years ; for 
the forty years during which Israel journeyed in the desert until the mur- 
muring generation was consumed, are to be interpreted by Num. xiv. 88, 34, 
and amounted, chronologically considered, to no more than thirty-eight years 
and a few months (see the commentary on Num. xxiv. 28 sqq.). On the other 
hand, the other very general view which Kurtz adopts — namely, that the circum- 
cision was omitted during the journey through the desert on account of the 
hardships connected with travelling, and because it was impossible to have regard 
to particular families who might wish for longer rest on account of their chil- 
dren who had just been circumcised, and were suffering from the wound, just 
at the time when they had to decamp and journey onward, and they could not 
well be left behind— throws but little light upon the subject, as the assumption 
that the people were constantly wandering about for forty years is altogether 
an unfounded one. The Israelites were not always wandering about : not only 
did they stay at Sinai for eleven whole months, but even after that they halted 
for weeks and months at the different places of encampment, when they might 
havo circumcised their children without the slightest danger of their suffering 
from the wound. 

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CHAP. V. 1-9. 57 

before or after the numbering, since all those who had been sen- 
tenced to die in the wilderness were already dead (Num. xxvi. 65) ? 
The different answers which have been given to this question are 
some of them wrong, and others incomplete. For example, the 
opinion held by some, that the actual reason was that the forty 
years had not yet expired, is incorrect (see Dent. ii. 14). And the 
uncertainty how long they would remain in the steppes of Moab 
cannot be adduced as an explanation, as there were no circumstances 
existing that were likely to occasion a sudden and unexpected de- 
parture from Shittim. The reason why Moses did not renew the 
circumcision before the end of his own life, is to be sought for in 
the simple fact that he would not undertake an act of such import- 
ance without an express command from the Lord, especially as he 
was himself under sentence to die without entering the promised 
land. But the Lord did not enjoin the renewal of the covenant 
sign before Israel had been conducted into the promised land, 
because He saw fit first of all to incline the hearts of the people to 
carry out His commandment through this magnificent proof of His 
grace. It is the rule of divine grace first to give and then to ask. 
As the Lord did not enjoin circumcision as a covenant duty upon 
Abraham himself till He had given him a practical proof of His 
grace by leading him to Oanaan, and by repeated promises of a 
numerous posterity, and of the eventual possession of the land ; and 
just as He did not give the law to the children of Israel at Sinai 
till He had redeemed them with a mighty arm from the bondage 
of Egypt, and borne them on eagles' wings,' and brought them to 
Himself, and had thereby made them willing to promise gladly to 
fulfil all that He should say to them as His covenant nation ; so 
now He did not require the renewal of circumcision, which involved 
as the covenant sign the observance of the whole law, till He had 
given His people practical proofs, through the help afforded in the 
defeat of Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and in the 
miraculous division of the waters of Jordan, that He was able to 
remove all the obstacles that might he in the way of the fulfilment 
of His promises, and give them the promised land for their inherit- 
ance, as He had sworn to their fathers. 

Ver. 8. When the rite of circumcision had been performed upon 
them all, the people remained quietly in the camp till those who 
were circumcised had recovered. " They abode in their places" 
ue. sat still as they were, without attempting anything. JWf, to 
revive (Gen. xlv. 27 ; Job xiv. 14), or recover (2 Kings L 2, viii. 8, 

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etc.). The circumcision of the people could not be performed 
earlier than the day after the crossing of the Jordan, i.e., according 
to chap. iv. 19, not earlier than the 11th day of the first month. 
Now, as the passover was to be kept, and actually was kept, on the 
14th (ver. 10), the two accounts are said to be irreconcilable, and 
the account of the circumcision has been set down as a later and 
unhistorical legend. But the objections made to the historical 
credibility of this account — viz. that the suffering consequent upon 
circumcision made a person ill for several days, and according to 
Qen. xxxiv. 25 was worst on the third day, so that the people could 
not have kept the passover on that day, and also that the people 
could not possibly have been all circumcised on one day — are founded 
upon false assumptions. In the latter, for example, the number of 
persons to be circumcised is estimated, most absurdly, at a million ; 
whereas, according to the general laws of population, the whole 
of the male population of Israel, which contained only 601,730 of 
twenty years of age and upwards, besides 23,000 Levites of a 
month old and upwards, when the census was taken a short time 
before in the steppes of Moab, could not amount to more than a 
million in all, and of these between 280,000 and 330,000 were 
thirty-eight years old, and therefore, having been born before the 
sentence was pronounced upon the nation at Kadesh, and for the 
most part before the exodus from Egypt, had been already circum- 
cised, so that there were only 670,000, or at the most 720,000, to 
be circumcised now. Consequently the proportion between the 
circumcised and uncircumcised was one to three or three and a 
half ; and the operation could therefore be completed without any 
difficulty in the course of a single day. As regards the conse- 
quences of this operation, Gen. xxxiv. 25 by no means proves that 
the pain was most acute on the third day ; and even if this really 
were the case, it would not prevent the keeping of the passover, as 
the lambs could have been killed and prepared by the 280,000 or 
330,000 circumcised men ; and even those who were still unwell 
could join in the meal, since it was only Levitical uncleanness, and 
not disease or pain, which formed a legal impediment to this (Num. 
ix. 10 sqq.). x But if there were about 300,000 men of the age of 
forty and upwards who could not only perform the rite of circum- 
cision upon their sons or younger brothers, but, if necessary, were 
able at any moment to draw the jsword, there was no reason what- 

1 For the basis upon which this computation rests, see Keifs Commentary on 
Joshua, p 139 (Eng. trans. 1857). 

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CHAP. V. 1-9. 59 

ever for their being afraid of an attack on the part of the Canaan- 
ites, even if the latter had not been paralyzed by the miraculous 
crossing of the Jordan. — Ver. 9. When the circumcision was com- 
pleted, the Lord said to Joshua, " This day have I rolled away the 
reproach of Egypt from off you." u The reproach of Egypt" is the 
reproach proceeding from Egypt, as " the reproach of Moab," in 
Zeph. ii. 8, is the reproach heaped upon Israel by Moab (cf. Isa. li. 
7 ; Ezek. xvi. 57). We are not to understand by this the Egyptian 
bondage, or the misery which still cleaved to the Israelites from 
Egypt, and the still further misery which they had suffered during 
their journey, on account of the displeasure of Jehovah (Knobel), 
but the reproach involved in the thoughts and sayings of the 
Egyptians, that Jehovah had brought the Israelites out of Egypt 
to destroy them in the desert (Ex. xxxii. 12 ; Num. xiv. 13-16 ; 
Dent. ix. 28), which rested upon Israel as long as it was condemned 
to wander restlessly about and to die in the wilderness. This 
reproach was rolled away from Israel with the circumcision of the 
people at Gilgal, inasmuch as this act was a practical declaration of 
the perfect restoration of the covenant, and a pledge that the Lord 
would now give them the land of Canaan for their inheritance. 
From this occurrence the place where the Israelites were encamped 
received the name of Gilgal, viz. " rolling away," from ??$, to roll. 
This explanation and derivation of the name is not to be pro- 
nounced incorrect and unhistorical, simply because it merely pre- 
serves the subordinate idea of rolling, instead of the fuller idea of 
the rolling away of reproach. For the intention was not to form 
a word which should comprehend the whole affair with exhaustive 
minuteness, but simply to invent a striking name which should 
recall the occurrence, like the name Tomi, of which Ovid gives the 
following explanation : Inde Tomos dictus locus est quia fertur in 
illo membra soror fratris consecuisse sui (Trist. iii. 9, 33). Knobel 
is wrong in maintaining that the name should be explained in a 
different way, and that this Gilgal is the same as Geliloth (circles) 
in chap, xviii. 17 (see the explanation given at chap. xv. 7). The 
word gilgal, formed from \hi, to roll, signifies primarily rolling, then 
a wheel (Isa. xxviii. 28) ; and if by possibility it signifies orbis also, 
like 7?), this is neither the original nor the only meaning of the 
word. According to Josephus (Ant. v. 1, 4), Israel encamped fifty 
stadia, ix. two hours and a half, from the Jordan, and ten stadia, or 
half an hour, from Jericho, — that is to say, in the plain or steppe 
between Jericho and the Jordan, in an uninhabited and unculti- 

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vated spot, which received the name of Gilgal for the first time, as 
the place where the Israelites were encamped. No town or village 
ever existed there, either at the period in question or at any later 
time. The only other places in which this Gilgal can he shown to 
be evidently referred to, are Micah vi. 5 and 2 Sam. xix. 16, 41 ; and 
the statement made by Eusebius in the Onom. s. v. Galgala, hekcinnat 
6 T07ro? eprj/ws <o? lepos 0fn)<TKev6/Aevo$, which Jerome paraphrases 
thus, " Even to the present day a deserted place is pointed out at 
the second mile from Jericho, which is held in amazing reverence 
by the inhabitants of that region," by no means proves the exist- 
ence of a town or village there in the time of the Israelites. Con- 
sequently it is not to be wondered at, that in spite of repeated 
search, Robinson has not been able to discover any remains of* 
Gilgal to the east of Jericho, or to meet with any Arab who could 
tell him of such a name in this locality (see Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 287-8 
and 278). On the situation of the GHgal mentioned in chap. ix. 6, 
x. 6, etc., see at chap. viii. 35. 

Vers. 10-14. The Passoveb at Gilgal. — When the whole 
nation had been received again into covenant with the Lord by 
circumcision, they kept the passover, which had no doubt been 
suspended from the time that they left Sinai (Num. ix. 1 sqq.), on 
the 14th of the month (Nisan), in the evening (according to the 
law in Ex. xii. 6, 18, Lev. xxiii. 5, Num. xxviii. 16, Dent. xvi. 6). 
The next day, i.e. on the 16th, or the day after the first feast-day, 
they ate unleavened loaves and parched corn (" roasted grains," see 
at Lev. ii. 14) of the produce of the land ("WW, 1 which only occurs 
in vers. 11 and 12, is synonymous with nwaFi 2 in ver. 12), i.e. corn 
that had grown in the land of Canaan, as the manna entirely 
ceased from this day forwards. " The morrow after the passover" 
is used in Num. xxxiii. 3 for the 15th Nisan ; but here it must be 
understood as signifying the 16th, as the produce of the land, of 
which they ate not only on that day, but, according to ver. 12, 
throughout that year, canuot mean the corn of the previous year, 
but the produce of this same year, i.e. the new corn, and they were 
not allowed to eat any of that till it had been sanctified to the 
Lord by the presentation of the wave sheaf on the second day of 
the passover (Lev. xxiii. 11). According to Lev. xxiii. 11, the 
presentation was to take place on the day after the Sabbath, ue. the 

1 Rendered " old corn" in the Eng. version. 
1 Rendered fruit in our version. 

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CHAP. V. 18-VL 27. 61 

first day of the feast of Mazzoth, which was kept as a Sabbath, or 
the 16th of Nisan, as the seven days' feast of Mazzoth commenced 
on the 15th (Lev. xxiii. 6 ; Num. xxviii. 17). " On the morrow 
after the passover" is the same as " on the morrow after the Sab- 
bath" in Lev. xxiii. 11, the term passover being used here not in 
its original and more restricted sense, in which it applies exclusively 
to the observance of the paschal meal, which took place on the 
evening of the 14th, and is expressly distinguished from the seven 
days' feast of Mazzoth (Ex. xii. 23, 27 ; Lev. xxiii. 5 ; Num. xxviii. 
16), but in the broader sense, which we have already met with in 
Dent. xvi. 2, in which tbe name was gradually extended to the 
whole of the seven days' feast. The writer assumed that the facts 
themselves were already well known from the Mosaic law, and 
therefore did not think it necessary to give any fuller explanation. 
Moreover, the words, " they did eat of the fruit of the land," etc., 
are not to be understood as signifying that they began to eat un- 
leavened bread for the first time on the 16th Nisan (they had 
already eaten it as an accompaniment to the paschal lamb) ; but 
unleavened bread of the produce of tbe land, the green corn of 
that year, was what they ate for the first time on that day. 
Especial prominence is given to this by the words, u in the self- 
same day," because not only did the eating of the new corn com- 
mence on that day, but from that day forward u the children of 
Israel had manna no more'' This statement is evidently related to 
Ex. xvi. 35, and must be understood, according to that passage, 
as merely signifying, that on that day the gift of the manna 
entirely ceased (see Pentateuch, vol. ii. pp. 70 sqq.). 

JERICHO. — CHAP. V. 18-VI. 27. 

Having been confirmed and fortified in the covenant with the 
Lord through the observance of the passover, Joshua determined 
to proceed at once to the work entrusted to him, viz. the conquest 
of the land of Canaan. But the town of Jericho, which was sur- 
rounded with strong walls, as the border defence of Canaan against 
any foe approaching from the east, had its gates shut before the 
children of Israel. And whilst Joshua was deep in meditation 
concerning its capture, the angel of the Lord appeared to him to 
announce that the Lord had given Jericho and its king into his 
power, and would miraculously throw down its walls. 

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Chap. v. 13-vi. 5. Appeabanoe and Message op the Angel 
op the Lord. — Vers. 13-15. When Joshua was by Jericho, in*"?'?, 
lit. in Jericho (2 expressing immediate proximity, the entrance as 
it were into some other object, vid. JEwald, § 217), — that is to say, 
inside it in thought, meditating upon the conquest of it, — he saw, on 
lifting up his eyes, a man standing before him with a drawn sword 
in his hand ; and on going up to him, and asking, " Dost thou belong 
to us or to our enemies ?" he received this reply : " Nay (JO is not 
to be altered into \b, which is the reading adopted in the Sept., 
Syr., and a few mss.), but I am the prince of the army of Jehovah ; 
now I am come." The person who had appeared neither belonged 
to the Israelites nor to their enemies, but was the prince of the 
army of Jehovah, i.e. of the angels. u The Lord's host" does not 
mean " the people of Israel, who were just at the commencement 
of their warlike enterprise," as v. Hofmann supposes ; for although 
the host of Israel who came out of Egypt are called " the hosts of 
the Lord" in Ex. xu. 41, the Israelites are never called the host or 
army of Jehovah (in the singular). "The host of Jehovah" is 
synonymous with " the host of heaven" (1 Kings xxii. 19), and 
signifies the angels, as in Ps. cxlviii. 2 and ciii. 21. With the 
words " now I am come" the prince of the angels is about to enter 
upon an explanation of the object of his coming; but he is interrupted 
in his address by Joshua, who falls down before him, and says, 
" What saith my lord to his servant?" so that now he first of all com- 
mands Joshua to take off his shoes, as the place on which he stands 
is holy. It by no means follows that because Joshua fell down 
upon the ground and VWB* (Eng. Ver. " did worship"), he must 
have recognised him at once as the angel of the Lord who was 
equal with God ; for the word njnne'n, which is connected with the 
falling down, does not always mean divine worship, but very fre- 
quently means nothing more than the deep Oriental reverence paid 
by a dependant to his superior or king (e.g. 2 Sam. ix. 6, xiv. 33), 
and Joshua did not address the person who appeared to him by the 
name of God, 'i^N, but simply as , 3 U W, " My lord." In any case, 
however, Joshua regarded him at once as a superior being, £.«. an 
angel. And he must have recognised him as something more than 
a created angel of superior rank, that is to say, as the angel of 
Jehovah who is essentially equal with God, the visible revealer of 
the invisible God, as soon as he gave him the command to take 
off his shoes, etc., — a command which would remind him of the 
appearance of God to Moses in the burning bush, and which im- 

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CHAP. VI. 1-5. 63 

plied that the person who now appeared was the very person who 
had revealed himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob. (On the meaning of the command to take off the shoes, see 
the exposition of Ex. iii. 5.) The object of the divine appearance 
was indicated by the drawn sword in the hand (cf . Num. xxii. 31), 
by which he manifested himself as a heavenly warrior, or, as he 
describes himself to Joshua, as prince of the army of Jehovah. 
The drawn sword contained in itself this practical explanation : 
" I am now come with my heavenly army, to make war upon the 
Canaanites, and to assist thee and thy people" (Seb. Schmidt). It 
was not in a vision that this appearance took place, but it was an 
actual occurrence belonging to the external world ; for Joshua 
saw the man with the drawn sword at a certain distance from 
himself, and went up to him to address him, — a fact which would 
be perfectly incompatible with an inward vision. 

Chap. vi. 1-5. When Joshua had taken off his shoes, the prince 
of the army of God made known to him the object of his coming 
(vers. 2-5). But before relating the message, the historian first of 
all inserts a remark concerning the town of Jericho, in the form 
of an explanatory clause, for the purpose of showing the precise 
meaning of the declaration which follows. 1 This meaning is to 
be found not merely in the fact that the Lord was about to give 
Jericho into the hands of the Israelites, but chiefly in the fact 
that the town which He was about to give into their hands was so 
strongly fortified. — Ver. 1. " Jericho was shutting its gates (yid. Judg. 
ix. 51), and closely shut." The participles express the permanence 
of the situation, and the combination of the active and passive in 
the emphatic form n 7?9? (LXX. <TvyK€K\eio-ftei») xal wyypafievv ; 
Vulg. clausa erat atque munita) serves to strengthen the idea, to 
which still further emphasis is given by the clause, " no one was 

1 If there is any place in which the division of chapters is unsuitable, it is 
so here ; for the appearance of the prince of the angels does not terminate with 
chap. t. 15, bat what he had come to communicate follows in chap. vi. 2-5, and 
chap. vi. 1 merely contains an explanatory clause inserted before his message, 
which serves to throw light upon the situation (vid. Ewald, § 841). If we 
regard the account of the appearance of the angel as terminating with chap. v. 
15, as Knobel and other commentators have done, we must of necessity assume 
either that the account has come down to us in a mutilated form, or that the 
appearance ceased without any commission being given. The one is as incredible 
as the other. The latter especially is without analogy ; for the appearance in 
Acts x. 9 sqq., which 0. v. Gerlach cites as similar, contains a very distinct 
explanation in vers. 13-16. 

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going out and in" i.e. so firmly shut that no one could go out or in. 
— Ver. 2. "And the Lord said to Joshua:" this is the sequel to 
chap. v. 15, as ver. 1 is merely a parenthesis and Jehovah is the 
prince of the army of Jehovah (chap. v. 14), or the angel of 
Jehovah, who is frequently identified with Jehovah (see Penta- 
teuch, vol. i. pp. 184 sqq.). " See, I have given into thy hand 
Jericho and its king, tlie mighty men of valour." (" Have given," 
referring to the purpose of God, which was already resolved upon, 
though the fulfilment was still in the future.) " The mighty men 
of valour" (brave warriors) is in apposition to Jericho, regarded as 
a community, and its king. In vers. 3-5 there follows an expla- 
nation of the way in which the Lord would give Jericho into the 
hand of Joshua. All the Israelitish men of war were to go round 
the town once a day for six days. nnK DVB . . . *?$}, "going round 
about the city once," serves as a fuller explanation of Wtia? ("ye 
shall compass"). As they marched in this manner round the city, 
seven priests were to carry seven jubilee trumpets before the ark, 
which implies that the ark itself was to be carried round the city in 
solemn procession. But on the seventh day they were to march 
round the town seven times, and the priests to blow the trumpets ; 
and when there was a blast with the jubilee horn, and the people 
on hearing the sound of the trumpet raised a great cry, the wall of 
the town should fall down " under itself." The " jubilee trumpets" 
(Eng. Ver. " trumpets of rams' horns") are the same as the " jubilee 
horn" (Eng. Ver. " rams' horn") in ver. 5, for which the abbreviated 
form shopliar (trumpet, ver. 5 ; cf. Ex. xix. 16) or jobel (jubilee : 
Ex. xix. 13) is used. They were not the silver trumpets of the 
priests (Num. x. 1 sqq.), but large horns, or instruments in the 
shape of a horn, which gave a loud far-sounding tone (see at Lev. 
xxiii. 24, xxv. 11). For *Ba Jfj?n, blow the trumpet (lit. strike the 
trumpet), in ver. 4, fji?? W?, draw with the horn, i.e. blow the horn 
with long-drawn notes, is used in ver. 5 (see at Ex. xix. 13). The 
people were then to go up, i.e. press into the town over the fallen 
wall ; " every one straight before him," i.e. every one was to go 
straight into the town without looking round at his neighbour either 
on the right hand or on the left (vid. ver. 20). 

Vers. 6-27. Taking op Jericho. — In the account of this we 
have first of all a brief statement of the announcement of the 
divine message by Joshua to the priests and the people (vers. 6, 7) ; 
then the execution of the divine command (vers. 8-20) ; and lastly 

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CHAP. VI. 6-27. 05 

the burning of Jericho and deliverance of Rahab (vers. 21-27). — 
Vers. 6, 7. In communicating the divine command with reference 
to the arrangements for taking Jericho, Joshua mentions in the 
first place merely the principal thing to be observed. The plural 
nOK»1 (" they said"), in ver. 7, must not be altered, but is to be 
explained on the ground that Joshua did not make the proclama- 
tion to the people himself, but through the medium of the shoterim, 
who were appointed to issue his commands (see chap. i. 10, 11, iii. 
2, 3). In this proclamation the more minute instructions concerning 
the order of march, which had been omitted in vers. 3-5, are given ; 
namely, that Y^^\} was to march in front of the ark. By r&nri, 
u the equipped (or armed) man," we are not to understand all the 
fighting men, as Knobel supposes; for in the description of the 
march which follows, the whole of the fighting men (" all the men 
of war," ver. 3) are divided into P^nri and IBNB? (Eng. Ver. " the 
armed men" and " the rereward," vers. 9 and 13), so that the former 
can only have formed one division of the army. It is very natural 
therefore to suppose, as Kimchi and Bashi do, that the former were 
the fighting men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh 
(K3Jrn "vbn, chap. iv. 13), and the latter the fighting men of the rest 
of the tribes. On the meaning of 1BNB, see at Num. x. 25. If 
we turn to the account of the facts themselves, we shall see at once, 
that in the report of the angel's message, in vers. 3-5, several 
other points have been passed over for the purpose of avoiding too 
many repetitions, and have therefore to be gathered from the 
description of what actually occurred. First of all, in vers. 8-10, 
we have the appointment of the order of marching, namely, that 
the ark, with the priests in front carrying the trumpets of jubilee, 
was to form the centre of the procession, and that one portion of 
the fighting men was to go in front of it, and the rest to follow 
after ; that the priests were to blow the trumpets every time they 
marched round during the seven days (vers. 8, 9, 13) ; and lastly, 
that it was not till the seventh time of going round, on the seventh 
day, that the people were to raise the war-cry at the command of 
Joshua, and then the walls of the town were to fall (vers. 10, 16). 
There can be no doubt that we are right in assuming that Joshua 
had received from the angel the command which he issued to the 
people in vers. 17 sqq., that the whole town, with all its inhabitants 
and everything in it, was to be given up as a ban to the Lord, at the 
time when the first announcement concerning the fall of the town 
was made. 

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Vers. 8-20. Execution of the divine Command. — Vers. 8—11. 
The march round on the first day ; and the instructions as to the 
war-cry to he raised hy the people, which are appended as a supple- 
ment in ver. 10. " Before Jehovah" instead of " before the ark of 
Jehovah," as the signification of the ark was derived entirely from 
the fact, that it was the medium through which Jehovah communi- 
cated His gracious presence to the people. In ver. 9, Wpn is in the 
perfect tense, and we must supply the relative "it?K, which is some- 
times omitted, not only in poetry, but also in prose, after a definite 
noun in the accusative (e.g. Ex. xviii. 20 ; see Ewald, § 332, a.). 
There is not sufficient ground for altering the form of the word 
into 'Vph, according to the Keri, as Vi?fi is construed in other cases 
with the accusative "^Bfy instead of with 3, and that not only in 
poetry, but also in prose (e.g. Judg. vii. 22, as compared with vers. 
18-20). tfprn ^n, " trumpeting continually" (Eng. Ver. " going 
on and blowing"). ^ is used adverbially, as in Gen. viii. 3, etc. 
— Ver. 11. " So the ark of the Lord compassed the city" not " Joshua 
caused the ark to compass the city." The Hiphil has only an 
active, not a causative, meaning here, as in 2 Sam. v. 23, etc. — Vers. 
12—14. The march on each of the next five days resembled that on 
the first. " So they did six days." In ver. 13, typn"! does not stand 
for Jf'pri'!, but corresponds to Wpni in ver. 8 ; and the participle "HTin 
is used interchangeably with the inf. abs. "rfon, as in Gen. xxvi. 13, 
Judg. iv. 24, etc., so that the Keri w[J is an unnecessary emenda- 
tion. — Vers. 15-19. On the seventh day the marching round the town 
commenced very early, at the dawning of the day, that they might 
go round seven times. &??'??, in the manner prescribed and 
carried out on the previous days, which had become a right through 
precept and practice. On the seventh circuit, when the priests had 
blown the trumpet, Joshua commanded the fighting men to raise a 
war-cry, announcing to them at the same time that the town, with 
all that was in it, was to be a ban to the Lord, with the exception 
of Rahab and the persons in her house, and warning them not to 
take of that which was laid under the ban, that they might not 
bring a ban upon the camp of Israel. The construction in ver. 16, 
u it came to pass at the seventli time the priests had blown the trumpets, 
then Joshua said, . . ." is more spirited than if the conjunction * 1 K'lQ 
had been used before WpR, or V^pna had been used. Because the 
Lord had given Jericho into the hands of the Israelites, they were 
to consecrate it to Him as a ban (cherem), i.e. as a holy thing be- 
longing to Jehovah, which was not to be touched by man, as being 

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CHAP. VL 8-20. 67 

the first-fruits of the land of Canaan. (On cherem, see the remarks 
at Lev. xxvii. 28, 29.) Eahab alone was excepted from this ban, 
along with all that belonged to her, because she had hidden the 
spies. The inhabitants of an idolatrous town laid under the ban 
were to be put to death, together with their cattle, and all the pro- 
perly in the town to be burned, as Moses himself had enjoined on 
the basis of the law in Lev. xxvii. 29. The only exceptions were 
metals, gold, silver, and the vessels of brass and iron ; these were 
to be brought into the treasury of the Lord, i.e. the treasury of the 
tabernacle, as being holy to the Lord (ver. 19 ; vid. Num. xxxi. 54). 
Whoever took to himself anything that had been laid under the 
ban, exposed himself to the ban, not only because he had brought 
an abomination into his house, as Moses observes in Deut. vii. 25, 
in relation to the gold and silver of idols, but because he had 
wickedly invaded the rights of the Lord, by appropriating that 
which had been laid under the ban, and had wantonly violated the 
ban itself. The words, u beware of the ban, that ye do not ban and 
take of the ban" (ver. 18), point to this. As Lud. de Dieu observes, 
u the two things were altogether incompatible, to devote everything 
to God, and yet to apply a portion to their own private use ; either 
the thing should not have been devoted, or having been devoted, it 
was their duty to abstain from it." Any such appropriation of 
what had been laid under the ban would make the camp of Israel 
itself a ban, and trouble it, i.e. bring it into trouble (conturbare, cf. 
Gen. xxxiv. 30). In consequence of the trumpet-blast and the 
war-cry raised by the people, the walls of the town fell together, 
and the Israelites rushed into the town and took it, as had been 
foretold in ver. 5. The position of DJfn JTW is not to be understood 
as signifying that the people had raised the war-cry before the 
trumpet-blast, but may be explained on the ground, that in his 
instructions in ver. 16 Joshua had only mentioned the shouting. 
But any misinterpretation is prevented by the fact, that it is ex- 
pressly stated immediately afterwards, that the people did not raise 
the great shout till they heard the trumpet-blast. 

As far as the event itself is concerned, the different attempts 
which have been made to explain the miraculous overthrow of the 
walls of Jericho as a natural occurrence, whether by an earthquake, 
or by mining, or by sudden storming, for which the inhabitants, 
who had been thrown into a false security by the marvellous proces- 
sion repeated day after day for several days, were quite unprepared 
(as Ewald has tried to explain the miracle away), really deserve no 

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serious refutation, being all of them arbitrarily forced upon the 
text. It is only from the naturalistic stand-point that the miracle 
could ever be denied; for it not only follows most appropriately 
upon the miraculous guidance of Israel through the Jordan, but is 
in perfect harmony with the purpose and spirit of the divine plan 
of salvation. " It is impossible," says Hess, " to imagine a more 
striking way, in which it could have been shown to the Israelites 
that Jehovah had given them the town. Now the river must retire 
to give them an entrance into the land, and now again the wall 
of the town must fall to make an opening into a fortified place. 
Two such decisive proofs of the co-operation of Jehovah so shortly 
after Moses' death, must have furnished a pledge, even to the most 
sensual, that the same God was with them who had led their fathers 
so mightily and so miraculously through the Red Sea." That this 
was in part the intention of the miracle, we learn from the close 
of the narrative (ver. 27). But this does not explain the true object 
of the miracle, or the reason why God gave up this town to the 
Israelites without any fighting on their part, through the miraculous 
overthrow of their walls. The reason for this we have to look for 
in the fact that Jericho was not only the first, but the strongest 
town of Canaan, and as such was the key to the conquest of the 
whole land, the possession of which would open the way to the 
whole, and give the whole, as it were, into their hands. The Lord 
would give His people the first and strongest town of Canaan, as 
the first-fruits of the land, without any effort on their part, as a 
sign that He was about to give them the whole land for a pos- 
session, according to His promise; in order that they might not 
regard the conquest of it as their own work, or the fruit of their 
own exertions, and look upon the land as a well-merited possession 
which they could do as they pleased with, but that they might ever 
use it as a gracious gift from the Lord, which he had merely con- 
ferred upon them as a trust, and which He could take away again, 
whenever they might fall from Him, and render themselves un- 
worthy of His grace. This design on the part of God would of 
necessity become very obvious in the case of so strongly fortified a 
town as Jericho, whose walls would appear impregnable to a people 
that had grown up in the desert and was so utterly without expe- 
rience in the art of besieging or storming fortified places, and in 
fact would necessarily remain impregnable, at all events for a long 
time, without the interposition of God. But if this was the reason 
why the Lord gave up Jericho to the Israelites by a miracle, it does 

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CHAP. VI. 8-20. 69 

not explain either the connection between the blast of trumpets or 
the war-cry of the people and the falling of the walls, or the reason 
for the divine instructions that the town was to be marched round 
every day for seven days, and seven times on the seventh day. Yet 
as this was an appointment of divine wisdom, it must have had 
some meaning. 

The significance of this repeated marching round the town cul- 
minates unquestionably in the ark of the covenant and the trumpet- 
blast of the priests who went before the ark. In the account before 
us the ark is constantly called the ark of the Lord, to show that the 
Lord, who was enthroned upon the cherubim of the ark, was going 
round the hostile town in the midst of His people ; whilst in ver. 8 
Jehovah himself is mentioned in the place of the ark of Jehovah. 
Seven priests went before the ark, bearing jubilee trumpets and 
blowing during the march. The first time that we read of a trumpet- 
blast is at Sinai, where the Lord announced His descent upon the 
mount to the people assembled at the foot to receive Him, not only 
by other fearful phenomena, but also by a loud and long-continued 
trumpet-blast (Ex. xix. 16, 19, xx. 14 (18)). After this we find the 
blowing of trumpets prescribed as part of the Israelitish worship in 
connection with the observance of the seventh new moon's day (Lev. 
xxiii. 24), and at the proclamation of the great year of jubilee (Lev. 
xxv. 9). Just as the trumpet-blast heard by the people when the 
covenant was made at Sinai was as it were a herald's call, announcing 
to the tribes of Israel the arrival of the Lord their God to complete 
His covenant and establish His kingdom upon earth; so the blowing 
of trumpets in connection with the round of feasts was intended 
partly to bring the people into remembrance before the Lord year by 
year at the commencement of the sabbatical month, that He might 
come to them and grant them the Sabbath rest of His kingdom, and 
partly at the end of every seven times seven years to announce on 
the great day of atonement the coming of the great year of grace 
and freedom, which was to bring to the people of God deliverance 
from bondage, return to their own possessions, and deliverance from 
the bitter labours of this earth, and to give them a foretaste of the 
blessed and glorious liberty to which the children of God would 
attain at the return of the Lord to perfect His kingdom (vid. Pen- 
tateuch, vol. ii. pp. 466-7). But when the Lord comes to found, to 
build up, and to perfect His kingdom upon earth, He also comes to 
overthrow and destroy the worldly power which opposes His kingdom. 
The revelation of the grace and mercy of God to His children, goes 

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ever siae by side with the revelation of justice and judgment towards 
the ungodly who are His foes. If therefore the blast of trumpets 
was the signal to the congregation of Israel of the gracious arrival 
of the Lord its God to enter into fellowship with it, no less did it 
proclaim the advent of judgment to an ungodly world. This shows 
clearly enough the meaning of the trumpet-blast at Jericho. The 
priests, who went before the ark of the covenant (the visible throne 
of the invisible God who dwelt among His people) and in the midst 
of the hosts of Israel, were to announce through the blast of trumpets 
both to the Israelites and Canaanites the appearance of the Lord of 
the whole earth for judgment upon Jericho, the strong bulwark of 
the Oanaanitish power and rule, and to foretel to them through the 
falling of the walls of this fortification, which followed the blast of 
trumpets and the war-cry of the soldiers of God, the overthrow of 
all the strong bulwarks of an ungodly world through the omnipotence 
of the Lord of heaven and earth. Thus the fall of Jericho became 
the symbol and type of the overthrow of every worldly power before 
the Lord, when He should come to lead His people into Canaan 
and establish His kingdom upon earth. On the ground of this 
event, the blowing of trumpets is frequently introduced in the 
writings of the prophets, as the signal and symbolical omen of the 
manifestations of the Lord in great judgments, through which He 
destroys one worldly power after another, and thus maintains and 
extends His kingdom upon earth, and leads it on towards that 
completion to which it will eventually attain when He descends 
from heaven in His glory at the time of the last trump, with a 
great shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, 
to raise the dead and change the living, to judge the world, cast 
the devil, death, and hell into the lake of fire, create a new heaven 
and new earth, and in the new Jerusalem erect the tabernacle of 
God among men for all eternity (1 Cor. xv. 51 sqq. ; 1 Thess. iv. 
16, 17 ; Rev. xx. and xxi.). 

The appointment of the march round Jericho, which was to be 
continued for seven days, and to be repeated seven times on the 
seventh day, was equally significant. The number seven is a 
symbol in the Scriptures of the work of God and of the perfection 
already produced or to be eventually secured by Him ; a symbol 
founded upon the creation of the world in six days, and the comple- 
tion of the works of creation by the resting of God upon the seventh 
day. Through this arrangement, that the walls of Jericho were 
not to fall till after they had been marched round for seven days, 

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CHAP. VI. 21-27. 71 

and not till after this had been repeated seven times on the seventh 
day, and then amidst the blast of the jubilee trumpets and the 
war-cry of the soldiers of the people of God, the destruction of this 
town, the key to Canaan, was intended by God to become a type 
of the final destruction at the last day of the power of this world, 
which exalts itself against the kingdom of God. In this way He not 
only showed to His congregation that it would not be all at once, 
but only after long-continued conflict, and at the end of the world, 
that the worldly power by which it was opposed would be over- 
thrown, but also proved to the enemies of His kingdom, that 
however long their power might sustain itself in opposition to the 
kingdom of God, it would at last be destroyed in a moment 

Vers. 21-27. After the taking of Jericho, man and beast were 
banned, i.e. put to death without quarter (ver. 21 ; cf. ver. 17) ; 
Rahab and her relations being the only exceptions. Joshua had 
directed the two spies to fetch them out of her house, and in the 
first instance had them taken to a place of safety outside the camp 
of Israel (vers. 22, 23). "Her brethren" i.e. her brothers and 
sisters, as in chap, ii; 13, not her brothers only. "All that she had " 
does not mean all her possessions, but all the persons belonging to 
her house ; and " all her kindred " are all her relations by birth or 
marriage, with their dependants (cf. chap. ii. 13). Clericus is 
correct in observing, that as Rahab's house was built against the 
town-wall, and rested partly upon it (chap. ii. 15), when the wall 
fell down, that portion against or upon which the house stood 
cannot have fallen along with the rest, " otherwise when the wall 
fell no one would have dared to remain in the house." But we 
must not draw the further inference, that when the town was burned 
Rahab's house was spared. 1 'W pnp tnmw (ver. 23 ; cf. Gen. xix. 
16), " they let them rest" i.e. placed them in safety, " outside the 
camp of Israel" sc. till they had done all that was requisite for a 
formal reception into the congregation of the Lord, viz. by giving 
up idolatry and heathen superstition, and turning to the God of 
Israel as the only true God (to which circumcision had to be added 
in the case of the men), and by whatever lustrations and purifica- 
tions were customary at the time in connection with reception into 
the covenant with Jehovah, of which we have no further informa- 
tion. — Vers. 24, 25. After man and beast had been put to death, 

1 The statements made by travellers in the middle ages, to the effect that 
they had Been Rahab's house (Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 295-6), belong to the delusions 
of pious superstition. 

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and Rahab and her relatives had been placed in security, the 
Israelites set the town on fire with everything in it, excepting the 
metals, which were taken to the treasury of the tabernacle, as had 
been commanded in ver. 19. On the conquest of the other towns 
of Canaan the inhabitants only were put to death, whilst the cattle 
and the rest of the booty fell to the conquerors, just as in the case of 
the conquest of the land and towns of Sihon and Og (compare chap, 
viii. 26, 27, x. 28, with Deut. ii. 34, 35, and iii. 6, 7), as it was only 
the inhabitants of Canaan that the Lord had commanded to be put 
under the ban (Deut. vii. 2, xx. 16, 17). In the case of Jericho, 
on the contrary, men, cattle, and booty were all put under the ban, 
and the town itself was to be laid in ashes. This was because 
Jericho was the first town of Canaan which the Lord had given up 
to His people. Israel was therefore to sacrifice it to the Lord as 
the first-fruits of the land, and to sanctify it to Him as a thing 
placed under the ban, for a sign that they had received the whole 
land as a fief from his hand, and had no wish to grasp as a prey 
that which belonged to the Lord. — Ver. 25. But Rahab and all 
that belonged to her Joshua suffered to live, so that she dwelt in 
Israel " unto this day." It is very evident from this remark, that 
the account was written not very long after the event. 1 

Vers. 26, 27. But in order to complete the ban pronounced 
upon Jericho in perfect accordance with the command of God in 
Deut. xiii. 17, and to make the destruction of it a memorial to pos- 
terity of the justice of God sanctifying itself upon the ungodly, 
Joshua completed the ban with an oath : " Cursed be the man before 
the Lord that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho ; he shall lay 
the foundation thereof at the price of his first-born, and set up its 
gates at the price of his youngest son " (3 denoting the price of a 

1 Rahab is no doubt the same person as the Rachab mentioned in the 
genealogy of Jesus Christ, who married Salmon the tribe prince of Judah, to 
whom she bore Boaz, an ancestor of David (Matt. i. 5). The doubts which 
Theophylact expressed as to the identity of the two, and which J. Oulhov has 
since sought to confirm, rest for the mo6t part upon the same doctrinal scruples 
as those which induced the author of the Chaldee version to make Rahab 
an innkeeper, namely, the offence taken at her dishonourable calling. Jerome's 
view, on the other hand, is a very satisfactory one. " In the genealogy of the 
Saviour," he says, " none of the holy women are included, but only those 
whom the Scriptures blame, that He who came on behalf of sinners, being 
himself born of sinners, might destroy the sins of all." The different ways in 
which the name is written, viz. $ '¥*%*& in Matthew, and 'P««/3 in the Sept. 
version of Joshua, and in Heb. xi. 31 and James ii. 25, is not enough to throw 

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CHAP. VL 26, 27. 73 

thing). The rhythmical parallelism is unmistakeable in this curse. 
The two last clauses express the thought that the builder of the 
town would pay for its restoration by the loss of all his sons, from 
the first-born to the very youngest. The word " buildeth," how- 
ever, does not refer to the erection of houses upon the site of the 
town that had been burnt to ashes, but to the restoration of the 
town as a fortification, the word fua being frequently used to denote 
the fortification of a town (e.g. 1 Kings xv. 17 ; 2 Chron. xi. 6, xiv. 
5, 6). This is evident in general from the fact that a town is not 
founded by the erection of a number of houses upon one spot, but 
by the joining of these houses together into an enclosed whole by 
means of a surrounding wall, but more particularly from the last 
words of the verse, in which nja is explained as '"if|B" (lay the foun- 
dation thereof) and "TO*! 2 T. (set up the gates of it). Setting up 
the gates of a town is not setting up doors to the houses, but erect- 
ing town-gates, which can only be done when a town-wall has been 
built. But if setting up the gates would be a sign of the comple- 
tion of the wall, and therefore of the restoration of the town as a 
fortification, the " founding" (laying the foundation) mentioned 
in the parallel clause can only be understood as referring to the 
foundation of the town-wall. This view of the curse, which is well 
supported both by the language and the facts, is also confirmed by 
the subsequent history. Joshua himself allotted Jericho to the 
Benjamites along with certain other towns (chap, xviii. 21), which 
proves that he intended them to inhabit it; and accordingly we 
find the city of palms, i.e. Jericho, mentioned afterwards as an in- 
habited place (Judg. iii. 13 ; 2 Sam. x. 5), and yet it was not till 
the time of Ahab that Joshua's curse was fulfilled, when Hiel the 
Bethelite undertook to make it into a fortified town (1 Kings xvi. 

any doubt upon the identity of the two, as Josephus always calls the harlot 
Rahab h 'Pax*/**- Th e chronological difficulty, that Salmon and Rahab hVed 
much too soon to hare been the parents of Booz, which is adduced by Knobel 
as an argument against the identity of the mother of Booz and the harlot 
Rahab, has no force unless it can be proved that every link is given in the 
genealogy of David (in Ruth iv. 21, 22 ; 1 Chron. ii. 11 ; Matt. i. 5), and that 
Boaz was really the great-grandfather of David ; whereas the very opposite, 
viz. the omission from the genealogies of persons of no celebrity, is placed 
beyond all doubt by many cases that might be cited. Nothing more is known 
of Rahab. The accounts of the later Rabbins, such as that she was married to 
Joshua, or that she was the mother of eight prophets, and others of the same 
kind, are fables without the slightest historical foundation (see Lightfoot, hor. 
hebr. et talm. in Matt. i. 5). 

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$4).' — Ver. 27. Thus the Lord was with Joshua, fulfilling His 
promise to him (chap. i. 5 sqq.), so that his fame spread through all 
the land. 

achan's theft and punishment. — CHAP. VII. 

Ver. 1. At Jericho the Lord had made known to the Oanaanites 
His great and holy name ; but before Ai the Israelites were to learn 
that He would also sanctify Himself on them if they transgressed 
His covenant, and that the congregation of the Lord could only 
conquer the power of the world so long as it was faithful to His 
covenant. But notwithstanding the command which Joshua had 
enforced upon the people (chap. vi. 18), Achan, a member of the 
tribe of Judah, laid hands upon the property in Jericho which had 
been banned, and thus brought the ban upon the children of Israel, 
the whole nation. His breach of trust is described as unfaithful- 
ness (a trespass) on the part of the children of Israel in the ban, in 
consequence of which the anger of the Lord was kindled against 
the whole nation. ->J?t? 7PD, to commit a breach of trust (see at 
Lev. v. 15), generally against Jehovah, by purloining or withhold- 
ing what was sanctified to Him, here in the matter of the ban, by 
appropriating what had been banned to the Lord. This crime was 
imputed to the whole people, not as imputatio moralis, i.e. as though 
the whole nation had shared in Achan's disposition, and cherished 
in their hearts the same sinful desire which Achan had carried out 
in action in the theft he had committed ; but as imputatio civilis, 
according to which Achan, a member of the nation, had robbed the 
whole nation of the purity and holiness which it ought to possess 
before God, through the sin that he had committed, just as the 
whole body is affected by the sin of a single member.* Instead of 

1 KnobeVs opinion, that the Jericho mentioned between the times of Joshua 
and Ahab in all probability did not stand upon the old site -which Hiel was the 
first to build upon again, is at variance with 1 Kings xvi. 34, as it is not stated 
there that he rebuilt the old site of Jericho, but that he began to build the 
town of Jericho, which existed, according to 2 Sam. x. 5 and Judg. iii. 18, in 
the time of David, and even of the judges, i.e. to restore it as a fortified town ; 
and it is not raised into a truth by any appeal to the statements of Strabo, 
Appian, and others, to the effect that Greeks and Romans did not choose places 
for building upon which any curse rested. 

2 In support of this I cannot do better than quote the most important of the 
remarks which I made in my former commentary (Keil on Joshua, pp. 177-8, 
Eng. trans.) : " However truly the whole Scriptures speak of each man as indi- 

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CHAP. VII. 2-5. 75 

Achan (the reading here and in chap. xxii. 20) we find Achar in 
1 Ghron. ii. 7, the liquids n and r being interchanged to allow of a 
play upon the verb "DP in ver. 25. Hence in Josephus the name is 
spelt Acharos, and in the Cod. Vat. of the LXX. Achar, whereas the 
Cod. Al. has Aclian. Instead of Zabdi, we find Zimri in 1 Chron. 
ii. 6, evidently a copyist's error. Zerah was the twin-brother of 
Pharez (Gen. xxxviii. 29, 30). Matteh, from ntM, to spread out, is 
used to denote the tribe according to its genealogical ramifications ; 
whilst shebet (from an Arabic root signifying " uniform, not curled, 
but drawn out straight and long without any curvature at all ") was 
applied to the sceptre or straight staff of a magistrate or ruler (never 
to the stick upon which a person rested), and differed from matteh 
not only in its primary and literal meaning, but also in the deri- 
vative meaning tribe, in which it was used to designate the division 
of the nation referred to, not according to its genealogical rami- 
fications and development, but as a corporate body possessing autho- 
rity and power. This difference in the ideas expressed by the two 
words will explain the variations in their use : for example, matteh 
is used here (in vers. 1 and 18), and in chap. xxii. 1-14, and in 
fact is the term usually employed in the geographical sections; 
whereas shebet is used in vers. 14, 16, in chap. iii. 12, iv. 2, and on 
many other occasions, in those portions of the historical narratives 
in which the tribes of Israel are introduced as military powers. 

Vers. 2-5. The anger of God, which Achan had brought upon 
Israel, was manifested to the congregation in connection with their 
attempt to take Ai. This town was situated near Bethaven, on 
the east of Bethel. Bethel was originally called Imz (see at Gen. 
xxviii. 19), a place on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin (chap. 

virtually an object of divine mercy and justice, they teach just as truly that a 
nation is one organic whole, in which the individuals are merely members of the 
same body, and are not atoms isolated from one another and the whole, since 
the state as a divine institution is founded upon family relationship, and intended 
to promote the love of all to one another and to the invisible Head of all. As 
all then are combined in a fellowship established by God, the good or evil deeds 
of an individual affect injuriously or beneficially the welfare of the whole society. 
And, therefore, when we regard the state as a divine organization and not merely 
as a civil institution, a compact into which men have entered by treaty, we fail 
to discover caprice and injustice in consequences which necessarily follow from 
the moral unity of the whole state ; namely, that the good or evil deeds of one 
member are laid to the charge of the entire body. Caprice and injustice we 
shall always find if we leave out of sight this fundamental unity, and merely 
look at the fact that the many share the consequences of the sin of one." 

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xvi. 2, xviii. 13). It is frequently mentioned, was well known at a 
later time as the city in which Jeroboam established the worship 
of the calves, and was inhabited again even after the captivity 
(see v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 178, 179). It has been preserved, in all 
probability, in the very extensive rains called Beitin (see Robinson, 
Pal. ii. pp. 126 sqq.), about four hours' journey on horseback to the 
north of Jerusalem, and on the east of the road which leads from 
Jerusalem to Sichem (Nablus). 1 No traces have ever been dis- 
covered of Bethaven. According to chap, xviii. 12, 13, the northern 
boundary of the tribe of Benjamin, which ran up from Jericho to 
the mountains on the west, passed on to the desert of Bethaven, 
and so onwards to Luz (Bethel). If we compare with this the 
statement in 1 Sam. xiii. 5, that the Philistines who came against 
Israel encamped at Michmash before (in front of) Bethaven, 
according to which Bethaven was on the east or north-east of 
Michmash (Mukhmas), the desert of Bethaven may very possibly 
have been nothing more than the table-land which lies between 
the Wady Mutyah on the north and the Wadys Fuwar and 
Suweinit (in Robinson's map), or Wady Tuw&r (on Van de Velde's 
map), and stretches in a westerly direction from the rocky moun- 
tain Kuruntel to Abu Sebah (Subbah). Bethaven would then lie 
to the south or south-east of Abu Sebah. In that case, however, 
Ai (Sept. Gai or Aggai, Gen. xii. 8) would neither be found in the 
inconsiderable ruins to the south of the village of Deir Diwan, as 
Robinson supposes (Pal. ii. pp. 312 sqq.), nor on the site of the 
present Tell el Hajar, i.e. stone hill, three-quarters of an hour to 
the 8.E. of Beitin, on the southern side of the deep and precipi- 
tous Wady Mutyah, as Van de Velde imagines ; but in the ruins of 
Medinet Chai or Gai, which Krafft* and Strauss 9 discovered on the 
flat surface of a mountain that slopes off towards the east, about 
forty minutes on the eastern side of Geba (Jeba), where " there 
are considerable ruins surrounded by a circular wall, whilst the 
place is defended on the south by the valley of Farah, and on the 
north by the valley of Es Suweinit, with steep shelving walls of 
rock" (Strauss: vid. C. Ritter Erdk. xvi. pp. 526-7). On the 
advice of the men who were sent out to explore the land, and who 

1 The statements of the Onomaslicon of Eusebius $. v. ' ' hyyai agree with 
this : Ktirtxi BcciSii'K <ItiW«» tl; A/ Ai'«» dvo Niec; troXta; it 'ha.ioi; ri; c°3o£ 
df*4)l to iuZixcCTCDi ai' Al'Ai'xi vnfiuo*. Also s. V. BaidijA : xctl tvr tori xafen, 

AM*i A-xoStv mfttlois i0 (twelve Roman miles are four or five hours' journey). 
1 Topograph, v. Jerusalem, p. ix. * Sinai u. Golgoth. pp. 326-7. 

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CHAP. VII. 6-9. 77 

described the population on their return as small (" they are but 
few"), Joshua did not send the whole of the fighting men against 
Ai, but only about 3000 men. As there were not more than 
1 "2,000 inhabitants (chap. viii. 25), there could hardly have been 
3000 fighting men, who might easily have been beaten by 3000 
Israelitish warriors. But when the Israelites attacked the town 
they fled before its inhabitants, who slew about thirty-six men, and 
pursued them before the gate, i.e. outside the town, to the stone 
quarries, and smote them on the sloping ground. The Skebarim, 
from sheber, a breach or fracture, were probably stone quarries 
near the slope on the east of the town. Nothing more can be 
decided, as the country has not been thoroughly explored by travel- 
lers. On account of this repulse the people lost all their courage. 
" The hearts of the people melted" (see chap. ii. 15) : this expression 
is strengthened still further by the additional clause, " and became 
as water" 

• Vers. 6-9. Joshua and the elders of the people were also deeply 
affected, not so much at the loss of thirty-six men, as because 
Israel, which was invincible with the help of the Lord, had been 
beaten, and therefore the Lord must have withdrawn His help. 
In the deepest grief, with their clothes rent (see at Lev. x. 6) and 
ashes upon their heads, they fell down before the ark of the Lord 
(rid. Num. xx. 6) until the evening, to pour out their grief before 
the Lord. Joshua's prayer contains a complaint (ver. 7) and a 
question addressed to God (vers. 8, 9). The complaint, " Alas, O 
Lord Jehovah, wherefore hast Thou brought this people over Jordan, 
to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us ?" almost 
amounts to murmuring, and sounds very much like the complaint 
which the murmuring people brought against Moses and Aaron in 
the desert (Num. xiv. 2, 3) ; but it is very different from the 
murmuring of the people on that occasion against the guidance of 
God ; for it by no means arose from unbelief, but whs simply the 
bold language of faith wrestling with God in prayer, — faith which 
could not comprehend the ways of the Lord,— and involved the 
most urgent appeal to the Lord to carry out His work in the same 
glorious manner in which it had been begun, with the firm conviction 
that God could neither relinquish nor alter His purposes of grace. 
The words which follow, u Would to God that we had been content 
(see at Deut. i. 5) to remain on the other side of tlie Jordan," assume 
on the one hand, that previous to the crossing of the river Israel 
had cherished a longing for the possession of Canaan, and on the 

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other hand, that this longing might possibly have been the cause of 
the calamity which had fallen upon the people now, and therefore 
express the wish that Israel had never cherished any such desire, 
or that the Lord had never gratified it. (On the unusual form 
™!! for rnagn, see Ges. § 63, anm. 4, and Ewald, § 41, b.) The 
inf. abs. ^V<} (with the unusual i in the final syllable) is placed for 
the sake of emphasis after the finite verb, as in Gen. xlvi. 4, etc. 
The Amorites are the inhabitants of the mountains, as in Gen. xlvi. 
4, etc. — Vers. 8, 9. The question which Joshua addresses to God 
he introduces in this way : " Pray ('3 contracted from '??), Lord, 
wliat shall I say t" to modify the boldness of the question which 
follows. It was not because he did not know what to say, for he 
proceeded at once tp pour out the thoughts of his heart, but because 
■he felt that the thought which he was about to utter might involve 
a reproach, as if, when God permitted that disaster, He had not 
thought of His own honour ; and as he could not possibly think 
this, he introduced his words with a supplicatory inquiry. What 
he proceeds to say in vers. 8, 9, does not contain two co-ordinate 
clauses, but one simple thought : how would God uphold His great 
name before the world, when the report that Israel had turned their 
back before them should reach the Ganaanites, and they should, 
come and surround the Israelites, and destroy them without a single 
trace from off the face of the earth. 1 In the words, " the Ganaanites 
and all the inhabitants of the land" there is involved the thought 
that there were other people living in Canaan beside the Ganaan- 
ites, e.g. the Philistines. The question, " What unit Thou do with 
regard to Thy great name?" signifies, according to the parallel 
passages, Ex. xxxii. 11, 12, Num. xiv. 13 sqq., Deut. ix. 28, " How 
wilt Thou preserve Thy great name, which Thou hast acquired 
thus far in the sight of all nations through the miraculous guidance 
of Israel, from being misunderstood and blasphemed among the 
heathen 1" (" what wilt Thou do ? " as in Gen. xxvi. 29). 

Vers. 10-15. The answer of the Lord, which was addressed to 
Joshua directly and not through the high priest, breathed anger 
against the sin of Israel. The question, " Wherefore liest thou upon 

1 Calovius has therefore given the correct interpretation : " When they have 
destroyed our name, after Thou hast chosen us to he Thy people, and brought 
us hither with such great wonders, what will become of Thy name ? Our name 
is of little moment, but wilt Thou consult the honour of Thine own name, if 
Thou destroyeet us ? For Thou didst promise us this land ; and what people 
is there that will honour Thy name if ours Bhould be destroyed ?" 

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CHAP. VII. 10-15. 79 

thy face ?" (" fallest," as in Deut. xxi. 1) involved the reproof that 
Joshua had no reason to doubt the fidelity of the Lord. Instead 
of seeking for the cause of the calamity, in God, he ought to seek 
it in the sin of the people. — Ver. 11. Israel had sinned, and that 
very grievously. This is affirmed in the clauses which follow, and 
which are rendered emphatic by the repetition of D) as an expression 
of displeasure. The sin of one man was resting as a burden upon the 
whole nation in the manner explained above (on ver. 1). This sin 
was a breach of the covenant, being a transgression of the obligation 
into which the people had entered in their covenant with the Lord, 
to keep His commandments (Ex. xix. 8, xxiv. 7) ; yea, it was a grasp- 
ing at the ban, and a theft, and a concealment, and an appropriation 
of that which was stolen to their own use. The first three clauses 
describe the sin in its relation to God, as a grievous offence ; the 
three following according to its true character, as a great, obstinate, 
and reckless crime. " They Jiave put it among their own stuff" 
(house furniture), viz. to use and appropriate it as their own pro- 
perty. As all that had been stolen was a property consecrated to 
the Lord, the appropriation of it to private use was the height of 
wickedness. — Ver. 12. On account of this sin the Israelites could 
not stand before their foes, because they had fallen under the ban 
(cf. chap. vi. 18). And until this ban had been removed from 
their midst, the Lord would not help them any further. — Vers. 
13-15. Joshua was to take away this ban from the nation. To 
discover who had laid hands upon the ban, he was to direct the people 
to sanctify themselves for the following day (see at chap. in. 5), 
and then to cause them to come before God according to their 
tribes, families, households, and men, that the guilty men might be 
discovered by lot ; and to burn whoever was found guilty, with all 
that he possessed. 3"!??, " to come near" sc. to Jehovah, i.e. to come 
before His sanctuary. The tribes, families, households, and men, 
formed the four classes into which the people were organized. As 
the tribes were divided into families, so these again were subdivided 
into houses, commonly called fathers' houses, and the fathers' 
houses again into men, i.e. fathers of families (see the remarks on 
Ex. xviii. 25, 26, and my Bibl. Archaeology, § 140). Each of 
these was represented by its natural head, so that we must picture 
the affair as conducted in the following manner : in order to dis- 
cover the tribe, the twelve tribe princes came before the Lord; and 
in order to discover the family, the heads of families of the tribe 
that had been taken ; and so on to the end, each one in turn being 

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subjected to the lot. For although it is not distinctly stated that 
the lot was resorted to in order to discover who was guilty, and 
that the discovery was actually made in this way, this is very evi- 
dent from the expression WjapJ—iBta {which the Lord takeih), as this 
was the technical term employed, according to 1 Sam. xiv. 42, to 
denote the falling of the lot upon a person (see also 1 Sam. x. 20). 
Moreover, the lot was frequently resorted to in cases where a crime 
could not be brought home to a person by the testimony of eye- 
witnesses (see 1 Sam. xiv. 41, 42 ; Jonah i. 7 ; Prov. xviii. 18), as 
it was firmly believed that the lot was directed by the Lord (Prov. 
xvi. 33). In what manner the lot was cast we do not know. In 
all probability little tablets or potsherds were used, with the names 
written upon them, and these were drawn out of an urn. This 
may be inferred from a comparison of chap, xviii. 11 and xix. 1, 
with xviii. 6, 10, according to which the casting of the lot took 
place in such a manner that the lot came up (n?y, chap, xviii. 11, 
xix. 10 ; Lev. xvi. 9), or came out (NIT, chap. xix. 1, xvii. 24 ; 
Num. xxxiii. 54). D"in3 ISran, the person taken in (with) the ban, 
i.e. taken by the lot as affected with the ban, was to be burned with 
fire, of course not alive, but after he had been stoned (ver. 25). 
The burning of the body of a criminal was regarded as heightening 
the punishment of death (via". Lev. xx. 14). This punishment was 
to be inflicted upon him, in the first place, because he had broken 
the covenant of Jehovah ; and in the second place, because he had 
wrought folly in Israel, that is to say, had offended grievously 
against the covenant God, and also against the covenant nation. 
" Wrought folly :" an expression used here, as in Gen. xxxiv. 7, to 
denote such a crime as was irreconcilable with the honour of Israel 
as the people of God. 

Vers. 16-26. Execution of the Command. — Vers. 16-18. Dis- 
covery of the guilty man through the lot. In ver. 17 we should 
expect "the tribe" (sJiebet) or "the families" (mishpachoth) of 
Judah, instead of " the family" The plural mishpachoth is adopted 
in the LXX. and Vulgate, and also to be met with in seven MSS. ; 
but this is conjecture rather than the original reading. Mishpacliah 
is either used generally, or employed in a collective sense to denote 
all the families of Judah. There is no ground for altering 0^33^ (man 
by man) into 0^2? (house by house) in ver. 17, according to some 
of the mss. ; the expression " man by man" is used simply because 
it was the representative men who came for the lot to be cast, not 
only in the case of the fathers' houses, but in that of the families also. 

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' CHAP. VII. 16-26. 81 

— Ver. 19. When Achan had been discovered to be the criminal, 
Joshua charged him to give honour and praise to the Lord, and to 
confess without reserve what he had done. It is not ironically, or 
with dissimulation, that Joshua addresses him as " my son," but 
with "sincere paternal regard." 1 " Give glory to the Lord:" this 
is a solemn formula of adjuration, by which a person was sum- 
moned to confess the truth before the face of God (cf. John ix. 
24). " And give Him praise :" the meaning is not, " make confes- 
sion," but give praise, as Ezra x. 11 clearly shows. Through a 
confession of the truth Achan was to render to God, as the 
Omniscient, the praise and honour that were due. — Vers. 20, 21. 
Achan then acknowledged his sin, and confessed that he had 
appropriated to himself from among the booty a beautiful Baby- 
lonish cloak, 200 shekels of silver, and a tongue of gold of 50 
shekels weight. The form n £"!£} is not to be abbreviated into &OJO, 
according to the Keri, as the form is by no means rare in verbs n*i>. 
"A Babylonish cloak" (lit. a cloak of Shinar, or Babylon) is a 
costly cloak, artistically worked, such as were manufactured in 
Babylon, and distributed far and wide through the medium of 
commerce. 2 Two hundred shekels of silver was about £25. " A 
tongue of gold " (according to Luther, " ornaments made in the 
shape of tongues") was certainly a golden ornament in the form of a 
tongue, the use of which is unknown ; it was of considerable size, 
as it weighed 50 shekels, i.e. 13,700 grains. It is not necessary 
to suppose that it was a golden dagger, as many do, simply because 
the ancient Romans gave the name lingula to an oblong dagger 
formed in the shape of a tongue. Achan had hidden these things 
in the ground in the midst of his tent, and the silver " under it" 
i.e. under these things (the suffix is neuter, and must be understood 
as referring to all the things with the exception of the silver). The 
Babylonish cloak and the tongue of gold were probably placed in 

1 To these remarks Calvin also adds : " This example serves as a lesson to 
judges, that when punishing crimes they should moderate their rigour, and not 
lose all the feelings of humanity ; and, on the other hand, that whilst merciful 
they should not be careless or remiss." 

* PUnius h. n. viii. 48 : Colores diversos picture vestium intexere Babylon 
maxime celebravit et nomen imposuit. (See Heeren Ideen. i. 2, pp. 205 sqq., and 
Movers Phbnizier, ii. 8, pp. 258 sqq.) The Sept. rendering is i/'Aij xoixi'm, 
i.e. a Babylonian cloak ornamented with pictures. It is called t^/Ai) because 
it was cut smooth, and «i*/)iii because it was covered with coloured figures, 
either of men or animals, sometimes woven, at other times worked with the 
needle (Fischer de vers, grsec. libr. V. T. pp. 87-8). 


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a chest ; at any rate they would be carefully packed up, and the 
silver was placed underneath. The article in Yjixn, which occurs 
twice, as it also does in chap. viii. 33, Lev. xxvii. 33, Micah ii. 12, 
is probably to be explained in the manner suggested by Heng- 
stenberg, viz. that the article and noun became so fused into one, 
that the former lost its proper force. — Vers. 22, 23. Joshua sent 
two messengers directly to Achan's tent to fetch the things, and 
when they were brought he had them laid down before Jehovah, 
i.e. before the tabernacle, where the whole affair had taken place. 
JWl, here and in 2 Sam. xv. 24, signifies to lay down (synonymous 
with J*??), whilst the Hiphil form is used for pouring out. — Vers. 
24, 25. Then Joshua and all Israel, i.e. the whole nation in the 
person of its heads or representatives, took Achan, together with 
the things which he had purloined, and his sons and daughters, his 
cattle, and his tent with all its furniture, and brought them into 
the valley of Achor, where they stoned them to death and then 
burned them, after Joshua had once more pronounced this sentence 
upon him in the place of judgment : "How hast thou troubled us" 
{">??> as in chap. vi. 18, to bring into trouble) I u The Lord will 
trouble thee this day" It by no means follows from the expression 
"stoned him" in ver. 25, that Achan only was stoned. The 
singular pronoun is used to designate Achan alone, as being the 
principal person concerned. But it is obvious enough that his 
children and cattle were stoned, from what follows in the very same 
verse : " They burned them (the persons stoned to death, and their 
things) with fire, and heaped up stones upon them" It is true that 
in Deut. xxiv. 16 the Mosaic law expressly forbids the putting to 
death of children for their fathers' sins ; and many have imagined, 
therefore, that Achan's sons and daughters were simply taken into 
the valley to be spectators of the punishment inflicted upon the 
father, that it might be a warning to them. But for what reason, 
then, were Achan's cattle (oxen, sheep, and asses) taken out along 
with him ? Certainly for no other purpose than to be stoned at 
the same time as he. The law in question only referred to the 
punishment of ordinary criminals, and therefore was not applicable 
at all to the present case, in which the punishment was com- 
manded by the Lord himself. Achan had fallen under the ban 
by laying hands upon what had been banned, and consequently 
was exposed to the same punishment as a town that had fallen 
away to idolatry (Deut. xiii. 16, 17). The law of the ban was 
founded upon the assumption, that the conduct to be punished was 

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CHAP. VIII. 1-29. 83 

not a crime of which the individual only was guilty, but one m 
which the whole family of the leading sinner, in fact everything 
connected with him, participated. Thus, in the case before us, the 
things themselves had been abstracted from the booty by Achan 
alone ; but ho had hidden them in his tent, buried them in the 
earth, which could hardly have been done so secretly that his sons 
and daughters knew nothing of it. By so doing he had made his 
family participators in his theft ; they therefore fell under the ban 
along with him, together with their tent, their cattle, and the rest of 
their property, which were all involved in the consequences of His 
crime. The clause O^KS tint* vpCW does not refer to the stoning 
as a capital punishment, but to the casting of stones upon the bodies 
after they were dead and had been burned, for the purpose of 
erecting a heap of stones upon them as a memorial of the disgrace 
(vid. chap. vhi. 29 ; 2 Sam. xviii. 17). — In ver. 26, the account of 
the whole affair closes with these two remarks : (1) That after the 
punishment of the malefactor the Lord turned from the fierceness 
of His anger ; and (2) That the valley in which Achan suffered 
his punishment received the name of Achor (troubling) with special 
reference to the fact that Joshua had described his punishment as 
well as Achan's sin as "i?P (troubling: see ver. 25), and that it 
retained this name down to the writer's own time. With regard to 
the situation of this valley, it is evident from the word *?J|9 in ver. 
24 that it was on higher ground than Gilgal and Jericho, probably 
in one of the ranges of hills that intersect the plain of Jericho, and 
from chap. xv. 7, where the northern border of the possessions of 
Judah is said to have passed through this valley, that it is to be 
looked for to the south of Jericho. The only other places in which 
there is any allusion to this event are Hos. ii. to and Isa. lxv. 10. ' * 


Vers. 1-29. Conquest and Burning op Ai. — Vers. 1, 2. 
After the ban which rested upon the people had been wiped away, 
the Lord encouraged Joshua to make war upon Ai, promising him 
that the city should be taken, and giving him instructions what to 
do to ensure the success of his undertaking. With evident allusion 
to Joshua's despair after the failure of the first attack, the Lord 
commences with these words, " Fear not, neither be thou dismayed" 
(as in Dent. i. 21, xxxi. 8), and then commands him to go against 

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Ai with all the people of war. By " all the people of war" we are 
hardly to understand all the men out of the whole nation who were 
capable of bearing arms ; but as only a third of these were contri- 
buted by the two tribes and a half to cross over into Canaan and 
take part in the war (see p. 32), the other tribes also are not likely 
to have levied more than a third, say about 160,000, which would 
form altogether an army of about 200,000 men. But even such an 
army as this seems out of all proportion to the size of Ai, with its 
12,000 inhabitants (ver. 25). On the other hand, however, we 
must bear in mind that the expression "all the people of war" 
simply denotes the whole army, in contrast *rith the advice of the 
spies that only a portion of the army should be sent (chap. vii. 3), 
so that we are not warranted in pressing the word "all" too 
absolutely; 1 and also that this command of God was not given with 
reference to the conquest of Ai alone, but applied at the same time 
to the conquest of the whole land, which Joshua was not to attempt 
by sending out detachments only, but was to carry out with the 
whole of the force at his command. r6y, to go up, is applied to 
the advance of an army against a hostile town, independently 
of the question whether the town was situated upon an eminence 
or not, as every town that had to be taken was looked upon as a 
height to be scaled, though as a fact in this instance the army had 
really to ascend from Jericho to Ai, which was situated up in 
the mountains. (On ver. 16, see chap. vi. 2.) " His land" is the 
country round, which belonged to the town and was under its king. 
— Ver. 2. Joshua was to do the same to Ai and her king as he had 
already done to Jericho and her king, except that in this case the 
conquerors were to be allowed to appropriate the booty and the 
cattle to themselves. In order to conquer the town, he was to lay 
an ambush behind it. 2 a^N, a collective noun, signifying the persons 
concealed in ambush ; a "]ND (ver. 9), the place of ambush. " Behind 
it," i.e. on the west of the town. 

Vers. 3-13. Accordingly Joshua set out with all the people of 
war against Ai, and selected 30,000 brave men, and sent them out 
in the night, with instructions to station themselves as an ambuscade 

1 " As we have just before seen how their hearts melted, God consulted their 
weakness, by putting no heavier burden upon them than they were able to bear, 
until they had recovered from their alarm, and hearkened readily to His com- 
mands." — Calvin. 

2 The much agitated question, whether it could be worthy of God to employ 
stratagem in war, to which different replies have been given, has been answered 

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CHAP. VIII. 8-13. 85 

behind the town, and at no great distance from it. As the distance 
from Gilgal to Ai was about fifteen miles, and the road runs pretty 
straight in a north-westerly direction from Jericho through the 
Wady Faran, the detachment sent forward might easily accomplish 
the distance in a night, so as to arrive on the western side of Ai 
before the break of day. They were then to hold themselves in 
readiness to fight. He (Joshua) himself would approach the town 
with the people of war that remained with him ; and if the inha- 
bitants of Ai should come out against him as they did before, they 
would flee before them till they had drawn them quite away from 
their town (ver. 5). This was to be expected ; "for they will say, 
Tliey flee before us, as at the first: and we will flee before them" 
(ver. 6). When thi3 was done, the warriors were to come forth 
from their ambush, fall upon the town, and set it on fire (vers. 7, 8). 
Having been sent away with these instructions, the 30,000 men 
went into ambush, and posted themselves u between Bethel and Ai, 
on the west side of Ai" (ver. 9), i.e., according to Strauss, in the 
Wady es Suweinit, to the north-west of Ai, where it forms almost 
a perpendicular wall, near to which the ruins of Cliai are to be 
found, though " not near enough to the rocky wady for it to be 
possible to look down its almost perpendicular wall " (Hitter, Erdk. 
xvi. p. 528). Joshua remained for the night in the midst of the 
people, i.e. in the camp of that portion of the army that had gone 
with him towards Ai ; not in Gilgal, as Knobel supposes. — Ver. 10. 
The next morning he mustered the people as early as possible, and 
then went, with the elders of Israel, " before the people of Ai." 
The elders of Israel are not " military tribunes, who were called 
elders because of their superiority in military affairs," as Masius 
supposes, but, as in every other case, the heads of the people, who 
accompanied Joshua as counsellors. — Ver. 11. The whole of the 
people of war also advanced with him to the front of the town, and 
encamped on the north of Ai, so that the valley was between it 
(u'a, as in chap. iii. 4) and Ai. This was probably a side valley 
branching off towards the south from the eastern continuation of 
the Wady es Suweinit. — In vers. 12, 13, the account of the prepara- 

qnite correctly by Cahin. " Surely," he says, " wars are not carried on by 
striking alone ; but they are considered the best generals who succeed through 
art and counsel more than by force. . . . Therefore, if war is lawful at all, it is 
beyond all controversy that the way is perfectly clear for the use of the custo- 
mary arte of warfare, provided there is no breach of faith in the violation of 
treaty or truce, or in any other way." 

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tions for the attack is rounded off by a repetition of the notice as to 
the forces engaged, and in some respects a more exact description 
of their disposition. Joshua, it is stated in ver. 12, took about 5000 
men and placed them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the 
west of the town. As the place where this ambuscade was posted 
is described in precisely the same terms as that which was occupied, 
according to ver. 9, by the 30,000 men who were sent out to form 
an ambuscade in the night before the advance of the main army 
against Ai (for the substitution of " the city " for Ai cannot possibly 
indicate a difference in the locality), the view held by the majority 
of commentators, that ver. 12 refers to a second ambuscade, which 
Joshua sent out in addition to the 30,000, and posted by the side of 
them, is even more than questionable, and is by no means raised 
into a probability by the expression topJTTiK (Eng. " their liers in 
wait ") in ver. 13. The description of the place, " on the west of 
the city," leaves no doubt whatever that " their hers in wait " are 
simply the ambuscade (31K) mentioned in ver. 12, which was sent 
out from the whole army, i.e. the ambuscade that was posted on the 
west of the town, agy signifies literally the lier in wait (Ps. xlix. 5), 
from 3\W, insidiari, and is synonymous with 3?K. The meaning 
which Gesenius and others attach to the word, viz. the rear or 
hinder part of the army, cannot be sustained from Gen. xlix. 19. 
If we add to this the fact that ver. 13a is obviously nothing more 
than a repetition of the description already given in ver. 11 of the 
place where the main army was posted, and therefore bears the 
character of a closing remark introduced to wind up the previous 
account, we cannot regard ver. 12 as anything more than a repe- 
tition of the statements in vers. 3, 9, and can only explain the 
discrepancy with regard to the number of men who were placed in 
ambush, by supposing that, through a copyist's error, the number 
which was expressed at first in simple letters has in one instance 
been given wrongly. The mistake, however, is not to be found in 
the 5000 (ver. 12), but in the 30,000 in ver. 3, where n has been 
confounded with ^. For a detachment of 5000 men would be quite 
sufficient for an ambuscade that had only to enter the town after 
the soldiers had left it in pursuit of the Israelites, and to set it on 
fire, whereas it hardly seems possible that 30,000 men should have 
been posted in ambush so near to the town. 1 — In ver. 13a, OJ«l 

1 We need have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that there is a 
mistake in the number given in rer. 3, as the occurrence of such mistakes in 
the historical hooks is fully established by a comparison of the numbers given 

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CHAP. VIIL 14-28. 87 

(the people) is to be taken as the subject of the sentence : " The 
veople had set all the host, that was on the north of the city, and its 
ambuscade on Vie west of the city" In the night, namely the night 
before the army arrived at the north of the town, Joshua went 
through the midst of the valley, which separated the Israelites from 
the town, so that in the morning he stood with all the army close 
before the town. 

Vers. 14-23. When the king of Ai saw the Israelites, he hurried 
out in the morning against them to battle at the (previously) 
appointed place (*Wto?, in locum condictum, as in 1 Sam. xx. 35) 
before the steppe (Arabah, not the valley of the Jordan, but the 
steppe or desert of Bethaven ; see at chap. vii. 2), as he knew nothing 
of the ambuscade behind the town. — Ver. 15. But the Israelites let 
them beat them, and fled along the desert (of Bethaven). — Vers. 
16, 17. And all the people in the town were called together to 
pursue the Israelites, and were drawn away from the town, so that 
not a man, i.e. not a single soldier who could take part in the pursuit, 
remained either in Ai or the neighbouring town of Bethel, and the 
town stood open behind them. It is evident from ver. 17 that the 
inhabitants of Bethel, which was about three hours' journey from 
Ai, took part in the battle, probably in consequence of a treaty 
which the king of Ai had made with them in the expectation of 
a renewed and still stronger attack on the part of the Israelites. 
Nothing further is known upon this point ; nor can anything be 
inferred from the fact that the king of Bethel is included in the 
list of the kings slain by Joshua (chap. xii. 16). Consequently, we 
cannot decide whether the Bethelites came to the help of the Aites 

in the books of Samuel and Kings with those in the books of Chronicles, and is 
admitted by every commentator. In my earlier commentary on Joshua, I 
attempted to solve the difficulty by the twofold assumption : first, that ver. 12 
contains a supplementary statement, in which the number of the men posted in 
ambush is given for the first time ; and secondly, that the historian forgot to 
notice that out of the 30,000 men whom Joshua chose to make war upon Ai, 
5000 were set apart to lie in ambush. But, on further examination of the text, 
I have come to the conclusion that the second assumption is irreconcilable with 
the distinct words of ver. S, and feel obliged to give it up. On the other hand, 
I still adhere to the conviction that there is not sufficient ground either for the 
assumption that vers. 12, 13, contain an old marginal gloss that has crept into 
the text, or for the hypothesis of Ewald and Knobel, that these verses were 
introduced by the last editor of the book out of some other document. The 
last hypothesis amounts to a charge of thoughtlessness against the latest editor, 
which is hardly reconcilable with the endeavour, for which he is praised in other 
places, to reconcile the discrepancies in the different documents. 

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for the first time on the day of the battle itself, or, what is more 
probable, had already sent men to Ai, to help to repulse the ex- 
pected attack of the Israelites upon that town. — Vers. 18, 19. At 
the command of God Joshua now stretched out the javelin in his 
hand towards the town. At this sign the ambuscade rose hastily 
from its concealment, rushed into the town, and set it on fire. 
)iT33 ntM signifies to stretch out the hand with the spear. The 
object T, which is missing (cf. vers. 19, 26), may easily be supplied 
from the apposition TT3 "'??. The raising of the javelin would 
probably be visible at a considerable distance, even if it was not 
provided with a small flag, as both earlier and later commentators 
assume, since Joshua would hardly be in the midst of the flying 
Israelites, but would take his station as commander upon some 
eminence on one side. And the men in ambush would have 
scouts posted to watch for the signal, which had certainly been 
arranged beforehand, and convey the information to the others. — 
Vers. 20, 21. The men of Ai then turned round behind them, being 
evidently led to do so by the Israelites, who may have continued 
looking round to the town of Ai when the signal had been given 
by Joshua, to see whether the men in ambush had taken it and set 
it on fire, and as soon as they saw that this had been done began to 
offer still further resistance to their pursuers, and to defend them- 
selves vigorously against them. On looking back to their town 
the Aites saw the smoke of the town ascending towards heaven : 
" and there were not hands in tliem to flee hither and thitJier" i.e. they 
were utterly unable to flee. " Hands" as the organs of enterprise 
and labour, in the sense of " strength," not " room," for which we 
should expect to find tan? instead of DH3. There is an analogous 
passage in Ps. lxxvi. 6, " None of the men of might have found 
their hands." For the people that fled to the wilderness (the 
Israelitish army) turned against the pursuers (the warriors of Ai), 
or, as is added by way of explanation in ver. 21, when Joshua and 
all Israel saw the town in the hands of the ambuscade, and the 
smoke ascending, they turned round and smote the people of Ai ; 
and (ver. 22) these (i.e. the Israelites who had formed the ambus- 
cade) came out of the town to meet them. " These" (Eng. the 
othei-), as contrasted with " the people that fled " in ver. 20, refers 
back to " the ambush " in ver. 19. In this way the Aites were in 
the midst of the people of Israel, who came from this side and that 
side, and smote them to the last man. " So that they let none of 
them remain : r as in Num. xxi. 35 and Deut. iii. 3, except that in 

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CHAP. VIII. 24-85. 89 

this case it is strengthened still further by ByW, " or escape" — Ver. 
23. The king of Ai was taken alive and brought to Joshua. 

Vers. 24-29. When all the men of Ai, who had come ont to 
pursue the Israelites, had been slain upon the field (namely) in the 
desert, all Israel returned to Ai and smote it (the town, i.e. the in- 
habitants), so that on that day there fell of men and women 12,000, 
all the people of Ai : for Joshua did not draw back his hand, which 
had been stretched out with the javelin, till all the inhabitants of 
Ai were smitten with the ban, i.e. put to death ; according to the 
common custom of war, that the general did not lower the war- 
signal till the conflict was to cease (see Suidas in Xijueia, and 
Lipsius de militia, Rom. iv. dial. 12). — Ver. 27. Only the cattle 
and the rest of the booty the conquerors retained for themselves, 
according to the word of the Lord (ver. 2). — Ver. 28. Joshua had 
the town burnt down and made into a heap of rubbish for ever. — 
Ver. 29. He had the king of Ai hanged upon a tree, i.e. put to 
death, and then suspended upon a stake (see Num. xxv. 4) until 
the evening ; but at sunset he had him taken down (in accordance 
with Dent. xxi. 22, 23), and thrown at the entrance of the town- 
gate, and a heap of stones piled upon him (as in the case of Achan, 
chap. vii. 26). 

Vers. 30-35. Blessings and Curses upon Gkrizim and 
Ebal. — After the capture of Ai, Israel had gained so firm a foot- 
ing in Canaan that Joshua was able to carry out the instructions of 
Moses in Deut. xxvii., that, after crossing the Jordan, he was to 
build an altar upon Mount Ebal for the setting up of the covenant. 
The fulfilment of these instructions, according to the meaning of 
this solemn act, as a symbolical setting up of the law of the Lord 
tc be the invariable rule of life to the people of Israel in the land 
of Canaan (see at Deut. xxvii.), was not only a practical expression 
of thanksgiving on the part of the covenant nation for its entrance 
into this land through the almighty assistance of its God, but also 
a practical acknowledgment, that in the overthrow of the Canaan- 
ites thus far it had received a strong pledge of the conquest of 
the foes that still remained and the capture of the whole of the 
promised land, provided only it persevered in covenant faithful- 
ness towards the Lord its God. The account of this transaction 
is attached, it is true, to the conquest of Ai by the introduction, 
" Then Joshua built" etc. (ver. 30) ; but simply as an occurrence 
which had no logical connection with the conquest of Canaan and 

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the defeat of its kings. The particle TK (sequ. imperf.) is used, for 
example, in cases where the historian either wishes to introduce 
contemporaneous facts, that do not carry forward the main course 
of the history, or loses sight for the time of the strictly historical 
sequence and simply takes note of the occurrence of some particular 
event (vid. Ewald, § 136, b.). The assertion of modern critics, which 
Rnobel repeats, that this account is out of place in the series of 
events as contained in chap. vi.-xii., is so far correct, that the pro- 
mulgation of the law and the renewal of the covenant upon Ebal 
form no integral part of the account of the conquest of Canaan ; 
but it by no means proves that this section has been interpolated 
by the Jehovist from his first document, or by the last editor of 
this book from some other source, and that what is related here 
did not take place at the time referred to. The circumstance that, 
according to chap, vi.-viii. 29, Joshua had only effected the con- 
quest of Jericho in the south of the land from Gilgal as a base, and 
that even in chap. ix. and x. he was still engaged in the south, by 
no means involves the impossibility or even the improbability of 
a march to Shechem, which was situated further north, where he 
had not yet beaten the Canaanites, and had not effected any con- 
quests, The distance from Ai to Shechem between Gerizim and 
Ebal is about thirty miles in a straight line. Robinson made the 
journey from Bireh (Beeroth) to Sichem on mules in eleven and a 
half hours, and that not by the most direct route (Pal. iii. pp. 81-2), 
and Ai was not more than an hour to the south of Beeroth ; so that 
Joshua could have gone with the people from Ai to Gerizim and 
Ebal in two days without any excessive exertion. Now, even if 
the conquests of the Israelites had not extended further north than 
Ai at that time, there was no reason why Joshua should be deterred 
from advancing further into the land by any fear of attack from 
the Canaanites, as the people of war who went with him would be 
able to repulse any hostile attack ; and after the news had spread of 
the fate of Ai and Jericho, no Canaanitish king would be likely to 
venture upon a conflict with the Israelites alone. Moreover, Shechem 
had no king, as we may gather from the list of the thirty-one kings 
who were defeated by Joshua. To the further remark of Knobel, 
that " there was no reason for their hurrying with this ceremony, 
and it might have been carried out at a later period in undisturbed 
security," we simply reply, that obedience to the command of God 
was not a matter of such indifference to the servant of the Lord as 
Knobel imagines. There was no valid reason after the capture of 

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CHAP. VIII. 80-85. 91 

Ai for postponing any longer the solemn ceremony if setting up 
the law of Jehovah which had been enjoined by Moses ; and if we 
consider the reason for this solemnity, to which we have already 
referred, there can be no doubt that Joshua would proceed without 
the least delay to set up the law of the Lord in Canaan as early as 
possible, even before the subjugation of the whole land, that he might 
thereby secure the help of God for further conflicts and enterprises. 
The account of this religious solemnity is given very briefly. It 
presupposes an acquaintance with the Mosaic instructions in Deut. 
xxviL, and merely gives the leading points, to show that those 
instructions were carefully carried out by Joshua. Of the three 
distinct acts of which the ceremony consisted, in the book of Deu- 
teronomy the setting up of the stones with the law written upon 
them is mentioned first (Deut. xxvii. 2-4), and then (vers. 5-7) 
the building of the altar and the offering of sacrifice. Here, on 
the contrary, the building of the altar and offering of sacrifice are 
mentioned first (vers. 30, 31), and then (ver. 32) the writing of 
the law upon the stones ; which was probably the order actually 
observed. — In ver. 30 Jehovah is called " the God of Israel" to 
show that henceforth no other god was to be worshipped in Canaan 
than the God of Israel. On Mount JEbal, see at Deut. xi. 29 and 
xxvii. 4. — Ver. 31. " As Moses commanded:" namely, Deut. xxvii. 
5. " As it is written in the book of the law of Moses :" viz. in Ex. 
xx. 22 (25). On the presentation of burnt-offerings and slain- 
offerings, see at Deut. xxvii. 6, 7. — In ver. 32 nothing is mentioned 
but the writing of the law upon the stones ; all the rest is pre- 
supposed from Deut. xxvii. 2 sqq., 'to which the expression "the 
stones" refers. " Copy of the law :" as in Deut. xvii. 18 ; see the 
explanation at Deut. xxvii. 3. In connection with the third part 
of the ceremony, the promulgation of the law with the blessing 
and cursing, the account of the Mosaic instructions given in Deut. 
xxvii. 11 sqq. is completed in ver. 33 by the statement that " all 
Israel, and their elders (i.e. with their elders), and shoterim, and 
judges," stood on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests, 
the stranger as well as the native, i.e. without any exception, one 
half {i.e. six tribes) towards Mount Ebal, and the other half towards 
Mount Gerizim. For further remarks, see at Deut. xxvii. 11 sqq. 
u As Moses commanded to bless the people before:" i.e. as he had 
previously commanded. The fact that the thought itself does not 
suit the context is quite sufficient to show that the explanation given 
by many commentators, viz. that they were to commence with the 

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blessings, is incorrect. But if, on the other hand, we connect the 
word " before" with the principal verb of the sentence, " com- 
manded," the meaning will be that Moses did not give the command 
to proclaim the blessings and cursings to the people for the first 
time in connection with these instructions (Deut. xxvii.), but bad 
done so before, at the very outset, namely, as early as Deut. xi. 29. 
— Ver. 34. " And afterwards (after the people had taken the place 
assigned them) he read to them all the words of the law" i.e. he had 
the law proclaimed aloud by the persons entrusted with the procla- 
mation of the law, viz. the Levitical priests. K"}iJ, lit. to call out or 
proclaim, then in a derivative sense to read, inasmuch as reading 
aloud is proclaiming (as, for example, in Ex. xxiv. 7). The words 
" the blessing and the curse" are in apposition to " all the words of 
the law," which they serve to define, and are not to be understood 
as relating to the blessings in Deut. xxviii. 1-14, and the curses in 
Deut. xxvii. 15-26 and xxviii. 15-68. The whole law is called 
" the blessing and the curse" with special reference to its contents, 
inasmuch as the fulfilment of it brings eo ipso a blessing, and the 
transgression of it eo ipso a curse. In the same manner, in Deut. 
xi. 26, Moses describes the exposition of the whole law in the 
steppes of Moab as setting before them blessing and cursing. In 
ver. 35 it is most distinctly stated that Joshua had the whole law 
read to the people ; whilst the expression " all Israel," in ver. 33, 
is more fully explained as signifying not merely the congregation 
in its representatives, or even the men of the nation, but " all the 
congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and 
the strangers that were in the midst of it." 

Nothing is said about the march of Joshua and all Israel to 
Gerizim and Ebal. All that we know is, that he not only took with 
him the people of war and the elders or heads of tribes, but all the 
people. It follows from this, however, that the whole of the people 
must have left and completely vacated the camp at Gilgal in the 
valley of the Jordan. For if all Israel went to the mountains of 
Gerizim and Ebal, which were situated in the midst of the bind, 
taking even the women and children with them, it is not likely that 
they left their cattle and other possessions behind them in Gilgal, 
exposed to the danger of being plundered in the meantime by the 
Canaanites of the southern mountains. So again we are not in- 
formed in what follows (chap. ix. sqq.) in which direction Joshua 
and the people went after these solemnities at Ebal and Gerizim 
were over. It is certainly not stated that he went back to Gilgal 

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CHAP. VIIL 80-85. 93 

in the Jordan valley, and pitched his tent again on the old site. 
No doubt we find Gilgal still mentioned as the encampment of 
Israel, not only in chap. ix. 6, x. 6, 9, 15, 43, but even after the 
defeat and subjugation of the Canaanites in the south and north, 
when a commencement was made to distribute the land (chap. xiv. 
6). But when it is asked whether this Gilgal was the place of 
encampment on the east of Jericho, which received its name from 
the circumcision of the whole nation which took place there, or the 
town of Gilgal by the side of the terebinths of Moreh, which is 
mentioned in Deut. xi. 30, and by which Moses defines the situation 
of Gerizim and Ebal, this question cannot be answered unhesitat- 
ingly according to the traditional view, viz. in favour of the en- 
campment in the Jordan valley. For when not only the army, but 
all the people with their wives and children, had once proceeded 
from the Jordan valley to the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, we 
cannot imagine any reason why Joshua should go back again to the 
plain of Jericho, that is to say, to the extreme corner of Canaan on 
the east, for the purpose of making that the base of his operations 
for the conquest and extermination of the Canaanites. And there 
is just as much improbability in the assumption, that after Joshua 
had not only defeated the kings of southern Canaan, who had 
allied themselves with Adonizedek of Jerusalem in the battle 
fought at Gibeon (chap, x.), but had also overthrown the kings 
of northern Canaan, who were allied with Jabin of Hazor at the 
waters of Merom above the Sea of Galilee (chap, xi.), he should 
return again to Gilgal in the Jordan valley, and there quietly 
encamp with all the people, and commence the distribution of the 
land. The only thing that could bring us to assent to such 
extremely improbable assumptions, would be the fact that there was 
no other Gilgal in all Canaan than the encampment to the east of 
Jericho, which received the name of Gilgal for the first time from 
the Israelites themselves. But as the other Gilgal by the side of 
the terebinths of Moreh — i.e. the present Jiljilia, which stands upon 
an eminence on the south-west of Shiloh at about the same distance 
from Jerusalem as from Sichem — was a well-known place even 
in Moses' days (Deut. xi. 30), and from its situation on a lofty 
ridge, from which you can see the great lowlands and the sea 
towards the west, the mountains of Gilead towards the east, and 
far away in the north-east even Hermon itself (Rob. Pal. Hi. p. 
81), was peculiarly well adapted for a place of encampment, from 
which Joshua could carry on the conquest of the land toward both 

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the north and south, we can come to no other conclusion than 
that this Gilgal or Jiljilia was the Gilgal mentioned in chap. ix. 6, 
x. 6, 9, 15, 43, and xiv. 6, as the place where the Israelites were 
encamped. We therefore assume, that after the setting np of 
the law on Gerizim and Ebal, Joshua did not conduct the people 
with their wives and children back again to the camp which they 
had left in the Jordan valley on the other side of Jericho, but 
chose the Gilgal which was situated upon the mountains, and only 
seven hours' journey to the south of Sichem, as the future place of 
encampment, and made this the central point of all his further 
military operations ; and that this was the place to which he returned 
after his last campaign in the north, to commence the division 
of the conquered land among the . tribes of Israel (chap. xiv. 6), 
and where he remained till the tabernacle was permanently erected 
at Shiloh, when the further distribution was carried on there (chap, 
xviii. 1 sqq.). This view, which even Van de Velde (Memoir, p. 
316) has adopted as probable, is favoured still further by the fact 
that this Gilgal or Jiljilia, which is still a large village, is frequently 
mentioned in the subsequent history of Israel, not only in 2 Kings 
ii. 1 and iv. 38, as the seat of a school of the prophets in the time 
of Elijah and Elisha, and in Hos. iv. 15, ix. 15, xii. 12, Amos iv. 4, 
v. 5, as a place which was much frequented for the purpose of 
idolatrous worship ; but even at an earlier date still, namely, as one 
of the places where Samuel judged the people (1 Sam. vii. 16), and 
as the place where he offered sacrifice (1 Sam. x. 8 ; cf. xiii. 7-9), 
and where he gathered the people together to confirm the monarchy 
of Saul (1 Sam. xi. 14, 15), at a time when the tabernacle at Shiloh 
had ceased to be the only national sanctuary of Israel, on account 
of the ark having been taken away. Gilgal had no doubt acquired 
this significance along with Bethel, which had been regarded as a 
holy place ever since the time of Jacob, from the fact that it was 
there that Joshua had established the camp of Israel with the ark 
of the covenant, until the land was divided, and Shiloh was ap- 
pointed as the site for the national sanctuary. 


The victorious advance of the Israelites in the land induced 
the kings of Canaan to form a common league for the purpose of 
resisting them. But, as frequently happens, the many kings and 

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CHAP. IX. 1, 2. 95 

lords of the towns and provinces of Canaan were not all united, so 
as to make a common and vigorous attack. Before the league had 
been entered into, the inhabitants of Gibeon, one of the largest 
towns in the central part of Canaan, together with the smaller 
neighbouring towns that were dependent upon it, attempted to 
anticipate the danger which threatened them by means of a strata- 
gem, and to enter into a friendly alliance with the Israelites. And 
they succeeded, inasmuch as Joshua and the elders of the congre- 
gation of Israel fell into the snare that was laid for them by the 
ambassadors of the Gibeonites, who came to the camp at Gilgal, 
and made the desired treaty with them, without inquiring of the 
Lord. " This account," as 0. v. Gerlach says, " is a warning to the 
Church of God of all ages against the cunning and dissimulation 
of the world, which often seeks for a peaceable recognition on the 
part of the kingdom of God, and even for a reception into it, 
whenever it may be its advantage to do so." 

Vers. 1, 2, form the introduction to chaps. ix.-xi., and corre- 
spond to the introduction in chap. v. 1. The news of the miracu- 
lous passage of the Israelites through the Jordan had thrown all 
the kings of Canaan into such despair, that they did not venture 
to make any attack upon Israel. But they gradually recovered 
from their first panic, partly, no doubt, in consequence of the 
failure of the first attack of the Israelites upon Ai, and resolved to 
join together in making war upon the foreign invaders. The kings 
of Canaan did this when they heard, sc. what Israel had hitherto 
undertaken and accomplished, not merely " what Joshua had done 
to Jericho and Ai" (Knobel) : that is to say, all the kings across 
the Jordan, ue. in the country to the west of the Jordan (JTJVJ " 1 ?¥> 
as in chap. v. 1), viz. " upon the mountains" (not only the moun- 
tains of Judah, as in chap. x. 40, xi. 16, etc., but all the mountains 
which run throughout the whole length of Canaan, as in Deut. i. 7 
and Num. xiii. 17 : see the explanation of the latter passage) ; " t» 
the lowlands" (shephelah, the low-lying country between the moun- 
tains and the sea-coast, which is simply intersected by small ranges 
of hills ; see at Deut. i. 7) ; " and on all the coast of the Great Sea 
towards Lebanon" i.e. the narrow coast of the Mediterranean Sea 
from Joppa up to the Ladder of Tyre (see at Deut. i. 7). The 
different tribes of the Canaanites are also mentioned by name, as 
in chap. iii. 10, except that the Girgashites are omitted. These 
gathered themselves together to fight with Joshua and Israel with 
one mouth, or with one accord (1 Kings xxii. 13). 

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Vers. 3-5. But the inhabitants of a republic, which included 
not only Gibeon the capital, but the towns of Chephirah, Beeroth, 
and Kirjath-jearim also, acted differently from the rest. Gibeon 
(Taficuov, Gaboon, LXX. Vulg.) was larger than Ai, being one 
of the royal cities (chap. x. 2), and was inhabited by Hivites, who 
were a brave people (chap. x. 7, xi. 19). It was afterwards allotted 
to the tribe of Benjamin, and set apart as a Levitical town (chap, 
xviii. 25, xxi. 17). After the destruction of Nob by Saul, the taber- 
nacle was removed thither, and there it remained till the building 
of Solomon's temple (1 Chron. xvi. 39, xxi. 29 ; 1 Kings iii. 4, 5 ; 
2 Chron. i. 3 sqq.). According to Josephus, it was forty or fifty 
stadia from Jerusalem, and judging from its name was built 
upon a hill. It is to be found in the modern Jib, two good hours' 
journey to the north-west of Jerusalem, a village of moderate 
size, on a long chalk hill which overlooks a very fertile, well culti- 
vated plain, or rather a basin, consisting of broad valleys and 
plains, and rises like a vineyard, in the form of separate terraces 
(Strauss, Sinai, p. 332). The remains of large massive buildings 
of great antiquity are still to be seen there, also some fountains, 
and two large subterraneous reservoirs (vid. Bob. Pal. ii. p. 136). 
When the Gibeonites heard of the fate of Jericho and Ai, they 
also did (something) with stratagem. In the expression nan 0) 
(" they also") there is a reference implied to what Joshua had 
done at Jericho and Ai ; not, however, to the stratagem resorted to 
in the case of Ai, as such an allusion would not apply to Jericho. 
They set out as ambassadors : VVBiP, from TO, which occurs in every 
other instance in the form of a noun, signifying a messenger (Prov. 
xiii. 17, etc.). In the Hithpael it means to make themselves 
ambassadors, to travel as ambassadors. The translators of the 
ancient versions, however, adopted the reading Vi'BSP, they provided 
themselves with food ; but this was nothing more than a conjecture 
founded upon ver. 12, and without the slightest critical value. 
They also took " old sacks upon their asses, and old mended wine- 
skins." O r ryto f from "ny, lit. bound together, is veiy characteristic 
There are two modes adopted in the East of repairing skins when 
torn, viz. inserting a patch, or tying up the piece that is torn in the 
form of a bag. Here the reference is to the latter, which was most 
in harmony with their statement, that the skins had got injured 
upon their long journey. Also u old mended sandals upon their 
feet, and old clothes upon them (upon their bodies) ; and all the bread 
of their provisions had become dry and quite mouldy." 0^?, lit. 

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CHAP. IX. 6-15. 97 

furnished with points ; "rtpJ, pointed, speckled (Gen. xxx. 32 sqq.). 
Hence the rendering of the LXX., evpwri&v ; Theod., fiefipwfievoi ; 
Luther schimmlicht, mouldy; whereas the rendering adopted by 
Aquila is h^advp<ofUvo<s ; by Symmachus, Karropo^, i.e. adustus, 
torridus ; and by the Vulgate, in frusta comminuti, i.e. crumbled. 

Vers. 6-15. Having made these preparations, they went to the 
Israelitish camp at Gilgal (Jiljilia), introduced themselves to the 
men of Israel (E*s<, in a collective sense, the plural being but little 
used, and only occurring in Prov. viii. 4, Isa. liii. 3, and Ps. cxli. 4) 
as having come from a distant land, and asked them to make a 
league with them. But the Israelites hesitated, and said to the 
Hivites, i.e. the Gibeonites who were Hivites, that they might per- 
haps be living in the midst of them (the Israelites), i.e. in the land of 
Canaan, which the Israelites already looked upon as their own ; and 
if so, how could they make a league with them? This hesitation 
on their part was founded upon the express command of God, that 
they were not to make any league with the tribes of Canaan (Ex. 
xxiii. 32, xxxiv. 12 ; Num. xxxiii. 55 ; Deut. vii. 2, etc.). In reply 
to this the Gibeonites simply said, " We are thy servants" (ver. 8), 
i.e. we are at thy service, which, according to the obsequious lan- 
guage common in the East, was nothing more than a phrase in- 
tended to secure the favour of Joshua, and by no means implied a 
readiness on their part to submit to the Israelites and pay them 
tribute, as Rosenmuller, Knobel, and others suppose ; for, as Grotius 
correctly observes, what they wished for was " a friendly alliance, 
by which both their territory and also full liberty would be secured 
to themselves." The Keri "ofa (ver. 7) is nothing more than a 
critical conjecture, occasioned not so much by the singular B^K, 
which is frequently construed in the historical writings as a collec- 
tive noun with a plural verb, as by the singular suffix attached to 
*3"jp3, which is to be explained on the ground that only one of the 
Israelites (viz. Joshua) was speaking as the mouthpiece of all the 
rest. The plural ViDSta is used, because Joshua spoke in the name 
of the people. — Ver. 8. To the further question put by Joshua, 
where they had come from, the Gibeonites replied, " From a very 
distant land have thy servants come, because of the name of Jehovah 
thy God," or as they themselves proceed at once to explain : " for 
vie have heard the fame (Jama) of Him, and all that He did in Egypt, 
and to SUwn and Og, the two kings of the Amorites." They very 
wisely say nothing about the miracles connected with the crossing 
of the Jordan and the taking of Jericho, since, " as the inhabit- 


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ants of a very far distant region, they could not have heard any- 
thing about things that had occurred so lately, even by report" 
(Masius). — Vers. 11 sqq. When these tidings reached them, they 
were sent off by the elders (the leaders of the republic) and the 
inhabitants of the land to meet the Israelites, that they might offer 
them their service, and form an alliance with them. In confirma- 
tion of this, they point to their dried provisions, and their torn and 
mended skins and clothes. — Vers. 14, 15. The Israelites suffered 
themselves to be taken in by this pretence. " The men (the elders 
of Israel) took of their provisions ; but they did not ask. the mouth 
of the Lord" Instead of inquiring the will of the Lord in this 
matter through the Urim and Thummim of the high priest (Num. 
xxvii. 21), they contented themselves with taking some of the bread 
that was shown them, and tasting it ; as if the dry mouldy bread 
furnished a safe guarantee of the truth of the words of these 
foreign ambassadors. Some commentators regard their taking of 
their provisions as a sign of mutual friendship, or of the league 
which they made ; but in that case their eating with them would 
at any rate have been mentioned. Among the Arabs, simply eating 
bread and salt with a guest is considered a sign of peace and friend- 
ship. — Ver. 15. So Joshua made (granted) them peace {yid. Isa. 
xxvii. 5), and concluded a covenant with them (DJv, in their 
favour), to let them live ; and the princes of the congregation sware 
unto them. Letting them live is the only article of the league that 
is mentioned, both because this was the main point, and also with 
special reference to the fact that the Gibeonites, being Canaanites, 
ought properly to have been destroyed. It is true that Joshua and 
the princes of the congregation had not violated any express com- 
mand of God by doing this ; for the only thing prohibited in the 
law was making treaties with the Canaanites, which they did not 
suppose the Gibeonites to be, whilst in Deut. xx. 11, where wars 
with foreign nations (not Canaanites) are referred to, permission is 
given to make peace with them, so that all treaties with foreign 
nations are not forbidden. But they had failed in this respect, that, 
trusting to the crafty words of the Gibeonites, and to outward 
appearances only, they had forgotten their attitude to the Lord 
their God, who had promised to His congregation, in all important 
matters, a direct revelation of His own will. 

Vers. 16-27. Three days after the treaty had been concluded, 
the Israelites discovered that they had been deceived, and that 
their allies dwelt among them (see ver. 7). They set out therefore 

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CHAP. IX. 16-27. 99 

to deal with the deceivers, and reached their towns Gibeon, Che- 
phirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim on the third day. Chephirah, 
which was afterwards allotted to the tribe of Benjamin along with 
Gibeon and Beeroth, and was still inhabited after the captivity 
(chap, xviii. 25, 26 ; Ezra ii. 25 ; Neh. vii. 29), is to be seen in the 
ruins of Ke/ir, an hour's journey to the east of Yalo, in the moun- 
tains, and three hours to the west of Gibeon (see Bob. Bibl. Res. 
p. 146, and Van de Velde, Memoir, pp. 303-4). Beeroth, Bnpa>0, 
according to Eusebius (Onom. a. v.) a hamlet near Jerusalem, and 
seven miles on the road to NicopoUs (it should read NeapoUs), was 
in the tribe of Benjamin (2 Sam. iv. 2), and still exists in the 
large village of Bireh, which is situated upon a mountain nine 
Roman miles to the north of Jerusalem in a stony and barren 
district, and has still several springs and a good well, besides 
the remains of a fine old church of the time of the Crusades (see 
Bob. Pal. ii. pp. 130 sqq. ; Seetzen, R. ii. pp. 195-6). Kirjath- 
jearim, also called Kirjath-baal (chap. xv. 60), Baalah (chap. xv. 
9), and Baal-Jehuda (2 Sam. vi. 2), was allotted to the tribe of 
Judah. It stood upon the boundary between Judah and Benjamin 
(chap. xv. 60, xviii. 15) ; and the ark remained there, after it had 
been sent back by the Philistines, until the time of David (1 Sam. 
vii. 2 ; 2 Sam. vi. 2 ; 1 Chron. xiii. 5, 6). According to the 
Ononu, s. v. KapuU)iapelfi and BadX, it was nine or ten Roman 
miles from Jerusalem, on the road to Diospolis (Lydda), and is 
probably to be seen in the present Kuryet el Enab, a considerable 
village with a large number of olive trees, figs, pomegranates, and 
vineyards, from the last of which the old " town of the forests" has 
received the more modern name of " town of the vine" (see Bob. 
Pal. ii. p. 335, and Bibl. Res. pp. 156-7 ; and Seetzen, ii. p. 65). 
These towns, which formed one republic with Gibeon, and were 
governed by elders, were at so short a distance from Gilgal (Jiljilia), 
that the Israelites could reach it in one or two days. The expression 
" on the third day" is not at variance with this ; for it is not stated 
that Israel took three days to march there, but simply that they 
arrived there on the third day after receiving the intelligence of the 
arrival of the ambassadors. — Ver. 18. " 27te Israelites smote them 
not," sc. with the edge of the sword, " because the princes of the 
congregation had sworn to them" sc. to let them live (ver. 15) ; hut, 
notwithstanding the murmuring of the congregation, they declared 
that they might not touch them because of their oath. " This (sc. 
what we have sworn) we will do to them, and let them live (JW$} t inf. 

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abs. with special emphasis instead of the finite verb), lest wrath come 
upon us because of the oath" Wrath (*c. of God), a judgment such 
as fell upon Israel in the time of David, because Saul disregarded 
this oath and sought to destroy the Gibeonites (2 Sam. xxi. 1 sqq.). 
But how could the elders of Israel consider themselves bound 
by their oath to grant to the Gibeonites the preservation of life 
which had been secured to them by the treaty they had made, when 
the very supposition upon which the treaty was made, viz. that the 
Gibeonites did not belong to the tribes of Canaan, was proved to be 
false, and the Gibeonites had studiously deceived them by pretending 
that they had come from a very distant land ? As they had been 
absolutely forbidden to make any treaties with the Canaanites, it 
might be supposed that, after the discovery of the deception which 
had been practised upon them, the Israelitish rulers would be under 
no obligation to observe the treaty which they had made with the 
Gibeonites in full faith in the truth of their word. And no doubt 
from the stand-point of strict justice this view appears to be a right 
one. But the princes of Israel shrank back from breaking the oath 
which, as is emphatically stated in ver. 19, they had sworn by Jehovah 
the God of Israel, not because they assumed, as Hauff supposes, "that 
an oath simply regarded as an outward and holy transaction had an 
absolutely binding force," but because they were afraid of bringing 
the name of the God of Israel into contempt among the Canaanites, 
which they would have done if they had broken the oath which they 
had sworn by this God, and had destroyed the Gibeonites. They 
were bound to observe the oath which they had once sworn, if only 
to prevent the sincerity of the God by whom they had sworn from 
being rendered doubtful in the eyes of the Gibeonites ; but they were 
not justified in taking the oath. They had done this without asking 
the mouth of Jehovah (ver. 14), and thus had sinned against the 
Lord their God. But they could not repair this fault by breaking 
the oath which they had thus imprudently taken, i.e. by committing 
a fresh sin ; for the violation of an oath is always sin, even when 
the oath has been taken inconsiderately, and it is afterwards dis- 
covered that what was sworn to was not in accordance with the will 
of God, and that an observance of the oath will certainly be hurtful 
(yid. Ps. xv. 4). 1 By taking an oath to the ambassadors that they 

1 " The binding power of an oath ought to be held so sacred among us, that 
we should not swerve from our bond under any pretence of error, even though 
we had been deceived : since the sacred name of God is of greater worth than 
all the riches of the world. Even though a person should have sworn therefore 

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CHAP. IX. 16-27. 101 

would let the Gibeonites live, the princes of Israel had acted 
unconsciously in violation of the command of God that they were 
to destroy the Canaanites. As soon therefore as they discovered 
their error or their oversight, they were bound to do all in their 
power to ward off from the congregation the danger which might 
arise of their being drawn away to idolatry — the very thing which 
the Lord had intended to avert by giving that command. If this 
could by any possibility be done without violating their oath, they 
were bound to do it for the sake of the name of the Lord by which 
they swore ; that is to say, while letting the Gibeonites live, it was 
their duty to put them in such a position, that they could not 
possibly seduce the Israelites to idolatry. And this the princes of 
Israel proposed to do, by granting to the Gibeonites on the one hand 
the preservation of their lives according to the oath they had taken, 
and on the other hand by making them slaves of the sanctuary. 
That they acted rightly in this respect, is evident from the fact that 
their conduct is never blamed either by the historian or by the 
history, inasmuch as it is not stated anywhere that the Gibeonites, 
after being made into temple slaves, held out any inducement to 
the Israelites to join in idolatrous worship, and still more from the 
fact, that at a future period God himself reckoned the attempt of 
Saul to destroy the Gibeonites, in his false zeal for the children of 
Israel, as an act of blood-guiltiness on the part of the nation of Israel 
for which expiation must be made (2 Sam. xxi. 1 sqq.), and conse- 
quently approved of the observance of the oath which had been 
sworn to them, though without thereby sanctioning the treaty itself. 
— Ver. 21. The princes declared again most emphatically, " They 
slw.ll live" Thus the Gibeonites became hewers of wood and drawers 
of water to the congregation, as the princes had said to them, i.e. 
had resolved concerning them. This resolution they communicated 
to the congregation at the time, using the expression W (let them 
live) ; but the historian has passed this over at ver. 21a, and instead 
of mentioning the resolution proceeds at once to describe its execu- 
tion. — Vers. 22, 23. Joshua then summoned the Gibeonites, charged 
them with their deceit, and pronounced upon them the curse of 

without sufficient consideration, no injury or loss will release him from his 
oath." This is the opinion expressed by Calvin with reference to Ps. xv. 4 ; 
yet for all that he regards the observance of their oath on the part of the princes 
of Israel as a sin, because he limits this golden rule in the most arbitrary 
manner to private affairs alone, and therefore concludes that the Israelites were 
not bound to observe this " wily treaty." 

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eternal servitude : " There shall not be cut off from you a servant," i.e. 
ye shall never cease to be servants, ye shall remain servants for ever 
(vid. 2 Sam. iii. 29 ; 1 Kings ii. 4), u and that as hewers of wood 
and drawers of waters for our God's house." This is a fuller defini- 
tion of the expression " for all the congregation" in ver. 21. The 
Gibeonites were to perform for the congregation the slaves' labour 
of hewing wood and drawing water for the worship of the sanctuary, 
— a duty which was performed, according to Deut. xxix. 10, by the 
lowest classes of the people. In this way the curse of Noah upon 
Canaan (Gen. ix. 25) was literally fulfilled upon the Hivites of the 
Gibeonitish republic. — Vers. 24, 25. The Gibeonites offered this 
excuse for their conduct, that having heard of the command of God 
which had been issued through Moses, that all the Canaanites were 
to be destroyed (Deut. vii. 1, xx. 16, 17), they had feared greatly 
for their lives, and readily submitted to the resolution which 
Joshua made known to them. — Vers. 26, 27. "And so did he 
unto tliem, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of 
Israel, that they slew them not. He made them hewers of wood and 
drawers of water for the congregation, and indeed for the altar of the 
Lord," (assigning them) u to the place which God would choose" 
viz. for the altar. Dlperr?K (to the place) is grammatically de- 
pendent upon DW (he "gave them"). It by no means follows, 
however, that Joshua sent them there at that very time, but simply 
that he sentenced them to service at the altar in the place which 
would be chosen for the sanctuary. From the words. "unto this 
day," it no doubt follows, on the one hand, that the account was 
written after the fact had taken place ; but, on the other hand, it 
also follows from the future "iny (should, or shall choose), that it 
was written before the place was definitely fixed, and therefore 
before the building of Solomon's temple. 



Vers. 1-5. The report that Joshua had taken Ai, and put it, 
like Jericho, under the ban, and that the Gibeonites had concluded 
a treaty with Israel, filled Adonizedek the king of Jerusalem with 
alarm, as Gibeon was a large town, like one of the king's towns, 
even larger than Ai, and its inhabitants were brave men. He 
therefore joined with the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and 
Eglon, to make a common attack upon Gibeon, and punish it for 

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CHAP. X. 1-5. 103 

its alliance with the Israelites, and at the same time to pat a check 
upon the further conquests of Israel. Adonizedek, i.e. lord of right- 
eousness, is synonymous with Melchizedek (king of righteousness), 
and was a title of the Jebusite kings, as Pharaoh was of the Egyp- 
tian. Jerusalem, ue. the founding or possession of peace, called 
Salem, in the time of Abraham (Gen. adv. 18), was the proper name 
of the town, which was also frequently called by the name of its 
Canaanitish inhabitants Jehus (Judg. xix. 10, 11 ; 1 Chron. xi. 4), 
or "city of the Jebusites" (Jr-Jebusi, Judg. xix. 11), sometimes 
also in a contracted form, Jebusi (^DO^ chap, xviii. 16, 28, xv. 8 ; 
2 Sam. v. 8). 1 On the division of the land it was allotted to the 
tribe of Benjamin (chap, xviii. 28) ; but being situated upon the 
border of Judah (chap. xv. 8), it was conquered, and burned by 
the sons of Judah after the death of Joshua (Judg. i. 8). It was 
very soon taken again and rebuilt by the Jebusites, whom the sons 
of Judah were unable to destroy (Judg. xv. 63, xix. 12), so that 
both Benjaminites and Judahites lived there along with the Jebu- 
sites (Judg. i. 21, xv. 63) ; and the upper town especially, upon the 
summit of Mount Zion, remained as a fortification in the possession 
of the Jebusites, until David conquered it (2 Sam. v. 6 sqq.), made 
it the capital of his kingdom, and called it by his own name, " the 
city of David," after which the old name of Jebus fell into disuse. 
Hebron, the town of Arba the Anakite (chap. xiv. 15, etc. ; see at 
Gen. xxiii. 2), was twenty-two Boman miles south of Jerusalem, in 
a deep and narrow valley upon the mountains of Judah, a town of 
the greatest antiquity (Num. xiii. 22), now called el Khalil, ue. the 
friend (of God), with reference to Abraham's sojourn there. The 
ruins of an ancient heathen temple are still to be seen there, as 
well as the Haram, built of colossal blocks, which contains, accord- 
ing to Mohammedan tradition, the burial-place of the patriarchs 
(see at Gen. xxiii. 17). Jarmuth, in the lowlands of Judah (chap. 
xv. 35 ; Neh. xi. 29), according to the Onom. (s. v. Jermiis) a hamlet, 
Jermucha ('lep/xo^w?), ten Boman miles from Eleutheropolis, on 
the road to Jerusalem, is the modern Jarmuk, a village on a lofty 
hill, with the remains of walls and cisterns of a very ancient date, 
the name of which, according to Van de Velde (Mem. pp. 115-6), 
is pronounced Tell 'Armuth by the Arabs (see Sob. Pal. ii. p. 344). 
Lachish, in the lowlands of Judah (chap. xv. 39), was fortified 

1 In onr English version, we have the Hebrew word itself simply transposed 
in Joshua xviii. 16, 28 ; whilst it is rendered " the Jebusite " in chap. xv. 8, 
and " the Jebusites " in 2 Sam. v. 8.— Tu. 

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by Kehoboam (2 Chron. xi. 9), and besieged by Sennacherib and 
Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings xviii. 14, xix. 8 ; Jer. xxxiv. 7), and was 
still inhabited by Jews after the return from the captivity (Neh. 
xi. 30). It is probably to be found in Um Lakis, an old place 
upon a low round hill, covered with heaps of small round stones 
thrown together in great confusion, containing relics of marble 
columns ; it is about an hour and a quarter to the west of Ajlun, 
and seven hours to the west of Eleutheropolis. 1 Eglon ; also in 
the lowlands of Judah (chap. xv. 39). The present name is Ajldn, 
a heap of ruins, about three-quarters of an hour to the east of Um 
Lakis (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 392, and Van de Velde, Mem. p. 308). 
In the Onom. (s. v. Eglon) it is erroneously identified with Odollam ; 
whereas the situation of Agla, " at the tenth stone, as you go from 
Eleutheropolis to Gaza" {Onom. s. v. BydaXat/i, Bethagla), suits 
Eglon exactly. — Ver. 5. These five kings marched against Gibeon 
and besieged the town. The king of Jerusalem headed the expe- 
dition, as his town was so near to Gibeon that he was the first to 
fear an attack from the Israelites. 

Vers. 6-11. The Gibeonites then sent to Joshua to the camp 
at Gilgal, and entreated him to come to his help as speedily as 
possible. " Slack not thy hand from thy servants" i.e. withhold not 
thy help from us. The definition appended to " the kings of the 
Amorites" ("tliat dwelt in the mountains") is to be understood a 
potiori, and does not warrant us in drawing the conclusion, that 
all the towns mentioned in ver. 3 were in the mountains of Judah. 
The Amorites who dwelt in the mountains were the strongest of 
all the Canaanites. — Ver. 7. In accordance with this petition Joshua 
advanced from Gilgal (??5, not went up) with all the people of war, 
even (vav. expl.) all the men of valour. — Ver. 8. The Lord then 
renewed the assurance of His help in this particular war, in which 
Joshua was about to fight for the first time with several allied kings 
of Canaan (cf. chap. ii. 24, vi. 2, viii. 1, 18). — Ver. 9. Joshua came 

1 It is true that Robinson disputes the identity of Um Lakis with the ancient 
Lacliish (Pal. ii. p. 888), but " not on any reasonable ground " ( Van de Velde, 
Mem. p. 320). The statement in the Onom. (s. v. Lochis), that it was seven 
Roman miles to the south of Eleutheropolis, cannot prove much, as it may easily 
contain an error in the number, and Robinson does not admit its authority even 
in the case of Eglon (Pal. ii. p. 392). Still less can KnobeFs conjecture be 
correct, that it is to be found in the old place called Sukkarijeh, two hours and 
a half to the south-west of Beit Jibrin (Eleutheropolis), as Sukkarijeh is on the 
east of Ajlun, whereas, according to vers. 31-36, Lachish is to be sought fo* 
on the west of Eglon. 

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CHAP. X. 6-11. 105 

suddenly upon them (the enemy), as he had marched the whole night 
from Gilgal, i.e. had accomplished the entire distance in a night. 
Jiljilia is fully fifteen miles from el-Jib. — Ver. 10. " Jehovah threw 
them into confusion," as He had promised in Ex. xxiii. 27, and in 
all probability, judging from ver. 11, by dreadful thunder and 
lightning (yid. 1 Sam. vii. 10 ; Ps. xviii. 15, cxliv. 6 : it is different 
in Ex. xiv. 24). " Israel smote them in a great slaughter at Gibeon, 
and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Bethhoron" i.e. Upper 
Bethhoron (Beit Ur, eUFokd), which was nearest to Gibeon, only 
four hours distant on the north-west, on a lofty promontory between 
two valleys, one on the north, the other on the south, and was 
separated from Lower Bethhoron, which lies further west, by a 
long steep pass, from which the ascent to Upper Bethhoron is very 
steep and rocky, though the rock has been cut away in many places 
now, and a path made by means of steps (see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 59). 
This pass between the two places leads downwards from Gibeon 
towards the western plain, and was called sometimes the ascent, or 
going up to Bethhoron, and sometimes the descent, or going down 
from it (ver. 11), avd/3acri<: ical Kardfiao-K Batdcap&v (1 Mace. iii. 
16, 24). Israel smote the enemy still further, "to Azekah and 
Makkedah :" so far were they pursued and beaten after the battle 
(cf. vers. 16, 21). If we compare ver. 11, according to which the 
enemy was smitten, from Bethhoron to Azekah, by a violent fall of 
hail, it is very evident that the two places were on the west of Beth- 
horon. And it is in perfect harmony with this that we find both 
places described as being in the lowland ; Azekah in the hill-country 
between the mountains and the plain (chap. xv. 35), Makkedah in 
the plain itself (chap. xv. 41). Azekah, which was fortified by 
Rehoboam (2 Chron. xi. 9), besieged by Nebuchadnezzar ( Jer. xxxiv. 
7), and still inhabited after the captivity (Neh. xi. 30), was not far 
from Socoh, according to chap. xv. 35 ; whilst sideways between the 
two was Ephes-dammim (1 Sam. xvii. 1). Van de Velde has dis- 
covered the latter in the ruins of Damum, about an hour's journey 
east by south from Beit Nettif (Mem. p. 290), and consequently 
imagines that Azekah is to be found in the village of Ahbek, which 
stands upon a lofty mountain-top a mile and a half to the north 
of Damum, and about four or five miles N.N.E. of Shuweikeh, 
supposing this to be Aphek. The statement in the Onom. (s. v. 
'Africa), avdfieaov 'EXevdepoTroXewi teal Al\ia<s, agrees with this. 
Makkedah is described in the Onom. as being eight Roman miles to 
the east of Eleutheropolis, and hence Knobel supposes it to have 

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been near Terkumieh, or Morak ; but he is wrong in his supposition, 
as in that case it would have been in the hill-country or upon the 
mountains, whereas it was one of the towns in the plain (chap. xv. 
41). Van de Velde's conjecture (p. 332) is a much more probable 
one, viz. that it is to be found in Sumtneil, a considerable village on 
an eminence in the plain, with a large public well 110 feet deep 
and 11 feet in diameter, with strongly built walls of hewn stones, 
where there is also part of an old wall, which to all appearance 
must formerly have belonged to a large square castle built of unce- 
mented stones, resembling in some respects the oldest foundation 
wall of Beit Jibrin (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 368). It is two hours and a 
half to the north-west of Beit Jibrin, and there Van de Velde dis- 
covered the large cave (see at ver. 16), which Robinson has not 
observed (see his Journey through Syria and Palestine). — Ver. 11. 
The large stones which the Lord threw upon the flying foe at the 
slope of Bethhoron were hail-stones (see Isa. xxx. 30), not stone- 
hail, or a shower of stones, but a terrible hail-storm, in which hail 
fell upon the foe in pieces as large as stones (see Wisd. xlvi. 6), 
and slew a greater number of them than the swords of the Israel- 
ites. This phenomenon, which resembled the terrible hail in Egypt 
(Ex. ix. 24), was manifestly a miraculous occurrence produced by 
the omnipotent power of God, inasmuch as the hail-stones slew the 
enemy without injuring the Israelites, who were pursuing them. 
By this the Israelites were to be made to see that it was not their 
own power, but the supernatural help of their God, which had given 
them the victory ; whilst the enemy discovered that it was not only 
the people of Israel, but the God of Israel, that had devoted them 
to destruction. 

Vers. 12-15. In firm reliance upon the promise of God (ver. 8), 
Joshua offered a prayer to the Lord during the battle, that He 
would not let the sun go down till Israel had taken vengeance upon 
their foes ; and the Lord hearkened to the prayer of His servant, 
and the sun hastened not to go down till the defeat of the Amorites 
was accomplished. This miraculous victory was celebrated by the 
Israelites in a war-song, which was preserved in the " book of tlte 
Righteous." The author of the book of Joshua has introduced the 
passage out of this book which celebrates the mighty act of the 
Lord for the glorification of His name upon Israel, and their foes 
the Amorites. It is generally admitted, that vers. 12-15 contain a 
quotation from the " book of Jasher," mentioned in ver. 13. This 
quotation, and the reference to the work itself, are analogous to the 

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CHAP. X 12-15. 107 

notice of u the book of the wars of the Lord," in Num. xxi. 14, 
and to the strophes of a song which are there interwoven with the 
historical narrative ; the object being, not to confirm the historical 
account by referring to an earlier source, but simply to set forth 
before other generations the powerful impression which was made 
upon the congregation by these mighty acts of the Lord. The 
" book of Jasher" i.e. book of the upright, or righteous man, that 
is to say, of the true members of the theocracy, or godly men. *n£ 
(Jasher, the righteous) is used to denote the genuine Israelite, in 
the same sense as in Num. xxiii. 10, where Balaam calls the Israel- 
ites " the righteous," inasmuch as Jehovah, the righteous and 
upright one (Deut. xxxii. 4), had called them to be His people, and 
to walk in His righteousness. In addition to this passage, the 
" book of the righteous (Jasher)" is also mentioned in 2 Sam. i. 18, 
as a work in which was to be found David's elegy upon Saul and 
Jonathan. From this fact it has been justly inferred, that the book 
was a collection of odes in praise of certain heroes of the theocracy, 
with historical notices of their achievements interwoven, and that 
the collection was formed by degrees ; so that the reference to this 
work is neither a proof that the passage has been interpolated by a 
later hand, nor that the work was composed at a very late period. 
That the passage quoted from this work is extracted from a song, 
is evident enough, both from the poetical form of the composition, 
and also from the parallelism of the sentences. The quotation, 
however, does not begin with lOtta (and he said) in ver. 125, but 
with TVf tftei (in the day wlien the Lord delivered) in ver. 12a, and 
vers. 13 and 14 also form part of it ; so that the title of the book 
from which the quotation is taken is inserted in the middle of the 
quotation itself. In other cases, unquestionably, such formulas of 
quotation are placed either at the beginning (as in Num. xxi. 14, 
27 ; 2 Sam. i. 18), or else at the close of the account, which is 
frequently the case in the books of Kings and Chronicles ; but it 
by no means follows that there were no exceptions to this rule, 
especially as the reason for mentioning the original sources is a 
totally different one in the books of Kings, where the works cited are 
not the simple vouchers for the facts related, but works containing 
fuller and more elaborate accounts of events which have only been 
cursorily described. The poetical form of the passage in ver. 13 
also leaves no doubt whatever that vers. 13 and 14 contain the 
words of the old poet, and are not a prose comment made by the 
Historian upon the poetical passage quoted. The only purely his- 

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torical statement is ver. 15 ; and this is repeated in ver. 43, at the 
close of the account of the wars and the victory. Bat this literal 
repetition of ver. 15 in ver. 43, and the fact that the statement, that 
Joshua returned with all the people to the camp at Gilgal, antici- 
pates the historical course of the events in a very remarkable 
manner, render it highly probable, if not absolutely certain, that 
ver. 15 was also taken from the book of the righteous. 

In the day when Jehovah delivered up the Amorites to the 
children of Israel (" before," as in Deut. ii. 31, 33, etc.), Joshua 
said before the eyes (i.e. in the presence) of Israel, so that the 
Israelites were witnesses of his words (yid. Deut. xxxi. 7) : " Suti, 
stand still (wait) at Gibeon ; and, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon." 
DOT, to be silent, to keep one's self quiet or still, to wait (1 Sam. xiv. 
9). The address to the sun and moon implies that they both of them 
stood, or were visible in the heavens at the time ; and inasmuch as 
it was spoken to the Lord, involves a prayer that the Lord and 
Creator of the world would not suffer the sun and moon to set till 
Israel had taken vengeance upon its foes. This explanation of the 
prayer is only to be found, it is true, in the statement that the 
sun and moon stood still at Joshua's word ; but we must imagine it 
as included in the prayer itself. ^3 without an article, when used 
to denote the people of Israel, is to be regarded as a poetical 
expression. In the sequel (ver. 135) the sun only is spoken of : 
" and Hie sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go 
down about a whole day." The poetical word pK, to press or hurry, 
is founded upon the idea that the sun runs its course like a strong 
man, with vigour, and without weariness or cessation (Ps. xix. 6, 7). 
It follows from this, that Joshua merely prayed for the day to be 
lengthened, i.e. for the setting of the sun to be delayed ; and that 
he included the moon (ver. 12), simply because it was visible at the 
time. But even if this is the case, we are not therefore to conclude, 
as C. v. Lapide, Clericus, and others have done, that Joshua spoke 
these words in the afternoon, when the sun was beginning to set, 
and the moon had already risen. The expression D^OB'n Wia, « t 'n 
the half," i.e. the midst, " of tlie sky," is opposed to this view, and 
still more the relative position of the two in the sky, the sun at 
Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, i.e. in the fine broad 
basin on the north side of Yalo (see at chap. xix. 42), the present 
Merj Ibn Omeir (Rob. iii. pp. 63, 64), which is four hours' journey 
to the west of Gibeon. As Joshua smote the enemy at Gibeon, 
and they fled to the south-west, he was no doubt on the west of 

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CHAP. X. 12-15, 109 

Gibeon when he commanded the sun and moon to stand still ; and 
therefore from his point of view the sun would be in the east when 
it stood over Gibeon, and the moon in the far west when it stood 
over the valley of Ajalon. But that could only be the case before 
noon, a few hours after sunrise, when the moon had not yet set in 
the western sky. In all probability the battle took place quite 
early in the morning, as Joshua had marched from Gilgal the night 
before, and fell quite suddenly upon the enemy (ver. 9). But after 
the conflict had lasted for some hours, and Joshua began to be 
anxious lest he should be unable to overcome the enemy before 
night came on, he addressed the prayer to the Lord to lengthen out 
the day, and in a short time saw his prayer so far fulfilled, that the 
sun still stood high up in the sky when the enemy was put to flight. 
We take for granted that these words were spoken by Joshua before 
the terrible hail-storm which fell upon the enemy in their flight, 
when they were near Bethhoron, which is about two hours from 
Gibeon, and smote them to Azekah. There is nothing to prevent 
our assuming this. The fact, that in the historical account the 
hail is mentioned before the desire expressed by Joshua and the 
fulfilment of that desire, may be explained on the simple ground, 
that the historian, following the order of importance, relates the 
principal incident in connection with the battle first, before proceed- 
ing to the special point to be cited from the book of the righteous. 
Q*Dn Dta), " towards (about, or as it were) a whole day," neither 
signifies " when the day was ended" (Clerious), nor " as it usually 
does when the day is perfected or absolutely finished" (RosenmUller) ; 
but the sun did not hasten or press to go down, delayed its setting, 
almost a whole day (" day" being the time between sunrise and 

What conception are we to form of this miraculous event f It 
is not stated that the sun actually stood still in one spot in the 
heavens, — say, for instance, in the zenith. And if the expression, 
" the sun stood still in the midst of heaven," which is added as an 
explanation of DVw, is so pressed as to mean that the sun was 
miraculously stopped in its course, this is hardly reconcilable with 
W37 }*X K?, " it hasted not to go down," as these words, if taken 
literally, merely denote a slower motion on the part of the sun, as 
many of the Rabbins have observed. All that is clearly affirmed in 
vers. 12 and 13 is, that at Joshua's word the sun remained standing 
in the sky for almost a whole day longer. To this there is added, 
in ver. 14, " There was no day like that before it, or after it, that 

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Jehovah liearkened to the voice of a man ; for Jehovah fought for 
Israel." This expression must not be pressed too far, as the analo- 
gous passages (" there was none like him," etc.) in 2 Kings xviii. 5 
and xxiii. 25 clearly show. They merely express this thought : 
no other day like this, which God so miraculously lengthened, ever 
occurred either before or afterwards. So much, therefore, is obvious 
enough from the words, that the writer of the old song, and also 
the author of the book of Joshua, who inserted the passage in his 
narrative, were convinced that the day was miraculously prolonged. 
At the same lime, it must be borne in mind that it is not stated 
that God lengthened that day at the request of Joshua almost an 
entire day, or that He made the sun stand still almost a whole day, 
but simply that God hearkened to the voice of Joshua, i.e. did not 
permit the sun to go down till Israel had avenged itself upon its 
enemies. This distinction is not without importance : for a mira- 
culous prolongation of the day would take place not only if the 
sun's course or sun's setting was delayed for several hours by the 
omnipotent power of God, and the day extended from twelve to 
eighteen or twenty hours, but also if the day seemed to Joshua and 
all Israel to be miraculously prolonged ; because the work accom- 
plished on that day was so great, that it would have required almost 
two days to accomplish it without supernatural aid. It is not easy 
to decide between these two opposite views ; in fact, it is quite im- 
possible if we go to the root of the matter. When we are not in 
circumstances to measure the length of the day by the clock, it is 
very easy to mistake its actual length, especially in the midst of 
the pressure of business or work. The Israelites at that time had 
neither sun-clocks nor any other kind of clock; and during the con- 
fusion of the battle it is hardly likely that Joshua, or any one else 
who was engaged in the conflict, would watch the shadow of the 
sun and its changes, either by a tree or any other object, so as to 
discover that the sun had actually stood still, from the fact that for 
hours the shadow had neither moved nor altered in length. Under 
such circumstances, therefore, it was quite impossible for the Israel- 
ites to decide whether it was in reality, or only in their own imagi- 
nation, that the day was longer than others. To this there must 
be added the poetical character of the verses before us. When 
David celebrates the miraculous deliverance which he had received 
from the Lord, in these words, u In my distress I called upon the 
Lord. . . . He heard my voice out of His temple. . . . He bowed 
the heavens also, and came down. . . . He sent from above, He took 

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CHAP. X. 12-15. Ill 

me, He drew me out of many waters" (Ps. xviii. 7-17), who would 
ever think of interpreting the words literally, and supposing them 
to mean that God actually came down from the sky, and stretched 
out His hand to draw David out of the water? Or who would 
understand the words of Dehorah, u They fought from heaven, the 
stars in their courses fought against Sisera" (Judg. v. 20), in their 
literal sense ? The truthfulness of such utterances is to be sought 
for in the subjective sphere of religious intuition, and not in a 
literal interpretation of the words. And it may be just the same 
with these verses, without their actual contents being affected, if 
the day was merely subjectively lengthened, — that is to say, in the 
religious conviction of the Israelites. But even if the words really 
affirmed that a miraculous and objective lengthening of the day did 
actually take place, we should have no reason whatever for ques- 
tioning the credibility of the statement. All the objections that have 
been raised with reference to the reality or possibility of such a 
miracle, prove to have no force when we examine the subject more 
closely. Thus, for example, the objection that the annals of the 
other nations of the earth contain no account of any such miracle, 
which must have extended over the whole world, loses all its signi- 
ficance from the simple fact that there are no annals in existence 
belonging to other nations and reaching back to that time, and that 
it is altogether doubtful whether the miracle would extend far 
beyond the limits of Palestine. Again, an appeal to the unchange- 
ableness of the motions of the stars according to eternal and un- 
changeable laws, is not adapted to prove the impossibility of such a 
miracle. The eternal laws of nature are nothing more than pheno- 
mena, or forms of manifestation, of those divine creative powers, 
the true character of which no mortal has ever fathomed. And 
does not the almighty Creator and Upholder of nature and all its 
forces possess the power so to direct and govern the working of 
these forces, as to make them subservient to the realization of His 
purposes of salvation? And lastly, the objection that a sudden 
stoppage of the revolution of the earth upon its axis would have 
dashed to pieces all the works of human hands that were to be 
found upon its surface, and hurled the earth itself, with its satellite 
the moon, out of their orbits, cannot prove anything, because it 
leaves out of sight the fact that the omnipotent hand of God, which 
not only created the stars, but gave them the power to revolve with 
such regularity in their orbits as long as this universe endures,. 
which upholds and governs all things in heaven and/tfffigHE^ ^^^T/js 

v% UNION < 


kDigitizedbyCjOOQle J 

\ - 5> »-:--. ' 


not too short to guard against any such disastrous consequences as 
these. But to this we may add, that even the strictest and most 
literal interpretation of the words does not require us to assume, as 
the fathers and earlier theologians did, that the sun itself was 
miraculously made to stand still, but simply supposes an optical 
stopping of the sun in its course, — that is to say, a miraculous sus- 
pension of the revolution of the earth upon its axis, which would 
make it appear to the eye of an observer as if the sun itself were 
standing still. Knobel is by no means warranted in pronouncing 
this view of the matter an assumption at variance with the text. 
For the Scriptures speak of the things of the visible world as they 
appear ; just as we speak of the sun as rising and setting, although 
we have no doubt whatever about the revolution of the earth. 
Moreover, the omnipotence of God might produce such an optical 
stoppage of the sun, or rather a continuance of the visibility of the 
sun above the horizon, by celestial phenomena which are altogether 
unknown to us or to naturalists in general, without interfering with 
the general laws affecting the revolution of the heavenly bodies. 
Only we must not attempt, as some have done, to reduce the 
whole miracle of divine omnipotence to an unusual refraction of 
the light, or to the continuance of lightning throughout the whole 

Vers. 16-27. The five kings fled and hid themselves in the cave 
that was at Makkedah. When they were discovered there, Joshua 
ordered large stones to be rolled before the entrance to the cave, 
and men to be placed there to watch, whilst the others pursued the 
enemy without ceasing, and smote their rear (vid. Deut. xxv. 18), 
and prevented their entering into their cities. He himself remained 
at Makkedah (ver. 21).— Vers. 20, 21. When the great battle and 
the pursuit of the enemy were ended, and such as remained had 
reached their fortified towns, the people returned to the camp to 
Joshua at Makkedah in peace, i.e. without being attacked by any- 
body. " There pointed not (a dog) its tongue against the sons of 
Israel, against any one" (see at Ex. xi. 7). K*N? is in apposition to 
Vwf? 'P.??, and serves to define it more precisely. It is possible, 
however, to regard the 7 as a copyist's error, as Houbigant and 
Afaurer do, in which case K*K would be the nominative to the verb. 
— Vers. 22-27. Joshua then commanded the five kings to be fetched 
out of the cave, and directed the leaders of the army to set their 
feet upon the necks of the kings ; and when this had been done, 
he ordered the kings to be put to death, and to be hanged upon 

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CHAP. X. 28-89. 113 

trees until the evening, when their bodies were to be thrown into 
the cave in which they had concealed themselves. Of course this 
did not take place till the day after the battle, as the army could 
not return from their pursuit of the foe to the camp at Makkedah 
till the night after the battle ; possibly it did not take place till the 
second day, if the pursuit had lasted any longer. In ver. 24, " all 
the men of Israel" are all the warriors in the camp. N* 3 ?'^, with n 
artic., instead of the relative pronoun (see Ges. §109; Ew. § 331, b.) ; 
and the ending w for ^ or p, as in Isa. xxviii. 12 (see Ew. § 190, b.). 
The fact that the military leaders set their feet at Joshua's com- 
mand upon the necks of the conquered kings, was not a sign of 
barbarity, which it is necessary to excuse by comparing it with still 
greater barbarities on the part of the Canaanites, as in Judg. i. 7, 
but was a symbolical act, a sign of complete subjugation, which was 
customary in this sense even in the Eastern empire (see Bynceus de 
calceis, p. 318, and Constant. Porphyrogen de cerimon. aula Byzant. 
ii. 19). It was also intended in this instance to stimulate the 
Israelites to further conflict with the Canaanites. This is stated 
in the words of Joshua (ver. 25) : " Fear not, nor be dismayed (yid. 
chap. i. 9, viii. 1) ; for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies." 
On the putting to death and then hanging, see chap. viii. 29 and 
Deut. xxi. 22, 23. The words 'W *?&! (ver. 276) are generally 
understood as signifying, that after the bodies of the kings had been 
cast into the cave, the Israelites placed large stones before the 
entrance, just as in other cases heaps of stones were piled upon the 
graves of criminals that had been executed (vid. chap. vii. 25), and 
that these stones remained there till the account before us was 
written. But this leaves the words 05|y "ijf unexplained, as DW 
never occurs in any other case where the formula " until this day" 
is used with the simple meaning that a thing had continued to the 
writer's own time, W? Dto Dify expresses the thought that the day 
referred to was the very same day about which the author wa» 
writing, and no other (see chap. v. 11 ; Gen. vii. 13, xvii. 23 ; Ex. 
xii. 17, etc.). If, therefore, it has any meaning at all in the present 
instance, we must connect the whole clause with the one preceding, 
and even construe it as a relative clause : " where they (the kings) 
had hidden themselves, and they (the Israelites) had placed large 
stones at tlie mouth of the cave until that very day" (on which the 
kings were fetched out and executed). 

Vers. 28-39. Further prosecution of the victory, by the con- 
quest of the fortified towns of the south, into which those who 


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escaped the sword of the Israelites had thrown themselves. — Ver. 28. 
On the same day on which the five kings were impaled, Joshua 
took Makkedah (see at ver. 10), and smote the town and its king 
with the edge of the sword, banning the town and all the persons 
in it, i.e. putting all the inhabitants to death (many HSS. and some 
editions adopt the reading Pink for DTIN, as in ver. 37), taking the 
cattle and the property in the town as booty, as in the case of Ai 
(chap. viii. 27, 28), and treating its king like the king of Jericho, 
who was suspended upon a stake, to judge from chap. viii. 2, 29, 
although this is not stated in chap. vi. — Vers. 29, 30. From Mak- 
kedah he went with all Israel, i.e. all the men of war, against Libnah, 
and after effecting the conquest of it, did just the same as he had 
done to Makkedah. IAbndh was one of the towns of the plain or 
of the hill-country of Judah (chap. xv. 42) ; it was allotted to the 
priests (chap. xxi. 13), revolted from Judah in the reign of Joram 
/2 Kings viii. 22), and was besieged by Sennacherib (Isa. xxxvii. 8). 
It is to be sought on the north-west of Lachish, not on the south 
as Knobel erroneously infers from Isa. xxxvii. 8. According to the 
Onom. («. v. Lebna), it was at that time villa in regione Eleuthero- 
politana, quce appellator Lobna. It has not been discovered yet ; 
but according to the very probable conjecture of V. de Velde (Mem. 
p. 330), the ruins of it may perhaps be seen upon the hill called 
Ardk el Memhiyeh, about two hours to the west of Beit Jibrin. 1 — 
Vers. 31, 32. Lachish, i.e. Um Lakis (see at ver. 3), shared the same 
fate. — Ver. 33. Joshua also smote the king of Gezer, who had come 
with his people to the help of Lachish, and left no one remaining. 
Nothing is said about the capture of the town of Gezer. According 
to chap. xvi. 10 and Judg. i. 29, it was still in the possession of the 
Oanaanites when the land was divided, though this alone is not 
sufficient to prove that Joshua did not conquer it, as so many of the 
conquered towns were occupied by the Oanaanites again after the 
Israelites had withdrawn. But its situation makes it very probable 
that Joshua did not conquer it at that time, as it was too much out 
of his road, and too far from Lachish. Gezer (LXX. Ta£ep, in 
1 Chron. xiv. 16 Tatyipd, in 1 Mace. Taltfpa or Tafytpa plur., in 

1 Knobel is decidedly wrong in his supposition, that Libnah, is to be seen in 
the considerable ruins called Hora, which lie in the plain (Seetzen and V. dt 
Velde) and are called Hawara by Robinson. He founds his conjecture upon 
the fact that the name signifies white, and is the Arabic translation of the 
Hebrew name. But Hora is only two hours and a half to the north of Beersheba, 
and is not in the plain at all, but in the Negeb. 

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CHAP. X. 28-99. 115 

Josephus rdtjipa, Ant. vii. 4, 1, viii. 6, 1, and also rdSapa, v. 1, 22, 
xii. 7, 4) was on the southern boundary of Ephraim (chap. xvi. 3), 
and was given up by that tribe to the Levites (chap. xvi. 9, 10, 
xrL 20, 21. It is very frequently mentioned. David pursued 
the Philistines to Gezer (Gazer), after they had been defeated at 
Gibeon or Geba (2 Sam. v. 25 ; 1 Chron. xiv. 16). At a later 
period it was conquered by Pharaoh, and presented to his daughter, 
who was married to Solomon ; and Solomon built, i.e. fortified it 
(1 Kings ix. 16, 17). It was an important fortress in the wars of 
the Maccabees (1 Mace. ix. 52 ; 2 Mace x. 32 ; cf . 1 Mace. iv. 15, 
vii. 45, xiii. 53, xiv. 34, xv. 28, 35). According to the Onom. 
(*. v. Gazer), it was four Roman miles to the north of Nicopolis, Le. 
Anwas, and was called TaXppa. This is not only in harmony with 
chap. xvi. 3, according to which the southern border of Ephraim 
ran from Lower Bethhoron to Gezer, and then on to the sea, but 
also with all the other passages in which Gezer is mentioned, 1 and 
answers very well to the situation of el Kubab, a village of con- 
siderable size on a steep hill at the extreme north of the mountain 

1 The statement in 1 Mace. vii. 45, that Judas Maccabaens pursued the army 
of Nicanor, which had been beaten at Adasa, for a day's journey, as far as 
Gazera (" a day's journey from Adasa into Oazera"), is perfectly reconcilable 
with the situation of el Kubab ; for, according to Josephus (Ant. xii. 10, 5), 
Adasa was thirty stadia from Bethhoron, and Bethhoron is ten miles to the 
west of Kubab (measuring in a straight line upon the map); so that Judas pur- 
sued the enemy fifteen miles, — a distance which might very well be called " a 
day's journey," if we consider that the enemy, when flying, would not always 
take the straightest road, and might even make a stand at intervals, and so 
delay their pursuers. Still less do the statement in 1 Mace. xiv. 34, that Simon 
fortified Joppa on the sea, and Gazara on the border of Ashdod, the combina- 
tion of Joppa, Gazara, and the tower that is in Jerusalem (1 Mace. xv. 28, 
35), and the fact that the country of Gadaris, with the town of Gadara, occurs 
between Joppa and Jamnia in Strabo xvi. 759, warrant us in making a dis- 
tinction between Gazara (Gezer) and the place mentioned in the Onom., as 
Grimm does (on 1 Mace. iv. 15), and identifying it with the village of Jaz&r, 
an hour and a half from Jaffa, although Arvieux calls this village Gesser. The 
objections of Van de Velde against the identity of Kubab and Gazer are with- 
out any force. It does not necessarily follow from the expression " went up," 
that Lachish stood on higher ground than Gezer, as going up often signifies 
nothing more than making a hostile attack upon a fortification. And no im- 
portance can be attached to the conjecture, that with the great distance of 
Kubab from Um Lakis, the king of Gezer would have come to the help of the 
kings of Makkedah and Libnah, who were much nearer and were attacked first, 
as the circumstances which determined his conduct are too thoroughly unknown 
to us, for it to be possible to pronounce an opinion upon the subject with any 

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chain which runs to the north-west of Zorea, and slopes off towards 
the north into the broad plain of Merj el Omeir, almost in the 
middle of the road from Ramleh to Yalo. For this village, with 
which Van Semden identifies Gezer (Van de Velde, Mem. p. 315), 
was exactly four Roman miles north by west of Anwas, according 
to Robinson's map, and not quite four hours from Akir (Ekron), 
the most northerly city of the Philistines ; so that Josephus (Ant. 
vii. 4, 1) could very properly describe Gazara as the frontier of the 
territory of the Philistines. Robinson discovered no signs of anti- 
quity, it is true, on his journey through Kubab, but in all proba- 
bility he did not look for them, as he did not regard the village 
as a place of any importance in connection with ancient history 
(Bibl. Res. pp. 143-4). 

Vers. 34, 35. From Lachish Joshua proceeded eastwards against 
Eglon (Ajlan, see ver. 3), took the town, and did to it as he had 
done to Lachish. — Vers. 36, 37. From Eglon he went up from the 
lowland to the mountains, attacked Hebron and took it, and did to 
this town and its king, and the towns belonging to it, as he had 
already done to the others. The king of Hebron cannot of course 
be the one who was taken in the cave of Makkedah and put to 
death there, but his successor, who had entered upon the govern- 
ment while Joshua was occupied with the conquest of the towns 
mentioned in vers. 28-35, which may possibly have taken more 
than a year. " All the cities tltereof" are the towns dependent upon 
Hebron as the capital of the kingdom. — Vers. 38, 39. Joshua then 
turned southwards with all Israel (i.e. all the army), attacked Debir 
and took it, and the towns dependent upon it, in the same manner 
as those mentioned before. Debir, formerly called Kirjath-sepher, 
i.e. book town, 7ro\t? ypa/ifidreov (LXX. chap. xv. 15 ; Judg. i. 11), 
and Kirjath-sanna, i.e. in all probability the city of palm branches 
(chap. xv. 49), was given up by Judah to the priests (chap. xxi. 15). 
It stood upon the mountains of Judah (chap. xv. 49), to the south 
of Hebron, but has not yet been certainly discovered, though V. de 
Velde is probably correct in his supposition that it is to be seen in 
the ruins of Dilbeh, on the peak of a hill to the north of Wady 
Dilbeh, and on the road from Dhoberiyeh to Hebron, about two 
hours to the south-west of the latter. For, according to Dr Stewart, 
there is a spring at Dilbeh, the water of which is conducted by an 
aqueduct into the Birket el Dilbeh, at the foot of the said hill, 
which would answer very well to the upper and lower springs at 
Debir, if only Debir might be placed, according to chap. xv. 49, so 

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CHAP. X. 40-48. 117 

far towards the north. 1 Moreover, not very long afterwards, prob- 
ably daring the time when the Israelites were occupied with the 
subjugation of northern Canaan, Hebron and Debir were taken 
again by the Canaanites, particularly the Anakites, as Joshua had 
not entirely destroyed them, although he had thoroughly cleared 
the mountains of Judah of them, but had left them still in the 
towns of the Philistines (chap. xi. 21, 22). Consequently, when 
the land was divided, there were Anakites living in both Hebron 
and Debir ; so that Caleb, to whom these towns were given as his 
inheritance, had first of all to conquer them again, and to extermi- 
nate the Anakites (chap. xiv. 12, xv. 13-17 : cf. Judg. i. 10-13). 2 

Vers. 40-43. Summary of the Conquest of the whole of Southern 
Canaan. — In the further prosecution of his victory over the five 
allied kings, Joshua smote the whole land, i.e. the whole of the 
south of Canaan from Gibeon onwards, in all its districts, namely 

1 Kndbel imagines that Debir is to be found in the modern village of Dho- 
beriyeh (Dhabarije), five hours to the south-west of Hebron, on the south-west 
border of the mountains of Judah, upon the top of a mountain, because, in 
addition to the situation of this village, which is perfectly reconcilable with 
chap. xv. 49, there are remains of a square tower there (according to Kraffl, a 
Roman tower), which point to an ancient fortification (yid. Rob. Pal. i. pp. S08 
sqq. ; Bitter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 202 sqq.), and because the name, which signifies 
" placed behind the back," agrees with Debir, the hinder part or back (?), and 
Kirjath-sepfier, if interpreted by the Arabic words, which signify " extremitas, 
margo, ora." But both reasons prove very little. The meanings assigned to 
Debir and Kirjath-sepher are improbable and arbitrary. Moreover, it has not 
been shown that there are any springs near Dhoberiyeh, such as there were in 
the neighbourhood of Debir (chap. xv. 19 sqq.). The view held by RosenmUller, 
and adopted by Bunsen, with regard to the situation of Debir, — namely, that it 
was the same as the modern Idwirban or Dewirb&n, an hour and a quarter to 
the west of Hebron, because there is a large spring there with an abundant 
supply of excellent water, which goes by the name of Ain Nunk&r, — is also quite 
untenable ; for it is entirely at variance with chap. xv. 49, according to which 
Debir was not on the west of Hebron, but upon the mountains to the south, and 
rests entirely upon the erroneous assumption that, according to ver. 38 (3B>*I, 
he turned round), as Joshua came from Eglon, he conquered Hebron first, and 
after the conquest of this town turned back to Debir, to take it also. But M5> 
does not mean only to turn round or turn back : it signifies turning generally ; 
and it is very evident that this is the sense in which it is used in ver. 38, since, 
according to chap. xv. 49, Debir was on the south of Hebron. 

" By this simple assumption we get rid of the pretended contradictions, 
Tvhich neological critics have discovered between chap. x. 36-39 on the one 
hand, and chap. xi. 21, 22, and xiv. 12, xv. 13-17 on the other, and on account 
of which Knobel would assign the passages last named to a different docu- 
ment. On the first conquest of the land by Joshua, Masius observes that " in 

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the mountains (chap. xv. 48), the Negeb (the south land, chap. xv. 
21), the lowlands (chap. xv. 33), and the slopes, i.e. the hill region 
(chap. xii. 8, and comm. on Nam. xxi. 15), and all the kings of these 
different districts, banning every living thing (JVB&Y73 = B^"^, 
vers. 28, 30, i.e. all the men ; vid. Deut. xx. 16), as Jehovah had 
commanded, viz. Num. xxxiii. 51 sqq. ; Deut. vii. 1, 2, xx. 16. 
He smote them from Kadesh-barnea, on the southern boundary of 
Canaan (chap. xv. 3 ; see at Num. xii. 16), to Gaza (see at Gen. 
x. 9), and all the country of Goshen, a different place from the 
Goshen of Egypt, deriving its name in all probability from the 
town of Goshen on the southern portion of the mountains (chap. 
xv. 51). As the line "from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza" defines the 
extent of the conquered country from south to north on the western 
side, so the parallel clause, " all the country of Goshen, even unto 
Gibeon," defines the extent from south to north on the eastern side. 
There is no tenable ground for the view expressed by Knobel, which 
rests upon very uncertain etymological combinations, that the land 
of Goshen signifies the hill country between the mountains and the 
plain, and is equivalent to nfat5>'K. — Ver. 42. All these kings and 
their country Joshua took "once," i.e. in one campaign, which 
lasted, however, a considerable time (cf. chap. xi. 18). He was able 
to accomplish this, because Jehovah the God of Israel fought for 
Israel (see ver. 14). After this he returned with the army to the 
camp at Gilgal (Jiljilia, see p. 93 ; cf. ver. 15). 


Vers. 1-15. The War in Northern' Canaan. — Vers. 1-3. 
On receiving intelligence of what had occurred in the south, the 
king of Hazor formed an alliance with the kings of Madon, 
Shimron, and Achshaph, and other kings of the north, to make a 
common attack upon the Israelites. This league originated with 
Jabin the king of Hazor, because Hazor was formerly the head of 

this expedition Joshua ran through the southern region with an armed band, 
in too hurried a manner to depopulate it entirely. All that he needed was to 
strike such terror into the hearts of all through his victories, that no one should 
henceforth offer any resistance to himself and to the people of God. Those 
whom he pursued, therefore, he destroyed according to the commands of God, 
not sparing a single one, but he did not search out every possible hiding-place 
in which any could be concealed. This was left as a gleaning to the valour of 
each particular tribe, when it should take possession of its own inheritance." 

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CHAP. XL 1-8. 119 

all the kingdoms of northern Canaan (ver. 10). Hazor, which 
Joshua conquered and burned to the ground (vers. 10, 11), was 
afterwards restored, and became a capital again (Judg. iv. 2 ; 
1 Sam. xii. 9) ; it was fortified by Solomon (1 Kings ix. 15), and 
taken by Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings xv. 29). It belonged to the 
tribe of Naphtali (chap. six. 36), but has not yet been discovered. 
According to Josephus (Ant. v. 5, 1), it was above the Lake of 
Samochonitis, the present Bahr el Huleh. Robinson conjectures 
that it is to be found in the ruins upon Tell Khuraibeh, opposite to 
the north-west corner of the lake of Huleh, the situation of which 
would suit Hazor quite well, as it is placed between Bamah and 
Kedesh in chap. xix. 35, 36 (see Bibl. Res. p. 364). On the other 
hand, the present ruins of Huzzur or Hazireh, where there are the 
remains of large buildings of a very remote antiquity (see Rob. 
Bibl. Res. p. 62), with which Knobel identifies Hazor, cannot be 
thought of for a moment, as these ruins, which are about an hour 
and a quarter to the south-west of Yathir, are so close to the Ramah 
of Asher (chap. xix. 29) that Hazor must also have belonged to 
Asher, and could not possibly have been included in the territory 
of Naphtali. There would be more reason for thinking of Tell 
Hazur or Khirbet Hazur, on the south-west of Szaf ed (see Rob. 
Bibl. Res. p. 81) ; but these ruins are not very ancient, and only 
belong to an ordinary village, and not to a town at all. Madon is 
only mentioned again in chap. xii. 19, and its situation is quite 
unknown. Shimron, called Shimron-meron in chap. xii. 20, was 
allotted to the tribe of Zebulun (chap. xix. 15), and is also un- 
known. For Meron cannot be connected, as Knobel supposes, with 
the village and ruins of Maron, not far from Kedesh, on the south- 
west (see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 371), or Shimron with the ruins of 
Khuraibeh, an hour to the south of Kedesh; as the territory of 
Zebulun, to which Shimron belonged, did not reach so far north, 
and there is not the slightest ground for assuming that there were 
two Shimrons, or for making a distinction between the royal seat 
mentioned here and the Shimron of Zebulun. There is also no 
probability in Knobel a conjecture, that the Shimron last named is 
the same as the small village of Semunieh, probably the Simonios of 
Josephus (Vita, § 24), on the west of Nazareth (see Rob. Pal. iii. 
p. 201). Aclishaph, a border town of Asher (chap. xix. 25), is also 
unknown, and is neither to be sought, as Robinson supposes (Bibl. 
Res. p. 55), in the ruins of Kesdf, which lie even farther north than 
Abel (Abil), in the tribe of Naphtali, and therefore much too far 

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to the north to have formed the boundary of Asher ; nor to be 
identified with Acco (Ptolemais), as Knobel imagines, since Acco 
has nothing in common with Aclishaph except the letter caph (see 
also at chap. xix. 25). — Ver. 2. Jabin also allied himself with the 
kings of the north "upon the mountains," i.e. the mountains of 
Naphtali (chap. xx. 7), and " in the Arabah to the south of Chinne- 
reth (chap. xix. 35), i.e. in the Ghor to the south of the sea of 
Galilee, and " in the lowland," i.e. the northern portion of it, as far 
down as Joppa, and " upon tlie heights of Dor." The town of Dor, 
which was built by Phoenicians, who settled there on account of the 
abundance of the purple mussels (Steph. Byz. s. v. A5>poi), was 
allotted to the Manassites in the territory of Asher (chap. xvii. 11 ; 
cf. xix. 26), and taken possession of by the children of Joseph 
(1 Chron. vii. 29). It was situated on the Mediterranean Sea, 
below the promontory of Carmel, nine Roman miles north of 
Csesarea, and is at the present time a hamlet called Tantura or 
Tortura, with very considerable ruins ( Wilson, The Holy Land, ii. 
249, and V. de Velde, Journey, i. p. 251). The old town was a little 
more than a mile to the north, on a small range of hills, which is 
covered with ruins (Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 608-9 ; V. de Velde, Mem. 
p. 307), and on the north of which there are rocky ranges, with 
many grottos, and houses cut in the rock itself {Buckingham, Syria, 
i. pp. 101-2). These are " the heights of Dor," or " the high range 
of Dor" (chap. xii. 23 ; 1 Kings iv. 11).— Ver. 3. "Namely, toitlt 
the Canaanites on the east and west, the Amorites " and other tribes 
dwelling upon the mountains (vid. chap. iii. 10), and " the Hivites 
under the Hermon in the land of Mizpah" i.e. the country below 
Hasbeya, between Nahr Hasbany on the east, and Merj Ayun on 
the west, with the village of Mutulleh or Mtelleh, at present inhabited 
by Druses, which stands upon a hill more than 200 feet high, and 
from which there is a splendid prospect over the Huleh basin. It 
is from this that it has derived its name, which signifies prospect, 
specula, answering to the Hebrew Mizpah (see Robinson, Bibl. Res. 
p. 372). 

Vers. 4-9. These came out with their armies, a people as nume- 
rous as the sand by the sea-shore (vid. Gen. xxii. 17, etc.), and 
very many horses and chariots. All these kings agreed together, 
sc. concerning the war and the place of battle, and encamped at 
Merom to fight against Israel. The name Merom (Meirim in the 
Arabic version) answers to Meir&m, a village whose name is also 
pronounced Meirum, a celebrated place of pilgrimage among the 

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CHAP. XL 6-9. 121 

Jews, because Hillel, Shammai, Simeon ben Jochai, and other 
noted Rabbins are said to be buried there (see Robinson, Pal. iii. 
p. 333), about two hours' journey north-west of Szafed, upon a 
rocky mountain, at the foot of which there is a spring that forms a 
small brook and flows away through the valley below Szafed {Seetzen, 
R. ii. pp. 127-8 ; Robinson, Bibl. Res. pp. 73 sqq.). This stream, 
which is said to reach the Lake of Tiberias, in the neighbourhood 
of Bethsaida, is in all probability to be regarded as the " waters of 
of Merom," as, according to Josephus (Ant. v. 1, 18), " these kings 
encamped at Berothe (de. Bell. Jud. xx. 6, and Vit. 37, ' Meroth'), a 
city of Upper Galilee, not far from Kedese." l 

Vers. 6 sqq. On account of this enormous number, and the 
might of the enemy, who were all the more to be dreaded because 
of their horses and chariots, the Lord encouraged Joshua again, 3 as 
in chap. viii. 1, by promising him that on the morrow He would 
deliver them all up slain before Israel ; only Joshua was to lame 
their horses (Gen. xlix. 6) and burn their chariots. s Siitf before Ifli 
gives emphasis to the sentence : " I will provide for this ; by my 
power, which is immeasurable, as I have shown thee so many 
times, and by my nod, by which heaven and earth are shaken, shall 
these things be done " (Masius). — Vers. 7, 8. With this to inspirit 
them, the Israelites fell upon the enemy and smote them, chasing 
them towards the north-west to Sidon, and westwards as far as 
Misrephothmaim, and into the plain of Mizpah on the east. Sidon 
is called the great (as in chap. xix. 28), because at that time it was 
the metropolis of Phoenicia ; whereas even by the time of David it 
had lost its ancient splendour, and was outstripped by its daughter 
city Tyre. It is still to be seen in the town of Saida, a town of 
five or six thousand inhabitants, with many large and well-built 

1 The traditional opinion that " waters of Merom " is the Old Testament 
name for the Lake of Samochonitis, or Huleh, is not founded upon any historical 
evidence, bnt is simply an inference of Hadr. Reland (Pal. 111. p. 262), (1) 
from the statement made by Josephus (Ant. v. 5, 1), that Hazor was above the 
Lake of Samochonitis, it being taken for granted without further reason that 
the battle occurred at Hazor, and (2) from the supposed similarity in the mean- 
ing of the names, viz. that Samochonitis is derived from an Arabic word signify- 
ing to be high, and therefore means the same as Merom (height), though here 
again the zere is disregarded, and Merom is arbitrarily identified with Marom. 

* "As thero was so much more difficulty connected with the destruction 
of so populous and well-disciplined an army, it was all the more necessary that 
he should be inspired with fresh confidence. For this reason God appeared to 
Joshua, and promised him the same success as He had given him so many times 
before."— Calvin. 

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houses (see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 415, and Movers, Phonizier, ii. 1, pp. 86 
sqq.). Misrephothmaim (mentioned also at chap. xiii. 6), which the 
Greek translators have taken as a proper name, though the Rabbins 
and some Christian commentators render it in different ways, such 
as salt-pits, smelting-huts, or glass-huts (see Get. Thes. p. 134.1), is 
a collection of springs, called Ain Mesherji, at the foot of the pro- 
montory to which with its steep pass the name of Ras el Nakhura 
is given, the scala Tyriorum or Passepoulain of the Crusaders (see 
V. de Velde, Mem. p. 335, and Ritter, Erdk. xvi. p. 807). nexo nppa 
(Eng. Ver. u the valley of Mizpeh") is probably the basin of the 
Huleh lake and of Nahr JIasbany, on the western side of which lay 
the land of Mizpah (ver. 3). — Ver. 9. Joshua carried out the com- 
mand of the Lord with regard to the chariots and horses. 

Vers. 10-15. After destroying the foe, and returning from the 
pursuit, Joshua took Hazor, smote its king and all the inhabitants 
with the edge of the sword, and burned the town, the former leader 
of all those kingdoms. He did just the same to the other towns, 
except that he did not burn them, but left them standing upon 
their hills. Djrojf nneVn (ver. 13) neither contains an allusion to 
any special fortification of the towns, nor implies a contrast to the 
towns built in the valleys and plains, but simply expresses the 
thought that these towns were still standing upon their hill, i.e. 
upon the old site (cf. Jer. xxx. 18 : the participle does not express 
the preterite, but the present). At the same time, the expression 
certainly implies that the towns were generally built upon hills. 
The pointing in D?R is not to be altered, as Knobel suggests. The 
singular " upon their hill" is to be taken as distributive: standing, 
now as then, each upon its hill. — With ver. 15, " as Jeliovah com- 
manded Hie servant Moses " (cf. Num. xxxiii. 52 sqq. ; Deut. vii. 1 
sqq., xx. 16), the account of the wars of Joshua is brought to a 
close, and the way opened for proceeding to the concluding remarks 
with reference to the conquest of the whole land (vers. 16-23). 
T3H Tpn k? } he put not away a word, i.e. left nothing undone. 

Vers. 16-23. Retrospective View op the Conquest op 
the whole Land. — Vers. 16, 17. Joshua took all this land, 
namely, those portions of Southern Canaan that have already been 
mentioned in chap. x. 40, 41 ; also the Arabah, and the mountains 
of Israel and its lowlands (see ver. 2), i.e. the northern part of the 
land (in the campaign described in vers. 1-15), that is to say, 
Canaan in all its extent, "from the bald mountain which goeth up to 

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CHAP. XI. 18-28. 123 

Seir" in the south, " to Baal-gad, in the valley of Lebanon under 
Herman " The "bald mountain" (ffalak), which is mentioned 
here and in chap. xii. 7 as the southern boundary of Canaan, is 
hardly the row of white cliffs which stretches obliquely across the 
Arabah eight miles below the Dead Sea and forms the dividing 
line that separates this valley into el-Ghor and eUAraba {Rob. 
Pal. ii. pp. 489, 492), or the present Madara, a strange-looking 
chalk-hill to the south-west of the pass of Sufah (Rob. ii. p. 589), 
a steep bare mountain in a barren plain, the sides of which consist 
of stone and earth of a leaden ashy hue (Seetzen, R. iii. pp. 14, 15) ; 
but in all probability the northern edge of the Azazimeh mountain 
with its white and glistening masses of chalk. Baal-gad, i.e. the 
place or town of Baal, who was there worshipped as Gad (see Isa. 
lxv. 11), also called Baal-hermon in Judg. iii. 3 and 1 Chron. v. 
23, is not Baalbek, but the Paneas or Casarea Philippi of a later 
time, the present Banjos (see at Num. xxxiv. 8, 9). This is the 
opinion of v. Raumer and Robinson, though Van de Velde is more 
disposed to look for Baal-gad in the ruins of Kalath (the castle of) 
Bostra, or of Kalath Aisafa, the former an hour and a half, the 
latter three hours to the north of Banjas, the situation of which 
would accord with the biblical statements respecting Baal-gad 
exceedingly well. The "valley of Lebanon" is not Cosle-Syria, the 
modern Bekda, between Lebanon and Antilibanus, but the valley at 
the foot of the southern slope of Jebel Sheik (Hermon). — Vers. 18 
sqq. Joshua made war with the kings of Canaan along time ; judg- 
ing from chap. xiv. 7, 10, as much as seven years, though Josephus 
(Ant. v. 1, 19) speaks of five (see at chap. xiv. 10). No town 
submitted peaceably to the Israelites, with the exception of Gibeon : 
they took the whole in war. "For it was of the Lord" (ver. 20), 
ue. God ordered it so that they (the Canaanites) hardened their 
heart to make war upon Israel, that they might fall under the ban, 
and be destroyed without mercy. On the hardening of the heart 
as a work of God, see the remarks upon the hardening of Pharaoh 
(Ex. iv. 21). It cannot be inferred from this, that if the Canaanites 
had received the Israelites amicably, God would have withdrawn 
His command to destroy them, and allowed the Israelites to make 
peace with them ; for when they made peace with the Gibeonites, 
they did not inquire what was the will of the Lord, but acted in 
opposition to it (see at chap. ix. 14). The remark is made with 
special reference to this, and has been correctly explained by 
Augustine (qu. 8 in Jos.) as follows : " Because the Israelites had 

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shown mercy to some of them of their own accord, though in oppo 
sition to the command of God, therefore it is stated that they (the 
Canaanites) made war upon them so that none of them were spared, 
and the Israelites were not induced to show mercy to the neglect of 
the commandment of God." 

In vers. 21, 22, the destruction of the Anakites upon the moun- 
tains of Judah and Israel is introduced in a supplementary form, 
which completes the history of the subjugation and extermination 
of the Canaanites in the south of the land (chap. x.). This sup- 
plement is not to be regarded either as a fragment interpolated by 
a different hand, or as a passage borrowed from another source. 
On the contrary, the author himself thought it necessary, having 
special regard to Num. xiii. 28, 31 sqq., to mention expressly that 
Joshua also rooted out from their settlements the sons of Anak, 
whom the spies in the time of Moses had described as terrible 
giants, and drove them into the Philistine cities of Gaza, Gath, 
and Ashdod. "At that time" points back to the "long time," 
mentioned in ver. 18, during which Joshua was making war upon 
the Canaanites. The words "cut off,"* etc., are explained correctly 
by Clericus : " Those who fell into his hands he slew, the rest he 
put to flight, though, as we learn from chap. xv. 14, they afterwards 
returned." (On the Anakim, see at Num. xiii. 22.) They had 
their principal settlement upon the mountains in Hebron (el Khulil, 
see chap. x. 3), Debir (see at chap. x. 38), and Anab. The last 
place (Anab), upon the mountains of Judah (chap. xv. 50), has been 
preserved along with the old name in the village of Anab, four or 
five hours to the south of Hebron, on the eastern side of the great 
Wady el Khulil, which runs from Hebron down to Beersheba 
(Bob. Pal. ii. p. 193). "And from all (the rest of) the mountains 
of Judah, and all the mountains of Israel:" the latter are called the 
mountains of Ephraim in chap. xvii. 15. The two together form 
the real basis of the land of Canaan, and are separated from one 
another by the large Wady Beit Hanina (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 333). 
They received their respective names from the fact that the southern 
portion of the mountain land of Canaan fell to the tribe of Judah 
as its inheritance, and the northern part to the tribe of Ephraim 
and other tribes of Israel. 1 Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod were towns 

1 The distinction here made may be explained without difficulty even from 
the circumstances of Joshua's own time. Judah and the double tribe of Joseph 
(Ephraim and Manasseh) received their inheritance by lot before any of the 
others. But whilst the tribe of Judah proceeded into the territory allotted to 

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CHAP. XL 16-23. 125 

of the Philistines ; of these Gaza and Ashdod were allotted to the 
tribe of Jadah (chap. xv. 47), but were never taken possession of 
by the Israelites, although the Philistines were sometimes subject 
to the Israelites (see at chap. xiii. 3). — With ver. 23a, " thus Joshua 
took the whole land" etc., the history of the conquest of Canaan by 
Joshua is brought to a close ; and ver. 236, " and Joshua gave it 
for an inheritance unto Israel" forms a kind of introduction to the 
second part of the book. The list of the conquered kings in chap. 
xii. is simply an appendix to the first part. 

The taking of the whole land does not imply that all the towns 
and villages to the very last had been conquered, or that all the 
Canaanites were rooted out from every corner of the land, but 
simply that the conquest was of such a character that the power of 
the Canaanites was broken, their dominion overthrown, and their 
whole land so thoroughly given into the hands of the Israelites, 
that those who still remained here and there were crushed into 
powerless fugitives, who could neither offer any further opposition 
to the Israelites, nor dispute the possession of the land with them, if 
they would only strive to fulfil the commandments of their God and 
persevere in the gradual extermination of the scattered remnants. 
Moreover, Israel had received the strongest pledge, in the powerful 
help which it had received from the Lord in the conquests thus far 
obtained, that the faithful covenant God would continue His help 
in the conflicts which still remained, and secure for it a complete 
victory and the full possession of the promised land. Looking, 

them in the south, all the other tribes still remained in Gilgal ; and even at a 
later period, when Ephraim and Manasseh were in their possessions, all Israel, 
with the exception of Judah, were still encamped at Shiloh. Moreover, the 
two parts of the nation were now separated by the territory which was after- 
wards assigned to the tribe of Benjamin, but had no owner at this time ; and 
in addition to this, the altar, tabernacle, and ark of the covenant were in the 
midst of Joseph and the other tribes that were still assembled at Shiloh. Under 
snch circumstances, then, would not the idea of a distinction between Judah, on 
the one hand, and the rest of Israel, in which the double tribe of Joseph and 
then the single tribe of Ephraim acquired such peculiar prominence, on the 
other, shape itself more and more in the mind, and what already existed in the 
germ begin to attain maturity even here ? And what could be more natural 
than that the mountains in which the "children of Judah" had their settle- 
ments should be called the mountains of Judah ; and the mountains where all 
the rest of Israel was encamped, where the " children of Israel " were gathered 
together, be called the mountains of Israel, and, as that particular district 
really belonged to the tribe of Ephraim, the mountains of Ephraim also ? (chap, 
xix. 60, xx. 7 ; also xxiv. 80.) 

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therefore, at the existing state of things from this point of view, 
Joshua had taken possession of the whole land, and could now 
proceed to finish the work entrusted to him by the Lord, by divid- 
ing the land among the tribes of Israel. Joshua had really done 
all that the Lord had said to Moses. For the Lord had not only 
promised to Moses the complete extermination of the Canaanites, 
but had also told him that He would not drive out the Canaanites 
at once, or "in one year," but only little by little, until Israel 
multiplied and took the land (Ex. xxiii. 28—30 ; cf. Deut. vii. 22). 
Looking at this promise, therefore, the author of the book could 
say with perfect justice, that " Joshua took tlie whole land according 
to all that (precisely in the manner in which) the Lord had said to 
Moses." But this did not preclude the fact, that a great deal still 
remained to be done before all the Canaanites could be utterly 
exterminated from every part of the land. Consequently, the 
enumeration of towns and districts that were not yet conquered, 
and of Canaanites who still remained, which we find in chap. xiii. 
1-6, xvii. 14 sqq., xviii. 3, xxiii. 5, 12, forms no discrepancy with 
the statements in the verses before us, so as to warrant us in 
adopting any critical hypotheses or conclusions as to the composition 
of the book by different authors. The Israelites could easily have 
taken such portions of the land as were still unconquered, and 
could have exterminated all the Canaanites who remained, without 
any severe or wearisome conflicts ; if they had but persevered in 
fidelity to their God and in the fulfilment of His commandments. 
If, therefore, the complete conquest of the whole land was not 
secured in the next few years, but, on the contrary, the Canaanites 
repeatedly gained the upper hand over the Israelites ; we must 
seek for the explanation, not in the fact that Joshua had not 
completely taken and conquered the land, but simply in the fact 
that the Lord had withdrawn His help from His people because 
of their apostasy from Him, and had given them up to the 
power of their enemies to chastise them for their sins. — The dis- 
tribution of the land for an inheritance to the Israelites took place 
"according to their divisions by their tribes" nipwiD denote the 
division of the twelve tribes of Israel into families, fathers' houses, 
and households; and is so used not only here, but in chap. xii. 
7 and xviii. 10. Compare with this 1 Chron. xxiii. 6, xxiv. 1, 
etc., where it is applied to the different orders of priests and 
Levites. " And the land rested from war :" i.e. the war was ended, 
so that the peaceable task of distributing the land by lot could 

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CHAP, m 1-6. 127 

now be proceeded with (yid. chap. xiv. 15; Judg. iii. 11, 30, 

CHAP. in. 

In the historical account of the wars of Joshua in the south 
and north of Canaan, the only kings mentioned by name as having 
been conquered and slain by the Israelites, were those who had 
formed a league to make war upon them ; whereas it is stated at 
the close, that Joshua had smitten all the kings in the south and 
north, and taken possession of their towns (chap. x. 40, xi. 17). To 
complete the account of these conquests, therefore, a detailed list is 
given in the present chapter of all the kings that were slain, and 
not merely of those who were defeated by Joshua in the country on 
this side of the Jordan, but the two kings of the Amorites who had 
been conquered by Moses are also included, so as to give a complete 
picture of all the victories which Israel had gained under the omni- 
potent help of its God. 

Vers. 1-6. List of the kings whom the Israelites smote, and 
■whose land they took, on the other side of the Jordan, — namely, the 
land by the brook Arnon (Mojeb ; see Num. xxi. 13) to Hermon 
(Jebel es Sheikh, Dent. iii. 8), and the whole of the eastern Arabah 
(the valley of the Jordan on the eastern side of the river). — Vers. 
2, 3. On Sihon and his kingdom, see Num. xxi. 24 ; Deut. ii. 36, 
iii. 16, 17. " AroSr on tJie Arnon :" the present ruins of Araayr, 
on the northern bank of the Mojeb (see Num. xxxii. 34). -'run ifim, 
"and (from) the middle of the valley onwards :" i.e., according to 
the parallel passages in chap. xiii. 9, 16, and Deut. ii. 36, from 
the town in the Arnon valley, the city of Moab mentioned in 
Num. xxii. 36, viz. Ar or Areopolis (see at Num. xxi. 15) in the 
neighbourhood of Aroer, which is mentioned as the exclusive ter- 
minus a quo of the land taken by the Israelites along with the 
inclusive terminus Aroer. " Ualf-Gilead," i.e. the mountainous 
district on the south side of the Jabbok (see at Deut. iii. 10), " to 
the river Jabbok," i.e. the upper Jabbok, the present Nahr Amm&n 
(see at Num. xxi. 24). — Ver. 3. " And (over) the Arabah, etc., 
Sihon reigned" fa. over the eastern side of the Ghor, between the 
Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea (see at Deut. iii. 17). "By the 
way to JBethjeshimoth, and towards the south below the slopes of 
Pugah'' (see at Num. xxi. 15 and xxvii. 12), i.e. to the north- 

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eastern border of the desert by the Dead Sea (see at Num. xxii. 1). 
— Vers. 4, 5. " And the territory of Og" se. they took possession of 
(ver. 1). On Og, vid. Deut. iii. 11 ; and on his residences, Ash- 
taroth (probably to be seen in Tell Ashtereh) and Edrei (now Draa 
or DSra), see at Gen. xiv. 5 and Num. xxi. 33. On his territory, 
see Deut. iii. 10, 13, 14. — Ver. 6. These two kings were smitten 
by Moses, etc. : vid. Num. xxi. 21 sqq., and xxxii. 33 sqq. 

Vers. 7-24. List of the thirty-one kings of Canaan whom 
Joshua smote on the western side of the Jordan, "from Baal-gad, 
in the valley of Lebanon, to the bald mountain that goeth up towards 
Seir" (see chap. xi. 17). This land Joshua gave to the other 
tribes of Israel. (On the different parts of the land, see at chap. 
ix. 1, x. 40, and xi. 2.) — Vers. 9 sqq. The different kings are given 
in the order in which they were defeated: Jericho (chap. vi. 1); 
Ai (chap. vii. 2) ; Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and 
Eglon (chap. x. 3) ; Gezer (chap. x. 33) ; and Debir (chap. x. 38). 
Those given in vers. 136 and 14 are not mentioned by name in 
chap. x. Geder, possibly the same as Gedor upon the mountains 
of Judah (chap. xv. 58), which has been preserved under the old 
name of Jedur (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 186, and Bibl. Res. p. 282). 
Hormah {i.e. banning) was in the south of Judah (chap. xv. 30), 
and was allotted to the Simeonites (chap. xix. 4). It was called 
Zephath by the Canaanites (Judg. i. 17 ; see at Num. xxi. 3), was 
on the southern slope of the mountains of the Amalekites or 
Amorites, the present ruins of Sepdta, on the western slope of the 
table-land of Rakhma, two hours and a half to the south-west of 
Khalasa (Elusa : see Ritter, Erdk. xiv. p. 1085). Arad, also in the 
Negeb, has been preserved in Tell Arad (see at Num. xxi. 1). 
Libnah (see at chap. x. 29). Adullam, which is mentioned in 
chap. xv. 35 among the towns of the plain between Jarmuth and 
Socoh, was in the neighbourhood of a large cave in which David 
took refuge when flying from Saul (1 Sam. xxii. 1 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 
13). It was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chron. xi. 7), and is men- 
tioned in 2 Mace. xii. 38 as the city of Odollam. The Onomast. 
describes it as being ten Roman miles to the east of Eleutheropolis ; 
but this is a mistake, though it has not yet been discovered. So 
far as the situation is concerned, Deir Dubbdn would suit very 
well, a place about two hours to the north of Beit Jibrin, near to a 
large number of caves in the white limestone, which form a kind of 
labyrinth, as well as some vaulted grottos (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 353, 
and Van de Velde, Reise. pp. 162—3). Makkedah : possibly Summeil 

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CHAP. XII. 7-24. 129 

(see at chap. x. 10). Bethel, i.e. Beitin (see chap. viii. 17). The 
situation of the towns which follow in vers. 17 and 18 cannot be 
determined with certainty, as the names Tappuach, Aphek, and 
Hefer are met with again in different parts of Canaan, and Las- 
saron does not occur again. But if we observe, that just as from 
■ver. 10 onwards those kings'-towns are first of all enumerated, 
the capture of which has already been described in chap, x., and 
then in vers. 15 and 16 certain other towns are added which had 
been taken in the war with the Canaanites of the south, so likewise 
in vers. 19 and 20 the capitals of the allied kings of northern 
Canaan are given first, and after that the other towns that were 
taken in the northern war, but had not been mentioned by name in 
chap. xi. : there can be no doubt whatever that the four towns in 
vers. 17 and 18 are to be classed among the kings'-towns taken in 
the war with the king of Jerusalem and his allies, and therefore 
are to be sought for in the south of Canaan and not in the north. 
Consequently we cannot agree with Van de Velde and Knobel in 
identifying Tappuach with En-Tappuach (chap. xvii. 7), and look- 
ing for it in Atuf, a place to the north-east of Nablus and near the 
valley of the Jordan ; we connect it rather with Tappuach in the 
lowlands of Judah (chap. xv. 34), though the place itself has not 
yet been discovered. Hefer again is neither to be identified with 
Gath-hepher in the tribe of Zebulun (chap. xix. 13), nor with 
Chafaraim in the tribe of Issachar (chap. xix. 19), but is most 
probably the capital of the land of Hefer (1 Kings iv. 10), and to 
be sought for' in the neighbourhood of Socoh in the plain of Judah. 
Aphek is probably the town of that name not far from Ebenezer 
(1 Sam. iv. 1), where the ark was taken by the Philistines, and is 
most likely to be sought for in the plain of Judah, though not in 
the village of AJibek (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 343) ; but it has not yet been 
traced. Knobel imagines that it was Aphek near to Jezreel (1 
Sam. xxix. 1), which was situated, according to the Onom., in the 
. neighbourhood of Endor (1 Sam. xxix. 1 ; 1 Kings xx. 26, 30) ; 
but this Aphek is too far north. Lassaron only occurs here, and 
hitherto it has been impossible to trace it. Knobel supposes it to be 
the place called Saruneh, to the west of the lake of Tiberias, and 
conjectures that the name has been contracted from Lassaron by 
aphaeresis of the liquid. This is quite possible, if only we could 
look for Lassaron so far to the north. Bachienne and Rosentnuller 
imagine it to be the village of Sliaron in the celebrated plain of that 
name, between Lydda and Arsuf. — Vers. 19, 20. Madon, Hezor, 


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Shimron-meron, and Achshaph (see at chap. xi. 1). — Ver. 21. Taa- 
nach, which was allotted to the Manassites in the territory of Issachar, 
and given up to the Levites (chap. xvii. 11, xxi. 25), bat was not 
entirely wrested from the Canaanites (Judg. i. 27), is the present Tell 
TaSnak, an hour and a quarter to the south-east of Lejun, a flat hill 
sown with corn ; whilst the old name has been preserved in the small 
village of Tadnak, at the south-eastern foot of the Tell (see Van de 
Velde, i. p. 269, and Rob. Pal. iii. p. 156). — Megiddo, which was also 
allotted to the Manassites in the territory of Issachar, though without 
the Canaanites having been entirely expelled (chap. xvii. 11; Judg. 
i. 27), was fortified by Solomon (1 Kings ix. 15), and is also well 
known as the place were Ahaziah died (2 Kings ix. 27), and where 
Josiah was beaten and slain by Pharaoh Necho (2 Kings xxiii. 29, 
30; 2 Chron. xxxv. 20 sqq.). Robinson has shown that it was 
preserved in the Legio of a later time, the present Lejun (Pal. iii. 
pp. 177 sqq. ; see also Bibl. Res. p. 116). — Ver. 22. Kedesh, a Levi- 
tical city and city of refuge upon the mountains of Naphtali (chap, 
xix. 37, xt. 7, xxi. 32), the home of Barak (Judg. iv. 6), was con- 
quered and depopulated by Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings xv. 29), and 
was also a well-known place after the captivity (1 Mace. xi. 61 sqq.). 
It is now an insignificant village, still bearing the ancient name, 
to the north-west of the lake of Huleh, or, according to Van de 
Velde (Reise. ii. p. 355), nothing but a miserable farmstead upon 
a Tell at the south-west extremity of a well-cultivated table-land, 
with a large quantity of antiquities about, viz. hewn stones, relics 
of columns, sarcophagi, and two ruins of large buildings, with an 
open and extensive prospect on every side (see also Rob. Bibl. Res. 
pp. 367 sqq.). Jokneam, near Carmel, was a Levitical town in the 
territory of Zebulun (chap. xix. 11, xxi. 34). Van de Velde and 
Robinson (Bibl. Res. p. 114) suppose that they have found it in 
Tell Kaimon, on the eastern side of the Wady el Milh, at the 
north-west end of a chain of hills running towards the south-east ; 
this Tell being 200 feet high, and occupying a very commanding 
situation, so that it governed the main pass on the western side of 
Esdraelon towards the southern plain. Kaimdn is the Arabic form 
of the ancient Kafifuova, Cimana, which JSusebius and Jerome 
describe in the Onom. as being six Roman miles to the north of 
Legio, on the road to Ptolemais. — Ver. 23. Dor : see chap. xi. 2. 
Gilgal : the seat of the king of the Goyim (a proper name, as in 
Gen. xiv. 1), in all probability the same place as the villa nomine 
Galgulis mentioned in the Onom. (s. v. GelgeT) as being six Roman 

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chap, xm.-xxiv. 131 

miles to the north of Antipatris, which still exists in the Moslem 
village of Jiljule (now almost a ruin ; see Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 136), 
although this village is only two miles E.S.E. of Kefr Saba, the 
ancient Antipatris (see Bitter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 568—9). Thirza, the 
capital of the kings of Israel down to the time of Omri (1 Kings 
xiv. 17, xv. 21, 33, xvi. 6 sqq.), is probably the present Talluza, an 
elevated and beautifully situated place, of a considerable size, sur- 
rounded by large olive groves, two hours to the north of Shechem 
(see Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 302, and Van de Velde, ii. p. 294). 



Chap, xiii.-xxtv. 

The distribution of the conquered land among the Israelites is 
introduced by the command of the Lord to Joshua to enter upon 
this work, now that he was old, although different portions of land 
were still unconquered (chap. xiii. 1-7) ; and to this there is ap- 
pended a description of the land on the east of the Jordan which 
had already been conquered and divided among the two tribes and 
a half (chap. xiii. 8-33). The distribution of the land on this side 
among the nine tribes and a half is related in its historical order ; 
so that not only are the territories assigned by lot to the different 
tribes described according to their respective boundaries and towns, 
but the historical circumstances connected with the division and 
allotting of the land are also introduced into the description. These 
historical accounts are so closely connected with the geographical 
descriptions of the territory belonging to the different tribes, that 
the latter alone will explain the course pursued in the distribution of 
the land, and the various ways in which the different territories are 
described (see the remarks on chap. xiv. 1). For example, in the 
account of the inheritance which fell to the lot of the tribes of 
Judah and Benjamin, not only are the boundaries .most carefully 
traced, but the towns are also enumerated one by one (chap. xv. 
and xviii. 11-28) ; whereas in the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim and 
half Manasseh) the list of the towns is altogether wanting (chap. 
xvi. and xvii.) ; and in the possessions of the other tribes, either 
towns alone are mentioned, as in the case of Simeon and Dan 

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(chap. xix. 1-9, 40-48), or the boundaries and towns are mixed up 
together, but both of them given incompletely, as in the case of 
Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali (chap. xix. 10-16, 17-23, 
24-31, 32-39). This incompleteness, particularly in the territories 
of the tribes mentioned last, may be explained from the fact, that 
in northern Canaan there were still very many tracts of land in the 
hands of the Canaanites, and the Israelites had not acquired a 
sufficiently exact or complete knowledge of the country, either 
through Joshua's campaign in the north, or through the men who 
were sent out to survey the northern land before it was divided 
(chap, xviii. 4—9), to enable them to prepare a complete account of 
the boundaries and towns at the very outset. In the same way, too, 
we may explain the absence of the list of towns in the case of the 
tribes of Ephraim and half Manasseh, — namely, from the fact that 
a large portion of the territory assigned to the tribe of Joseph was 
still in the possession of the Canaanites (vid. chap. xvii. 14-18) ; 
whilst the omission of any account of the boundaries in the case 
of Simeon and Dan is attributable to the circumstance that the 
former received its inheritance within the tribe of Judab, and the 
latter between Judah and Ephraim, whilst the space left for the 
Danites was so small, that Ephraim and Judah had to give up to 
them some of the towns in their own territory. Thus the very 
inequality and incompleteness of the geographical accounts of the 
possessions of the different tribes decidedly favour the conclusion, 
that they are the very lists which were drawn up at the time when 
Joshua divided the land. There is nothing to preclude this suppo- 
sition in the fact that several towns occur with different names, 
e.g. Beth-shermah and Irshemesh (chap. xv. 10, xix. 41, xxi. 16), 
Madmannali and Beth-marcaboth, Sansanna and Hazar-susa (chap, 
xv. 31, xix. 5), Shilchim and Sharuchen (chap. xv. 32, xix. 6), 
Hetneth and Jarmuth (chap. xix. 21, xxi. 29), or in other smaller 
differences. For variations of this kind may be sufficiently ex- 
plained from the fact that such places were known by two different 
names, which could be used promiscuously ; whilst in other cases 
the difference in the name amounts to nothing more than a different 
mode of writing or pronouncing it : e.g. Kattah and Kartdk (chap, 
xix. 15, xxi. 34), JEshtemoh and Eshtemoa (chap. xv. 50, xxi. 14), 
Baalah and Balah (chap. xv. 29, xix. 3) ; or simply in the contrac- 
tion of a composite name, such as Ramoth in Gilead for Ramoth- 
mizpeh (chap. xxi. 36, xiii. 26) ; Bealoth and Baalatk-beer (chap. xv. 
24, xix. 8), Lebaoth and Beth-lebaoth (chap. xv. 32, xix. 6), Hammatk 

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CHAP. XIII. 1-7. 133 

and Hammoth-dor (chap. xix. 35, xxi. 32). If the author, on the 
other hand, had drawn from later sources, or had simply given the 
results of later surveys, as Knobel supposes, there can be no doubt 
that much greater uniformity would be found in the different lists. 1 


Vers. 1-14. Introduction to the Division op the Land. 
— Vers. 1-7. Command of the Lord to Joshua to distribute the 
land of Canaan by lot among the nine tribes and a half. Ver. 1 
contains only the commencement of the divine command ; the con- 
clusion follows in ver. 7. Vers. 2-6 form a parenthesis of several 
clauses, denning the last clause of ver. 1 more fully. When Joshua 
had grown old, the Lord commanded him, as he was advanced in 
years, and there was still much land to be taken, to divide " this 
land" i.e. the whole of the land of Canaan, for an inheritance to 

1 The arguments employed by Knobel in support of his assertion, consist on 
the one hand of inconclusive and incorrect assertions, and are founded on the 
other hand upon arbitrary assumptions. In the first place, for example, he 
asserts that " a large number of towns are omitted from the lists, which were 
within the boundaries mentioned and were in existence in the very earliest 
times, viz. in the south, Tamar (Gen. xiv. 7), Arad (Num. xxi. 1), Atbach, 
Rachal, Aroer, and Siphamoth (1 Sam. xxx. 28 sqq.), Gerar (Gen. xx. 26) ; in 
the Shephelah, Gaza, Askalon, Gath, Ashdod, Jabne, and Joppa (see chap. xv. 
45 sqq.); in Benjamin, Michmash and Nob (1 Sam. xiii. 2 sqq., xxii. 19); in the 
north, Aphek, Lassaron, Madon, Shimron-meron, and Merom (chap. xi. 6, xii. 
18-20), as well as Meroz and A jjalon (Judg. v. 23, xii. 12) ; and these with other 
places would assuredly not be wanting here, if Joshua and his associates had 
distributed the towns as well as the land, and furnished our author with the 
lists." But it would be difficult to bring forward the proofs of this, since Knobel 
himself acknowledges that there are gaps in the lists which have come down to 
ns, some of which can be proved to be the fault of the copyists, — such, for 
example, as the want of a whole section after chap. xv. 19 and xxi. 35. More- 
over, the Philistine towns of Ashdod and Gaza are really mentioned in chap. xv. 
46, and the others at all events hinted at ; whereas Knobel first of all arbi- 
trarily rejects chap. xv. 45-47 from the text, in order that he may afterwards 
be able to speak of it as omitted. Again, with many of the places mentioned 
as omissions, such as Atbach, Rachal, Siphamoth, etc., it is very questionable 
whether they were towns at all in Joshua's time, or, at all events, such towns 
as we should expect to find mentioned. And lastly, not only are no catalogues 
of towns given at all in the case of Ephraim and Manasseh, but we have only 
imperfect catalogues in the case of Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali ; and, as we 

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the nine tribes and a half, and promised him at the same time that 
He would drive out the Canaanites from those portions of the land 
that were not yet conquered (ver. 6). The words " grown old and 
come into years" (vid. Gen. xxiv. 1, xviii. 11, etc.) denote advanced 
age in its different stages up to the near approach of death (as, 
for example, in chap, xxiii. 1). Joshua might be ninety or a hun- 
dred years old at this time. The allusion to Joshua's great age 
serves simply to explain the reason for the command of God. As 
he was already old, and there still remained much land to be taken, 
he was to proceed to the division of Canaan, that he might accom- 
plish this work to which he was also called before his death ; whereas 
he might very possibly suppose that, under existing circumstances, 
the time for allotting the land had not yet arrived. — In vers. 2-6 
the districts that were not yet conquered are enumerated separately. 
—Vers. 2, 3. All the circles of the Philistines (geliloth, circles of 
well-defined districts lying round the chief city). The reference 
is to the five towns of the Philistines, whose princes are mentioned 
in ver. 3. " And all Geshuri:" not the district of Geshur in Persea 

have already observed, this incompleteness and these gaps can be satisfactorily 
explained from the historical circumstances under -which the allotment of the 
land took place. Secondly, Knobel also maintains, that " Joshua's conquests 
did not extend to the Lebanon (chap. xiii. 4, 5), and yet the author mentions 
towns of the Asherites there (chap. xix. 28, 80) : Bethel was not taken till after 
the time of Joshua (Judg. i. 22 sqq.), and this was also the case with Jerusalem 
(Judg. i. 8), and in the earliest times of the judges they had no Hebrew in- 
habitants (Judg. xix. 12), yet the author speaks of both places as towns of the 
Benjamites (chap, xviii. 22, 28) ; Jericho and Ai were lying in ruins in Joshua's 
time (chap. vi. 24, viii. 28), yet they are spoken of here as towns of Benjamin 
that had been rebuilt (chap, xviii. 21, 23) ; it is just the same with Hazor in 
Naphtali (chap. xi. 13, xix. 36) ; and according to Judg. i. 1, 10 sqq., Hebron 
and Debir also were not conquered till after Joshua's time." But all this rests 
(1) upon the false assumption, that the only towns which Joshua distributed by 
lot among the tribes of Israel were those which he permanently conquered, 
whereas, according to the command of God, he divided the whole land among 
the Israelites, whether it was conquered or not; (2) upon the erroneous opinion, 
that the towns which had been destroyed, such as Jericho, Ai, and Hazor, were 
allotted to the Israelites as " rebuilt," whereas there is not a word about this 
in the text. It is just the same with the arguments used by Knobel in proof 
of the composition of chap, xiii.-xxi. from three different documents. The 
material discrepancies have been forced upon the text, as we shall see when we 
come to an explanation of the passages in question ; and the verbal differences 
prove nothing more than that the geographical account of the boundaries and 
towns contains no allusion to the priesthood, to sacrifice, or to certain other 
things which no one would think of looking for here. 

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chap. xin. 1-7. 135 

(vers. 11, 13, xii. 5 ; Dent. III. 14), but the territory of the Geshurites, 
a small tribe in the south of Philistia, on the edge of the north- 
western portion of the Arabian desert which borders on Egypt ; it is 
only mentioned again in 1 Sam. xxvii. 8. The land of the Philis- 
tines and Geshurites extended from the Sichor of Egypt (on the 
south) to the territory of Ekron (on the north). Sichor (Sihor), lit. 
the black river, is not the Nile, because this is always called ^ion 
(the river) in simple prose (Gen. xli. 1, 3 ; Ex. i. 22), and was not 
"before Egypt," i.e. to the east of it, but flowed through the 
middle of the land. The "Sichor before Egypt" was the brook 
(nuchal) of Egypt, the 'Pivaicopovpa, the modern Wady el Arish, 
which is mentioned in chap. xv. 4, 47, etc., as the southern border 
of Canaan towards Egypt (see at Num. xxxiv. 5). Ekron (fAppa- 
kuv, LiXX.), the most northerly of the Ave chief cities of the 
Philistines, was first of all allotted to the tribe of Judah (chap. xv. 
11, 45), then on the further distribution it was given to Dan (chap. 
xix. 43) ; after Joshua's death it was conquered by Judah (Judg. 
i. 18), though it was not permanently occupied. It is the present 
Akir, a considerable village in the plain, two hours to the south- 
west of Kamlah, and on the east of Jamnia, without ruins of any 
antiquity, with the exception of two old wells walled round, which 
probably belong to the times of the Crusaders (see Mob. Pal. iii. 
p. 23). " To the Canaanites is reckoned (the territory of the) Jive 
lords of the Philistines," i.e. it was reckoned as belonging to the 
land of Canaan, and allotted to the Israelites like all the rest. This 
remark was necessary, because the Philistines were not descendants 
of Canaan (see at Gen. x. 14), but yet were to be driven out like 
the Canaanites themselves as being invaders of Canaanitish terri- 
tory (cf. Deut. ii. 23). % po, from ]"].?, the standing title of the 
princes of the Philistines (vid. Judg. iii. 3, xvi. 5 sqq. ; 1 Sam. v. 
8), does not mean kings, but princes, and is interchangeable with 
D^fe' (cf. 1 Sam. xxix. 6 with vers. 4, 9). At any rate, it was the 
native or Philistian title of the Philistine princes, though it is not 
derived from the same root as Sar, but is connected with seren, axis 
rotce, in the tropical sense of princeps, for which the Arabic fur- 
nishes several analogies (see Ges. Thes. p. 972). The capitals of 
these five princes were the following. Azzah (Gaza, i.e. the strong) : 
this was allotted to the tribe of Judah and taken by the Judseans 
(chap. xv. 47 ; Judg. i. 18), but was not held long. It is at the 
present time a considerable town of about 15,000 inhabitants, with 
the old name of Ghazzeh, about an hour from the sea, and with a 

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seaport called Majuma ; it is the farthest town of Palestine towards 
the south-west (see Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 374 sqq. ; Hitter, Erdk. xvi. 
pp. 35 sqq. ; Stark, Gaza, etc., pp. 45 sqq.). Ashdod ( At,arroi, 
Azotus) : this was also allotted to the tribe of Judah (chap. xv. 
46, 47), the seat of Dagon-worship, to which the Philistines carried 
the ark (1 Sam. v. 1 sqq.). It was conquered by Uzziah (2 Chron' 
xxvi. 6), was afterwards taken by Tartan, the general of Sargon 
(Isa. xx. 1), and was besieged by Psammetichus for twenty-nine 
years (Herod, ii. 157). It is the present Esdud, a Mahometan 
village with about a hundred or a hundred and fifty miserable huts, 
upon a low, round, wooded height on the road from Jamnia to 
Gaza, two miles to the south of Jamnia, about half an hour from 
the sea (vid. Rob. i. p. 368). Ashkalon: this was conquered by 
the Judseans after the death of Joshua (Judg. i. 8, 9) ; but shortly 
afterwards recovered its independence (vid. Judg. xiv. 19 ; 1 Sam. 
vi. 17). It is the present Askuldn on the sea-shore between Gaza 
and Ashdod, five hours to the north of Gaza, with considerable and 
widespread ruins (see v. Raum. pp. 173-4 ; Hitter, xvi. pp. 69 sqq.). 
Gath (Ted) : this was for a long time the seat of the Rephaites, 
and was the home of Goliath (chap. xi. 22 ; 1 Sam. xvii. 4, 23 ; 
2 Sam. xxi. 19 sqq.; 1 Chron. xx. 5 sqq.); it was thither that the 
Philistines of Ashdod removed the ark, which was taken thence 
to Ekron (1 Sam. v. 7-10). David was the first to wrest it from 
the Philistines (1 Chron. xviii. 1). In the time of Solomon it was 
a royal city of the Philistines, though no doubt under Israelitish 
supremacy (1 Kings ii. 39, v. 1). It was fortified by Rehoboam 
(2 Chron. xi. 8), was taken by the Syrians in the time of Joash 
(2 Kings xii. 18), and was conquered again by Uzziah (2 Chron. 
xxvi. 6 ; Amos vi. 2) ; but no further mention is made of it, and 
no traces have yet been discovered 1 (see Rob. ii. p. 420, and v. 

1 According to the Onom. (s. v. Geth), it was a place five Roman miles from 
Eleutheropolis towards Diospolis, whereas Jerome (on Micah i.) Bars : " Gath 
was near the border of Judaea, and on the road from Eleutheropolis to Gaza ; it 
is still a very large village ;" whilst in the commentary on Jer. xrv. he says : 
" Gath was near to and conterminous with Azotus," from which it is obvious 
enough that the situation of the Philistine city of Gath was altogether unknown 
to the Fathers. Hilzig and Knobel suppose the BunoyccPpx of Ptolemy (v. 16, 
6), Betogabri in Tab. Peuting. ix. e. (the Eleutheropolis of the Fathers, and the 
present Beit Jibrin, a very considerable ruin), to be the ancient Gath, but this 
opinion is only founded upon very questionable etymological combinations ; 
whereas Thenius looks for it on the site of the present Deir Dubban, though 
without any tenable ground. 

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CHAP. XIIL 1-7. 137 

JSaumer, Pal. pp. 191-2). " And the Avviles (Awaeans) towards 
the south." Judging from Dent. ii. 23, the Avvim appear to have 
belonged to those tribes of the land who were already found there 
by the Canaanites, and whom the Philistines subdued and destroyed 
when they entered the country. They are not mentioned in Gen. 
x. 15-19 among the Canaanitish tribes. At the same time, there 
is not sufficient ground for identifying them with the Geshurites 
as Ewald does, or with the Anakites, as Bertheau has done. More- 
over, it cannot be decided whether they were descendants of Ham 
or Sbem (see Stark. Gaza, pp. 32 sqq.). JO^O (from, or on, the 
south) at the commencement of ver. 4 should be attached to ver. 3, 
as it is in the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, and joined to D'Wn 
(the Awites). The Awaeans dwelt to the south of the Philistines, 
on the south-west of Gaza. It gives no sense to connect it with 
what follows, so as to read " towards the south all the land of the 
Canaanites;" for whatever land to the south of Gaza, or of the 
territory of the Philistines, was still inhabited by Canaanites, could 
not possibly be called " all the land of the Canaanites." If, how- 
ever, we were disposed to adopt the opinion held by Masius and 
RosenmUUer, and understand these words as relating to the southern 
boundaries of Canaan, " the possessions of the king of Arad and 
the neighbouring petty kings who ruled in the southern extremity 
of Judaea down to the desert of Paran, Zin, Kadesh," etc., the 
fact that Arad and the adjoining districts are always reckoned as 
belonging to the Negeb would at once be decisive against it (com- 
pare chap. xv. 21 sqq. with chap. x. 40, xi. 16, also Num. xxi. 1). 
Moreover, according to chap. x. 40, 41, and xi. 16, 17, Joshua had 
smitten the whole of the south of Canaan from Kadesh-barnea to 
Gaza and taken it ; so that nothing remained unconquered there, 
which could possibly have been mentioned in this passage as not 
yet taken by the Israelites. For the fact that the districts, which 
Joshua traversed so victoriously and took possession of, were not 
all permanently held by the Israelites, does not come into considera- 
tion here at all. If the author had thought of enumerating all 
these places, he would have had to include many other districts as 

Beside the territory of the Philistines on the south-west, there 
still remained to be taken (vers. 4, 5) in the north, " all the land of 
the Canaanites" i.e. of the Phoenicians dwelling on the coast, and 
" the eaves which belonged to the Sidonians unto Aphek." Mearah (the 
cave) is the present Mugr Jezzin, i.e. care of Jezzin, on the east of 

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Sidon, in a steep rocky wall of Lebanon, a hiding-place of the 
Druses at the present time (see at Num. xxxiv. 8 ; also F. v. Richter, 
Wallfahrten in Morgenland, p. 133). Aphek, or Aphik, was allotted 
to the tribe of Asher (chap. xix. 30 ; Judg. i. 31) ; it was called 
"Ajxuca by the Greeks ; there was a temple of Venus there, which 
Constantine ordered to be destroyed, on account of the licentious 
nature of the worship (Euseb. Vita Const, iii. 55). It is the present 
Afka, a small village, but a place of rare beauty, upon a terrace of 
Lebanon, near the chief source of the river Adonis (Nahr Ibrahim), 
with ruins of an ancient temple in the neighbourhood, surrounded 
by groves of the most splendid walnut trees on the north-east of 
Beirut (see 0. F. v. Richter, pp. 106-7 ; Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 663 ; 
and V. de Velde, Reise. ii. p. 398). " To the territory of the Amo- 
rites :" this is obscure. We cannot imagine the reference to be to 
the territory of Og of Bashan, which was formerly inhabited by 
Amorites, as that did not extend so far north ; and the explanation 
given by Knobel, that farther north there were not Canaanites, but 
Amorites, who were of Semitic origin, rests upon hypotheses which 
cannot be historically sustained. — Ver. 5. There still remained to 
be taken (2) " the land of the Gfiblites," i.e. the territory of the 
population of Gebal (1 Kings v. 32 ; Ezek. xxvii. 9), the Byblos 
of the classics, on the Mediterranean Sea, to the north of Beirut, 
called Jebail by the Arabs, and according to Edrisi {ed. Jaubert, 
i. p. 356), " a pretty town on the sea-shore, enclosed in good walls, 
and surrounded by vineyards and extensive grounds planted with 
fruit trees" (see also Abulfed. Tab. Syr. p. 94). It is still a town 
with an old wall, some portions of which apparently belong to the 
time of the Crusades (see Burckhardt, Syr. p. 296, and Ritter, 
Erdk. xvii. pp. 60 sqq.). 1 " And all Lebanon toward the sunrising ;" 
i.e. not Antilibanus {Knobel), but the Lebanon which is to the east 
of the territory of Gebal, " from Baal-gad under Mount Herman," 
i.e. Paneas Banjos at the foot of Hermon (see at chap. xi. 17), 
" unto the entering in to Hamath," i.e. as far up as the territory of 
the kingdom of Hamath, with the capital of the same name on the 
Orontes (see at Num. xxxiv. 8). Lastly, there still remained (3) 
" all the inhabitants of the mountains, from Lebanon to Misrephoth- 
maim," i.e. the promontory of Nakura (see at chap. xi. 8), namely 
" all the Sidonians," i.e. all the Phoenicians who dwelt from Lebanon 
southwards, from the boundary of the territory of Hamath down 

1 The evidence adduced by Movers (Phbnizier, ii. 1, p. 103), that the Giblites 
did not belong to the Canaanites, has more plausibility than truth. 

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CHAP. XIII. 8-14. 139 

to the promontory of Nakura* According to ancient usage, the 
Sidonians stand for the Phoenicians generally, as in Homer, on 
account of Sidon being the oldest capital of Phoenicia (see Ges. on 
Is. L pp. 724 sqq.). All these the Lord would root out before Israel, 
and therefore Joshua was to divide the whole of northern Canaan, 
which was inhabited by Phoenicians, among the Israelites. " Only 
divide thou it by lot for an inheritance," etc. P?, only, i.e. although 
thou hast not yet taken it. T'BfJ, to cause it to fall, here used with 
reference to the lot, i.e. to divide by lot. " Fulfil thy duty in the 
distribution of the land, not even excepting what is still in the firm 
grasp of the enemy ; for I will take care to perform what I have 
promised. From this we may learn to rely so perfectly upon the 
word of God, when undertaking any duty, as not to be deterred by 
doubts or fears" (Calvin). 

Vers. 8-14. To the command of God to divide the land on this 
side the Jordan among the nine tribes and a half (ver. 7), the 
historian appends the remark, that the other two tribes and a half 
had already received their inheritance from Moses on the other 
side (ver. 8). This he proceeds to describe in its full extent (vers. 
9-13), and then observes that the tribe of Levi alone received no 
landed inheritance, according to the word of the Lord (ver. 14). 
After this he gives a description in vers. 15-33 of the land assigned 
by Moses to each of the two tribes and a half. 1 The remark in 
ver. 8 is so closely connected with what precedes by the expression 
u with whom" (Ut. with it), that this expression must be taken as 
somewhat indefinite : " with whom," viz. with half Manasseh, really 
signifying with the other half of Manasseh, with which the Reuben- 
ites and Gadites had received their inheritance (see Num. xxxii. 
and Deut. iii. 8-17). The last words of ver. 8, " as Moses the 
servant of Jehovah gave them," are not a tautological repetition of 
the clause " which Moses gave them," but simply affirm that these 
tribes received the land given them by Moses, in the manner com- 
manded by Moses, without any alteration in his arrangements. The 
boundaries of the land given in vers. 9-13 really agree with those 
given in chap. xii. 2-5 and Deut. iii. 8, although the expression 

1 KnobeVs remark, that vera. 8-14 anticipate the following section (vera. 
15-33) in an unsuitable manner, rests upon a thorough misunderstanding of the 
whole ; for the account of the division of the land to the east of the Jordan 
among the two tribes and a half (vers. 15-33) could not be introduced in a more 
appropriate manner than by a description of the circumference of the land and 
of its principal parts (vers. 9-13). 

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varies in some respects. The words of ver. 9, u the city that is in 
the midst of the river" i.e. the city in the valley, viz. Ar, are more 
distinct than those of chap. xii. 2, " and from the middle of the 
river." " All the plain" is the Amoritish table-land, a tract of land 
for the most part destitute of trees, stretching from the Arnon to 
Hcshbon, and towards the north-east to Rabbath-Amman (see at 
Deut. iii. 10), which is called in Num. xxi. 20 the field of Moab. 
Medeba, now called Medaba (see at Num. xxi. 30). Dibon, now a 
ruin called Dibdn, to the north of Arnon (see at Num. xxi. 20). — Ver. 
10, as in chap. xii. 2. — Ver. 11. Gilead is the whole country of that 
name on both sides of the Jabbok (see at chap. xii. 2 and Deut. iii. 
10), the present Belka and Jebel Ajlun, for the description of which 
see the remarks at Num. xxxii. 1. " The territory of the Geshur- 
ites and Maachathites" is referred to in chap. xii. 5 as the boundary 
of the kingdom of Og, and in Deut. iii. 14 as the boundary of the 
land which was taken by Jair the Manassite ; here it is included in 
the inheritance of the tribes on the other side of the Jordan, but it 
was never really taken possession of by the Israelites, and (accord- 
ing to ver. 13) it had probably never been really subject to king 
Og. The other notices in vers. 11 and 12 are the same as in chap, 
xii. 4, 5. — Ver. 14. The tribe of Levi was to receive no land, but 
the firings of Jehovah, i.e. the offerings, including the tithes and 
first-fruits (Lev. xxvii. 30-32, compared with Num. xviii. 21-32), 
were to be its inheritance; so that the God of Israel himself is 
called the inheritance of Levi in ver. 33 as in Num. xviii. 20, to 
which the words " as He said unto them" refer (see the commen- 
tary on Num. xviii. 20). 

Vers. 15-33. The Possessions of the Two Tribes and a 
Half. — Vers. 15-23. The tribe of Reuben received its inheritance 
in the south — namely, the territory from Aroer in the Arnon valley, 
and from Ar in that valley, onwards, and the plain (table-land) by 
Medeba (see ver. 9), with Heshbon the capital and her towns, i.e. 
the towns dependent upon it, in the plain. Heshbon, almost in the 
centre between the Arnon and the Jabbok, was situated upon the 
border of the inheritance of the Reubenites, and was ceded to the 
Gadites, who gave it up to the Levites (chap. xxi. 39 ; 1 Chron. vi. 
66 : see at Num. xxxii. 37). Dibon, called Dibon of Gad in Num. 
xxxiii. 45, because the Gadites had built, i.e. fortified it, was ou the 
south of Heshbon, only an hour from Aroer, on the Arnon (ver. 9). 
Bamoth-baal, also called Bamoth simply (Num. xxi. 20 ; Isa. xv. 2), 

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CHAP. XIII. 15-28. 141 

is to be sought for on the Jebel Attarus (see at Num. xxi. 20). 
It was thence that Balaam saw the end of the Israelitish camp 
(Num. xxii. 41). BethbaaUmeon, the present ruin of Myun, three- 
quarters of an hour s.B. of Heshbon (see at Num. xxxii. 38). Jahza, 
where Sihon was defeated, was to the east of Medeba, according to 
the Onom. ; and Dibon was on the border of the desert (see at Num. 
xxi. 23). Kedemoih, on the border of the desert, to the north-west 
of Kalaat Balua, is to be sought on the northern bank of the 
Balua, or upper Arnon (see at Num. xxi. 13). Mepliaaih, where 
there was a garrison stationed (according to the Onom.) as a defence 
against the inhabitants of the desert, is to be sought for in the 
neighbourhood of Jahza, with which it is always associated (Jer. 
xlviii. 21). Kedemoth and Mephaath were given up to the Levites 
(chap. xxi. 37 ; 1 Chron. vi. 64), — Vers. 19, 20. Kirjathaim, where 
Chedorlaomer defeated the Emim, is probably to be found in the 
ruins of et-Teym, half an hour to the west of Medaba (see at Gen. 
xiv. 5). SibmaJi (Num. xxxii. 38), according to Jerome (on Isa. 
xvi. 8), only 500 paces from Heshbon, appears to have hopelessly 
disappeared. Zereth-hashacliar, i.e. splendor aurora, which is only 
mentioned here, was situated " upon a mountain of the valley" 
According to ver. 27, the valley was the Jordan valley, or rather 
(according to Gen. xiv. 3, 8) the vale of Siddim, a valley running 
down on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. Seetzen conjectures 
that the town referred to is the present ruin of Sard, on the south 
of Zerka Maein. — Beth-peor, opposite to Jericho, six Boman miles 
higher than (to the east of) Libias : see at Num. xxiii. 28. The 
" elopes of Pisgah" (chap. xii. 3 ; Deut. in. 17) : to the south of the 
former, on the north-eastern shore of the Dead Sea (see at Num. 
xxvii. 12). Beth-jeshimoih (chap. xii. 3), in the Ghor el Seisab&n, 
on the north-east side of the Dead Sea (see at Num. xxii. 1). In 
ver. 21a, the places which Beuben received in addition to those 
mentioned by name are all summed up in the words, " and all the 
(other) towns of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon," sc. so far 
as it extended over the plain. These limitations of the words are 
implied in the context : the first in the fact that towns in the plain 
are mentioned in ver. 17 ; the second in the fact that, according to 
ver. 27, " the rest of the kingdom of Sihon," i.e. the northern 
portion of it, was given to the Gadites. The allusion to Sihon 
induced the author to mention his defeat again ; see at Num. xxxi., 
where the five Midianitish vassals who were slain with Sihon are 
noticed in ver. 8, and the death of Balaam is also mentioned. 

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" Dukes of Sihon" properly vassals of Sihon; D^p? does not signify 
anointed, however, but means literally poured out, i.e. cast, moulded, 
enfeoffed. The word points to the " creation of a prince by the 
communication or pouring in of power" (Gusset. *. v.). — Ver. 23. 
" And (this) was the boundary of the sons of Reuben, the Jordan and 
its territory" i.e. the Jordan, or rather land adjoining it. The 
meaning is, that the territory of Reuben, viz. with the places men- 
tioned last (ver. 20), reached to the territory of the Jordan ; for so 
far as the principal part was concerned, it was on the east of the 
Dead Sea, as it only reached from the Arnon to Heshbon, i.e. up 
to the latitude of the northern extremity of the Dead Sea. " The 
towns and their villages" ivn, farm premises, used, as in Lev. xxv. 
31, to denote places not enclosed by a wall. 

Vers. 24-28. Inheritance of the tribe of Gad. — This tribe 
received JaSzer (probably es Szyr: see at Num. xxi. 32) and " ail 
the towns of Gilead" i.e. of the southern half of Gilead, which 
belonged to the kingdom of Sihon ; for the northern half, which 
belonged to the kingdom of Og, was given to the Manassites 
(ver. 31), u and the half of the land of the sons of Amman, to AroSr 
before Rabbah" i.e. that portion of the land of the Ammonites 
between the Arnon and the Jabbok, which the Amorites under 
Sihon had taken from the Ammonites, namely, the land on the east 
of Gilead, on the western side of the upper Jabbok (Nahr Anunftn : 
Deut. ii. 37, Hi. 16 ; cf. Judg. xi. 13) ; for the land of the Am- 
monites, i.e. the land which they still held in the time of Moses, on 
the eastern side of Nahr Amman, the Israelites were not allowed to 
attack (Deut. ii. 19). AroSr before Rabbah, i.e. Amman (see Deut. 
iii. 11), is Aroer of Gad, and must be distinguished from Aroer of 
Reuben on the Arnon (ver. 16). It is only mentioned again in 
Judg. xi. 33 and 2 Sam. xxiv. 5, and was situated, according to 
2 Sam., in the valley of Gad, that is to say, in a wady or valley 
through which Gesenius supposes an arm of the Jabbok to have 
flowed, and Thenius the Jabbok itself, though neither of them has 
sufficient ground for his conjecture. It is also not to be identified 
with the ruin of Ayra to the south-west of Szalt, as this is not in a 
wady at all ; but in all probability it is to be sought for to the north- 
east of Rabbah, in the Wady Nahr Amman, on the side of the 
Kalat Zerka Gadda, the situation of which suits this verse and 
2 Sam. xxiv. 5 very well, and may easily be reconciled with Judg. 
xi. 33. — In ver. 26 the extent of the territory of Gad is first of 
all described from north to south : viz. from Heshbon (see ver. 17) 

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CHAP. XIII. 24-28. 143 

to Ramath-mizpeh, or Hamoth in Gilead (chap. xx. 8), probably on 
the site of the present Szalt (see at Dent. iv. 43), " and Betonim" 
probably the ruin of Batneh, on the mountains which bound the 
Ghor towards the east between the Wady Shaib and Wady Ajlun, 
in the same latitude as Szalt (V. de Velde, Mem. p. 298) ; and then, 
secondly, the northern boundary is described from west to east, 
"from Mahanaim to the territory of Lidbir." Mahanaim (double- 
camp : Gen. xxxii. 2), which was given up by Gad to the Levites 
(chap. xxi. 30), in which Ishbosheth was proclaimed king (2 Sam. 
ii. 8, 9), and to which David fled from Absalom (2 Sam. xvii. 24, 
27 ; 1 Kings ii. 8), is not to be sought for, as Knobel supposes, in 
the ruins of Met/sera, to the south of Jabbok, four hours and a half 
from Szalt, but was on the north of the Jabbok, since Jacob did 
not cross the ford of the Jabbok till after the angel had appeared 
to him at Mahanaim (Gen. xxxii. 3, 23). It was in or by the 
valley of the Jordan (according to 2 Sam. xviii. 23, 24), and has 
probably been preserved in the ruins of MaJineh, the situation of 
which, however, has not yet been determined (see at Gen. xxxii. 3). 
lAdbir is quite unknown ; the lamed, however, is not to be taken as 
a prefix, but forms part of the word. J. D. Michaelis and Knobel 
suppose it to be the same as Lo-debar in 2 Sam. ix. 4, 5, xvii. 27, a 
place from which provisions were brought to David at Mahanaim 
on his flight from Absalom, and which is to be sought for on the 
east of Mahanaim. — Ver. 27. On the north, the territory of Gad 
seems to have extended to the Jabbok, and only to have stretched 
beyond the Jabbok at Mahanaim, which formed the boundary of 
half-Manasseh, according to ver. 30. In the valley of the Jordan, 
on the other hand, the boundary reached to the Sea of Galilee. 
" The valley " is the valley of the Jordan, or the Arabah from 
Wady Hesb&n above the Dead Sea up to the Sea of Galilee, along 
the east side of the Jordan, which belonged to the kingdom of Sihon 
(chap. xii. 3 ; Deut. iii. 17). The northern boundary of the tribe 
of Reuben must have touched the Jordan in the neighbourhood of 
the Wady Hesb&n. In the Jordan valley were Beth-haram, the 
future lAbias, and present er Rameh (see at Num. xxxii. 36) ; Beth- 
nimra, according to the Onom. five Roman miles to the north, the 
present ruin of Nimrein (see at Num. xxxii. 36) ; Succoth, according 
to the Onom. trans Jordanem in parte Scythopoleos (see at Gen. 
xxxiii. 17) ; Zaphon (i.e. north), probably not far from the southern 
extremity of the Sea of Galilee. " The rest of the kingdom of Sihonf 
the other part having been given to the Reubenites (ver. 21). 

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Vers. 29-31. The territory of the half tribe of Manasseh ex- 
tended from Mahanaim onwards, and embraced all Bashan, with 
the sixty Jair towns and the (northern) half of Gilead (see the 
comm. on Deut. iii. 13-15). — Ver. 32 is the concluding formula. 
(For the fact itself, see Num. xxxiv. 14, 15.) — Ver. 33 is a repeti- 
tion of ver. 14. 


Vers. 1-5 form the heading and introduction to the account of 
the division of the land among the nine tribes and a half, which 
reaches to chap, xix., and is brought to a close by the concluding 
formula in chap. xix. 51. The division of the land of Canaan 
according to the boundaries laid down in Num. xxxiv. 2-12 was 
carried out, in accordance with the instructions in Num. xxxiv. 
16-29, by the high priest Eleazar, Joshua, and ten heads of fathers' 
houses of the nine tribes and a half, whose names are given in 
Num. xxxiv. 18-28. " By the lot of their inheritance," t.«. by casting 
lots for it : this is dependent upon the previous clause, " which they 
distributed for inheritance to them'' " As the Lord commanded 
through Moses " (Num. xxvi. 52-56, xxxiii. 54, and xxxiv. 13), u to 
tlie nine tribes and a half" (this is also dependent upon the clause 
" which they distributed for inheritance "). — Vers. 3, 4. So many 
tribes were to receive their inheritance, for the two tribes and a half 
had already received theirs from Moses on the other side of the 
Jordan, and the tribe of Levi was not to receive any land for an 
inheritance. According to this, there seem to be only eight tribes 
and a half to be provided for (2£ + 1 + 8£ = 12) ; but there were 
really nine and a half, for the sons of Joseph formed two tribes in 
consequence of the adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh by the 
patriarch Jacob (Gen. xlviii. 5). But although the Levites were 
to have no share in the land, they were to receive towns to dwell 
in, with pasture adjoining for their cattle ; these the other tribes 
were to give up to them out of their inheritance, according to the 
instructions in Num. xxxv. 1-8 (see the notes upon this passage). 

So far as the division of the land itself was concerned, it was to 
be distributed by lot, according to Num. xxvi. 52 sqq. ; but, at the 
same time, the distribution was carried out with such special regard 
to the relative sizes of the different tribes, that the more numerous 
tribe received a larger share of the land than one that was not so 

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CHAP. XIV. 1-5. 145 

numerous. This could only be accomplished, however, by their 
restricting the lot to the discrimination of the relative situation of 
the different tribes, and then deciding the extent and boundaries of 
their respective possessions according to the number of families of 
which they were composed. 1 The casting of the lots was probably 
effected, as the Rabbins assumed, by means of two urns, one filled 
with slips having the names of the tribes upon them ; the other, with 
an equal number, representing separate divisions of the land : so that 
when one slip, with a name upon it, was taken out of one urn, 
another slip, with a division of the land upon it, was taken from the 
other. The result of the lot was accepted as the direct decree of 
God ; " for the lot was not controlled in any way by the opinion, 
or decision, or authority of men" (Calvin). See the fuller remarks 
at Num. xxvi. 56. In the account of the casting of the lots, the 
first fact which strikes us is, that after the tribes of Judah and 
Joseph had received their inheritance, an interruption took place, 
and the camp was moved from Gilgal to Shiloh, and the taber- 
nacle erected there (chap, xviii. 1-9) ; after which the other tribes 
manifested so little desire to receive their inheritance, that Joshua 
reproved them for their indolence (chap, xviii. 3), and directed them 
to nominate a committee of twenty-one from their own number, 
whom he sent out to survey the land and divide it into seven parts ; 
and it was not till after this had been done that the casting of the 
lots was proceeded with, and each of these seven tribes received its 
inheritance. The reason for this interruption is not given ; and the 
commentators have differed in their opinions as to the cause (see 
Keits former Comm. on Joshua, pp. 347 sqq.). The following 
appears to be the most probable supposition. When Joshua received 
the command from the Lord to divide the land among the tribes, 
they made an approximative division of the land into nine or ten 
parts, according to the general idea of its extent and principal 
features, which they had obtained in connection with the conquest 

1 " This was the force of the lot : there were ten lots cast in such a manner 
as to decide that some were to be next to the Egyptians, some to have the sea- 
coasts, some to occupy the higher ground, and some to settle in the valleys. 
When this was done, it remained for the heads of the nation to determine the 
boundaries of their different territories according to some equitable standard. 
It was their place, therefore, to ascertain how many thousand heads there were 
in each tribe, and then to adjudicate a larger or smaller space according to the 
size of the tribe " {Calvin). Or, as Clericus observes (Num. xxvi. 52), " the lot 
seems to have had respect to the situation alone, and not to the extent of terri- 
tory at all." 


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of the country, and then commenced distributing it without any 
more minute survey or more accurate measurement, simply fixing 
the boundaries of those districts which came out first according 
to the size of the tribes upon whom the lots fell. As soon as that 
was^done, these tribes began to move off into the territory allotted 
to them, and to take possession of it. The exact delineation of the 
boundaries, however, could not be effected at once, but required a 
longer time, and was probably not finally settled till the tribe had 
taken possession of its land. In this manner the tribes of Judah, 
Ephraim, and half Manasseh had received their inheritance one 
after another. And whilst they were engaged in taking possession, 
Shiloh was chosen, no doubt in accordance with divine instructions, 
as the place where the tabernacle was to be permanently erected ; 
and there the sanctuary was set up, the whole camp, of course, 
removing thither at the same time. But when the casting of the 
lots was about to be continued for the remainder of the tribes, they 
showed no great desire for fixed abodes, as they had become so 
accustomed to a nomad life, through having been brought up in the 
desert, that they were much more disposed to continue it, than to 
take possession of a circumscribed inheritance, — a task which would 
require more courage and exertion, on account of the remaining 
Canaanites, than a life in tents, in which they might wander up and 
down in the land by the side of the Canaanites, and supply their 
wants from its productions, as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had for- 
merly done, since the Canaanites who were left were so weakened by 
the war that the Israelites had no occasion for a moment's anxiety 
about them, provided they did not attempt to expel or to extermi- 
nate them. But Joshua could not rest contented with this, if he 
would remain faithful to the charge which he had received from 
the Lord. He therefore reproved these tribes for their tardiness, 
and commanded them to take steps for continuing the casting of 
lots for the land. But as the tribe of Joseph had expressed its 
dissatisfaction with the smallness of the inheritance allotted to it, 
and by so doing had manifested its cowardice, which prevented it 
from attacking the Canaanites who were still left in the territory 
that had fallen to their lot, Joshua may possibly have had his eyes 
opened in consequence to the fact that, if the casting of lots was 
continued in the manner begun, and with nothing more than an 
approximative definition of the different portions of the land, there 
was a possibility of still greater dissatisfaction arising among the 
other tribes, since some of them at any rate would be sure to receive 

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CHAP. XIV. 6-16. 147 

portions of the land in which the Canaanites were more numerous 
and still stronger than in the possessions of Ephraim. He therefore 
gave orders, that before the casting of lots was proceeded with 
any further, the rest of the land should be carefully surveyed and 
divided into seven districts, and that a statement of the result should 
be laid before him, that these seven districts might be divided by lot 
among the seven tribes. This survey of the land no doubt very 
clearly showed that what remained, after deducting the possessions 
of Judah and Joseph, was too small for the remaining seven tribes, 
in proportion to what had been already divided. Moreover, it had 
also been discovered that Judah' s share was larger than this tribe 
required (chap. xix. 9). Consequently it was necessary that certain 
partial alterations should be made in the arrangements connected 
with the first division. The lot itself could not be pronounced 
invalid when it had once been cast, as its falling was regarded as 
the decision of God himself, and therefore it was impossible to 
make a fresh division of the whole land among all the tribes. The 
only thing that could be done was to leave the two tribes in those 
districts which had fallen to them by lot (chap, xviii. 5), but to take 
certain parts of their territory for the other tribes, which would 
leave the lot in all its integrity, as the lot itself had not determined 
either the size or the boundaries. This will serve to explain both 
the interruption to the casting of the lots, which had been com- 
menced at Gilgal, and also the peculiar manner in which it was 
continued at Sbiloh. 

Vers. 6-15. Caleb's Inheritance. — Vers. 6 sqq. Before the 
easting of the lots commenced, Caleb came to Joshua along with 
the sons of Judah, and asked for the mountains of Hebron for his 
possession, appealing at the same time to the fact, that forty-five 
years before Moses had promised it to him on oath, because he had 
not discouraged the people and stirred them up to rebellion, as the 
other spies (hat were sent from Kadesh to Canaan had done, but 
had faithfully followed the Lord. 1 This occurred at Gilgal, where 

1 The grounds upon which Knobtl follows Maurer and othenuin affirming 
that this account does not belong to the so-called Elohist, but is merely a 
fragment taken from the first document of the Jehovist, are formed partly 
from misinterpretations of particular verses and partly from baseless assump- 
tions. To the former belongs the assertion, that, according to vers. 8, 12, 
Joshua was not one of the spies (see the remarks on ver. 8) ; to the latter the 
assertion, that the Elohist does not represent Joshua as dividing the land, or 
Caleb as receiving so large a territory (see on the contrary, however, the 

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the casting of the lots was to take place. Caleb was not " the head 
of the Judahites," as Knobel maintains, but simply the head of a 
father's house of Judah, and, as we may infer from his surname, 
"the Kenizzite" or descendant of Kenaz ("</te Kenizzite" here 
and Num. xxxii. 12 is equivalent to "son of Kenaz," ch. xv. 17, 
and Judg. i. 13), head of the father's house which sprang from 
Kenaz, i.e. of a subdivision of the Judahite family of Hezron ; 
for Caleb, the brother of Jerahmeel and father of Achzah, ac- 
cording to 1 Chron. ii. 42 (cf. 1 Chron. ii. 49), was the same 
person as Caleb the descendant of Hezron mentioned in 1 Chron. 
ii. 18. From the surname "the Kenizzite" we are of course not 
to understand that Caleb or his father Jephunneh is described as a 
descendant of the Canaanitish tribe of Kenizzites (Gen. xv. 19) ; but 
Kenaz was a descendant of Hezron, the son of Perez and grandson of 
Judah (1 Chron. ii. 5, 18, 25), of whom nothing further is known 
Consequently it was not the name of a tribe, but of a person, and, 
as we may see from 1 Chron. iv. 15, where one of the sons of 
Caleb is called Kenaz, the name was repeated in the family. The 
sons of Judah who came to Joshua along with Caleb were not the 
Judahites generally, therefore, or representatives of all the families 
of Judah, but simply members or representatives of the father's 
house of Judah which took its name from Kenaz, and of which 
Caleb was the head at that time. Caleb reminded Joshua of the 
word which the Lord had spoken concerning them in Kadesh- 
barnea, i.e. of the promise of God that they should both of them 
enter the land of Canaan (Num. xiv. 24, 30), and then proceeded 
to observe (ver. 7) : " When I was forty years old, and was sent by 
Moses as a spy to Canaan, I brought back an answer as it was in my 
mind," i.e. according to the best of my convictions, without fear of 
man or regard to the favour of the people. — Ver. 8. Whereas the 
other spies discouraged the people by exaggerated reports concern- 
ing the inhabitants of Canaan, he had followed the Lord with 
perfect fidelity (Num. xiii. 31-33). He had not been made to 
waver in his faithfulness to the Lord and His promises either by 
the evil sports which the other spies had brought of the land, or 
by the murmuring and threats of the excited crowd (see Num. xiv. 
6-10). " My brethren" (ver. 8) are the rest of the spies, of course 
with the exception of Joshua, to whom Caleb was speaking. 1 VDpn, 

exposition of ver. 13), as well as the enumeration of all kinds of words which 
are said to be foreign to the Elohistic document. 

1 That Joshua was not included was evident from this circumstance alone, 

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CHAP. XIV. 6-15. 149 

for *Don (see Ges. § 75, anm. 17, and Ewald, § 142, a.), from 
noo = DDO (see chap. ii. 11). — Ver. 9. Jehovah swore at that time, 
that the land upon which his (Caleb's) foot had trodden should be 
an inheritance for him and his sons for ever. This oath is not 
mentioned in Num. xiv. 20 sqq., nor yet in Deut. i. 35, 36, where 
Moses repeats the account of the whole occurrence to the people. 
For the oath of Jehovah mentioned in Num. xiv. 21, 24, viz. that 
none of the murmuring people should see the land of Canaan, but 
that Caleb alone should come thither and his seed should possess it, 
cannot be the one referred to, as the promise given to Caleb in this 
oath does not relate to the possession of Hebron in particular, but 
to the land of Canaan generally, " tlie land which Jehovali had 
sworn to their fathers." We must assume, therefore, that in addi- 
tion to what is mentioned in Num. xiv. 24, God gave a special 
promise to Caleb, which is passed over there, with reference to the 
possession of Hebron itself, and that Joshua, who heard it at the 
time, is here reminded of that promise by Caleb. This particular 
promise from God was closely related to the words with which 
Caleb endeavoured to calm the minds of the people when they rose 
up against Moses (Num. xiii. 30), viz. by saying to them, " We are 
well able to overcome it," notwithstanding the Anakites who dwelt 
in Hebron and had filled the other spies with such great alarm on 
account of their gigantic size. With reference to this the Lord 
had promised that very land to Caleb for his inheritance. Upon 
this promise Caleb founded his request (vers. 10-12) that Joshua 
would give him these mountains, of which Joshua had heard at 
that time that there were Anakites and large fortified cities there, 
inasmuch as, although forty-five years had elapsed since God had 
spoken these words, and he was now eighty-five years old, he was 
quite as strong as he had been then. From the words, " The Lord 
hath kept me alive these forty-five years," Theodoret justly infers, 
that the conquest of Canaan by Joshua was completed in seven 
years, since God spake these words towards the end of the second 
year after the exodus from Egypt, and therefore thirty-eight years 
before the entrance into Canaan. The clause 'W ?]?n "it^s (ver. 10) 

and consequently it is a complete perversion on tho part of Knobel to argue, 
tbat because the expression is a general one, i.e. because Joshua is not expressly 
excepted by name, therefore he cannot have been one of the spies, not to 
mention the fact that the words " concerning me and thee," in ver. 6, are 
sufficient to show to any one acquainted with the account in Num. xiii., xiv., 
that Joshua was really one of them. 

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is also dependent upon 'Ul D\tf3"]K fit; viz. "these forty'five years 
that Israel has wandered in the desert" (on this use of "HSfc, see 
Ewald, § 331, c). The expression is a general one, and the years 
occupied in the conquest of Canaan, during which Israel had not 
yet entered into peaceful possession of the promised land, are 
reckoned as forming part of the years of wandering in the desert. 
As another reason for his request, Caleb adds in ver. 11 : " / am 
still as strong to-day as at that tune ; as my strength was then, so is 
it now for war, and to go out and in" (see Num. xxvii. 17). — Ver. 
12. " The mountain," according to the context, is the mountainous 
region of Hebron, where the spies had seen the Anakites (Num. 
xiii. 22, 28). The two clauses, in ver. 12, beginning with '3 are 
not to be construed as subordinate to one another, but are co- 
ordinate clauses, and contain two distinct motives in support of his 
petition : viz. "for thou heardest in that day" sc. what Jehovah said 
to me then, and also "for (because) the Anakites are there ;" . . . 
"perhaps Jehovah is with me ('nk for WK, see Ges. § 103, .1, anm. 
1, and Ewald, § 264, £.), and I root them out" (vid. chap. xv. 14). 
The word "perhaps" does not express a doubt, but a hope or 
desire, or else, as Masius says, " hope mixed with difficulty ; and 
whilst the difficulty detracts from the value, the hope stimulates 
the desire for the gift." — Ver. 13. Then Joshua blessed Caleb, i.e. 
implored the blessing of God upon hjs undertaking, and gave him 
Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron is mentioned as the chief 
city, to which the surrounding country belonged ; for Caleb had 
asked for the mountains (ver. 9), i.e. the mountainous country with 
and around Hebron, which included, for example, the fortified 
town of Debir also (chap. xv. 15). — Ver. 14. This inheritance, the 
historian adds, was awarded to Caleb because he had followed the 
God of Israel with such fidelity. — In ver. 15 there follows another 
notice of the earlier name of Hebron (see at Gen. xxiii. 2). The 
expression MB? (before), like the words " to this day," applies to 
the time when the book was composed, at which time the name 
Kirjath-arba had long since fallen into disuse; so that it by no 
means follows that the name Hebron was not so old as the name 
Kirjath-arba, which was given to Hebron for the first time when 
it was taken by Arba, " the great man among the Anakites," i.e. 
the strongest and most renowned of the Anakites (vid. chap. xv. 
13). The remark, " and the land Jiad rest from war," is repeated 
again at the close of this account from chap. xi. 23, to show that 
although there were Anakites still dwelling in Hebron whom Caleb 

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CHAP. XV. 1-12. 151 

hoped to exterminate, the work of distributing the land by lot was 
not delayed in consequence, but was carried out in perfect peace 


Under the superintending providence of God, the inheritance 
which fell to the tribe of Judah by lot was in the southern part of 
Canaan, where Caleb had already received his inheritance, so that 
he was not separated from his tribe. The inheritance of Judah is 
first of all described according to its boundaries (vers. 1-12) ; then 
for the sake of completeness it is stated once more with regard to 
Caleb, that he received Kirjath-arba for his inheritance, and took 
possession of it by expelling the Anakites and conquering Debir 
(vers. 13-20) ; and after this a list is given of the towns in the 
different parts (vers. 21-63). 

Vers. 1-12 —Boundaries of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. 
— Ver. 1. Its situation in the land. " And there was (i.e. fell, or 
came out ; cf . chap. xvi. 1, xix. 1) the lot to the tribe of Judah accord- 
ing to its families to the frontier of JEdom (see at Num. xxxiv. 3), to 
the desert of Zin southward, against the extreme south" (lit. from the 
end or extremity of the south), i.e. its inheritance fell to it, so that 
it reached to the territory of Edom and the desert of Zin, in which 
Kadesh was situated (see at Num. xiii. 21), on the extreme south 
of Canaan. — Vers. 2-4. The southern boundary. This was also 
the southern boundary of the land of Israel generally, and coin- 
cided with the southern boundary of Canaan as described in Num. 
xxxiv. 3-5. It went out "from the end of the salt sea, namely, 
from the tongue which turneth to the south," i.e. from the southern 
point of the Dead Sea, which is now a salt marsh. — Vers. 3, 4. 
Thence it proceeded " to the southern boundary of the ascent of 
Akrabbim," i.e. the row of lofty whitish cliffs which intersects the 
Arabah about eight miles below the Dead Sea (see at Num. 
xxxiv. 4), " and passed across to Zin," i.e. the Wady Murreh (see 
at Num. xiii. 21), " and went up to the south of Kadesh-barnea," 
i.e. by Ain Kudes (see at Num. xx. 16), "and passed over to 
Hezron, and went up to Adar, and turned to Karkaa, and went over 
to Azmon, and went out into the brook of Egypt" i.e. the Wady el 
Arish. On the probable situation of Hezron, Adar, Karkaa, and 
Azmon, see at Num. xxxiv. 4, 5. " And the outgoings of the boun- 
dary were to the sea" (the Mediterranean). The Wady el Arish, a 
marked boundary, takes first of all a northerly and then a north- 

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westerly course, and opens into the Mediterranean Sea (see Pent, 
vol. ii. p. 58). i" 1 ^ in the singular before the subject in the plural 
must not be interfered with (see Ewald, § 316, a.). — The words 
" this shall be your south coast " point back to the southern boun- 
dary of Canaan as laid down in Num. xxxiv. 2 sqq., and show that 
the southern boundary of the tribe-territory of Judah was also the 
southern boundary of the land to be taken by Israel. — Ver. 5a. 
" The eastern boundary was the salt sea to the end of the Jordan]' 
i.e. the Dead Sea, in all its length up to the point where the Jordan 
entered it. 

In vers. 56-11 we have a description of the northern boundary, 
which is repeated in chap, xviii. 15-19 as the southern boundary 
of Benjamin, though in the opposite direction, namely, from west 
to east. It started "from the tongue of the (salt) sea, the end (i.e. 
the mouth) of the Jordan, and went up to Beth-hagla" — a border 
town between Judah and Benjamin, which was afterwards allotted 
to the latter (chap, xviii. 19, 21), the present Ain Hajla, an hour 
and a quarter to the south-cast of Riha (Jericho), and three-quar- 
ters of an hour from the Jordan (see at Gen. 1. 11, note), — "and 
went over to the north side of Belh-arabah," a town in the desert of 
Judah (ver. 61), afterwards assigned to Benjamin (chap, xviii. 22), 
and called Ha-arabah in chap, xviii. 18, about twenty or thirty 
minutes to the south-west of Ain Hajla, in a " level and barren 
steppe" (Seetzen, E. ii. p. 302), with which the name very well 
agrees (see also Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 268 sqq.). " And the border went 
up to the stone of Bohan, the son of Reuben." The expression 
"went up" shows that the stone of Bohan must have been on 
higher ground, i.e. near the western mountains, though the opposite 
expression " went down " in chap, xviii. 17 shows that it must have 
been by the side of the mountain, and not upon the top. According 
to chap, xviii. 18, 19, the border went over from the stone of 
Bohan in an easterly direction " to the shoulder over against (Beth) 
Arabah northwards, and went down to (Beth) Arabah, and then 
icent over to tlie shoulder of Beth-Iiagla northwards," i.e. on the 
north side of the mountain ridge of Beth-arabah and Beth-hagla. 
This ridge is " the chain of hills or downs which runs from Kasr 
Hajla towards the south to the north side of the Dead Sea, and is 
called Katar Hhadije, i.e. a row of camels harnessed together." — 
Ver. 7. The boundary ascended still farther to Debir from the 
valley of Achor. Debir is no doubt to be sought for by the Wady 
Daber, which runs down from the mountains to the Dead Sea 

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CHAP. XV. 1-12. 153 

to the south of Kasr Hajla, possibly not far from the rocky grotto 
called Choret ed Daber, between the Wady es Sidr and the Khan 
Cliadrur on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, about half-way 
between the two. On the valley of Achor see at chap. vii. 24. 
Then "it turned northwards to Gilgal, opposite to the ascent of 
Adummim south of the brook." Gilgal, which must not be con- 
founded, as it is by Knobel, with the first encampment of tlin 
Israelites in Canaan, viz. the Gilgal between Jericho and the 
Jordan, is called Geliloth in chap, xviii. 17. The situation of this 
place, which is only mentioned again in Judg. iii. 19, and was 
certainly not a town, probably only a village or farm, is defined 
more precisely by the clause " opposite to the ascent of Adummim." 
Maaleh Adummim, which is correctly explained in the Onom. (s. v. 
Adommim) as avafSaav} irvppav, ascensus rufforum, " was formerly 
a small villa, but is now a heap of ruins, which is called even to 
the present day Maledomim — on the road from JElfa to Jericho " 
(Tobler). It is mentioned by ancient travellers as an inn called a 
terra ruff a, i.e. "the red earth;" terra russo, or "the red house." 
By later travellers it is described as a small place named Adomim, 
being still called " the red field, because this is the colour of the 
ground ; with a large square building like a monastery still stand- 
ing there, which was in fact at one time a fortified monastery, 
though it is deserted now" (Arvieux, Merk. Nachr. ii. p. 154). It 
is the present ruin of Kalaat el Dem, to the north of the road from 
Jerusalem to Jericho, or Kalaat ed Domm, near the Khan Chadrur. 
Gilgal, or Geliloth (circle), was probably the " small round valley " 
or "field of Adommim," of which Pococke speaks as being at the 
foot of the hill on which the deserted inn was standing (viz. ed 
Domm ; see Pococke, Reise ins Morgenland, ii. p. 46). The valley 
(nachal, rendered river) to the south of which Gilgal or the ascent 
of Adummim lay, and which was therefore to the north of these 
places, may possibly be the Wady Kelt, or the brook of Jericho in 
the upper part of its course, as we have only to go a quarter or half 
an hour to the east of Khan Chadrur, when a wide and splendid 
prospect opens towards the south across the Wady Kelt as far as 
Taiyibeh ; and according to Van de Velde's map, a brook-valley runs 
in a northerly direction to the Wady Kelt on the north-east of 
Kalaat ed Dem. It is probable, however, that the reference is to 
some other valley, of which there are a great many in the neigh- 
bourhood. The boundary then passed over to the water of En 
Shemesh (sun-fountain), i.e. the present Apostle's Well, Ain el Hodli 

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or Bir el Khot, below Bethany, and on the road to Jericho (Tobler, 
Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 398, 400 ; Van de Velde, Mem. p. 310), 
and then ran out at the fountain of Sogel (the spies), the present 
deep and copious fountain of Job or Nehemiah at the south-east 
corner of Jerusalem, below the junction of the valley of Hinnom 
and the valley of Jehoshaphat or Kedron valley (see Rob. Pal. i. 
p. 491, and Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 50 sqq.). — Ver. 8. It 
then went up into the more elevated valley of Ben-hinnom, on the 
south side of the Jebusite town, i.e. Jerusalem (see at chap. x. 1), 
and still farther up to the top of the mountain which rises on the 
west of the valley of Ben-hinnom, and at the farthest extremity of 
the plain of Rephaim towards the north. The valley of Ben-hin- 
nom, or Bne-hinnom (the son or sons of Hinnom), on the south side 
of Mount Zion, a place which was notorious from the time of Ahaz 
as the seat of the worship of Moloch (2 Kings xxiii. 10 ; 2 Chron. 
xxviii. 3, xxxiii. 6 ; Jer. vii. 31, etc.), is supposed to have derived 
its name from a man who had possessions there, but of whom 
nothing further is known (see Bobinson, Pal. i. pp. 402 sqq.). The 
plain of Rephaim (LXX. yfj 'Paipaelv, in 2 Sam. v. 18, 22, xxiii. 13 
KoCkas t&v TiTavtov), probably named after the gigantic race of 
Rephaim, and mentioned several times in 2 Sam. as a battle-field, is 
on the west of Jerusalem, and is separated from the edge of the 
valley of Ben-hinnom by a small ridge of rock. It runs south- 
wards to Mar Elias, is an hour long, half an hour broad, and was 
very fertile (Isa. xvii. 5) ; in fact, even to the present day it is care- 
fully cultivated (see Rob. Pal. i. p. 323 ; Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. 
ii pp. 401 sqq.). It is bounded on the north by the mountain ridge 
already mentioned, which curves westwards on the left side of the 
road to Jaffa. This mountain ridge, or one of the peaks, is " the 
mountain on the west of the valley of Hinnom," at the northern end 
of the plain referred to. — Ver. 9. From this mountain height the 
boundary turned to the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah, Le., 
according to Van de Velde' 8 Mem. p. 336, the present village of 
Liftah (nun and lamed being interchanged, according to a well- 
known law), an hour to the north-west of Jerusalem, where there 
is a copious spring, called by the name of Samuel, which not only 
supplies large basons, but waters a succession of blooming gardens 
(Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 758 sqq. ; Dieterici, Beisebilder, ii. 
pp. 221-2). It then " went out to the towns of Mount Ephraim," 
which is not mentioned again, but was probably the steep and lofty 
mountain ridge on the west side of the Wady Beit Hanina (Tere- 

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CHAP. XV. 1-12. 155 

binth valley), upon which Kulonia, a place which the road to Joppa 
passes, Kastal on a lofty peak of the mountain, the fortress of 
Milcme, Soba, and other places stand (Seetzen, R. ii. pp. 64, 65; 
Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 158). The boundary then ran to Baala, i.e. 
Kirjaih-jearim, the modern Kureyet el Enab, three hours to the 
north-west of Jerusalem (see at chap. ix. 17). — Ver. 10. From tnis 
point " the boundary (which had hitherto gone in a north-westerly 
direction) turned westwards to Mount Seir, and went out to the 
shoulder northwards (i.e. to the northern side) of Har-jearim, that 
is Chesalon, and went down to Beth-shemesh, and passed over to 
Timnah." Mount Seir is the ridge of rock to the south-west of 
Kureyet el Enab, a lofty ridge composed of rugged peaks, with a 
wild and desolate appearance, upon which Saris and Mishir are 
situated (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 155). Chesalon is the present Kesla 
on the summit of a mountain, an elevated point of the lofty ridge 
between Wady Ghurdb and Ismail, south-west of Kureyet el Enab 
(Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 154). Beth-shemesh (i.e. sun-house), a priests' 
city in the territory of Judah (chap. xxi. 16 ; 1 Chron. vi. 44), is 
the same as Ir-shemesh (chap. xiz. 41), a place on the border of 
Dan, where the ark was deposited by the Philistines (1 Sam. vi. 
9 sqq.), and where Amaziah was slain by Joash (2 Kings xiv. 11, 
12 ; 2 Chron. xxv. 21). It was conquered by the Philistines in the 
time of Ahaz (2 Chron. xxviii. 18). According to the Onom. it 
was ten Roman miles, i.e. four hours, from Eleutheropolis towards 
Nicopolis. It is the present Ain Shems, upon a plateau in a splen- 
did situation, two hours and a half to the south-west of Kesla (Rob. 
Pal. iii. p. 17 ; Bibl. Res. p. 153). Timnah, or Timnatah, belonged 
to Dan (chap. xix. 43) ; and it was thence that Samson fetched his 
wife (Judg. xiv. 1 sqq.). It is the present Tibneh, three-quarters 
of an hour to the west of Ain Shems (Rob. Pal. i. p. 344). — Ver. 
11. Thence "the border went out towards the north-west to the 
shoulder of Ekron (Akir : see at chap. xiii. 3), then bent to Shichron, 
passed over to Mount Baalah, and went out to Jabneel." Shichron 
is possibly Sugheir, an hour to the south-west of Jebna (Knobel). 
But if this is correct, the mountain of Baalah cannot be the short 
range of hills to the west of Akir which runs almost parallel with 
the coast (Rob. Pal. iii. p. 21), as Knobel supposes; but must be a 
mountain on the south side of the Wady Surar, since the boundary 
had already crossed this wady between Ekron and Shichron. 
Jabneel is the, Philistine town of Jabneh, the walls of which were 
demolished by Uzziah (2 Chron. xxvi. 6), a place frequently men- 

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tioned in the books of Maccabees as well as by Josephus under the 
name of Jamnia. It still exists as a good-sized village, under the 
name of Jebnah, upon a small eminence on the western side of 
Nahr Rubin, four hours to the south of Joppa, and an hour and a 
half from the sea (Rob. Pal. iii. p. 22). From Jabneh the boun- 
dary went out to the (Mediterranean) Sea, probably along the 
course of the great valley, i.e. the Nahr Rubin, as Robinson supposes 
(Pal. ii. p. 343). The western boundary was the Great Sea, i.e. 
the Mediterranean. 

Vers. 13-19. The account of the conquest of the inheritance, 
which Caleb asked for and received before the lots were cast for 
the land (chap. xiv. 6-15), by the extermination of the Anakites 
from Hebron, and the capture of the fortified town of Debir, is 
repeated with very slight differences in Judg. i. 10-15, in the 
enumeration of the different conflicts in which the separate tribes 
engaged after the death of Joshua, in order to secure actual pos- 
session of the inheritance which had fallen to them by lot, and is 
neither copied from our book by the author of the book of Judges, 
nor taken from Judges by the author of Joshua ; but both of them 
have drawn it from one common source, upon which the accounts 
of the conquest of Canaan contained in the book of Joshua are gene- 
rally founded. — Vcr. 13. As an introduction to the account of the 
conquest of Hebron and Debir, the fact that they gave Caleb his 
portion among the sons of Judah, namely Hebron, is first of all 
repeated from chap. xiv. 13. 10? impers., they gave, i.e. Joshua 
(chap. xiv. 13). The words " according to the command of Jehovah 
to Joshua" are to be explained from chap. xiv. 9-12, according to 
which Jehovah had promised, in the hearing of Joshua, to give 
Caleb possession of the mountains of Hebron, even when they 
were at Kadesh (chap. xiv. 12). The " father of Anak" is the 
tribe father of the family of Anakites in Hebron, from whom this 
town received the name of Kirjath-arba ; see at Num. xiii. 22 and 
Gen. xxiii. 2. — Ver. 14. Thence, i.e. out of Hebron, Caleb drove 
(yf\, i.e. rooted out : cf. 13?, Judg. i. 10) the three sons of Anak, 
i.e. families of the Anakites, whom the spies that were sent out 
from Kadesh had already found there (Num. xiii. 22). Instead of 
Caleb, we find the sons of Judah (Judaeans) generally mentioned 
in Judg. i. 10 as the persons who drove out the Anakites, according 
to the plan of the history in that book, to describe the conflicts in 
which the several tribes engaged with the Canaanites. But the 
one does not preclude the other. Caleb did not take Hebron as an 

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CHAP. XV. 18-19. 157 

individual, but as the head of a family of Judaeans, and with their 
assistance. Nor is there any discrepancy between this account and 
the fact stated in chap. xi. 21, 22, that Joshua had already con- 
quered Hebron, Debir, and all the towns of that neighbourhood, 
and had driven out the Anakites from the mountains of Judah, 
and forced them back into the towns of the Philistines, as Knolel 
fancies. For that expulsion did not preclude the possibility of the 
Anakites and Canaanites returning to their former abodes, and 
taking possession of the towns again, when the Israelitish army had 
withdrawn and was engaged in the war with the Canaanites of the 
north ; so that when the different tribes were about to settle in the 
towns and districts allotted to them, they were obliged to proceed 
once more to drive out or exterminate the Anakites and Canaanites 
who had forced their way in again (see the remarks on chap. x. 38, 
39, p. 117, note). — Vers. 15, 16. From Hebron Caleb went against 
the inhabitants of Debir, to the south of Hebron. This town, 
which has not yet been discovered (see at chap. x. 38), must have 
been very strong and hard to conquer ; for Caleb offered a prize to 
the conqueror, promising to give his daughter Achzah for a wife 
to any one that should take it, just as Saul afterwards promised to 
give his daughter to the conqueror of Goliath (1 Sam. xvii. 25, xviii. 
17). — Ver. 17. Othniel took the town and received the promised 
prize. Othniel, according to Judg. iii. 9 the first judge of the 
Israelites after Joshua's death, is called 2» ^nx Hi? j3, i.e. either 
"the son of Kenaz (and) brother of Caleb," or " the son of Kenaz 
the brother of Caleb." The second rendering is quite admissible 
(comp. 2 Sam. xiii. 3, 32, with 1 Chron. ii. 13), but the former is 
the more usual ; and for this the Masorites have decided, since they 
have separated achi Caleb from ben-Kenaz by a tiphchah. And this 
is the correct one, as " the son of Kenaz" is equivalent to " the 
Kenizzite" (chap. xiv. 6). According to Judg. i. 13 and iii. 9, 
Othniel was Caleb's younger brother. Caleb gave him his daughter 
for a wife, as marriage with a brother's daughter was not forbidden 
in the law (see my Bibl. Archaol. ii. § 107, note 14). — Vers. 18, 19. 
When Achzah had become his wife (" as she came," i.e. on her 
coming to Othniel, to live with him as wife), she urged him to ask 
her father for a field. " A field :" in Judg. i. 14 we find " the 
field," as the writer had the particular field in his mind. This was 
not " the field belonging to the town of Debir" {Knobet), for 
Othniel had no need to ask for this, as it naturally went with the 
town, bnt a piece of land that could be cultivated, or, as is shown 

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in what follows, one that was not deficient in springs of water. 
What Othniel did is not stated, but only what Achzah did to attain 
her end, possibly because her husband could not make up his mind 
to present the request to her father. She sprang from the ass upon 
which she had ridden when her father brought her to Othniel. TOt, 
which only occurs again in Judg. iv. 21, and in the parallel passage, 
Judg. i. 14, is hardly connected with W2f, to be lowly or humble 
((?«*.) ; the primary meaning is rather that suggested by Fiirst, 
to force one's self, to press away, or further; and hence in this 
case the meaning is, to spring down quickly from the animal she 
had ridden, like ?BJ in Gen. xxiv. 64. Alighting from an animal was 
a special sign of reverence, from which Caleb inferred that his 
daughter had some particular request to make of him, and there- 
fore asked her what she wanted : u What is to thee V or, " What wilt 
thou ?" She then asked him for a blessing (as in 2 Kings v. 15) : 
" for" she added, " thou 'hast given me into barren land" 3M? JH» 
(rendered a south land) is accus. loci; so that negeb is not to be 
taken as a proper name, signifying the southernmost district of 
Canaan (as in ver. 21, etc.), but as an appellative, " the dry or arid 
land," as in Ps. cxxvi. 4. " Give me springs of water" i.e. a piece of 
land with springs of water in it. Caleb then gave her the " upper 
springs and lower springs :" this was the name given to a tract of 
land in which there were springs on both the higher and lower 
ground. It must have been somewhere in the neighbourhood of 
Debir, though, like the town itself, it has not yet been found. — 
Ver. 20 contains the closing formula to vers. 1-19, i.e. to the de- 
scription of the territory of Judah by its boundaries (yid. chap, 
xviii. 20). 

In vers. 21-63 there follows a list of the towns of the tribe of 
Judah, arranged in the four districts into which the land was 
divided, according to the nature of the soil, viz. the south-land 
(negeb), the lowland (shepJielah) on the Mediterranean Sea, the 
mountains, and the desert of Judah. 

Vers. 21-32. The towns in the south land. — Negeb (south-land) 
was the name given to the southernmost district of Canaan in its 
full extent, from the Arabah, at the southern end of the Dead Sea, 
right across to the coast of the Mediterranean, and from the 
southern border of Canaan, as described in vers. 2-4, as far north 
as Wady Sheriah, below Gaza, on the western side, and up to the 
mountains and desert of Judah on the east, stretching across the 
wadys of es Seba, Milh, and EJideib, above which that part of 

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CHAP. XV. 21-25. 159 

Palestine commences where rain is more abundant, and to which, 
as we have already observed at Num. xiii. 17, the Negeb formed a 
kind of intermediate link between the fertile land and the desert. 
It was a line of steppe-land, with certain patches here and there 
that admitted of cultivation, but in which tracts of heath prevailed, 
for the most part covered with grass and bushes, where only grazing 
could be carried on with any success. The term which Eusebius 
and Jerome employ for Negeb in the Onom. is Daromas, but they 
carry it farther northwards than the Negeb of the Old Testament 
(see Reload, Pal. 111. pp. 185 sqq.). The numerous towns mentioned 
in vers. 21-32 as standing in the Negeb, may none of them have 
been large or of any importance. In the list before us we find that, 
as a rule, several names are closely connected together by the copula 
vav, and in this way the whole may be divided into four separate 
groups of towns. 

Vers. 21-23. First group of nine places. — Ver. 21. The towns 
"from," t.e. at " the end of the tribe-territory ofJudah, towards the 
territory of JEdom." Kabzeel : the home of the hero Benaiah (2 Sam. 
xxiii. 20), probably identical with Jekabzeel, which is mentioned in 
Neh. xi. 25 in connection with Dibon, but has not been discovered. 
This also applies to JEder and Jagur. — Ver. 22. Kinah : also un- 
known. Knobel connects it with the town of the Kenites, who 
settled in the domain of Arad, but this is hardly correct ; for with 
the exception of Judg. i. 16, where the Kenites are said to have 
settled in the south of Arad, though not till after the division of the 
land, the Kenites are always found in the western portion of the 
Negeb (1 Sam. xv. 6, xxvii. 10, xxx. 29), whereas Kinah is un- 
questionably to be looked for in the east. Dimonah, probably the 
same as Dibon (Neh. xi. 25) ; possibly the ruins of el Dheib, on the 
south side of the wady of the same name, to the north-east of 
Arad (V. de Velde, Mem. p. 252), although Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 473) 
writes the name Ehdeib. Adadah is quite unknown. — Ver. 23. 
Kedesh, possibly Kadesh-barnea (ver. 3). Hazor might then be 
Hezron, in the neighbourhood of Kadesh-barnea (ver. 3). Ithnan 
is unknown. 

Vers. 24, 25. Second group of five or six places. — Of these, 
Zvph and Telem are not met with again, unless Telem is the same 
as Telaim, where Saul mustered his army to go against the 
Amalekites (1 Sam. xv. 4). Their situation is unknown. There 
was another Zvph upon the mountains (see ver. 55). Knobel sup- 
poses the one mentioned here to be the ruins of Kuseifeh, to the 

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south-west of Arad (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 620). Ziph would then be 
contracted from Ceziph ; but the contraction of Achzib (chap. xix. 
29) into Zib does not present a corresponding analogy, as in that 
case the abbreviated form is the later one, whereas in the case of 
Ziph a lengthening of the name must have taken place by the 
addition of a K. Bealotk, probably the same as the Simeonitish 
Baaloth-beer (chap. xix. 8), which is called Baal simply in 1 Chron. 
iv. 33, and which was also called Ramath-negeb (chap. xix. 8) and 
Ramoth-negeb (1 Sam. xxx. 27). It is not to be identified with 
Baalath, however (chap. xix. 45 ; 1 Kings ix. 18), as V. de Veldt 
supposes (Reise, ii. pp. 151-2). Knobel fancies it may be the 
ridge and place called Kubbet el Baul, between Milh and Kurnub 
(Rob. ii. p. 617) ; but Baul and Baal are very different. Hazor 
Hadatta (Cfiazor ChadatJiaJi), i.e. new Hazor, might be the ruins 
of el Hudhaira on the south of Jebel Khulil (Rob. Appendix). 
Kenoth was supposed by Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 472, and Appendix) 
to be the ruins of el Kuryetein, on the north-east of Arad and at 
the foot of the mountains, and with this V. de Velde agrees. Reland 
(Pal. p. 708) connects the following word Hezron with Kenoth, so 
as to read Kenoth-hezron, i.e. Hezron's towns, also called Hazor. 
This is favoured by the Sept. and Syriac, in which the two words 
are linked together to form one name, and probably by the Chaldee 
as well, also by the absence of the copula vav (and) before Hezron, 
which is not omitted anywhere else throughout this section, except 
at the beginning of the different groups of towns, as, for example, 
before Ziph in ver. 24, and Atnam in ver. 26, and therefore 
ought to stand before Hezron if it is an independent town. The 
Masoretic pointing cannot be regarded as a decisive proof of the 

Vers. 26-28. Third group of nine towns. — Ver. 26. Amam is 
not mentioned again, and is quite unknown. Shetna, which is 
called Sheba in chap. xix. 2, and is mentioned among the towns of 
the Simeonites between Beersheba and Moladah, is supposed by 
Knobel to be the ruins of Sadwe (Sdweh) between Milh and Beer- 
sheba (sec V. de Velde, ii. p. 148). Molada, which was given to the 
Simeonites (chap. xix. 2 ; 1 Chron. iv. 28) and was still inhabited 
by Jews after the captivity (Neh. xi. 26), was the later MdkaSa, 
an Idumsean fortress (Josephus, Ant. xviii. 6, 2), which Eusebius 
and Jerome describe as being twenty Roman miles, i.e. eight hours, 
to the south of Hebron on the road to Aila (Elath). It has been 
identified by Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 621) in the ruins of el Milk, by 

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CHAP. XV. 29-32. 161 

the Wady Malaih or Malahh. — Ver. 27. Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, 
and Beth-palet have not yet been identified. The last of the three 
is mentioned again in Neh. xi. 26, by the side of Molada, as still 
inhabited by Judaeans. — Ver. 28. Hazar-shual, i.e. fox-court, which 
was assigned to the Simeonites (chap. xix. 3) and still inhabited 
after the captivity (Neh. xi. 27), answers, so far as the name is 
concerned, to the ruins of Thdly (Rob. Pal. iii. App.). Beersheba, 
which was a well-known place in connection with the history of 
the patriarchs (Gen. xxi. 14 sqq., xxii. 19, etc.), and is frequently 
mentioned afterwards as the southern boundary of the land of 
Israel (Judg. xx. 1 ; 2 Sam. xvii. 11, etc.), was also given up to 
the Simeonites (chap. xix. 2), and still inhabited after the captivity 
(Neh. xi. 27). It is the present Bir es Seba on the Wady es Seba 
(see at Gen. xxi. 31). Bizjothjah is unknown. 

Vers. 29-32. The four groups of thirteen towns in the western 
portion of the Negeb. — Ver. 29. Baalah, which was assigned to 
the Simeonites, is called Balah in chap. xix. 3, and Bilhah in 1 
Chron. iv. 29. Knobel identifies it with the present Deir Belah, 
some hours to the south-west of Gaza (Bob. iii. App. ; Bitter, Erdk. 
xvi. pp. 41, 42) ; but it cannot have been so far to the west, or so 
near the coast as this. Iim (or Iwim, according to the Aveifi of 
the LXX.) is probably the ruins of Beit-auwa (Bob. iii. App.). 
Azem, which was also given up to the Simeonites (chap. xix. 3; 1 
Chron. iv. 29), is supposed by Knobel to be Eboda, the present 
Abdeh, eight hours to the south of Elusa, a considerable mass of 
ruins on a ridge of rock (Bob. i. p. 287), because the name signifies 
firmness or strength, which is also the meaning of the Arabic name 
— a very precarious reason. — Ver. 30. Eltolad, which was given to 
the Simeonites (chap. xix. 4), and is called Tolad (without the 
Arabic article) in 1 Chron. iv. 29, has not been discovered. 
Chesil, for which the LXX. have Bat0rj\, is probably, as Beland 
supposes, simply another name, or as Knobel suggests a corrupt 
reading, for Bethul or Bethuel, which is mentioned in chap. xix. 4 
and 1 Chron. iv. 30, between Eltolad and Hormah, as a town of 
the Simeonites, and the same place as Beth-el in 1 Sam. xxx. 27. 
As this name points to the seat of some ancient sanctuary, and 
there was an idol called Khalasa worshipped by the Arabs before 
the time of Mahomet, and also because Jerome observes (rite Hilar. 
c. 25) that there was a temple of Venus at Elusa, in which the 
Saracens worshipped Lucifer (see 7\ich, Deutsch. Morgenl. Ztschr. 
iii. pp. 194 sqq.), Knobel supposes Bethul (Chesil) to be Elusa, a 

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considerable collection of ruins five hours and a half to the south 
of Beersheba (see Rob. i. p. 296) : assuming first of all that the 
name el Khulasa, as the Arabs called this place, was derived from 
the Mahometan idol already referred to; and secondly, that the 
Saracen Lucifer mentioned by Jerome was the very same idol whose 
image and temple Janhari and call el Khalasa. Hormah : 
i.e. Zephoth, the present Sepata (see at chap. xii. 14). Ziklag, which 
was assigned to the Simeonites (chap. xix. 5 ; 1 Chron. iv. 30), burnt 
down by the Amalekites (1 Sam. xxx. 1 sqq.), and still inhabited 
after the captivity (Neh. xi. 28), is supposed by Rowland to be the 
ancient place called Asluj or Kasluj, a few hours to the east of 
Zepata, with which Knobel, however, in a most remarkable manner, 
identifies the Asluj to the south-west of Milh on the road to Abdeh, 
which is more than thirty-five miles distant (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 
621). Both places are too far to the south and east to suit Ziklag, 
which is to be sought for much farther west. So far as the situa- 
tion is concerned, the ruins of Tell Sheriah or Tell Mellala, one of 
which is supposed by V. de Velde to contain the relics of Ziklag, 
would suit much better ; or even, as Ritter supposes (Erdk. xvi. pp. 
132-3), Tell el Hasy, which is half an hour to the south-west of 
Ajlan, and in which Felix Fabri found the ruins of a castle and 
of an ancient town, in fact of the ancient Ziklag, though Robinson 
(i. pp. 389 sqq.) could discover nothing that indicated in any way 
the existence of a town or building of any kind. Madmannah and 
Sansannah cannot be traced with any certainty. Madmannah, 
which is confounded in the Onom. (a. v. Medemena) with Madmena, 
a place to the north of Jerusalem mentioned in Isa. x. 31, though 
elsewhere it is correctly described as Menois oppidum juxta civitatem 
Gazam, has probably been preserved in the present Miniay or 
Minieh, to the south of Gaza. Sansannah, Knobel compares with 
the Wady Suni, mentioned by Robinson (i. p. 299), to the south of 
Gaza, which possibly received its name from some town in the 
neighbourhood. But in the place of them we find Beth-mareaboth 
{i.e. carriage-house) and Hazar-susa (i.e. horse-court) mentioned in 
chap. xix. 5 and 1 Chron. iv. 31 among the towns of the Simeon- 
ites, which Reland very properly regards as the same as Mad- 
mannah and Sansannah, since it is very evident from the meaning 
of the former names that they were simply secondary names, which 
were given to them as stations for carriages and horses. — Ver. 32. 
Lebaoth, one of the Simeonite towns, called Beth-lebaoth (Le. 
lion-house) in chap. xix. 6, and Beth-birei in 1 Chron. iv. 31, has 

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CHAP. XV. 2»-82. 163 

not been discovered yet. ShUchim, called Sharuchen in chap. xix. 
6, and Shaaraim in 1 Cbron. iv. 31, may possibly have been pre- 
served in Tell Sheriah, almost half-way between Gaza and Beer- 
sheba (V. de Velde, ii. p. 154). Ain and Rimmon are given as 
Simeonite towns, and being written without the copula, are treated 
as one name in chap. xix. 7 and 1 Chron. iv. 32, although they are 
reckoned as two separate towns in chap. xix. 7. But as they were 
also called En Rimmon after the captivity, and are given as one 
single place in Neh. xi. 29, they were probably so close together 
that in the course of time they grew into one. Rimmon, which is 
mentioned in Zech. xiv. 10 as the southern boundary of Judah, 
probably the Eremmon of the Onom. (" a very large village of the 
Judseans, sixteen miles to the south of Eleutheropolis in Daroma"), 
was probably the present ruin called Um er Rummanim, four hours 
to the north of Beersheba (Rob. iii. p. 8). Not more than thirty 
or thirty-five minutes distant from this, between Tell KJmweilifeh 
(Rob. iii. p. 8) or Cliewelfeh ( Velde) and Tell Hhora, you find 
a large old but half-destroyed well, the large stones of which seem 
to belong to a very early period of the Israelitish history (V. de 
Velde, ii. p. 153). This was mentioned as a very important drink- 
ing-place even in the lifetime of Saladin, whilst to the present day 
the Tiyalah Arabs water their flocks there (see Rob. iii. p. 8). To 
all appearance this was Ain (see V. de Velde, Mem. p. 344). " All 
the cities were twenty and nine, and their villages." This does not 
agree with the number of towns mentioned by name, which is not 
twenty-nine, but thirty-six ; so that the number twenty-nine is 
probably an error of the text of old standing, which has arisen 
from a copyist confounding together different numeral letters that 
resembled one another. 1 

1 Some commentators and critics explain this difference on the supposition 
that originally the list contained a smaller number of names (only twenty- 
nine), but that it was afterwards enlarged by the addition of several other 
places by a different hand, whilst the number of the whole was left just as it 
was before. But such a conjecture presupposes greater thoughtlessness on the 
part of the editor than we have any right to attribute to the author of our 
book. If the author himself made these additions to his original sources, as 
Hdvernick supposes, or the Jehovist completed the author's list from his second 
document, as Knobel imagines, either the one or the other would certainly have 
altered the sum of the whole, as he hag not proceeded in so thoughtless a 
manner in any other case. The only way in which this conjecture could be 
defended, would be by supposing, as J. D. Michadis and others have done, that 
the names added were originally placed in the margin, and that these mar- 
ginal glosses were afterwards interpolated by some thoughtless copyist into the 

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Vers. 33-47. Towns in the lowland or shephelah. — The lowland 
(sheplielali), which is generally rendered y TeBnij in the Sept., 
rarely to TreStw (Deut. i. 7), but which is transferred as a proper 
name y Xetjyrpui in Obad. 19, Jer. xxxii. 44, xxxiii. 13, as well as 
in 1 Mace. xii. 38, where even Luther has Sephela, is the name 
given to the land between the mountains of Judah and the Medi- 
terranean Sea, — a broad plain of undulating appearance, intersected 
by heights and low ranges of hills, with fertile soil, in which corn 
fields alternate with meadows, gardens, and extensive olive groves. 
It is still tolerably well cultivated, and is covered with villages, 
which are situated for the most part upon the different hills. 
Towards the south, the shephelah was bounded by the Negeb 
(ver. 21) ; on the north, it reached to Ramleh and Lydda, or Dios- 
polis, where the plain of Sharon began, — a plain which extended 
as far as Carmel, and was renowned for the beauty of its flowers. 
Towards the east the hills multiply and shape themselves into a hilly 
landscape, which forms the intermediate link between the moun- 
tains and the plain, and which is distinguished from the shephelalt 
itself, in chap. x. 40 and xii. 8, under the name of Ashedoth, or 
slopes, whereas here it is reckoned as forming part of the shephelah. 
This hilly tract is more thickly studded with villages than even the 
actual plain. (See Rob. Pal. ii. p. 363, and iii. p. 29.) The towns 
in the shephelah are divided into four groups. 

Vers. 33-36. The first group contains the towns in the northern 
part of the hilly region or slopes, which are reckoned as forming 
part of the lowland : in all, fourteen towns. The most northerly 
part of this district was given up to the tribe of Dan on the second 
division (chap. xix. 41 sqq.). Eshtaol and Zoreah, which were 
assigned to the tribe of Dan (chap. xix. 41), and were partly in- 

text. Bat this conjecture is also rendered improbable by the circumstance that, 
in the lists of towns contained in our book, not only do other differences of the 
same kind occur, as in ver. 36, •where we find only fourteen instead of fifteen, 
and in chap. xix. 6, where only thirteen are given instead of fourteen, but also 
differences of the very opposite kind, — namely, where the gross sum given is 
larger than the number of names, as, for example, in chap. xix. 15, where only 
five names are given instead of twelve, and in chap. xix. 88, where only sixteen 
are given instead of nineteen, and where it can be shown that there are gaps in 
the text, as towns are omitted which the tribes actually received and ceded to 
the Levites. If we add to this the fact that there are two large gaps in our 
Masoretic text in chap. xv. 59, 60, and xxi. 35, which proceed from copyists, 
amd also that many errors occur in the numbers given in other historical books 
of the Old Testament, we are not warranted in tracing the differences in ques- 
tion to any other cause than errors in the text. 

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CHAP. XV. 33-36. 165 

habited by Danites (Judg. xiii. 25, xviii. 2, 8, 11) and partly by 
families of Judah, who had gone out from Kirjath-jearim (1 Chron. 
ii. 53, iv. 2), probably after the removal of the 600 Danites to 
Laish-Dan (chap. xix. 47 ; Judg. xviii.), were situated, according 
to the Onom. (s. v. Esthaul and Saara), ten Roman miles to the 
north of Eleutheropolis, on the road to Nicopolis. Zoreah, the home 
of Samson, who was buried between Zoreah and Eshtaol (Judg. 
xiii. 2, xvi. 31), was fortified by Rehoboam, and still inhabited by 
Judseans after the captivity (2 Chron. xi. 10 ; Neh. xi. 29) ; it has 
been preserved in the ruins of Surd, at the south-western end of 
the mountain range which bounds the Wady es Surar on the north 
{Rob. ii. p. 341, and Bibl. Res. p. 153). Eshtaol has probably 
been preserved in Um Eshteiyeh, to the south-west (Rob. ii. p. 342). 
Ashnah is possibly to be read Ashvah, according to the LXX., Cod. 
Vat. (^Aaoa). In that case it might resemble a town on the east 
of Zorea (Tobler, p. 180), as Knobel supposes. — Ver. 34. Zanoah 
was still inhabited by Judaeans after the captivity (Neh. xi. 30, 
iii. 13), and is the present Zanua, not far from Zoreah, towards the 
east (see Rob. ii. p. 343). Engannim and Tappuah are still unknown. 
Enam, the same as Enaim (Gen. xxxviii. 14 : rendered " an open 
place"), on the road from Adullam to Timnah on the mountains 
(ver. 57), has not yet been discovered. — Ver. 35. Jarmuth, i.e. 
Jarmuk; see chap. x. 3. Adullam has not yet been discovered with 
certainty (see at chap. xii. 15). Soeoh, which was fortified by 
Rehoboam, and taken by the Philistines in the reign of Ahaz 
(2 Chron. xi. 7, xxviii. 18), is the present Shuweikeh by the Wady 
Sumt, half an hour to the south-west of Jarmuk, three hours and a 
half to the south-west of Jerusalem (see Rob. ii. pp. 343, 349). 
The Onom. (s. v. Socoh) mentions two viculi named Soclioth, one 
upon the mountain, the other in the plain, nine Roman miles from 
Eleutheropolis on the road to Jerusalem. On Azekah, see at chap. 
x. 10. — Ver. 36. Sharaim, which was on the west of Socoh and 
Azekah, according to 1 Sam. xvii. 52, and is called Haicapifi or 
Sapyapel/j. in the Sept., is probably to be sought for in the present 
Tell Zakariya and the village of Kefr Zakariya opposite, between 
which there is the broad deep valley called Wady Sumt, which is 
only twenty minutes in breadth (Rob. ii. p. 350). This is the more 
probable as the Hebrew name is a dual. Adithaim is unknown. 
Gederah is possibly the same as the Gederoth which was taken by 
the Philistines in the time of Ahaz (2 Chron. xxviii. 18), and the 
Gedrus of the Onom. (s. v. Gadur, or Gahedur), ten Roman miles 

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to the south of Diospolis, on the road to Eleutheropolis, as the 
Gederoth in ver. 41 was in the actual plain, and therefore did not 
stand between Diospolis and Eleutheropolis. Gederothaim is sup- 
posed by Winer, Knobel, and others, to be an ancient gloss. This 
is possible no doubt, but it is not certain, as neither the omission of 
the name from the Sept., nor the circumstance that the full number 
of towns is given as fourteen, and that this is not the number 
obtained if we reckon Gederothaim, can be adduced as a decisive 
proof, since this difference may have arisen in the same manner as 
the similar discrepancy in ver. 32. 

Vers. 37-41. The second group, containing the towns of the 
actual plain in its full extent from north to south, between the hilly 
region and the line of coast held by the Philistines : sixteen towns 
in all. — Ver. 37. Zenan, probably the same as Zaanan (Micah i. 11), 
is supposed by Knobel to be the ruins of Chirbet-es-Senat, a short 
distance to the north of Beit-jibrin (Tobler, Dritte Wand. p. 124). 
Hadashah, according to the Misknah Erub. v. vi. the smallest place 
in Judah, containing only fifty houses, is unknown, and a different 
place from the Adasa of 1 Mace. vii. 40, 45, and Joseph. Ant. xii. 
10, 5, as this was to the north of Jerusalem (Onom.). — Migdal-gad 
is unknown. Knobel supposes it to be the small hill called Jedeideh, 
with ruins upon it, towards the north of Beit-jibrin {V. de Velde, 
K. ii. pp. 162, 188). — Ver. 38. DiUan is unknown ; for Bet Dula, 
three full hours to the east of Beit-jibrin, with some relics of anti- 
quity {Tobler, pp. 150-1), with which Knobel identifies it, is upon 
the mountains and not in the plain. Mizpeh, i.e. specula, a different 
place from the Mizpeh of Benjamin (chap, xviii. 26), was on the 
north of Eleutheropolis, according to the Onom. (s. v. Maspha), 
and therefore may possibly be the castle Alba Specula, or Alba 
Custodia of the middle ages, the present Tell es Saphieh, in the 
middle of the plain and upon the top of a lofty hill, from which 
there is an extensive prospect in all directions (see Rob. ii. p. 363). 
Joktheel has possibly been preserved in the ruins of Keitulaneh 
(Rob. Pal. iii. App.), which are said to lie in that neighbourhood. — 
Ver. 39. Laehish, i.e. Um Lakis (see at chap. x. 3). Bozkaih is 
unknown : according to Knobel, it may possibly be the ruins of 
Tubakah, on the south of Um Lakis and Ajlan (Rob. ii. pp. 388, 
648). Eglon, i.e. Ajlan; see at chap. x. 3. — Ver. 40. Cabbon, 
probably the heap of ruins called Kubeibeh or Kebeibeh, " which 
must at some time or other have been a strong fortification, and 
have formed the key to the central mountains of Judah" (V. de 

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CHAP. XV. 42-44. 167 

Velde, R. ii. p. 156), and which he to the south of Beit-jibrin, and 
two hours and a half to the east of Ajlan (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 394). 
Lachmas : according to Knobel a corruption of Lachmam, which it> 
the reading given in many mss. and editions, whilst the Vulgate 
has Lelteman, and Luther (and the Eng. Ver.) Lahmam. Knobel 
connects it with the ruins of el Lahem to the south of Beit-jibrin 
(Tobler). Kit/dish (Chitlii) is unknown, unless it is to be found 
in Tell Ckilchis, to the 8.8.E. of Beit-jibrin (V. de Velde, R. ii. 
p. 157). — Ver. 41. Gederoth, Beth-dagon, and Naamah have not 
yet been traced. The village mentioned in the Onom. (s. v. Beth- 
dagon) as grandis vicus Capher-dagon, and said to lie between 
Diospolis and Jamnia, the present Beit-dejan (Rob. iii. p. 30), was 
far beyond the northern boundary of the tribe of Judah. Mah- 
hdah ; see at chap. x. 10. 

Vers. 42-44. The third group, consisting of the towns in the 
southern half of the hilly region : nine towns. — Ver. 42. Libnah : 
see at chap. x. 29. Ether and Aslian, which were afterwards given 
to the Simeonites (chap. xix. 7), and are probably to be sought for 
on the border of the Negeb, have not yet been discovered. The 
conjecture that Ether is connected with the ruins of Attdrah (Rob. 
iii. App.) in the province of Gaza, is a very uncertain one. Ashan, 
probably the same as Kor-ashan (1 Sam. xxx. 30), became a priests' 
city afterwards (1 Chron. vi. 44 ; see at chap. xxi. 16). — Ver. 43. 
Jiphtah, A.$hnah, and Nezib have not yet been traced. Beit-riesib, 
to the east of Beit-jibrin on the Wady Sur (Rob. ii. p. 344, and iii. 
p. 13), the Neesib of the Onom., seven Roman miles to the east of 
Eleutheropolis, does not suit this group so far as its situation is 
concerned, as it lies within the limits of the first group. — Ver. 44. 
Keilah, which is mentioned in the history of David (1 Sam. xxiii.), 
and then again after the captivity (Neh. iii. 17), is neither the 
KeeiXd, Ceila of the Onom., on the east of Eleutheropolis, the present 
Kila (Tobler, Dritte Wand. p. 151), which lies upon the mountains 
of Judah ; nor is it to be found, as Knobel supposes, in the ruins of 
Jugaleh (Rob. iii. App.), as they lie to the south of the mountains 
of Hebron, whereas Keilah is to be sought for in the shephelah, or 
at all events to the west or south-west of the mountains of Hebron. 
Acheib (Micah i. 14), the same as Chesib (Gen. xxxviii. 5), has 
been preserved in the ruins at Kus&abeh, a place with a fountain 
{Rob. ii. p. 391), i.e. the fountain of Kes&ba, about five hours south 
by west from Beit-jibrin. Mareshah, which was fortified by Reho- 
boam (2 Chron. xi. 8 ; cf. Micah i. 15), and was the place where 

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Asa defeated Zerah the Ethiopian (2 Chron. xiv. 9), the home of 
Eliezer (2 Chron. xx. 37), and afterwards the important town of 
Marissa (see v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 211-12), was between Hebron and 
Ashdod, since Judas Maccabasus is represented in 1 Mace. v. 65-68 
(where the reading should be MapUraav instead of Ha/uipeiap, 
according to Joseph. Ant. xii. 8, 6) as going from Hebron through 
Marissa into the land of the Philistines, and turning to Ashdod. 
According to the Onom. (s. v. MareshaK), it was lying in ruins in 
the time of Eusebius, and was about two Roman miles from Eleu- 
theropolis, — a description which applies exactly to the ruins of 
Maresh, twenty-four minutes to the seuth of Beit-jibrin, which 
Robinson supposes for this reason to be Maresa (Rob. ii. p. 422), 
whereas Knobel finds it in Beit-mirsim, a place four hours to the 
south of Beit-jibrin. 1 

Vers. 45-47. The fourth group, consisting of the towns of the 
Philistine line of coast, the northern part of which was afterwards 
given up to the tribe of Dan (chap. xix. 43), but which remained 
almost entirely in the hands of the Philistines (see at chap. xiii. 3).* 
— Ver. 45. Ekron, i.e. Akir (see chap. xiii. 3). " Her daughters" 
are the other towns of the principality of Ekron that were dependent 
upon the capital, and D^rt the villages and farms. — Ver. 46. Judah 
was also to receive "from Ekron westwards all that lay on the side of 
Ashdod and tlteir (i.e. Ekron's and Ashdod' s) villages." The different 
places in this district are not given, because Judah never actually 
obtained possession of them. — Ver. 47. Ashdod, now Esdud, and 
Gaza, now Ghuzzeh : see at chap. xiii. 3. Also " the daughter towns 

1 Knobel founds his opinion partly upon 2 Chron. xiv. 9, according to which 
Mareshah was in the valley of Zephatah, which is the bason-like plain at Mirsim, 
and partly upon the fact that the Onom. also places Moraste on the east (south- 
east) of Eleutheropolis ; and Jerome (ad Mich. i. 1) describes Morasthi as haud 
grandem viculum juxta Eleutheropolin, and as sepulcrum quondam Michese pro- 
phetse nunc ecclesiam (ep. 108 ad Eustoch. § 14) ; and this ecclesia is in all 
probability the ruins of a church called Santa Hanneh, twenty minutes to the 
south-east of Beit-jibrin, and only ten minutes to the east of Marash, which 
makes the assumption a very natural one, that the Maresa and Morasthi of the 
fathers are only different parts of the same place, viz. of Moreseth-gath, the home 
of Micah (Micah i. 1, 14 ; Jer. xxvi. 18). But neither of these is decisive. The 
valley of Zephatah might be the large open plain which Robinson mentions 
(ii. p. 855) near Beit-jibrin ; and the conjecture that Morasthi, which Euseb. 
and Jer. place Tpif eii/eero^tif, contra orientem Eleutheropoleos, is preserved in 
the ruins which lie in a straight line towards the south from Beit-jibrin, and 
are called Marash, has not much probability in it. 

3 There is no force in the reasons adduced by Ewald, Bertheau, and Knobel, 

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CHAP. XV. 48-60. 169 

and villages, unto the brook of Egypt (Wady el Arish : see ver. 4), 
and the great sea with its territory" i.e. the tract of land lying 
between Gaza and the coast of the Mediterranean. Gath and 
Askalon are not mentioned, because they are both of them included 
in the boundaries named. Askalon wa3 between Ashdod and Gaza, 
by the sea-coast (see at chap. xiii. 3), and Gath on the east of Ekron 
and Ashdod (see chap. xiii. 3), so that, as a matter of course, it was 
assigned to Judah. 

Vers. 48-60. The towns on the mountains are divided into five, 
or more correctly, into six groups. The mountains of Judah, which 
rise precipitously from the Negeb, between the hilly district on the 
west, which is reckoned as part of the shephelah, and the desert of 
Judah, extending to the Dead Sea on the east (ver. 61), attain the 
height of 3000 feet above the level of the sea, in the neighbourhood 
of Hebron, and run northwards to the broad wady of Beit-hanina, 
above Jerusalem. They are a large rugged range of limestone moun- 
tains, with many barren and naked peaks, whilst the sides are for 
the most part covered with grass, shrubs, bushes, and trees, and the 
whole range is intersected by many very fruitful valleys. Josephus 
describes it as abounding in corn, fruit, and wine; and to the 
present day it contains many orchards, olive grounds, and vine- 
yards, rising in terraces up the sides of the mountains, whilst the 
valleys and lower grounds yield plentiful harvests of wheat, millet, 
and other kinds of corn. In ancient times, therefore, the whole of 
this district was thickly covered with towns (see Rob. ii. pp. 185, 
191-2, and C. v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 45 sqq.). 

for regarding these verses as spurious, or as a later interpolation from a different 
source. For the statement, that the " Elohist" merely mentions those towns 
of which the Hebrews had taken possession, and which they held either par- 
tially or wholly in his own day, and also that his list of the places belonging to 
Judah in the shephelah never goes near the sea, are assertions without the least 
foundation, which are proved to be erroneous by the simple fact, that according 
to the express statement in ver. 12, the Mediterranean Sea formed the western 
boundary of the tribe of Judah ; and according to chap. xiii. 6, Joshua was to 
distribute by lot even those parts of Canaan which had not yet been conquered. 
The difference, however, which actually exists between the verses before us and 
the other groups of towns, namely, that in this case the " towns" (or daughters) 
are mentioned as well as the villages, and that the towns are not summed up at 
the end, may be sufficiently explained from the facte themselves, namely, from 
the circumstance that the Philistine cities mentioned were capitals of small 
principalities, which embraced not only villages, but also small towns, and for 
that very reason did not form connected groups, like the towns of the other 

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Vers. 48-51. The first group consists of eleven towns on the 
south-west of the mountains. — Ver. 48. Shamir has probably been 
preserved in the ruins of Um Shaumerah, mentioned by Robinson 
(iii. App.), though the situation of these rains has not yet been pre- 
cisely determined. Jattir, which was given up to the priests (chap, 
xxi. 14), and is mentioned again in 1 Sam. xxx. 27, is described in 
the Onom. (s. v. Jether) as a large place inhabited by Christians, 
twenty miles from Eleutheropolis, in interiori Daroma juxta Mala- 
than, — a description which suits the ruins of Attir, in the southern 
portion of the mountains (see Rob. ii. p. 194 ; called Ater by Seetzen, 
R. iii. p. 6). Soeoh, two hours N.w. of this, the present Shuweikeh 
(Rob. ii. p. 194), called Suiche by Seetzen (R. iii. p. 29), a village 
about four hours from Hebron. — Ver. 49. Dannah {Sept., Syr., 
Renna) is unknown. Knobel imagines that Dannah should be 
Danah, for Deanah, plur. Deanoth, which would then be suggestive 
of Zanute, the last inhabited place upon the mountains, five hours 
from Hebron, between Shuweikeh and Attir (see Sob. ii. p. 626 ; 
Seetzen, iii. pp. 27, 29). Kirjath-sannah, or Debir, has not been 
traced (see at chap. x. 38). — Ver. 50. Anab, on the north-east of 
Socoh (see at chap. xi. 21). Eshtemoh, or Eshtemoa, which was 
ceded to the priests (chap. xxi. 14 ; 1 Chron. vi. 42), and is men- 
tioned again in 1 Sam. xxx. 28, 1 Chron. iv. 17, 19, is the present 
Semua, an inhabited village, with remains of walls, and a castle of 
ancient date, on the east of Socoh (Rob. ii. pp. 194, 626 ; Seetzen, 
iii. 28 ; and v. Schubert, R. ii. p. 458). Anim, contracted, accord- 
ing to the probable conjecture of Wilson, from Ayanim (fountains), 
a place still preserved in the ruins of the village of el Ghuwein, on 
the south of Semua, though Robinson erroneously connects it with Ain 
(ver. 32 : see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 626).— Ver. 51. Goshen, Holon, and 
Giloh, are still unknown. On Goslieti, see at chap. x. 41. Holon was 
given up to the priests (chap. xxi. 15 ; 1 Chron. vi. 43) ; and Giloh 
is mentioned in 2 Sam. xv. 12 as the birth-place of Ahithophel. 

Vers. 52-54. The second group of nine towns, to the north of 
the former, in the country round Hebron. — Ver. 52. Arab is still 
unknown ; for we cannot connect it, as Knobel does, with the ruins 
of Husn el Ghurab in the neighbourhood of Semua (Rob. i. p. 312), 
as these ruins lie within the former group of towns. Duma, accord- 
ing to Eusebius the largest place in the Daromas in his time, and 
seventeen miles from Eleutheropolis, is probably the rained village 
of Daumeh, by the Wady Dilbeh (Rob. i. p. 314), which is fourteen 
miles in a straight line to the south-east of Eleutheropolis according 

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CHAP. XV. 65-57. 171 

to the map. Et?an (Eshean) can hardly be identified with Asar. 
(1 Chron. iv. 32), as Van de Velde supposes, but is more likely Kor- 
atan (1 Sam. xxx. 30). In that case we might connect it with the 
rains of Khursah, on the north-west of Daumeh, two hours and a 
half to the south-west of Hebron (Rob. iii. p. 5). As the Septua- 
gint reading is Xo/id, Knobel conjectures that Eshean is a corrupt 
reading for Shema (1 Chron. ii. 43), and connects it with the ruins 
of Simia, on the south of Daumeh (Seeteen, iii. 28, and Rob. iii. App.). 
— Ver. 53. Janum is still unknown. Beth-tappuah has been pre- 
served in the village of Teffuh, about two hours to the west of 
Hebron (Rob. ii. p. 428). Apheka has not been discovered. — Ver. 54. 
Hwntah is also unknown. Kirjath-arba, or Hebron : see at chap, 
x. 3. Zior has also not been traced ; though, " so far as the name 
is concerned, it might have been preserved in the heights of Tugra, 
near to Hebron" (Knobel). 

Vers. 55-57. The third group of ten towns, to the east of both 
the former groups, towards the desert. — Ver. 55. Maon, the home 
of Nabal (1 Sam. xxv. 2), on the border of the desert of Judah, 
which is here called the desert of Maon (1 Sam. xxiii. 25), has been 
preserved in Tell Main, on a conical mountain commanding an exten- 
sive prospect, east by north of Semua, three hours and three-quarters 
to the 8.S.E. of Hebron (Rob. ii. p. 193). Camel, a town and 
mountain mentioned in the history of David, and again in the time 
of Uzziah (1 Sam. xv. 12, xxv. 2 sqq. ; 2 Chron. xxvi. 10). In 
the time of the Romans it was a large place, with a Soman garrison 
(Onom.), and is the present Kurmul, on the north-west of Maon, 
where there are considerable ruins of a very ancient date (Rob. ii. 
pp. 196 sqq.). Ziph, in the desert of that name, to which David 
fled from Saul (1 Sam. xxiii. 14 sqq., xxvi. 2, 3), was fortified by 
Behoboam (2 Chron. xi. 8), and has been preserved in the ruins 
upon the hill Ziph, an hour and three-quarters to the south-east of 
Hebron (Rob. ii. p. 191). Juttah, which was assigned to the priests 
(chap. xxi. 16), and was a view praegrandis Judceorum in the time 
of the fathers (Onom. t. v. Jethari), was eighteen Roman miles to 
the south (south-east) of Eleutheropolis, and is the present Jutta or 
Jitta, a large Mahometan place with ruins, an hour and three- 
quarters to the south of Hebron (Seetzen, iii. p. 8 ; Rob. ii. pp. 191, 
628). — Ver. 56. Jezreel, the home of Ahinoam (1 Sam. xxv. 43, 
xxvii. 3, etc.), a different place from the Jezreel in the plain of 
Esdraelon, has not yet been discovered. This also applies to Job- 
deam and Zanoah, which are only met with here. — Ver. 57. Cain 

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(Hakkairi) is possibly the same as Jukin, on the south-east of Hebron 
(Rob. ii. p. 449). Gibeah cannot be the Gabatha near Bethlehem, 
mentioned in the Onom. (s. v. Gabathon), or the Gibea mentioned 
by Robinson (ii. p. 327), i.e. the village of Jeba, on a hill in the 
Wady el Musurr, as this does not come within the limits of the 
present group ; it must rather be one of the two places (Gebaa and 
Gebathd) described as viculi contra orientalem plagam Daromce, 
though their situation has not yet been discovered. Tlmnah, pro- 
bably the place already mentioned in Gen. xxxviii. 12 sqq., has not 
been discovered. 

Vers. 58, 59. The fourth group of six towns, on the north of 
Hebron or of the last two groups. — Halhul, according to the Onom. 
(s. v. Elul) a place near Hebron named Alula, has been preserved 
in the ruins of HaUiul, an hour and a half to the north of Hebron 
(Rob. i. p. 319, ii. p. 186, and Bibl. Ees. p. 281). BetJi-zur, 
which was fortified by Rchoboam (2 Chron. xi. 7), and is frequently 
mentioned in the time of the Maccabees as a border defence against 
the Idumaeans (1 Mace. iv. 29, 61, etc.), was twenty (? fifteen) 
Roman miles from Jerusalem, according to the Onom. (s. v. Beth- 
zur), on the road to Hebron. It is the present heap of ruins called 
Beit-zur on the north-west of Halhul (Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 276-7 ; 
Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 236, 267-8). Gedor, the ruins of Jedur, an 
hour and a half to the north-west (Rob. ii. p. 338 ; Bibl. Res. 
pp. 282-3). — Ver. 59. Maarath and Eltekon have not yet been dis- 
covered. Beth-anoth (probably a contraction of Beth-ayanoth) has 
been discovered by Wolcott in the ruins of Beit-anum, on the east 
of Halhul (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 279 ; cf. Pal. ii. p. 186). 

Between vers. 59 and 60, the fifth group of towns given in the 
Septuagint is wanting in the Masoretic text. This group lay to 
the north of the fourth, and reached as far as Jerusalem. It com- 
prised a district in which even now there are at least fifteen places 
and ruins, so that we have not an arbitrary interpolation made by 
the LXX., as Jerome assumed, but rather a gap in the Hebrew 
text, arising from the fact that an ancient copyist passed by mistake 
from the word t!? , '?.V l 7! in ver. 59 to the same word at the close of 
the missing section. In the Alexandrian version the section reads 
as follows in Cod. Al. and Vat. : 8etca> ical 'Ecppadd, avrrj earl 
BaidXee/M, ical $aytop ical Alrav ical KovKov ical Tarap, ical O to fins 
(Cod. A I. %<opi)<;) ical Kapep, ical TaXep. ical Qeffijp (Cod. Al. 
BatOfjp) Kal Mavo%tb, TroAet? evoe/ca ical al K&pai airr&v. — Theko, 
the well-known Tekoah, the home of the wise woman and of the 

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CHAP. XV. 60. 173 

prophet Amos (2 Sam. xiv. 2 ; Amos i. 1), was fortified by Reho- 
boam, and still inhabited after the captivity (2 Chron. xi. 6 ; Neb. 
iii. 5, 27). It is the present Tehua, on the top of a mountain covered 
with ancient ruins, two hours to the south of Bethlehem (Rob. ii. 
pp. 181-184 ; Toiler, Denkbl. aus Jerus. pp. 682 sqq.). Ephratah, 
i.e. Bethleliem, the family seat of the house of David (Ruth i. 1, 
iv. 11 ; 1 Sam. xvi. 4, xvii. 12 sqq. ; Micah v. 2), was fortified by 
Rehoboam (2 Chron. xi. 6), and is a place frequently mentioned. 
It was the birth-place of Christ (Matt. ii. 1 sqq. ; Luke ii. 4), and 
still exists under the ancient name of Beit-lahm, two hours to the 
south of Jerusalem (Seeteen, ii. pp. 37 sqq. ; Mob. ii. pp. 159 sqq. ; 
Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 464 sqq.). Bethlehem did not receive 
the name of Ephratah for the first time from the Calebite family 
of Ephrathites (1 Chron. ii. 19, 50, iv. 4), but was known by that 
name even in Jacob's time (Gen. xxxv. 19, xlviii. 7). Phagor, 
which was near to Bethlehem according to the Onom. (s. v. Fogor), 
and is also called Phaora, is the present Faghur, a heap of ruins to 
the south-west of Bethlehem {Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 275). Aetan was 
fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chron. xi. 6), and has been preserved in 
the Wady and Ain Attan between Bethlehem and Faghur {Tobler, 
dritte Wand. pp. 88, 89). Kulon, the present village of Kulomeh, 
an hour and a half west by north from Jerusalem on the road to 
Ramleh (see Rob. ii. p. 146 ; Bibl. Res. p. 158 : it is called Kolony 
by Seeteen, ii. p. 64). Tatam cannot be traced. Sores (for Thobes 
appears to be only a copyist's error) is probably Saris, a small 
village four hours to the east of Jerusalem, upon a ridge on the 
south of Wady Aly {Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 154-5). Karem, now Ain 
Karim, a large flourishing village two hours to the west of Jeru- 
salem, with a Franciscan convent dedicated to John the Baptist in 
the middle, and a fountain (Rob. ii. p. 141 ; Bibl. Res. p. 271). 
Galem, a different place from the Gallim on the north of Jeru- 
salem (Isa, x. 30), has not yet been discovered. Baither, now a 
small dirty village called Bettir or Bittir, with a beautiful spring, 
and with gardens arranged in terraces on the western slope of the 
Wady Bittir, to the south-west of Jerusalem (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 
266). Manocho, possibly the same place as Manachat (1 Chron. 
viii. 6), has not been found. 

Ver. 60. The sixth group of only two towns, to the west of 
Jerusalem, on the northern border of the tribe of Judah. — Kirjath- 
baal, or Kirjath-jearim, the present Kureyet el Enab ; see at ver. 9, 
and chap. ix. 17. Rabbah (Ha-rabbah, the great) is quite unknown. 

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Vers. 61, 62. The toumt in the desert of Judah, which ran 
along the Dead Sea from the northern border of J adah (vers. 6, 7) 
to Wady Fikreh on the south, and reached to the districts of Maon, 
Ziph, Tekoah, and Bethlehem towards the west. This tract of 
land is for the most part a terrible desert, with a soil composed of 
chalk, marl, and limestone, and with bald mountains covered with 
flint and hornstone, and without the slightest trace of vegetation on 
the side bordering on the Dead Sea (see v. Schubert, Reise, iii. 
pp. 94, 96 ; Rob. ii. pp. 202, 475, 477). Yet wherever there are 
springs even this desert is covered with a luxuriant vegetation, as 
far as the influence of the water extends (Seetzen, ii. pp. 249, 258) ; 
and even in those parts which are now completely desolate, there are 
traces of the work of man of a very ancient date in all directions 
(Rob. ii. p. 187). Six towns are mentioned in the verses before 
us. Beth-arabah : see at ver. 6. Middin and Seeaca are unknown. 
According to Knobel, Middin is probably the ruins of Mird or 
Mardeh, to the west of the northern end of the Dead Sea (Rob. ii. 
p. 270). — Ver. 62. Nibsan, also unknown. The city of salt (salt 
town), in which the Edomites sustained repeated defeats (2 Sam. 
viii. 13 ; Ps. lx. 2 ; 2 Kings xiv. 7 ; 1 Chron. xviii. 12 ; 2 Chron. 
xxv. 11), was no doubt at the southern end of the Dead Sea, in the 
Salt Valley (Rob. ii. p. 483). Engedi, on the Dead Sea (Ezek. 
xlvii. 10), to which David also fled to escape from Saul (1 Sam. 
xxiv. 1 sqq.), according to the Onom. (s. v. Engaddi) a vicus proe- 
grandis, the present Ain-Jidi, a spring upon a shelf of the high 
rocky coast on the west of the Dead Sea, with ruins of different 
ancient buildings (see Seetzen, ii. pp. 227-8 ; Rob. ii. pp. 214 sqq. ; 
Lynch, pp. 178-9, 199, 200). — In ver. 63 there follows a notice 
to the effect that the Judseans were unable to expel the Jebusites 
from Jerusalem, which points back to the time immediately after 
Joshua, when the Judseans had taken Jerusalem and burned it 
(Judg. i. 8), but were still unable to maintain possession. This 
notice is not at variance with either chap, xviii. 28 or Judg. i. 21, 
since it neither affirms that Jerusalem belonged to the tribe of 
Judah, nor that Judah alone laid claim to the possession of the 
town to the exclusion of the Benjamites (see the explanation of 
Judg. i. 8). 

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CHAP. XVL 1-4. 176 


The descendants of Joseph drew one lot, that the inheritance 
of the half tribe of Manasseh might not be separated from that of 
the tribe of Ephraim. Bat the territory was immediately divided 
between the two separate tribes of the children of Joseph, Ephraim 
receiving the southern portion of the land that had fallen to it by 
lot, and half Manasseh the northern. Accordingly we find the 
southern boundary of the whole territory described first of all in 
chap. xvi. 1-4, both the boundary which separated it from the tribe 
of Benjamin (chap, xviii. 11 sqq.), and that which divided it from 
Dan (chap. xix. 40 sqq.) ; then the territory of Ephraim is given, 
with a minute description of the northern boundary (chap. xvi. 
5-10) ; and finally the territory assigned to the families of Manasseh 
(chap. xvii. 1-13), without any precise delineation of its northern 
boundaries, all that is stated being that the Manassites touched 
Asher and Issachar towards the north, and also received some 
scattered towns with their villages in the territory of both those 
tribes (chap. xvii. 10, 11). To this there is appended in vers. 
14-18 the complaint of the children of Joseph concerning the 
inheritance that had fallen to them. 

Chap. xvi. 1—4. Territory oftlie Tribe of Joseph. — Ver. 1. " And 
there came out the lot of the children of Joseph from Jordan by 
Jericho." " The lot came out," viz. from the urn (cf . chap. xix. 1, 
17, 24). The expression " came up" is used in the same sense in 
chap, xviii. 11. The connection of these two words with the rest 
of the sentence, "from Jordan by Jericho," may be explained on 
the supposition that the lot which came out of the urn determined 
the inheritance that fell to the tribe, so that we might paraphrase 
the verse in this manner : " There came out the lot to the children 
of Joseph, namely, the inheritance, which goes out from, or whose 
boundary commences at, the Jordan by Jericho," i.e. from that part 
of the Jordan which is opposite to Jericho, and which is still more 
precisely denned by the additional clause, " by the water of Jericho 
eastward." The water of Jericho is the present fountain of es 
Sultan, half an hour to the north-west of Riha, the only large foun- 
tain in the neighbourhood of Jericho, whose waters spread over the 
plain, and form a small brook, which no doubt flows in the rainy 
season through the Wady Kelt into the Jordan (see Rob. ii. pp. 
283-4 ; Tobler, Topogr. v. Jerus. ii. pp. 558-9). " The wilderness" 
is in opposition to " the lot," so that the sense is, " namely, the desert 

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going up from Jericho to the mountains to Bethil" According to 
chap, xviii. 12, the reference is to the desert of Beth-aven, which 
was on the east of Bethel, between the Wady Suwar (Tuwar) and 
Mutyah (see at chap. vii. 2). Towards the east this desert ter 
niinates with the Jebel Kuruntul (Quarantana) on the north-west 
of Jericho, where it descends precipitously into the valley of the 
Jordan, or v. v., where it rises out of the Jordan valley. According 
to chap, xviii. 12, the same boundary went up by the shoulder of 
Jericho towards the north, i.e. along the northern range of moun- 
tains by Jericho, which cannot be any other than the " conspicuous 
double height, or rather group of heights," in front of the mountain 
of Quarantana, at the eastern foot of which lies the fountain of A in 
es Sultan (Rob. ii. p. 284). In all probability, therefore, the boun- 
dary ran up towards the north-west, from the Sultan fountain to 
Ain Duk, and thence in a westerly direction across to Abu Seba 
(along which road Robinson had a frightful desert on his right 
hand : Pal. ii. p. 310), and then again towards the north-west to 
Beitin (Bethel), according to chap, xviii. 13, along the southern 
shoulder (or side) of Luz, i.e. Bethel. — Ver. 2. " And it went out 
from Bethel to Luz." Bethel is distinguished from Luz in this 
passage, because the reference is not to the town of Bethel, which 
was called Luz by the Canaanites (vid. Gen. xxviii. 19), but to the 
southern range of mountains belonging to Bethel, from which the 
boundary ran out to the town of Luz, so that this town, which stood 
upon the border, was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin (chap, xviii. 
22). From this point the boundary went over " to the territory of 
the A rkite to Ataroth." We know nothing further about the Arkite 
than that David's friend Hushai belonged to that family (2 Sam. 
xv. 32, xvi. 16; 1 Chron. xxvii. 33). Ataroth, called Ataroth-Adar 
in chap, xviii. 13, was not the present village of At&ra, an hour and 
a half to the south of Jiljilia (Rob. iii. p. 80), as I once supposed, 
but the ruins of Atdra, three-quarters of an hour to the south of 
Bireh (Beeroth, Rob. ii. p. 314), with which the expression " de- 
scended" in chap, xviii. 13 perfectly harmonizes. Consequently the 
boundary was first of all drawn in a south-westerly direction from 
Beitin to Bireh (chap, xviii. 25), and then southwards to Autrah. 
— Ver. 3. From this point " it went down westward to the territory 
of the Japhletites to the territory of lower Beth-lioron" or, according 
to chap, xviii. 13, " to the mountain (or range) which is on the south 
by lower Beth-horon." The Japhletite is altogether unknown, as 
the Asherite of this name cannot possibly be thought of (1 Chron. 

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CHAP. XVI. 5-10. 177 

vii. 32, 33). Lower Beth-horon is the present Beit-Ur Tachta, a 
village upon a low ridge. It is separated from Upper Beth-horon, 
which lies farther east, by a deep wady (see at chap. x. 10, and 
Rob. iii. p. 59). " And to Gezer," which was probably situated 
near the village of el Kubab (see at chap. x. 33). " AncTthe goings 
out thereof are at the sea" (the Mediterranean), probably running 
towards the north-west, and following the Wady Muzeireh to the 
north of Japho, which was assigned to the Danites, according to 
chap. xix. 46. — Ver. 4. The territory commencing at the boundary 
lines mentioned was allotted to Ephraim and Manasseh as theit 

Vers. 5-10. Territory of the tribe of Ephraim, according to its 
families. — Ver. 5. " The border of their inheritance teas from the 
east Atroth-addar and (along the line) to Upper Beth-horon" — a 
brief description of the southern boundary, which is more minutely 
described in vers. 1-3. Upper Beth-horon is mentioned here instead 
of Lower Beth-horon (ver. 3). This makes no difference, however, 
as the two places stood quite close to one another (see at chap. x. 10). 
In vers. 6-8 the northern boundary of Ephraim is given, namely, 
from the middle, or from "a central point near the watershed" 
(Knobel), first towards the east (vers. 6 and 7), and then towards 
the west (ver. 8). The eastern half of the northern boundary went 
HBJ, i.e. when regarded from the west, or looked at towards the west, 
to the north side of Michmethah. According to chap. xvii. 7, this 
place was before Shechem, and therefore in any case it was not far 
from it, though it has not been discovered yet. Knobel supposes it 
to have been on the site of the present Kabate (Seetzen, ii. p. 166), 
Kubatiyeh, an hour and a half to the south of Jenin (Rob. iii. 154), 
assuming that Michmethah might also have been pronounced Che- 
mathah, and that b may have been substituted for m. But Kabate 
is six hours to the north of Shechem, and therefore was certainly 
not " before Shechem" (chap. xvii. 7). It then turned " eastward 
to TaanatJi-shiloh" (Trjvdd SrfXxo, LXX.), according to the Onom. 
(». v. Thenath) ten Roman miles from Neapolis (Sichem), on the 
way to the Jordan, most probably the Thena of Ptol. (v. 16, 5), the 
present Tana, Ain Tana, a heap of ruins on the south-east of 
Nabulus, where there are large cisterns to be found (see Rob. Bibl. 
Res. p. 295 ; Ritter, Erdk. xv. p. 471). And " then went by on the 
east to Janoah" (i.e. Jano in Acrabittena regione, twelve Roman 
miles from Neapolis : Onom.), the present ruins of Jan&n, a miser- 
able village, with extensive ruins of great antiquity, about three 


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hours to the south-east of Nabulus, three-quarters of an hoar to the 
north-east of Akrabeh {Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 297 ; Van de Velde, R. ii. 
p. 268). — Ver. 7. From Janoah the boundary went down " to 
Ataroth and Naarath." Ataroth, a different place from the Ataroth 
or Atroth-addar mentioned in vers. 3 and 5, is apparently to be 
sought for on the eastern slope of the mountains by the side of the 
Ghor, judging from the expression "went down ;" but it has not 
yet been discovered. Naarath, probably the same as Naaran, in 
eastern Ephraim (1 Ohron. vii. 28), is described in the Onotn. 
(s. v. Naarailid) as viculus Judceorum Naarath, five Roman miles (i^. 
two hours) from Jericho, probably on the north-east. The boun- 
dary line then touched Jericho, i.e. the district of Jericho, namely 
on the north side of the district, as Jericho was allotted to the tribe 
of Benjamin (chap, xviii. 21). At this point it also coincided with 
the southern boundary of the tribe of Joseph (ver. 1) and the 
northern boundary of Benjamin (chap, xviii. 12). — Ver. 8. The 
western half of the northern boundary went from Tappuah west- 
wards to the Cane-brook, and terminated at the sea. Tappuah, called 
En-tappuah in chap. xvii. 7, as the southern boundary of Manas- 
seh, which is there described, and which ran from Michmethah to 
En-tappuah, coincides with the northern boundary of Ephraim, 
must not be identified with the royal town of that name mentioned 
in chap. xii. 17, and therefore was not Kefr Rud (Capereota), on 
the west of Jenin (Ginaa). This place was so far to the north, 
viz. seven hours to the north of Nabulus, that the boundary from 
Michmethah, in the neighbourhood of Shechem (Nabulus) onwards, 
would have run from south to north instead of in a westerly direc- 
tion. Still less can En-tappuah be found, as Van de Velde sup- 
poses, in the old well of the deserted village of Atuf, five hours to 
the east of Nabulus. It must have been to the west of Shechem ; 
but it has not yet been discovered, as the country to the west of 
Nabulus and Sebastieh has "not been examined" {Van de Velde). 
The Cane-brook is no doubt the brook of that name mentioned 
by Bohad. (vita Salad, pp. 191, 193) ; only it is not quite clear 
" whether the Abu Zabura is intended, or a brook somewhat far- 
ther south, where there is still a Nahr el Kassab." — Ver. 9. The 
tribe of Ephraim also received some scattered towns in the territory 
of the tribe of Manasseh, in fact all those towns to which Tappuah 
belonged, according to chap. xvii. 8, with the dependent villages. 1 — 

1 The reason why the Ephraimites received scattered towns and villages in 
the tribe-territory of Manasseh, is supposed by Calvin, Masius, and others, to 

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CHAP. XVII. 1-13. 179 

Ver. 10. From Gezer, however (see ver. 3), they could not drive 
out the Canaanites, so that they still dwelt among the Ephraimites, 
but were reduced to a state of serfdom. This notice resembles the 
one in chap. xv. 63, and is to be interpreted in the same way. 

Chap. xvii. 1-13. The inheritance of Manasseh on this side of 
the Jordan was on the north of Ephraim. — Vers. 16-6. Before 
proceeding to the more detailed description of the inheritance, the 
historian thinks it necessary to observe that the Manassites received 
a double inheritance. This remark is introduced with the words 
u for he was the firstborn of Joseph." On this account, in addition 
to the territory already given to him in Gilead and Bashan, he 
received a second allotment of territory in Canaan proper. With 
the word ^Of (for Machir) the more minute account of the divi- 
sion of the Manassites commences. 'W ^30? is first of all written 
absolutely at the beginning of the sentence, and then resumed in 
i? vn : " to Machir, the first-born of Manasseh . . . to him were 
Gilead and Bashan assigned, because he was a man of war" ue. a 
warlike man, and had earned for himself a claim to the inheritance 
of Gilead and Bashan through the peculiar bravery which he had 
displayed in the conquest of those lands. By Machir, however, we 
are not to understand the actual son of Manasseh, but his family ; 
and IP?!? '3K does not mean " father of Gilead," but lord (possessor) 
of % Gilead, for Machir's son Gilead is always called Ijra without 
the article (vid. chap. xvii. 3 ; Num. xxvi. 29, 30, xxvii. 1, xxxvi. 1 ; 
1 Chron. vii. 17), whereas the country of that name is just as 
constantly called "vfos>} (see ver. 1, the last clause, ver. 5, chap. xiii. 
11, 31 ; Num. xxxii. 40 ; Deut. iii. 10 sqq.). " And there came, i.e. 
the lot fell (the lot is to be repeated from ver. 1), to the other 
descendants of Manasseh according to their families" which are then 
enumerated as in Num. xxvi. 30-32. " These are the male descend- 
ants of Mana8seJi." D^W) must not be altered, notwithstanding the 
fact that it is preceded and followed by D^nfan ; it is evidently used 
deliberately as an antithesis to the female descendants of Manasseh 
mentioned in ver. 3. — Vers. 3 sqq. Among the six families of 
Manasseh (ver. 2), Zelophehad, a descendant of Hepher, left no 
son ; but he had five daughters, whose names are given in ver. 3 

have been, that after the boundaries had been arranged, on comparing the ter- 
ritory allotted to each with the relative numbers of the two tribes, it was found 
that Ephraim bad received too small a possession. This is quite possible ; at 
the same time there may have been other reasons which we cannot discover now, 
as precisely the same thing occurs in the case of Manasseh (chap. xvii. 11). 

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(as in Num. xxvi. 33, xxvii. 1, xxxvi. 10). These daughters had 
petitioned Moses for a separate portion in the promised land, and 
their request had been granted (Num. xxvii. 2 sqq., compared with 
chap, xxxvi.). They therefore came before the committee appointed 
for dividing the land and repeated this promise, which was at once 
fulfilled. Consequently there were ten families of Manasseh who 
had received portions by the side of Ephraim, five male and five 
female. " And (ver. 5) tliere fell the measurements of Manasseh 
(as) ten" i.e. ten portions were assigned to the Manassites (on the 
west of the Jordan), beside the land of Gilead, because (as is again 
observed in ver. 6) the daughters of Manasseh, i.e. of Zelophehad 
the Manassite, received an inheritance among his sons (i.e. the rest 
of the Manassites). 

Vers. 7-13. Boundaries and extent of the inheritance of the ten 
families of Manasseh. — Vers. 7- 10a, the southern boundary, which 
coincides with the northern boundary of Ephraim described in 
chap. xvi. 6-8, and is merely given here with greater precision 
in certain points. It went "from Asher to Michmethah, before 
Shechem." Asher is not the territory of the tribe of Asher, but a 
distinct locality ; according to the Onom. (s. v. Asher) a place on 
the high road from Neapolis to Scythopolis, fifteen Roman miles 
from the former. It is not to be found, however, in the ruins of 
Tell Urn el Aschera (V. de Velde) or Tell Urn Ajra (Bob. Bibl. 
Kes. pp. 310, 327), an hour to the south of Beisan, as Knobel 
supposes, but in the village of Yasir, where there are magnificent 
ruins, about five hours and ten minutes from Nabulus on the road 
to Beisan (V. de Velde, Mem. pp. 237, 289 ; R. ii. p. 295). Mieh- 
methah, before Shechem, is still unknown (see chap. xvi. 6). Shechem 
was founded by the Hivite prince She*chem (Gen. xxxiii. 18), and 
is frequently mentioned in the book of Genesis. It stood between 
Ebal and Gerizim, was given up by Ephraim to the Levites, and 
declared a free city (city of refuge : chap. xxi. 21, xx. 7). It 
was there that the ten tribes effected their separation from Judah 
(1 Kings xii. 1 sqq.), and Jeroboam resided there (1 Kings xii. 25). 
In later times it was the chief city of the country of Samaria, and 
the capital of the Samaritans (John iv. 5) ; and the name of 
Neapolis, or Flavia Neapolis, from which the present Nabulus or 
Nablus has come, was given to it in honour of Vespasian (see v. 
Raumer, Pal. pp. 161 sqq.). From this point the boundary went 
r?' I T'? (i.e. either " to the right side," the south side, or to Yamin), 
" to the inhabitants of En-tappuah" Whether Yamin is an appella- 

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CHAP. XVII. 7-13. 181 

tive or a proper name is doubtful. But even if it be the name of 
a place, it is quite certain that it cannot be the village of Yamon, 
an hour to the south-east of Taanuk {Rob. iii. pp. 161, 167, etc.), 
as this is much too far north, and, judging from ver. 11, belonged 
to the territory of Asher. In the case of En-tappuah, the inha- 
bitants are mentioned instead of the district, because the district 
belonged to Manasseh, whilst the town on the border of Manasseh 
was given to the Ephraimites. The situation of the town has not yet 
been discovered : see at chap. xvi. 8. From this point the boundary 
ran down to the Cane-brook (see chap. xvi. 8), namely to the south 
side of the brook. " These towns were assigned to Ephraim in the 
midst of the towns of Manasseh, and (but) the territory of Manasseh 
was on the north of the brook." The only possible meaning of these 
words is the following : From Tappuah, the boundary went down 
to the Cane-brook and crossed it, so that the south side of the brook 
really belonged to the territory of Manasseh ; nevertheless the towns 
on this south side were allotted to Ephraim, whilst only the territory 
to the north of the brook fell to the lot of the Manassites. This is 
expressed more plainly in ver. 10a : " To the south (of the brook the 
land came) to Ephraim, and to the north to Manasseh" In ver. 
10b the northern and eastern boundaries are only briefly indicated : 
" And they (the Manassites) touched Asher towards the north, and 
Issachar towards the east" The reason why this boundary was not 
described more minutely, was probably because it had not yet been 
fixed. For (ver. 11) Manasseh also received towns and districts in 
(within the territory of) Issachar and Asher, viz. Beth-shean, etc. 
Beth-shean, to the wall of which Saul's body was fastened (1 Sam. 
xxxi. 10 sqq. ; 2 Sam. xxi. 12), was afterwards called Scythopolis. 
It was in the valley of the Jordan, where the plain of Jezreel slopes 
off into the valley ; its present name is Beisan, a place where there 
are considerable ruins of great antiquity, about two hours from the 
Jordan (yid. Seetzen, ii. pp. 162 sqq. ; Rob. iii. p. 174 ; Bibl. Res. 
p. 325 ; v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 150-1). This city, with its daughter 
towns, was in the territory of Issachar, which was on the east of 
Manasseh, and may have extended a considerable distance towards 
the south along the valley of the Jordan, as the territory of 
Manasseh and Ephraim did not run into the valley of the Jordan ; 
but Asher (Yasir) is mentioned in ver. 7 as the most easterly place 
in Manasseh, and, according to chap. xvi. 6, 7, the eastern boundary 
of Ephraim ran down along the eastern edge of the mountains as 
far as Jericho, without including the Jordan valley. At the same 

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time, the Ghor on the western side of the Jordan below Beisan, as 
far as the plain of Jericho, was of no great value to any tribe, as 
this district, according to Josephua (de Bell. Jud. iv. 8, 2, and iii. 
10, 7), was uninhabited because of its barrenness. The other 
towns, Ibleam, etc., with the exception of Endor perhaps, were in 
the territory of Asher, and almost all on the south-west border of 
the plain of Esdraelon. Ibleam, called Bileam in 1 Chron. vi. 55 
(70), a Levitical town (see at chap. xxi. 25), was not very far from 
Megiddo (2 Kings ix. 27), and has probably been preserved in the 
ruins of Khirbet-Belameh, half an hour to the south of Jenin ; 
according to Schultz, it is the same place as Belarhon, Belmen, or 
Belthem (Judith iv. 4, vii. 3, viii. 3). With "W*T ^fmt" the con- 
struction changes, so that there is an anacolouthon, which can be 
explained, however, on the ground that ? njn may not only mean 
to be assigned to, but also to receive or to have. In this last sense 
nttt is attached. The inhabitants are mentioned instead of the 
towns, because the historian had already, the thought present in his 
mind, that the Manassites were unable to exterminate the Canaanites 
from the towns allotted to them. Dor is the present Tortura (see 
at chap. xi. 2). Endor, the home of the witch (1 Sam. xxviii. 7), 
four Roman miles to the south of Tabor (Onom.}, at present a 
village called Enddr, on the northern shoulder of the Duhy or 
Little Hermon (see Rob. iii. p. 225 ; Bibl. Ees. p. 340). Taanach 
and Megiddo, the present Taanuk and Lejun (see at chap. xii. 21). 
The three last towns, with the places dependent upon them, are 
connected more closely together by nwn JIBOB', the three-hill- 
country, probably because they formed a common league. — Vers. 
12, 13. The Manassites were unable to exterminate the Canaanites 
from these six towns, and the districts round ; but when they grew 
stronger, they made them tributary slaves (cf. chap. xvi. 10). 

Vers. 14-18. Complaint of the Descendants of Joseph respecting 
the inheritance allotted to them. — Ver. 14. As the descendants of 
Joseph formed two tribes (Ephraim and Manasseh), they gave 
utterance to their dissatisfaction that Joshua had given them 
(" me," the house of Joseph, ver. 17) but one lot, but one portion 
('?£, a measure, then the land measured off), for an inheritance, 
although they were a strong and numerous people. " So far hath 
Jehovah blessed me hitherto." "itPtoy, to this (sc. numerous people), 
is to be understood de gradu; n'3""ig, hitherto, de tempore. There 
was no real ground for this complaint. As Ephraim numbered 
only 32,500 and Manasseh 52,700 at the second census in the time 

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CHAP. XVtt H-18. 183 

of Moses (Num. xxvi.), and therefore Ephraim and half Manasseh 
together did not amount to more than 58,000 or 59,000, this tribe 
and a half were not so strong as Jndah with its 76,500, and were 
even weaker than Dan with its 64,400, or Issachar with its 64,300 
men, and therefore could not justly lay claim to more than the 
territory of a single tribe. Moreover, the land allotted to them 
was in one of the most fertile parts of Palestine. For although as 
a whole the mountains of Ephraim have much the same character 
as those of Judah, yet the separate mountains are neither so rugged 
nor so lofty, there being only a few of them that reach the height 
of 2500 feet above the level of the sea (see Ritter, Erdk. xv. pp. 
475 sqq. ; V. de Velde, Mem. pp. 177 sqq.) ; moreover, they are 
intersected by many broad valleys and fertile plateaux, which are 
covered with fruitful fields and splendid plantations of olives, vines, 
and fig trees (see Rob. in. p. 78, Bibl. Res. pp. 290 sqq. ; Seetzen, 
ii. pp. 165 sqq., 190 sqq.). On the west the mountains slope off 
into the hill country, which joins the plain of Sharon, with its 
invariable fertility. "The soil here is a black clay soil of un- 
fathomable depth, which is nearly all ploughed, and is of such 
unusual fertility that a cultivated plain here might furnish ah 
almost unparalleled granary for the whole land. Interminable 
fields full of wheat and barley with their waving ears, which were 
very nearly ripe, with here and there a field of millet, that was 
already being diligently reaped by the peasants, presented a glorious 
sight" (Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 567-8). — Ver. 15. Joshua therefore 
sent them back with their petition, and said, " If thou art a strong 
people, go up into the wood and cut it away" i.e. make room for 
houses, fields, and meadows, by clearing the forests, " in the land of 
the Perizzites and Rephaim, if the mountain of Ephraim is too 
narrow for thee." The name " mountain of Ephraim" is used here 
in a certain sense proleptically, to signify the mountain which 
received its name from the tribe of Ephraim, to which it had only 
just been allotted. This mountain, which is also called the moun- 
tain of Israel (chap. xi. 16, 21), was a limestone range running 
from Kirjath-jearim, where the mountains of Judah terminate (see 
at chap. xi. 21), to the plain of Jezreel, and therefore embracing 
the greater part of the tribe-territory of Benjamin. The wood, 
which is distinguished from the mountain of Ephraim, and is also 
described in ver. 18 as a mountainous land, is either the mountain- 
ous region extending to the north of Yasir as far as the mountains 
of Gilboa, and lying to the west of Beisan, a region which has not 

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yet been thoroughly explored, or else, as Knobel supposes, "the 
broad range of woody heights or low woody hills, by which the 
mountains of Samaria are connected with Carmel on the north- 
west (Rob. ill. p. 1 89), between Taanath and Megiddo on the east, 
and Csesarea and Dor on the west." Possibly both may be intended, 
as the children of Joseph were afraid of the Canaanites in Beisan 
and in the plain of Jezreel (ver. 16). The Rephaim were dwelling 
there, a tribe of gigantic stature (see at Gen. xiv. 5), also the 
Perizzites (see at Gen. xiii. 7). — Ver. 16. The children of Joseph 
replied that the mountain (allotted to them) would not be enough 
for them (**?, as in Num. xi. 22 ; Zech. x. 10) ; and that all the 
Canaanites who dwelt in the land of the plain had iron chariots, 
both those in Beth-shean and its daughter towns, and those in the 
valley of Jezreel. poyn"ps, the land of the plain or valley land, 
includes both the valley of the Jordan near Beisan, and also the 
plain of Jezreel, which opens into the Jordan valley in the neigh- 
bourhood of Beisan (Rob. iii. p. 173). The plain of Jezreel, so 
called after the town of that name, is called the "great field of 
Esdrelom" in Judith i. 4, and to fieya ireo'lop by Josephus. It is 
the present Merj (i.e. pasture-land) Jbn Aamer, which runs in a 
south-westerly direction from the Mediterranean Sea above Carmel, 
and reaches almost to the Jordan. It is bounded on the south by 
the mountains of Carmel, the mountain-land of Ephraim and the 
range of hills connecting the two, on the north by the mountains of 
Galilee, on the west by the southern spurs of the Galilean high- 
land, and on the east by the mountains of Gilboa and the Little 
Hermon (Jebel Duhy). Within these boundaries it is eight hours 
in length from east to west, and five hours broad; it is fertile 
throughout, though very desolate now (see v. Raumer, Pal. iii. pp. 
39 sqq.). " Iron chariots" are not scythe chariots, for these were 
introduced by Cyrus, and were unknown to the Medes, Persians, 
and Arabians, i.e. to the early Asiatics before his time (Xen. Cyr. 
vi. 1, 27, 30), as well as to the ancient Egyptians (see Wilkinson, 
Manners and Customs, i. p. 350) ; they were simply chariots tipped 
with iron, just as the Egyptian war-chariots were made of wood 
and strengthened with metal nails and tips (Wilkinson, pp. 342, 
348). — Vers. 17, 18. As the answer of the children of Joseph 
indicated cowardice and want of confidence in the help of God, 
Joshua contented himself with repeating his first reply, though 
more fully and with the reasons assigned. " Thou art a strong 
people, and hast great power ; there mil not be one lot to thee :" i.e. 

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CHAP. XVIII. 1. 185 

because thou art a numerous people and endowed with strength, 
there shall not remain one lot to thee, thou canst and wilt ex- 
tend thine inheritance. " For the mountain will be thine, for it 
is forest, and thou wilt hew it out, and its goings out will become 
thine." By the mountain we are not to understand the mountains 
of Ephraim which were assigned to the Ephraimites by the lot, but 
the wooded mountains mentioned in ver. 15, which the children of 
Joseph were to hew out, so as to make outlets for themselves. 
u The outgoings of it" are the fields and plains bordering upon the 
forest. For the Canaanites who dwelt there (ver. 15) would be 
driven out by the house of Joseph, just because they had iron 
chariots and were strong, and therefore only a strong tribe like 
Joseph was equal to the task. " Not one of the tribes of Israel 
is able to fight against them (the Canaanites) because they are 
strong, but you have strength enough to be able to expel them 


Ver. 1. The Tabernacle set up at < Shiloh. — As soon as 
the tribe of Ephraim had> received its inheritance, Joshua com- 
manded the whole congregation to assemble in Shiloh,'. and -there 
set up the tabernacle, in order that, as the kind was conquered, the 
worship of Jehovah might henceforth be regularly observed in 
accordance with the law. The selection of Shiloh as the site for 
the sanctuary was hardly occasioned by the fitness of the place for 
this purpose, on account of its being situated upon a mountain in 
the centre of the land, for there were many other places that would 
have been quite as suitable in this respect ; the reason is rather to 
be found in the name of the place, viz. Shiloh, i.e. rest, which 
called to mind the promised Shiloh (Gen. xlix. 10), and therefore 
appeared to be pre-eminently suitable to be the resting-place of the 
sanctuary of the Lord, where His name was to dwell in Israel, 
until He should come who'was to give true rest to His people as the 
Prince of Peace. In any case, however, Joshua did not follow his 
own judgment in selecting Shiloh for- this purpose, but acted in 
simple accordance with the instructions of God, as the Lord had 
expressly reserved to himself the choice of the place where His 
name should dwell (Deut. xii. 11). Shiloh, according to the Onom., 

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was twelve Roman miles or five hours to the sooth of Neapolis 
(Nablus), and about eight hours to the north of Jerusalem ; at 
present it is a heap of ruins, bearing the name of Seilun (see Hob. 
iii. p. 85). The tabernacle continued standing at Shiloh during 
the time of the judges, until the ark of the covenant fell into the 
hands of the Philistines, in the lifetime of Eli, when the holy tent 
was robbed of its soul, and reduced to the mere shadow of a sanc- 
tuary. After this it was removed to Nob (1 Sam. xxi. 2) ; but in 
consequence of the massacre inflicted by Saul upon the inhabitants 
of this place (1 Sam. xxii. 19), it was taken to Gibeon (1 Kings iii. 
4 : see Keil, Bibl. Arch. i. § 22). From this time forward Shiloh 
continued to decline, because the Lord had rejected it (Ps. lxxviii. 
60 ; Jer. vii. 12, xxvi. 6). That it was destroyed by the Assyrians, 
as Knobel affirms, is not stated in the history. 

Vers. 2-10. Survey of the Land that had tet to be 
divided. — Ver. 2. After the tabernacle had been set up, the 
casting of the lots and division of the land among the other seven 
tribes were to be continued ; namely at Shiloh, to which the con- 
gregation had removed with the sanctuary. — Vers. 3, 4. But, for the 
reasons explained in chap. xiv. 1, these tribes showed themselves 
" slack to go to possess the land which the Lord had given them," i.e. 
not merely to conquer it, but to have it divided by lot, and to enter 
in and take possession. Joshua charged them with this, and directed 
them to appoint three men for each of the seven tribes, that they 
might be sent out to go through the land, and describe it according 
to the measure of their inheritance. " According to their inheritance? 
i.e. with special reference to the fact that seven tribes were to receive 
it for their inheritance. The description was not a formal measure- 
ment, although the art of surveying was well known in Egypt in 
ancient times, and was regularly carried out after the annual inun- 
dations of the Nile (Herod, ii. 109 ; Strabo, xvii. 787 ; Diod. Sic. >. 
69) ; so that the Israelites might have learned it there. But 3TI3 
does not mean to measure ; and it was not a formal measurement 
that was required, for the purpose of dividing the land that yet 
remained into seven districts, since the tribes differed in numerical 
strength, and therefore the boundaries of the territory assigned them 
could not be settled till after the lots had been cast. The meaning 
of the word is to describe ; and according to ver. 9, it was chiefly to 
the towns that reference was made : so that the description required 
by Joshua in all probability consisted simply in the preparation of 

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CHAP. XVIII. 11-20. 187 

lists of the towns in the different parts of the land, with an account 
of their size and character ; also with " notices of the quality and 
condition of the soil ; what lands were fertile, and what they pro- 
duced ; where the country was mountainous, and where it was level ; 
which lands were well watered, and which were dry ; and any other 
things that would indicate the character of the soil, and facilitate a 
comparison between the different parts of the land" {Rosenmuller). 
The reasons which induced Joshua to take steps for the first time 
now for securing a survey of the land, are given in chap. xiv. 1. 
The men chosen for the purpose were able to carry out their task 
without receiving any hindrance from the Canaanites. For whilst 
the latter were crushed, if not exterminated, by the victories which 
the Israelites had gained, it was not necessary for the twenty-one 
Israelitish men to penetrate into every corner of the land, and every 
town that was still inhabited by the Canaanites, in order to accom- 
plish their end. — Vers. 5, 6. " And divide it into seven parts" viz. 
for the purpose of casting lots. Judah, however, was still to remain 
in its land to the south, and Ephraim in its territory to the north. 
The seven portions thus obtained they were to bring to Joshua, that 
he might then cast the lot for the seven tribes " before the Lord," 
Le. before the tabernacle (chap. xix. 51). — Ver. 7. There were only 
seven tribes that had still to receive their portions ; for the tribe of 
Levi was to receive no portion in the land (yid. chap. xiii. xiv.),, and 
Gad, Reuben, and half Manasseh had received their inheritance 
already on the other side of the Jordan. — Vers. 8, 9. Execution of 
this command. — Ver. 10. Joshua finishes the casting of the lots at 

Vers. 11-28. Inheritance of the Tribe op Benjamin. — 
Vers. 11-20. Boundaries of the inheritance. — Ver. 11. The terri- 
tory of their lot (i.e. the territory assigned to the Benjaminites by 
lot) came out (through the falling out of the lot) between the sons 
of Judah and the sons of Joseph. — Vers. 12, 13. The northern 
boundary (" the boundary towards the north side") therefore coin- 
cided with the southern boundary of Ephraim as far as Lower 
Beth-horon, and has already been commented upon in the exposition 
of chap. xvi. 1-3. The western boundary follows in ver. 14. At 
Beth-horon the boundary curved round and turned southwards on 
the western side, namely from the mountain before (in front of) 
Beth-horon southwards ; and " the goings out thereof were at Kirjath- 
baal, which is Kirjath-yearim" the town of the Judaeans mentioned 

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in chap. xv. 60, the present Kureyet el Enab (see at chap. ix. 17). — 
Vers. 15-19. " As for the southern boundary from the end of Kirjath- 
jearim onwards, tlie (southern) boundary went out on the west (i.e. it 
started from the west), and werd out (terminated) at the fountain of 
the water of Nephtoah." Consequently it coincided with the northern 
boundary of Judah, as described in chap. xv. 5-9, except that it is 
given there from east to west, and here from west to east (see at 
chap. xv. 5-9). In the construction ^3an vrriwrtn, the noun .*33? is 
in apposition to the suffix : the outgoings of it, namely of the border 
(see Ewald, § 291, b.). — Ver. 20. The eastern boundary was the 

Vers. 21-28. The towns of Benjamin are divided .into two 
groups. The first group (vers. 21-24) contains twelve towns in the 
eastern portion of the territory. Jericho : the present MUia (see at 
chap. ii. 1). Beth-hoglah, now Ain Hajla (see chap. xv. 6). Emek- 
Keziz : the name has been preserved in the Wady el Kaziz, on the 
road from Jerusalem to Jericho, on the south-east of the Apostle's 
Well (see Van de Velde, Mem. p. 328).— Ver. 22. Beth-arabah : see 
at chap. xv. 6. Zemaraim, probably the ruins of es Sumrah, on the 
road from Jerusalem to Jericho, to the east of Khan Hadhur, on 
Van de Velde s map. Bethel: now Beitin (see chap. vii. 2). — Ver. 23. 
Avvim (i.e. ruins) is unknown. Phara has been preserved in the 
ruins of Fara, on Wady Fara, three hours to the north-east of 
Jerusalem, and the same distance to the west of Jericho. Ophrah 
is mentioned again in 1 Sam. xiii. 17, but it is a different place from 
the Ophrah of Gideon in Manasseh (Judg. vi. 11, 24, viii. 27). 
According to the Onom. (s. v. Aphra), it was a xmfir) 'A<f>ptj\ in the 
time of Eusebius (Jer. vicus Effrem), five Roman miles to the east of 
Bethel ; and according to Van de Velde, v. Raumer, and others, it is 
probably the same place as Ephron or Ephrain, which Abijah took 
from Jeroboam along with Jeshanah and Bethel (2 Chron. xiii. 19), 
also the same as Ephraim, the city to which Christ went when He 
withdrew into the desert (John xi. 54), as the Onom. (s. v. Ephron) 
speaks of a villa pragrandis Ephraa nomine ('E<f>patfi in Euseb.), 
although the distance given there, viz. twenty Roman miles to the 
north of Jerusalem, reaches far beyond the limits of Benjamin. — 
Ver. 24. Chephar-haammonai and Ophni are only mentioned here, 
and are still unknown. Gaba, or Geba of Benjamin (1 Sam. xiii. 16 ; 
1 Kings xv. 22), which was given up to the Levites (chap. xxi. 17 ; 
1 Chron. vi. 45), was in the neighbourhood of Ramah (1 Kings xv. 
22, 2 Chron. xvi. 6). It is mentioned in 2 Kings xxiii. 8, Zech. 

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CHAP. XVIH. 21-28. 189 

xiv. 10, as the northern boundary of the kingdom of Judah, and 
was still inhabited after the captivity (Neh. vii. 30). It is a different 
place from Gibea, and is not to be found, as I formerly supposed, 
in the Moslem village of Jibia, by the Wady el Jib, between 
Beitin and Sinjil (Rob. iii. p. 80), but in the small village of Jeba, 
which is lying half in ruins, and where there are relics of antiquity, 
three-quarters of an hour to the north-east of er-Kam (Bamah), and 
about three hours to the north of Jerusalem, upon a height from 
which there is an extensive prospect (yid. Rob. ii. pp. 113 sqq.). This 
eastern group also included the two other towns Anathoth and 
Almon (chap. xxi. 18), which were given up by Benjamin to the 
Levites. Anatlwth, the home of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. i. 1, 
xi. 21 sqq.), which was still inhabited by Benjaminites after the 
captivity (Neh. xi. 32), is the present village of An&ta, where thers. 
are ruins of great antiquity, an hour and a quarter to the north 
of Jerusalem (Rob. ii. pp. 109 sqq.). Almon, called Allemeth in 
1 Chron. vi. 45, has been preserved in the ruins of Almit (Rob. 
Bibl. Kes. pp. 287 sqq.), or el-Mid (Tobler, Denkbl. p. 631), on the 
south-east of An&ta. — Vers. 25-28. The second group of fourteen 
towns in the western portion of Benjamin. — Ver. 25. Gibeon, the 
present Jib : see at chap. ix. 3. Ramah, in the neighbourhood of 
Gibeah and Geba (Judg. xix. 13 ; Isa. x. 29 ; 1 Kings xv. 17 ; 
Ezra ii. 26), most probably the Ramah of Samuel (1 Sam. i. 19, 
ii. 11, xxv. 1, xxviii. 3), is the present village of er-Rdm, upon 
a mountain with ruins between Gibeon and Geba, half an hour 
to the west of the latter, two hours to the north of Jerusalem 
(see Rob. ii. p. 315). Beeroth, the present Bireh ; see at chap. 
ix. 17. — Ver. 26. Mizpeh, commonly called Mizpah, where the war 
with Benjamin was decided upon (Judg. xx. xxi.), and where 
Samuel judged the people, and chose Saul as king (1 Sam. vii. 5 
sqq., x. 17), was afterwards the seat of the Babylonian governor 
Gedaliah (2 Kings xxv. 23; Jer. xl. 6 sqq.). According to the 
Onom. (s. v. Massephd), it was near Kirjath-jearim, and Robinson 
(ii. p. 139) is no doubt correct in supposing it to be the present Neby 
Samvil (i.e. prophet Samuel), an hour and a quarter to the east of 
Kureyet Enab (Kirjath-jearim), two hours to the north-west of 
Jerusalem, half an hour to the south of Gibeon, a place which stands 
like a watch-tower upon the highest point in the whole region, 
and with a mosque, once a Latin church, which is believed alike 
by Jews, Christians, and Mahometans to cover the tomb of the 
prophet Samuel (see Rob. ii. pp. 135 sqq.). Chephirah, i.e. Kefir : see 

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at chap. ix. 17. Mozah is only mentioned here, and is still unknown 
Ver. 27. This also applies to Rekem, Irpeel, and Taralah. — Ver. 28 
Zelah, the burial-place of Saul and his family (2 Sam. xxi. 14), is 
otherwise unknown. Gibeath or GibeaJi, i.e. Gibeah of Benjamin, 
which was destroyed by the other tribes of Israel in the time of the 
judges, on account of the flagrant crime which had been committed 
there (Judg. xix. xx.), is also called GibeaJi of Saul, as being the 
home and capital of Saul (1 Sam. x. 26, xi. 4, etc.), and was situated, 
according to Judg. xix. 13 and Isa. x. 29, between Jerusalem and 
Kamah, according to Josephus (Bell. Jud. v. 2, 1, 8) about twenty 
or thirty stadia from Jerusalem. These statements point to the Tell 
or Tuleil el Phid, i.e. bean-mountain, a conical peak about an hour 
from Jerusalem, on the road to er-Rihn, with a large heap of stones 
upon the top, probably the ruins of a town that was built of unhewn 
stones, from which there is a very extensive prospect in all direc- 
tions (Rob. ii. p. 317). Consequently modern writers have very 
naturally agreed in the conclusion, that the ancient Gibeah of Ben- 
jamin or Saul was situated either by the side of or upon this Tell (see 
Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 286; Strauss, Sinai, etc., p. 331, ed. 6; v. Rattmer, 
Pal. p. 196). Kirjath has not yet been discovered, and must not 
be confounded with Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to the tribe of 
Judah (ver. 14 ; cf. chap. xv. 60). 


Vers. 1-9. The inheritance of Simeon fell within the 
inheritance of the children of Judah, because the land allotted to 
them at Gilgal was larger than they required (ver. 9). Thus the 
carse pronounced upon Simeon by Jacob of dispersion in Israel 
(Gen. xlix. 7) was fulfilled upon this tribe in a very peculiar 
manner, and in a different manner from that pronounced upon 
Levi. The towns allotted to the tribe of Simeon are divided into 
two groups, the first (vers. 2-6) consisting of thirteen or fourteen 
towns, all situated in the Negeb (or south country) ; the second 
(ver. 7) of four towns, two of which were in the Negeb and two in 
the shephelah. All these eighteen towns have already been enu- 
merated among the towns of Judah (chap. xv. 26-32, 42), and are 
mentioned again in .1 Chron. iv. 28-32, in just the same order, 
and with only slight differences in the spelling of some of the 
names. If the classification of the names in two groups might 

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CHAP. XIX. 10-16. 191 

seem to indicate that Simeon received a connected portion of land 
in Judah, this idea is overthrown at once by the circumstance that 
two of the four towns in the second group were in the south land 
and two in the lowland, and, judging from chap. xv. 32, 42, at a 
great distance from one another. At the same time, we cannot 
decide this point with any certainty, as the situation of several of 
the towns is still unknown. — Ver. 2. Beersheba : see at chap. xv. 
28. Sheba is wanting in the Chronicles, hut has no doubt been 
omitted through a copyist's error, as Shema answers to it in chap. 
xv. 26, where it stands before Moladah just as Sheba doe3 here. 
— On the names in vers. 3-6a, see the exposition of chap. xv. 
28-32. — The sum total given in ver. 6b, viz. thirteen towns, does 
not tally, as there are fourteen names. On these differences, see 
the remarks on chap. xv. 32 (p. 163, the note). — Ver. 7. Ain 
and Rimmon were in the south land (chap. xv. 32), Eilwr and 
Ashan in the lowlands (chap. xv. 42). — Vers. 8, 9. In addition 
to the towns mentioned, the Simeonites received all the villages 
round about the towns to Baalath-beer, the Ramah of the south. 
This place, up to which the territory of the Simeonites extended, 
though without its being actually assigned to the Simeonites, is 
simply called Baal in 1 Chron. iv. 33, and is probably the same as 
Bealoth in chap. xv. 24, though its situation has not yet been deter- 
mined (see at chap. xv. 24). It cannot be identified, however, 
with Ramet el Khulil, an hour to the north of Hebron, which 
Roediger supposes to be the Ramah of the south, since the territory 
of Simeon, which was situated in the Negeb, and had only two 
towns in the shephelah, cannot possibly have extended into the 
mountains to a point on the north of Hebron. So far as the 
situation is concerned, V. de Velde would be more likely to be 
correct, when he identifies Rama of the south with Tell Lekiyeh on 
the north of Beersheba, if this conjecture only rested upon a better 
foundation than the untenable assumption, that Baalath-beer is the 
same as the Baalath of Dan in ver. 44. 

Vers. 10-16. The dteeebitanob op Zebulun fell above the 
plain of Jezreel, between this plain and the mountains of Naphtali, 
so that it was bounded by Asher on the west and north-west (ver. 
27), by Naphtali on the north and north-east (ver. 34), and by 
Issachar on the south-east and south, and touched neither the 
Mediterranean Sea nor the Jordan. It embraced a very fertile 
country, however, with the fine broad plain of el Buttauf, the fteya 

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trehiov above Nazareth called Asochis in Joseph, vita, § 41, 45 (see 
Rob. iii. p. 189, Bibl. Res. pp. 105 sqq. ; Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 742, 
758-9). — Ver. 10. " And the boundary (the territory) of their 
inheritance was (went) to Sarid." This is no doubt the centre of 
the southern boundary, from which it is traced in a westerly direc- 
tion in ver. 11, and in an easterly direction in ver. 12, in the same 
manner fis in chap. xvi. 6. Unfortunately, Sarid cannot be deter- 
mined with certainty. KnobeTs opinion is, that the name, which 
signifies "hole" or "incision," after the analogy of 1~W, perforavit, 
and B"ijp, incidit, does not refer to a town, but to some other loca- 
lity, probably the southern opening of the deep and narrow wady 
which comes down from the basin of Nazareth, and is about an 
hour to the south-east of Nazareth, between two steep mountains 
(Seetzen, ii. pp. 151-2 ; Rob. iii. p. 183). This locality appears 
suitable enough. But it is also possible that Sarid may be found 
in one of the two heaps of ruins on the south side of the Mons 
pracipitii upon V. de Velde's map (so called from Luke iv. 29). — 
Ver. 11. From this point " the border went up westwards, namely 
to Mar'ala, and touched Dabbasheth, and still farther to the brook of 
Jokneam." If Jokneam of Carmel has been preserved in the Tell 
Kaimun (see at chap. xii. 22), the brook before Jokneam is pro- 
bably the Wady el Milh, on the eastern side of which, near the 
point where it opens into the plain, stands KaimHn, and through 
which the road runs from Acca to Ramleh, as this wady separates 
Carmel from the small round hills which run to the south-east (see 
Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 114, and V. de Velde, i. p. 249). Here the 
boundaries of Zebulun and Asher met (ver. 27). Mar'ala and 
Dabbasheth are to be sought for between Kaimun and Sarid. The 
Cod. Vat. has MayeXBd instead of MapCKa. Now, however little 
importance we can attach to the readings of the LXX. on account 
of the senseless way in which its renderings are made, — as, for 
example, in this very passage, where ">V\ : *i , ")B r "iy is rendered 
'EaeSe/cydtika, — the name Magelda might suggest a Hebrew reading 
Magedlah or Mageldah, and thus lead one to connect the place with 
the village of Mejeidil {Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 114), or Mshedil {Seetzen, 
ii. p. 143), on the west of Mons pracipitii, though neither of these 
travellers visited the place, or has given us any minute description 
of it. Its situation upon a mountain would suit Mar'ala, to which 
the boundary went up from Sarid. In the case of Dabbasheth, the 
name, which signifies " lump" (see Isa. xxx. 6), points to a moun- 
tain. Upon this Knobel has founded the conjecture that Gibeah 

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CHAP. XIX. 10-16. 193 

or Gibeath took the place of this uncommon word, and that this 
is connected with the Gabaihon of the Onom. (juxta campum 
Legionis), the present Jebdta between Mejeidil and Kaimun, upon 
an isolated height on the edge of the mountains which skirt the 
plain of Jezreel, where there are signs of a remote antiquity (Rob. 
iii. p. 201, and Bibl. Ees. p. 113; Bitter, Erdk. xvi. p. 700); 
although Tell Thureh (i.e. mountain) might be intended, a village 
upon a low and isolated hill a little farther south (see Rob. Bibl. 
Ees. p. 116, and Ritter, ut sup.). — Ver. 12. "And from Sarid the 
boundary turned eastwards toward the sun-rising to the territory of 
Chisloili-tabor, and went out to Dabrath, and went up to Japhia." 
Chisloth-tabor, i.e. according to KimcMs explanation lumbi Taboris 
(French, les flancs), was at any rate a place on the side of Tabor, 
possibly the same as Kesulhth in ver. 18, as Masius and others 
suppose, and probably the same place as the Xahth of Josephus 
(Bell. Jud. iii. 3, 1), which was situated in the " great plain," and 
the vieus Chasalus of the Onom. (juxta montem Thdbor in campes- 
tribus), i.e. the present village of Iksdl or Ksdl, upon a rocky height 
on the west of Thabor, with many tombs in the rocks (Rob. iii. p. 
182). Dabrath, a place in the tribe of Issachar that was given up 
to the Levites (chap. xxi. 28 ; 1 Chron. vi. 57), called Dabaritta 
in Josephus (Bell. Jud. ii. 21, 3) and Dabira in the Onom. (yillula 
in monte Thabor), the present Deburieh, an insignificant village 
which stands in a very picturesque manner upon a stratum of rock 
at the western foot of Tabor {Rob. iii. p. 210 ; V. de Velde, B. ii. 
p. 324). Japhia certainly cannot be the present Hepha or Haifa 
(Khaifa) on the Mediterranean, and near to Carmel (Rel. Pal. p. 
826, and Ges. Thes. *. v.) ; but it is just as certain that it cannot 
be the present Jafa, a place half an hour to the south-west of 
Nazareth, as Robinson (Pal. iii. p. 200) and Knobel suppose, since 
the boundary was running eastwards, and cannot possibly have 
turned back again towards the west, and run from Deburieh 
beyond Sarid. If the positions assigned to Chisloth-tabor and 
Dabrath are correct, Japhia must be sought for on the east of 
Deburieh. — Ver. 13. "From thence it went over towards the east to 
the sun-rising to Gath-hepher, to Eth-kazin, and went out to Rimmon, 
which is marked off to Neah." Gath-hepher, the home of the 
prophet Jonah (2 Kings xiv. 25), was " haud grandis viculus Geth" 
in the time of Jerome (see prol. ad Jon.). It was about two miles 
from Sephoris on the road to Tiberias, and the tomb of the prophet 
was shown there. It is the present village of Meshed, a place 


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about an hour and a quarter to the north of Nazareth (Rob. iii. p. 
209 ; V. de Velde, Mem. p. 312). Eth-kazin is unknown. Rimmon, 
a Levitical town (chap. xxi. 35 ; 1 Chron. vi. 62), has probably 
been preserved in the village of Rummaneh, about two hours and a 
half to the north of Nazareth (Rob. iii. p. 195). Ham-methoar is 
not a proper name, but the participle of 1WJ1, with the article in the 
place of the relative pronoun, " bounded off," or pricked off. Neali 
is unknown ; it is possibly the same place as Neiel in the tribe of 
Asher (ver. 27), as Knobel supposes. — Ver. 14. " And the boundary 
turned round it (round Rimmon), on the north to Channathon, and 
the outgoings thereof were the valley of Jiphtah-el." Judging from 
the words 3D3 and Jta*?, this verse apparently gives the north-west 
boundary, since the last definition in ver. 13, " to Gath-hepher," etc, 
points to, the eastern boundary. Jiphtah-el answers no doubt to the 
present Jefdt, two hours and a half to the north of Sefurieh, and 
is the Jotapata which was obstinately defended by Josephus (Bell. 
Jud. iii. 7, 9 : see Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 104 sqq.). Consequently 
the valley of Jiphtah-el, at which Zebulun touched Asher (ver. 27), 
is probably " no other than the large Wady Abilin, which takes its 
rise in the hills in the neighbourhood of Jefat" (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 
107). And if this be correct, Channathon (LXX. 'EwaOdoO) is 
probably Cana of Galilee, the home of Nathanael (John ii. 1, 11, 
iv. 46, xxi. 2), the present Kana el Jelil, between Rummaneh and 
Yef&t, on the northern edge of the plain of Buttauf, upon a Tell, 
from which you overlook the plain, fully two hours and a half in 
a straight line from Nazareth, and directly north of that place, 
where there are many ruins found (see Rob. iii. p. 204 ; Bibl. Res. 
p. 108). — Ver. 15. The towns of Zebulun were the following. 
Kattath, probably the same as Kitron, which is mentioned in 
Judg. i. 30 in connection with Nahalol, but which is still unknown. ' 
Nehalal, or Nahalol (Judg. i. 30), is supposed by V. de Velde (Mem. 
p. 335), who follows Rabbi Schwartz, to be the present village of 
Maalul, a place with rains on the south-west of Nazareth (see 
Seetzen, ii. p. 143 ; Rob. iii. App. ; and Ritter, Erdk. xvi. p. 700). 
Simron is supposed by Knobel to be the village of Semunieh (see at 
chap. xi. 1). But neither of these is very probable. Idalah is 
supposed by V. de Velde to be the village of Jeda or Jeida, on the 
west of Semunieh, where are a few relics of antiquity, though 
Robinson (Bibl. Res. p. 113) states the very opposite. Bethlehem 
(of Zebulun), which many regard as the home of the judge Ibzan 
(Judg. xii. 8), has been preserved under the old name in a miser- 

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CHAP. XIX. 17-23. 195 

able village on the north of Jeida and Semunieh (see Seetzen, ii. p. 
139 ; Bob. Bibl. Res. p. 113). The number of the towns is given 
as twelve, though only five are mentioned by name. It is true that 
some commentators have found the missing names in the border 
places mentioned in vers. 11-14, as, after deducting Chisloth-tabor 
and Dabrath, which belonged to Issachar, the names Sarid, Mara- 
lah, Dabbasheth, Japhia, Gittah-hepher, Eth-kazin, and Ohannathon 
give just seven towns. Nevertheless there is very little probability 
in this conjecture. For, in the first place, not only would it be a 
surprising thing to find the places mentioned as boundaries included 
among the towns of the territory belonging to the tribe, especially 
as some of the places so mentioned did not belong to Zebulun at 
all ; but the copula vav, with which the enumeration of the towns 
commences, is equally surprising, since this is introduced in other 
cases with O^n vrn (^'7?5)> e -9- chap, xviii. 21, xv. 21. And, in 
the second place, it is not a probable thing in itself, that, with the 
exception of the five towns mentioned in ver. 15, the other towns of 
Zebulun should all be situated upon the border. And lastly, the 
towns of Kartah and Dimnah, which Zebulun gave up to the Levites 
(chap. xxi. 34), are actually wanting. Under these circumstances, 
it is a natural conclusion that there is a gap in the text here, just 
as in chap. xv. 59 and xxi. 36. 

Vers. 17-23. The Inheritance of Issachar. — In this in- 
stance only towns are given, and the boundaries are not delineated, 
with the exception of the eastern portion of the northern boundary 
and the boundary line ; at the same time, they may easily be traced 
from the boundaries of the surrounding tribes. Issachar received 
for the most part the large and very fertile plain of Jezreel (see at 
chap. xvii. 16, and Bitter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 689 sqq.), and was bounded 
on the south by Man^sseh, on the west by Manasseh and Asher, on 
the north by Zebulun, and farther east by Naphtali also, and on 
the east by the Jordan. — Ver. 18. " And their boundary was towards 
Jezreel," i.e. their territory extended beyond Jezreel. Jezreel, the 
summer residence of Ahab and his house (1 Kings xviii. 45, 46, 
etc.), was situated upon a mountain, with an extensive and splendid 
prospect over the large plain that was called by its name. It was 
afterwards called Esdraela, a place described in the Onom. (s. v. 
Jezreel) as standing between Scythopolis and Legio ; it is the pre- 
sent Zerin, on the north-west of the mountains of Gilboa (see 
Seetzen, ii. pp. 155-6; Bob. iii. pp. 161 sqq.; Van de Velde, R. ii. 

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pp. 320 sqq.). Chesulloth, possibly the same as Chisloth-tabor (see 
at ver. 12). Sunem, the home of Abishag (1 Kings i. 3-15, etc.), 
also mentioned in 1 Sam. xxviii. 4 and 2 Kings iv. 8, was situated, 
according to the Onom., five Soman miles (two hours) to the south 
of Tabor ; it is the present Solam or Sulem, at the south-western 
foot of the Duhy or Little Hermon, an hour and a half to the north 
of Jezreel (see Rob. iii. pp. 170 sqq. ; Van de Velde, R. ii. p. 323). — 
Ver. 19. Haphraim, according to the Onom. (s. v. Aphraim) villa 
Affarcea, six Roman miles to the north of Legio, is identified by 
Knobel with the village of Afuleh, on the west of Sulem, and more 
than two hours to the north-east of Lejun (Rob. iii. pp. 163, 181). 
Sion, according to the Onom. villa juxta montem Thabor, has not 
yet been discovered. Anaharath is supposed by Knobel to be 
Na'urah, on the eastern side of the Little Hermon (Bibl. Res. p. 337) ; 
but he regards the text as corrupt, and following the Cod. Al. of 
the LXX., which has 'Pevdd and 'AppavW, maintains that the read- 
ing should be Archanath, to which Ardneh on the north of Jenin 
in the plain corresponds (Seetzen, ii. p. 156 ; Rob. iii. p. 157). But 
the circumstance that the Cod. Al. has two names instead of one 
makes its reading very suspicious. — Ver. 20. Harabbit is supposed 
by Knobel to be Araboneh, on the north-east of Araneh, at the 
southern foot of Gilboa (Rob. iii. p. 157). Kiskion, which was 
given up to the Levites (chap. xxi. 28) and is erroneously written 
Kedesh in 1 Chron. vi. 57, is unknown. This also applies to Abez 
or Ebez, which is never mentioned again. — Ver. 21. Remeth, for 
which Jarmuth stands in the list of Levitical towns in chap. xxi. 29, 
and Ramoth in 1 Chron. vi. 58, is also unknown. 1 En-gannim, 
which was also allotted to the Levites (chap. xxi. 29 ; also 1 Chron. 
v. 58, where it is called Anem), has been associated by Robinson 
(iii. p. 155) with the Fwala of Josephus, the present Jenin. The 
name En-gannim signifies fountain of gardens^ and Jenin stands at 
the southern side of the plain of Jezreel in the midst of gardens 

1 Knobel imagines Remeth, whose name signifies height, to be the Tillage of 
Wezar, on one of the western peaks of Gilboa (Seetzen, ii. p. 156 ; Rob. iii. 
p. 166, and Bibl. Res. p. 339), as the name also signifies " a lofty, inaccessible 
mountain, or a castle situated upon a mountain." This is certainly not impos- 
sible, but it is improbable. For this Mahometan village evidently derived its 
name from the fact that it has the appearance of a fortification when seen from 
a distance (see Rilter, Brdk. xv. p. 422). The name has nothing in common 
therefore with the Hebrew Remeth, and the travellers quoted by him say 
nothing at all about the ruins which he mentions in connection with Wezar 

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CHAP. XIX. 17-23. 197 

and orchards, which are watered by a copious spring (see Seetzen, 
ii. pp. 156 sqq.) ; " unless perhaps the place referred to is the heap 
of ruins called Um el Ghanim, on the south-east of Tabor, men- 
tioned by Berggren, ii. p. 240, and Van de Velde, Mem. p. 142 " 
(Knobel). En-chadda and Beth-pazzez are only mentioned here, and 
have not yet been discovered. According to Knobel, the former of 
the two may possibly be either the place by Gilboa called Judeideh, 
with a fountain named Ain Judeideh (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 337), 
or else Beit-kad or Kadd near Gilboa, mentioned by Seetzen (ii. 
p. 159) and Robinson (iii. p. 157). — Ver. 22. " And the boundary 
touched Tabor, Sahazim, and Beth-shemesh" Tabor is not the moun- 
tain of that name, but a town upon the mountain, which was given 
to the Levites, though not by Issachar but by Zebulun (1 Chron. 
vi. 62), and was fortified afresh in the Jewish wars (Josephus, 
Bell. Jud. iv. 1, 8). In this passage, however, it appears to be 
reckoned as belonging to Issachar, since otherwise there are not 
sixteen cities named. At the same time, as there are several dis- 
crepancies between the numbers given and the names actually 
mentioned, it is quite possible that in this instance also the number 
sixteen is incorrect. In any case, Tabor was upon the border of 
Zebulun (ver. 12), so that it might have been allotted to this tribe. 
There are still the remains of old walls and ruins of arches, houses, 
and other buildings to be seen upon Mount Tabor ; and round the 
summit there are the foundations of a thick wall built of large and 
to a great extent fluted stones (see Rob. iii. pp. 453 sqq. ; Seetzen, 
ii. p. 148 ; Buckingham, Syr. i. pp. 83 sqq.). The places which 
follow are to be sought for on the east of Tabor towards the Jordan, 
as the boundary terminated at the Jordan. Sachazitn (Shahazimah) 
Knobel connects with el Hazetheh, as the name, which signifies 
heights, points to a town situated upon hills ; and el Hazetheh stands 
upon the range of hills, bounding the low-lying land of Ard el 
Hamma, which belonged to Naphtali. The reason is a weak one, 
though the situation would suit. There is more probability in 
the conjecture that Beth-shemesh, which remained in the hands of 
the Canaanites (Judg. i. 33), has been preserved in the ruined 
village of Bessum (Rob. iii. p. 237), and that this new name is only 
a corruption of the old one, like Beth-shean and Beisan. It is pro- 
bable that the eastern portion of the northern boundary of Issachar, 
towards Naphtali, ran in a north-easterly direction from Tabor 
through the plain to Kefr Sabt, and thence to the Jordan along the 
Wady Bessum. It is not stated how far the territory of Issachar 

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ran down the valley of the Jordan (see the remarks on chap. xvii. 
11, p. 182). 

Vers. 24-31. The Inheritance of Ashek. — Asher received 
its territory along the Mediterranean Sea from Carmel to the 
northern boundary of Canaan itself. The description commences 
with the central portion, viz. the neighbourhood of Acco (ver. 25), 
going first of all towards the south (vers. 26, 27), and then to the 
north (vers. 28, 30). — Ver. 25. The territory of the Asherites was 
as follows. Helhath, which was given up to the Levites (chap. xxi. 
31, and 1 Chron. vi. 75, where Huhok is an old copyist's error), is 
the present Jelka, three hours to the east of Acco (Akka : SchoLz, 
Reise, p. 257), or Jerka, a Druse village situated upon an emi- 
nence, and judging from the remains, an ancient place (Van de 
Velde, R. i. p. 214; Rob. iii. App.). Halt, according to Knobel 
possibly Julis, between Jerka and Akka, in which case the present 
name arose from the form Halit, and t was changed into s. Beten, 
according to the Onom. (s. v. Barvat: Bathne) a vicus Bethbeten, 
eight Roman miles to the east of Ptolemais, has not yet been found. 
Achshaph is also unknown (see at chap. xi. 1). The Onom. («. v. 
Achsaph) says nothing more about its situation than that it was tn 
tribu Aser, whilst the statement made s. v. Acsaph QAicaafi), that 
it was villula Chasalus (tcmfin 'EI;a8ow), eight Roman miles from 
Diocsesarea ad radicem montis Thabor, leads into the territory of 
Zebulun. — Ver. 26. Alammalech has been preserved, so far as the 
name is concerned, in the Wady Maleh or Malik (Rob. Bibl. Res. 
p. 110), which runs into the Kishon, since in all probability the 
wady was named after a place either near it or within it. Amad 
is supposed by Knobel to be the present Haifa, about three hours to 
the south of Acre, on the sea, and this he identifies with the syca- 
more city mentioned by Strabo (xvi. 758), Ptolemy (v. 15, 5), and 
Pliny (h. n. v. 17), which was called Epha in the time of the 
Fathers (see Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 722 sqq.). In support of this 
he adduces the fact that the Hebrew name resembles the Arabic 
noun for sycamore, — an argument the weakness of which does not 
need to be pointed out. Misheal was assigned to the Levites (chap. 
xxi. 30, and 1 Chron. vi. 74, where it is called Mashal). Accord- 
ing to the Onom. (*. v. Masari) it was on the sea-coast near to 
Carmel, which is in harmony with the next clause, " and reacheth to 
Carmel westwards, and to Shihor-libnath." Carmel (i.e. fruit-field), 
which has acquired celebrity from the history of Elijah (1 Kings 

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CHAP. XIX. 24-81. 199 

xviii. 17 sqq.), is a wooded mountain ridge which stretcnes in a 
north-westerly direction on the southern side of the Kishon, and 
projects as a promontory into the sea. Its name, " fruit-field," is 
well chosen ; for whilst the lower part is covered with laurels and 
olive trees, the upper abounds in figs and oaks, and the whole moun- 
tain is full of the most beautiful flowers. There are also many 
caves about it (yid. v. Returner, Pal. pp. 43 sqq. ; and Ritter, Erdk. 
xvi. pp. 705-6). The Shihor-libnath is not the Belus, or glass- 
river, in the neighbourhood of Acre, but is to be sought for on the 
south of Oarmel, where Asher was bounded by Manasseh (chap, 
xvii. 10), i.e. to the south of Dor, which the Manassites received 
in the territory of Asher (chap. xvii. 11); it is therefore in all 
probability the Nahr Zerka, possibly the crocodile river of Pliny 
(Reland, Pal. p. 730), which is three hours to the south of Dor, 
and whose name (blue) might answer both to shihor (black) and 
libnath (white). — Ver. 27. From this point the boundary " Homed 
towards the east" probably following the river Libnath for a short 
distance upwards, "to Beth-dagon," which has not yet been dis- 
covered, and must not be identified with Beit Dejan between Yafa 
and Ludd (Diospolis), "and touched Zebulun and the valley of 
Jiphtah-el on the north of Beth-emek, and Nehiil, and went out on 
the left to Cabul," ue. on the northern side of it. The north-west 
boundary went from Zebulun into the valley of Jiphtah-el, i.e. the 
upper part of the Wady AbiUn (ver. 14). Here therefore the 
eastern boundary of Asher, which ran northwards from Wady 
Zerka past the western side of Issachar and Zebulun, touched the 
north-west corner of Zebulun. The two places, Beth-emek and 
Nehiel (the latter possibly the same as Neah in ver. 13), which 
were situated at the south of the valley of Jiphtah-el, have not 
been discovered ; they may, however, have been upon the border 
of Zebulun and yet have belonged to Asher. Cabul, the k&jm] 
XafSmKw of Josephus (Vit. § 43), in the district of Ptolemais, has 
been preserved in the village of Kabul, four hours to the south- 
east of Acre {Rob. BiW. Res. p. 88, and Van de Velde, R. i. p. 

In vers. 28-30 the towns and boundaries in the northern part of 
the territory of Asher, on the Phoenician frontier, are given, and 
the Phoenician cities Sidon, Tyre, and Achzib are mentioned as 
marking the boundary. First of all we have four towns in ver. 28, 
reaching as far as Sidon, no doubt in the northern district of Asher. 
Ebron has not yet been traced. As Abdon occurs among the towns 

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which Asher gave up to the Levites (chap. xxi. 30 ; 1 Chron. vi. 59), 
and in this verse also twenty MSS. have the reading Abdon, many 
writers, like Reland (Pal. p. 514), regard Ebron as a copyist's error 
for Abdon. This is possible enough, but it is by no means certain. 
As the towns of Asher are not all given in this list, since Acco, 
Achlab, and Helba (Judg. i. 31) are wanting, Abdon may also 
have been omitted. But we cannot attach any importance to the 
reading of the twenty mss., as it may easily have arisen from chap, 
xxi. 30 ; and in addition to the Masoretic text, it has against it the 
authority of all the ancient versions, in which the reading Ebron is 
adopted. But even Abdon cannot be traced with certainty. On 
the supposition that Abdon is to be read for Ebron, Knobel connects 
it with the present Abbadiyeh, on the east of Beirut (Rob. iii. App. ; 
Ritter, Erdk. xvii. pp. 477 and 710), or with Abidat, on the east 
(not the north) of Jobail (Byblus), mentioned by Burckhardt (Syr. 
p. 296) and Robinson (iii. App.) ; though he cannot adduce any 
other argument in support of the identity of Abdon with these two 
places, which are only known by name at present, except the resem- 
blance in their names. On the supposition, however, that Abdon 
is not the same as Ebron, Van de Velde's conjecture is a much more 
natural one ; namely, that it is to be found in the ruins of Abdeh, 
on the Wady Kurn, to the north of Acca. Rekob cannot be traced. 
The name occurs again in ver. 30, from which it is evident that 
there were two towns of this name in the territory of Asher (see at 
ver. 30). Sckultz and Van de Velde connect it with the village of 
Hatnul by the wady of that name, between Ras el Abyad and ftas 
en Nakura ; but this is too far south to be included in the district 
which reached to great Sidon. KnobeVs suggestion would be a 
more probable one, namely, that it is connected with the village of 
Hammana, on the east of Beirut, in the district of el Metn, on the 
heights of Lebanon, where there is now a Maronite monastery (vid. 
Seetzen, i. p. 260 ; Rob. iii. App. ; and Ritter, xvii. pp. 676 and 710), 
if it could only be shown that the territory of Asher reached as far 
to the east as this. Kanali cannot be the village of Kdna, not far 
from Tyre (Rob. iii. p. 384), but must have been farther north, and 
near to Sidon, though it has not yet been discovered. For the 
supposition that it is connected with the existing place called Ain 
Kanieh (Rob. iii. App. ; Ritter, xvii. pp. 94 and 703), on the north 
of Jezzin, is overthrown by the fact that that place is too far to the 
east to be thought of in this connection ; and neither Robinson nor 
Ritter makes any allusion to u Ain Kana, in the neighbourhood of 

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CHAP. XIX. 24-31. 201 

Jurjera, six hours to the south-east of Sidon," which Knobel men- 
tions without quoting his authority, so that the existence of such a 
place is very questionable. On Sidon, now Saida, see at chap. xi. 
8. — Ver. 29. " And the boundary turned (probably from the terri- 
tory of Sidon) to Ramah, to the fortified town of Zor" Robinson 
supposes that Rama is to be found in the village of Rameh, on the 
south-east of Tyre, where several ancient sarcophagi are to be seen 
(Bibl. Kes. p. 63). " The fortified town of Zor," i.e. Tyre, is not the 
insular Tyre, but the town of Tyre, which was on the mainland, 
the present Sur, which is situated by the sea-coast, in a beauti- 
ful and fertile plain (see Ritter, Erdk. xvii. p. 320, and Movers, 
Phonizier, ii. 1, pp. 118 sqq.). " And the boundary turned to Hosah, 
and the outgoings thereof were at the sea, by the side of the district of 
Achzib" Hosah is unknown, as the situation of Kausak, near to 
the Rameh already mentioned (Rob. Bibl. Kes. p. 61), does not suit 
in this connection. «no, lit. from the district, i.e. by the side of it. 
Achzib, where the Asherites dwelt with the Canaanites (Judg. i. 
31, 32), is the Ekdippa of the Greeks and Romans, according to the 
Onom. (». v. AchzipK) nine Roman miles, or according to the Itiner. 
Eieros. p. 584, twelve miles to the north of Acco by the sea, the 
present Zib, a very large village, three good hours to the north of 
Acre, — a place on the sea-coast, with considerable ruins of antiquity 
(see Ges. Thes. p. 674 ; Seetzen, ii. p. 109 ; Ritter, xvi. pp. 811-12). 
— In ver. 30 three separate towns are mentioned, which were 
probably situated in the eastern part of the northern district of 
Asher, whereas the border towns mentioned in vers. 28 and 29 
describe this district in its western half. Ummah (LXX. 'Afifid) 
may perhaps have been preserved in Kefr Ammeih, upon the Leba- 
non, to the south of Hammana, in the district of Jurd (Rob. iii. App.; 
Ritter, xvii. p. 710). Aphek is the present Afka (see at chap. xiii. 4) 
Rehob cannot be traced with certainty. If it is Hub, as Knobel sup- 
poses, and the name Hub, which is borne by a Maronite monastery 
upon Lebanon, in the diocese of el-Jebail (to the north-east of 
Jebail), is a corruption of Rehob, this would be the northernmost 
town of Asher (see Seetzen, i. pp. 187 sqq., and Ritter, xvii. p. 
791). The number " twenty-two towns and their villages" does not 
tally, as there are twenty-three towns mentioned in vers. 26-30, if 
we include Sidon, Tyre, and Achzib, according to Judg. i. 31, 32. 
The only way in which the numbers can be made to agree is to 
reckon Nehiel (ver. 27) as identical with Neah (ver. 13). But this 
point cannot be determined with certainty, as the Asherites received 

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other towns, such as Acco and Aclaph, which are wanting in this 
list, and may possibly have simply fallen out. 

Vers. 32-39. The Inheritance op Naphtali. — This fell 
between Asher and the upper Jordan. It reached northwards to the 
northern boundary of Canaan, and touched Zebulun and Issachar 
on the south. In vers. 33 and 34 the boundary lines are given : viz. 
in ver. 33 the western boundary towards Asher, with the northern 
and eastern boundaries : in ver. 34 the southern boundary ; but 
with the uncertainty which exists as to several of the places 
named, it cannot be traced with certainty. — Ver. 33. " Its boun- 
dary was (its territory reached) from Heleph, from the oak-forest 
at Zaanannim, and Adami Neheb and Jabneel to Lakkum; and 
its outgoings were the Jordan." Heleph is unknown, though in 
all probability it was to the south of Zaanannim, and not very 
far distant. According to Judg. iv. 11, the oak-forest (allon : see 
the remarks on Gen. xii. 6) at Zaanannim was near Kedesh, on 
the north-west of Lake Huleh. There are still many oaks in that 
neighbourhood (Rob. Bibl. Ees. p. 386) ; and on the south of Bint 
Jebail Robinson crossed a low mountain-range which was covered 
with small oak trees (Pal. Hi. p. 372). Adami Iiannekeb, i.e. 
Adami of the pass {Neheb, judging from the analogy of the Arabic, 
signifying foramen, via inter montes), is supposed by Knobel to be 
Deir-elrahmar, i.e. red cloister, a place which is still inhabited, 
three hours to the north-west of Baalbek, on the pass from the 
cedars to Baalbek (Seetzen, i. pp. 181, 185 ; Burckhardt, Syr. p. 60 ; 
and Ritter, Erdk. xvii. p. 150), so called from the reddish colour of 
the soil in the neighbourhood, which would explain the name Adami. 
Knobel also connects Jabneel with the lake Jemun, Jemuni, or Jam- 
mune, some hours to the north-west of Baalbek, on the eastern side 
of the western Lebanon range (Rob. Bibl. Kes. p. 548 ; Ritter, xvii. 
pp. 304 sqq.), where there are still considerable ruins of a very early 
date to be found, especially the ruins of an ancient temple and a 
celebrated place of pilgrimage, with which the name " God's build- 
ing" agrees. And lastly, he associates Lakkum with the mountains 
of Lokham, as the northern part of Lebanon on the Syrian moun- 
tains, from the latitude of Laodicea to that of Antioch on the 
western side of the Orontes, is called by the Arabian geographers 
Isztachri, Abulfeda, and others. So far as the names are concerned, 
these combinations seem appropriate enough, but they are hardly 
tenable. The resemblance between the names Lakkum and Lokham 

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CHAP. XIX. 82-39. 203 

is only in appearance, as the Hebrew name is written with p and 
the Arabic with 3. Moreover, the mountains of Lokham are much 
too far north for the name to be adduced as an explanation of 
Lakkum. The interpretation of Adatni Neheb and Jabneel is also 
irreconcilable with the circumstance that the lake Jamun was two 
hours to the west of the red convent, so that the boundary, which 
starts from the west, and is drawn first of all towards the north, and 
then to the north-east and east, must have run last of all from the 
red convent, and not from the Jamun lake to the Jordan. As 
Jabneel is mentioned after Adami Neheb, it must be sought for to 
the east of Adami Nekeb, whereas the Jamun lake lies in the very 
opposite direction, namely, directly to the west of the red convent. 
The three places mentioned, therefore, cannot be precisely deter- 
mined at present. The Jordan, where the boundary of Asher ter- 
minated, was no doubt the upper Jordan, or rather the Nahr 
Hasbany, one of the sources of the Jordan, which formed, together 
with the Huleh lake and the Jordan itself, between Lake Huleh 
and the Sea of Tiberias, and down to the point where it issues from 
the latter, the eastern boundary of Asher. — Ver. 34. From the 
Jordan below the Lake of Tiberias, or speaking more exactly, from 
the point at which the Wady Bessum enters the Jordan, " the boun- 
dary (of Asher) turned westwards to Asnoth-tabor, and went thence 
out to ffukkok." This boundary, i.e. the southern boundary of Asher, 
probably followed the course of the Wady Bessum from the Jordan, 
which wady was the boundary of Issachar on the north-east, and 
then ran most likely from Kefr Sabt (see at ver. 22) to Asnoth- 
tabor, i.e., according to the Onom. (e. v. Azanoth), a vicus ad regio- 
nem Diocaesareoe pertinens in campestribus, probably on the' south- 
east of Dioccesarea, i.e. Sepphoris, not far from Tabor, to which the 
boundary of Issachar extended (ver. 22). Hukkok has not yet been 
traced. Robinson (Bibl. Ees. p. 82) and Van de Velde (Mem. p. 322) 
are inclined to follow Rabbi Parchi of the fourteenth century, and 
identify this place with the village of Yakuk, on the north-west of 
the Lake of Gennesareth ; but this village is too far to the north-east 
to have formed the terminal point of the southern boundary of 
Naphtali, as it ran westwards from the Jordan. After this Naphtali 
touched " Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west, and Judah by the 
Jordan toward the sun-rising or east." " The Jordan" is in appo- 
sition to " Judah," in the sense of " Judah of the Jordan," like 
u Jordan of Jericho " in Num. xxii. 1, xxvi. 3, etc. The Masoretic 
pointing, which separates these two words, was founded upon some 

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false notion respecting this definition of the boundary, and caused 
the commentators great perplexity, until C. v. Raumer succeeded in 
removing the difficulty, by showing that the district of the sixty 
towns of Jair, which was upon the eastern side of the Jordan, is 
called Judah here, or reckoned as belonging to Judah, because Jair, 
the possessor of these towns, was a descendant of Judah on the 
father's side through Hezron (1 Chron. ii. 5, 21, 22) ; whereas in 
chap. xiii. 30, and Num. xxxii. 41, he is reckoned contra morem, 
i.e. against the rule laid down in Num. xxxvi. 7, as a descendant 
of Manasseh, on account of his descent from Machir the Manassite, 
on his mother's side. 1 

Vers. 35 sqq. The fortified towns of Naphtali were the following. 
Ziddim : unknown, though Knobel suggests that " it may possibly 
be preserved in Chirbet es Saudeh, to the west of the southern 
extremity of the Lake of Tiberias (Rob. iii. App.) ;" but this place is 
to the west of the Wady Bessum, i.e. in the territory of Issachar. 
Zer is also unknown. As the LXX. and Syriac give the name as 
Zor, Knobel connects it with Kerak, which signifies fortress as well 
as Zor (= liVD), a heap of ruins at the southern end of the lake 
(Rob. iii. p. 263), the place which Josephus calls Tarichece (see 
Reload, p. 1026), — a very doubtful combination ! Hammath (i.e. 
thermce), a Levitical town called Hammoth-dor in chap. xxi. 32, 
and Hammon in 1 Chron. vi. 61, was situated, according to state- 
ments in the Talmud, somewhere near the later city of Tiberias, on 
the western shore of the Lake of Gennesareth, and was no doubt 
identical with the kvjiti 'A/i/juiow in the neighbourhood of Tiberias, 
a place with warm baths (Jos. Ant. xviii. 2, 3 ; Bell. Jud. iv. 1, 3). 
There are warm springs still to be found half an hour to the south 
of Tabaria, which are used as baths (Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 573-4 ; 
Rob. iii. pp. 258 sqq.). Rakkath (according to the Talm. and Rabb. 
ripa littus) was situated, according to rabbinical accounts, in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Hammath, and was the same place as 
Tiberias ; but the account given by Josephus (Ant. xviii. 2, 3 ; cf. 
Bell. Jud. ii. 9, 1) respecting the founding of Tiberias by Herod the 
tetrarch is at variance with this ; so that the rabbinical statements 
appear to have no other foundation than the etymology of the name 

1 See C: v. Rammer's article on " Judaea on the east of Jordan," in Tholuck's 
litt. Anz. 1834, Nos. 1 and 2, and his Palastina, pp. 233 sqq. ed. 4 ; and for the 
arbitrary attempts that had been made to explain the passage by alterations of 
the text and in other ways, see RosenmUlkr's Bibl. Alterthk. ii. 1 , pp. 301-2 ; and 
KeiFs Comra. on Joshua, pp. 438-9. 

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CHAP. XIX. 35-39. 205 

Rakkath. Chinneretli, is given in the Targums as ip^?, ">pi3' , J, ">Di3J, 
i.e. Tewno-dp. According to Josephus (Bell. Jud. iii. 10, 8), this 
name was given to a strip of land on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, 
which was distinguished foi its natural beauty, its climate, and its 
fertility, namely the long plain, about twenty minutes broad and 
an hour long, which stretches along the western shore of this lake, 
from el-Mejdel on the south to Khan Minyeh on the north (Burck- 
hardt, Syr. pp. 558-9 ; Rob. iii. pp. 279, 290). It must have been in 
this plain that the town of Chinnereth stood, from which the plain 
and lake together derived the name of Chinnereth (Deut. iii. 17) or 
Chinneroth (chap. xi. 2), and the lake alone the name of " Sea of 
Chinnereth," or " Sea of Chinneroth" (chap. xii. 3, xiii. 27 ; Num. 
xxxiv. 11). — Ver. 36. Adamah is unknown. Knobel is of opinion, 
that as Adamah signifies red, the place referred to may possibly be 
Ras el Ahmar, i,e. red-Jiead, on the north of Safed (Rob. iii. p. 370 ; 
Bibl. Ees. p. 69). Ratnah is the present Rameh (Ramed), a large 
well-built village, inhabited by Christians and Druses, surrounded 
by extensive olive plantations, and provided with an excellent well. 
It stands upon the slope of a mountain, in a beautiful plain on the 
south-west of Safed, but without any relics of antiquity (see Seetzen, 
ii. p. 129 ; Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 78-9). Hazor has not yet been traced 
with certainty (see at chap. xi. 1). — Ver. 37. Kedesh (see at chap, 
xii. 2). Edrei, a different place from the town of the same name 
in Bashan (chap. i. 2, 4), is still unknown. En-hazor is probably 
to be sought for in Tell Hazur and Ain Hazur, which is not very 
far distant, on the south-west of Rameh, though the ruins upon 
Tell Hazur are merely the ruins of an ordinary village, with one 
single cistern that has fallen to pieces {Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 80, 81). — 
Ver. 38. Jireon (Iron) is probably the present village of Jarun, an 
hour to the south-east of Bint-Jebeil, with the ruins of an ancient 
Christian church (Seetzen, ii. pp. 123-4 ; Van de Velde, R. i. p. 133). 
MigdaUel, so far as the name is concerned, might be Magdala (Matt, 
xv. 39), on the western shore of the Lake of Gennesareth, between 
Capernaum and Tiberias (Rob. iii. pp. 279 sqq.) ; the only difficulty 
is, that the towns upon this lake have already been mentioned in 
ver. 35. Knobel connects Migdal-el with Chorem, so as to form one 
name, and finds Migdal el Chorem in the present Mejdel Kerum, on 
the west of Rameh (Seetzen, ii. p. 130 ; Van de Velde, i. p. 21 5), a 
common Mahometan village. But there is nothing to favour this 
combination, except the similarity in sound between the two names ; 
whereas it has against it not only the situation of the village, which 

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was so far to the west, being not more than three hours from Acca, 
that the territory of Naphtali can hardly have reached so far, but 
also the very small resemblance between Cliorem and Kenan, not to 
mention the fact that the accents separate Chorem from Migdal-el, 
whilst the omission of the copula (yav) before Chorem cannot have 
any weight, as the copula is also wanting before Zer and Rakkaih. 
Chorem and Beth-anath have not yet been discovered. From the 
latter place Naphtali was unable to expel the Ganaanites (Judg. i. 
33). Beth-ahemesh, a different place from the town of the same 
name in Issachar (ver. 22), is also still unknown. The total number 
of towns is given as nineteen, whereas only sixteen are mentioned 
by name. It is hardly correct to seek for the missing places among 
the border towns mentioned in vers. 33 and 34, as the enumeration 
of the towns themselves is introduced by "i¥3© nyi in ver. 35, and 
in this way the list of towns is separated from the description of the 
boundaries. To this we may add, that the town of Karthan or 
Kirjathaim, which Naphtali gave up to the Levites (chap. xxi. 32 ; 
1 Chron. vi. 61), does not occur either among the border towns or 
in the list of towns, from which we may see that the list of towns 
is an imperfect one. 

Vers. 40-48. The Inheritance op the Tribe op Dan. — 
This fell to the west of Benjamin, between Judah and Ephraim, 
and was formed by Judah giving up some of its northern towns, 
and Ephraim some of its southern towns, to the Danites, so as to 
furnish them with a territory proportionate to their number. It 
was situated for the most part in the lowland (slieplwlaK), includ- 
ing, however, the hill country between the Mediterranean and the 
mountains, and extended over a portion of the plain of Sharon, so 
that it belonged to one of the most fruitful portions of Palestine. 
The boundaries are not given, because they could be traced from 
those of the adjoining territories. — Ver. 41. From Judah the 
families of Dan received Zorea and Eshtaol (see at chap. xv. 33), 
and Ir-shetnesh, also called Beth-shemesh (1 Kings iv. 9), on the 
border of Judah (see chap. xv. 10) ; but of these the Danites did 
not take possession, as they were given up by Judah to the Levites 
(chap. xxi. 16 : see at chap. xv. 10). Saalabbin, or Sacdiim, which 
remained in the hands of the Ganaanites (Judg. i. 35), is frequently 
mentioned in the history of David and Solomon (2 Sam. xxiii. 32 ; 
1 Chron. xi. 33 ; 1 Kings iv. 9). It may possibly be the present 
Selbit (Bob. iii. App. ; Bibl. Bes. p. 144), some distance to the north 

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CHAP. XIX. 40-48. 207 

of the three places mentioned (Knobet). Ajalon, which was also 
not taken from the Canaanites (Judg. i. 35), was assigned to the 
Levites (chap. xxi. 24 ; 1 Chron. vi. 54). It is mentioned in the 
wars with the Philistines (1 Sam. xiv. 31 ; 1 Chron. viii. 13), was 
fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chron. xi. 10), and was taken by the 
Philistines from King Ahaz (2 Chron. xxviii. 18). It has been 
preserved in the village of Yah (see at chap. x. 12). Jethlah is 
only mentioned here, and has not yet been discovered. So far as 
the name is concerned, it may possibly be preserved in the Wady 
Atallah, on the west of Yalo (Bibl. Res. pp. 143-4).— Ver. 43. Eton, 
which is mentioned again in 1 Kings iv. 9, with the addition of 
Betk-hanan, has not yet been traced ; according to Knobel, it " may 
possibly be Ellin, near Timnath and Beth-shemesh, mentioned by 
Robinson in his Pal. vol. iii. App." Thimna (Thimnathah) and 
Elcron, on the boundary of Judah (see at chap. xv. 10, 11). — Ver. 
44. EUeheh and Gibbethon, which were allotted to the Levites (chap. 
xxi. 23), have not yet been discovered. Under the earliest kings 
of Israel, Gibbethon was in the hands of the Philistines (1 Kings xv. 
27, xvi. 15, 17). Baalath was fortified by Solomon (1 Kings ix. 18). 
According to Joeephus (Ant. viii. 6, 1), it was " Baleth in the 
neighbourhood of Geser;" probably the same place as BaalaJi, on the 
border of Judah (chap. xv. 11). — Ver. 45. Jehud has probably been 
preserved in the village of Jehudieh (H%dieK), two hours to the 
north of Lndd (Diospolis), in a splendidly cultivated plain (Berg- 
gren, R. iii. p. 162 ; Mob. iii. p. 45, and App.). Bene-berak, the 
present Ibn Abrah, an hour from Jehud (Scliolz, R. p. 256). Gath- 
rimmon, which was given to the Levites (chap. xxi. 24 ; 1 Chron. 
vL 54), is described in the Onom. (s. v.~) as villa prcegrandis in duo- 
decimo milliario Diospoleos pergentibue Eleutheropolin, — a statement 
which points to the neighbourhood of Thimnah, though it has not 
yet been discovered. — Ver. 46. Me-jarkon, i.e. aquce Jlavedinis, and 
Rakhm, are unknown ; but from the clause which follows, " with 
the territory before Japho," it must have been in the neighbourhood 
of Joppa (Jaffa). u Tlie territory before Japho" includes the places 
in the environs of Joppa. Consequently Joppa itself does not 
appear to have belonged to the territory of Dan, although, accord- 
ing to Judg. v. 17, the Danites must have had possession of this 
town. Japho, the well-known port of Palestine (2 Chron. ii. 15 ; 
Ezra iii. 7 ; Jonah i. 3), which the Greeks called 'Icrmrq (Joppa), 
the present Jaffa (see v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 204-5, and Ritter, Erdk. 
xvi. pp. 574 sqq.). — Ver. 47. Besides this inheritance, the Danites 

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of Zorea and Eshtaol went, after Joshua's deatb, and conquered the 
town of Leshem or Laish, on the northern boundary of Canaan, 
and gave it the name of Dan, as the territory which was allotted to 
them under Joshua was too small for them, on account of their 
inability to drive out the Amorites from several of their towns 
(Judg. i. 34, 35, xviii. 2). For further particulars concerning this 
conquest, see Judg. xviii. Leshem or Laish (Judg. xviii. 7, 27), i.e. 
Dan, which the Onom. describes as vieulus quarto a Paneade mil- 
liario euntibus Tyrum, was the present Tell el Kadi, or el Leddan, 
the central source of the Jordan, to the west of Banjas, a place with 
ancient ruins (see Rob. iii. p. 351 ; Bibl. Res. pp. 390, 393). It was 
there that Jeroboam set up the golden calves (1 Kings xii. 29, 30, 
etc.) ; and it is frequently mentioned as the northernmost city of the 
Israelites, in contrast with Beersheba, which was in the extreme 
south of the land (Judg. xx. 1 ; 1 Sam. iiL 20 ; 2 Sam. iii. 10 : see 
also Bitter, Erdk. xv. pp. 207 sqq.). 

Vers. 49-51. Conclusion of the Distribution of the Land. — Vers. 
49, 50. When the land was distributed among the tribes according 
to its territories, the Israelites gave Joshua an inheritance in the 
midst of them, according to the command of Jehovah, namely the 
town of Timnath-serah, upon the mountains of Ephraim, for which 
he asked, and which he finished building ; and there he dwelt until 
the time of his death (chap. xxiv. 30 ; Judg. ii. 9). " According 
to the word of the Lord" {lit. " at the mouth of Jehovah") does not 
refer to a divine oracle communicated through the high priest, but 
to a promise which Joshua had probably received from God at the 
same time as Caleb, viz. in Kadesh, but which, like the promise 
given to Caleb, is not mentioned in the Pentateuch (see at chap, 
xv. 13, xiv. 9). Timnath-serah, called Timnath-heres in Judg. ii. 9, 
must not be confounded with Timnah in the tribe of Dan (ver. 43, 
chap. xv. 10), as is the case in the Onom. It has been preserved in 
the present ruins and foundation walls of a place called Tibneh, 
which was once a large town, about seven hours to the north of 
Jerusalem, and two hours to the west of Jiljilia, standing upon two 
mountains, with many caverns that have been used as graves (see 
Eli Smith in Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 562 sqq., and Rob. Bibl. Res. 
p. 141).; — Ver. 51. Closing formula to the account of the distri- 
bution of the land, which refers primarily to chap, xviii. 1 sqq., as 
the expression " in Shiloh" shows, but which also includes chap, 
xiv.— xvii. 

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CHAP. XX. 209 


After the distribution of tie land by lot among the tribes of 
Israel, six towns were set apart, in accordance with the Mosaic 
instructions in Num. xxxv., as places of refuge for unintentional 
manslayers. Before describing the appointment and setting apart 
of these towns, the writer repeats in vers. 1-6 the main points of the 
Mosaic law contained in Num. xxxv. 9-29 and Deut. xix. 1-13, 
with reference to the reception of the manslayers into these towns. 
M? un, u give to you" i.e. appoint for yourselves, " cities of refuge," 
etc. In ver. 6, the two regulations, " until he stand before the con- 
gregation for judgment," and " until the death of the high priest," are 
to be understood, in accordance with the clear explanation given in 
Num. xxxv. 24, 25, as meaning that the manslayer was to live in 
the town till the congregation had pronounced judgment upon the 
matter, and either given him up to the avenger of blood as a wilful 
murderer, or taken him back to the city of refuge as an unin- 
tentional manslayer, in which case he was to remain there till the 
death of the existing high priest. For further particulars, see at 
Num. xxxv. — Vers. 7-9. List of the cities: Levitical cities were 
chosen, for the reasons explained in the Commentary on the Penta- 
teuch, iii. p. 262. — Ver. 7. In the land on this side (viz. Canaan) 
they sanctified the following cities. In the north, Kedesh (see at 
chap. xii. 22), in Galil, on the mountains of Naphtali. Galil (a 
circle) was a district in the northern part of the subsequent province 
of Galilee ; it is called O'fiin 793, circle of the heathen, in Isa. viii. 
23, because an unusually large number of heathen or. Gentiles were 
living there. In the centre of the land, Shechem, upon the moun- 
tains of Ephraim (see at chap. xvii. 7). And in the south, Kirjath- 
arba, i.e. Hebron, upon the mountains of Judah (see at chap. x. 3). 
— Ver. 8. The cities in the land on the other side had already been 
appointed by Moses (Deut. iv. 41-43). For the sake of complete- 
ness, they are mentioned here again : viz. Bezer, Ramotk in Gilead, 
and Golan (see at Deut. iv. 43). The subject is brought to a close 
in ver. 9. rnjflBn 'iy signifies neither urbes congregationis (Kimchi) 
nor urbes asyli (Gesenius), but cities of appointment, — those which 
received the appointment already given and repeated again in what 

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Vers. 1-3. After the cities of refuge had been set apart, the 
towns were also selected, which the different tribes were to give up 
for the priests and Levites to dwell in according to the Mosaic 
instructions in Num. xxxv. 1-8, together with the necessary fields 
as pasturage for their cattle. -The setting apart of the cities of 
refuge took place before the appointment of the Levitical towns, 
because the Lord had given commandment through Moses in Num. 
xxxv. 6, that they were to give to the Levites the six cities of 
refuge, and forty-two cities besides, i.e. forty-eight cities in all. 
From the introductory statement in vers. 1, 2, that the heads of 
the fathers (see Ex. vi. 14, 25) of the Levitical families reminded 
the distribution committee at Shiloh of the command of God that 
had been issued through Moses, that towns were to be given them 
to dwell in, we cannot infer, as Calvin has done, that the Levites 
had been forgotten, till they came and asserted their claims. All 
that is stated in these words is, " that when the business had reached 
that point, they approached the dividers of the land in the common 
name of the members of their tribe, to receive by lot the cities 
appointed for them. They simply expressed the commands of God, 
and said in so many words, that they had been deputed by the 
Levites generally to draw lots for those forty-eight cities with their 
suburbs, which had been appointed for that tribe" (Masius). The 
clause appended to Shiloh, u in the land of Canaan" points to the 
instructions in Num. xxxiv. 29 and xxxv. 10, to give the children 
of Israel their inheritance in the land of Canaan. 

Vers. 4-8. Number of the cities which the different families of 
Levi received from each tribe. The tribe of Levi was divided into 
three branches, — the Gershonites, the Kohathites, and the Merar- 
ites (see Num. iii. and Ex. vi. 16-19). The Kohathites again were 
divided into the four families of Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and 
Uzziel (Ex. vi. 18) ; and the family of Amram into two lines, con- 
sisting of the descendants of Moses and Aaron (Ex. vi. 20). The 
priesthood was committed to the line of Aaron (Num. xviii. 1-7) ; 
but the other descendants of Amram, i.e. the descendants of Moses, 
were placed on a par with the other descendants of Levi, and 
numbered among the simple Levites (Num. iii. ; 1 Chron. v. 27- 
vi. 34). The towns in which the different families of Levi were to 
dwell were determined by lot; but in all probability the towns 

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CHAP. XXI. 4-8. 211 

which each tribe was to give up to them were selected first of all, 
so that the lot merely decided to which branch of the Levites each 
particular town was to belong. — Ver. 4. The first lot came out for 
the families of Kohath, and among these again for the sons of 
Aaron, i.e. the priests. They received thirteen towns from the 
tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. " This did not happen 
by chance ; but God, according to His wonderful counsel, placed 
them just in that situation which He had determined to select for 
His own temple" (Calvin). — Ver. 5. The rest of the Kohathites, 
Le. the descendants of Moses, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, received 
ten towns from Ephraim, Dan, and half Manasseh. — Ver. 6. The 
Gershonites received thirteen towns from Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, 
and half Manasseh in Bashan. — Ver. 7. The Merarites received 
twelve towns from Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun. 

The number of towns thus assigned to the Levites will not 
appear too large, if we consider, (1) that judging from the number 
of towns in so small a land, the greater part of them cannot 'have 
been very large ; (2) that the Levites were not the sole possessors 
of these towns, but simply received the number of dwelling-houses 
which they actually required, with meadow land for their cattle in 
the suburbs of the towns, whilst the rest of the space still belonged 
to the different tribes ; and (3) that if the 23,000 males, the 
number of the Levites at the second census which was taken in 
the steppes of Moab, were distributed among the thirty-five towns, 
it would give 657 males, or 1300 male and female Levites for 
every town. On the other hand, offence has been taken at the 
statement, that thirteen towns were given up to the priests ; and 
under the idea that Aaron could hardly have had descendants 
enough in Joshua's time from his two sons who remained alive to 
fill even two towns, to say nothing of thirteen, the list has been set 
down as a document which was drawn up at a much later date 
{Maurer, etc.). But any one who takes this ground not only attri- 
butes to the distribution commission the enormous shortsightedness 
of setting apart towns for the priests merely to meet their existing 
wants, and without any regard to the subsequent increase which 
would take place in their numbers, but he also forms too large an 
estimate of the size of the towns, and too small an estimate of the 
number of the priests. Moreover, it was never intended that tho 
towns should be filled with priests' families; and the number of 
priests alive at that time is not mentioned anywhere. But if we 
bear in mind that Aaron died in the fortieth year of the journeys 

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of the Israelites, at the age of 123 years (Nam. xxxiii. 38), ana 
therefore was eighty-three years old at the time of the exodus from 
Egypt, his descendants might have entered upon the fourth genera- 
tion seven years after his death. Now his two sons had twenty-four 
male descendants, who were the founders of the twenty-four classes 
instituted hy David (1 Chron. xxiv.). And if we only reckon six 
males to each of the next generations, there would be 144 in the 
third generation, who would be between the ages of twenty-five and 
thirty-five when the distribution of the land took place, and who 
might therefore have had 864 male children living at that time ; so 
that the total number of males in the families of the priests might 
have amounted to more than 1000, that is to say, might have con- 
sisted of at least 200 families. 

Vers. 9-42. Names of tlte Levitical Towns. 1 — Vers. 9-19. The 
priests' towns : (a) in Judah and Simeon (vers. 9-16) ; (b) in Ben- 
jamin (vers. 17—19). — Vers. 9 sqq. In the tribe of Judah the 
priests received Kirjath-arba, or Hebron, with the necessary pas- 
turage round about the town (see Num. xxxv. 2), whilst the field 
of the town with the villages belonging to it remained in the hands 
of Caleb and his family as their possession (chap. xiv. 12 sqq.). — 
Ver. 13 contains a repetition of ver. 11, occasioned by the paren- 
thetical remark in ver. 12. They also received Libnali in the 
lowland (see chap. xv. 42, x. 29) ; Jattir (chap. xv. 48), EshtemoaJi 

1 There is a similar list in 1 Chron. vi. 54-81, though in some respects 
differently arranged, and with many variations in the names, and corruptions of 
different kinds in the text, which show that the author of the Chronicles has 
inserted an ancient document that was altogether independent of the book before 
us. Thus in the Chronicles there are only forty-two towns mentioned by name 
instead of forty-eight, although it is stated in vers. 45 sqq. that 13 + 10 + 13 
+ 12, i.e. forty-eight towns in all, were given up to the Levites. The names 
omitted are (1) Jutta in Judah; (2) Gibeon in Benjamin; (3 and 4) Ethekeh 
and Gibbethon in Dan ; (5 and 6) and Jokneam and Nahalal in Zebulun (com- 
pare vers. 16, 17, 23, 34, and 85, with 1 Chron. vi. 59, 60, 68, 77. In some 
cases also the author of the Chronicles gives different names, though some of 
them indeed are only different forms of the same name, e.g. Hilen for Holon, 
Alemeth for Almon, Ashtaroth for Beeshterah, Mashal for Misheal, Hammon for 
Hammoth-dor, Kirjathaim for Kartan (compare 1 Chron. vi. 58, 60, 71, 74, 76, 
with Josh. xxi. 15, 18, 27, SO, 32) ; or in some cases possibly different names of 
the same town, e.g. Jokmeam for Kibzaim, and Ramoth for Jarmuth, and Aaem 
for En-gannim (1 Chron. vi. 68, 83, and Josh. xxi. 22, 29) ; whilst some evidently 
give the true reading, viz. Ashan for Ain, and Bileam for Gath-rimmon (1 Chron. 
vi. 59, 70 ; Josh. xxi. 16, 25). The majority, however, are faulty readings, viz. 
Aner for Tanach, Kedesh for Eishon, Hukok for Helkath, Rimmon and Tabor 
(compare 1 Chron. vi. 70, 72, 75, 77, with Josh, xxi 25, 28, 31, 34, 35). 

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CHAP. XXI. 6-42. 213 

(chap. xv. 50), Hohn (chap. xv. 51), and Debir (chap. xv. 15, 49, 
x. 38) on the mountains of Judah ; Ain, for which we should read 
Ashan (1 Chron. vi. 44 ; cf. chap. xv. 42), in the tribe of Simeon 
(chap. xix. 7) ; Juttah on the mountains (chap. xv. 55) ; and Beth- 
shemesh in the lowland (chap. xv. 10). — Vers. 17 sqq. In the 
tribe of Benjamin they received Gibeon (see chap. ix. 3), Geba 
(chap, xviii. 24), also Anathoth and Almon, which are missing in 
the list of the towns of Benjamin (see at chap, xviii. 24). — Vers. 
20-42. Towns of the Levites.— Vers. 20-26. The other Kohathites 
received four towns from the tribe of Ephraim (vers. 21, 22), four 
from Dan (vers. 23, 24), and two from the half tribe of Manasseh 
on this side of the Jordan (ver. 25). From Ephraim they received 
Shechem (see chap. xvii. 7), Gezer (chap. x. 33), Kibzaim — for 
which we find Jochneam in 1 Chron. vi. 68, possibly a different 
name for the same place, which has not yet been discovered — and 
BetJt-horon, whether Upper or Lower is not stated (see chap. x. 10). 
From Dan they received EUhekeh and Gibbelhon (chap. xix. 44), 
Ajalon and Gath-rimmon (chap. xix. 42, 45). From half Manasseh 
they received Taanach (chap. xvii. 11, xii. 21) and Gath-rimmon — 
this is evidently a copyist's error, occasioned by the wandering of the 
eye to the previous verse, for Bileam (1 Chron. vi. 70), i.e. Jibleam 
(chap. xvii. 11). — Ver. 26. Thus they received ten towns in all. — 
Vers. 27-33. The Gershonites received two towns from eastern 
Manasseh : Golan (chap. xx. 8 ; Deut. iv. 43), and Beeshterah. 
Beeshterah (contracted from Beth-esliterah, the house of Astarte), 
called Ashtaroth in 1 Chron. vi. 56, may possibly have been the 
capital of king Og (Ashtaroth-karnaim, Gen. xiv. 5), if not one of 
the two villages named Astaroth, which are mentioned by Eusebius 
in the Onom. (s. v. Attharoth-Jcarnaim), and are described by 
Jerome as duo castella in Batancea, novem inter se millibus separata 
inter Adaram et Abilam civilates, though Adara and Abila are too 
indefinite to determine the situation with any exactness. At any 
rate, the present Busra on the east of the Hauran cannot be thought 
of for a moment ; for this was called Booaopa or Boaoppd, i.e. Jr ^, 
in ancient times, as it is at the present day (see 1 Mace. v. 26, and 
Joseph. Ant." xii. 8, 3), and was corrupted into Bostra by the Greeks 
and Romans. Nor can it be the present KuTat Bustra on the north 
of Banyas upon a shoulder of the Hermon, where there are the 
ruins of a magnificent building, probably a temple of ancient date 
(Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 93, 94 ; Rob. Bibl. Kes. pp. 414-15); as Knobel 
supposes, since the territory of the Israelites did not reach so far north, 

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the land conquered by Joshua merely extending to Baal-gad, t.e. 
Banyas, at the foot of the Hermon (see chap. xi. 17), and the land 
to the east of the Jordan, or Bashan, only to the Hermon itself, or 
more correctly, merely to the districts of Geshuri and Maacah at the 
south-eastern border of the Hermon (see at Deut. iii. 8, 14). — Vers. 
28, 29. From Issachar they received four towns : Kishon (chap. xix. 
20), Dabrath (chap. xix. 12), Jarmulh = Remeth (see chap. xix. 21), 
and En-gannim (chap. xix. 21, or Anem, 1 Chron. vi. 73). — Vers. 
30, 31. From Asher they received four towns : Miskal or Masai 
(chap. xix. 26; cf. 1 Chron. vi. 74), Abdon (chap. xix. 28), Hd- 
hath (chap. xix. 25, called Hukoh in 1 Chron. vi. 75, probably 
a copyist's error), and Rehob (chap. xix. 28). — Ver. 32. From 
Naphtali they received three towns: Kedesh (chap. xix. 37 and 
xii. 22), Hammoih-dor (called Hammath in chap. xix. 35, and 
Hammon in 1 Chron. vi. 76), and Kartan (contracted from Kartain 
for Kirjathaim, 1 Chron. vi. 76 ; like Doihan in 2 Kings vi. 13, 
from Dothain in Gen. xxxvii. 17). Kartan is not mentioned among 
the towns of Naphtali in chap. xix. 33 sqq. ; according to Knobel 
it may possibly be Katanah, a place with ruins to the north-east 
of Safed (Van de Velde, Mem. p. 147). — Ver. 33. They received 
thirteen towns in all. — Vers. 34-40. The Merarites received twelve 
towns. From the tribe of Zebulun they received four : Jokneam 
(chap. xix. 11 : see at chap. xii. 22), Kartah and Dimnah? which 
are not mentioned among the towns of Zebulun in chap. xix. 11 sqq., 
and are unknown, and Nahalal (chap. xix. 15). — Vers. 36, 37. From 
Reuben they received four : Bezer (chap. xx. 8 : see Deut. iv. 43), 
Jahza, Kedemoth, and Mephaath (chap. xiii. 18).' — Vers. 38, 39. 
From Gad they received four towns: Ratnoth in Gilead, and 
Mahanaim (see at chap. xiii. 26), Heshbon (chap. xiii. 17) wadJaeser 
(chap. xiii. 25 : see at Num. xxi. 32). — Ver. 40. They received 

1 Many commentators identify Dimnah with Rimmono in 1 Chron. vi. 77, 
but without sufficient reason ; for the text of the Chronicles is no doubt corrupt 
in this passage, as it has only two names, Rimmono and Tabor, instead of four. 

3 li. Jacob ben Chajlm has omitted vers. 36 and 37 from his Rabbinical Bible 
of the year 1525 as spurious, upon the authority of Kimcki and the larger 
Masora ; but upon insufficient grounds, as these verses are to be found in many 
good mss. and old editions of an earlier date than 1525, as well as in all the 
ancient versions, and could not possibly have been wanting from the very first, 
since the Merarites received twelve towns, which included the four that belonged 
to Reuben. In those mss. in which they are wanting, the omission was, no 
doubt, a copyist's error, occasioned by the ipoivriKturiv (see de Rotsi varim 
{ecU. ud A. 2., and /. H. Michaelis' Note to his Hebrew Bible). 

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CHAP. XXL 43-45. 215 

twelve towns in all. — In vers. 41 and 42 the list of the Levitical 
towns is closed with a statement of their total number, and also with 
the repetition of the remark that " these cities were every one with 
their suburbs round about them." 'Dl VJJ YJJ, city city, i.e. every 
city, with its pasture round about it. 

Vers. 43-45 form the conclusion to the account of the division 
of the land in chap, xiii.-xxi., which not only points back to chap, 
xi. 23, but also to chap. i. 2-6, and connects the two halves of our 
book together. By the division of Canaan among the tribes of 
Israel, the promise which Joshua had received from God after the 
death of Moses was fulfilled (chap. i. 2 sqq.). The Lord had given 
Israel the whole land which He had sworn to the fathers (Gen. 
xii. 7, xv. 18, compared with Josh. i. 3, 4); and they had now 
taken possession of it to dwell therein. — Ver. 44. He had also pro- 
cured them rest round about, as He had sworn to their fathers, 
inasmuch as not a man of all their enemies stood against them. 
The expression " gave them rest," etc., points back to Deut. xii. 
9, 10, and refers to all the divine promises of the Pentateuch which 
assured the Israelites of the peaceable possession of Canaan, such as 
Ex. xxxiii. 14, Deut. iii. 20, etc. No enemy had been able to with- 
stand them, as the Lord had promised Joshua (chap. i. 5). " The 
Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand'' It is true the 
Canaanites were not all exterminated ; but those who were left had 
become so powerless, that they could neither accomplish nor attempt 
anything against Israel, so long as the Israelites adhered faithfully 
to their God, or so long as Joshua and the elders who were his 
contemporaries were alive (Judg. ii. 6 sqq.), because the Lord had 
overwhelmed them with fear and terror before the Israelites. 1 — 
Ver. 45. Of all the good words which the Lord had spoken to the 
house of Israel not one had fallen, i.e. remained unfulfilled (Num. 
vi. 12) ; all had come to pass (vid. chap, xxiii. 14). 3ten "i:nrn>3 
relates to the gracious promises of God with regard to the peaceful 
possession of Canaan, which formed the basis of all the salvation 
promised to Israel, and the pledge of the fulfilment of all the further 

1 " If any one should raise a question as to their actual peace, the solution 
is easy enough. The tribes of Canaan were so alarmed and broken down with 
their fear, that in their opinion nothing could serve their purpose better than to 
purchase peace from the children of Israel by the most obsequious servility. 
Clearly, therefore, the land was subdued and their home at peace, since no one 
disturbed them, or attempted anything against them ; there were no threats, no 
snares, no violence, and no conspiracy." — Calcin 

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promises of God. Notwithstanding the fact that many a tract of 
country still remained in the hands of the Oanaanites, the promise 
that the land of Canaan should be given to the house of Israel for a 
possession had been fulfilled ; for God had not promised the imme- 
diate and total destruction of the Oanaanites, but only their gradual 
extermination (Ex. xxiii. 29, 30 ; Deut. viL 22). And even though 
the Israelites never came into undisputed possession of the whole of 
the promised land, to the full extent of the boundaries laid down in 
Num. xxxiv. 1-12, never conquering Tyre and Sidon for example, 
the promises of God were no more broken on that account than 
they were through the circumstance, that after the death of Joshua 
and the elders his contemporaries, Israel was sometimes hard pressed 
by the Oanaanites ; since the complete fulfilment of this promise was 
inseparably connected with the fidelity of Israel to the Lord. 1 


Vers. 1-8. After the conquest and division of the land, Joshua 
sent the auxiliaries of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh 
back to their homes, with a laudatory acknowledgment of the help 
they had given to their brethren, and a paternal admonition to 
adhere faithfully to the Lord and His law, and with a parting 
blessing (vers. 1-6). By the expression " then Joshua called," etc., 
the occurrence described in this chapter is placed in a general 
manner after the conquest and subjugation of Canaan, though not 
of necessity at the close of the distribution of the. land. As the 
summons to these tribes to go with their brethren into Canaan, to 
assist them in the war, formed the commencement of Joshua's plans 

1 With reference to this apparent discrepancy between the promises of God 
and the actual results, Calvin observes, that " in order to remove every appear- 
ance of discrepancy, it is right to distinguish well between the clear, unwavering, 
and certain fidelity of God in the fulfilment of His promises, and the weakness 
and indolence of the people, which caused the blessings of God to slip from 
their hands. Whatever war the people undertook, in whatever direction they 
carried their standards, there was victory ready to their hand ; nor was there 
anything to retard or prevent the extermination of all their enemies except their 
own slothfulness. Consequently, although they did not destroy them all, so as 
to empty the land for their own possession, the truth of God stood out as dis- 
tinctly as if they had ; for there would have been no difficulty in their accom- 
plishment of all that remained to be done, if they had only been disposed to 
grasp the victories that were ready to their hand. ' 

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CHAP. XXII. 1-8. 217 

for the conquest of Canaan (chap. i. 12 sqq.), their dismission to 
their home very properly forms the conclusion to the history of the 
conquest of this land hy the Israelites. We might therefore assume, 
without in any way contradicting the words of the text, that these 
auxiliaries had been dismissed immediately after the war was ended. 
Even in that case, the account of their dismission would stand in 
its proper place, u since it was only right that the history itself, 
which relates to the conquest and possession of the land, should he 
fully completed before any other narratives, or any casual occur- 
rences which took place, were introduced to break the thread" 
(Lightfoot, App. i. p. 42). On the other hand, however, the cir- 
cumstance that the two tribes and a half were dismissed from 
Shiloh, where the tribes assembled for the first time during the 
casting of the lots, favours the conclusion that the dismission did 
not take place till after the lots had been cast ; that is to say, con- 
temporaneously with the advance of the other tribes into their pos- 
sessions. — Vers. 2, 3. Joshua acknowledged that they had done all 
that they were under any obligation to do towards Moses and him- 
self (Num. xxxii. 20 sqq. ; Josh. i. 16, 17). " Kept the charge of 
the commandment," i.e. observed what had to be observed in relation 
to the commandment of the Lord (see at Lev. viii. 35 and Gen. 
xxvi. 5). — Ver. 4 points back to chap. i. 15. " Unto your tentt" 
for to your homes, — an antiquated form of expression, as in Deut. 
xvi. 7, Judg. vii. 8, etc. — Ver. 5. Remembering, however, the 
changeableness of the human heart, Joshua appends to the acknow- 
ledgment of their fidelity in the performance of their duty the 
pressing admonition, to continue still to observe the law of Moses 
faithfully, to walk in the ways of the Lord and serve Him with the 
whole heart, which was simply a repetition of what Moses had im- 
pressed in a fatherly way upon the hearts of the people (see Deut. 
iv. 4, 29, vi. 5, x. 12, xi. 13, etc.). — Ver. 6. Thus Joshua dismissed 
them with blessings. — In ver. 7, the writer, for the sake of clear- 
ness, refers again to the fact that only half of Manasseh had 
received its inheritance from Moses in Bashan, whereas the other 
had received its inheritance through Joshua on the west of the 
Jordan (cf. chap. xiv. 3, and xviii. 7). To us such repetitions 
appear superfluous ; but they are closely connected with the copious 
breadth of the early historical style of the Hebrews, which abounded 
in repetitions. The verb ft} (gave) wants its object, ttWlN or tn?ro } 
which may easily be supplied from the context. This interpolation 
involved a further repetition of the fact, that Joshua also dismissed 

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them (the Manassites of the other side) with a blessing, in order that 
the words might be appended with which Joshua dismissed the two 
tribes and a half to their homes, namely, the admonition to share the 
rich booty which they had accumulated with their brethren at home, 
in accordance with the instructions which Moses had given them 
with reference to the war with the Midianites (Num. xxxi. 25 sqq.j. 
Vers. 9-12. On the way home, when the two tribes and a half 
had reached the border of Canaan, they built a large conspicuous 
altar in the district of the Jordan, in the land of Canaan, i.e. on this 
side of the Jordan : " a great aliar to see to" i.e. one which caught 
the eye on account of its size, since it was to serve for a memorial 
(vers. 24 sqq.). The definition appended to Shiloh, " in the land of 
Canaan" (ver. 9), serves to bring out the antithesis " into the land 
of Gilead," by which we are to understand the whole of the country 
to the east of the Jordan, as in Num. xxxii. 29, Deut. xxxiv. 1, 
Judg. v. 17, etc. tn&, both in the form and meaning the same as 
in Num. xxxii. 30, made possessors, i.e. settled down. HF?— ni^a, 
the circles of the Jordan, is synonymous with fjnvi "•?? in Gen. xiii. 
10, and signifies that portion of the Ghor which was upon the 
western side of the Jordan. — Vers. 11, 12. The Israelites (on this 
side) heard that the tribes in question had built the altar " opposite 
to the land of Canaan" (lit. in the face or in front of the land of 
Canaan), "^ipK, " <*t tlie opposite region of the children of Israel" 
(two descriptions which may be explained on the supposition that 
the name of Canaan is used in a restricted sense, the valley of the 
Jordan being expressly excepted, and Canaan considered as only 
extending to the valley of the Jordan). When they heard this, the 
whole congregation (in its heads and representatives) assembled at 
Shiloh, to go up, i.e. with the intention of going, to make war 
against them. The congregation supposed that the altar had been 
built as a place for sacrifice, and therefore regarded it as a wicked 
violation of the commandment of God with regard to the unity of 
the sacrificial altar (Lev. xvii. 8, 9 ; Deut. xii. 4 sqq.), which they 
ought to punish according to the law in Deut. xiii. 13 sqq. This zeal 
was perfectly justifiable, and even praiseworthy, as the altar, even 
if not erected as a place for sacrifice, might easily be abused to that 
purpose, and thus become an occasion of sin to the whole nation. 
In any case, the two tribes and a half ought not to have erected 
such a building without the consent of Joshua or of the high priest 1 

1 " We know how sternly the law prohibited the use of two altars : because 
it was the will of God that His worship should be restricted to one place. When, 

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CHAP. XX1L 18-20. 219 

Vers. 13-20. The congregation therefore sent Phinehas, the son 
of the high priest and his presumptive successor in this office, with 
ten princes, one from each tribe (not the tribe-princes, but a head 
of the fathers' houses of the families of Israel), to Gilead, to the 
two tribes and a half, to call them to account for building the altar. 
— Ver. 16. Assuming at the outset that the altar was intended for 
a second place of sacrifice in opposition to the command of God, 
the delegates, with Phinehas no doubt as their speaker, began by 
reproaching them for falling away from the Lord. u What faith- 
lessness is this pyo : see at Lev. v. 15) that ye have committed against 
Hie God of Israel, to turn away this day from Jehovah, in that ye 
have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against 
Jehovah t" TiD (to rebel) is stronger than ?J?0. — Vers. 17 sqq. To 
show the greatness of the sin through apostasy from the Lord, the 
speaker reminds them of two previous acts of sin on the part of the 
nation, which had brought severe judgments upon the congregation. 
" Is there too little for us in the iniquity of Peor (i.e. with Peor, or 
through the worship of Peor, Num. xxv. 3), from which we have not 
cleansed ourselves till this day, and there came the plague upon the 
congregation of Jehovah f" fiJflK is an accusative : see Ges. § 117, 2 ; 
Ewald, § 277, d. That plague, of which 24,000 Israelites died, was 
stayed through the zeal of Phinehas for the honour of the Lord 
(Num. xxv. 4-9, 11). The guilt connected with the worship of 
Peor had thereby been avenged upon the congregation, and the 
congregation itself had been saved from any further punishment in 
consequence of the sin. When Phinehas, therefore, affirmed that 
the congregation had not yet been cleansed from the crime, he did 
not mean that they were still bearing or suffering from the punish- 
ment of that crime, but that they were not yet cleansed from that 
sin, inasmuch as many of them were still attached to idolatry in 
their hearts, even if they had hitherto desisted from it outwardly 
from fear of the infliction of fresh judgments. — Ver. 18. " And 

therefore, from the very appearance it could not fail to occur to the mind of any 
one that they were establishing a second altar, who would not have condemned 
them as guilty of sacrilege, for introducing rites and ceremonies at variance with 
the law of God ? And since it might so naturally be regarded as a wicked deed, 
they ought certainly to have consulted their brethren in so grave and important 
a matter ; and it was especially wrong to pass by the high priest, when the will 
of God might have been learned from his lips. They were deserving of blame, 
therefore, because they acted as if they had been alone in the world, and did not 
consider what offence might easily arise from the novelty of their proceedings." — 

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to-day ye turn away from the Lord again" and aie about to bring 
His wrath upon the whole congregation again through a fresh 
rebellion. — Ver. 19. " And truly" the speaker continued, u if the 
land of your possession should be unclean" sc. so that you think it 
necessary to have an altar in the neighbourhood to expiate your 
sins and wipe away your uncleannesses, " pass over into the land of 
Jehovah's possession, wliere His dwelling-place stands, and settle in 
the midst of us (' settle,' as in Gen. xxxiv. 10) ; but do not rebel 
against Jehovah nor against us, by building an altar beside the (one) 
altar of Jehovah our God." *no is construed first of all with 3, and 
then with the accusative ; the only other place in which the latter 
occurs is Job xxiv. 13. — Ver. 20. He finally reminded them of the 
sin of Achan, how that had brought the wrath of God upon the 
whole congregation (chap, vii.); and, moreover, Achan was not the 
only man who had perished on account of the sin, but thirty-six 
men had fallen on account of it at the first attack upon Ai (chap, 
vii. 5). The allusion to thi3 fact is to be understood as an argu- 
ment a minori ad majus, as Masius has shown. " If Achan did 
not perish alone when he committed sacrilege, but God was angry 
with the whole congregation, what think ye will be the conse- 
quence if ye, so great a number, commit so grievous a sin against 

Vers. 21-29. In utter amazement at the suspicion expressed by 
the delegates of the congregation, the two tribes and a half affirm 
with a solemn oath, that it never entered into their minds to build 
an altar as a place of sacrifice, to fall away from Jehovah. The 
combination of the three names of God — El, the strong one ; 
Elohim, the Supreme Being to be feared ; and Jehovah, the truly 
existing One, the covenant God (ver. 22) — serves to strengthen the 
invocation of God, as in Ps. 1. 1 ; and this is strengthened still 
further by the repetition of these three names. God knows, and 
let Israel also know, sc. what they intended, and what they have 
done. The DK which follows is the usual particle used in an oath. 
" Verily (it was) not in rebellion, nor in apostasy from Jehovali," sc. 
that this was done, or that we built the altar. " May at Thou not 
help us to-day" sc. if we did it in rebellion against God. An appeal 
addressed immediately to God in the heat of the statement, and 
introduced in the midst of the asseveration, which was meant to 
remove all doubt as to the truth of their declaration. The words 
which follow in ver. 23, " that we have built," etc., continue the 
oath : If we have done this, to build us an altar, to turn away from 

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CHAP. XXIL 21-29. 221 

the Lord, or to offer thereon burnt-offering, meat-offering, or peace- 
offering, may Jehovah himself require it Q?Tl, as in Deut. xviii. 19 ; 
cf. 1 Sam. xx. 16). Another earnest parenthetical adjuration, as 
the substance of the oath, is continued in ver. 24. " But truly 
(X? DW, with an affirmative signification) from anxiety, for a reason 
(lit. on account of a thing) have we done this, thinking ("foK?, since 
we thought) in time to come your sons might say to our sons, What 
have ye to do with Jehovah, the God of Israel V i.e. He does not 
concern you ; He is our God. " Jehovah has made the Jordan a 
boundary between us and your sons ; ye have no part in Jehovah. 
Thus your sons might make our sons cease to fear Jeltovah" i.e. might 
make them desist from the worship of Jehovah (for the infinitive 
form Kfr instead of the abbreviated form K*v used in 1 Sam. xviii. 
29, there are analogies in p^P in Ezek. xxiv. 3, and fi&O, Eccl. v. 11, 
whereas nKV is the only form used in the Pentateuch). There was 
some reason for this anxiety. For, inasmuch as in all the promises 
and laws Canaan alone (the land on this side of the Jordan, Num. 
xxxiv. 1-12) is always mentioned as the land which Jehovah would 
give to Hia people for their inheritance, it was quite a possible 
thing that at some future time the false conclusion might be drawn 
from this, that only the tribes who dwelt in Canaan proper were 
the true people of Jehovah. — Vers. 26 sqq. " So we thought, we will 
make ourselves to build an altar (an expression derived from, the 
language of ordinary, life, for * we will build ourselves an altar'), 
not for burnt-offerings and slain-offerings ; but it shall be a witness 
between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we 
may perform the service of Jehovah before His face (i.e. before the 
tabernacle in which Jehovah was enthroned), with our burnt-offer- 
ings, slain-offerings, and peace-offerings," — in order, as they repeat 
in ver. 276 from vers. 24, 25, that they might not be denied a part 
in Jehovah in time to come. For if it should so happen in time to 
come, that this should be said to them and to their descendants, 
they would say (or reply), " Behold the copy of the altar of Jehovah, 
which our fathers made, not for burnt-offerings" etc. (ver. 286, as in 
vers. 26&, 27a). For this reason they had built the altar according 
to the pattern of the altar before the tabernacle, and that not in 
their own land, but on the western side of the Jordan, where the 
dwelling-place of Jehovah was standing, as a witness that they 
worshipped one and the same God with the tribes on this side. — 
Ver. 29. The speakers conclude with an expression of horror at the 
thought of rebelling against Jehovah. *3BD w nrpn, " far be it 

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from us away from Him (^BO = HjiVD, 1 Sam. xxiv. 7, xzvi. 11 , 
1 Kings xxi. 3), to rebel against Jehovah" etc. 

Vers. 30-34. This explanation pleased the delegates of the con- 
gregation, so that Phinehas bore this testimony to the tribes on the 
east of the Jordan : " Now (to-day) we perceive that Jehovah is in 
the midst of us ; because (p&X, quod, as in Gen. xxxi. 49, etc.) ye 
have not committed this unfaithfulness towards JehovaJt, since (W, 
then, if ye had only this intention) ye have saved the children of 
Israel out of the hand of Jehovah," i.e. preserved them from His 
judgments. — Vers. 32, 33. They then returned to Canaan and 
informed the congregation. And the thing pleased them, so that 
they praised the Lord, sc. for having kept their brethren on the 
other side from rebellion, and they thought no more of going to 
war against them, or laying waste the land of the tribes on the 
east of the Jordan. — Ver. 34. The Reubenites and Gadites (half 
Manasseh is omitted in vers. 33, 34, for the sake of brevity) called 
the altar u witness is it between us that Jehovah is God" ('3 intro- 
duces the words). This is at once a name and an explanation, 
namely in this sense : they gave the altar the name of " witness 
between us," because it was to be a witness that they also acknow- 
ledged and worshipped Jehovah as the true God. 

joshua's farewell and death. — chap. xxm. xxrv. 

After the division of the land among the tribes, Joshua had 
withdrawn to Timnath-serah, on the mountains of Ephraim (chap, 
xix. 50), to spend the last days of his life there in the quiet enjoy- 
ment of his own inheritance. But when the time of his departure 
from the earth was drawing near, remembering the call which he 
had received from the Lord (chap. i. 6-8), he felt constrained 
to gather the people together once more in the persons of their 
representatives, to warn them most earnestly of the dangers of 
apostasy from the Lord, and point out the evils that would follow 
(chap, xxiii.) ; and then after that, in a solemn assembly of the 
nation at Shechem, to review the abundant mercies which the 
Lord had conferred upon Israel from the calling of Abraham to 
that day, that .he might call upon them to remain stedfast and 
faithful in the worship of their God, and then solemnly renew the 
covenant with the Lord. 1 

1 " The pious solicitude of Joshua furnishes an example worthy of imitation 
by all who have the charge of others. For just as a father would not be 

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CHAP. XXIII. 1, 2. 223 

Chap, xxiii. Exhortation to the Tribes of Israel to 
remain faithful to their calling. — Vers. 1, 2. The intro- 
duction to the discourse which follows is attached in its first part to 
chap. xxii. 3, 4, and thus also to chap. xxi. 43, 44, whilst in the 
second part it points back to chap. xiii. 1. The Lord had given 
the people rest from all their enemies round about, after the land 
had been subdued and divided by lot (chap. xxi. 43, 44). Joshua 
was already an old man at the termination of the war (chap. xiii. 
1) ; but since then he had advanced still further in age, so that he 
may have noticed the signs of the near approach of death. He 
therefore called together the representatives of the people, either to 
Timnath-serah where he dwelt (chap. xix. 50), or to Shiloh to the 
tabernacle, the central sanctuary of the whole nation, as the most 
suitable place for his purpose. " All Israel" is still further defined 
by the apposition, " its elders, and its heads, and its judges, and its 
officers." This is not to be understood, however, as referring to 
four different classes of rulers ; but the term elders is the general 
term used to denote all the representatives of the people, who were 
divided into heads, judges, and officers. And the heads, again, 
were those who stood at the head of the tribes, families, and fathers' 
houses, and out of whose number the most suitable persons were 
chosen as judges and officers (Deut. i. 15 ; see my Bibl. Arch. ii. 
§ 143). Joshua's address to the elders of all Israel consists of two 
parts, which run parallel to one another so far as the contents are 
concerned, vers. 26-13 and vers. 14-16. In both parts Joshua com- 
mences with a reference to his age and his approaching death, in 
consequence of which he felt constrained to remind the people once 
more of all the great things that the Lord had done for them, and 
to warn them against falling away from their gracious covenant 
God. Just as Joshua, in this the last act of his life, was merely 
treading in the footsteps of Moses, who had concluded his life with 
the fullest exhortations to the people to be faithful to the Lord 
(Deut. i. 30), so his address consists entirely of reminiscences from 
the Pentateuch, more especially from Deuteronomy, as he had 

regarded as sufficiently careful if he merely thought of the interests of his 

children up to the time of his own death, and did not extend his thoughtful- 

nesB on their behalf still further, and as far as was in his power endeavour to 

provide for their welfare when he himself should be dead ; bo good rulers ought 

to look forward that they may not only leave behind them a well-organized 

state, but may also strengthen and secure its existence for a long time-fcr.cofl»y' O F~~7-^\ 

—Cabin (with special reference to 2 Pet. i. 18-16). X^~ J '^' '* ' "Y^sS 


THEOH!Glw;,L sumin^y. 


nothing fresh to announce to the people, but could only impress the 
old truth upon their minds once more. 

Vers. 26-13. Joshua commenced his address by reminding 
them of the greatest manifestations of grace which they had re- 
ceived from the Lord, namely, by referring to what the Lord had 
done to all these nations (the Canaanites) before them, when He 
fought for Israel, as Moses had promised them (Deut. i. 30 and iii. 
22). — Ver. 3. " Before you," sc. smiting and driving them away. 
— Ver. 4. He (Joshua) had now divided by lot among the tribes 
of Israel as their inheritance these still remaining (Canaanitish) 
nations, as the Lord had commanded (chap. xiii. 6, 7), "from 
Jordan and further aU the 'nations, which 1 have exterminated (i.e. 
which Joshua had destroyed when Canaan was taken), and the great 
sea (for ' to the great sea') in the west." The breadth of the land 
of Canaan is here given in a peculiar manner, the terminus a quo 
being mentioned in the first clause, and the terminus ad quern 
(though without the preposition "J?) in the second ; and through the 
parallelism which exists between the clauses, each clause is left to 
be completed from the other. So that the whole sentence would 
read thus: "All these nations which remain . . . from Jordan to 
the great sea, also all the nations which J have cut off from Jordan, 
and to the great sea westward." — Ver. 5. For the Lord would drive 
all these still remaining nations before the Israelites, and cut them 
off, and give the Israelites their land for a possession, as He had 
promised (chap. xiii. 6 ; cf. Ex. xxiii. 23 sqq.). 1*in, as in Deut. 
vi. 19, ix. 4 ; and the form OSRn^, with Chateph-kametz, on account 
of the weakness of the n, as in Num. xxxv. 20. OFivy, as in chap, 
i. 15. — Vers. 6 sqq. Only let them be strong, i.e. be brave, to keep 
the law of Moses without fail (cf. chap. i. 7), to enter into no 
fellowship with these remaining nations (ttia, to enter into close 
intimacy with a person ; see ver. 12), and not to pay reverence to 
their gods in any way, but to adhere stedfastly to the Lord their 
God as they had hitherto done. To make mention of the names of 
the idols (Ex. xxiii. 13), to swear by them, to serve them (by sacri- 
fices), and to bow down to them (to invoke them in prayer), are 
the four outward forms of divine worship (see Deut. vi. 13, x. 20). 
The concluding words, "as ye have done unto this day" which 
express a reason for persevering in the attachment they had 
hitherto shown to Jehovah, " do not affirm that the Israelites had 
hitherto done all these things fully and perfectly; for who does 
not know how few mortals there are who devote themselves to God 

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CHAP. XXIII. 14-16. 225 

with all the piety and love which He justly demands ? But 
because the nation as a whole had kept the laws delivered to them 
by Moses, during the time that the government had been in the 
hands of Joshua, the sins of individual men were left out of sight 
on this occasion" (Masiui). — Vers. 9, 10. For this reason the Lord 
had driven out great and strong nations before the Israelites, so 
that no one was able to stand before them. The first hemistich 
points to the fulfilment of Deut. iv. 38, vii. 1, ix. 1, xi. 23 ; the 
second to that of Deut. vii. 24, xi. 25. DRNl is placed at the 
beginning absolutely. — In ver. 10a, the blessing of fidelity to the 
law which Israel had hitherto experienced, is described, as in Deut. 
xxxii. 30, upon the basis of the promise in Lev. xxvi. 7, 8, and 
Deut. xxviii. 7, and in ver. 10b the thought of ver. 36 is repeated. 
To this there is attached, in vers. 11-13, the admonition to take 
heed for the sake of their souls (cf. Deut. iv. 15), to love the Lord 
their God (on the love of God as the sum of the fulfilment of the 
law, see Deut. vi. 5, x. 12, xi. 13). For if they turned, i.e. gave 
up the faithfulness they had hitherto displayed towards Jehovah, 
and attached themselves to the remnant of these nations, made 
marriages with them, and entered into fellowship with them, which 
the Lord had expressly forbidden (Ex. xxxiv. 12-16; Deut. vii. 
3;, let them know that the Lord their God would not cut off these 
nations before them any more, but that they would be a snare and 
destruction to them. This threat is founded upon such passages of 
the law as Ex. xxiii. 33, Deut. vii. 16, and more especially Num. 
xxxiii. 55. The figure of a trap, which is employed here (see Ex. 
x. 7), is still further strengthened by na, a snare (cf. Isa. viii. 14, 
15). Sholet, a whip or scourge, an emphatic form of the word 
derived from the poel of DW, only occurs here. u Scourges in your 
tides, and thorns in your eyes" (see Num. xxxiii. 55). Joshua 
crowds his figures together to depict the misery and oppression 
which would be sure to result from fellowship with the Canaanites, 
because, from his knowledge of the fickleness of the people, and 
the wickedness of the human heart in its natural state, he could 
foresee that the apostasy of the nation from the Lord, which Moses 
had foretold, would take place but too quickly ; as it actually did, 
according to Judg. ii. 3 sqq., in the very next generation. The 
words " until ye perish," etc., resume the threat held out by Moses 
in Deut. xi. 17 (cf. chap, xxviii. 21 sqq.). 

Vers. 14-16. In the second part of his address, Joshua sums 
up briefly and concisely the leading thoughts of the first part, 


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giving greater prominence, however, to the curse which would 
follow apostasy from the Lord. — Ver. 14. Now that Joshua was 
going the way of all the earth (all the inhabitants of the earth), 
i.e. going to die (1 Kings ii. 2), the Israelites knew with all the 
heart and all the soul, i.e. were fully convinced, that of all the good 
words (gracious promises) of God not one had failed, but all had 
come to pass (vid. chap. xxi. 45). But it was just as certain that 
the Lord would bring upon them every evil word that He spake 
through Moses (Lev. xxvi. 14-33 ; Deut. xxviii. 15—68, and xxix. 
14—28), if they transgressed His covenant. u The evil word" is 
the curse of rejection (Deut. xxx. 1, 15). " Until He liave de- 
stroyed:" see Deut. vii. 24, and xxviii. 48. The other words as 
in ver. 13J. If they went after other gods and served them, the 
wrath of the Lord would burn against them, and they would be 
quickly destroyed from the good land which He had given them 
(vid. Deut. xi. 17). 

Chap. xxiv. 1-28. Renewal op the Covenant at the na- 
tional Assembly in Shechem. — Ver. 1. Joshua brought his 
public ministry to a close, as Moses had done before him, with a 
solemn renewal of the covenant with the Lord. For this solemn 
act he did not choose Shiloh, the site of the national sanctuary, as 
some MSB. of the LXX. read, but Shechem, a place which was 
sanctified as no other was for such a purpose as this by the most 
sacred reminiscences from the times of the patriarchs. He there- 
fore summoned all the tribes of Israel, in their representatives (their 
elders, etc., as in chap, xxiii. 2), to Shechem, not merely because it 
was at Shechem, i.e. on Gerizim and Ebal, that the solemn estab- 
lishment of the law in the land of Canaan, to which the renewal of 
the covenant, as a repetition of the essential kernel of that solemn 
ceremony, was now to be appended, had first taken place, but still 
more because it was here that Abraham received the first promise 
from God after his migration into Canaan, and built an altar at the 
time (Gen. xii. 6, 7) ; and most of all, as Hengstenberg has pointed 
out (Diss. ii. p. 12), because Jacob settled here on his return from 
Mesopotamia, and it was here that he purified his house from the 
strange gods, burying all their idols under the oak (Gen. xxxiii. 19, 
xxxv. 2, 4). As Jacob selected Shechem for the sanctification of 
his house, because this place was already consecrated by Abraham 
as a sanctuary of God, so Joshua chose the same place for the 
renewal of the covenant, because this act involved a practical 

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• CHAP. XXIV. 2-16. 227 

renunciation on the part of Israel of all idolatry. Joshua expressly 
states this in ver. 23, and reference is also made to it in the account 
in ver. 26. " The exhortation to be faithful to the Lord, and to 
purify themselves from all idolatry, could not fail to make a deep 
impression, in the place where the honoured patriarch had done the 
very same things to which his descendants were exhorted here. The 
example preached more loudly in this spot than in any other" 
(Heng&tenberg). " And they placed themselves before God." From 
the expression " before God," it by no means follows that the ark 
had been brought to Shechem, or, as Knobel supposes, that an altar 
was erected there, any more than from the statement in ver. 26 
that it was " by the sanctuary of die Lord." For, in the first place, 
" before God" (Elohim) is not to be identified with " before 
Jehovah," which is used in chap, xviii. 6 and xix. 51 to denote the 
presence of the Lord above the ark of the covenant ; and secondly, 
even " before Jehovah" does not always presuppose the presence of 
the ark of the covenant, as Hengstenberg has clearly shown. " Before 
God" simply denotes in a general sense the- religious character of 
an act, or shows that the act was undertaken with a distinct refer- 
ence to the omnipresent God ; and in the case before us it may be 
attributed to the fact that Joshua delivered his exhortation to the 
people in the name of Jehovah, and commenced his address with 
the words, " Thus saith Jehovah." 1 

Vers. 2-15. Joshua's address contains an expansion of two 
thoughts. He first of all recalls to the recollection of the whole 
nation, whom he is addressing in the persons of its representatives, 
all the proofs of His mercy which the Lord had given, from the 
calling of Abraham to that day (vers. 2-13) ; and then because of 
these divine acts he calls upon the people to renounce all idolatry, 
and to serve God the Lord alone (vers. 14, 15). Jehovah is de- 
scribed as the " God of Israel" both at the commencement (ver. 2) 
and also at the close of the whole transaction, in perfect accordance 
with the substance and object of the address, which is occupied 
throughout with the goodness conferred by God upon the race of 

1 " It is stated that they all stood before God, in order that the sanctity and 
religions character of the assembly may be the more distinctly shown. And 
there can be no doubt that the name of God was solemnly invoked by Joshua, 
and that he addressed the people as in the sight of God, so that each one might 
fed for himself that God was presiding over all that was transacted there, and 
that they were not engaged in any merely private affair, but were entering into 
a sacred and inviolable compact with God himself." — Calvin. 

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Israel. The first practical proof of the grace of God towards 
Israel, was the calling of Abraham from his idolatrous associations, 
and his introduction to the land of Canaan, where the Lord so 
multiplied his seed, that Esau received the mountains of Seir for 
his family, whilst Jacob went into Egypt with his sons. 1 The 
ancestors of Israel dwelt "from eternity" i.e. from time imme- 
morial, on the other side of the stream (the Euphrates), viz. in 
Ur of the Chaldees, and then at Haran in Mesopotamia (Gen. xi. 
28, 31), namely Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor. Of 
Terah's three sons (Gen. xi. 27), Nahor is mentioned as well as 
Abraham, because liebekah, and her nieces Leah and Rachel, the 
tribe-mothers of Israel, were descended from him (Gen. xxii. 23, 
xxix. 10, 16 sqq.). And they (your fathers, Terah and his family) 
served other gods than Jehovah, who revealed himself to Abraham, 
and brought him from his father's house to Canaan. Nothing 
definite can be gathered from the expression " other gods," with 
reference to the gods worshipped by Terah and his family ; nor is 
there anything further to be found respecting them throughout the 
whole of the Old Testament. We simply learn from Gen. xxxi. 19, 
34, that Laban had teraphim, i.e. penates, or household and oracular 
gods. 2 The question also, whether Abraham was an idolater before 
his call, which has been answered in different ways, cannot be 
determined with certainty. We may conjecture, however, that he 
was not deeply sunk in idolatry, though he had not remained 
entirely free from it in his father's house ; and therefore that his 
call is not to be regarded as a reward for his righteousness before 
God, but as an act of free unmerited grace. — Vers. 3, 4. After his 

1 " He commences with their gratuitous training, by which God had pre- 
cluded them from the possibility of boasting of any pre-eminence or merit. For 
God had bound them to himself by a closer bond, because when they were on 
an equality with others, He drew them to himself to be His own peculiar people, 
for no other reason than His own good pleasure. Moreover, in order that it may 
be clearly seen that they have nothing whereof to glory, he leads them back to 
their earliest origin, and relates how their fathers had dwelt in Chaldsea, wor- 
shipping idols in common with the rest, and with nothing to distinguish them 
from the crowd." — Calvin. 

2 According to one tradition, Abraham was brought up in Sabteism in his 
father's house (see Hottinger, Histor. Orient, p. 246, and Philo, in several pas- 
sages of his works) ; and according to another, in the Targum Jonathan on Gen. 
xi 23, and in the later Rabbins, Abraham had to suffer persecution on account 
of his dislike to idolatry, and was obliged to leave his native land in conse- 
quence. But these traditions are both of them nothing more than conjectures 
by the later Rabbins. 

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CHAP. XXIV. 2-15. 229 

call, God conducted Abraham through all the land of Canaan (seo 
Gen. xii.), protecting and shielding him, and multiplied his seed, 
giving him Isaac, and giving to Isaac Jacob and Esau, the ancestors 
of two nations. To the latter He gave the mountains of Seir for a 
possession (Gen. xxrvi. 6 sqq.), that Jacob might receive Canaan 
for his descendants as a sole possession. But instead of mentioning 
this, Joshua took for granted that his hearers were well acquainted 
with the history of the patriarchs, and satisfied himself with men- 
tioning the migration of Jacob and his sons to Egypt, that he might 
pass at once to the second great practical proof of the mercy of 
God in the guidance of Israel, the miraculous deliverance of Israel 
out of the bondage and oppression of Egypt. — Vers. 5-7. Of this 
also he merely mentions the leading points, viz. first of all, the 
sending of Moses and Aaron (Ex. iii. 10 sqq., iv. 14 sqq.), and 
then the plagues inflicted upon Egypt. " I smote Egypt," i.e. both 
land and people. ^3 is used in Ex. vii. 27 and xii. 23, 27, in con- 
nection with the plague of frogs and the slaying of the first-born in 
Egypt. The words which follow, " according to tliat which I did 
among them, and afterward I brought you out," point back to Ex. iii. 
20, and show that the Lord had fulfilled the promise given to Moses 
at his call. He then refers (vers. 6, 7) to the miraculous deliver- 
ance of the Israelites, as they came out of Egypt, from Pharaoh 
who pursued them with his army, giving especial prominence to the 
crying of the Israelites to the Lord in their distress (Ex. xiv. 10), 
and the relief of that distress by the angel of the Lord (Ex. xiv. 
19, 20). And lastly, he notices their dwelling in the wilderness 
" many days," i.e. forty years (Num. xiv. 33). — Vers. 8-10. The 
third great act of God for Israel was his giving up the Amorites 
into the hands of the Israelites, so that they were able to conquer 
their land (Num. xxi. 21-35), and the frustration of the attack 
made by Balak king of the Moabites, through the instrumentality 
of Balaam, when the Lord did not allow him to curse Israel, but 
compelled him to bless (Num. xxii.-xxiv.). Balak " warred against 
Israel? not with the sword, but with the weapons of the curse, or 
animo et voluntate (Vatabl.). " I would not hearken unto Balaam," 
i.e. would not comply with his wish, but compelled him to submit 
to my will, and to bless you ; " and delivered you out of his (Balak's) 
hand," when he sought to destroy Israel through the medium of 
Balaam (Num. xxii. 6, 11). — Vers. 11-13. The last and greatest 
benefit which the Lord Conferred upon the Israelites, was His 
leading them by miracles of His omnipotence across the Jordan 

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into Canaan, delivering the u lords (or possessors) of Jericho" not 
" the rulers, i.e. the king and his heroes," as Knobel maintains (see 
2 Sam. xxi. 12 ; 1 Sam. xxiii. 11, 12 ; and the commentary on 
Judg. ix. 6), " and all the tribes of Canaan into tlieir hand" and 
sending hornets before them, so that they were able to drive out the 
Canaanites, particularly the two kings of the Amorites, Sihon and 
Og, though " not with their sword and their bow" (vid. Ps. xliv. 4) ; 
i.e. it was not with the weapons at their command that they were 
able to take the lands of these two kings. On the sending of 
hornets, as a figure used to represent peculiarly effective terrors, see 
at Ex. xxiii. 28, Deut. vii. 20. In this way the Lord gave the 
land to the Israelites, with its towns and its rich productions (vine- 
yards and olive trees), without any trouble on their part of weari- 
some cultivation or planting, as Moses himself had promised them 
(Deut. vi. 10, 11). — Vers. 14, 15. These overwhelming manifesta- 
tions of grace on the part of the Lord laid Israel under obligations 
to serve the Lord with gratitude and sincerity. " Now therefore 
fear the Lord (VKV for UfV, pointed like a verb ri*7, as in 1 Sam. xiL 
24, Ps. xxxiv. 10), and serve Him in sincerity and in truth" i.e. with- 
out hypocrisy, or the show of piety, in simplicity and truth of heart 
(vid. Judg. ix. 16, 19). " Put away the gods {Elohim = the strange 
gods in ver. 23) which your fathers served on the other side of the 
Euphrates and in Egypt" This appeal does not presuppose any 
gross idolatry on the part of the existing generation, which would 
have been at variance with the rest of the book, in which Israel is 
represented as only serving Jehovah during the lifetime of Joshua. 
If the people had been in possession of idols, they would have given 
them up to Joshua to be destroyed, as they promised to comply with 
his demand (vers. 16 sqq.). But even if the Israelites were not 
addicted to gross idolatry in the worship of idols, they were not 
altogether free from idolatry either in Egypt or in the desert. As 
their fathers were possessed of teraphim in Mesopotamia (see at 
ver. 2), so the Israelites had not kept themselves entirely free from 
heathen and idolatrous ways, more especially the demon-worship of 
Egypt (comp. Lev. xvii. 7 with Ezek. xx. 7 sqq., xxiii. 3, 8, and 
Amos v. 26) ; and even in the time of Joshua their worship of 
Jehovah may have been corrupted by idolatrous elements. This 
admixture of the pure and genuine worship of Jehovah with idola- 
trous or heathen elements, which is condemned in Lev. xvii. 7 as 
the worship of Seirim, and by Ezekiel (I. c.) as the idolatrous wor- 
ship of the people in Egypt, had its roots in the corruption of the 

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CHAP. XXIV. 16-25. 231 

natural heart, through which it is at all times led to make to itself 
idols of mammon, worldly lusts, and other impure thoughts and 
desires, to which it cleaves, without being able to tear itself entirely 
away from them. This more refined idolatry might degenerate in 
the case of many persons into the grosser worship of idols, so that 
Joshua had ample ground for admonishing the people to put away 
the strange gods, and serve the Lord. — Ver. 15. But as the true 
worship of the living God must have its roots in the heart, and 
spring from the heart, and therefore cannot be forced by prohi- 
bitions and commands, Joshua concluded by calling upon the 
representatives of the nation, in case they were not inclined (" if it 
seem evil unto you") to serve Jehovah, to choose now this day the 
gods whom they would serve, whether the gods of their fathers in 
Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land they were 
now dwelling, though he and his house would serve the Lord. 
There is no necessity to adduce any special proofs that this appeal 
was not intended to release them from the obligation to serve 
Jehovah, but rather contained the strongest admonition to remain 
faithful to the Lord. 

Vers. 16-25. The people responded to this appeal by declaring, 
with an expression of horror at idolatry, their hearty resolution to 
serve the Lord, who was their God, and had shown them such great 
mercies. The words, u that brought us up and our fathers out of 
the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage," call to mind the 
words appended to the first commandment (Ex. xx. 2 ; Deut. v. 6), 
which they hereby promise to observe. With the clause which . 
follows, " who did those great signs in our sight," etc., they declare 
their assent to all that Joshua had called to their mind in vers. 3-13. 
" We also" (ver. 18), as well as thou and thy house (ver. 15). — 
Vers. 19-21. But in order to place most vividly before the minds 
of the people to what it was that they bound themselves by this 
declaration, that they might not inconsiderately vow what they 
would not afterwards observe, Joshua adds, " Ye cannot serve Je- 
hovah" sc. in the state of mind in which ye are at present, or " by 
your own resolution only, and without the assistance of divine grace, 
without solid and serious conversion from all idols, and without true 
repentance and faith" (J. H. Michaelis). For Jehovah is u a holy 
God," etc. Elohim, used to denote the Supreme Being (see at Gen. 
ii. 4), is construed with the predicate in the plural. On the holiness 
of God, see the exposition of Ex. xix. 6. On the expression " a 
jealous God," see Ex. xx. 5 ; and on ]*$ KiW, Ex. xxiii. 21. The 

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only other place in which the form Kisp is used for K3£ is Nah. i. 2. 
" If ye forsake Hie Lord and serve strange gods, He will turn (i.e. 
assume a different attitude towards you) and do you hurt, after He 
has done you good," i.e. He will not spare you, in spite of the bless- 
ings which He has conferred upon you. jnn is used to denote the 
judgments threatened in the law against transgressors. — Ver. 21. 
The people adhered to their resolution, tb, minime, as in chap. v. 
14, i.e. we will not serve other gods, but Jehovah. — Vers. 22, 23. 
Upon this repeated declaration Joshua says to them, " ye are wit- 
nesses against yourselves," i.e. ye will condemn yourselves by this 
your own testimony if ye should now forsake the Lord, " for ye 
yourselves have chosen you Jehovah to serve Him ;" whereupon 
they answer O'fy, u witnesses are we against ourselves" signifying 
thereby, " we profess and ratify once more all that we have said" 
(Rosenmuller). Joshua then repeated his demand that they should 
put away the strange gods from within them, and incline their hearts 
(entirely) to Jehovah the God of Israel. Mf|i?3 ~W* ">??* T&j 
might mean the foreign gods which are in the midst of you, i.e. 
among you, and imply the existence of idols, and the grosser forms 
of idolatrous worship in the nation ; but 3"Jp3 also signifies " within," 
or "in the heart," in which case the words refer to idols of the 
heart. That the latter is the sense in which the words are to be 
understood is evident from the fact, that although the people ex- 
pressed their willingness to renounce all idolatry, they did not bring 
any idols to Joshua to be destroyed, as was done in other similar 
. cases, viz. Gen. xxxv. 4, and 1 Sam. vii. 4. Even if the people 
had carried idols about with them in the desert, as the prophet 
Amos stated to his contemporaries (Amos v. 26 ; cf. Acts vii. 43), 
the grosser forms of idolatry had disappeared from Israel with the 
dying out of the generation that was condemned at Kadesh. The 
new generation, which had been received afresh into covenant with 
the Lord by the circumcision at Gilgal, and had set up this cove- 
nant at Ebal, and was now assembled around Joshua, the dying 
servant of God, to renew the covenant once more, had no idols of 
wood, stone, or metal, but only the " figments of false gods," as 
Calvin calls them, the idols of the heart, which it was to put away, 
that it might give its heart entirely to the Lord, who is not content 
with divided affections, but requires the whole heart (Deut vi. 5, 6). 
— Vera. 24, 25. On the repeated and decided declaration of the 
people, " the Lord our God will we serve, and to His voice will we 
hearken," Joshua completed the covenant with them that day. This 

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CHAP. XXIV. 28-28. 238 

conclusion of a covenant was really a solemn renewal of the cove- 
nant made at Sinai, like that which took place under Moses in the 
steppes of Moab (Deut. xxviii. 69). " And set them a statute and 
right at Shechem," sc. through the renewal of the covenant. These 
words recall Ex. xv. 25, where the guidance of Israel to bitter water, 
and the sweetening of that water, by the means which the Lord 
pointed out to Moses, are described as setting a statute and right for 
Israel, and then explained by the promise, that if they would hearken 
to the voice of Jehovah, He would keep them from all the diseases 
of Egypt. And in accordance with this, by the renewal of the 
covenant at Shechem, there were set for Israel a ph, i.e. a statute, 
which bound the people to a renewed and conscientious mainten- 
ance of the covenant, and a BBB'D, or right, by virtue of which they 
might expect on this condition the fulfilment of all the covenant 
mercies of the Lord. 

Vers. 26-28. All these things (n'pv.n D*">:nn are not merely the 
words spoken on both sides, but the whole ceremony of renewing 
the covenant) Joshua wrote in the law-book of God, i.e. he wrote 
them in a document which he placed in the law-book of Moses, and 
then set up a large stone, as a permanent memorial of what had 
taken place, on the spot where the meeting had been held, " under 
Vie oak that was in the sanctuary of Jeliovalt," As B"Ji?i?3 neither 
means " at the sanctuary," nor near the sanctuary, nor u in the 
place where the sanctuary was set up;" the " sanctuary of Jehovah" 
cannot signify " the ark of the covenant, which had been brought 
from the tabernacle to Shechem, for the ceremony of renewing 
the covenant." Still less can we understand it as signifying the 
tabernacle itself, since this was not removed from place to place for 
particular sacred ceremonies ; nor can it mean an altar, in which 
an oak could not possibly be said to stand ; nor some other illegal 
sanctuary of Jehovah, since there were none in Israel at that time. 
The sanctuary of Jehovah under the oak at Shechem was nothing 
else than the holy place under the oak, where Abraham had for- 
merly built an altar and worshipped the Lord, and where Jacob 
had purified his house from the strange gods, which he buried under 
this oak, or rather terebinth tree (Gen. xii. 6, 7, xxxv. 2, 4). This is 
the explanation adopted by Masius, J. D. Michaelis, and Uengstenberg 
(Diss. ii. p. 12). In ver. 27 Joshua explains to the people the 
meaning of the stone which he had set up. The stone would be a 
witness against the people if they should deny their God. As a 
memorial of what had taken place, the stone had heard all the words 

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which the Lord had addressed to Israel, and could bear witness 
against the people, that they might not deny their God. " Deny 
your God," viz. in feeling, word, or deed. — Ver. 28. Joshua then 
dismissed the people, each one to his inheritance. He had done 
all that was in his power to establish the people in fidelity to the 

Vers. 29-33. Death and Bubial of Joshua and Eleazab 
— With the renewal of the covenant Joshua had ended his vocation. 
He did not formally lay down his office, because there was no im- 
mediate successor who had been appointed by God. The ordinary 
rulers of the congregation were enough, when once they were 
settled in Canaan, viz. the elders as heads and judges of the nation, 
together with the high priest, who represented the nation in its 
relation to God, and could obtain for it the revelation of the will 
of God through the right of the Urim and Thummim. In order 
therefore to bring the history of Joshua and his times to a close, 
nothing further remained than to give an account of his death, with 
a short reference to the fruit of his labours, and to add certain other 
notices for which no suitable place had hitherto presented itself. — 
Vers. 29, 30. Soon after these events (vers. 1-28) Joshua died, at 
the age of 110, like his ancestor Joseph (Gen. 1. 26), and was buried 
in his hereditary possessions at Timnath-serah, upon the mountains 
of Ephraim, to the north of Mount Gaash. Timnath-aerah is still 
in existence (see at chap. xix. 50). Mount Gaash, however, has not 
been discovered. — Ver. 31. Joshua's labours had not remained with- 
out effect. During his own lifetime, and that of the elders who 
outlived him, and who had seen all that the Lord did for Israel, all 
Israel served the Lord. " The elders" are the rulers and leaders 
of the nation. The account of the burial of Joseph's bones, which 
the Israelites had brought with them from Egypt to Canaan (Ex. 
xiii. 19), is placed after the account of Joshua's death, because it 
could not have been introduced before without interrupting the con- 
nected account of the labours of Joshua ; and it would not do to 
pass it over without notice altogether, not only because the fact of 
their bringing the bones with them had been mentioned in the hook 
of Exodus, but also because the Israelites thereby fulfilled the promise 
given by their fathers to Joseph when he died. The burial of 
Joseph in the piece of field which Jacob had purchased at Shechem 
(yid. Gen. xxxiii. 19) had no doubt taken place immediately after the 
division of the land, when Joseph's descendants received Shechem 

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CHAP. XXIV. 29-38. 235 

and the field there for an inheritance. This piece of field, however, 
they chose for a burial-place for Joseph's bones, not only because 
Jacob had purchased it, but in all probability chiefly because Jacob 
had sanctified it for his descendants by building an altar there 
(Gen. xxxiii. 20). The death and burial of Eleazar, who stood by 
Joshua's side in the guidance of the nation, are mentioned last of 
all (ver. 33). When Eleazar died, whether shortly before or shortly 
after Joshua, cannot be determined. He was buried at Gibeah of 
Phinehas, the place which was given to him upon the mountains 
of Ephraim, i.e. as his inheritance. Gibeath Phinehas, i.e. hill of 
Phinehas, is apparently a proper name, like Gibeah of Saul (1 Sam. 
xv. 34, etc.). The situation, however, is uncertain. According to 
Eusebius (Onom. s. v. Ta^adi), it was upon the mountains of 
Ephraim, in the tribe of Benjamin, and was at that time a place 
named Gabatha, the name also given to it by Josephus (Ant. v. 1, 29), 
about twelve Koman miles from Eleutheropolis. This statement is 
certainly founded upon an error, at least so far as the number twelve 
is concerned. It is a much more probable supposition, that it is 
the Levitical town Geba of Benjamin, on the north-east of Kamah 
(chap, xviii. 24), and the name Gibeah of Phinehas might be ex- 
plained on the ground that this place had become the hereditary 
property of Phinehas, which would be perfectly reconcilable with 
its selection as one of the prieste' cities. As the priests, for example, 
were not the sole possessors of the towns ceded to them in the pos- 
sessions of the different tribes, the Israelites might have presented 
Phinehas with that portion of the city which was not occupied by 
the priests, and also with the field, as a reward for the services 
he had rendered to the congregation (Num. xxv. 7 sqq.), just as 
Caleb and Joshua had been specially considered ; in which case 
Phinehas might dwell in his own hereditary possessions in a 
prie'sts' city. The situation, "upon the mountains of Ephraim," 
is not at variance with this view, as these mountains extended, 
according to Judg. iv. 5, etc., far into the territory of Benjamin 
(see at chap. xi. 21). The majority of commentators, down to 
Knobel, have thought the place intended to be a Gibeah in the tribe 
of Ephraim, namely the present Jeeb or Jibia, by the Wady Jib, 
on the north of Guphna, towards Neapolis (Sichem : see Rob. Pal. 
iii. p. 80), though there is nothing whatever to favour this except 
the name. 

With the death of Eleazar the high priest, the contemporary of 
Joshua, the times of Joshua came to a close, so that the account of 

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Eleazar's death formed a very fitting termination to the book. In 
some MSB. and editions of the Septuagint, there is an additional 
clause relating to the high priest Phinehas and the apostasy of the 
Israelites after Joshua's death ; but this is merely taken from Judg. 
ii. 6, 11 sqq. and iii. 7, 12 sqq., and arbitrarily appended to the book 
of Joshua. 

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HE book of Judges, headed Skophetim in the Hebrew 
Bibles, and Kptrai in the Alexandrian version, and called 
liber Judicum in the Vulgate, contains the history of the 
Israelitish theocracy for a period of about 350 years, 
from the death of Joshua to the death of Samson, or to the time of 
the prophet Samuel. It may be divided according to its contents 
into three parts: (1) an introduction (chap, i.-iii. 6); (2) the history 
of the several judges (chap. iii. 7-xvi. 31) ; and (3) a twofold appendix 
(chap, xvii.-xxi.). In the Introduction the prophetic author of the 
book first of all takes a general survey of those facts which exhibited 
most clearly the behaviour of the Israelites to the Canaanites who 
were left in the land after the death of Joshua, and closes his survey 
with the reproof of their behaviour by the angel of the Lord (chap. 
i. 1 — II. 5). He then describes in a general manner the attitude 
of Israel to the Lord its God and that of the Lord to His people 
daring the time of the judges, and represents this period as a con- 
stant alternation of humiliation through hostile oppression, when 
the nation fell away from its God, and deliverance out of the 
power of its enemies by judges whom God raised up and endowed 
with the power of His Spirit, whenever the people returned to the 
Lord (chap. ii. 6-iii. 6). This is followed in the body of the work 
(chap. iii. 7-xvi. 31) by the history of the several oppressions of 
Israel on the part of foreign nations, with the deliverance effected 
by the judges who were raised up by God, and whose deeds are 
for the most part elaborately described in chronological order, and 
introduced by the standing formula, " And the children of Israel 

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did evil in the sight of the Lord," etc. ; or, " And the children of 
Israel again did evil (added to do evil)," etc. They are arranged 
in six historical groups : (1) the oppression by the Mesopotamian 
king, Chushan-rishathaim, with the deliverance from this oppres- 
sion through Othniel the judge (chap. iii. 7-11) ; (2) the oppression 
by the Moabitish king Eglon, with the deliverance effected through 
Ehud the judge (chap. iii. 12-30), and the victory achieved by 
Shamgar over the Philistines (chap. iii. 31) ; (3) the subjugation of 
Israel by the Ganaanitish king Jabin, and the deliverance effected 
through the prophetess Deborah and Barak the judge (chap, iv.), 
with Deborah's song of victory (chap, v.) ; (4) the oppression by 
the Midianites, and the deliverance from these enemies through the 
judge Gideon, who was called to be the deliverer of Israel through 
an appearance of the angel of the Lord (chap, vi.-viii.), with the 
history of the three years' reign of his son Abimelech (chap, ix.), 
and brief notices of the two judges Tola and Jair (chap. x. 1-5) ; 
(5) the giving up of the Israelites into the power of the Ammonites 
and Philistines, and their deliverance from the Ammonitish oppres- 
sion by Jephthah (chap. x. 6— xii. 7), with brief notices of the three 
judges Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (chap. xii. 8—15) ; (6) the oppres- 
sion by the Philistines, with the account of the life and deeds of 
Samson the judge, who began to deliver Israel out of the power of 
these foes (chap, xiii.-xvi.). To this there are added two appendices 
in chap. xvii.-xxi. : viz. (1) the account of the worship of images by 
the Ephraimite Micah, and the transportation of that worship by 
the Danites to Laish-Dan (chap. xvii. xviii.) ; and (2) the infamous 
conduct of the inhabitants of Gibeah, and the war of revenge which 
was waged by the congregation of Israel against the tribe of Ben- 
jamin as a punishment for the crime (chap, xix.-xxi.). Both these 
events occurred in the earliest part of the period of the judges, as 
we may gather, in the case of the first, from a comparison of chap, 
xviii. 1 with chap. i. 34, and in that of the second from a com- 
parison of chap. xx. 28 with Josh. xxii. 13 and xxiv. 33 ; and they 
are merely placed at the end of the book in the form of appendices, 
because they could not well be introduced into the six complete 
historical tableaux; although, so far as the facts themselves are 
concerned, they are intimately connected with the contents and aim 
of the book of Judges, inasmuch as they depict the religious and 
moral circumstances of the times in the most striking manner in 
two pictures drawn from life. The relation in which the three 
parts stand to one another, therefore, is this: the introduction 

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depicts the basis on which the deeds of the judges were founded, 
and the appendices furnish confirmatory evidence of the spirit 
of the age as manifested in those deeds. The whole book, how- 
ever, is pervaded and ruled by the idea distinctly expressed in 
the introduction (chap. ii. 1-3, 11-22), that the Lord left those 
Canaanites who had not been exterminated by Joshua still in the 
land, to prove to Israel through them whether it would obey His 
commandments, and that He chastised and punished His people 
through them for their disobedience and idolatry ; but that as soon 
as they recognised His chastening hand in the punishment, and 
returned to Him with penitence and implored His help, He had 
compassion upon them again in His gracious love, and helped them 
to victory over their foes, so that, notwithstanding the repeated acts 
of faithlessness on the part of His people, the Lord remained ever 
faithful in His deeds, and stedfastly maintained His covenant. 

We must not look to the book of Judges, therefore, for a com- 
plete history of the period of the judges, or one which throws light 
upon the development of the Israelites on every side. The character 
of the book, as shown in its contents and the arrangement of the 
materials, corresponds entirely to the character of the times over 
which it extends. The time of the judges did not form a new stage 
in the development of the nation of God. It was not till the time 
of Samuel and David, when this period was ended, that a new stage 
began. It was rather a transition period, the time of free, unfettered 
development, in which the nation was to take root in the land pre- 
sented to it by God as its inheritance, to familiarize itself with the 
theocratic constitution given to it by the Mosaic law, and by means 
of the peculiar powers and gifts conferred upon it by God to acquire 
for itself that independence and firm footing in Canaan, within the 
limits of the laws, ordinances, and rights of the covenant, which 
Jehovah had promised, and the way to which He had prepared 
through the revelations He had made to them. This task could be 
accomplished without any ruler directly appointed by the Lord. 
The first thing which the tribes had to do was to root out such 
Canaanites as remained in the land, that they might not only estab- 
lish themselves in the unrestricted and undisputed possession and 
enjoyment of the land and its productions, but also avert the danger 
which threatened them on the part of these tribes of being led away 
to idolatry and immorality. The Lord had promised them His 
help in this conflict, if they would only walk in His commandments. 
The maintenance of civil order and the administration of justice 

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were in the hands of the heads of tribes, families, and -households ; 
and for the relation in which the congregation stood to the Lord its 
God, it possessed the necessary organs and media in the hereditary 
priesthood of the tribe of Levi, whose head could inquire the will 
of God in all cases of difficulty through the right of the Urim, and 
make it known to .the nation. Now as long as the generation, 
which had seen the wonderful works of the Lord in the time of 
Joshua, was still living, so long did the nation continue faithful to 
the covenant of its God, and the tribes maintain a successful con- 
flict with the still remaining Canaanites (chap. i. 1-20, 22-25). But 
the very next generation, to which those mighty acts of the Lord 
were unknown, began to forget its God, to grow weary and lax in 
its conflicts with the Canaanites, to make peace with them, and to 
mix up the worship of Jehovah, the jealous and holy God, with the 
worship of Baal and Astarte, the Canaanitish deities of nature, and 
even to substitute the latter in its place. With the loss of love and 
fidelity to the Lord, the bond of unity which formed the tribes into 
one congregation of Jehovah was also broken. The different tribes 
began to follow their own separate interests (vid. chap. v. 15-17, 
23, viii. 5-8), and eventually even to oppose and make war upon 
one another ; whilst Ephraim was bent upon securing to itself the 
headship of all the tribes, though without making any vigorous 
efforts to carry on the war with the oppressors of Israel (yid. chap, 
viii. 1 sqq., xii. 1-6). Consequently Israel suffered more and more 
from the oppression of heathen nations, to which God gave it up 
as a chastisement for its idolatry ; and it would have become alto- 
gether a prey to its foes, had not the faithful covenant God taken 
compassion upon it in its distress as often as it cried to Him, and 
sent deliverers (CiPE'to, chap. iii. 9, 15 ; cf. Neh. ix. 27) in those 
judges, after whom both the age in question and the book before us 
are called. There are twelve of these judges mentioned, or rather 
thirteen, as Deborah the prophetess also judged Israel (chap. iv. 4); 
but there are only eight (Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah and 
Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson), who are described as per- 
forming acts by which Israel obtained deliverance from its oppressors. 
Of the other five (Tolah, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon) we are 
merely told that they judged Israel so many years. The reason 
for this we are not to seek in the fact that the report of the heroic 
deeds of these judges had not been handed down to the time when 
our book was written. It is to be found simply in the fact that 
these judges waged no wars and smote no foes. 

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The judges (shophetim) were men who procured justice or right 
for the people of Israel, not only by delivering them out of the 
power of their foes, but also by administering the laws and rights 
of the Lord (chap. ii. 16-19). Judging in this sense was different 
from the administration of civil jurisprudence, and included the 
idea of government such as would be expected from a king. Thus 
in 1 Sam. viii. 5, 6, the people are said to have asked Samuel to 
give them a king " to judge us," to procure us right, i.e. to govern 
us ; and in 2 Kings xv. 5 Jotham is said to hare judged, i.e. governed 
the nation during the illness of his father. The name given to these 
men {shophetim, judges) was evidently founded upon Deut. xvii. 9 
and xix. 17, where it is assumed that in after-times there would be 
a shophet, who would stand by the side of the high priest as the 
supreme judge or leader of the state in Israel. The judges them- 
selves corresponded to the huaurrai of the Tynans (Josephus, c. Ap. 
i. 21) and the Suffetes of the Carthaginians (qui summus Poenis est 
magistratus, Liv. Hist, xxvii. 37, and xxx. 7), with this difference, 
however, that as a rule the judges of Israel were called directly by 
the Lord, and endowed with miraculous power for the conquest of 
the enemies of Israel ; and if, after delivering the people from 
their oppressors, they continued to the time of their death to preside 
over the public affairs of the whole nation, or merely of several of 
its tribes, yet they did not follow one another in a continuous line 
and unbroken succession, because the ordinary administration of 
justice and government of the commonwealth still remained in the 
hands of the heads of the tribes and the elders of the people, whilst 
occasionally there were also prophets and high priests, such as 
Deborah, Eli, and Samuel (chap. iv. 4 ; 1 Sam. iv. 18, vii. 15), in 
whom the government was vested. Thus " Othniel delivered the 
children of Israel," and " judged Israel," by going out to war, 
smiting Chushan-rishathaim, the Aramaean king, and giving the 
land rest for forty years (chap. iii. 9-11) ; and the same with Ehud 
and several others. On the other hand, Shamgar (chap. iii. 31) 
and Samson (chap. xiii.-xvi.) are apparently called judges of Israel, 
simply as opponents and conquerors of the Philistines, without their 
having taken any part in the administration of justice. Others, 
again, neither engaged in war nor. gained victories. No warlike 
deeds are recorded of Tola; and yet it is stated in chap. x. 1, 
that u he rose up after Abimelech to deliver Israel (?N"i^"nsjt JTCW), 
and judged Israel twenty-three years ;" whilst of his successor Jair 
nothing more is said, than that " he judged Israel twenty-two 


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years." Both of these had delivered and judged Israel, not by 
victories gained over enemies, but by placing themselves at the head 
of the tribes over whom Gideon had been jtige, at the termination 
of the ephemeral reign of Abimelech, and by preventing the recur- 
rence of hostile oppression, through the influence they exerted, as 
well as by what they did for the establishment of the nation in its 
fidelity to the Lord. This also applies to Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, 
who followed Jephthah in direct succession (chap. xii. 8-15). Of 
these five judges also, it is not stated that Jehovah raised them up 
or called them. In all probability they merely undertook the 
government at the wish of the tribes whose judges they were; 
whilst at the same time it is to be observed, that such cases as these 
did not occur until the desire for a king had begun to manifest 
itself throughout the nation (chap. viii. 22, 23). 

But if all the judges did not fight against outward enemies of 
Israel, it might appear strange that the book of Judges should close 
with the death of Samson, without mentioning Eli and Samuel, as 
both of them judged Israel, the one forty years, the other for the 
whole of his life (1 Sam. iv. 18, vii. 15). But Eli. was really high 
priest, and what he did as judge was merely the natural result of 
his office of high priest ; and Samuel was called to be the prophet 
of the Lord, and as such he delivered Israel from the oppression of 
the Philistines, not with the sword and by the might of his arm, 
like the judges before him, but by the power of the word, with 
which he converted Israel to the Lord, and by the might of his 
prayer, with which he sought and obtained the victory from the 
Lord (1 Sam. vii. 3-10) ; so that his judicial activity not only sprang 
out of his prophetic office, but was continually sustained thereby. 
The line of actual judges terminated with Samson ; and with his 
death the office of judge was carried to the grave. Samson was 
followed immediately by Samuel, whose prophetic labours formed 
the link between the period of the judges and the introduction of 
royalty into Israel. The forty years of oppression on the part of 
the Philistines, from which Samson began to deliver Israel (chap, 
xiii. 1, 5), were brought to a close by the victory which the Israel- 
ites gained through Samuel's prayer (1 Sam. vii.), as will be readily 
seen when we have determined the chronology of the period of the 
judges, in the introductory remarks to the exposition of the body of 
the book. This victory was not gained by the Israelites till twenty 
years after Eli's death (comp. 1 Sam. vii. 2 with vi. 1 and iv. 18). 
Consequently of the forty years during which Eli judged Israel as 

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high priest, only the last twenty fell within the time of the Philis- 
tine oppression, the first twenty before it. But both Samuel and 
Samson were born during the pontificate of Eli ; for when Samson's 
birth was foretold, the Philistines were already ruling over Israel 
(Judg. xiii. 5). The deeds of Samson fell for the most part within 
the last twenty years of the Philistine supremacy, i.e. not only in 
the interval between the capture of the ark and death of Eli and 
the victory which the Israelites achieved through Samuel over these 
foes, which victory, however, Samson did not live to see, but also in 
the time when Samuel had been accredited as a prophet of Jehovah, 
and Jehovah had manifested himself repeatedly to him by word at 
Shiloh (1 Sam. iii. 20, 21). Consequently Samuel completed the 
deliverance of Israel out of the power of the Philistines, which 
Samson had commenced. 

The book of Judges, therefore, embraces the whole of the 
judicial epoch, and gives a faithful picture of the political develop- 
ment of the Israelitish theocracy during that time. The author 
writes throughout from a prophet's point of view. He applies the 
standard of the law to the spirit of the age by which the nation 
was influenced as a whole, and pronounces a stern and severe sen- 
tence upon all deviations from the path of rectitude set before it in 
the law. The unfaithfulness of Israel, which went a whoring again 
and again after Baal, and was punished for its apostasy from the 
Lord with oppression from foreign nations, and the faithfulness of 
the Lord, who sent help to the people whenever it returned to Him 
in its oppression, by raising up judges who conquered its enemies, 
are the two historical factors of those times, and the hinges upon 
which the history turns. In the case of all the judges, it is stated 
that they judged " Israel," or the " children of Israel ;" although 
it is very obvious, from the accounts of the different deliverances 
effected, that most of the judges only delivered and judged those 
tribes who happened to be oppressed and subjugated by their enemies 
at a particular time. The other tribes, who were spared by this or 
the other hostile invasion, did not come into consideration in refer- 
ence to the special design of the historical account, namely, to 
describe the acts of the Lord in the government of His people, any 
more than the development of the religious and social life of indi- 
vidual members of the congregation in harmony with the law; 
inasmuch as the congregation, whether in whole or in part, was 
merely fulfilling its divinely appointed vocation, so long as it 
observed the law, and about this there was nothing special to be 

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related (see the description given of the book of Judges in Hengsten- 
berg, Diss, on the Pentateuch, vol. ii. pp. IB sqq.). 

Lastly, if we take a survey of the gradual development of Israel 
during the times of the judges, we may distinguish three stages in 
the attitude of the Lord to His constantly rebelling people, and also 
in the form assumed by the external and internal circumstances 
of the nation : viz. (1) the period from the commencement of the 
apostasy of the nation till its deliverance from the rule of the 
Oanaanitish king Jabin, or the time of the judges Othniel, Ehud, 
and Shamgar, Deborah and Barak (chap, iii.-v.) ; (2) the time of 
the Midianitish oppression, with the deliverance effected by Gideon, 
and the government which followed, viz. of Abimelech and the judges 
Tola and Jair (chap, vi.-x. 5); (3) the time of the Ammonitish 
and Philistine supremacy over Israel, with the judges Jephthah, 
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon on the one hand, and that of Samson on 
the other (chap. x. 6-xvi. 31). Three times, for example, the Lord 
threatens His people with oppression and subjugation by foreign 
nations, as a punishment for their disobedience and apostasy from 
Him : viz. (1) at Bochim (chap. ii. 1—4) through the angel of the 
Lord; (2) on the invasion of the Midianites (chap. vi. 7-10), 
through the medium of a prophet ; and (3) at the commencement 
of the Ammonitish and Philistine oppression (chap. x. 10-14). The 
first time He threatens, " the Canaanites shall be as thorns in your 
sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you" (chap. ii. 3) ; the 
second time, " I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, 
and out of the hand of all that oppressed you ; I said unto you, I 
am Jehovah, your God ; fear not the gods of the Amorites : but 
ye have not hearkened to my voice " (chap. vi. 9, 10) ; the third 
time, " Ye have forsaken me and served other gods : wherefore I 
will deliver you no more ; go and cry unto the gods which ye have 
chosen ; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation " (chap. 
x. 13, 14). These threats were fulfilled upon the disobedient 
nation, not only in the fact that they fell deeper and deeper under 
the oppression of their foes, but by their also becoming disjointed 
and separated more and more internally. In the first stage, the 
oppressions from without lasted a tolerably long time: that of 
Chushan-rishathaim eight years ; that of Eglon the Moabite, 
eighteen; and that of the Canaanitish king Jabin, as much as 
twenty years (chap. iii. 8, 14, iv. 3). But, on the other hand, after 
the first, the Israelites had forty years of peace ; after the second, 
€, ghty 5 and after the third, again forty years (chap. iii. 11, 30, v. 

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31). Under Othniel and Ehud all Israel appears to have risen 
against its oppressors; but under Barak, Reuben and Gilead, Dan 
and Asher took no part in the conflict of the other tribes (chap. v. 
15-17). In the second stage, the Midianitish oppression lasted, it 
is true, only seven years (chap. vi. 1), and was followed by forty 
years of rest under Gideon (chap. viii. 28) ; whilst the three years' 
government of Abimelech was followed by forty-five years of peace 
under Tola and Jair (chap. x. 2, 3) ; but even under Gideon the 
jealousy of Ephraim was raised to such a pitch against the tribes 
who had joined in smiting the foe, that it almost led to a civil 
war (chap. viii. 1-3), and the inhabitants of Succoth and Penuel 
refused all assistance to the victorious army, and that in so insolent 
a manner that they were severely punished by Gideon in conse- 
quence (chap. viii. 4-9, 14-17) ; whilst in the election of Abimelech 
as king of Shechem, the internal decay of the congregation of Israel 
was brought still more clearly to light (chap. ix.). Lastly, in the 
third stage, no doubt, Israel was delivered by Jephthah from the 
eighteen years' bondage on the part of the Ammonites (chap. xi. 
8 sqq.), and the tribes to the east of the Jordan, as well as the 
northern tribes of the land on this side, enjoyed rest under the 
judges Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon for thirty-one years 
(chap. xii. 7, 9, 11, 14) ; but the Philistine oppression lasted till 
after Samson's death (chap. xiii. 5, xv. 20), and the internal decay 
increased so much under this hostile pressure, that whilst the 
Ephraimites, on the one hand, commenced a war against Jephthah, 
and sustained a terrible defeat at the hands of the tribes on the east 
of the Jordan (chap: xii. 1-6), on the other hand, the tribes who 
were enslaved by the Philistines had so little appreciation of the 
deliverance which God had sent them through Samson, that the 
men of Judah endeavoured to give up their deliverer to the Philis- 
tines (chap. xv. 9-14). Nevertheless the Lord not only helped the 
nation again, both in its distress and out of its distress, but came 
nearer and nearer to it with His aid, that it might learn that its help 
was to be found in God alone. The first deliverers and judges He 
stirred up by His Spirit, which came upon Othniel and Ehud, and 
filled them with courage and strength for the conquest of their foes. 
Barak was summoned to the war by the prophetess Deborah, and 
inspired by her with the courage to undertake it. Gideon was 
called to be the deliverer of Israel out of the severe oppression of 
the Midianites by the appearance of the angel of the Lord, and the 
victory over the innumerable army of the foe was given by the 

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Lord, not to the whole of the army which Gideon summoned to the 
battle, but only to a small company of 300 men, that Israel might 
not " vaunt themselves against the Lord," and magnify their own 
power. Lastly, Jephthah and Samson were raised up as deliverers 
out of the power of the Ammonites and Philistines; and whilst 
Jephthah was called by the elders of Gilead to be the leader in the 
war with the Midianites, and sought through a vow to ensure the 
assistance of God in gaining a victory over them, Samson was set 
apart from his mother's womb, through the appearance of the angel 
of the Lord, as the Nazarite who was to begin to deliver Israel out 
of the power of the Philistines. At the same time there was given 
to the nation in the person of Samuel, the son for whom the pious 
Hannah prayed to the Lord, a Nazarite and prophet, who was not 
only to complete the deliverance from the power of the Philistines 
which Samson had begun, but to ensure the full conversion of Israel 
to the Lord its God. 

With regard to the origin of the book of Judges, it is evident 
from the repeated remark, " In those days there was no king in 
Israel, every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (chap. 
xvii. 6, xxi. 25 ; cf. chap, xviii. 1, xix. 1), that it was composed at 
a time when Israel was already rejoicing in the benefits connected 
with the kingdom. It is true this remark is only to be found in the 
appendices, and would have no force so far as the date of compo- 
sition is concerned, if the view held by different critics were well- 
founded, viz. that these appendices were added by a later hand. 
But the arguments adduced against the unity of authorship in all 
three parts, the introduction, the body of the work, and the appen- 
dices, will not bear examination. Without the introduction (chap, 
i. 1-iii. 6) the historical narrative contained in the book would want 
a foundation, which is absolutely necessary to make it intelligible ; 
and the two appendices supply two supplements of the greatest im- 
portance in relation to the development of the tribes of Israel in the 
time of the judges, and most intimately connected with the design 
and plan of the rest of the book. It is true that in chap, i., as well 
as in the two appendices, the prophetic view of the history which 
prevails in the rest of the book, from chap. ii. 11 to chap. xvi. 31, 
is not distinctly apparent ; but this difference may be fully explained 
from the contents of the two portions, which neither furnish the 
occasion nor supply the materials for any such view, — like the 
account of the royal supremacy of Abimelech in chap, ix., in which 
the so-called " theocratical pragmatism" is also wanting. But, on 

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ihtboduction. 247 

the other Band, all these portions are just as rich in allusions to the 
Mosaic law and the legal worship as the other parts of the book, so 
that both in their contents and their form they would be unintel- 
ligible apart from the supremacy of the law in Israel. The dis- 
crepancies which some fancy they hare discovered between chap. 
L 8 and chap. i. 21, and also between chap. i. 19 and chap. iii. 3, 
vanish completely on a correct interpretation of the passages them- 
selves. And no such differences can be pointed out in language 
or style as would overthrow the unity of authorship, or even render 
it questionable. Even Stahelin observes (spez. Einl. p. 77) : " I 
cannot find in chap. xvii.-xxi. the (special) author of chap, i.-ii. 5 ; 
and the arguments adduced by Bertheau in favour of this, from 
modes of expression to be found in the two sections, appear to me 
to be anything but conclusive, simply because the very same modes 
of expression occur elsewhere : rDSW - , ttf > in Ex. ii. 21 ; inn in Num. 
x. 29 ; T3 JW, Josh. x. 30, xi. 8, Judg. vi. 1, xi. 21 ; nB>t6 jru, 
Gen. xxix. 28, xxx. 4, 9, xxxiv. 8, etc. ; 3^n to ran, Num. xxi. 24, 
Dent. xiii. 16, Josh. viii. 24, x. 28, 30, 32, etc Undoubtedly 
'3 PKB* only occurs in Judg. i. 1 and the appendix, and never earlier ; 
but there is a similar expression in Num. xxvii. 21 and Josh. ix. 14, 
and the first passage shows how the mode of expression could be 
so abbreviated. I find no preterites with 1, used in the place of the 
future with ) in Judg. i. ; for it is evident from the construction 
that the preterite must be used in vers. 8, 16, 25, etc. ; and thus the 
only thing left that could strike us at all is the idiom K*N3 IW, 
which is common to both sections, but which is too isolated, and 
occurs again moreover in 2 Kings viii. 12 and Ps. lxxiv. 7." But 
even the " peculiar phrases belonging to a later age," which Stahelin 
and Bertheau discover in chap, xvii.-xxi. do not furnish any tenable 
proof of this assertion. The phrase " from Dan to Beersheba," in 
chap. xx. 1, was formed after the settlement of the Danites in 
Laish-Dan, which took place at the commencement of the time of 
the judges. Q'Bft ttfeo, in chap. xxi. 23, is also to be found in Ruth 
i. 4 ; and the others either occur again in the books of Samuel, or 
have been wrongly interpreted. 

We have a firm datum for determining more minutely the time 
when the book of Judges was written, in the statement in chap. L 
21, that the Jebusites in Jerusalem had not been rooted out by the 
Israelites, but dwelt there with the children of Benjamin "unto 
this day" The Jebusites remained in possession of Jerusalem, or 
of the citadel Zion, or the upper town of Jerusalem, until the time 

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when David went against Jerusalem after the twelve tribes had 
acknowledged him as king, took the fortress of Zion, and made it 
the capital of his kingdom under the name of the city of David 
(2 Sam. v. 6-9 ; 1 Chron. xi. 4-9). Consequently the book was 
written before this event, either during the first seven years of the 
reign of David at Hebron, or during the reign of Saul, under whom 
the Israelites already enjoyed the benefits of a monarchical govern- 
ment, since Saul not only fought with bravery against all the 
enemies of Israel, and " delivered Israel out of the hands of them 
that spoiled them" (1 Sam. xiv. 47, 48), but exerted himself to 
restore the authority of the law of God in his kingdom, as is evident 
from the fact that he banished the wizards and necromancers out 
of the land (1 Sam. xxviii. 9). The talmudical statement therefore 
in Bava-bathra (f. 14& and 15a), to the effect that Samuel was the 
author of the book, may be so far correct, that if it was not written 
by Samuel himself towards the close of his life, it was written at his 
instigation by a younger prophet of his school. More than this it 
is impossible to decide. So much, however, is at all events certain, 
that the book does not contain traces of a later age either in its 
contents or its language, and that chap, xviii. 30 does not refer to 
the time of the captivity (see the commentary on this passage). 

With regard to the sources of which the author made use, unless 
we are prepared to accept untenable hypotheses as having all the 
validity of historical facts, it is impossible to establish anything 
more than that he drew his materials not only from oral tradition, 
but also from written documents. This is obvious from the exact- 
ness of the historical and chronological accounts, and still more so 
from the abundance of characteristic and original traits and expres- 
sions that meet the reader in the historical pictures, some of which 
are very elaborate. The historical fidelity, exactness, and vividness 
of description apparent in every part of the book are only to be 
explained in a work which embraces a period of 350 years, on the 
supposition that the author made use of trustworthy records, or 
the testimony of persons who were living when the events occurred. 
This stands out so clearly in every part of the book, that it is 
admitted even by critics who are compelled by their own dogmatical 
assumptions to deny the actual truth or reality of the miraculous 
parts of the history. With regard to the nature of these sources, 
however, we can only conjecture that chap. i. and xvii.-xxi. were 
founded upon written accounts, with which the author of the book 
of Joshua was also acquainted ; and that the accounts of Deborah 

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CHAP. L 1-H. 5. 249 

and Barak, of Gideon, and of the life of Samson, were taken from 
different writings, inasmuch as these sections are distinguished from 
one another by many peculiarities. (Further remarks on this subject 
will he found in the exposition itself.) 



Chap. i._iii. 6. 

hostilities between israel and the canaanites after 
joshua's death. — chap. i. i_ii. 6. 

After the death of Joshua the tribes of Israel resolved to con- 
tinue the war with the Canaanites, that they might exterminate them 
altogether from the land that had been given them for an inherit- 
ance. In accordance with the divine command, Judah commenced 
the strife in association with Simeon, smote the king of Bezek, 
conquered Jerusalem, Hebron and Debir upon the mountains, 
Zephath in the south land, and three of the chief cities of the 
Philistines, and took possession of the mountains; but was unable 
to exterminate the inhabitants of the plain, just as the Benjaminites 
were unable to drive the Jebusites out of Jerusalem (vers. 1-21). 
The tribe of Joseph also conquered the city of Bethel (vers. 22—26) ; 
but from the remaining towns of the land neither the Manassites, 
nor the Ephraimites, nor the tribes of Zebulan, Asher, and Naph- 
tali expelled the Canaanites : all that they did was to make them 
tributary (vers. 27-33). The Danites were actually forced back 
by the Amorites out of the plain into the mountains, because the 
latter maintained their hold of the towns of the plain, although the 
house of Joseph conquered them and made them tributary (vers. 
34-36). The angel of the Lord therefore appeared at Bochim, and 
declared to the Israelites, that because they had not obeyed the 
command of the Lord, to make no covenant with the Canaanites, 
the Lord would no more drive out these nations, but would cause 
them and their gods to become a snare to them (chap. ii. 1-5). 

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From this divine revelation it is evident, on the one hand, that the 
failure to exterminate the Canaanites had its roots in the negligence 
of the tribes of Israel ; and on the other hand, that the accounts of 
the wars of the different tribes, and the enumeration of the towns 
in the different possessions out of which the Canaanites were not 
expelled, were designed to show clearly the attitude of the Israelites 
to the Canaanites in the age immediately following the death of 
Joshua, or to depict the historical basis on which the development 
of Israel rested in the era of the judges. 

Vers. 1-7. With the words " Now, after the death of Joshua, it 
came to pass," the book of Judges takes up the thread of the history 
where the book of Joshua had dropped it, to relate the further 
development of the covenant nation. A short time before his death, 
Joshua had gathered the elders and heads of the people around 
him, and set before them the entire destruction of the Canaanites 
through the omnipotent help of the Lord, if they would only adhere 
with fidelity to the Lord ; whilst, at the same time, he also pointed 
out to them the dangers of apostasy from the Lord (Josh, xxiii.). 
Remembering this admonition and warning, the Israelites inquired, 
after Joshua's death, who should begin the war against the Canaan- 
ites who still remained to be destroyed ; and the Lord answered, 
" Judak shall go up : behold, I have delivered the land into his hand" 
(vers. 1, 2). njrra 7HV, to ask with Jehovah for the purpose of 
obtaining a declaration of the divine will, is substantially the same 
as armn DBEtoa W (Num. xxvii. 21), to inquire the will of the 
Lord through the Urim and Thummim of the high priest. From 
this time forward inquiring of the Lord occurs with greater 
frequency (vid. chap. xx. 23, 27 ; 1 Sam. x. 22, xxii. 10, xxiiL 2, 
etc.), as well as the synonymous expression " ask of Elohim," in 
chap, xviii. 5, xx. 18 ; 1 Sam. xiv. 37, xxii. 13 ; 1 Chron. xiv. 10 ; 
whereas Moses and Joshua received direct revelations from God. 
The phrase ^warr^s n?jp, "go up to the Canaanites" is defined 
more precisely by the following words, " to fight against them ;" so 
that W is used here also to denote the campaign against a nation 
(see at Josh. viii. 1), without there being any necessity, however, 
for us to take ?K in the sense of 7P. f^wo r6y signifies " to go up 
in the beginning" i.e. to open or commence the war ; not to hold the 
commandership in the war, as the Sept., Vulgate, and others render 
it (see chap. x. 18, where Onpff? PIT is expressly distinguished from 
being the chief or leader). Moreover, 'D does not mean who ? Le. 
what person, but, as the answer clearly shows, what tribe ? Now a 

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CHAP. I. 1-7. 251 

tribe could open the war, and take the lead at the head of the other 
tribes, bat could not be the commander-in-chief. In the present 
instance, however, Judah did not even enter upon the war at the 
head of all the tribes, but simply joined with the tribe of Simeon to 
make a common attack upon the Canaanites in their inheritance. 
The promise in ver. 2b is the same as that in Josh. vi. 2, viii. 1, etc. 
" The land" is not merely the land allotted to the tribe of Judah, 
or Judah' s inheritance, as Bertheau supposes, for Judah conquered 
Jerusalem (ver. 8), which had been allotted to the tribe of Benjamin 
(Josh, xviii. 28), but the land of Canaan generally, so far as it was 
still in the possession of the Canaanites and was to be conquered by 
Judah. The reason why Judah was to commence the hostilities is 
not to be sought for in the fact that Judah was the most numerous 
of all the tribes (Rosenmuller), but rather in the fact that Judah 
had already been appointed by the blessing of Jacob (Gen. xlix. 8 
sqq.) to be the champion of his brethren. — Ver. 3. Judah invited 
Simeon his brother, ».e. their brother tribe, to take part in the 
contest. This epithet is applied to Simeon, not because Simeon and 
Judah, the sons of Jacob, were the children of the same mother, 
Leah (Gen. xxix. 33, 35), but because Simeon's inheritance was 
within the territory of Judah (Josh. xix. 1 sqq.), so that Simeon 
was more closely connected with Judah than any of the other 
tribes. " Come up with me into my lot (into the inheritance that 
has fallen to me by lot), that we may fight against the Canaanites, 
and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with 
Aim," i.e. joined with Judah in making war upon the Canaanites. 
This request shows that Judah's principal intention was to make 
war upon and exterminate the Canaanites who remained in his own 
and Simeon's inheritance. The different expressions employed, 
come up and go, are to be explained from the simple fact that the 
whole of Simeon's territory was in the shephelah and Negeb, whereas 
Judah had received the heart of his possessions upon the mountains. 
Ver. 4. " And Judah went up" sc. against the Canaanites, to 
make war upon them. The completion of the sentence is supplied 
by the context, more especially by ver. 2. So far as the sense is 
concerned, Rosenmuller has given the correct explanation of ?J!5, 
"Judah entered upon the expedition along with Simeon." " And 
they smote the Canaanites and the Perizzites in Bezek, 10,000 men." 
The result of the war is summed up briefly in these words ; and 
then in vers. 5-7 the capture and punishment of the hostile king 
Adoni-bezek is specially mentioned as being the most important 

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event in the war. The foe is 'described as consisting of Canaanites 
and Perizzites, two tribes which have been already named in Gen. 
xiii. 7 and xxxiv. 30 as representing the entire population of Canaan, 
u the Canaanites " comprising principally those in the lowlands by 
the Jordan and the Mediterranean (vid. Nam. xiii. 29 ; Josh. xi. 3), 
and " the Perizzites " the tribes who dwelt in the mountains (Josh, 
xvii. 15). On the Perizzites, see Gen. xiii. 7. The place mentioned, 
Bezek, is only mentioned once more, namely in 1 Sam. xi. 8, where 
it is described as being situated between Gibeah of Saul (see at 
Josh, xviii. 28) and Jabesh in Gilead. According to the Onom. 
(«. v. Bezek), there were at that time two places very near together 
both named Bezek, seventeen Roman miles from Neapolis on the 
road to Scythopolis, i.e. about seven hours to the north of Nabulus 
on the road to Beisan. This description is perfectly reconcilable 
with 1 Sam. xi. 8. On the other hand, Clerieus (ad h. I.), Rosen- 
muller, and v. Pawner suppose the Bezek mentioned here to have 
been situated in the territory of Judah ; though this cannot be 
proved, since it is merely based upon an inference drawn from ver. 
3, viz. that Judah and Simeon simply attacked the Canaanites in 
their own allotted territories, — an assumption which is very uncertain. 
There is no necessity, however, to adopt the opposite and erroneous 
opinion of Bertheau, that the tribes of Judah and Simeon com- 
menced their expedition to the south from the gathering-place of 
the united tribes at Shechem, and fought the battle with the 
Canaanitish forces in that region upon this expedition ; since 
Shechem is not described in Josh. xxiv. as the gathering-place of 
the united tribes, i.e. of the whole of the military force of Israel, 
and the battle fought with Adoni-bezek did not take place at the 
time when the tribes prepared to leave Shiloh and march to their 
own possessions after the casting of the lots was over. The simplest 
explanation is, that when the tribes of Judah and Simeon prepared 
to make war upon the Canaanites in the possessions allotted to them, 
they were threatened or attacked by the forces of the Canaanites 
collected together by Adoni-bezek, so that they had first of all to 
turn their arms against this king before they could attack the 
Canaanites in their own tribe-land. As the precise circumstances 
connected with the occasion and course of this war have not been 
recorded, there is nothing to hinder the supposition that Adoni- 
bezek may have marched from the north against the possessions of 
Benjamin and Judah, possibly with the intention of joining the 
Canaanites in Jebus, and the Anakim in Hebron and upon the 

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CHAP. I. 8-15. 253 

mountains in the south, and then making a combined attack upon 
the Israelites. This might induce or even compel Judah and Simeon 
to attack this enemy first of all, and even to pursue him till they 
overtook him at his capital Bezek, and smote him with all his army. 
Adoni-bezek, i.e. lord of Bezek, is the official title of this king, 
whose proper name is unknown. 

In the principal engagement, in which 10,000 Canaanites fell, 
Adoni-bezek escaped ; but he was overtaken in his flight (vers. 6, 7), 
and so mutilated, by the cutting off of his thumbs and great toes, 
that he could neither carry arms nor flee. With this cruel treat- 
ment, which the Athenians are said to have practised upon the 
captured -3Dgynetes (^Elian, var. hist. ii. 9), the Israelites simply 
executed the just judgment of retribution, as Adoni-bezek was 
compelled to acknowledge, for the cruelties which he had inflicted 
upon captives taken by himself. " Seventy kings," he says in 
ver. 7, " with the thumbs of their hands and feet cut off, were gather- 
ing under my table. As I have done, so God Jutth requited me." 
D»MfpD . . . nfaha, lit. " cut in the thumbs of their hands and feet" 
(see^Ewald, Lehrb. § 284, c). The object to D'pipbo, "gathering 
up" (viz. crumbs), is easily supplied from the idea of the verb itself. 
Gathering up crumbs under the table, like the dogs in Matt. xv. 
27, is a figurative representation of the most shameful treatment 
and humiliation. " Seventy " is a round number, and is certainly an 
exaggerated hyperbole here. For even if every town of importance 
in Canaan had its own king, the fact that, when Joshua conquered 
the land, he only smote thirty-one kings, is sufficient evidence that 
there can hardly have been seventy kings to be found in all Canaan. 
It appears strange, too, that the king of Bezek is not mentioned in 
connection with the conquest of Canaan under Joshua. Bezek 
was probably situated more on the side towards the valley of the 
Jordan, where the Israelites under Joshua did not go. Possibly, 
too, the culminating point of Adoni-bezek's power, when he con- 
quered so many kings, was before the arrival of the Israelites in 
Canaan, and it may at that time have begun to decline ; so that he 
did not venture to undertake anything against the combined forces 
of Israel under Joshua, and it was not till the Israelitish tribes 
separated to go to their own possessions, that he once more tried 
the fortunes of war and was defeated. The children of Judah took 
him with them to Jerusalem, where he died. 

Vers. 8-15. After his defeat, Judah and Simeon went against 
Jerusalem, and conquered this city and smote it, i.e. its inhabitants, 

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with the edge of the sword, or without quarter (see Gen. xxxiv. 26), 
and set the city on fire. BW3 IW, to set on fire, to give up to the 
flames, only occurs again in chap. xx. 48, 2 Kings viii. 12, and 
Pa. lxxiv. 7. Joshua had already slain the king of Jerusalem and 
his four allies after the battle at Gibeon (Josh. x. 3, 18-26), but 
had not conquered Jerusalem, his capital. This was not done till 
after Joshua's death, when it was taken by the tribes of Judah and 
Simeon. But even after this capture, and notwithstanding the 
fact that it had been set on fire, it did not come into the sole and 
permanent possession of the Israelites. After the conquerors had 
advanced still farther, to make war upon the Canaanites in the 
mountains, in the Negeb, and in the shephelah (vers. 9 sqq.), the 
Jebusites took it again and rebuilt it, so that in the following age it 
was regarded by the Israelites as a foreign city (chap. xix. 11, 12). 
The Benjaminites, to whom Jerusalem had fallen by lot, were no 
more able to drive out the Jebusites than the Judseans had been. 
Consequently they continued to live by the side of the Benjaminites 
(chap. i. 21) and the Judseans (Josh xv. 63), who settled, as time 
rolled on, in this the border city of their possessions ; and in the 
upper town especially, upon the top of Mount Zion, they established 
themselves so firmly, that they could not be dislodged until David 
succeeded in wresting this fortress from them, and made the city of 
Zion the capital of his kingdom (2 Sam. v. 6 sqq.). 1 — Vers. 9 sqq. 
After the conquest of Jerusalem, the children of Judah (together 
with the Simeonites, ver. 3) went down into their own possessions, 
to make war upon the Canaanites in the mountains, the Negeb, and 
the shephelah (see at Josh. xv. 48, xxi. 33), and to exterminate 
them. They first of all conquered Hebron and Debir upon the 
mountains (vers. 10-15), as has already been related in Josh. xv. 

1 In this way we may reconcile in a very simple manner the different 
accounts concerning Jerusalem in Josh, xv. 63, Judg. i. 8, 21, xix. 11 sqq., 
1 Sam. xvii. 54, and 2 Sam. v. vi., without there being the slightest necessity 
to restrict the conquest mentioned in this verse to the city that was built round 
Mount Zion, as Josephus does, to the exclusion of the citadel upon Zion itself ; 
or to follow Bertheau, and refer the account of the Jebusites dwelling by the 
children of Judah in Jerusalem (Josh. xv. 63) to a time subsequent to the 
conquest of the citadel of Zion by David, — an interpretation which is neither 
favoured by the circumstance that the Jebusite Araunah still held some pro- 
perty there in the time of David (2 Sam. xxiv. 21 sqq.), nor by the passage in 
1 Kings ix. 20 sqq., according to which the descendants of the Amoritea, 
Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites who still remained in the land were 
made into tributary bondmen by Solomon, and set to work upon the buildings 
that ho had in hand. 

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CHAP. L 16. 255 

14-19 (see the commentary on this passage). The forms n*?? and 
ivniw (ver. 15), instead of rri'?P and niwnn (Josh. xv. 19), are in 
the singular, and are construed with the plural form of the feminine 
rri?l, because this is used in the sense of the singular, u a spring" 
(see Ewald, § 318, a.). 

Ver. 16. The notice respecting the Kenites, that they went up 
out of the palm-city with the children of Judah into the wilderness 
of Judah in the south of Arad, and dwelt there with the Judaeans, 
is introduced here into the account of the wars of the tribe of 
Judah, because this migration of the Kenites belonged to the time 
between the conquest of Debir (vers. 12 sqq.) and Zephath (ver. 
17) ; and the notice itself was of importance, as forming the inter- 
mediate link between Num. x. 29 sqq., and the later allusions to 
the Kenites in Jadg. iv. 11, v. 24, 1 Sam. xv. 6, xxvii. 10, xxx. 
29. " The children of the Kenite" i.e. the descendants of Hobab, 
the brother-in-law of Moses (compare chap. iv. 11, where the name 
is given, but HP occurs instead of *}*g, with Num. x. 29), were 
probably a branch of the Kenites mentioned in Gen. xv. 19 along 
with the other tribes of Canaan, which had separated from the 
other members of its own tribe before the time of Moses and 
removed to the land of Midian, where Moses met with a hospitable 
reception from their chief Reguel on his flight from Egypt. These 
Kenites had accompanied the Israelites to Canaan at the request of 
Moses (Num. x. 29 sqq.) ; and when the Israelites advanced into 
Canaan itself, they had prfbably remained as nomads in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Jordan near to Jericho, without taking any part in 
the wars of Joshua. But when the tribe of Judah had exterminated 
the Canaanites out of Hebron, Debir, and the neighbourhood, after 
the death of Joshua, they went into the desert of Judah with the 
Judseans as they moved farther towards the south ; and going to 
the south-western edge of this desert, to the district on the south of 
Arad (Tell Arad, see at Num. xxi. 1), they settled there on the 
border of the steppes of the Negeb (Num. xxxiii. 40). " The palm- 
city" was a name given to the city of Jericho, according to chap. 
iii. 13, Dent, xxxiv. 3, 2 Chron. xxviii. 15. There is no ground 
whatever for thinking of some other town of this name in the 
desert of Arabia, near the palm-forest, tyowucdiv, of Diod. Sic. (iii. 
42) and Strabo (p. 776), as Clericus and Bertheau suppose, even if 
it could be proved that there was any such town in the neighbour- 
hood. ^5, " then lie went (the branch of the Kenites just referred 
to) and dwelt with the people" (of the children of Judah), that is to. 

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say, with the people of Israel in the desert of Judah. The subject 
to *|S is s 3% the Kenite, as a tribe. 

Vers. 17-21. Remaining Conquests of the combined Tribes of 
Judah and Simeon. — Ver. 17. Zephath was in the territory of 
Simeon. This is evident not only from the fact that Hormah 
(Zephath) had been allotted to the tribe of Simeon (compare Josh. 
xix. 4 with chap. xv. 30), but also from the words, "Judah went 
with Simeon his brother," which point back to ver. 3, and express 
the thought that Judah went with Simeon into his territory to 
drive out the Canaanites who were still to be found there. Going 
southwards from Debir, Judah and Simeon smote the Canaanites 
at Zephath on the southern boundary of Canaan, and executed the 
ban upon this town, from which it received the name of Hormah, 
i.e. banning. The town has been preserved in the ruins of Sepdta, 
on the south of Khalasa or Elusa (see at Josh. xii. 14). In the 
passage mentioned, the king of Hormah or Zephath is named 
among the kings who were slain by Joshua. It does not follow 
from this, however, that Joshua must necessarily have conquered 
his capital Zephath ; the king of Jerusalem was also smitten by 
Joshua and slain, without Jerusalem itself being taken at that time. 
But even if Zephath were taken by the Israelites, as soon as the 
Israelitish army had withdrawn, the Canaanites there might have 
taken possession of the town again ; so that, like many ether Canaan- 
itish towns, it had to be conquered again after Joshua's death (see 
the commentary on Num. xxi. 2, 3). 'There is not much proba- 
bility in this conjecture, however, for the simple reason that the 
ban pronounced by Moses upon the country of the king of Arad 
(Num. xxi. 2) was carried out now for the first time by Judah and 
Simeon upon the town of Zephath, which formed a part of it. If 
Joshua had conquered it, he would certainly have -executed the ban 
upon it. The name Hormah, which was already given to Zephath 
in Josh. xv. 30 and xix. 4, is no proof to the contrary, since it may 
be used proleptically there. In any case, the infliction of the ban 
upon this town can only be explained from the fact that Moses had 
pronounced the ban upon all the towns of the king of Arad. — Ver. 
18. From the Negeb Judah turned into the shephelali, and took the 
three principal cities of the Philistines along the line of coast, viz. 
Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron, with their territory. The order in 
which the names of the captured cities occur is a proof that the 
conquest took place from the south. First of all Gaza, the southern- 
most of all the towns of the Philistines, the present Guzzeh; then 

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CHAP. I. 17-21. 257 

Askelon (Askuldn), which is five hours to the north of Gaza ; and 
lastly Ekron, the most northerly of the five towns of the Philis- 
tines, the present AMr (see at Josh. xiii. 3). The other two, 
Ashdod and Gath, do not appear to have been conquered at that 
time. And even those that were conquered, the Judseans were 
unable to hold long. In the time of Samson they were all of 
them in the hands of the Philistines again (see chap. xiv. 19, xvi. 
1 sqq. ; 1 Sam. v. 10, etc.). — In ver. 19 we have a brief summary 
of the results of the contests for the possession of the land. 
" Jehovah was with Judah ;" and with His help they took possession 
of the mountains. And they did nothing more ; "for the inhabitants 
of the plain tJiey were unable to exterminate, because they had iron 
chariots." E^n has two different meanings in the two clauses : 
first (&1j;*l)y to seize upon a possession which has been vacated by 
the expulsion or destruction of its former inhabitants ; and secondly 
(enln^ with the accusative, of the inhabitants), to drive or exter- 
minate them out of their possessions, — a meaning which is derived 
from the earlier signification of making it an emptied possession 
(see Ex. xxxiv. 24 ; Num. xxxii. 21, etc.). " The mountain" here 
includes the south-land (the Negeb), as the only distinction is between 
mountains and plain. " The valley" is the shephelah (ver. 9). 
J^nin? to, he was not (able) to drive out. The construction may 
be explained from the fact that (6 is to be taken independently 
here as in Amos vi. 10, in the same sense in which T$ before the 
infinitive is used in later writings (2 Chron. v. 11 ; Esther iv. 2, 
viii. 8 ; Eccl. iii. 14 : see Ges. § 132-3, anm. 1 ; Ewald, § 237, e.). 
On the iron chariots, i.e. the chariots tipped with iron, see at Josh, 
xvii. 16. — To this there is appended, in ver. 20, the statement that 
"they gave Hebron unto Caleb," etc., which already occurred in 
Josh. xv. 13, 14, and was there explained; and also in ver. 21 the 
remark, that the Benjaminites did not drive out the Jebusites who 
dwelt in Jerusalem, which is so far in place here, that it shows, on 
the one hand, that the children of Judah did not bring Jerusalem 
into the undisputed possession of the Israelites through this con- 
quest, and, on the other hand, that it was not their intention to 
diminish the inheritance of Benjamin by the conquest of Jerusalem, 
and they had not taken the city for themselves. For further 
remarks, see at ver. 8. 

The hostile attacks of the other tribes upon the Oanaanites who 
remained in the, land are briefly summed up in vers. 22-36. Of 
these the taking of Bethel is more fully described in vers. 22-26. 


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Besides this, nothing more is given than the list of the towns in the 
territories of western Manasseh (vers. 27, 28), Ephraim (ver. 29), 
Zebulun (ver. 30), Asher (vers. 31, 32), Naphtali (ver. 33), and 
Dan (vers. 34, 35), out of which the Canaanites were not exter- 
minated by these tribes. Issachar is omitted; hardly, however, 
because that tribe made no attempt to disturb the Canaanites, as 
Bertheau supposes, but rather because none of its towns remained 
in the hands of the Canaanites. 

Vers. 22-26. Like Judah, so also ("they also," referring back 
to vers. 2, 3) did the house of Joseph (Ephraim and western 
Manasseh) renew the hostilities with the Canaanites who were left 
in their territory after the death of Joshua. The children of 
Joseph went up against Bethel, and Jehovah was with them, so 
that they were able to conquer the city. Bethel had indeed been 
assigned to the tribe of Benjamin (Josh, xviii. 22), but it was 
situated on the southern boundary of the tribe-land of Ephraim 
(Josh. xvi. 2, xviii. 13) ; so that the tribe of Joseph could not tole- 
rate the Canaanites in this border town, if it would defend its own 
territory against them, and purge it entirely of them. This is a 
sufficient explanation of the fact that this one conquest is men- 
tioned, and this only, without there being any necessity to seek for 
the reason, as Bertheau does, in the circumstance that the town of 
Bethel came into such significant prominence in the later history of 
Israel, and attained the same importance in many respects in rela- 
tion to the northern tribes, as that which Jerusalem attained in 
relation to the southern. For the fact that nothing more is said 
about the other conquests of the children of Joseph, may be ex- 
plained simply enough on the supposition that they did not succeed 
in rooting out the Canaanites from the other fortified towns in 
their possessions ; and therefore there was nothing to record abont 
any further conquests, as the result of their hostilities was merely 
this, that they did not drive the Canaanites out of the towns named 
in vers. 27, 29, but simply made them tributary. VW, they had it 
explored, or spied out. *Wi is construed with a here, because the 
spying laid hold, as it were, of its object. Bethel, formerly Luz, 
now Beitin: see at Gen. xxviii. 19 and Josh. vii. 2. — Ven 24. 
And the watchmen (i.e. the spies sent out to explore Bethel) saw a 
man coming out of the town, and got him to show them the 
entrance into it, under a promise that they would show him favour, 
i.e. would spare the lives of himself and his family (see Josh. ii. 
12, 13) ; whereupon they took the town and smote it without 

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CHAP. I. 27, 28. 259 

quarter, according to the law in Deut. xx. 16, 17, letting none but 
the man and his family go. By " the entrance into the city" we are 
not to understand the gate of the town, but the way or mode by 
which they could get into the town, which was no doubt fortified. 
— Ver. 26. The man whom they had permitted to go free, went 
with his family into the land of the Hittites, and there built a town, 
to which he gave the name of his earlier abode, viz. Luz. The 
situation of this Ltiz is altogether unknown. Even the situation of 
the land of the Hittites cannot be more precisely determined ; for 
we find Hittites at Hebron in the times of Abraham and Moses 
(Gen. xxiii.), and also upon the mountains of Palestine (Num. 
xiii. 29), and at a later period in the north-east of Canaan on the 
borders of Syria (1 Kings x. 29). That the Hittites were one of 
the most numerous and widespread of the tribes of the Canaanites, 
is evident from the fact that, in Josh. i. 4, the Canaanites generally 
are described as Hittites. 

Vers. 27, 28. Manasseh did not root out the Canaanites from 
the towns which had been allotted to it in the territory of Asher 
and Issachar (Josh. xvii. 11), but simply made them tributary. 
'ui JsenV3~ntt e*nin t6, considered by itself, might be rendered : 
" Manasseh did not take possession of Bethshean," etc. But as we 
find, in the further enumeration, the inhabitants of the towns men- 
tioned instead of the towns themselves, we must take B*"tin in the 
sense of rooting out, driving out of their possessions, which is the 
only rendering applicable in ver. 28 ; and thus, according to a very 
frequent metonymy, must understand by the towns the inhabitants 
of the towns. " Manasseh did not exterminate Bethshean," i.e. the 
inhabitants of Bethshean, etc. All the towns mentioned here have 
already been mentioned in Josh. xvii. 11, the only difference being, 
that they are not placed in exactly the same order, and that Endor 
is mentioned there after Dor ; whereas here it has no doubt fallen 
out through a copyist's error, as the Manassites, according to 
Josh. xvii. 12, 13, did not exterminate the Canaanites from all the 
towns mentioned there. The change in the order in which the 
towns occur — Taanach being placed next to Bethshean, whereas in 
Joshua Bethshean is followed by Ibleam, which is placed last but 
one in the present list — may be explained on the supposition, that 
in Josh. xvii. 11, Endor, Taanach, and Megiddo are placed to- 
gether, as forming a triple league, of which the author of our book 
has taken no notice. Nearly all these towns were in the plain of 
Jezreel, or in the immediate neighbourhood of the great com- 

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mercial roads which ran from the coast of the Mediterranean to 
Damascus and central Asia. The Canaanites no doubt brought all 
their strength to bear upon the defence of these roads ; and in this 
their war-chariots, against which Israel could do nothing in the 
plain of Jezreel, were of the greatest service (see ver. 19 ; Josh, 
xvii. 16). For further particulars respecting the situation of the 
different towns, see at Josh. xvii. 11. Dor only was on the coast of 
the Mediterranean (see at Josh. xi. 2), and being a commercial 
emporium of the Phoenicians, would certainly be strongly fortified, 
and very difficult to conquer. — Ver. 28. As the Israelites grew 
strong, they made serfs of the Canaanites (see at Gen. xlix. 15). 
When this took place is not stated ; but at all events, it was only 
done gradually in the course of the epoch of the judges, and not 
for the first time during the reign of Solomon, as Bertheau sup- 
poses on the ground of 1 Kings ix. 20-22 and iv. 12, without con- 
sidering that even in the time of David the Israelites had already 
attained the highest power they ever possessed, and that there is 
nothing at variance with this in 1 Kings iv. 12 and ix. 20-22. For 
it by no means follows, from the appointment of a prefect by 
Solomon over the districts of Taanach, Megiddo, and Bethshean 
(1 Kings iv. 12), that these districts had only been conquered by 
Solomon a short time before, when we bear in mind that Solomon 
appointed twelve such prefects over all Israel, to remit in regular 
order the national payments that were required for the maintenance 
of the regal court. Nor does it follow, that because Solomon 
employed the descendants of the Canaanites who were left in the 
land as tributary labourers in the erection of his great buildings, 
therefore he was the first who succeeded in compelling those 
Canaanites who were not exterminated when the land was con- 
quered by Joshua, to pay tribute to the different tribes of Israel. 

Vers. 29-35. Ephraim did not root out the Canaanites in Gezer 
(ver. 29), as has already been stated in Josh. xvi. 10. — Ver. 30. 
Zebulun did not root out the Canaanites in Kitron and Nahahl. 
Neither of these places has been discovered (see at Josh. xix. 15). 
— Ver. 31. Asher did not root out those in Acco, etc. Acco : a 
seaport town to the north of Carmel, on the bay which is called by 
its name ; it is called Ake by Josephus, Diod. Sic., and Pliny, and 
was afterwards named Ptolemais from one of the Ptolemys (1 Mace. 
v. 15, 21, x. 1, etc. ; Acts xxi. 7). The Arabs called it Akka, and 
this was corrupted by the crusaders into Acker or Acre. During 
the crusades it was a very flourishing maritime and commercial 

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CHAP. I. 36. 261 

town ; but it subsequently fell into decay, and at the present time 
has a population of about 5000, composed of Mussulmans, Druses, 
and Christians (see C. v. Raumer, Pal. p. 119 ; Rob. Bibl. Res. ; 
and Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 725 sqq.). Sidon, now Saida : see at 
Josh. xi. 8. Achlab is only mentioned here, and is not known. 
Achzib, i.e. Ecdippa : see at Josh. six. 29. Helbah is unknown. 
Aphek is the present Afkah : see Josh. xiii. 4, xix. 30. Rehob is 
unknown : see at Josh. xix. 28, 30. As seven out of the twenty- 
two towns of Asher (Josh. xix. 30) remained in the hands of the 
Canaanites, including such important places as Acco and Sidon, it 
is not stated in ver. 32, as in vers. 29, 30, that " the Canaanites 
dwelt among them," but that " the Asherites dwelt among the 
Canaanites," to show' that the Canaanites held the upper hand. 
And for this reason the expression " they became tributaries" (vers. 
30, 35, etc.) is also omitted. — Ver. 33. Naphtali did not root out 
the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath, two fortified towns, 
the situation of which is still unknown (see at Josh. xix. 38) ; so 
that this tribe also dwelt among the Canaanites, but did not make 
them tributary. — Vers. 34, 35. Still less were the Danites able to 
drive the Canaanites out of their inheritance. On the contrary, 
the Amorites forced Dan up into the mountains, and would not 
suffer them to come down into the plain. But the territory allotted 
to the Danites was almost all in the plain (see at Josh. xix. 40). 
If, therefore, they were forced out of that, they were almost 
entirely excluded from their inheritance. The Amorites em- 
boldened themselves (see at Deut. i. 5) to dwell in Har-cheres, 
Ajalon, and Shaalbim. On the last two places see Josh. xix. 42, 
where Ir-shemesh is also mentioned. This combination, and still 
more the meaning of the names Har-cheres, i.e. sun-mountain, and 
Ir-shemesh, i.e. sun-town, make the conjecture a very probable one, 
that Har-cheres is only another name for Ir-shemesh, i.e. the present 
Ain Shems (see at Josh. xv. 10, and Rob. Pal. iii. pp. 17, 18). This 
pressure on the part of the Amorites induced a portion of the 
Danites to emigrate, and seek for an inheritance in the north of 
Palestine (see chap, xviii.). On the other hand, the Amorites were 
gradually made tributary by the powerful tribes of Ephraim and 
Manasseh, who bounded Dan on the north. " The liand of the house 
of Joseph lay heavy" sc. upon the Amorites in the towns already 
named on the borders of Ephraim. For the expression itself, comp. 
1 Sam. v. 6 ; Ps. xxxii. 4. 

Ver. 36. In order to explain the supremacy of the Amorites in 

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the territory of Dan, a short notice is added concerning their 
extension in the south of Palestine. " The territory of the Amorites 
teas" i.e. extended (viz. at the time of the conquest of Canaan by 
the Israelites), " from the ascent of Akrabbitn, from the rock onwards 
and farther up" Maaleh-Ahrabbim (ascensus scorpiorum) was the 
sharply projecting line of cliffs which intersected the Ghor below 
the Dead Sea, and formed the southern boundary of the promised 
land (see at Num. xxxiv. 4 and Josh. xv. 2, 3). J>?f ???, from the 
rock, is no doubt given as a second point upon the boundary of the 
Amoritish territory, as the repetition of the Q clearly shows, not- 
withstanding the omission of the copula 1. PB?, the rock, is sup- 
posed by the majority of commentators to refer to the city of Petra, 
the ruins of which are still to be seen in the Wady Musa (see 
Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 703 sqq. ; Bob. Pal. ii. pp. 573 sqq., iii. 653), 
and which is distinctly mentioned in 2 Kings xiv. 7 under the name 
of PBHj and in Isa. xvi. 1 is called simply V?0. Petra is to the south- 
east of the Scorpion heights. Consequently, with this rendering 
the following word n?v»j (and upward) would have to be taken in 
the sense of ulterius (and beyond), and Rosenmuller's explanation 
would be the correct one : " The Amorites not only extended as 
far as the town of Petra, or inhabited it, but they even carried their 
dwellings beyond this towards the tops of those southern mountains." 
But a description of the territory of the Amorites in its southern 
extension into Arabia Petraea does not suit the context of the verse, 
the object of which is to explain how it was that the Amorites were 
in a condition to force back the Danites out of the plain into the 
mountains, to say nothing of the fact that it is questionable whether 
the Amorites ever really spread so far, for which we have neither 
scriptural testimony nor evidence of any other kind. On this 
ground even Bertheau has taken <tyxr\ as denoting the direction 
upwards, i.e. towards the north, which unquestionably suits the 
usage of n?vp as well as the context of the passage. But it is by 
no means in harmony with this to understand J?Bn as referring tc 
Petra ; for in that case we should have two boundary points men- 
tioned, the second of which was farther south than the first. Now 
a historian who had any acquaintance with the topography, would 
never have described the extent of the Amoritish territory from 
south to north in such a way as this, commencing with the Scorpion 
heights on the north, then passing to Petra, which was farther 
south, and stating that from this point the territory extended 
farther towards the north. If n>j»j therefore refers to the exten- 

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CHAP. II. 1-5. 263 

sion of the territory of the Amorites in a northerly direction, the 
expression " from the rock" cannot be understood as relating to 
the city of Petra, but most denote some other locality well known 
to the Israelites by that name. Such a locality there undoubtedly 
was in the rock in the desert of Zin, which had become celebrated 
through the events that took place at the water of strife (Num. xx. 
8, 10), and to which in all probability this expression refers. The 
rock in question was at the south-west corner of Canaan, on the 
southern edge of the Rakhma plateau, to which the mountains of 
the Amorites extended on the south-west (comp. Num. xiv. 25, 44, 
45, with Deut. i. 44). And this would be very appropriately men- 
tioned here as the south-western boundary of the Amorites, in con- 
nection with the Scorpion heights as their south-eastern boundary, 
for the purpose of giving the southern boundary of the Amorites in 
its full extent from east to west. 

Chap. ii. 1-5. The Angel of the Lord at Bochim. — To the cur- 
sory survey of the attitude which the tribes of Israel assumed 
towards the Canaanites who still remained in their inheritances, 
there is appended an account of the appearance of the angel of the 
Lord, who announced to the people the punishment of God for 
their breach of the covenant, of which they had been guilty through 
their failure to exterminate the Canaanites. This theophany is 
most intimately connected with the facts grouped together in chap, 
i., since the design and significance of the historical survey given 
there are only to be learned from the reproof of the angel ; and 
since both of them have the same aphoristic character, being re- 
stricted to the essential facts without entering minutely into any of 
the attendant details, very much is left in obscurity. This applies 
more particularly to the statement in ver. la, " Then the angel of 
Jehovah came up from Gilgal to Bochim? The " angel of Jehovah" 
is not a prophet, or some other earthly messenger of Jehovah, 
either Phinehas or Joshua, as the Targums, the Rabbins, Bertheau, 
and others assume, but the angel of the Lord who is of one essence 
with God. In the simple historical narrative a prophet is never 
called Maleach Jehovah. The prophets are always called either 
W33 or K'33 e^K, as in chap. vi. 8, or else "man of God," as in 
1 Kings xn. 22, xiii. 1, etc. ; and Hag. i. 13 and Mai hi. 1 cannot 
be adduced as proofs to the contrary, because in both these passages 
the purely appellative meaning of the word Maleach is established 
beyond all question by the context itself. Moreover, no prophet 
ever identifies himself so entirely with God as the angel of Jehovah 

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does here. The prophets always distinguish between themselves 
and Jehovah, by introducing their words with the declaration 
" *Jius saith Jehovah," as the prophet mentioned in chap. vi. 8 is 
said to have done. On the other hand, it is affirmed that no angel 
mentioned in the historical books is ever said to have addressed the 
whole nation, or to have passed from one place to another. Bat 
even if it had been a prophet who was speaking, we could not 
possibly understand his speaking to the whole nation, or "to all 
the children of Israel," as signifying that he spoke directly to the 
600,000 men of Israel, but simply as an address delivered to the 
whole nation in the persons of its heads or representatives. Thus 
Joshua spoke to "all the people" (Josh. xxiv. 2), though only the 
elders of Israel and its heads were assembled round him (Josh, 
xxiv. 1). And so an angel, or "the angel of the Lord," might 
also speak to the heads of the nation, when his message had refer- 
ence to all the people. And there was nothing in the fact of his 
coming up from Gilgal to Bochim that was at all at variance with 
the nature of the angel. When the angel of the Lord appeared to 
Gideon, it is stated in chap. vi. 11 that he came and sat under the 
terebinth at Ophra ; and in the same way the appearance of the 
angel of the Lord at Bochim might just as naturally be described 
as coming up to Bochim. The only thing that strikes us as pecu- 
liar is his coming up " from Gilgal." This statement must be 
intimately connected with the mission of the angel, and therefore 
must contain something more than a simply literal notice concern- 
ing his travelling from one place to another. We are not to conclude, 
however, that the angel of the Lord came from Gilgal, because this 
town was the gathering-place of the congregation in Joshua's time. 
Apart altogether from the question discussed in pp. 92 sqq. as to the 
situation of Gilgal in the different passages of the book of Joshua, 
such a view as this is overthrown by the circumstance that after 
the erection of the tabernacle at Shiloh, and during the division of 
the land, it was not Gilgal but Shiloh which formed the gathering- 
place of the congregation when the casting of the lots was finished 
(Josh, xviii. 1, 10). We cannot agree with H. Witsxw, therefore, 
who says in his Miacell. ss. (i. p. 170, ed. 1736) that "he came from 
that place, where he had remained for a long time to guard the 
camp, and where he was thought to be tarrying still ;" but must 
rather assume that his coming up from Gilgal is closely connected 
with the appearance of the angel-prince, as described in Josh. v. 13, 
to announce to Joshua the fall of Jericho after the circumcision of 

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CHAP. II. 1-5. 265 

the people at Gilgal. Just as on that occasion, when Israel had 
just entered into the true covenant relation to the Lord by circum- 
cision, and was preparing for the conquest of Canaan, the angel of 
the Lord appeared to Joshua as the prince of the army of Jehovah, 
to ensure him of the taking of Jericho ; so here after the entrance 
of the tribes of Israel into their inheritances, when they were begin- 
ning to make peace with the remaining Canaanites, and instead of 
rooting them out were content to make them tributary, the angel 
of the Lord appeared to the people, to make known to all the chil- 
dren of Israel that by such intercourse with the Canaanites they 
had broken the covenant of the Lord, and to foretell the punishment 
which would follow this transgression of the covenant. By the fact, 
therefore, that he came up from Gilgal, it is distinctly shown that 
the same angel who gave the whole of Canaan into the hands of the 
Israelites when Jericho fell, had appeared to them again at Bochim, 
to make known to them the purposes of God in consequence of 
their disobedience to the commands of the Lord. How very far it 
was from being the author's intention to give simply a geographical 
notice, is also evident from the fact that he merely describes the 
place where this appearance occurred by the name which was given 
to it in conseqnence of the event, viz. Bochim, i.e. weepers. The 
situation of this place is altogether unknown. The rendering of 
the LXX., eir\ tov K\av0fi&va kcu evl BcudrjX teal iirl rbv oIkov 
'Iff/MijX, gives no clue whatever ; for rbv RKavdp&va merely arises 
from a confusion of 0^33 with ffMS in 2 Sam. v. 23, which the 
LXX. have also rendered KXavO/juov, and hrl rbv Batjdrjk k.t.\. is 
an arbitrary interpolation of the translators themselves, who supposed 
Bochim to be in the neighbourhood of Bethel, " in all probability 
merely because they thought of AlUm-bachuth, the oak of weeping, 
at Bethel, which is mentioned in Gen. xxxv. 8" (Bertheau). With 
regard to the piska in the middle of the verse, see the remarks on 
Josh. iv. 1. In his address the angel of the Lord identifies himself 
with Jehovah (as in Josh. v. 14 compared with vi. 2), by describing 
himself as having made them to go up out of Egypt and brought 
them into the land which He sware unto their fathers. There is 
something very striking in the use of the imperfect npyx in the 
place of the perfect (cf. chap. vi. 8), as the substance of the address 
and the continuation of it in the historical tense N^NJ and "W?tfl require 
the preterite. The imperfect is only to be explained on the suppo- 
sition that it is occasioned by the imperf. consec. which follows 
immediately afterwards and reacts through its proximity. " / will 

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not break my covenant for ever," i.e. will keep what I promised when 
making the covenant, viz. that I would endow Israel with blessings 
and salvation, if they for their part would observe the covenant 
duties into which they had entered (see Ex. xix. 5 sqq.), and obey 
the commandments of the Lord. Among these was the command- 
ment to enter into no alliance with the inhabitants of that land, viz. 
the Canaanites (see Ex. xxiii. 32, 33, xxxiv. 12, 13, 15, 16 ; Dent, 
vii. 2 sqq. ; Josh, xxiii. 12). " Destroy their altars :" taken verbatim 
from Ex. xxxiv. 13, Dent. vii. 5. The words "and ye have not 
hearkened to my voice" recall to mind Ex. xix. 5. " What have ye 
done" (ntfrno, literally " what is this that ye have done") sc. in 
sparing the Canaanites and tolerating their altars? — Ver. 3. "And 
I also have said to you:" these words point to the threat already 
expressed in Num. xxxiii. 55, Josh, xxiii. 13, in the event of their 
not fulfilling the command of God, which threat the Lord would 
now fulfil. From the passages mentioned, we may also explain the 
expression D'to D3P vm, they shall be in your sides, Le. thorns in 
your sides. D*w is an abbreviated expression for D3 v $Ei D'rJX? in 
Num. xxxiii. 55, so that there is no necessity for the conjecture 
that it stands for D^W. The last clause of ver. 3 is formed after 
Ex. xxiii. 33. — Vers. 4, 5. The people broke out into loud weeping 
on account of this reproof. And since the weeping, from which 
the place received the name of Bochim, was a sign of their grief on 
account of their sin, this grief led on to such repentance that " they 
sacrificed there unto the Lord" no doubt presenting sin-offerings 
and burnt-offerings, that they might obtain mercy and the forgive- 
ness of their sins. It does not follow from this sacrifice, however, 
that the tabernacle or the ark of the covenant was to be found at 
Bochim. In any place where the Lord appeared to His people, 
sacrifices might be offered to Him (see chap. vi. 20, 26, 28, xiii. 16 
sqq. ; 2 Sam. xxiv. 25, and the commentary on Deut. xii. 5). On 
the other hand, it does follow from the sacrifice at Bochim, where 
there was no sanctuary of Jehovah, that the person who appeared 
to the people was not a prophet, nor even an ordinary angel, but 
the angel of the Lord, who is essentially one with Jehovah. 

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chap. n. 6-10. 267 

II. fr-III. 6. 

The attitude which the Israelites assumed towards the Canaan- 
ites who were left in their possessions, contained the germ of the 
peculiar direction given to the development of the nation of God in 
the times of the judges. To exhibit the course of this development 
in its most general principles, the age which commenced after 
Joshua's death is characterized as a period of constant alternation 
between idolatry and consequent subjugation by foreign nations 
as a punishment from God for the transgression of His covenant 
on the one hand, and return to God after receiving chastisement 
and consequent deliverance by judges expressly raised up by God 
for that purpose on the other. In this way the righteousness of 
the holy God is displayed so clearly in the punishment of the 
rebellious, and the mercy of the faithful covenant God in His 
forgiveness of the penitent, that the history of Israel at that time 
exhibits to us an example of the divine holiness and righteousness 
on the one hand, and of His grace and mercy on the other, as 
displayed in the church of God of all times, as a warning for the 
ungodly and for the consolation of the righteous. 

Vers. 6-10. The account of this development of the covenant 
nation, which commenced after the death of Joshua and his con- 
temporaries, is attached to the book of Joshua by a simple repeti- 
tion of the closing verses of that book (Josh. xxiv. 28-31) in vers. 
6-10, with a few unimportant differences, not only to form a link 
between Josh. xxiv. and Judg. ii. 11, and to resume the thread 
of the history which was broken off by the summary just given 
of the results of the wars between the Israelites and Ganaanites 
{Bertheau), but rather to bring out sharply and clearly the contrast 
between the age that was past and the period of the Israelitish 
history that was just about to commence. The vav consec. attached 
to n5B^ expresses the order of thought and not of time. The 
apostasy of the new generation from the Lord (vers. 10 sqq.) was 
a necessary consequence of the attitude of Israel to the Canaanites 
who were left in the land, as described in chap. i. 1— ii. 5. This 
thought is indicated by the vav consec. in npB^l ; so that the meaning 
of vers. 6 sqq. as expressed in our ordinary phraseology would be 
as follows : Now when Joshua had dismissed the people, and the 
children of Israel had gone every one to his own inheritance to take 

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possession of the land, the people served the Lord as long as Joshua 
and the elders who survived him were alive ; but when Joshua was 
dead, and that generation (which was contemporaneous with him) 
had been gathered to its fathers, there rose up another generation 
after them which knew not the Lord, and also (knew not) the work 
which He had done to Israel. On the death and burial of Joshua, 
see at Josh. xxiv. 29, 30. " Gatliered unto their fathers" corresponds 
to "gathered to his people" in the Pentateuch (Gen. xxv. 8, 17, 
xxxv. 29, xlix. 29, 33, etc. : see at Gen. xxv. 8). They " knew not 
the Lord," sc. from seeing or experiencing His wonderful deeds, 
which the contemporaries of Joshua and Moses had seen and ex- 

In the general survey of the times of the judges, commencing 
at ver. 11, the falling away of the Israelites from the Lord is 
mentioned first of all, and at the same time it is distinctly shown 
how neither the chastisements inflicted upon them by God at the 
hands of hostile nations, nor the sending of judges to set them free 
from the hostile oppression, availed to turn them from their idolatry 
(vers. 11-19). This is followed by the determination of God to 
tempt and chastise the sinful nation by not driving away the 
remaining Canaanites (vers. 20-23) ; and lastly, the account con- 
cludes with an enumeration of the tribes that still remained, and the 
attitude of Israel towards them (chap. iii. 1—6). 

Vers. 11-19. Repeated falling away of the People from the Lord. 
— Vers. 11-13. The Israelites did what was evil in the eyes of the 
Lord (what was displeasing to the Lord) ; they served Baalim. 
The plural Baalim is a general term employed to denote all false 
deities, and is synonymous with the expression "other gods" in the 
clause " other gods of the gods of the nations round about them" 
(the Israelites). This use of the term Baalim arose from the fact 
that Baal was the chief male deity of the Canaanites and all the 
nations of Hither Asia, and was simply worshipped by the different 
nations with peculiar modifications, and therefore designated by 
various distinctive epithets. In ver. 12 this apostasy is more 
minutely described as forsaking Jehovah the God of their fathers, 
to whom they were indebted for the greatest blessing, viz. their 
deliverance out of Egypt, and following other gods of the heathen 
nations that were round about them (taken verbatim from Deut vi. 
14, and xiii. 7, 8), and worshipping them. In this way they pro- 
voked the Lord to anger (cf. Deut. iv. 25, ix. 18, etc.). — Ver. 13. 
Thus they forsook Jehovah, and served Baal and the Asthartes. In 

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CHAP. II. 11-19. 269 

this case the singular Baal is connected with the plural Ashtaroth, 
because the male deities of all the Canaanitish nations, and those 
that bordered upon Canaan, were in their nature one and the same 
deity, viz. Baal, a sun-god, and as such the vehicle and source of 
physical life, and of the generative and reproductive power of 
nature, which was regarded as an effluence from its own being (see 
Movers, Relig. der Phonizier, pp. 184 sqq., and J. G. M&ller in 
Herzog's Cyclopaedia). Ashtaroth, from the singular Ashtoreth, 
which only occurs again in 1 Kings xi. 5, 33, and 2 Kings xxiii. 
13, in connection with the Sidonian Astharte, was the general 
name used to denote the leading female deity of the Canaanitish 
tribes, a moon-goddess, who was worshipped as the feminine prin- 
ciple of nature embodied in the pure moon-light, and its influence 
upon terrestrial life. It corresponded to the Greek Aphrodite, 
whose celebrated temple at Askalon is described in Herod, i. 105. 
In chap. iii. 7, Asheroth is used as equivalent to Ashtaroth, which 
is used here, chap. x. 6 ; 1 Sam. vii. 4, xii. 10. The name 
Aslteroth} was transferred to the deity itself from the idols of this 
goddess, which generally consisted of wooden columns, and are 
called Asherim in Ex. xxxiv. 13, Deut. vii. 5, xii. 3, xvi. 21. : ' On 
the other hand, the word Ashtoreth is without any traceable ety- 
mology in the Semitic dialects, and was probably derived from 
Upper Asia, being connected with a Persian word signifying a 
star, and synonymous with 'Aarpodp^, the star-queen of Sabseism 
(see Ges. Thes. pp. 1083-4 ; Movers, p. 606 ; and Mailer, ut sup.). 
With regard to the nature of the Baal and Astharte worship, 
into which the Israelites fell not long after the death of Joshua, 
and in which they continued henceforth to sink deeper and deeper, 
it is evident from the more precise allusions contained in the 
history of Gideon, that it did not consist of direct opposition to the 
worship of Jehovah, or involve any formal rejection of Jehovah, 
but that it was simply an admixture of the worship of Jehovah 
with the heathen or Canaanitish nature-worship. Not only was 
the ephod which Gideon caused to be made in his native town of 
Ophrah, and after which all Israel went a whoring (chap. viii. 27), 
an imitation of the high priest's ephod in the worship of Jehovah ; 
but the worship of Baal-berith at Shechem, after which the Israel- 
ites went a whoring again when Gideon was dead (chap. viii. 33), 
was simply a corruption of the worship of Jehovah, in which Baal 
was put in the place of Jehovah and worshipped in a similar way, 
1 Rendered groves in the English version.— Tr. 

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as we may clearly see from chap. ix. 27. The worship of Jehovah 
could even he outwardly continued in connection with this idola- 
trous worship. Just as in the case of these nations in the midst of 
which the Israelites lived, the mutual recognition of their different 
deities and religions was manifested in the fact that they all called 
their supreme deity by the same name, Baal, and simply adopted 
some other epithet by which to define the distinctive peculiarities 
of each ; so the Israelites also imagined that they could worship 
the Baals of the powerful nations round about them along with 
Jehovah their covenant God, especially if they worshipped them 
in the same manner as their covenant God. This will serve to 
explain the rapid and constantly repeated falling away of the 
Israelites from Jehovah into Baal- worship, at the very time when 
the worship of Jehovah was stedfastly continued at the tabernacle 
in accordance with the commands of the law. The Israelites 
simply followed the lead and example of their heathen neighbours. 
Just as the heathen were tolerant with regard to the recognition of 
the deities of other nations, and did not refuse to extend this recog- 
nition even to Jehovah the God of Israel, so the Israelites were 
also tolerant towards the Baals of the neighbouring nations, whose 
sensuous nature-worship was more grateful to the corrupt heart of 
man than the spiritual Jehovah-religion, with its solemn demands 
for sanctification of life. But this syncretism, which was not only 
reconcilable with polytheism, but actually rooted in its very nature, 
was altogether irreconcilable with the nature of true religion. For 
if Jehovah is the only true God, and there are no other gods 
besides or beside Him, then the purity and holiness of His nature 
is not only disturbed, but altogether distorted, by any admixture of 
His worship with the worship of idols or of the objects of nature, 
the true God being turned into an idol, and Jehovah degraded 
into Baal. Looking closely into the matter, therefore, the mixture 
of the Canaanitish worship of Baal with the worship of Jehovah 
was actually forsaking Jehovah and serving other gods, as the 
prophetic author of this book pronounces it. It was just the same 
with the worship of Baal in the kingdom of the ten tribes, which 
was condemned by the prophets Hosea and Amos (see Hengsten- 
berg, Christology, i. pp. 168 sqq., Eng. trans.). — Vers. 14, 15. On 
account of this idolatrous worship, the anger of the Lord burned 
against Israel, so that He gave them up into the hands of spoilers 
that spoiled them, and sold them into the hands of their enemies. 
O'Dfe* from nDB*, alternated with DDP in IBB*, to plunder. This word 

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CHAP. II. 11-19. 271 

is not met with in the Pentateuch, whereas 130, to sell, occurs in 
Deut. xxxii. 30, in the sense of giving helplessly up to the foe. 
" They could no longer stand before their enemies" as they had done 
under Joshua, and in fact as long as Israel continued faithful to 
the Lord ; so that now, instead of the promise contained in Lev. 
xxvi. 7, 8, being fulfilled, the threat contained in Lev. xxvi. 17 was 
carried into execution. " Whithersoever they went out," i.e. in every 
expedition, every attack that they made upon their enemies, " the 
hand of Jehovah was against them for evil, as He had said" (Lev. 
xxvi. 17, 36 ; Deut. xxviii. 25), and " had sworn unto them." There 
is no express oath mentioned either in Lev. xxvi. or Deut. xxviii. ; 
it is implied therefore in the nature of the case, or in virtute ver- 
borum, as Seb. Schmidt affirms, inasmuch as the threats themselves 
were words of the true and holy God. *lfcD orb "1V5, " and it 
became to them very narrow," i.e. they came into great straits. — 
Vers. 16, 17. But the Lord did not rest content with this. He did 
still more. " He raised up judges who delivered them out of the 
hand of their plunderers" to excite them to love in return by this 
manifestation of His love and mercy, and to induce them to repent. 
But " they did not hearken even to their judges" namely, so as not 
to fall back again into idolatry, which the judge had endeavoured 
to suppress. This limitation of the words is supported by the 
context, viz. by a comparison of vers. 18, 19. — " But Q3 after a 
negative clause) they went a whoring after other gods (for the 
application of this expression to the spiritual adultery of idolatrous 
worship, see Ex. xxxiv. 15), and turned quickly away (vid. Ex. 
xxxii. 8) from the way which their fathers walked in, to hearken to 
the commandments of the Lord" i.e. from the way of obedience to 
the divine commands. " They did not so" (or what was right) sc. 
as their fathers under Joshua had done (cf. ver. 7). — Vers. 18, 19. 
" And when the Lord raised them up judges, and was with the judge, 
and delivered tliem out of the hand of their enemies all tlie days of 
Hie judge (i.e. as long as the judge was living), because the Lord 
had compassion upon their sighing, by reason of tliem that oppressed 
them, and vexed them (prh only occurs again as a verb in Joel ii. 
8) : it came to pass wlien the judge was dead, that they returned and 
acted more corruptly than their fathers," i.e. they turned again to 
idolatry even more grievously than their fathers had done under 
the previous judges. " They did not let fall from their deeds," i.e. 
they did not cease from their evil deeds, and "from their stiff- 
necked way." ntPj?, hard, is to be understood as in Ex. xxxii. 9 and 

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xxxiii. 3, where Israel is called a hard-necked people which did not 
bend under obedience to the commandments of God. 

Vers. 20—23. Chastisement of the rebellious Nation. — Vers. 20, 
21. On account of this idolatry, which was not only constantly 
repeated, but continued to grow worse and worse, the anger of the 
Lord burned so fiercely against Israel, that He determined to 
destroy no more of the nations which Joshua had left when he died, 
before the people that had broken His covenant. In order to set 
forth this divine purpose most distinctly, it is thrown into the form 
of a sentence uttered by God through the expression 'U! ^O^n. The 
Lord said, " Because this people has transgressed my covenant, . . . 
I also will no longer keep my covenant promise (Ex. xxiii. 23, 27 
sqq., xxxiv. 10 sqq.), and will no more drive out any of the remain- 
ing Canaanites before them" (see Josh, xxiii. 13). — Ver. 22. The 
purpose of God in this resolution was " to prove Israel through 
them (the tribes that were not exterminated), whether they (the 
Israelites) would keep the way of the Lord to walk therein (cf . Deut. 
viii. 2), as their fathers did keep it, or not" T\\&i jyop is not de- 
pendent upon the verb 3JJF, as Studer supposes, which yields no 
fitting sense ; nor can the clause be separated from the preceding 
one, as Bertlieau suggests, and connected as a protasis with ver. 23 
(this would be a thoroughly unnatural construction, for which Isa. 
xlv. 4 does not furnish any true parallel) ; but the clause is attached 
in the simplest possible manner to the main thought in vers. 20, 21, 
that is to say, to the words " and He said" in ver. 20 : Jehovah 
said, i.e. resolved, that He would not exterminate the remaining 
nations any further, to tempt Israel through them. The plural D3, 
in the place of the singular Fffl, which the foregoing TfPi requires, is 
to be regarded as a constructio ad sensum, i.e. to be attributed to 
the fact, that keeping the way of God really consists in observing 
the commandments of God, and that this was the thought which 
floated before the writer's mind. The thought expressed -in this 
verse, that Jehovah would not exterminate the Canaanites before 
Israel any more, to try them whether they would keep His com- 
mandments, just as He had previously caused the people whom He 
brought out of Egypt to wander in the wilderness for forty years 
with the very same intention (Deut. viii. 2), is not at variance with 
the design of God, expressed in Ex. xxiii. 29, 30, and Deut. vii. 22, 
not to exterminate the Canaanites all at once, lest the land should 
become waste, and the wild beasts multiply therein, nor yet with 
the motive assigned in chap. iii. 1, 2. For the determination not 

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CHAP. IIL 1-6. 273 

to exterminate the Canaanites in one single year, was a different 
thing from the purpose of God to suspend their gradual extermina- 
tion altogether. The former purpose had immediate regard to the 
well-being of Israel ; the latter, on the contrary, was primarily 
intended as a chastisement for its transgression of the covenant, 
although even this chastisement was intended to lead the rebellious 
nation to repentance, and promote its prosperity by a true conver- 
sion to the Lord. And the motive assigned in chap. ii. 2 is in 
perfect harmony with this intention, as our explanation of this 
passage will clearly show. — Ver. 23. In consequence of this reso- 
lution, the Lord let these tribes (those mentioned in chap. iii. 3) 
remain at rest, i.e. quietly, in the land, without exterminating them 
rapidly. The expression "inp, hastily, quickly, i.e. according to the 
distinct words of the following clause, through and under Joshua, 
appears strange after what has gone before. For what is threatened 
in ver. 21 is not the suspension of rapid extermination, but of any 
further extermination. This threat, therefore, is so far limited by 
the word " hastily," as to signify that the Lord would not extermi- 
nate any more of these nations so long as Israel persisted in its 
idolatry. But as soon as and whenever Israel returned to the Lord 
its God in true repentance, to keep His covenant, the Lord would 
recall His threat, and let the promised extermination of the Canaan- 
ites go forward again. Had Israel not forsaken the Lord its God 
so soon after Joshua's death, the Lord would have exterminated 
the Canaanites who were left in the land much sooner than He did, 
or have carried out their gradual extermination in a much shorter 
time than was actually the case, in consequence of the continual 
idolatry of the people. 

Chap. iii. 1-6. Nations which the Lord left in Canaan : with a 
repetition of the reason why this was done. — Ver. 1. The reason, 
which has already been stated in chap. ii. 22, viz. " to prove Israel 
by them," is still further elucidated here. In the first place (ver. 1), 
{wnfe^TiK is more precisely defined as signifying " all those who had 
not known all the wars of Canaan" sc. from their own observation 
and experience, that is to say, the generation of the Israelites which 
rose up after the death of Joshua. For " the wars of Canaan" were 
the wars which were carried on by Joshua with the almighty help 
of the Lord for the conquest of Canaan. The whole thought is 
then still further expanded in ver. 2 as follows : u only (for no other 
purpose than) that the succeeding generations (the generations which 
followed Joshua and his contemporaries) of the children of Israel, 


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that He (Jehovah) might teach them war, only those who had not 
biown them (the wars of Canaan)." The suffix attached to WT 
refers to " the wars of Canaan," although this is a feminine noon, 
the suffix in the masculine plural being frequently used in connec- 
tion with a feminine noun. At first sight it would appear as though 
the reason given here for the non-extermination of the Canaanites 
was not in harmony with the reason assigned in chap. ii. 22, which 
is repeated in ver. 4 of the present chapter. But the differences 
are perfectly reconcilable, if we only give a correct explanation of 
the two expressions, " learning war," and the " wars of Canaan." 
Learning war in the context before us is equivalent to learning to 
make war upon the nations of Canaan. Joshua and the Israelites 
of his time had not overcome these nations by their own human 
power or by earthly weapons, but by the miraculous help of their 
God, who had smitten and destroyed the Canaanites before the 
Israelites. The omnipotent help of the Lord, however, was only 
granted to Joshua and the whole nation, on condition that they 
adhered firmly to the law of God (Josh. i. 7), and faithfully 
observed the covenant of the Lord ; whilst the transgression of that 
covenant, even by Achan, caused the defeat of Israel before the 
Canaanites (Josh. vii.). In the wars of Canaan under Joshua, 
therefore, Israel had experienced and learned, that the power to 
conquer its foes did not consist in the multitude and bravery of its 
own fighting men, but solely in the might of its God, which it could 
only possess so long as it continued faithful to the Lord. This 
lesson the generations that followed Joshua had forgotten, and con- 
sequently they did not understand how to make war. To impress 
this truth upon them, — the great truth, upon which the very exist- 
ence as well as the prosperity of Israel, and its attainment of the 
object of its divine calling, depended ; in other words, to teach it by 
experience, that the people of Jehovah could only fight and conquer 
in the power of its God, — the Lord had left the Canaanites in the 
land. Necessity teaches a man to pray. The distress into which 
the Israelites were brought by the remaining Canaanites was a 
chastisement from God, through which the Lord desired to lead 
back the rebellious to himself, to keep them obedient to His com- 
mandments, and to train them to the fulfilment of their covenant 
duties. In this respect, learning war, i.e. learning how the congre- 
gation of the Lord was to fight against the enemies of God and of 
His kingdom, was one of the means appointed by God to tempt 
Israel, or prove whether it would listen to the commandments' of 

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chap. in. i-«. 275 

God (ver. 4), or would walk in the ways of the Lord. If Israel 
should so learn to war, it would learn at the same time to keep the 
commandments of God. But both of these were necessary for the 
people of God. For just as the realization of the blessings promised 
to the nation in the covenant depended upon its hearkening to the 
voice of the Lord, so the conflicts appointed for it were also neces- 
sary, just as much for the purification of the sinful nation, as for 
the perpetuation and growth of the kingdom of God upon the 
earth. — Ver. 3. The enumeration of the different nations rests upon 
Josh. adii. 2-6, and, with its conciseness and brevity, is only fully 
intelligible through the light thrown upon it by that passage. The 
five princes of the Philistines are mentioned singly there. Accord- 
ing to Josh. xiii. 4 sqq., " all the Canaanites and the Sidonians 
and the Hioites" are the Canaanitish tribes dwelling in northern 
Canaan, by the Phoenician coast and upon Mount Lebanon. 
" The Canaanites :" viz. those who dwelt along the sea-coast to the 
south of Sidon. The Hivitet : those who were settled more in the 
heart of the country, " from the mountains of Baal-hermon up to 
the territory of Hamath." Baal-hermon is only another name for 
Baal-gad, the present Banjos, under the Hermon (cf. Josh. xiii. 5). 
When it is stated still further in ver. 4, that " they were left in 
existence (i.e. were not exterminated by Joshua) to prove Israel by 
them," we are struck with the fact, that besides the Philistines, 
only these northern Canaanites are mentioned ; whereas, according 
to chap. L, many towns in the centre of the land were also left in 
the hands of the Canaanites, and therefore here also the Canaanites 
were not yet exterminated, and became likewise a snare to the 
Israelites, not only according to the word of the angel of the Lord 
(chap. ii. 3), but also because the Israelites who dwelt among these 
Canaanitish tribes contracted marriages with them, and served their 
gods. This striking circumstance cannot be set aside, as Bertheau 
supposes, by the simple remark, that u the two lists (that of the 
countries which the tribes of Israel did not conquer after Joshua's 
death in chap, i., and the one given here of the nations which 
Joshua had not subjugated) must correspond on the whole," since 
the correspondence referred to really does not exist. It can only 
be explained on the ground that the Canaanites who were left in 
the different towns in the midst of the land, acquired all their power 
to maintain their stand against Israel from the simple fact that the 
Philistines on the south-west, and several whole tribes of Canaanites 
in the north, had been left by Joshua neither exterminated nor 

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even conquered, inasmuch as they so crippled the power of the 
Israelites by wars and invasions of the Israelitish territory, that 
they were unable to exterminate those who remained in the different 
fortresses of their own possessions. Because, therefore, the power to 
resist the Israelites and oppress them for a time resided not so much 
in the Canaanites who were dwelling in the midst of Israel, as in 
the Philistines and the Canaanites upon the mountains of Lebanon 
who had been left unconquered by Joshua, these are the only tribes 
mentioned in this brief survey as the nations through which the 
Lord would prove His people. — Vers. 5, 6. But the Israelites did 
not stand the test. Dwelling in the midst of the Canaanites, of 
whom six tribes are enumerated, as in Ex. iii. 8, 17, etc. (see at 
Deut. vii. 1), they contracted marriages with them, and served their 
gods, contrary to the express prohibition of the Lord in Ex. xxxiv. 
16, xxiii. 24, and Deut. vii. 3, 4. 

Chap. hi. 7-xvi. si. 

In order that we may be able to take a distinct survey of the 
development of the Israelites in the three different stages of their 
history during the times of the judges, the first thing of import- 
ance to be done is to determine the chronology of the period of 
the judges, inasmuch as not only have greatly divergent opinions 
prevailed upon this point, but hypotheses have been set up, which 
endanger and to some extent directly overthrow the historical 
character of the accounts which the book of Judges contains. 1 If 
we take a superficial glance at the chronological data contained in 

1 Rud. Chr. v. Bennigsen, for example, reckons up fifty different calculations, 
and the list might be still further increased by the addition of both older and 
more recent attempts (see Winer, Bibl. Real-Worterb. ii. pp. 827-8). Lepsitu 
(Chronol. der J3g. i. 315-6, 865 sqq. and 377-8) and Bunsen (JSgypten, i. pp. 
209 sqq. iv. 818 sqq., and Bibelwerk, i. pp. ccxxxvii. sqq.), starting from the 
position maintained by Ewald and Bertheau, that the chronological data of the 
book of Judges are for the most part to be regarded as round numbers, have 
sought for light to explain the chronology of the Bible in the darkness of the 
history of ancient Egypt, and with their usual confidence pronounce it an indis- 
putable truth that the whole of the period of the Judges did not last longer than 
from 169 to 187 years. 

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CHAP. III. 7-XVL 81. 277 

the book, it appears a very simple matter to make the calculation 
required, inasmuch as the duration of the different hostile oppres- 
sions, and also the length of time that most of the judges held their 
office, or at all events the duration of the peace which they secured 
for the nation, are distinctly given. The following are the numbers 
that we find : — 

1. Oppression by Chushan-rishathaim . . (chap. iii. 8), . 8 years. 

Deliverance by Othniel, and rest . . (chap. iii. 11), . 40 „ 

2. Oppression by the Moabitea .... (chap. iii. 14), . 18 „ 

Deliverance by Ehud, and rest . . . (chap. iii. 30), . 80 „ 

3. Oppression by the Canaanitish king Jabin . (chap. iv. 3), . 20 „ 

Deliverance by Deborah and Barak, and rest (chap. v. 31), . 40 „ 

4. Oppression by the Midianites . . . (chap. vi. 1), . 7 „ 

Deliverance by Gideon, and rest . . (chap. viii. 28), . 40 „ 

Abimelech's reign (chap. ix. 22), . 3 „ 

Tola, judge (chap. x. 2), . 23 „ 

Jair, judge (chap. x. 3), . 22 „ 

Total, . 

301 years. 

5. Oppression by the Ammonites . . . (chap. x. 8), 

18 „ 

Deliverance by Jephthah, who judged Israel (chap. xii. 7), . 

6 „ 

Ibzan, judge (chap. xii. 9), . 

7 „ 

Elon, judge (chap. xii. 11), . 

10 „ 

Abdon, judge (chap. xii. 14), . 

8 „ 

6. Oppression by the Philistines . . (chap. xiii. 1), . 

40 „ 

At this time Samson judged Israel for 20 years (chap. xv. 20 ; 

xvi. 31). 

Total, . 390 years. 
For if to this we add (a) the time of Joshua, which is not distinctly 

mentioned, and 20 „ 

(6.) The time during which Eli was judge (1 Sam. iv. 18), . . 40 „ 

We obtain . 450 years. 1 
And if we add still further — 
(c.) The times of Samuel and Saul combined, . . . . 40 „ 

(d.) The reign of David (2 Sam. v. 4 ; 1 Kings ii. 11), . . .40 „ 
(e.) The reign of Solomon to the building of the temple (1 Kings vi. 1), 3 „ 

The whole time from the entrance of Israel into Canaan to the 

building of the temple amounted to 533 years. 

x The earlier chronologists discovered a confirmation of this as the length of 
time that the period of the judges actually lasted in Acts xiii. 20, where Paul in 
his speech at Antioch in Pisidia says, according to the textta receptus, " After 
that He gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years 

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Or if we add the forty years spent in the wilderness, the time 
that elapsed between the exodus from Egypt and the building of 
the temple was 573 years. But the interval was not so long as 
this ; for, according to 1 Kings vi. 1, Solomon built the house of 
the Lord in the 480th year after the children of Israel came out of 
Egypt, and in the fourth year of his reign. And no well-founded 
objections can be raised as to the correctness and historical credi- 
bility of this statement. It is true that the LXX. have " the 440th 
year" instead of the 480th ; but this reading is proved to be erroneous 
by Aquila and Symmachus, who adopt the number 480 in common 
with all the rest of the ancient versions, and it is now almost unani 
mously rejected (see Ewald, Gesch. ii. p. 479). In all probability 
it owed its origin to an arbitrary mode of computing the period 
referred to by reckoning eleven generations of forty years each 
(see Ed. Preuss ; die Zeitrechnung der LXX. pp. 78 sqq.). On 
the other hand, the number 480 of the Hebrew text cannot rest 
upon a mere reckoning of generations, since the year and month of 
Solomon's reign are given in 1 Kings vi. 1 ; and if we deduct this 
date from the 480, there remain 477 or 476 years, which do not form 
a cyclical number at all. 1 Again, the exodus of Israel from Egypt 

until Samuel the prophet." The discrepancy between this verse and the state- 
ment in 1 Kings vi. 1, that Solomon built the temple in the four hundred and 
eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of Egypt, many have 
endeavoured to remove by a remark, which is correct in itself, viz. that the 
apostle merely adopted the traditional opinion of the Jewish schools, which had 
been arrived at by adding together the chronological data of the book of Judges, 
without entering into the question of its correctness, as it was not his intention 
to instruct his hearers in chronology. But this passage cannot prove anything 
at all ; for the reading given in the led. rec. is merely founded upon Cod. Cant. 
and Laud., and the text of Matthtd; whilst the oldest reading not only accord- 
ing to the Codd. Al., Vat, Ephr. S. rescr., but according to the Cod. Sinait. ed. 
Teschendorf and several minuscula, as well as the Copt. Sahid. Arm. Vers, and 
Vulg., is, xxi xctffXar ffon iirrcc in yri Xeu>cccu> x*iTtxXripo*ofinvt» a.vro7; Tift yq» 
airrav £>{ hiait rirrpetKoai'ois xetl -rftTvixomx, xxl firrtl rxira liaxi- xptrdf iof 
IctftwiiK r. vp. This text is rendered thus in the Vulgate : et destruens gentes 
septem in terra Chanaan sorte distribuit eis terrain eorum quasi post quadrin- 
gentos et quinquaginta annos: et post hsec dedit judices usque ad Samuel pro* 
phetam, and can hardly be understood in any other sense than this, that Paul 
reckoned 450 as the time that elapsed between the call of Abraham (or the 
birth of Isaac) and the division of the land, namely 215 + 215 (according to 
the Alex, reading of Ex. xii. 40 : see the comm. on this passage) -j- 40 = 470, 
or about 450. 

1 Bertheau has quite overlooked this when he endeavours to make the 480 
years from the exodus to the building of the temple into a cyclical number, and 

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CHAP. IIL 7-XVI. 81. 279 

was an " epoch-making" event, which was fixed in the recollection 
of the people as no other ever was, so that allusions to it run through 
the whole of the Old Testament. Moreover, the very fact that it 
does not tally with the sum total of the numbers in the book of 
Judges is an argument in favour of its correctness ; whereas all the 
chronological calculations that differ from this bring us back to 
these numbers, such, for example, as the different statements of 
Josephus, who reckons the period in question at 592 years in Ant. 
viii. 3, 1, and on the other hand, at 612 years in Ant. xx. 10 and 
c. Ap. ii. 2. 1 Lastly, it may easily be shown that there are several 
things assumed in this chronological survey which have no founda- 
tion in the text. This applies both to the assumed succession of 
the Anunonitish and Philistine oppressions, and also to the intro- 
duction of the forty years of Eli's life as judge after or in addition 
to the forty years that the Philistines ruled over Israel. 

The current view, that the forty years of oppression on the part 
of the Philistines did not commence till after the death of Jephthah 
or Abdon, is apparently favoured, no doubt, by the circumstance, 
that this oppression is not described till after the death of Abdon 
(chap. xii. 15), and is introduced with the usual formula, " And the 

appeals in support of this to 1 Ghron. vi. 35 sqq. (cf. v. 29 sqq.), where twelve 
generations are reckoned from Aaron to Ahimaaz, the contemporary of David. 
Bat it is perfectly arbitrary on his part to include Ahimaaz, who was a boy in 
the time of David (2 Sam. zv. 27, 36, xviii. 19, 22, 27 sqq.), as the represen- 
tative of a generation that was contemporaneous with David ; whereas it was not 
Aliimaar, but his father Zadok, i.e. the eleventh high priest from Aaron, who 
anointed Solomon as king (1 Kings i. 39, ii. 35), and therefore there had been 
only eleven high priests from the exodus to the building of the temple. If 
therefore this period was to be divided into generations of forty years each on 
the ground of the genealogies in the Chronicles, there could only be eleven gene- 
rations counted, and this is just what the LXX. have done. 

1 Josephus adds together the numbers which occur in the book of Judges. 
Beckoning from the invasion of Chushan-rishathaim to the forty years' oppres- 
sion of the Philistines (inclusive), these amount to 390 years, if we regard Sam- 
son's twenty years as forming part of the Philistine oppression, or to 410 years 
if they are reckoned separately. Let us add to this the forty years of the journey 
through the wilderness, the twenty-five years which Josephus assigns to Joshua 
(Ant. v. 1, 29), the forty years of Eli, the twelve years which he allots to 
Samuel before the election of Saul as king (vi. 13, 5), and the forty years 
which he reckons to Samuel and Saul together, and lastly, the forty and a half 
years of David's reign and the four years of Solomon's up to the time when 
the temple was built, and we obtain 40 -f- 25 + 40 + 12 + 40 -f 40$ + 4 = 
201$ years ; and these added to 390 make 591$, or added to 410 they amount 
to 611 years. 

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children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord," etc. 
(chap. xiii. 1). But this formula, taken by itself, does not furnish 
any certain proof that the oppression which it introduces did not 
take place till after what has been already described, especially in 
the absence of any more definite statement, such as the clause intro- 
duced into chap. iv. 1, " when Ehud was dead," or the still more 
definite remark, that the land had rest so many years (chap. iii. 
11, 30, v. 31 ; cf. chap. viii. 32). Now in the case before us, 
instead of any such statement as to time, we find the general remark 
in chap. x. 6 sqq., that when the Israelites sank into idolatry again, 
Jehovah sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the 
hands of the children of Amnion ; and after this there simply 
follows an account of the oppression on the part of the Ammonites, 
and the eventual deliverance effected by Jephthah (chap. x. 8- 
xii. 7), together with an enumeration of three judges who succeeded 
Jephthah (chap. xii. 8-15) ; but we learn nothing further about the 
oppression on the part of the Philistines which is mentioned in chap. 
x. 7. When, therefore, it is still further related, in chap. xiii. 1, 
that the Lord delivered the Israelites into the hand of the Philis- 
tines forty years, this cannot possibly refer to another oppression on 
the part of the Philistines subsequent to the one noticed in chap. 
x. 7 ; but the true explanation must be, that the historian proceeds 
here for the first time to describe the oppression noticed in chap. 
x. 7, and introduces his description with the formula he generally 
adopted : " And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of 
the Lord," etc. The oppression itself, therefore, commenced at the 
same time as that of the Ammonites, and continued side by side 
with it ; but it lasted much longer, and did not come to an end till 
a short time before the death of Elon the judge. This is confirmed 
beyond all doubt by the fact, that although the Ammonites crossed 
the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim, it was 
chiefly the tribes of Israel who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan 
that were oppressed by them (chap. x. 8, 9), and that it was only 
by these tribes that Jephthah was summoned to make war upon 
them, and was elected as their head and prince (chap. xi. 5-11), 
and also that it was only the Ammonites in the country to the east 
of the Jordan whom he subdued then before the Israelites (chap. xi. 
32, 33). From this it is very evident that Jephthah, and his suc- 
cessors Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, were not judges over all Israel, 
and neither fought against the Philistines nor delivered Israel from 
the oppression of those enemies who invaded the land from the 

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CHAP. IIL 7-XVX 31. 281 

south-west ; so that the omission of the expression, " the land had 
rest," etc., from chap. xi. and xii., is very significant. 1 

But if the Ammonitish and Philistine oppressions occurred at 
the same time, of course only one of them must he taken into 
account in our chronological calculations as to the duration of the 
period of the judges ; and the one selected must he the one to the 
close of which the chronological data of the next period are imme- 
diately appended. But this is not the case with the account of the 
Ammonitish oppression, of the deliverance effected by Jephthah, 
and of the judges who succeeded him (Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon), 
because the chronological thread of this series of events is broken 
off with the death of Abdon, and is never resumed again. It is so, 
however, with the Philistine oppression, which is said to have lasted 
forty years, though the termination of it is not given in the book of 
Judges. Samson merely began to deliver Israel out of the power 
of the Philistines (chap. xiii. 5), but did not accomplish their com- 
plete deliverance. He judged Israel for twenty years in the days 

1 Even Hitzig, who denies that the oppression of the Philistines was contem- 
poraneous with that of the Ammonites, is obliged to acknowledge that " it is 
true, the author first of all disposed very properly of the Ammonitish war before 
entering into the details of the war with the Philistines, with which it had no 
connection, and which was not brought to a close so soon." When therefore, 
notwithstanding this, he adduces as evidence that they were not contem- 
poraneous, the fact that " according to the context, and to all analogy (cf. chap, 
iv. 1, iii. 11, 12), the author intends to write, in chap. xiii. 1, that after the 
death of Abdon, when there was no judge in Israel, the nation fell back into its 
former lawlessness, and as a punishment was given up to the Philistines," a more 
careful study of the passages cited (chap. ir. 1, iii. 11, 12) will soon show that 
the supposed analogy does not exist at all, since the expression, " the land had 
rest," etc., really occurs in both instances (see chap. iii. 11 and 31), whereas 
it is omitted before chap. xiii. 1. The still further assertion, however, that the 
account of the Philistine war ought to have followed immediately upon that of 
the war with the Ammonites, if the intention was to describe this with equal 
fulness, has no force whatever. If neither Jephthah nor the three judges who 
followed him had anything to do with the Philistines, if they merely judged the 
tribes that were oppressed and threatened by the Ammonites, it was natural 
that everything relating to them should be attached to the account of the defeat 
of the Ammonites, in order that there might be no unnecessary separation of 
what was so intimately connected together. And whilst these objections are thus 
proved to have no force, the objection raised to the contemporaneous occurrence 
of the two oppressions is wrecked completely upon the distinct statement in 
chap. x. 7, that Jehovah sold the Israelites into the hands of the Philistines and 
Ammonites, which Hitzig can only get over by declaring, without the slightest 
foundation, that the words "into the hands of the Philistines" are spurious, 
simply because they stand in the way of his own assumption. 

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of the Philistines, »'.«. during the oppression of the Philistines (chap. 
xv. 20) ; consequently the twenty years of his labours must not be 
taken into account in the chronology of the period of the judges, 
inasmuch as they are all included in the forty years of the Philis- 
tines' rule. At the death of Samson, with which the book of Judges 
closes, the power of the Philistines was not yet broken; and in 
chap. iv. of the first book of Samuel we find the Philistines still 
fighting against the Israelites, and that with such success that the 
Israelites were defeated by them, and even lost the ark of the 
covenant. This war must certainly be a continuation of the Philis- 
tine oppression, to which the acts of Samson belonged, since the 
termination of that oppression is not mentioned in the book of 
Judges ; and on the other hand, the commencement of the oppression 
referred to in 1 Sam. iv. 9 sqq. is not given in the book of Samuel. 
Consequently even Hitzig supports the view which I have expressed, 
that the forty years' supremacy of the Philistines, noticed in Judg. 
xiii. 1, is carried on into the book of Samuel, and extends to 1 Sam. 
vii. 3, 7, and that it was through Samuel that it was eventually brought 
to a termination (1 Sam. vii. 10 sqq.). But if this is established, 
then the forty years during which Eli was judge cannot have 
followed the Philistine oppression and the deeds performed by 
Samson, and therefore must not be reckoned separately. For since 
Eli died in consequence of the account of the capture of the ark by 
the Philistines (1 Sam. iv. 18), and seven months (1 Sam. vi. 1) 
and twenty years elapsed after this catastrophe before the Philis- 
tines were defeated and humiliated by Samuel (1 Sam. vii. 2), only 
the last half of the forty years of Eli's judicial fife falls within the 
forty years of the Philistine rule over Israel, whilst the first half 
coincides with the time of the judge Jair. Eli himself was not a 
judge in the strict sense of the word. He was neither commander 
of the army, nor secular governor of the nation, but simply the 
high priest ; and in this capacity he administered the civil law in the 
supreme court, altogether independently of the question whether 
there was a secular governor at the time or not. After the death 
of Eli, Israel continued for more than twenty years utterly prostrate 
under the yoke of the Philistines. It was during this period that 
Samson made the Philistines feel the power of the God of Israel, 
though he could not deliver the Israelites entirely from their 
oppression. Samuel laboured at the same time, as the prophet of 
the Lord, to promote the inward and spiritual strength of Israel, 
and that with such success, that the people came to Mizpeh at his 

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CHAP. IIL 7-XVI. 81. 283 

summons, and there put away the strange gods that they had hitherto 
worshipped, and worshipped the Lord alone ; after which the Lord 
hearkened to Samuel's prayer, and gave them a complete victory 
over the Philistines (1 Sam. vii. 2-11). After this victory, which 
was gained not very long after the death of Samson, Samuel under- 
took the supreme government of Israel as judge, and eventually at 
their own desire, and with the consent of God, gave them a king in 
the person of Saul the Benjaminite. This was not till Samuel himself 
was old, and had appointed as his successors in the office of judge 
his own sons, who did not walk in their father's ways (1 Sam. 
viii.-x.). Even under Saul, however, Samuel continued to the very 
end of his life to labour as the prophet of the Lord for the well- 
being of Israel, although he laid down his office of judge as soon as 
Saul had been elected king. He announced to Saul how he had 
been rejected by God on account of his disobedience ; he anointed 
David as king; and his death did not occur till after Saul had 
begun to be troubled by the evil spirit, and to plot for David's life 
(1 Sam. xxv. 1), as we may learn from the fact that David fled to 
Samuel at Raman when Saul resolved to slay him (1 Sam. xix. 18). 
How long Samuel judged Israel between the victory gained at 
Ebenezer (1 Sam. vii.) and the election of Saul as king of Israel, is 
not stated in the Old Testament, nor even the length of Saul's 
reign, as the text of 1 Sam. xiii. 1 is corrupt. But we shall not be 
very far from the truth, if we set down about forty years as the 
time covered by the official life of Samuel as judge after that event 
and the reign of Saul, and reckon from seventeen to nineteen years 
as the duration of Samuel's judgeship, and from twenty to twenty- 
two as the length of Saul's reign. For it is evident from the 
accounts that we possess of the lives and labours of Samuel and 
Saul, that Saul did not reign forty years (the time given by Paul 
in Acts xiii. 21, according to the traditional opinion current in the 
Jewish schools), but at the most from twenty to twenty-two ; and 
this is now pretty generally admitted (see at 1 Sam. xiii. 1). When 
David was chosen king of Judah at Hebron after the death of 
Saul, he was thirty years old (2 Sam. v. 1—4), and can hardly have 
been anointed king by Samuel at Bethlehem before the age of 
twenty. For though his father Jesse was still living, and he him- 
self was the youngest of Jesse's eight sons, and was feeding the 
flock (1 Sam. xvL 6-12), and even after this is still described as 
1JB (1 Sam. xvii. 42, 55), Jesse was JPJ (an old man) at the time 
(1 Sam. xvii. 12), at any rate sixty years old or more, so that his 

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eldest son might be forty years old, and David, the youngest, as 
much as twenty. For ">?? was not only applied to a mere boy, but 
to a young man approaching twenty ; and the keeping of sheep was 
not merely a task performed by shepherd boys, but also by the 
grown-up sons of a family, among whom we must certainly reckon 
David, since he had already contended with lions and bears in the 
steppe, and slain these beasts of prey (1 Sam. xvii. 34-36), and 
shortly afterwards was not only recommended to king Saul by his 
courtiers, as " a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and wise in 
speech," to cheer up the melancholy king by his playing upon the 
harp (1 Sam. xvi. 18), but also undertook to fight with the giant 
Goliath (1 Sam. xvii.), and was placed in consequence over the 
men of war, and was afterwards made captain of a thousand, and 
betrothed to his daughter Michal (1 Sam. xviii. 5, 13, 17 sqq.). 
But if David was anointed by Samuel at the age of about twenty 
years, Saul could not have reigned more than ten years after that 
time, as David was made king at the age of thirty. And he cannot 
have reigned much longer before that time. For, apart from the 
fact that everything which is related of his former wars and deeds 
could easily have occurred within the space of ten years, the circum- 
stance that Samuel lived till the last years of Saul's reign, and died 
but a few years before Saul's death (1 Sam. xxv. 1), precludes the 
assumption that he reigned any longer than that. For Samuel was 
already so old that he had appointed his sons as judges, whereupon 
the people desired a king, and assigned as the reason, that Samuel's 
sons did not walk in his ways (1 Sam. viii. 1—4), from which it is 
very evident that they had already filled the office of judge for 
some considerable time. If we add to this the fact that Samuel 
was called to be a prophet before the death of Eli, and therefore 
was no doubt twenty-five or thirty years old when Eli died, and 
that twenty years and seven months elapsed between the death of 
Eli and the defeat of the Philistines, so that Samuel may have been 
about fifty years old at that time, and that he judged the people 
from this time forward till he had become an old man, and then 
gave the nation a king in the person of Saul, we cannot assign 
more than forty years as the interval between the defeat of the 
Philistines and the death of Saul, without attributing to Samuel an 
age of more than ninety years, and therefore we cannot reckon 
more than forty or thirty-nine years as the time that intervened 
between the installation of Samuel in his office as judge and the 
commencement of the reign of Saul. 

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chap. in. 7-xvi. 31. 285 

According to this, the chronology of the times of the judges 
may be arranged as follows : — 

a. From the oppression of Ghushan-rishathaim to the death of Jair 

the judge (vid. p. 277), 

b. Duration of the Philistine oppression, . 
r. Judgeship of Samuel and reign of Saul, 
d. David's reign (7£ and 33 years), 
t. Solomon's reign to the building of the'temple, . 

a. The wandering in the desert, 

b. The time between the entrance into Canaan and the division of 

the land, ....... 7 

c. Prom the division of Canaan to the invasion of Chushan-risha- 

thaim, . . . . .10 

. 301 


. 40 


. 39 


. 40 






. 40 


480 years. 

These nnmbers are as thoroughly in harmony with 1 Kings vi. 1, 
and also with the statement made by Jephthah in his negotiations 
with the king of the Ammonites, that Israel dwelt in Heshbon and 
the cities along the bank of the Arnon for three hundred years 
(Judg. xi. 26), as we could possibly expect so general a statement 
in round numbers to be. For instance, as the chronological data 
of the book of Judges give 301 years as the interval between 
the invasion of Chushan-rishathaim and the commencement of 
the Ammonitish oppression, and as only about ten years elapsed 
between the division of Canaan, after which the tribes on the east 
of the Jordan first established themselves firmly in Gilead, and the 
invasion of Chushan, the Israelites had dwelt 310 years in the land 
on the other side of the Jordan at the time of Jephthah's negotia- 
tions with the Ammonites, or at the most 328, admitting that these 
negotiations may possibly not have taken place till towards the end 
of the eighteen years' oppression on the part of the Ammonites, so 
that Jephthah could appeal with perfect justice to the fact that 
they had been in possession of the land for 300 years. 

This statement of Jephthah, however, furnishes at the same 
time an important proof that the several chronological data con- 
tained in our book are to be regarded as historical, and also that 
the events are to be reckoned as occurring successively ; so that we 
have no right to include the years of oppression in the years of rest, 
as is frequently done, or to shorten the whole period from Othniel 
to Jephthah by arbitrary assumptions of synchronisms, in direct 
opposition to the text. This testimony removes all foundation from 

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the hypothesis that the number forty which so frequently occurs is 
a so-called round number, that is to say, is nothing more than a 
number derived from a general estimate of the different periods 
according to generations, or cyclical periods. For if the sum total 
of the different chronological notices tallies on the whole with the 
actual duration of the period in question as confirmed by this testi- 
mony, the several notices must be regarded as historically true, and 
that all the more because the greater part of these data consist of 
such numbers as 6, 8, 18, 20, 22, 23, which can neither be called 
round nor cyclical. Moreover, the purely cyclical significance of 
the number forty among the Israelites must first of all be proved. 
Even Ewald (Gesch. ii. pp. 480, 481) most justly observes, that " it 
is very easy to say that the number forty was a round number in 
the case of different nations ; but this round number must first of 
all have had its origin in life, and therefore must have had its 
limited application." If, however, we look more closely at the 
different occasions on which the space of forty years is mentioned, 
between the exodus from Egypt and the building of the temple, we 
shall find that at any rate the first and last passages contain very 
definite notices of time, and cannot possibly be regarded as contain- 
ing merely round or cyclical numbers. In the case of the forty 
years' wandering in the wilderness, this is placed beyond the reach 
of doubt by the fact that even the months are given of both the 
second and fortieth years (Num. x. 11, xx. 1 ; Deut. i. .3), and the 
intervening space is distinctly stated to have been thirty-eight years 
(Deut. ii. 14). And the forty years that David is said to have 
reigned also give the precise number, since he reigned seven and 
a half years at Hebron, and thirty-three at Jerusalem (2 Sam. v. 
4, 5 ; 1 Kings ii. 11). Between these two extreme points we 
certainly meet with the number forty five times : viz. forty years 
of rest under Othniel (Judg. iii. 11), the same under Barak and 
Deborah (chap. v. 31), and the same again under Gideon (chap, 
viii. 28) ; also forty years of oppression by the Philistines (chap, 
xiii. 1), and the forty years that Eli was judge (1 Sam. iv. 18) ; 
and in addition to these, we find eighty years of rest after Ehud's 
victory (Judg. iii. 30). But there are also twelve or thirteen 
passages in which we find either odd numbers, or at all events 
numbers that cannot be called cyclical or round (viz. Judg. iii. 8, 
14, iv. 3, vi. 1, ix. 22, x. 2, 3, xii. 7, 9, 11, 14, xv. 20, xvi. 31). 
What is there then to justify our calling the number forty cyclical 
or round ? Is it the impossibility or improbability that in the coarse 

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CHAP. m 7-XVI. 81. 287 

of 253 years Israel should have had rest from hostile oppression on 
three occasions for forty years, and on one for eighty 1 Is there 
anything impossible in this? Certainly not. Is there even an 
improbability t If there be, surely improbabilities have very often 
been perfectly true. And in the case before us, the appearance 
itself loses all significance, when we consider that although if we 
take entire years the number forty is repeated, yet it cannot be 
taken so literally as that we are to understand that entire years are 
intended every time. If David's reign is reckoned as forty years 
in 2 Sam. v. 4, although? according to ver. 5, he reigned seven years 
and six months in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem, it 
may also be the case that, although forty years is the number given 
in the book of Judges, the period referred to may actually have 
been only thirty-nine years and a half, or may have been forty and 
a half. To this must be added the fact that the time during which 
the war with the enemy lasted is also included in the years of rest ; 
and this must always have occupied several months, and may some- 
times have lasted even more than a year. Now, if we give all these 
circumstances their due weight, every objection that can be raised 
as to the correctness and historical credibility of the chronological 
data of the book of Judges vanishes away, whilst all the attempts 
that have been made to turn these data into round or cyclical 
numbers are so arbitrary as to need no special refutation whatever. 1 

1 The principal representatives of this hypothesis are Ewald and his pupil 
Bertheau. According to Ewald (Gesch. ii. pp. 473 sqq.), the twelve judges 
from Othniel to Samson form the historical groundwork of the book, although 
there are distinct traces that there were many more such rulers, because it was 
only of these that any reminiscences had been preserved. When, therefore, 
after the expiration of the whole of this period, the desire arose to bring out 
into distinct prominence the most important points connected with it, the first 
thing that was done was to group together these twelve judges, with such brief 
remarks as we find in the case of five of them (Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and 
Abdon) in chap. x. 1-5 and xii. 8-15. In their case, too, the precise time was 
given, so far as it could be still remembered. But, independently of this, the 
attempt was also made to connect the order of the many alternations of war and 
peace during these 480 years which occurred, according to 1 Kings vi. 1, between 
the exodus from Egypt and the building of Solomon's temple, to certain grand 
and easily remembered divisions ; and for this the number forty at once pre- 
sented itself. For since, according to the oldest traditions, Israel spent forty 
years in the wilderness, and since David also reigned forty years, it might easily 
be regarded as a suitable thing to divide the whole into twelve equal parts, and 
to assign to each forty years a great hero and some striking event : e.g. (1) 
Moses and the wilderness ; (2) Joshua and the prosperous rule of the elders ; 
(3) the war with Chushan-rishathaim, and Othniel ; (4) the Moabites and 

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The historical character of the chronological data of the book of 
Judges being thus established, we obtain a continuous chronology 
for the history of the Israelitish nation, as we may see from the 
following survey, to which we append a calculation of the years 
before Christ : — 

Ehud; (5) the Aramteans and Jair; (6) the Canaanites under Jabin, and 
Deborah ; (7) the Midianites and Gideon ; (8) Tola, with whose opponents we 
are not acquainted ; (9) the Ammonites and Philistines, or Jephthah and 
Samson ; (10) the Philistines and Eli ; (11) Samuel and Saul ; (12) David. 
" Finally, then, these twelve judges from Othniei to Samson were necessarily 
connected with this different mode of reckoning, so that the several numbers, 
as well as the order in which the judges occur, which show so evidently (?) that 
the last editor but one compiled the section extending from chap. iii. to xvi. out 
of a great variety of sources, must have been the resultant of many changes." 
But Ewald looks in vain for any reason for this " must." And the question 
starts up at once, how could the idea ever have entered any one's mind of 
dividing these 480 years, from the exodus to the building of the temple, among 
the twelve judges in this particular manner ; that to all the judges, concerning 
whom it was not known how long their period of labour lasted, forty years each 
were assigned, when it was known that Israel had wandered forty years in the 
wilderness, that Joshua had governed forty years with the elders, and Samuel 
and Saul together had ruled for the same time, and David also, so that there 
only remained for the judges from Othniei to Samson 480 — 4 X 40, i.e. only 820 
years, or, deducting the first three or four years of Solomon's reign, only 817 
or 816 years? These years, if divided among twelve judges, would give only 
twenty-six or twenty-seven years for each. Or how did they come to allot 
eighty years to Ehud, and only twenty-two to Jair and twenty-three to Tola, 
if the two latter had also conquered the hostile oppressors of Israel? And 
lastly, why was Shamgar left without any, when he delivered Israel from the 
Philistines ? To these and many other questions the author of this hypothesis 
is unable to give any answer at all ; and the arbitrary nature of his mode of 
manufacturing history is so obvious, that it is unnecessary to waste words in 
proving it. It is no better with Bertheau's hypothesis (Judg. pp. xvi. sqq.). 
According to this hypothesis, out of the twelve generations from Moses to David 
which he derives from 1 Chron. vi. 35 sqq., only six (or 240 years) belong to 
the judges from Othniei to Samson. These have been variously reckoned. One 
calculation takes them as six generations of forty years each ; another reckons 
them more minutely, adopting smaller numbers which were assigned to the 
twelve judges and the son of Gideon. But six generations and twelve judges 
could not be combined in any other way than by assigning twenty years to each 
judge. Now there was not a single judge who judged Israel for twenty years, 
with the exception of Samson. And the total number of the years that they 
judged is not 240, but 296 years (40 + 80 + 40 + 40 + 23 + 22 -f- 6 -f 7 + 10 
+ 8 + 20 + *)• Consequently we do not find any trace throughout the book, 
that the period of the judges was reckoned as consisting of six generations of 
forty years each. (Compare with this a more elaborate refutation by Bachman*, 
pp. 8 sqq.). 

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CHAP. III. 7-XVI. 81. 


Chronological Survey of the Principal Events from the Exodus 
to the Building of Solomon's Temple. 

The Principal Events. 


Tears befere the 
Birth of Christ. 

Exodus of Israel from Egypt, .... 

The law given at Sinai, 

Death of Aaron and Moses in the fortieth year of the 

wandering in the desert, 

Conquest of Canaan by Joshua, 

From the division of the land to the invasion of 


Death of Joshua, 

Wars of the tribes of Israel with the Canaanites, . 
War of the congregation with Benjamin, 
Oppression by Chushan-rishathaim, 
Deliverance by Othniel, and rest, .... 
Oppression by the Moabites, .... 

Deliverance by Ehud, and rest, .... 
Victory of Shamgar over the Philistines, 

Oppression by Jabin, 

Deliverance by Deborah and Barak, and rest, 
Oppression by the Midianites, .... 
Deliverance by Gideon, and rest, .... 

Role of Abimelech, 

Tola, judge, 

Jair, judge, 

Eli, high priest and judge forty years, . 

After repeated apostasy, oppression 

(a) In the East. (b) In the West. 

By the Ammonites 18 years, 

from 1134 to 1116 B.C. 
Jephthah judge 6 years, 

from 1116 to 1110 B.C. 
Ibzan judge 7 years, 

from 1110 to 1103 B.C. 
Elon judge 10 years, 

from 1103 to 1093 B.C. 
Abdon judge 8 years, 

from 1093 to 1086 B.C. 

By the Philistines, . 

Loss of the ark, 

Samson's deeds, 

Samuel's prophetic labours, 

Defeat of the Philistines, 

Samuel, judge, 

Saul, king, 

David king at Hebron, . 

„ „ at Jerusalem, 
Solomon's reign to the 

building of the temple, 








1452— 144ft 

c. 1442 
1442 onwards 
c. 1436 


c. 1114 
1114 onwards 



480 years. 

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All that is required to establish our calculation as to the period 
of the judges, is to justify our estimate of ten years as the time 
that intervened between the division of the land and the invasion 
by Chushan-rishathaim, since the general opinion, founded upon 
the statement of Josephus (Ant. v. 1, 29), that Joshua was <rrpa- 
TTjyoi of the nation for twenty-five years after the death of Moses, 
and (vi. 5, 4) that his death was followed by a state of anarchy 
for eighteen years, is that it was at least thirty-five years. But 
Josephus at all events ought not to be appealed to, as he had no 
other sources of information with regard to the earlier portion of 
the Israelitish history than the Old Testament itself ; and he so 
frequently contradicts himself in his chronological statements, that 
no reliance can be placed upon them even in cases where their in- 
correctness cannot be clearly proved. And if we consider, on the 
other hand, that Joshua was an old man when the two great cam- 
paigns in the south and north of Canaan were over, and in fact was 
so advanced in years, that God commanded him to divide the land, 
although many districts were still unconquered (Josh. xiii. 1 sqq.), 
in order that he might finish this part of his calling before his death, 
there is very little probability that he lived for twenty-five years 
after that time. The same words are used to describe the last days 
of his life in chap, xxiii. 1, that had previously been employed to 
describe his great age (chap..xiii. 1 sqq.). No doubt the statement 
in chap, rxiii. 1, to the effect that " many days after that the Lord 
had given rest unto Israel from all their foes," Joshua called together 
the representatives of the nation, to renew the covenant of the 
nation with the Lord before his death, when taken in connection 
with the statement in chap. xix. 50, that he built the city of Timnath- 
serah, which the tribes had given him for an inheritance after the 
distribution of the land by lot was over, and dwelt therein, proves 
very clearly that there were certainly " many days" (Eng. Ver. " a 
long time") between the division of the land and the death of 
Joshua. But this is so comparative a term, that it hardly embraces 
more than two or three years. And Joshua might build, i.e. fortify 
Timnath-serah, and dwell therein, even if he only lived for two 
or three years after the division of the land. On the other hand, 
there appears to have been a longer interval than the seven or eight 
years allowed in our reckoning between the death of Joshua and 
the invasion of Chushan ; since it not only includes the defeat of 
Adoni-bezek, the capture of Jerusalem, Hebron, and other towns, 
by the tribes of Judah and Simeon (chap. i. 1-14), and the con- 

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CHAP. III. 7-XVX 31. 291 

quest of Bethel by the tribe of Joseph (chap. i. 22 sqq.), but also 
the war of the congregation with the tribe of Benjamin (chap, 
xix.-xxi.). But it is only in appearance that the interval allowed is 
too short. All these events together would not require many years, 
but might very well have occurred within the space of about five 
years. And it is quite possible that the civil war of the Israelites 
might have been regarded by king Chushan-rishathaim as a favour- 
able opportunity for carrying out his design of making Israel tribu- 
tary to himself, and that he took advantage of it accordingly. The 
very fact that Othniel delivered Israel from this oppression, after 
it had continued for eight years, precludes us from postponing the 
invasion itself to a longer period after the death of Joshua. For 
Othniel was not Caleb's nephew, as many suppose, but his younger 
brother (see at Josh. xv. 17). Now Caleb was eighty-five years 
old when the distribution of the land commenced (Josh. xiv. 10) ; 
so that even if his brother Othniel was thirty, or even forty years 
younger, he would still be fifty-five, or at any rate forty-five years 
old, when the division of the land commenced. If the statements 
of Josephus were correct, therefore, Othniel would have been 
ninety-one years old, or at any rate eighty-one, when he defeated 
the Aramaean king Chushan-rishathaim ; whereas, according to 
our calculation, he would only have been fifty or sixty years old 
when Debir was taken, and sixty-three or seventy-three when 
Chushan was defeated. Now, even if we take the lower number as 
the correct one, this would be a sufficiently great age for such a 
warlike undertaking, especially when we consider that Othniel lived 
for some time afterwards, as is evident from the words of chap, 
iii. 11, " And the land had rest forty years: and Othniel the son of 
Kenaz died," though they may not distinctly affirm that he did not 
die till the termination of the forty years' rest. 

The fact that Caleb's younger brother Othniel was the first 
judge of Israel, also upsets the hypothesis which Bertheau has 
founded upon a mistaken interpretation of chap. ii. 11— iii- 6, that a 
whole generation of forty years is to be reckoned between the death 
of Joshua and the invasion of Chushan, and also the misinterpreta- 
tion of chap. ii. 7, 10 (cf. Josh. xxiv. 31), according to which the 
sinful generation did not grow up until after Joshua and all the 
elders who lived a long time after him were dead, — an interpretation 
which has no support in chap. ii. 7, since ^nx DW TlNjJ does not 
mean u to live long after a person," but simply " to survive him." 
The " other generation which knew not the Lord," etc., that arose 

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after the death of Joshua and the elders who outlived him, was not 
a different generation from the succeeding generations, which were 
given up to the power of their foes on account of their apostasy 
from the Lord, but the younger generation generally, which took 
the place of the older men who had seen the works of the Lord 
under Joshua ; in other words, this is only a comprehensive ex- 
pression for all the succeeding generations who forgot Jehovah 
their God and served Baalim. So much may be said in vindication 
of our calculations as to the period of the judges. 


In this first stage of the times of the judges, which embraces a 
period of 206 years, the Israelites were oppressed by hostile nations 
on three separate occasions : first of all by the Mesopotamian king 
Chushan-rishathaim, whom they were obliged to serve for eighteen 
years, until Othniel brought them deliverance, and secured them 
rest for forty years (chap. iii. 7-11) ; secondly by the Moabitish 
king Eglon for eighteen years, until Ehud slew this king and smote 
the Moabites, and so humiliated them, that the land had rest for 
eighty years (chap. iii. 12-30), whilst Shamgar also smote a host of 
Philistines during the same period (chap. iii. 31) ; and lastly by the 
Canaanitish king Jabin of Hazor, who oppressed them heavily for 
twenty years, until Barak gathered an army together at the sum- 
mons of Deborah the prophetess and with her assistance, and com- 
pletely defeated the foe (chap. iv.). After this victory, which 
Deborah celebrated in a triumphal song, the land had rest again 
for forty years (chap. v.). 

Oppression of Israel by Chuslian-risliathaim, and Deliverance by 
Othniel. — Chap. iii. 7-11. 

Vers. 7, 8. The first chastisement which the Israelites suffered 
for their apostasy from the Lord, is introduced with the same 
formula which had been used before to describe the times of the 
judges generally (chap. ii. 11, 12), except that instead of ''TIR '3JJW 
(" they forsook the Lord") we have here '""UK ^SE^ (" they forgot 
the Lord their God") from Deut. xxxii. 18 (cf. 1 Sam. xii. 9), and 
Asheroth (rendered " groves") instead of Ashtaroth (see at chap. ii. 
13). As a punishment for this apostasy, the Lord sold them (chap, 
ii. 14) into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim, the king of Meso- 

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CHAP. III. 9-11. 293 

potamia, whom they were obliged to serve for eight years. All 
that we know about this king of Mesopotamia is what is recorded 
here. His name, Chnshan-rishathaim, is probably only a title which 
was given to him by the Israelites themselves. Rishathaim signifies 
" double wickedness" and the word was rendered as an appellative 
with this signification in the Targums and the Syriac and Arabic 
versions. Chuslian is also formed as an adjective from Cush, and 
may denote the Cushites. According to M. v. Niebuhr (Gesch. 
Assure u. Babels, p. 272), the rulers of Babylon at that time 
(1518-1273) were Arabs. " Arabs, however, may have included 
not only Shemites of the tribe of Joktan or Ishmael, but Cushites 
also." The invasion of Canaan by this Mesopotamian or Baby 
Ionian king has a historical analogy in the campaign of the five 
allied kings of Shinar in the time of Abraham (Gen. xiv.). 

Vers. 9-11. In this oppression the Israelites cried to the Lord 
for help, and He raised them up ?^ D , a deliverer, helper, namely 
the Kenizzite Othniel, the younger brother and son-in-law of Caleb 
(see at Josh. xv. 17). " The Spirit of Jehovah came upon him." 
The Spirit of God is the spiritual principle of life in the world of 
nature and man ; and in man it is the principle both of the natural 
life which we receive through birth, and also of the spiritual life 
which we receive through regeneration (yid. Auberlen, Geist des 
Menschen, in Herzotfs Cycl. iv. p. 731). In this sense the ex- 
pressions " Spirit of God" (Elohim) and " Spirit of the Lord" 
(Jehovah) are interchanged even in Gen. i. 2, compared with Gen. 
vi. 3, and so throughout all the books of the Old Testament ; the 
former denoting the Divine Spirit generally in its supernatural 
causality and power, the latter the same Spirit in its operations 
upon human life and history in the working out of the plan of 
salvation. In its peculiar operations the Spirit of Jehovah mani- 
fests itself as a spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and 
might, of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isa. xi. 2). The 
communication of this Spirit under the Old Testament was gene- 
lally made in the form of extraordinary and supernatural influence 
upon the human spirit. The expression employed to denote this is 
usually '" rm \by Wil (" the Spirit of Jehovah came upon him :" 
thus here, chap. xi. 29; 1 Sam. xix. 20, 23; 2 Chron. xx. 14; Num. 
xxiv. 2). This is varied, however, with the expressions ('T, 1 ??) n ?y?5 
" rm tbiJ (chap. xiv. 6, 19, xv. 14; 1 Sam. x. 10, xi. 6, T 'xvi. 13) 
and 'B-m nt5a!> '» rrn, " the Spirit of Jehovah clothed the man" 
(chap. vi. 34 ;1 Chron. xii. 18 ; 2 Chron. xxiv. 20). Of these the 

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former denotes the operations of the Divine Spirit in overcoming 
the resistance of the natural will of man, whilst the latter repre- 
sents the Spirit of God as a power which envelopes or covers a 
man. The recipients and bearers of this Spirit were thereby 
endowed with the power to perform miraculous deeds, in which the 
Spirit of God that came upon them manifested itself generally in 
the ability to prophesy (vid. 1 Sam. x. 10, xix. 20, 23 ; 1 Chron 
xii. 18 ; 2 Chron. xx. 14, xxiv. 20), but also in the power to work 
miracles or to accomplish deeds which surpassed the courage and 
strength of the natural man. The latter was more especially the 
case with the judges ; hence the Chaldee paraphrases " the Spirit 
of Jehovah" in chap. vi. 34 as the " spirit of might from the 
Lord ;" though in the passage before us it gives the erroneous 
interpretation fiW33 nvi, « the spirit of prophecy." Kimchi also 
understands it as signifying " the spirit of bravery, under the 
instigation of which he was able fearlessly to enter upon the war 
with Chushan." But we are hardly at liberty to split up the dif- 
ferent powers of the Spirit of God in this manner, and to restrict 
its operations upon the judges to the spirit of strength and bravery 
alone. The judges not only attacked the enemy courageously and 
with success, but they also judged the nation, for which the spirit 
of wisdom and understanding was indispensably necessary, and put 
down idolatry (chap. ii. 18, 19), which they could not have done 
without the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. u And 
he judged Israel and went out to war." The position of BBB^l before 
ni ?y?W? WfOl does not warrant us in explaining DBB»1 as signifying 
" he began to discharge the functions of a judge," as Rosenmuller 
has done : for BBt? must not be limited to a settlement of the civil 
disputes of the people, but means to restore right in Israel, whether 
towards its heathen oppressors, or with regard to the attitude of the 
nation towards the Lord. " And the Lord gave ChusJian-rishathaim 
into his hand (cf . chap. i. 2, iii. 28, etc.), and his hand became strong 
over him ;" i.e. he overcame him (cf. chap. vi. 2), or smote him, so 
that he was obliged to vacate the land. In consequence of this 
victory, the land had rest from war (cf . Josh. xi. 23) forty years. 
" And then Othniel died:" the expression TltOT with i consec. does 
not necessarily imply that Othniel did not die for forty years, but 
simply that he died after rest had been restored to the land. 

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CHAP. HI. 12-30. 295 

Oppression of Israel by Eglon, and Deliverance by Ehud; 
Shamgar's heroic Deeds. — Chap. iii. 12—31. 

In vers. 12-30 the subjugation of the Israelites by Eglon, the 
king of the Moabites, and their deliverance from this bondage, are 
circumstantially described. First of all, in vers. 12-14, the sub- 
jugation. When the Israelites forsook the Lord again (in the 
place of 'Ul jnrrnK . . . VWW, ver. 7, we have here the appropriate 
expression jnn tffog? . . . ttJD'l, they added to do, i.e. did again, evil, 
etc., as in chap. iv. 1, x. 6, xiii. 1), the Lord made. Eglon the 
king of the Moabites strong over Israel. /V p*n, to give a person 
strength to overcome or oppress another. '3 by, as in Dent. xxxi. 
17, instead of the more usual *itW by (cf. Jer. iv. 28 ; Mai. ii. 14 ; 
Ps. cxxxix. 14). Eglon allied himself with the Ammonites and 
Amalekites, those arch-foes of Israel, invaded the land, took the 
palm-city, i.e. Jericho (see at chap. i. 16), and made the Israelites 
tributary for eighteen years. Sixty years had passed since Jerichc 
had been burnt by Joshua. During that time the Israelites had 
rebuilt the ruined city, but they had not fortified it, on account of 
the curse pronounced by Joshua upon any one who should restore 
it as a fortress ; so that the Moabites could easily conquer it, and 
using it as a base, reduce the Israelites to servitude.— Ver. 15. But 
when the Israelites cried to the Lord for help, He set them free 
through the Benjaminite Ehud, whom He raised up as their 
deliverer. Ehud was " the son of Gera." This probably means 
that he was a descendant of Gera, since Gera himself, according to 
1 Chron. viii. 3, was a son of Bela the son of Benjamin, and there- 
fore was a grandson of Benjamin ; and Shimei the contemporary 
of David, a man belonging to the tribe of Benjamin, is also called 
a son of Gera in 2 Sam. xvi. 5, xix. 17. At the same time, it is 
possible that the name Gera does not refer to the same person in 
these different passages, but that the name was repeated again and 
again in the same family. " A man shut with regard to his right 
hand, 1 ' i.e. hindered in the use of his right hand, not necessarily 
crippled, but in all probability disabled through want of use from 
his youth upwards. That the expression does not mean crippled, is 
confirmed by the fact that it is used again in connection with the 
700 brave slingers in the army of the Benjaminites in chap. xx. 16, 
and it certainly cannot be supposed that they were all actual 
cripples. So much is certain, however, that it does not mean 
afifarrepoSegios, qui utraque manu pro dextera utebatur (LXX., 

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Vulg.), since "it?K signifies clausit (shut) in Ps. lxix. 16. It is 
merely with reference to what follows that this peculiarity is so 
distinctly mentioned. — The Israelites sent a present by him to king 
Eglon. fra does not mean in, bnt through, his hand, i.e. through 
his intervention, for others were actually employed to carry the 
present (ver. 18), so that Ehud merely superintended the matter. 
Minchah, a gift or present, is no doubt a euphemism for tribute, 
as in 2 Sam. viii. 2, 6, 1 Kings v. 1. — Ver. 16. Ehud availed him- 
self of the opportunity to approach the king of the Moabites and 
put him to death, and thus to shake off the yoke of the Moabites 
from his nation. To this end he provided himself with a sword, 
which had two edges (rti'B from ne, like i'j?, Deut. xxii. 1, from 
fits'), a cubit long ("101, air. X«y., signified primarily a staff, here a 
cubit, according to the Syriac and Arabic ; not " a span," cnridaftrj, 
LXX.), and " did gird it under his raiment upon his right Uiigh" 
— Ver. 17. Provided with this weapon, he brought the present to 
king Eglon, who — as is also mentioned as a preparation for what 
follows — was a very fat man. — Vers. 18, 19. After presenting the 
gift, Ehud dismissed the people who had carried the present to their 
own homes ; namely, as we learn from ver. 19, after they had gone 
some distance from Jericho. But he himself returned from the 
stone-quarries at Gilgal, sc. to Jericho to king Eglon. Bv'DBn JC 
refers to some place by Gilgal. In Deut. vii. 25, Isa. xxi. 9, Jer. 
viii. 19, pesilim signifies idols. And if we would retain this mean- 
ing here, as the LXX., Vulg., and others have done, we must 
assume that in the neighbourhood of Gilgal there were stone idols 
set up in the open air, — a thing which is very improbable. The 
rendering " stone quarries," from ?DB, to hew out stones (Ex. xxxiv. 
1, etc.), which is the one adopted in the, and by Rashi and 
others, is more likely to be the correct one. Gilgal cannot be the 
Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan, which was the first en- 
campment of the Israelites in Canaan, as is commonly supposed, 
since Ehud passed the Pesilim on his flight from the king's 
dwelling-place to the mountains of Ephraim (vers. 26, 27); and we 
can neither assume, as Bertheau does, that Eglon did not reside in 
the conquered palm-city (Jericho), but in some uncultivated place 
in the neighbourhood of the Jordan, nor suppose that after the 
murder of Eglon Ehud could possibly have gone from Jericho to 
the Gilgal which was half an hour's journey towards the east, for 
the purpose of escaping by a circuitous route of this kind to Seirah 
in the mountains of Ephraim, which was on the north-west of 

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CHAP. III. 12-80. 297 

Jericho. Gilgal is more likely to be Gelilotk, which was on the 
west of Jericho opposite to the ascent of Adummim (Kaalat ed 
Dom), on the border of Judah and Benjamin (Josh, xviii. 17), and 
which was also called Gilgal (Josh. xv. 7). Having returned to 
the king's palace, Ehud sent in a message to him : " I have a secret 
word to thee, king." The context requires that we should 
understand " he said" in the sense of " he had him told" (or bade 
say to him), since Ehud himself did not go in to the king, who was 
sitting in his room, till afterwards (ver. 20). In consequence 
of this message the king said : Dn, lit. be silent (the imperative of 
™>n) ; here it is a proclamation, Let there be quiet. Thereupon all 
who were standing round (viz. his attendants) left the room, and 
Ehud went in (ver. 20). The king was sitting " in his upper room 
of cooling alone." The "room of cooling" {Luther, Sommerlaube, 
summer-arbour) was a room placed upon the flat roof of a house, 
which was open to the currents of air, and so afforded a cool 
retreat, such as are still met with in the East (vid. Shaw, pp. 188-9). 
Then Ehud said, " A word of God I have to thee ;" whereupon the 
king rose from his seat, from reverence towards the word of God 
which Ehud pretended that he had to deliver to him, not to defend 
himself, as Bertlieau supposes, of which there is not the slightest 
intimation in the text. — Vers. 21, 22. But when the king stood up, 
Ehud drew his sword from under his garment, and plunged it so 
deeply into his abdomen that even the hilt followed the blade, and 
the fat closed upon the blade (so that there was nothing to be seen 
of it in front, because he did not draw the sword again out of his 
body), and the blade came out between the legs. The last words 
have been rendered in various ways. Luther follows the Chaldee 
and Vulgate, and renders it "so that the dirt passed from him," 
taking the aw. \ey. ftfiBhB as a composite noun from EHB, stercus, 
and frit?, jecit. But this is hardly correct, as the form of the word 
ru^Eha, and its connection with K^, rather points to a noun, pc^s, 
with n local. The explanation given by Gesenius in his Thes. and 
Heb. lex. has much more in its favour, viz. interstitium pedum, the 
place between the legs, from an Arabic word signifying pedes 
dissitos habuit, used as a euphemism for anus, podex. The subject 
to the verb is the blade. 1 — Ver. 23. As soon as the deed was 

1 At any rate the rendering suggested by Ewald, " Ehud went into the 
open air, or into the enclosure, the space in front of the Alija,'" is untenable, 
for the simple reason that it is perfectly irreconcilable with the next clause, 
" Ehud went forth," etc. (consequently Fr. BSUcher proposes to erase this 

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accomplished, Ehud 'went out into the porch or front hall, shut the 
door of the room behind him (^J??, not behind himself, but literally 
round him, i.e. Eglon ; cf. Gen. vii. 16, 2 Kings iv. 4) and bolted 
it (this is only added as a more precise explanation of the previous 
verb). — Vers. 24, 25. When the servants of Eglon came (to enter 
in to their lord) after Ehud's departure and saw the door of the 
upper room bolted, they thought " surely (}K, lit. only, nothing 
but) he covers his feet" (a euphemism for performing the necessi- 
ties of nature ; cf. 1 Sam. xxiv. 3), and waited to shaming (cf. 2 
Kings ii. 17, viii. 11), i.e. till they were ashamed of their long 
waiting (see at chap. v. 28). At length they opened the door with 
the key, and found their lord lying dead upon the floor. 

Ehud's conduct must be judged according to the spirit of those 
times, when it was thought allowable to adopt any means of destroy- 
ing the enemy of one's nation. The treacherous assassination of a 
hostile king is not to be regarded as an act of the Spirit of God, 
and therefore is not set before us as an example to be imitated. 
Although Jehovah raised up Ehud as a deliverer to His people 
when oppressed by EgloD, it is not stated (and this ought particu- 
larly to be observed) that the Spirit of Jehovah came upon Ehud, 
and still less that Ehud assassinated the hostile king under the im- 
pulse of that Spirit. Ehud proved himself to have been raised up 
by the Lord as the deliverer of Israel, simply by the fact that he 
actually delivered his people from the bondage of the Moabites, and 
it by no means follows that the means which he selected were either 
commanded or approved by Jehovah. — Vers. 26 sqq. Ehud had 
escaped whilst ijne servants of Eglon were waiting, and had passed 
the stone quarries and reached Seirah. Seirah is a place that is 
never mentioned again; and, judging from the etymology (the 
hairy), it was a wooded region, respecting the situation of which all 
that can be decided is, that it is not to be sought for in the neigh- 
bourhood of Jericho, but " upon the mountains of Ephraim" (ver. 
27). For when Ehud had come to Seirah, he blew the trumpet 
" upon the mountains of Ephraim," to announce to the people the 
victory that was placed within their reach by the death of Eglon, 
and to summon them to war with the Moabites, and then went 
down from the mountain into the plain near Jericho ; " and he was 
before them" i.e. went in front as their leader, saying to the people, 

clause from the text, without any critical authority whatever). For if Ehud 
were the subject to the verb, the subject would necessarily have been mentioned, 
ao it really is in the next clause, ver. 23a. 

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CHAP. IIL 31. 299 

" Follow tne ; for Jehovah has given your enemies the Moabites into 
your hand." Then they went down and took (i.e. took possession of) 
the fords near Jericho (see at Josh. ii. 7), 3Ntoi>, either "from the 
Moabites" or "towards Moab," and let no one (of the Moabites) cross 
over, i.e. escape to their own land. — Ver. 29. Thus they smote at 
that time about 10,000 Moabites, all fat and powerful men, i.e. the 
whole army of the enemy in Jericho and on this side of the Jordan, 
not letting a man escape. The expression " at that time" seems to 
imply that they did not destroy this number in one single engage 
ment, but during the whole course of the war. — Ver. 30. Thus 
Moab was subdued under the hand of Israel, and the land had rest 
for eighty years. 

Ver. 31. After him (Ehud) .was, i.e. there rose up, Shamgar the 
son of Anath. He smote the Philistines, who had probably invaded 
the land of the Israelites, six hundred men, with an ox-goad, so that 
he also (like Othniel and Ehud, vers. 9 and 15) delivered Israel, 
"ijjan Tote, o7r. Xey. } signifies, according to the Rabbins and the 
ancient versions, an instrument with which they trained and drove 
oxen ; and with this the etymology agrees, as *ip? is used in Hos. 
x. 11 and Jer. xxxi. 18 to denote the training of the young ox. 
According to Rashi, l£3 1D?0 is the same as |3"n, fiov/cevrpov, in 
1 Sam. xiii. 21. According to Maundrell in Paulus' Samml. der 
merkw. Beisen nach d. Or. i. p. 139, the country people in Palestine 
and Syria use when ploughing goads about eight feet long and six 
inches in circumference at the thick end. At the thin end they 
have a sharp point to drive the oxen, and at the other end a small 
hoe, to scrape off any dirt that may stick to the plough. Shamgar 
may have smitten the Philistines with some such instrument as this, 
just as the Edonian prince Lycurgus is described by Homer (H. 
vi. 135) as putting Dionysius and the Bacchantines to flight with a 
/Soim-Xj/f . Nothing is recorded about the descent of Shamgar, either 
here or in the Song of Deborah, in chap. v. 6. The heroic deed 
recorded of him must be regarded, as O. v. Gerlach affirms, as 
" merely the result of a holy inspiration that suddenly burst forth 
within him, in which he seized upon the first weapon that came to his 
hand, and put to flight the enemy when scared by a terror for God, 
just as Samson did on a later occasion." For he does not seem to 
have secured for the Israelites any permanent victory over the 
Philistines. Moreover, he is not called judge, nor is the period of 
his labours taken into account, but in chap. iv. 1 the renewed 
apostasy of Israel from the Lord is dated from the death of Ehud. 

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Oppression of Israel by Jabin, and Deliverance by Deborah and 
Barak. — Chap. iv. and v. 

This fresh oppression of the Israelites, and the glorious victory 
which they obtained over Sisera, Jabin's general, through the judge 
Deborah and the heroic warrior Barak, are so fully described in 
Deborah's triumphal song in chap, v., that this song may be re- 
garded as a poetical commentary upon that event. It by no means 
follows from this fact, however, that the historical account in chap, 
iv. was first of all founded upon the ode, and was merely intended 
to furnish an explanation of the song itself. Any such assumption 
is overthrown by the fact that the prose account in chap. iv. con- 
tains, as even Bertheau acknowledges, some historical details which 
we look for in vain in the song, and which are of great assistance in 
the interpretation of it. All that we can infer with any probability 
from the internal connection between the historical narrative and 
the Song of Deborah is, that the author of our book took both of 
them from one common source; though the few expressions and 
words which they contain, such as '"lanst? in ver. 18, n:yn in ver. 21, 
FDEip in ver. 6, and DHJ1 in ver. 15, do not throw any light upon the 
source from which they were derived. For, with the exception of 
the first, which is not met with again, the whole of them occur in 
other passages, — the second in chap. i. 14 and Josh. xv. 18, the third 
in the same sense in chap. xx. 37, and the fourth in Ex. xiv. 24 
and Josh. x. 10. And it by no means follows, that because in the 
passages referred to, " D^J is found in close association with songs 
or poetical passages" {Bertheau), the word itself must be borrowed 
from the same source as the songs, viz. from the book of Jasher 
(Josh. x. 13). For Don is found in the same signification in 1 Sam. 
vii. 10, Ex. xxiii. 27, and Deut. ii. 15, where we look in vain for 
any songs ; whilst it always occurs in connection with the account of 
a miraculous overthrow of the foe by the omnipotent power of God. 

Chap. iv. The Victory over Jabin and his General Sisera. — Vers. 
1-3. As the Israelites fell away from the Lord again when Ehud 
was dead, the Lord gave them into the hand of the Canaanitish 
king Jabin, who oppressed them severely for twenty years with a 
powerful army under Sisera his general. The circumstantial clause, 
" when Ehud was dead," places the falling away of the Israelites 
from God in direct causal connection with the death of Ehud on 
the one hand, and the deliverance of Israel into the power of Jabin 
on the other, and clearly indicates that as long as Ehud lived he 

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CHAP. IV. 4-11. 301 

kept the people from idolatry (of. chap. ii. 18, 19), and defended 
Israel from hostile oppressions. Joshua had already conquered one 
king, Jabin of Hazor, and taken his capital (Josh. xi. 1, 10). The 
king referred to here, who lived more than a century later, bore the 
same name. The name Jabin, " the discerning," may possibly have 
been a standing name or title of the Canaanitish kings of Hazor, as 
Abimelech was of the kings of the Philistines (see at Gen. xxvi. 8). 
He is called " king of Canaan," in distinction from the kings of 
other nations and lands, such as Moab, Mesopotamia, etc. (chap. iii. 
8, 12), into whose power the Lord had given up His sinful people. 
Hazor, once the capital of the kingdoms of northern Canaan, was 
situated over (above or to the north of) Lake Huleh, in the tribe of 
Naphtali, but has not yet been discovered (see at Josh. xi. 1). 
Sisera, the general of Jabin, dwelt in Harosheth of the Goyim, and 
oppressed the Israelites most tyrannically (mightily: cf. chap. viii. 
1, 1 Sam. ii. 16) for twenty years with a force consisting of 900 
chariots of iron (see at Josh. xvii. 16). The situation of Harosheth, 
which only occurs here (vers. 2, 13, 16), is unknown ; but it is cer- 
tainly to be sought for in one of the larger plains of Galilee, possibly 
the plain of Buttauf, where Sisera was able to develop his forces, 
whose strength consisted chiefly in war-chariots, and to tyrannize 
over the land of Israel. 

Vers. 4-11. At that time the Israelites were judged by Deborah, 
a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, who dwelt under the Deborah- 
palm between Ramah (er Ram : see at Josh, xviii. 25) and Bethel 
(Beitin : see at Josh. vii. 2) in the tribe of Benjamin, upon the 
mountains of Ephraim. Deborah is called fi^Oi new on account of 
her prophetic gift, like Miriam in Ex. xv. 20, and Hulda the wife 
of Shallum in 2 Kings xxii. 14. Tins gift qualified her to judge 
the nation (the participle fiBBB' expresses the permanence of the act 
of judging), i.e. first of all to settle such disputes among the people 
themselves as the lower courts were unable to decide, and which 
ought therefore, according to Deut. xvii. 8, to be referred to the 
supreme judge of the whole nation. The palm where she sat in 
judgment (cf. Ps. ix. 5) was called after her the Vebora!i-pa\m. 
The Israelites went up to her there to obtain justice. The expres- 
sion " came up" is applied here, as in Deut. xvii. 8, to the place of 
justice, as a spiritual height, independently of the fact that the 
place referred to here really stood upon an eminence. — Vers. 6 sqq. 
But in order to secure the rights of her people against their outward 
foes also, she summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh, 

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in the tribe of Naphtali, on the west of the Huleh lake (see at Josh, 
xii. 22), and made known to him the commands of the Lord : " Up 
and draw to Mount Tabor, and take with thee 10,000 men of the 
children of Naphtali and Zebulun; and I will draw to thee into the 
brook-valley of Kishon, Sisera the captain of Jabin's army, and his 
chariots, and his multitude (his men of war), and give him into thy 
hand." H?vfo has been explained in different ways. Seb. Schmidt, 
Clericus, and others supply PJJfi or "iBiB'n, draw with the trumpet 
(ef. Ex. xix. 13, Josh. vi. 5), i.e. blow the trumpet in long-drawn 
tones, upon Mount Tabor, and regard this as the signal for conven- 
ing the people ; whilst Hengstenberg (Diss. ii. pp. 76, 77) refers to 
Num. x. 9, and understands the blowing of the horn as the signal 
by which the congregation of the Lord made known its need to 
Him, and appealed to Him to come to its help. It cannot indeed 
be proved that the blowing of the trumpet was merely the means 
adopted for convening the people together ; in fact, the use of the 
following 'fiZWO, in the sense of draw, is to be explained on the 
supposition that WE'D is used in a double sense. " The long-drawn 
notes were to draw the Lord to them, and then the Lord would 
draw to them Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army. Barak first calls 
the helper from heaven, and then the Lord calls the enemy upon 
earth." Nevertheless we cannot subscribe to this explanation, first of 
all because the supposed ellipsis cannot be sustained in this connec- 
tion, when nothing is said about the blowing of a trumpet either in 
what precedes or in what follows ; and secondly, because Num. x. 9 
cannot be appealed to in explanation, for the simple reason that it 
treats of the blowing of the silver trumpets on the part of the priests, 
and they must not be confounded with the shopharoth. And the use 
made of the trumpets at Jericho cannot be transferred to the passage- 
before us without some further ground. We are disposed therefore 
to take the word iJB'D in the sense of draw (intransitive), i.e. proceed 
one after another in a long-drawn train (as in chap. xx. 37 and Ex. 
xii. 21), referring to the captain and the warriors drawing after 
him ; whilst in ver. 7 it is to be translated in the same way, though 
with a transitive signification. Mount Tabor, called 'Irafivpiov by 
the Greeks (see LXX. Hos. v. 1), the mountain of Christ's trans- 
figuration according to an early tradition of the church, the present 
Jebel et Tur, is a large truncated cone of limestone, which is almost 
perfectly insulated, and rises to the height of about a thousand feet, 
on the north-eastern border of the plain of Jezreel. The sides of 
the mountain are covered with a foiest of oaks and wild pistachios, 

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CHAP. IV. 4-11. 303 

and upon its flat summit, which is about half an hour in circum- 
ference, there are the remains of ancient fortifications (see Robinson, 
Pal. iii. pp. 211 sqq., and v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 37, 38). The words 
" and take with thee 10,000 men" are not to be understood as sig- 
nifying that Barak was to summon the people together upon the 
top of Mount Tabor, but the assembling of the people is pre- 
supposed ; and all that is commanded is, that he was to proceed to 
Mount Tabor with the assembled army, and make his attack upon 
the enemy, who were encamped in the valley of Kishon, from that 
point. According to ver. 10, the army, was collected at Kedesh in 
Naphtali. Nachal Kishon is not only the brook Kishon, which is 
formed by streams that take their rise from springs upon Tabor 
and the mountains of Gilboa, flows in a north-westerly direction 
through the plain of Jezreel to the Mediterranean, and empties 
itself into the bay of Acca, and which is called Mukatta by the 
natives (see Rob. iii. pp. 472 sqq., and v. Raumer, pp. 39, 50), but 
the valley on both sides of the brook, i.e. the plain of Jezreel (see 
at Josh. xvii. 16), where the greatest battles have been fought for 
the possession of Palestine from time immemorial down to the 
most recent times (see v. Raumer, pp. 40 sqq.). — Vers. 8 sqq. 
Barak replied that he would not go unless she would go with him — 
certainly not for the reason suggested by Bertheau, viz. that he 
distrusted the divine promise given to him by Deborah, but because 
his mistrust of his own strength was such that he felt too weak to 
carry out the command of God. He wanted divine enthusiasm for 
the conflict, and this the presence of the prophetess was to infuse 
into both Barak and the army that was to be gathered round him. 
Deborah promised to accompany him, but announced to him as the 
punishment for this want of confidence in the success of his under- 
taking, that the prize of victory — namely, the defeat of the hostile 
general — should be taken out of his hand ; for Jehovah would sell 
(i.e. deliver up) Sisera into the hand of a woman, viz., according to 
vers. 17 sqq., into the hand of Jael. She then went with him to 
Kedesh, where Barak summoned together Zebulun and Naphtali, 
i.e. the fighting men of those tribes, and went up with 10,000 men 
in his train (" at his feet," i.e. after him, ver. 14 ; cf. Ex. xi. 8 and 
Deut. xi. 6) to Tabor ("went up:" the expression is used here to 
denote the advance of an army against a place). Kedesh, where 
the army assembled, was higher than Tabor, pyt, Hiphil with ace, 
to call together (cf. 2 Sam. xx. 4, 5). Before the engagement 
with the foe is described, there follows in ver. 11 a statement that 

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Heber the Kenite had separated himself from his tribe, the children 
of Hobab, who led a nomad life in the desert of Judah (chap. i. 16), 
and had pitched his tents as far as the oak forest at Zaanannim 
(see at Josh. xix. 33) near Kedesh. This is introduced because of 
its importance in relation to the issue of the conflict which ensued 
(vers. 17 sqq.). TiW with Kametz is a participle, which is used in 
the place of the perfect, to indicate that the separation was a per- 
manent one. 

Vers. 12-16. As soon as Sisera received tidings of the march 
of Barak to Mount Tabor, he brought together all his chariots and 
all his men of war from Harosheth of the Goyim into the brook- 
valley of the Kishon. Then Deborah said to Barak, " Up; for this 
is the day in which Jehovah hath given Sisera into thy hand. Yea 
(&6n, nonne, as an expression indicating lively assurance), tlte Lord 
goeth out before thee," sc. to the battle, to smite the foe ; whereupon 
Barak went down from Tabor with his 10,000 men to attack the 
enemy, according to chap. v. 19, at Taanach by the water of Megiddo. 
— Ver. 15. "And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, 
and all his army, with the edge of the sword before Barak" on% 
as in Ex. xiv. 24 and Josh. x. 10, denotes the confounding of 
the hostile army by a miracle of God, mostly by some miraculous 
phenomenon of nature : see, besides Ex. xiv. 24, 2 Sam. xxii. 15, 
Ps. xviii. 15, and cxliv. 6. The expression Dnjl places the defeat 
of Sisera and his army in the same category as the miraculous 
destruction of Pharaoh and of the Canaanites at Gibeon ; and the 
combination of this verb with the expression " with the edge of the 
sword" is to be taken as constructio prcegnans, in this sense : Jehovah 
threw Sisera and his army into confusion, and, like a terrible 
champion fighting in front, of Israel, smote him without quarter. 
Sisera sprang from his chariot to save himself, and fled on foot ; 
but Barak pursued the routed foe to Harosheth, and completely 
destroyed them. " All Sisera! s army fell by the edge of the sword; 
there remained not even to one" i.e. not a single man. 

Vers. 17-22. Sisera took refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of 
Heber the Kenite, to escape the sword of the Israelites, as king 
Jabin lived at peace with the house of Heber, i.e. with this branch 
of the Kenites. — Ver. 18. Jael received the fugitive into her tent 
in the usual form of oriental hospitality ("iid, as in Gen. xix. 2, 3, 
to turn aside from the road and approach a person), and covered 
him with a covering (na'DB', air \ey., covering, or rug), that he 
might be able to sleep, as he was thoroughly exhausted with his 

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CHAP. IV. 17-22. 305 

flight. — Ver. 19. On his asking for water to drink, as he was thirsty 
(TlDSj defective form for ^NDX), she handed him milk from her 
bottle, and covered him up again. She gave him milk instead of 
water, as Deborah emphatically mentions in her song in chap. v. 
25, no doubt merely for the purpose of giving to her guest a friendly 
and hospitable reception. When Josephus affirms, in his account of 
this event (Ant. v. 5, 4), that she gave him milk that was already 
spoiled ($ce<f>0opb<} ^Brf), i.e. had turned sour, and R. Tanchum sup- 
poses that such milk intoxicated the weary man, these are merely 
later decorations of the simple fact, and have no historical worth 
whatever. — Ver. 20. In order to be quite sure, Sisera entreated his 
hostess to stand before the door and turn any one away who might 
come to her to seek for one of the fugitives. ' "lbjj is the imperative 
for ^W, as the syntax proves that the word cannot be an infinitive. 
The anomaly apparent in the use of the gender may be accounted 
for on the ground that the masculine was the more general form, 
and might therefore be used for the more definite feminine. There 
are not sufficient grounds for altering it into "NOV, the inf. ahs. 
Whether Jael complied with this wish is not stated ; but in the 
place of anything further, the chief fact alone is given in ver. 21, 
namely, that Jael took a tent-plug, and went with a hammer in her 
hand to Sisera, who had fallen through exhaustion into a deep sleep, 
and drove the plug into his temples, so that it penetrated into the 
earth, or the floor. The words ^J} DTU'KWl are introduced as 
explanatory of the course of the events : " but he was fallen into 
a deep sleep, and exhausted," i.e. had fallen fast asleep through 
exhaustion. " And so he died." nbjl is attached as a consequence 
to Ul TOCFrt . . . ViWn, whereas *[}& belongs to the parenthetical clause 
DTU vxn. This is the explanation adopted by Rosenmuller, and 
also in the remark of Kitnchi : " the words IJJJ DT1J indicate the 
reason why Sisera neither heard Jael approach him, nor was con- 
scious of the blow inflicted upon him." For the combination of 
ISJl with JlbJI, " then he became exhausted and died," which Stud. 
and Bertheau support, does not give any intelligible thought at all. 
A man who has a tent-peg driven with a hammer into his temples, 
so that the peg passes through his head into the ground, does not 
become exhausted before he dies, but dies instantaneously. And 
{ |JP!, from *py, equivalent to ^V (Jer. iv. 31), or *18J, and written 
with Patach in the last syllable, to distinguish it from tpy, volare, 
has no other meaning than to be exhausted, in any of the passages 
in which it occurs (see 1 Sam. xiv. 28, 31 ; 2 Sam. xxi. 15). The 


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rendering adopted by the LXX., eo-Kormdrf, cannot be grammati- 
cally sustained. — Ver. 22. When Barak, who was in pursuit of 
Sisera, arrived at Jael's tent, she went to meet him, to show him 
the deed which she had performed. Thus was Deborah's prediction 
to Barak (ver. 9) fulfilled. The Lord had sold Sisera into the hand 
of a woman, and deprived Barak of the glory of the victory. 
Nevertheless the act itself was not morally justified, either by this 
prophetic announcement, or by the fact that it is commemorated in 
the song of Deborah in chap. v. 24 sqq. Even though there can 
be no doubt that Jael acted under the influence of religious enthu- 
siasm for the cause of Israel and its God, and that she was prompted 
by religious motives to regard the connection of her tribe with 
Israel, the people of the Lord, as higher and more sacred, not only 
than the bond of peace, in which her tribe was living with Jabin 
the Canaanitish king, but even than the duties of hospitality, which 
are so universally sacred to an oriental mind, her heroic deed cannot 
be acquitted of the sins of lying, treachery, and assassination, which 
were associated with it, by assuming, as Calovius, Buddeus, and others 
have done, that when Jael invited Sisera into her tent, and promised 
him safety, and quenched his thirst with milk, she was acting with 
perfect sincerity, and without any thought of killing him, and that 
it was not till after he was fast asleep that she was instigated and 
impelled instinctu Dei arcano to perform the deed. For Jehovah, 
the God of Israel, not only abhors lying lips (Prov. xii. 22), but 
hates wickedness and deception of every kind. It is true, He 
punishes the ungodly at the hand of sinners ; but the sinners whom 
He employs as the instruments of His penal justice in carrying out 
the plans of His kingdom, are not instigated to the performance of 
wicked deeds by an inward and secret impulse from Him. God 
had no doubt so ordered it, that Sisera should meet with his death 
in Jael's tent, where he had taken refuge ; but this divine purpose 
did not justify Jael in giving to the enemy of Israel a hospitable 
reception into her tent, making him feel secure both by word 
and deed, and then murdering him secretly while he was asleep. 
Such conduct as that was not the operation of the Spirit of 
God, but the fruit of a heroism inspired by flesh and blood ; and 
even in Deborah's song (chap. v. 24 sqq.) it is not lauded as a 
divine act. 

Vers. 23, 24. " So God subdued at that time Jabin Hie king of 
Canaan before the children of Israel ; and the hand of Hie Israelites 
became heavier and heavier in its pressure upon him, until they had 

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CHAP. V. 307 

destroyed him." nts^ "ifbn . . . T Tftni, " the band • . . increased 
more and more, becoming heavy." k™, used to denote the progress 
or continual increase of an affair, as in Gen. viii. 3, etc., is con- 
nected with the infinitive absolute, and with the participle of the 
action concerned, nspjs is the feminine participle of ne>j3, like 713 in 
Gen. xxvi. 13 (see Ges. § 131, 3, Anm. 3). The overthrow of Jabin 
and his rule did not involve the extermination of the Canaanites 

DeboraKs Song of Victory. — Chap. v. 

This highly poetical song is so direct and lively an utterance of 
the mighty force of the enthusiasm awakened by the exaltation of 
Israel, and its victory over Sisera, that its genuineness is generally 
admitted now. After a general summons to praise the Lord for 
the courage with which the people rose up to fight against their 
foes (ver. 2), Deborah the singer dilates in the first section (vers. 
3-11) upon the significance of the victory, picturing in lively colours 
(1) the glorious time when Israel was exalted to be the nation of 
the Lord (vers. 3-5) ; (2) the disgraceful decline of the nation in 
the more recent times (vers. 6-8) ; and (3) the joyful turn of 
affairs which followed her appearance (vers. 9-11). After a fresh 
summons to rejoice in their victory (ver. 12), there follows in the 
second section (vers. 13-21) a lively picture of the conflict and 
victory, in which there is a vivid description (a) of the mighty 
gathering of the brave to battle (vers. 13-15a) ; (b) of the cowardice 
of those who stayed away from the battle, and of the bravery with 
which the braver warriors risked their lives in the battle (vers. 
156-18) ; and (c) of the successful result of the conflict (vers. 
19-21). To this there is appended in the third section (vers. 
22-31) an account of the glorious issue of the battle and the vic- 
tory : first of all, a brief notice of the flight and pursuit of the foe 
(vers. 22-24) ; secondly, a commemoration of the slaying of Sisera 
by Jael (vers. 24-27) ; and thirdly, a scornful description of the 
disappointment of Sisera's mother, who was counting upon a large 
arrival of booty (vers. 28-30). The song then closes with the hope, 
founded upon this victory, that all the enemies of the Lord might 
perish, and Israel increase in strength (ver. 31a). The whole song, 
therefore, is divided into three leading sections, each of which again 
is arranged in three somewhat unequal strophes, the first and second 
sections being introduced by a summons to the praise of God (vers. 
2, 12), whilst the third closes with an expression of hope, drawn 

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from the contents of the whole, with regard to the future prospects 
of the kingdom of God (ver. 31a). 

Ver. 1. The historical introduction (" Then sang Deborah and 
Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying") takes the place of 
a heading, and does not mean that the song of Deborah and Barak 
which follows was composed by them jointly, but simply that it 
was sung by them together, in commemoration of the victory. The 
poetess or writer of the song, according to vers. 3, 7, and 12, was 
Deborah. The song itself opens with a summons to praise the 
Lord for the willing and joyful rising up of His people. 

Ver. 2. That the strong in Israel showed themselves strong, 
That the people willingly offered themselves, 
Praise ye the Lord! 

The meaning of JHB and rrijriB is a subject of dispute. Accord- 
ing to the Septuagint rendering, and that of Theodot., hi t& apgaadai 
apxijyoix} hi 'IapayX, many give it the meaning to begin or to lead, 
and endeavour to establish this meaning from an Arabic word 
signifying to find one's self at the head of an affair. But this mean- 
ing cannot be established in Hebrew. JHB has no other meaning 
than to let loose from something, to let a person loose or free 
(see at Lev. x. 6) ; and in the only other passage where rrijHB occurs 
(Deut. xxxii. 42), it does not refer to a leader, but to the luxuriant 
growth of the hair as the sign of great strength. Hence in this 
passage also rrijriB literally means comati, the hairy ones, i.e. those 
who possessed strength ; and JHB, to manifest or put forth strength. 
The persons referred to are the champions in the fight, who went 
before the nation with strength and bravery. The preposition a 
before V*>B indicates the reason for praising God, or rather the 
object with which the praise of the Lord was connected. 'U1 J^??, 
literally " in the showing themselves strong." The meaning is, " for 
the fact that the strong in Israel put forth strength." 3^jr"! 1 , to 
prove one's self willing, here to go into the battle of their own free 
will, without any outward and authoritative command. This intro- 
duction transports us in the most striking manner into the time of 
the judges, when Israel had no king who could summon the nation 
to war, but everything depended upon the voluntary rising of the 
strong and the will of the nation at large. The manifestation of 
this strength and willingness Deborah praises as a gracious gift of 
the Lord. After this summons to praise the Lord, the first part of 
the song opens with an appeal to the kings and princes of the earth 
to hear what Deborah has to proclaim to the praise of God. 

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CHAP. V. 8-5. 309 

Ver. 8. Hear, ye kings ; give ear, ye princes ! 
I, to the Lord will I sing, 
Will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel. 

4. Lord, -when Thou wentest out from Seir, 
When Thou marchedst out of the fields of Edora, 
The earth trembled, and the heavens also dropped ; 
The clouds also dropped water. 

5. The mountains shook before the Lord, 

Sinai there before the Lord, the God of Israel. 

The " kings and princes" are not the rulers in Israel, for Israel 
had no kings at that time, but the kings and princes of the heathen 
nations, as in Ps. ii. 2. These were to discern the mighty acts of 
Jehovah in Israel, and learn to fear Jehovah as the almighty God. 
For the song to be sung applies to Him, the God of Israel. 1ST, 
^aXXetv, is the technical expression for singing with an instru- 
mental accompaniment (see at Ex. xv. 2). — Vers. 4, 5. To give 
the Lord the glory for the victory which had been gained through 
His omnipotent help over the powerful army of Sisera, and to fill 
the heathen with fear of Jehovah, and the Israelites with love and 
confidence towards Him, the singer reverts to the terribly glorious 
manifestation of Jehovah in the' olden time, when Israel was 
accepted as the nation of God (Ex. xix.). Just as Moses in his 
blessing (Deut. xxxiii. 2) referred the tribes of Israel to this mighty 
act, as the source of all salvation and blessing for Israel, so the 
prophetess Deborah makes the praise of this glorious manifestation 
of God the starting-point of her praise of the great grace, which 
Jehovah as the faithful covenant God had displayed to His 
people in her own days. The tacit allusion to Moses' blessing is 
very unmistakeable. But whereas Moses describes the descent 
of the Lord upon Sinai (Ex. xix.), according to its gracious sig- 
nificance in relation to the tribes of Israel, as an objective fact 
(Jehovah came from Sinai, Deut. xxxiii. 2), Deborah clothes the 
remembrance of it in the form of an address to God, to bring out 
the thought that the help which Israel had just experienced was a 
renewal of the coming of the Lord to His people. Jehovah's going 
out of Seir, and marching out of the fields of Edom, is to be inter- 
preted in the same sense as His rising up from Seir (Deut. xxxiii. 
2). As the descent of the Lord upon Sinai is depicted there as a 
rising of the sun from the east, so the same descent in a black 
cloud amidst thunder, lightning, fire, and vapour of smoke (Ex. 
xix. 1C, 18), is represented here with direct allusion to these pheno- 
mena as a storm rising up from Seir in the east, in which the Lord 

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advanced to meet His people as they came from the west to Sinai. 
Before the Lord, who came down upon Sinai in the storm and 
darkness of the cloud, the earth shook and the heaven dropped, or, 
as it is afterwards more definitely explained, the clouds dropped 
with water, emptied themselves of their abundance of water as they 
do in the case of a storm. The mountains shook (vW, Niphal of 
5£t, dropping the reduplication of the h = w3, Isa. lxiii. 19, lxiv. 2), 
even the strong rocky mountain of Sinai, which stood out so 
distinctly before the eyes of the singer, that she speaks of it as 
" this Sinai," pointing to it as though it were locally near. David's 
description of the miraculous guidance of Israel through the desert 
in Ps. lxviii. 8, 9, is evidently founded upon this passage, though it 
by no means follows from this that the passage before us also treats 
of the journey through the desert, as Clericus supposes, or even of 
the presence of the Lord in the battle with Sisera, and the victory 
which it secured. But greatly as Israel had been exalted at Sinai 
by the Lord its God, it had fallen just as deeply into bondage to 
its oppressors through its own sins, until Deborah arose to help it 
(vers. 6-8). 

Ver. 6. In the days of Shamgar, the son of Anath, 
In the days of Jael, the paths kept holiday, 
And the wanderers of the paths went crooked ways. 

7. The towns in Israel kept holiday, they kept holiday, 
Until that I, Deborah, arose, 

That I arose a mother in Israel. 

8. They chose new gods ; 
Then was war at the gates : 

Was there a shield seen and a spear 
Among forty thousand in Israel ? 

The deep degradation and disgrace into which Israel had sunk 
before the appearance of Deborah, through its falling away from 
the Lord into idolatry, forms the dark reverse of that glorification 
at Sinai. Although, after Ehud, Shamgar had also brought help to 
the people against their enemies by a victory over the Philistines 
(chap. iii. 31), and although Jael, who proved herself a heroine by 
slaying the fugitive Sisera, was then alive, things had got to such a 
pitch with Israel, that no one would venture upon the public high 
roads. There are no good grounds for the conjecture that Jael 
was a different person from the Jael mentioned in chap. iv. 17 
sqq., whether a judge who i3 not further known, as Ewald supposes, 
or a female judge who stood at the head of the nation in these 
unhappy times (Bertheau). nirnK vjfl, lit. " the paths ceased" to. 

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CHAP. V. 6-8. 311 

to be paths, or to be trodden by men. ntoro wh, « those wlu> went 
upon paths" or beaten ways, i.e. those who were obliged to under- 
take journeys for the purpose of friendly intercourse or trade, 
notwithstanding the burden of foreign rule which pressed upon the 
land; such persons went by " twisted patJis," i.e. by roads and 
circuitous routes which turned away from the high roads. And 
the pnB, i.e. the cultivated land, with its open towns and villages, 
and with their inhabitants, was as forsaken and desolate as the 
public highways. The word perazon has been rendered judge or 
guidance by modern expositors, after the example of Teller and 
Gesenius; and in ver. 11 decision or guidance. But this meaning, 
which has been adopted into all the more recent lexicons, has 
nothing really to support it, and does not even suit our verse, into 
which it would introduce the strange contradiction, that at the time 
when Shamgar and Jael were judges, there were no judges in 
Israel. In addition to the Septuagint version, which renders the 
word Bvvarol in this verse (i.e. according to the Cod. Vat, for the 
Cod. Al. has <f>pd%a>p), and then in the most unmeaning way adopts 
the rendering aHf-naop in ver. 11, from which we may clearly see that 
the translators did not know the meaning of the word, it is common 
to adduce an Arabic word which signifies segregavit, discrevit rem 
ab aliis, though it is impossible to prove that the Arabic word ever 
had the meaning to judge or to lead. All the old translators, as 
well as the Rabbins, have based their rendering of the word upon 
TjB, inhabitant of the flat country (Deut. iii. 5, and 1 Sam. vi. 18), 
and JtiPB, the open flat country, as distinguished from the towns 
surrounded by walls (Ezek. xxxviii. 11 ; Zech. ii. 8), according to 
which tfna, as the place of meeting, would denote both the culti- 
vated land with its unenclosed towns and villages, and also the 
population that was settled in the open country in unfortified 
places, — a meaning which also lies at the foundation of the word in 
Hab. iii. 14. Accordingly, Luther has rendered the word Bauern 
(peasants), wogtf IV for TOp lEte *1J>. The contraction of iBto 
into &, with Dagesh following, and generally pointed with SegJtol, 
but here with Patach on account of the p, which is closely related 
to the gutturals, belongs to the popular character of the song, and 
is therefore also found in the Song of Solomon (chap. i. 12, ii. 7, 
17, iv. 6). It is also met with here and there in simple prose 
(Judg. vi. 17, vii. 12, viii. 26) ; but it was only in the literature of 
the time of the captivity and a still later date, that it found its way 
more and more from the language of ordinary conversation into 

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that of the Scriptures. Deborah describes herself as " a mother in 
Israel," on account of her having watched over her people with 
maternal care, just as Job calls himself a father to the poor who 
br»d been supported by him (Job xxix. 16; cf. Isa. xxii. 21). — Ver. 
8 describes the cause of the misery into which Israel had fallen. 
D'cnn BTO is the object to ">ny, and the subject is to be found in 
the previous term Israel. Israel forsook its God and Creator, 
and chose new gods, i.e. gods not worshipped by its fathers («"</. 
Deut. xxxii. 17). Then there was war (Dn?, the construct state 
of DnPj a verbal noun formed from the Piel, and signifying con- 
flict or war) at the gates ; i.e. the enemy pressed up to the very 
gates of the Israelitish towns, and besieged them, and there was 
not seen a shield or spear among forty thousand in Israel, i.e. there 
were no warriors found in Israel who ventured to defend the land 
against the foe. DK indicates a question with a negative reply 
assumed, as in 1 Kings i. 27, etc. Shield and spear (or lance) are 
mentioned particularly as arms of offence and defence, to signify 
arms of all kinds. The words are not to be explained from 1 Sam. 
xiii. 22, as signifying that there were no longer any weapons to be 
found among the Israelites, because the enemy had taken them 
away (" not seen" is not equivalent to " not found" in 1 Sam. xiii. 
22) ; they simply affirm that there were no longer any weapons to 
be seen, because not one of the 40,000 men in Israel took a weapon 
in his hand. The number 40,000 is not the number of the men 
who offered themselves willingly for battle, according to ver. 2 
(Bert/ieau) ; for apart from the fact that they did not go unarmed 
into the battle, it is at variance with the statement in chap. iv. 6, 10, 
that Barak went into the war and smote the enemy with only 
10,000 men. It is a round number, i.e. an approximative state- 
ment of the number of the warriors who might have smitten the 
enemy and delivered Israel from bondage, and was probably chosen 
with a reference to the 40,000 fighting men of the tribes on the 
east of the Jordan, who went with Joshua to Canaan and helped 
their brethren to conquer the land (Josh. iv. 13). Most of the 
more recent expositors have given a different rendering of ver. 8. 
Many of them render the first clause according to the Peshito and 
Vulgate, " God chose something new," taking Elohim as the subject, 
and chadashim (new) as the object. But to this it has very pro- 
perly been objected, that, according to the terms of the song, it was 
not Elohim but Jehovah who effected the deliverance of Israel, and 
that the Hebrew for new things is not O'C^n, but nichn (Isa. xlii. 

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CHAP V. 0-11. 313 

9, xlviii. 6), or ^cnn (Isa. xliii. 19 ; Jer. xxxi. 22). On these 
grounds Ewald and Bertheau render Elohim " judges" (they chose 
new judges), and appeal to Ex. xxi. 6, xxii. 7, 8, where the autho- 
rities who administered justice in the name of God are called 
Elohim. But these passages are not sufficient by themselves to 
establish the meaning "judges," and still less to establish the ren- 
dering " new judges" for Eloldm chadashim. Moreover, according 
to both these explanations, the next clause must be understood as 
relating to the specially courageous conflict which the Israelites in 
their enthusiasm carried on with Sisera ; whereas the further state- 
ment, that among 40,000 warriors who offered themselves willingly 
for battle there was not a shield or a lance to be seen, i3 irreconcil- 
ably at variance with this. For the explanation suggested, namely, 
that these warriors did not possess the ordinary weapons for a 
well-conducted engagement, but had nothing but bows and swords, 
or instead of weapons of any kind had only the staffs and tools of 
shepherds and husbandmen, is proved to be untenable by the simple 
fact that there is nothing at all to indicate any contrast between 
ordinary and extraordinary weapons, and that such a contrast is 
altogether foreign to the context. Moreover, the fact appealed to, 
that W points to a victorious conflict in vers. 13, 19, 22, as well as 
in ver. 11, is not strong enough to support the view in question, as 
IX is employed in ver. 19 in connection with the battle of the kings 
of Canaan, which was not a successful one, but terminated in a 

The singer now turns from the contemplation of the deep degra- 
dation of Israel to the glorious change which took place as soon as 
she appeared : — 

Ver. 9. My heart inclines to the leaders of Israel ; 

To those who offered themselves willingly in the nation. Praise yo 
the Lord ! 

10. Ye that ride upon white asses ; 
Ye that sit upon coverings, 

And that walk in the way, reflect ! 

1 1. With the voice of the archers among drawers (of water), 
There praise ye the righteous acts of the Lord, 

The righteous acts in His villages in Israel. 

Then the people of the Lord went down to the gates ! 

"We must supply the subst. verb in connection with ? ^3?, " My 
heart is (sc. inclined) towards the leaders of Israel," i.e. feels itself 
drawn towards them. Ppjn for ppjno (ver. 14), the determining one, 
Le. the commander or leader in war : as in Deut. xxxiii. 21. The 

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leaders and willing ones are first of all to praise the Lord for having 
crowned their willingness with victory.-?— Ver. 10. And all classes of 
the people, both high and low, have reason to join in the praise. 
Those who ride upon white, i.e. white-spotted asses, are the upper 
classes generally, and not merely the leaders (cf. chap. x. 4, xii. 14). 
irntj lit. dazzling white ; but since there are no asses that are per- 
fectly white, and white was a colour that was highly valued both by 
Hebrews and Arabs, they applied the term white to those that were 
only spotted with white. Those who sit upon coverings (pH? from 
ID, a covering or carpet, with the plural termination p, which is to 
be regarded as a poetical Chaldaism) are the rich and prosperous ; 
and those who walk on the way, i.e. travellers on foot, represent 
the middle and lower classes, who have to go about and attend 
to their affairs. Considered logically, this triple division of the 
nation is not a very exact one, as the first two do not form a true 
antithesis. But the want of exactness does not warrant our fusing 
together the middle term and the first, and understanding by middin 
either saddles or saddle-cloths, as Ewald and Bertheau have done ; 
for saddle-cloths are still further from forming an antithesis to 
asses, so that those who ride npon white asses could be distinguished, 
as the upper classes and leaders, from those who sit upon saddles, or 
are " somewhat richer." Moreover, there is no reason for regarding 
these three classes as referring simply to the long line of warriors 
hastening from the victory to the triumphal f^te. On the contrary, 
all classes of the people are addressed, as enjoying the fruits of the 
victory that had been obtained : the upper classes, who ride upon their 
costly animals ; the rich resting at home upon their splendid carpets ; 
and the poor travellers, who can now go quietly along the high-road 
again without fear of interruption from the foe (ver. 6). VPb is 
rendered " sing" by many ; but this rendering cannot be sustained 
from Ps. cv. 2 and cxlv. 5, and it is not necessary in the verse 
before us, since the well-established meaning of the word " ponder," 
reflect, sc. upon the acts of the Lord, is a perfectly suitable one. — 
Ver. 11. The whole nation had good reason to make this reflec- 
tion, as the warriors, having returned home, were now relating the 
mighty acts of the Lord among the women who were watering their 
flocks, and the people had returned to their towns once more. This 
is in all probability the idea of the obscure verse before us, which 
has been interpreted in such very different ways. The first clause, 
which has no verb, and cannot constitute a sentence by itself, must 
be connected with the following clause, and taken as an anakolouAon, 

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CHAP. V. 9-11. 315 

as UTP Dt? does not form a direct continuation of the clause com- 
mencing with MpD. After the words "from the voice of the archers," 
we should expect the continuation " there is heard" or " there 
uounds forth the praise of the acts of the Lord." Instead of that, 
the construction that was commenced is relinquished at tirt OB*, 
and a different turn is given to the thought. This not only seems 
to offer the simplest explanation, hut the only possible solution of 
the difficulty. For the explanation that fl? is to be taken as signi- 
fying " away from," as in Num. xt. 24, etc., in the sense of " far 
from the voice of the archers, among the watering women," does not 
suit the following word Of, " there," at all. It would be necessary 
to attribute to JO the meaning " no more disquieted by," a meaning 
which the preposition could not possibly have in this clause. Q'XVnp 
are not sharers in the booty, for J^n simply means to cut, to cut in 
pieces, to divide, and is never applied to the sharing of booty, for which 
P?n is the word used (vid. ver. 30 ; Ps. lxviii. 13 ; Isa. ix. 2). YWP 
is to be regarded, as the Rabbins maintain, as a denom. from }*D> t° 
hold an arrow, signifying therefore the shooter of an arrow. It was 
probably a natural thing for Deborah, who dwelt in Benjamin, to 
mention the archers as representatives of warriors generally, since 
this was the principal weapon employed by the Benjaminites (see 
1 Chron. viii. 40, xii. 2 ; 2 Chron. xiv. 7, xvii. 17). The tarrying 
of the warriors among the drawers of water, where the flocks and 
herds were being watered, points to the time of peace, when the 
warriors were again occupied with their civil and domestic affairs. 
«JV is a simple aorist. nan, lit. to repeat, then to relate, or praise. 
" The righteousness of Jehovah," i.e. the marvellous acts of the Lord 
in and upon Israel for the accomplishing of His purposes of sal- 
vation, in which the righteousness of His work upon earth was 
manifested (cf. 1 Sam. xii. 7, Micah vi. 5). WJ"]B rrifny has been 
rendered by modern expositors, either " the righteous acts of His 
guidance or of His decision" (Ewald and Bertheau), or u the 
righteous acts of His commanders," or " the benefits towards His 
princes (leaders) in Israel" (Mos. and others). But neither of these 
can be sustained. We must take tffJB here in just the same sense 
as in ver. 7 ; the country covered with open towns and villages, 
together with their inhabitants, whom Jehovah had delivered from 
the hostile oppression that had rested upon them, by means of the 
victory obtained over Sisera. After that victory the people of the 
Lord went down again to their gates, from the mountains and hiding- 
places in which they had taken refuge from their foes (vers. 6, 7), 

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returning again to the plains of the land, and the towns that were 
now delivered from the foe. 

Ver. 12 forms the introduction to the second part, viz. the 
description of the conflict and the victory. Throwing herself into 
the great event which she is about to commemorate, Deborah calls 
upon herself to strike up a song, and upon Barak to lead off his 
prisoners : 

Ver. 12. Awake, awake, Deborah! 

Awake, awake, utter a song ! 

Rise up, Barak, and lead captive thy captives, son of Abinoam : 

*y9 has the tone upon the last syllable on the first two occasions, 
to answer to the rapid summoning burst of the Lord in the opening 
address (Bertkeau). "Ot? rot?, to lead away captives, as the fruit 
of the victory ; not merely to lead in triumph. On the form naBh 
with Chateph-patach, see Ewald, § 90, b. In the next three strophes 
of this part (vers. 13-21) the progress of the conflict is described ; 
and in the first two the part taken in the battle by the different 
tribes (vers. 13- 15a, and 15&-1S). 

Ver. 13. Then came down a remnant of nobles of the nation ; 
Jehovah came down to me among the heroes. 
14. Of Ephraim, whose root in Amalek ; 

Behind thee Benjamin among thy peoples. 
From Machir came down leaders, 

And from Zebulun marchers with the staff of the conductor. 
15a. And princes in Issachar with Deborah, 
And Issachar as well as Barak, 
Driven into the valley through his feet. 

Looking back to the commencement of the battle, the poetess 
describes the streaming of the brave men of the nation down from 
the mountains, to fight the enemy with Barak and Deborah in the 
valley of Jezreel ; though the whole nation did not rise as one man 
against its oppressors, but only a remnant of the noble and brave in 
the nation, with whom Jehovah went into the battle. In ver. 13 the 
Masoretic pointing of TV is connected with the rabbinical idea of 
the word as the fut. apoc. of AT} : " then (now) will tJie remnant rule 
over the glorious" i.e. the remnant left in Israel over the stately foe ; 
" Jehovah rules for me (or through me) over the heroes in Sisera'3 
army," which Luther has also adopted. But, as Schnurr. has main- 
tained, this view is decidedly erroneous, inasmuch as it is altogether 
irreconcilable with the description which follows of the marching of 
the tribes of Israel into the battle. TV is to be understood in tbe 

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CHAP. V. 13-15. 317 

same sense as VTV in ver. 14, and to be pointed as a perfect TV. 1 
" There came down" sc. from the mountains of the land into the 
plain of Jezreel, a remnant of nobles. O^N? is used instead of a 
closer subordination through the construct state, to bring out the 
idea of Tib> into greater prominence (see Ewald, § 292). DP is in 
apposition to D^N?, and not to be connected with the following 
word njn% as it is by some, in opposition to the accents. The 
thought is rather this : with the nobles or among the brave Jehovah 
himself went against the foe. v is a dat. commodi, equivalent to 
" for my joy. ; ' — Ver. 14. " From (*30, poetical for IP) Ephraim" 
sc. there came fighting men ; not the whole tribe, but only nobles 
or brave men, and indeed those whose roots were in Amalek, i.e. 
those who were rooted or had taken root, i.e. had settled and spread 
themselves out upon the tribe-territory of Ephraim, which had for- 
merly been inhabited by Amalekites, the mount of the Amalekitcs, 
mentioned in chap. xii. 15 (for the figure itself, see Isa. xxvii. 6, 
Ps. lxxx. 10, and Job v. 3). " Behind thee" i.e. behind Ephraim, 
there followed Benjamin among thy (Ephraim's) people (O^ODV, a 
poetical form for D*©?, in the sense of hosts). Benjamin lived 
farther south than Ephraim, and therefore, when looked at from 
the stand-point of the plain of Jezreel, behind Ephraim ; " but he 
came upon the scene of battle, either in subordination to the more 
powerful Ephraimites, or rushing on with the Ephraimitish hosts" 
(BertJieau). "From Machir" i.e. from western Manasseh, there 
came down leaders (see at ver. 9), sc. with warriors in their train. 
Machir cannot refer to the Manassite family of Machir, to which 
Moses gave the northern part of Gilead, and Bashan, for an inherit- 
ance (comp. Josh. xvii. 1 with xiii. 29-31), but it stands poetically 
for Manasseh generally, as Machir was the only son of Manasseh, 
from whom all the Manassites were descended (Gen. 1. 23 ; Num. 
xxvi. 29 sqq., xxvii. 1). Tho reference here, however, is simply 
to that portion of the tribe of Manasseh which had received its 
inheritance by the side of Ephraim, in the land to the west of the 
Jordan. This explanation of the word is required, not only by the 
fact that Machir is mentioned after Ephraim and Benjamin, and 

1 The Cod. Al. of the LXX. contains the correct rendering, T*rc xarijin 
xa.TkKup.put. In the Targum also *TV is correctly translated nru*, descendit, 
although the germs of the rabbinical interpretation are contained in the para- 
phrase of the whole verse : tunc descendit units ex exercitu Israel el f regit forlilu- 
dinern fortium gentium. Ecce non ex fortitudine manus eorum fuit hoc ; sed 
Dominns fregil anle populum suum fortitudinem virorum osorum eorum. 

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before Zebulun and Issachar, bat still more decidedly by the intro- 
duction of Gilead beyond Jordan in connection with Reuben, in ver. 
17, which can only signify Gad and eastern Manasseh. Hence the 
two names Machir and Gilead, the names of Manasseh' s son and 
grandson, are poetically employed to denote the two halves of the 
tribe of Manasseh ; Machir signifying the western Manassites, and 
Gilead the eastern. " From Zebulun marchers (^V®, to approach in 
long processions, as in chap. iv. 6) toith the staff of the conductor." 
"id'd, writer or numberer, was the technical name given to the 
musterer-general, whose duty it was to levy and muster the troops 
(2 Kings xxv. 19; cf. 2 Chron. xxvi. 11); here it denotes the 
military leader generally. — Ver. 15a. *ty, "my princes" does not 
furnish any appropriate meaning, as neither Deborah nor Barak 
was of the tribe of Issachar, and it is not stated anywhere that the 
Issacharites gathered round Deborah as their leader. The reading 
*$ (stat. constr.), adopted by the old versions, must be taken as the 
correct one, and the introduction of the preposition 3 does not pre- 
clude this (compare ysbn nn, 2 Sam. i. 21, and Ew'ald, § 289, b.). 
OV, which is used to denote an outward equality, as in 1 Sam. 
xvii. 42, and is substantially the same as the ]3 which follows ("just 
as"), is construed without 3 in the first clause, as in Ps. xlviii. 6. 
Pppa : into the valley of Jezreel, the plain of Kishon. V?JT3 rrW, as 
in Job xviii. 8, to be sent off, i.e. incessantly impelled, through his 
feet ; here it is applied to an irresistible force of enthusiasm for the 
battle. The nominative to nW is Issachar and Barak. 

Ver. 156. At the brooks of Reuben were great resolutions of heart. 

16. Why remainest thou between the hurdles, 
To hear the piping of the flocks ? 

At the brooks of Reuben were great projects of heart. 

17. Gilead rests on the other side of the Jordan ; 
And Dan . . . why tarries he by ships? 
Asher sits on the shore of the sea, 

And by his bays he reposes. 

18. Zebulun, a people that despises its soul even to death, 
And Naphtali upon the heights of the field. 

In this strophe Deborah first of all mentions the tribes which 
took no part in the conflict (vers. 156-17), and then returns in ver. 
18 to the t Zebulunites, who staked their life along with Naphtali for 
the deliverance of Israel from the yoke of the enemy. The enu- 
meration of the tribes who remained at a distance from the conflict 
commences with Reuben (vers. 156 and 16). In this tribe there 
did arise a lively sympathy with the national elevation. They held 

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CHAP. V. 16-18. 319 

meetings, passed great resolutions, but it led to no practical result ; 
and at length they preferred to remain quietly at home in their 
own comfortable pastoral life. The meaning brooks for friapB is 
well established by Job xx. 17, and there is no reason whatever for 
explaining the word as equivalent to friiDB, rtfa?BD, divisions (2 Chron. 
xxxv. 5, 12 ; Ezra vi. 18). The territory of Keuben, which was 
celebrated for its splendid pastures, must have abounded in brooks. 
The question, Why satest thou, or remainedst thou sitting between 
the hurdles? i.e. in the comfortable repose of a shepherd's life, is 
an utterance of amazement ; and the irony is very apparent in the 
next clause, to hear the bleating of the flocks, i.e. the piping of the 
shepherds, instead of the blast of the war-trumpets. — Ver. 17. 
Gilead, Dan, and Asher took no part at all. By Gilead, the tribes 
of Gad and half Manasseh are intended. The use of the term 
Tiran to denote the whole of the territory of the Israelites on the 
east of the Jordan probably gave occasion to this, although *WS 
(without the article) does not refer to the land even here, but refers 
primarily to the grandson of Manasseh, as the representative of his 
family which dwelt in Gilead. (For further remarks, see at ver. 
14.) Dan also did not let the national movement disturb it in its 
earthly trade and commerce. "113, to keep one's self in a place, is con- 
strued here with the accusative of the place, as in Ps. cxx. 5. The 
territory of Dan included the port of Joppa (see at Josh. xix. 46), 
where the Danites probably carried on a trade with the Phoenicians. 
Asher also in his land upon the coast did not allow himself to be 
disturbed from his rest, to join in the common war of its nation. 
DW tfin is used, as in Gen. xlix. 13, for the shore of the Mediter- 
ranean Sea. D^BO, air. \ey., literally a rent, and hence applied 
to a bay, as an incision made in the sea-shore. — Ver. 18. Zebulun 
and Naphtali acted quite differently. Zebulun showed itself as a 
people that despised its life even to death, i.e. that sacrificed its 
life for the deliverance of its fatherland. Naphtali did the same in 
its mountain home. The two tribes had raised 10,000 fighting 
men at Barak's call (chap. iv. 10), who constituted at any rate the 
kernel of the Israelitish army. 

If we run over the tribes enumerated, it seems strange that the 
tribes of Judah and Simeon are not mentioned either among those 
who joined in the battle, or among those who stayed away. The 
only way in which this can be explained is on the supposition that 
these two tribes were never summoned by Barak, either because 
they were so involved in conflict with the Philistines, that they 

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were unable to render any assistance to the northern tribes against 
their Canaanitish oppressors, as we might infer from chap. iii. 31, 
or because of some inward disagreement between these tribes and 
the rest. But even apart from Judah and Simeon, the want of 
sympathy on the part of the tribes that are reproved is a sufficient 
proof that the enthusiasm for the cause of the Lord had greatly 
diminished in the nation, and that the internal unity of the con- 
gregation was considerably loosened. 

In the next strophe the battle and the victory are described : — 

Ver. 19. Kings came, . . . they fought ; 
The kings of Canaan fought 
At Taanach, at the waters of Megiddo. 
A piece of silver they did not take. 

20. From heaven they fought, 

The stars from their courses fought against Sisera. 

21. The brook of Kishon swept them away, 

The brook of the olden time, the brook Kishon. 
Go on, my soul, in strength ! 

The advance of the foe is described in few words. Kings came 
on and fought. They were the kings of Canaan, since Jabin, like 
his ancestor (Josh. xi. 1 sqq.), had formed an alliance with other 
kings of northern Canaan, who went to the battle under the com- 
mand of Sisera. The battle took place at Taanach (see at Josh, 
xii. 21), by the water of Megiddo, the present Lejun (see at Josh, 
xii. 21), i.e. by the brook Kishon (cf. chap. iv. 7). Taanach and 
Megiddo were not quite five miles apart, and beside and between 
them there were several brooks which ran into the southern arm of 
the Kishon, that flowed through the plain to the north of both these 
towns. The hostile kings went into the battle with the hope of 
slaying the Israelites and making a rich capture of booty. But 
their hopes were disappointed. They could not take with them a 
piece of silver as booty. JW3, which generally signifies booty or 
gain, is probably to be taken here in its primary sense of frustum, 
from VVa, to cut off or cut in pieces, a " piece of silver," equivalent 
to a single piece of valuable booty. — Ver. 20. For not only did the 
Israelites fight against them, but the powers of heaven also. " From 
heaven " is more minutely defined by " the stars from their courses." 
These words explain the statement in chap. iv. 15, " the Lord dis- 
comfited Sisera;" though in our opinion not so clearly as to enable 
us to define more precisely the natural phenomenon by which God 
threw the enemy into confusion. In all probability we have to 
think of a terrible storm, with thunder and lightning and hail, or 

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CHAP. V. 22-24. 321 

the sadden bursting of a cloud, which is poetically described as 
though the stars of heaven had left their courses to fight for the 
Lord and His kingdom upon earth. — Ver. 21. The kings of Canaan 
could do nothing against these powers. They were smitten ; the 
brook Kishon washed them (i.e. their corpses) away. The meaning 
" to wash away" is well established by the dialects and the context, 
though the verb itself only occurs here. As the battle was fought 
between Taanach and Megiddo, i.e. to the south of the brook 
Kishon, and the smitten foe fled towards the north, many of them 
met with their death in the waves of the brook, which was flowing 
over its banks at the time. The brook is called BWip pro, i.e. the 
brook of the old world or the olden time (according to the LXX. 
Cod. Vat. yeiiiappov? ap^aimv), as the stream that had been flowing 
from time immemorial, and not, as the Chaldee interprets it, the 
stream that had been celebrated from olden time on account of 
the mighty acts that had been performed there. The meaning 
suggested by Ewald and others^ " brook of attacks, or slaughters," 
is not well sustained, although D"?.i? is sometimes used to denote a 
hostile encounter. The last clause interrupts the description of the 
slaughter and the victory. Borne away by the might of the acts to be 
commemorated, Deborah stimulates her soul, i.e. herself, to a vigorous 
continuation of her song. ^"HPi is jussive, and ft an accusative 
governed by the verb, in strength, vigorously ; for she had still to 
celebrate the glorious results of the victory. This is done in the 
third part of the song (vers. 22-31), the first strophe of which 
(vers. 22-24) describes in brief drastic traits the flight of the foe, 
and the treatment of the fugitives by the people of the land. 

Ver. 22. Then did the hoofa of the horses stamp 

With the hunting, the hunting of bis strong ones. 

23. Curse ye Meroz, saith the angel of the Lord ; 
Curse ye, curse ye the inhabitants thereof ! 
Because they came not to the help of Jehovah, 
To the help of Jehovah among the mighty. 

24. Blessed before women be Jael, 
The wife of Heber the Kenite, 
Blessed before women in the tent ! 

The war-chariots of the enemy hunted away in the wildest 
flight (ver. 22). The horses stamped the ground with the con- 
tinuous hunting or galloping away of the warriors, rrirrn, the 
hunting (cf . "TO, Kah. iii. 2). The repetition of the word expresses 
the continuance or incessant duration of the same thing (see Ewald, 
§ 313, a.). BT?N> strong ones, are not the horses, but the warriors 


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in the war-chariots. The suffix refers to WD, which is used collec- 
tively. The mighty ones on horses are not, however, merely the 
Canaanitish princes, such as Sisera, as Ewald maintains, but the 
warriors generally who hunted away upon their war-chariots. — 
Ver. 23. The enemy, or at all events Sisera, might have been 
destroyed in his flight by the inhabitants of Meroz ; but they did 
not come to the help of the Israelites, and brought down the curse 
of God upon themselves in consequence. That this is the thought 
of ver. 23 is evident from the context, and more especially from the 
blessing pronounced upon Jael in ver. 24. The situation of Meroz, 
which is not mentioned again, cannot be determined with certainty 
Wilson and v. Raumer imagine that it may be Kefr Must on the 
south of Tabor, the situation of which at all events is more suit- 
able than Marussus, which was an hour and a half to the north of 
Beisan, and which Rabbi Schwarz supposed to be Meroz (see V. ie 
Velde, Mem. p. 334). The curse upon the inhabitants of this 
place is described as a word or command of the angel of the Lord, 
inasmuch as it was the angel of the Lord who fought for Israel 
at Megiddo, as the revealer of the invisible God, and smote the 
Canaanites. Deborah heard from him the words of the curse 
upon the inhabitants of Meroz, because they did not come to help 
Jehovah when He was fighting with and for the Israelites. " Among 
the heroes," or mighty men, i.e. associating with the warriors of 
Israel. — Ver. 24. Jael behaved altogether differently, although she 
was not an Israelite, but a woman of the tribe of the Kenites, 
which was only allied with Israel (see chap. iv. 11, 17 sqq.). For 
her heroic deed she was to be blessed before women (|D as in Gen. 
iii. 14, literally removed away from women). The " women in the 
tent" are dwellers in tents, or shepherdesses. This heroic act is 
poetically commemorated in the strophe which follows in vers. 

Ver. 25. He asked water, she gave hira milk ; 

She handed him cream in the dish of nobles. 

26. She stretched out her hand to the plug, 

And her right hand to the workmen's hammer, 

And hammered Sisera, broke his head, 

And dashed in pieces aud pierced his temples. 

27. Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down : 
Between her feet he bowed, he fell : 

Where he bowed, there.he fell down dead. 

Assuming that the fact itself is well known, Deborah does not 
think it necessary to mention Sisera's name in ver. 25. nspn, 

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CHAP. V. 28-30. 323 

which generally signifies thick curdled milk, is used here as synony- 
mous with 3?n, in the sense of good superior milk. PBD is only used 
here and in chap. vi. 38, and signifies a bowl or vessel for holding 
liquids (see Arab., Chald., and Taltn.; also Bochart, Hieroz. i. pp. 625 
sqq., ed. Sos.). The dish of nobles is a fine costly bowl, such as they 
are accustomed to hand to noble guests. The whole verse is simply 
intended to express the thought, that Jael had given to her guest 
Sisera a friendly reception, and treated him honourably and hospi- 
tably, simply in order to make him feel secure. — Ver. 26. " Her 
Jiand," i.e. the left hand, as is shown by the antithesis, " her right 
hand," which follows. On the form '"ijnpE'n, the third pers. fem. 
sing, with >*U attached, to distinguish it the more clearly from the 
second pers., see the remarks on Ex. i. 10. OyBJ! J™ 3 ? 1 ^ hammer 
or mallet of the hard workers, is a large heavy hammer. For the 
purpose of depicting the boldness and greatness of the deed, the 
words are crowded together in the second hemistich : D?>J, to hammer, 
or smite with the hammer ; PDD, air. "Key., to smite in pieces, smite 
through ; Y<yo, to smite or dash in pieces ; 1?n, to pierce or bore 
through. The heaping up of the words in ver. 27 answers the 
same purpose. They do not " express the delight of a satisfied 
thirst for revenge," but simply bring out the thought that Sisera, 
who was for years the terror of Israel, was now struck dead with a 
single blow. JH3 1£Wa, at the place where he bowed, there he fell 
"Wit?, overpowered and destroyed. In conclusion, the singer refers 
once more in the last strophe (vers. 28-30) to the mother of Sisera, 
as she waited impatiently for the return of her son, and foreboded 
his death, whilst the prudent princesses who surrounded her sought 
to cheer her with the prospect of a rich arrival of booty. 

Ver. 28. Through the window there looks out and cries aloud . 

The mother of Sisera, through the lattice work, 
Why doea his chariot delay its coming ? 
Why tarry the steps of his team ? 

29. The wise of her princesses reply : 

— But she repeats her words to herself — 

30. Surely they are finding and sharing booty : 
A maiden, two maidens to the head of a man, 
Booty of variegated cloths for Sisera ; 

Booty of variegated cloths, garments worked in divers colours, 
A variegated cloth, two garments worked in divers colours for his neck 
as booty. 

Sisera's mother looks out with impatience for the return of her 
son, and cries aloud out of the window, Why is he never coming? — 

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foreboding the disastrous result of the war. 3M, air. Xey., signifies 
to cry ; in Aramaean it is used for Jpn and $"!, to denote a loud 
joyful cry ; here it evidently signifies a loud cry of anxiety. For 
the repeated question, Why does his chariot delay its coming ? is 
evidently expressive of anxiety and alarm. The form *">£!$, per/. 
Piel for ^"inK, may be attributed to the influence of the aleph, 
which favours the seghol sound, like ^DfP in Gen. xxx. 39. The 
combination of vni33"iD 'DPS, " steps of his chariots," cannot be 
explained, as it is by Bertheau, on the ground that the word H DJS, 
as a general expression for intermittent movement, might also be 
applied to the jerking of the wheels in rolling, but simply on the 
supposition that ni33"|D, as a synonym for 33"}, is used for the horses 
yoked to the chariot in the sense of team, like 33T in 2 Sam. viii. 4, 
x. 18, etc. — Ver. 29. The princesses in attendance upon Sisera's 
mother sought to console her with the remark, that Sisera would have 
to gather together rich booty, and that his return was delayed in 
consequence. In the expression " the wisest of her princesses" (see 
Ges. § 119, 2), the irony is very obvious, as the reality put all their 
wise conjectures to shame. ^J! 1 !!, third pers. plur. fern, for WJjm. 
The second hemisticli of ver. 29 contains a clause inserted as a 
parenthesis. K , >T S )^ is adversative : " but she ;" 1*? is only an em- 
phatic copula ; the antithesis lies in the emphatic change of subject 
indicated by ton. i^OX ^[j, lit. to bring back her words, i.e. to 
repeat. W is used in a reflective sense, " to herself." The mean- 
ing is : But Sisera's mother did not allow herself to be quieted by 
the words of her wise princesses ; on the contrary, she kept repeat- 
ing the anxious question, Why does Sisera delay his coming ? In 
ver. 30 there follows the answer of the wise princesses. They 
imagine that Sisera has been detained by the large amount of booty 
which has to be divided, wn, nonne, is he not, in the sense of lively 
certainty. They will certainly discover rich booty, and divide it 
on! 1 } uterus, for puella. u A girl (or indeed probably) two girls to 
the head of the man" i.e. for each man. E'WV, coloured things, 
cloths or clothes. ^P"!, worked stuff, or garments worked in divers 
colours (see the remarks on Ex. xxvi. 36), is attached without the 
vav cop. to 0\tO¥, and is also dependent upon <vE>. The closing 
words, 7>f 1TO, "for the necks," or (as the plural is also fre- 
quently used to signify a single neck, e.g. Gen. xxvii. 16, xlv. 14) 
"for the neck of the booty" do not give any appropriate sense, as 77V 
neither signifies animals taken as booty nor the taker of booty. The 
idea, however, that 7$ is used for *w e^N, like ^ in 2 Sam. sii. 4 

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CHAP. VI.-X. 5. 325 

for ^n e^Kj viator, and l^n in Prov. xxiii. 28 for 'inn e*K, seems 
inadmissible, since t>& has just before been used three times in its 
literal sense. There is just the same objection to the application of 
iw to animals taken as booty, not to mention the fact that they 
would hardly have thought of having valuable cloths upon the necks 
of animals taken as booty. Consequently the only explanation that 
remains, is either to alter ^NW? into i"iKJvi> or ^N}V?, or else to 
change 5w into ?iE>, the royal spouse. In the former case, 7?V 
would have to be taken as in apposition to DlODpn JQV : a variegated 
cloth, two worked in divers colours for his (Sisera's) neck as booty, 
as the LXX. have rendered it (to Tpayr[Kip avrov a/cOXa). Ewald 
and Bertheau decide in favour of the second alteration, and defend 
it on the ground that S6e> might easily find its way into the text as 
a copyist's error for bm, on account of W>B> having been already 
written three times before, and that we cannot dispense with some 
such word as ?}& here, since the repetition of ??B> three times, and 
the threefold use of ?, evidently show that there were three dif- 
ferent kinds of people among whom the booty was to be distributed ; 
and also that it was only a fitting thing that Sisera should set apart 
one portion of the booty to adorn the neck of his wife, and that 
the wisest of the noble ladies, when mentioning the booty, should 
not forget themselves. 

Ter. 31a. So shall all Thine enemies perish, Jehovah ! 

Bat let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its strength. 

This forms the conclusion of the song. 15, so, refers to the 
whole of the song: just in the same manner as Sisera and his 
warriors. The rising of the sun in its strength is a striking image 
of the exaltation of Israel to a more and more glorious unfolding 
of its destiny, which Deborah anticipated as the result of this 
victory. With the last clause, " And the land had rest forty years" 
(cf. chap. iii. 11, 30, viii. 28), the account of this event is brought 
to a close. 


tola. and jaib. — chap. vi.-x. 5. 

In this second stage of the period of the judges, which did not 
extend over an entire century (only ninety-five years), Israel was 
only punished for its apostasy from the Lord, it is true, with a seven 
years' oppression by the Midianites ; but the misery which these 
enemies, who allied themselves with Amalekites and other Arabian 

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hordes, brought upon both land and people, so far surpassed the 
pressure of the previous chastisements, that the Israelites were 
obliged to take refuge from the foe in ravines, caves, and strong- 
holds of the mountains. But the more heavily the Lord punished 
His rebellions nation, the more gloriously did He set forth His 
nearness to help, and also the way which would lead to a lasting 
peace, and to true deliverance out of every trouble, in the manner 
in which He called and fitted Gideon to be its deliverer, and gave 
him the victory over the innumerable army of the hostile hordes, 
with only 300 chosen warriors. But the tendency to idolatry and 
to the worship of Baal had already become so strong in Israel, that 
even Gideon, that distinguished hero of God, who had been so 
marvellously called, and who refused the title of king when offered 
to him from genuine fidelity to the Lord, yielded to the temptation 
to establish for himself an unlawful worship, in a high-priestly 
ephod which had been prepared for his use, and thus gave the 
people an occasion for idolatry. For this reason his house was 
visited with severe judgments, which burst upon it after his death, 
under the three years' reign of his son Abimelech ; although, not- 
withstanding the deep religious and moral depravity which was 
manifested in the doings of Abimelech, the Lord gave His people 
rest for forty-five years longer after the death of Abimelech nnder 
two judges, before He punished their apostasy with fresh hostile 

The history of Gideon and his family is related very fully, 
because the working of the grace and righteousness of the faithful 
covenant God was so obviously displayed therein, that it contained 
a rich treasure of instruction and warning for the church of the 
Lord in all ages. The account contains such an abundance of 
special notices of separate events and persons, as can only be 
explained on the supposition that the author made use of copious 
records which had been made by contemporaries and eye-witnesses 
of the events. At the same time, the separate details do not 
contain any such characteristic marks as will enable us to discover 
clearly, or determine with any certainty, the nature of the source 
or sources which the author employed. The only things peculiar 
to this narrative are the use of the prefix ti for 1B*K, not only in 
reports of the sayings of the persons engaged (chap. vi. 17), but 
also in the direct narrative of facts (chap. vii. 12, viii. 26), and the 
formula HE'D? rrtrP tvn (chap. vi. 34), which only occurs again in 
1 Chron. xii. 18, 2 Chron. xxiv. 20. On the other hand, neither 

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chap. vi. 1-10. 327 

the interchange of ha-Elohim (chap. vi. 36, 39, vii. 14) and Elohim 
(chap. vi. 40, viii. 3, ix. 7, 9, 13, 23, 56, 57) with Jehovah, nor 
the use of the name Jerubbaal for Gideon (chap. vi. 32, vii. 1, 
viii. 29, ix. 1, 2, 5, 16, 19, 24, 28), nor lastly the absence of the 
" theocratical pragmatism " in chap, ix., contains any proof of the 
nature of the source employed, or even of the employment of two 
different sonrces, as these peculiarities are founded upon the con- 
tents and materials of the narrative itself. 1 

Oppression of Israel by the Midianites, and call of Gideon to be 
tlieir Deliverer. — Chap. vi. 1-32. 

Vers. 1-10. Renewed Apostasy of the Nation, and its Punish- 
ment. — Ver. 1. As the Israelites forsook Jehovah their God again, 
the Lord delivered them up for seven years into the hands of the 
Midianites. The Midianites, who were descendants of Abraham 
and Keturah (Gen. xxv. 2), and had penetrated into the grassy 
steppes on the eastern side of the country of the Moabites and 

1 Even Bertheau, who infers from these data that two different sources were 
employed, admits that ha-Elohim in the mouth of the Midianites (chap. vii. 14) 
and Elohim in Jotham's fable, where it is put into the mouth of the trees, prove 
nothing at all, because here, from the different meanings of the divine names, 
the author could not have used anything but Elohim. But the same difference is 
quite as unmistakeable in chap. viii. 8, ix. 7, 23, 56, 57, since in these passages, 
either the antithesis of man and God, or the idea of supernatural causality, 
made it most natural for the author to use the general name of God even if it 
did not render it absolutely necessary. There remain, therefore, only chap. 
vi. 20, 36, 89, 40, where the use of ha-Elohim and Elohim instead of Jehovah 
may possibly have originated with the source made use of by the author. On 
the other hand, the name Jerubbaal, which Gideon received in consequence of 
the destruction of the altar of Baal (chap. vi. 32), is employed with conscious 
reference to its origin and meaning, not only in chap. vii. 1, viii. 29, 35, but 
also throughout chap, ix., as we may see more especially in chap. ix. 16, 19, 28. 
And lastly, even the peculiarities of chap. ix. — namely, that the names Jehovah 
and Gideon do not occur there at all, and that many historical circumstances 
are related apparently without any link of connection, and torn away from some 
wider context, which might have rendered them intelligible, and without which 
very much remains obscure — do not prove that the author drew these incidents 
from a different source from the rest of the history of Gideon, — such, for 
example, as a more complete history of the town of Shechem and its rulers in 
the time of the judges, as Bertheau imagines. For these peculiarities may be 
explained satisfactorily enough from the intention so clearly expressed in chap, 
viii. 34, 35, and ix. 57, of showing how the ingratitude of the Israelites towards 
Gideon, especially the wickedness of the Shechemites, who helped to murder 
Gideon's sons to gratify Abimelech, was punished by God. And no other 
peculiarities can be discovered that could possibly establish a diversity of sources. 

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Ammonites (see at Num. xxii. 4), had shown hostility to Israel 
even in the time of Moses, and had been defeated in a war of 
retaliation on the part of the Israelites (Num. xxxi.). But they 
had afterwards recovered their strength, so that now, after an 
interval of 200 years, the Lord used them as a rod of chastise- 
ment for His rebellious people. In vers. 1, 2, 6, they alone are 
mentioned as oppressors of Israel; but in vers. 3, 33, and chap, 
vii. 12, the Amalekites and children of the east are mentioned in 
connection with them, from which we may see that the Midianitea 
were the principal enemies, but had allied themselves with other 
predatory Bedouin tribes, to make war upon the Israelites and 
devastate their land. On the Amalekites, those leading enemies 
of the people of God who had sprung from Esau, see the notes on 
Gen. xxxvi. 12 and Ex. xvii. 8. " Children of the east " (see Job 
i. 3) is the general name for the tribes that lived in the desert on 
the east of Palestine, "like the name of Arabs in the time of 
Josephus (in Ant. v. 6, 1, he calls the children of the east men- 
tioned here by the name of Arabs), or in later times the names of 
the Nabataeans and Kedarenes" (Bertheau). Hence we find in 
chap. viii. 10, that all the enemies who oppressed the Israelites arc 
called " children of the east." — Vers. 2-5. The oppression of Israel 
by Midian and its allies. Their power pressed so severely upon the 
Israelites, that before (or because of) them the latter " made them 
the ravines which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strong- 
holds," sc. which were to be met with all over the land in after times 
(viz. at the time when our book was written), and were safe places 
of refuge in time of war. This is implied in the definite article 
before niirtjp and the following substantives. The words " they 
made them " are not at variance with the fact that there are many 
natural caves to be found in the limestone mountains of Palestine. 
For, on the one hand, they do not affirm that all the caves to be 
found in the land were made by the Israelites at that time ; and, on 
the other hand, nfe'y does not preclude the use of natural caves as 
places of refuge, since it not only denotes the digging and making 
of caves, but also the adaptation of natural caves to the purpose 
referred to, i.e. the enlargement of them, or whatever was required 
to make them habitable. The ait. "Key. nviroo does not mean " light 
holes " (Bertheau), or " holes with openings to the light," from "i>TJ r 
in the sense of to stream, to enlighten (Rashi, Kimchi, etc.), but is 
to be taken in the sense of " mountain ravines" hollowed out by 
torrents (from "inj, to pour), which the Israelites made into hiding- 

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chap. vi. i-io. 329 

places. ffrTOp, fortresses, mountain strongholds. These ravines, 
caves, and fortresses were not merely to serve as hiding-places for 
the Israelitish fugitives, but much more as places of concealment 
for their possessions and necessary supplies. For the Midianites, 
like genuine Bedouins, thought far more of robbing and plunder- 
ing and laying waste the land of the Israelites, than of exterminat- 
ing the people themselves. Herodotus (i. 17) says just the same 
respecting the war of the Lydian king Alyattes with the Milesians. 
— Vers. 3, 4. When the Israelites had sown, the Midianites and 
their allies came upon them, encamped against them, and destroyed 
the produce of the land (the fruits of the field and soil) as far as 
Gaza, in the extreme south-west of the land (" till thou come," as 
in Gen. x. 19, etc.). As the enemy invaded the land with their 
camels and flocks, and on repeated occasions encamped in the 
valley of Jezreel (ver. 33), they must have entered the land on the 
west of the Jordan by the main road which connects the countries 
on the east with Palestine on the west, crossing the Jordan near 
Beisan, and passing through the plain of Jezreel ; and from this 
point they spread over Palestine to the sea-coast of Gaza. " They 
left no sustenance (in the shape of produce of the field and soil) in 
Israel, and neither sheep, nor oxen, nor asses. For they came on 
with their flocks, and their tents came like grasshoppers in multitude" 
The Cliethibh «C£ is not to be altered into *K3*, according to the 
Keri and certain Codd. If we connect Di?ynto with the previous 
words, according to the Masoretic pointing, we have a simple 
asyndeton. It is more probable, however, that DirKltO belongs to 
what follows: "And their tents came in such numbers as grass- 
hoppers." ^3, lit. like a multitude of grasshoppers, in such abun- 
ance. " Thus tluy came into the land to devastate it." — Ver. 6. 
The Israelites were greatly weakened in consequence (/?., the 
imperf. Niphal of p?*), so that in their distress they cried to the 
Lord for help. — Vers. 7-10. But before helping them, the Lord 
sent a prophet to reprove the people for not hearkening to the 
voice of their God, in order that they might reflect, and might 
recognise in the oppression which crushed them the chastisement 
of God for their apostasy, and so be brought to sincere repentance 
and conversion by their remembrance of the former miraculous 
displays of the grace of God. The Lord God, said the prophet to 
the people, brought you out of Egypt, the house of bondage, and 
delivered you out of the hand of Egypt (Ex. xviii. 9), and out of 
the hand of all your oppressors (see chap. ii. 18, iv. 3, x. 12), 

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whom He drove before you (the reference is to the Amorites and 
Canaanites who were conquered by Moses and Joshua) ; but ye 
have not followed His commandment, that ye should not worship 
the gods of the Amorites. The Amorites stand here for the 
Canaanites, as in Gen. xv. 16 and Josh. xxiv. 15 

Vers. 11-32. Call of Gideon to be the Deliverer of Israel. — As 
the reproof of the prophet was intended to turn the hearts of the 
people once more to the Lord their God and deliverer, so the 
manner in which God called Gideon to be their deliverer, and 
rescued Israel from its oppressors through his instrumentality, was 
intended to furnish the most evident proof that the help and salva- 
tion of Israel were not to be found in man, but solely in their God. 
God had also sent their former judges. The Spirit of Jehovah 
had come .upon Othniel, so that he smote the enemy in the power 
of God (chap. iti. 10). Ehud had put to death the hostile king by 
stratagem, and then destroyed his army ; and Barak had received 
the command of the Lord, through the prophetess Deborah, to 
deliver His people from the dominion of their foes, and had carried 
out the command with her assistance. But Gideon was called to 
be the deliverer of Israel through an appearance of the angel of the 
Lord, to show to him and to all Israel, that Jehovah, the God of 
the fathers, was still near at hand to His people, and could work 
miracles as in the days of old, if Israel would only adhere to Him 
and keep His covenant. The call of Gideon took place in two 
revelations from God. First of all the Lord appeared to him in 
the visible form of an angel, in which He had already made himself 
known to the patriarchs, and summoned him in the strength of God 
to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Midianites (vers. 11-24). 
He then commanded him, in a dream of the night, to throw down 
his father's altar of Baal, and to offer a burnt-offering to Jehovah 
his God upon an altar erected for the purpose (vers. 25-32). In 
the first revelation the Lord acknowledged Gideon ; in the second 
He summoned Gideon to acknowledge Him as his God. 

Vers. 11-24. Appearance of the Angel of the Lord. — Ver. 11. 
The angel of the Lord, i.e. Jehovah, in a visible self-revelation 
in human form (see vol. i. pp. 185 sqq.), appeared this time in the 
form of a traveller with a staff in his hand (ver. 21), and sat down 
"under tJie terebinth which (was) tn Ophrali, that (belonged) to 
Joash the Abi-ezrite." It was not the oak, but Ophrah, that be- 
longed to Joash, as we may see from ver. 24, where the expression 
" Ophrah of the Abi-ezrite" occurs. According to Josh. xvii. 2 and 

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CHAP. VI 11-24. 331 

I Chron. vii. 18, Abiezer was a family in the tribe of Manasseh, and 
according to ver. 15 it was a small family of that tribe. Joask was 
probably the head of the family at that time, and as such was the 
lord or owner of Ophrah, a town (chap. viii. 27; cf. ix. 5) which was 
called " Ophrah of the Abi-ezrite," to distinguish it from Ophrah in 
the tribe of Benjamin (Josh, xviii. 23). The situation of the town 
has not yet been determined with certainty. Josephus (Ant. v. 6, 5) 
calls it JEphran. Van de Velde conjectures that it is to be found in 
the ruins of Erfai, opposite to Akrabeh, towards the s.e., near the 
Mohammedan Wely of Abu Kharib, on the 8.W. of Janun (Mem. 
pp. 337-8), close to the northern boundary of the tribe-territory of 
Ephraim, if not actually within it. By this terebinth tree was 
Gideon the son of Joash " knocking out wheat in the urine-press." 
B?n does not mean to thresh, but to knock with a stick. The wheat 
was threshed upon open floors, or in places in the open field that 
were rolled hard for the purpose, with threshing carriages or thresh- 
ing shoes, or else with oxen, which they drove about over the 
scattered sheaves to tread out the grains with their hoofs. Only 
poor people knocked out the little corn that they had gleaned with 
a stick (Ruth ii. 17), and Gideon did it in the existing times of 
distress, namely in the pressing-tub, which, like all wine-presses, 
was sunk in the ground, in a hole that had been dug out or hewn in 
the rock (for a description of cisterns of this kind, see Bob. Bibl. Res. 
pp. 135-6), " to make the wheat fly" (i.e. to make it safe) " from the 
Midianites" % (DW as in Ex. ix. 20).— Ver. 12. While he was thus 
engaged the angel of the Lord appeared to him, and addressed him 
in these words : " Jehovah (is) with thee, thou brave hero" This 
address contained the promise that the Lord would be with Gideon, 
and that he would prove himself a mighty hero through the strength 
of the Lord. This promise was to be a guarantee to him of strength 
and victory in his conflict with the Midianites. — Ver. 13. But 
Gideon, who did not recognise the angel of the Lord in the 
man who was sitting before him, replied doubtingly, " Pray, sir, 
if Jehovah is with us, why has all this befallen us ?" — words which 
naturally recall to mind the words of Deut. xxxi. 17, " Are not 
these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?" 
"And where," continued Gideon, "are all His miracles, of which 
our fathers have told us? . . . But now Jehovah hath forsaken us, 
and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." Gideon may 
have been reflecting, while knocking the wheat, upon the misery 
of his people, and the best means of delivering them from the 

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oppression of the enemy, but without being able to think of any 
possibility of rescuing them. For this reason he could not under- 
stand the address of the unknown traveller, and met his promise 
with the actual state of things with which it was so directly at 
variance, namely, the crushing oppression of his people by their 
enemies, from which he concluded that the Lord had forsaken 
them and given them up to their foes. — Ver. 14. " Tlien Jehovah 
turned to him and said, Go in this thy strength, and deliver Israel 
from the fiand of Midian. Have not I sent Hiee?" The writer 
very appropriately uses the name Jehovah here, instead of the 
angel of Jehovah ; for by his reply the angel distinctly mani- 
fested himself as Jehovah, more especially in the closing words, 
"Have not I sent thee?" (wn, in the sense of lively assurance), 
which are so suggestive of the call of Moses to be the deliverer of 
Israel (Ex. iii. 12). " In this thy strength" i.e. the strength which 
thou now hast, since Jehovah is with thee — Jehovah, who can still 
perform miracles as in the days of the fathers. The demonstrative 
" this" points to the strength which had just been given to him 
through the promise of God. — Ver. 15. Gideon perceived from 
these words that it was not a mere man who was speaking to him. 
He therefore said in reply, not "pray sir" (T^), but "pray, Lord" 
Qr^> i- e ' Lord God), and no longer speaks of deliverance as 
impossible, but simply inquires, with a consciousness of his own 
personal weakness and the weakness of his family, " Whereby (with 
what) shall I save Israel? Behold, my family (lit. 'thousand,' 
equivalent to mishpachali : see at Num. i. 16) is the humblest in 
Manasseh, and I am the least in my fathers house (my family)." — 
Ver. 16. To this difficulty the Lord replies, " / will be with thee 
(see Ex. iii. 12, Josh. i. 5), and tliou wilt smite the Midianites as 
one man," i.e. at one blow, as they slay a single man (see Num. 
xiv. 15). — Vers. 17 sqq. As Gideon could no longer have any doubt 
after this promise that the person who had appeared to him was 
speaking in the name of God, he entreated him to assure him by a 
sign (nis, a miraculous sign) of the certainty of his appearance. 
" Do a sign that thou art speaking with me," i.e. that thou art really 
God, as thou affirmest. •WNE', for nm ifK, is taken from the lan- 
guage of ordinary life. At the same time he presents this request: 
"Depart not hence till I (go and) come to thee, and bring out my 
offering and set it before tliee;" and the angel at once assents. 
Minchah does not mean a sacrifice in the strict sense {Qvo-ia, saeri- 
ficium), nor merely a " gift of food," but a sacrificial gift in the 

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CHAI\ VL 11-21. 333 

sense of a gift presented to God, on the acceptance of which he 
hoped to receive the sign, which would show whether the person 
who had appeared to him was really God. This sacrificial gift 
consisted of such food as they were accustomed to set before a 
guest whom they wished especially to honour. Gideon prepared a 
kid of the goats (p&V is used to denote the preparation of food, as 
in Gen. xviii. 7, 8, etc.), and unleavened cakes of an ephah (about 
22£ lbs.) of meal, and brought the flesh in a basket and the broth 
in a pot out to the terebinth tree, and placed it before him. — Vers. 
20, 21. The angel of the Lord then commanded him to lay the flesh 
and the cakes upon a rock close by, and to pour the broth upon it ; 
that is to say, to make use of the rock as an altar for the offering 
to be presented to the Lord. When he had done this, the angel 
touched the food with the end of his staff, and fire came out of the 
rock and consumed the food, and the angel of the Lord vanished 
out of Gideon's sight. " This rock," i.e. a rocky stone that was 
lying near. The departure of the angel from his eyes is to be 
regarded as a sudden disappearance ; but the expression does not 
warrant the assumption that the angel ascended to heaven in this 
instance, as in chap. xiii. 19, 20, in the flame of the sacrifice. — 
Ver. 22. In this miracle Gideon received the desired sign, that the 
person who had appeared to him was God. But the miracle filled 
his soul with fear, so that he exclaimed, " Alas, Lord Jehovah I for 
to this end have I seen tlie angel of the Lord face to face" ^px Fins 
nw is an exclamation, sometimes of grief on account of a calamity 
that has occurred (Josh vii. 7), and sometimes of alarm caused by 
the foreboding of some anticipated calamity (Jer. i. 6, iv. 10, xxxii. 
17 ; Ezek. iv. 14, etc.). Here it is an expression of alarm, viz. fear 
of the death which might be the necessary consequence of his 
seeing God (see Ex. xx. 16 (19), and the remarks on Gen. xvi. 13). 
The expression which follows, "for to this end," serves to account 
for the exclamation, without there being any necessity to assume 
an ellipsis, and supply " that I may die." tS^JP? is always used in 
this sense (see Gen. xviii. 5, xix. 8, xxxiii. 10, etc.). — Vers. 23, 24. 
But the Lord comforted him with the words, " Peace to thee ; fear 
not : thou wilt not die." These words were not spoken by the angel 
as he vanished away, but were addressed by God to Gideon, after 
the disappearance of the angel, by an inward voice. In gratitude 
for this comforting assurance, Gideon built an altar to the Lord, 
which he called Jehovah-shalom, " the Lord is peace." _Ihe inten- 
tion of this altar, which was preserved u unto thirtfe^,* i;«/tiIDlm^r 

'" v> "r.'ION 

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time when the book of Judges was composed, is indicated in the 
name that was given to it. It was not to serve as a place of sacri- 
fice, but to be a memorial and a witness of the revelation of God 
which had been made to Gideon, and of the proof which he had 
received that Jehovah was peace, i.e. would not destroy Israel in 
wrath, bui cherished thoughts of peace. For the assurance of peace 
which He had given to Gideon, was also a confirmation of His 
announcement that Gideon would conquer the Midianites in the 
strength of God, and deliver Israel from its oppressors. 

The theophany here described resembles so far the appearance 
of the angel of the Lord to Abram in the grove of Manure (Gen. 
xviii.), that he appears in perfect human form, comes as a traveller, 
and allows food to be set before him ; but there is this essential 
difference between the two, that whereas the three men who came 
to Abraham took the food that was set before them and ate thereof, 
— that is to say, allowed themselves to be hospitably entertained by 
Abraham, — the angel of the Lord in the case before us did indeed 
accept the minchah that had been made ready for him, but only as 
a sacrifice of Jehovah which he caused to ascend in fire. The 
reason for this essential difference is to be found in the different 
purpose of the two theophanies. To Abraham the Lord came to 
seal that fellowship of grace into which He had entered with him 
through the covenant that He had made ; but in the case of Gideon 
His purpose was simply to confirm the truth of His promise, that 
Jehovah would be with him and would send deliverance through 
him to His people, or to show that the person who had appeared to 
him was the God of the fathers, who could still deliver His people 
out of the power of their enemies by working such miracles as the 
fathers had seen. But the acceptance of the minchah prepared for 
Him, as a sacrifice which the Lord himself caused to be miracu- 
lously consumed by fire, showed that the Lord would still graciously 
accept the prayers and sacrifices of Israel, if they would but for- 
sake the worship of the dead idols of the heathen, and return to 
Him in sincerity. (Compare with this the similar theophany in 
chap, xiii.) 

Vers. 25-32. Gideon set apart as the Deliverer of his People. — In 
order to be able to carry out the work entrusted to him of setting 
Israel free, it was necessary that Gideon should first of all purify 
hfo father's house from idolatry, and sanctify his own life and 
labour to Jehovah by sacrificing a burnt-offering. — Ver. 25. " In 
that night" i.e. the night following the day on which the Lord 

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CHAP. VI. 26-32 335 

appeared to him, God commanded him to destroy his father's 
Baal's altar, with the asherah-idol upon it, and to build an altar to 
Jehovah, and offer a bullock of his father's upon the altar. " Take 
the ox-bullock which belongs to thy father, and indeed the second 
bullock of seven years, and destroy the altar of Baal, which belongs 
to thy father, and throw down the asherah upon it." According to 
the general explanation of the first clauses, there are two oxen 
referred to : viz. first, his father's young bullock ; and secondly, an 
ox of seven years old, the latter of which Gideon was to sacrifice 
(according to ver. 26) upon the altar to be built to Jehovah, and 
actually did sacrifice, according to vers. 27, 28. But in what 
follows there is no further allusion to the young bullock, or the 
first ox of his father ; so that there is a difficulty in comprehending 
for what purpose Gideon was to take it, or what use he was to 
make of it. Most commentators suppose that Gideon sacrificed 
both of the oxen, — the young bullock as an expiatory offering for 
himself, his father, and all his family, and the second ox of seven 
years old for the deliverance of the whole nation (see Seb. Schmidt). 
Bertheau supposes, on the other hand, that Gideon was to make use 
of both oxen, or of the strength they possessed for throwing down 
or destroying the altar, and (according to ver. 26) for removing the 
^JJ? and the nTWtn 7JJ to the place of the new altar that was to 
be built, but that he was only to offer the second in sacrifice to 
Jehovah, because the first was probably dedicated to Baal, and there- 
fore could not be offered to Jehovah. But these assumptions are both 
of them equally arbitrary, and have no support whatever from the 
text. If God had commanded Gideon to take two oxen, He would 
certainly have told him what he was to do with them both. But 
as there is only one bullock mentioned in vers. 26-28, we must 
follow Tremell. and others, who understand ver. 25 as meaning that 
Gideon was to take only one bullock, namely the young bullock of 
his father, and therefore regard 'V 'tf 'Jtfn 1W as a more precise 
definition of that one bullock (vav being used in an explanatory 
sense, " and indeed," as in Josh. ix. 27, x. 7, etc.). This bullock is 
called " the second bullock," as being the second in age among the 
bullocks of Joash. The reason for choosing this second of the 
bullocks of Joash for a burnt-offering is to be found no doubt in 
its age (seven years), which is mentioned here simply on account of 
its significance as a number, as there was no particular age pre- 
scribed in the law for a burnt-offering, that is to say, because the 
seven years which constituted the age of the bullock contained an 

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inward allusion to the seven years of the Midianitish oppression. 
For seven years had God given Israel into the hands of the Midian- 
ites on account of their apostasy ; and now, to wipe away this sin, 
Gideon was to take his father's bullock of seven years old, and 
offer it as a burnt-offering to the Lord. To this end Gideon was 
first of all to destroy the altar of Baal and of the aaherali which his 
father possessed, and which, to judge from vers. 28, 29, was the 
common altar of the whole family of Abiezer in Ophrah. This 
altar was dedicated to Baal, but there was also upon it an asherah, 
an idol representing the goddess of nature, which the Canaanites 
worshipped ; not indeed a statue of the goddess, but, as we may 
loarn from the word rro, to hew down, simply a wooden pillar (see 
at Deut. xvi. 21). The altar therefore served for the two principal 
deities of the Canaanites (see Movers, Phonizier, i. pp. 566 sqq.). 
Jehovah could not be worshipped along with Baal. Whoever 
would serve the Lord must abolish the worship of Baal. The altar 
of Baal must be destroyed before the altar of Jehovah could be 
builf. Gideon was to build this altar " upon the top of this strong- 
hold" possibly upon the top of the mountain, upon which the fortress 
belonging to Ophrah was situated, na'ipea, "with tlie preparation ;" 
the meaning of this word is a subject of dispute. As nja occurs 
in 1 Kings xv. 22 with 3, to denote the materials out of which (i.e. 
with which) a thing is built, Stud, and Berth, suppose that maaracali . 
refers to the materials of the altar of Baal that had been destroyed, 
with which Gideon was to build the altar of Jehovah, Stud, refers 
it to the stone foundation of the altar of Baal; Bertheau to the 
materials that were lying ready upon the altar of Baal for the 
presentation of sacrifices, more especially the pieces of wood. But 
this is certainly incorrect, because maaracah does not signify either 
building materials or pieces of wood, and the definite article attached 
to the word does not refer to the altar of Baal at all. The verb ?]TS> is 
not only very frequently used to denote the preparation of the wood 
upon the altar (Gen. xxii. 9 ; Lev. i. 7, etc.), but is also used for 
the preparation of an altar for the presentation of sacrifice (Num. 
xxiii. 4). Consequently maaracah can hardly be understood in any 
other way than as signifying the preparation of the altar to be 
built for the sacrificial act, in the sense of build the altar with the 
preparation required for the sacrifice. This preparation was to 
consist, according to what follows, in taking the wood of the 
asherali, that had been hewn down, as the wood for the burnt- 
offering to be offered to the Lord by Gideon, mtwn *W are not 

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CHAP VI. 25-32. 337 

trees, but pieces of wood from the asherah (that was hewn down). — 

Ver. 27. Gideon executed this command of God with ten men of 

his servants during the night, no doubt the following night, because 

he was afraid to do it by day, on account of his family (his father's 

house), and the people of the town. — Vers. 28, 29. But on the 

following morning, when the people of the town found the altar of 

Baal destroyed and the asherah upon it hewn down, and the bullock 

sacrificed upon the (newly) erected altar (the bullock would not be 

entirely consumed), they asked who had done it, and soon learned 

that Gideon had done it all. The accusative , 3B'n "isri riK is governed 

by the Hophal n?jrtl (for r^yn, see Ges. s. 63, Anm. 4), according to 

a construction that was by no means rare, especially in the earlier 

Hebrew, viz. of the passive with HX (see at Gen. iv. 18). " They 

asked and sought," sc. for the person who had done it ; " and they 

said," either those who were making the inquiry, according to a 

tolerably safe conjecture, or the persons who were asked, and 

who were aware of what Gideon had done. — Vers. 30, 31. But 

when they demanded of Joash, "Bring out (give out) thy son, 

Uiat he may die" he said to all who stood round, " Will ye, ye, 

fight for Baal, or will ye save him f (' ye' is repeated with special 

emphasis). Whoever shall fight for him (Baal), shall be put to 

death till the morning." "'psrny, till the (next) morning, is not 

to be joined to ADV", in the sense of "very speedily, before the 

dawning day shall break" (Bertheau), — a sense which is not to be 

found in the words : it rather belongs to the subject of the 

clause, or to the whole clause in the sense of, Whoever shall 

fight for Baal, and seek to avenge the destruction of his altar by 

putting the author of it to death, shall be put to death himself ; 

let us wait till to-morrow, and give Baal time to avenge the insult 

which he has received. "If he be God, let him fight for himself; 

for they have destroyed his altar," and have thereby challenged his 

revenge. Gideon's daring act of faith had inspired his father Joash 

with believing courage, so that he took the part of his son, and left 

the whole matter to the deity to decide. If Baal were really God, 

he might be expected to avenge the crime that had been committed 

against this altar. — Ver. 32. From this fact Gideon received the 

name of Jerubbaal, i.e. " let Baal fight (or decide)," since they said, 

"Let Baal fight against him, for he has destroyed his altar." fl®"}' is 

formed from 3*1} = 3V or 3*v and ?J>3. This surname very soon 

became an honourable title for Gideon. When, for example, it 

became apparent to the people that Baal could not do him any 


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harm, Jerubbaal became a Baal-fighter, one who had fought against 
Baal. In 2 Sam. xi. 21, instead of Jerubbaal we find the name 
Jeruhbesheth, in which Besheth = Bos/ietli is a nickname of Baal, 
which also occurs in other Israel itish names, e.g. in Jshbosheth (2 
Sam. ii. 8 sqq.) for Eahbaal (1 Chron. viii. 33, ix. 39). The name 
Jerubbaal is written 'IepoftdaX by the LXX., from which in all 
probability Philo of Byblus, in his revision of Sanchuniathon, has 
formed his 'IepofifiaXos, a priest of the god 'Iewu. 

Gideon's Victory over tlie Midianites. — Chap. vi. 33 -viii. 3. 

Chap. vi. 33-40. Equipment op Gideon foe the Battle. 
— When the Midianites and their allies once more invaded the 
land of Israel, Gideou was seized by the Spirit of God, so that 
he gathered together an army from the northern tribes of Israel 
(vers. 33-35), and entreated God to assure him by a sign of gain- 
ing the victory over the enemy (vers. 36-40). — Vers. 33 sqq. The 
enemy gathered together again, went over (viz. across) the Jordan 
in the neighbourhood of Beisan (see at chap. vii. 24 and viii. 4), 
and encamped in the valley of Jezreel (see at Josh. xvii. 16). 
"And the Spirit of Jehovah came upon Gideon" ( n tfw, clothed, 
i.e. descended upon him, and laid itself around him as it were 
like a coat of mail, or a strong equipment, so that he became 
invulnerable and invincible in its might : see 1 Chron. xii. 18, 
2 Chron. xxiv. 20, and Luke xxiv. 49). Gideon then blew 
the trumpet, to call Israel to battle against the foe (see chap. iii. 
27) ; " and Abiezer let itself be summoned after him" His own 
family, which had recognised the deliverer of Israel in the fighter 
of Baal, who was safe from Baal's revenge, was the first to gather 
round him. Their example was followed by all Manasseh, i.e. the 
Manassites on the west of the Jordan (for the tribes on the east of 
the Jordan took no part in the war), and the neighbouring tribes 
of Zebulun and Naphtali on the north, which had been summoned 
by heralds to the battle. " TJiey advanced to meet titem :" i.e. to 
meet the Manassites, who were coming from the south to the battle, 
to make war upon the enemy in concert with them and under the 
guidance of Gideon. n?P is used to denote their advance against 
the enemy (see at Josh. viii. 2), and not in the sense of going up, 
since the Asherites and Naphtalites would not go up from their 
mountains into the plain of Jezreel, but could only go down. — Vers. 
36 sqq. But before Gideon went into the battle with the assembled 
army, he asked for a sign from God of the success of his under- 

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chap. vi. sa-40. 339 

taking. " If Thou," he said to God, " art saving Israel through my 
hand, as Tfiou hast said, behold, I lay this fleece of wool upon the 
floor; if there sliall he dew upon the fleece only, and dryness upon all 
the earth (round about), 1 know (by this) that Thou wilt save," etc. 
TDVnnfl, die shorn of the wool; i.e. the fleece, the wool that had 
been shorn off a sheep, and still adhered together as one whole 
fleece. The sign which Gideon asked for, therefore, was that God 
would cause the dew to fall only upon a shorn fleece, which he 
would spread the previous night upon the floor, that is to say, upon 
some open ground, and that the ground all round might not be 
moistened by the dew. — Ver. 38. God granted the sign. "And 
so it came to pass; the next morning, Gideon pressed the fleece 
together ("IP from "W), and squeezed (y&, from HVD) dew out of the 
fleece a vessel full of water" (Hi?? as in Num. xxii. 18, and PB? as 
in chap. v. 25). So copiously had the dew fallen in the night upon 
the fleece that was exposed ; whereas, as we may supply from the 
context, the earth all round had remained dry. — Vers. 39, 40. But 
as this sign was not quite a certain one, since wool generally attracts 
the dew, even when other objects remain dry, Gideon ventured to 
solicit the grace of God to grant him another sign with the fleece, 
— namely, that the fleece might remain dry, and the ground all 
round be wet with dew. And God granted him this request also. 
Gideon's prayer for a sign did not arise from want of faith in the 
divine assurance of a victory, but sprang from the weakness of the 
flesh, which crippled the strength of the spirit's faith, and often 
made the servants of God so anxious and despondent, that God had 
to come to the relief of their weakness by the manifestation of His 
miraculous power. Gideon knew himself and his own strength, 
and was well aware that his human strength was not sufficient for 
the conquest of the foe. But as the Lord had promised him His 
aid, he wished to make sure of that aid through the desired sign. 1 
And " the simple fact that such a man could obtain the most daring 
victory was to be a special glorification of God" (0. v. Gerlach). 
The sign itself was to manifest the strength of the divine assistance 
to bis weakness of faith. Dew in the Scriptures is a symbol of the 

1 " From all these things, the fact that he had seen and heard the angel of 
Jehovah, and that he had been taught by fire out of the rock, by the disappear- 
ance of the angel, by the vision of the night, and by the words addressed to 
him there, Gideon did indeed believe that God both could and would deliver 
Israel through his instrumentality ; but this faith was not placed above or away 
from the conflict of the flesh by which it was tested. And it is not strange that 

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beneficent power of God, which quickens, revives, and invigorates 
the objects of nature, when they have been parched by the burning 
heat of the sun's rays. The first sign was to be a pledge to him of 
the visible and tangible blessing of the Lord upon His people, the 
proof that He would grant them power over their mighty foes by 
whom Israel was then oppressed. The woollen fleece represented 
the nation of Israel in its condition at that time, when God had 
given power to the foe that was devastating its land, and had with- 
drawn His blessing from Israel. The moistening of the fleece with 
the dew of heaven whilst the land all round continued dry, was a 
sign that the Lord God would once more give strength to His 
people from on high, and withdraw it from the nations of the earth. 
Hence the second sign acquires the more general signification, " that 
the Lord manifested himself even in the weakness and forsaken 
condition of His people, while the nations were flourishing all 
around" (0. v. Gerl.) ; and when so explained, it served to confirm 
and strengthen the first, inasmuch as it contained the comforting 
assurance for all times, that the Lord has not forsaken His church, 
even when it cannot discern and trace His beneficent influence, but 
rules over it and over the nations with His almighty power. 

Chap. vii. 1-8. Mustering of the Akmt that Gideon had 
collected. — Ver. 1. When Gideon had been assured of the help 
of God by this double sign, he went to the battle early the next 
morning with the people that he had gathered around him. The 
Israelites encamped above the fountain of Harod, i.e. upon a height 
at the foot of which this fountain sprang ; but the camp of Midian 
was to him (Gideon) to the north of the hill Moreh in the valley 
(of Jezreel : see chap. vi. 33). The geographical situation of these 
two places cannot be determined with certainty. The fountain of 
Harod is never mentioned again, though there is a place of that 
name referred to in 2 Sam. xxiii. 25 as the home of two of David's 
heroes ; and it was from this, no doubt, that the fountain was named. 
The hill Moreh is also unknown. As it was by the valley (of 
Jezreel), we cannot possibly think of the grove of Moreh at Shechem 

it rose to its greatest height when the work of deliverance was about to be per- 
formed. Wherefore Gideon with his faith sought for a sign from God against 
the more vehement struggle of the flesh, in order that his faith might be the 
more confirmed, and might resist the opposing flesh with the greater force. 
And this petition for a sign was combined with prayers for the strengthening 
of his faith."— Seb. Schmidt. 

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CHAP. VII. 1-8. 341 

(Gen. xii. 6 ; Deut. xi. 30). 1 — Vers. 2, 3. The army of the Israelites 
amounted to 32,000 men (ver. 4), but that of the Midianites and 
their allies was about 135,000 (chap. viii. 10), so that they were 
greatly superior to the Israelites in numbers. Nevertheless the 
Lord said to Gideon, " The people that are with thee are too many for 
me to give Midian into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against 
me, saying, My hand hath helped me." 3"! followed by \o is to be 
understood as a comparative. Gideon was therefore to have a pro- 
clamation made before all the people : '•' Whosoever is fearful and 
despondent, let him turn and go back from Mount Gilead." The air. 
Xey. "IBS, judging from the Arabic, which signifies to plait, viz. hair., 
ropes, etc., and the noun <"iTBy, a circle or circuitous orbit, probably 
signifies to twist one's self round ; hence in this instance to return in 
windings, to slink away in bypaths. The expression "from Mount 
Gilead," however, is very obscure. The mountain (or the moun- 
tains) of Gilead was on the eastern side of the Jordan ; but the 
Israelitish army was encamped in or near the plain of Jezreel, in 
the country to the west of the Jordan, and had been gathered from 
the western tribes alone ; so that even the inadmissible rendering, 
Let him turn and go home to the mountains of Gilead, would not 
give any appropriate sense. The only course left therefore is either 
to pronounce it an error of the text, as Clericus and Bertheau have 
done, and to regard " Gilead" as a mistake for " Gilboa," or to 
conclude that there was also a mountain or mountain ranee named 
Gilead by the plain of Jezreel in western Palestine, just as, accord- 
ing to Josh. xv. 10, there was a mountain, or range of mountains, 
called Seir, in the territory of Judah, of which nothing further 
is known. The appeal which Gideon is here directed to make to 
the army was prescribed in the law (Deut. xx. 8) for every war 

1 Bertheau endeavours to settle the position of the place from our knowledge 
of the country, which is for the most part definite enough. Starting with the 
assumption that the fountain of Hand cannot be any other than the " foun- 
tain in Jezreel" mentioned in 1 Sam. xxix. 1, where Saul and the Israelites 
encamped at Gilboa (1 Sam. ixviii. 4) to fight against the Philistines who were 
posted at Shunem, a place on the western slope of the so-called Little Hermon, 
he concludes that the fountain of Harod must be the present Ain Jalud, and the 
hill of Moreh the Little Hermon itself. These combinations are certainly possible, 
for we have nothing definite to oppose to them ; still they are very uncertain, 
as they simply rest upon the very doubtful assumption that the only fountain 
in the plain of Jezreel was the celebrated fountain called Ain Jalud, and are 
hardly reconcilable with the account given of the route which was taken by the 
defeated Midianites (vers. 25 sqq. and chap. viii. 4). 

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in which the Israelites should be engaged, and its general object 
was to fortify the spirit of the army by removing the cowardly and 
desponding. But in the case before us the intention of the Lord 
was to deprive His people of all ground for self-glorification. Hence 
the result of the appeal was one which Gideon himself certainly 
did not expect, — namely, that more than two-thirds of the soldiers 
gathered round him — 22,000 men of the people — turned back, and 
only 10,000 remained. — Ver. 4. But even this number was regarded 
by the Lord as still too great, so that He gave to Gideon the still 
further command, " Bring them (the 10,000 men) down to the 
water," i.e. the waters formed from the fountain of Harod, u and I 
will purify them for thee there (I^V, separate those appointed for the 
battle from the rest of the army ; the singular suffix refers to D^), 
and tay to thee, This shall go with thee, and tliat," i.e. show thee each 
individual who is to go with thee to the battle, and who not. — Vers. 
5, 6. Gideon was to divide the people by putting all those who 
should lick the water with their tongue as a dog licketh into one 
class, and all those who knelt down to drink into another, and so 
separating the latter from the former. The number of those who 
licked the water into their mouth with their hand amounted to 300, 
and all the rest knelt down to drink. " To lick with their hand to 
their mouth," i.e. to take the water from the brook with the hollow 
of their hand, and lap it into the mouth with their tongue as a dog 
does, is only a more distinct expression for " licking with the tongue." 
The 300 men who quenched their thirst in this manner were 
certainly not the cowardly or indolent who did not kneel down to 
drink in the ordinary way, either from indolence or fear, as Josephus, 
Theodoret, and others supposed, but rather the bravest, — namely 
those who, when they reached a brook before the battle, did not 
allow themselves time to kneel down and satisfy their thirst in the 
most convenient manner, but simply took up some water with their 
hands as they stood in their military accoutrements, to strengthen 
themselves for the battle, and then proceeded without delay against 
the foe. By such a sign as this, Bertheau supposes that even an 
ordinary general might have been able to recognise the bravest of 
his army. No doubt: but if this account had not been handed 
down, it is certain that it would never have occurred to an ordinary 
or even a distinguished general to adopt such a method of putting 
the bravery of his troops to the test ; and even Gideon, the hero 
of God, would never have thought of diminishing stilt farther 
through such a trial an army which had already become so Email, 

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CHAP. VIL 1-8. 343 

or of attempting to defeat an army of more than 100,000 men by 
a few hundred of the bravest men, if the Lord himself had not 
commanded it. 

Whilst the Lord was willing to strengthen the feeble faith of 
Gideon by the sign with the fleece of wool, and thus to raise him 
up to full confidence in the divine omnipotence, He also required 
of him, when thus strengthened, an attestation of his faith, by the 
purification of his army, that he might give the whole glory to Him, 
and accept the victory over that great multitude from His hand 
alone. — Ver. 7. After his fighting men had been divided into a 
small handful of 300 men on the one hand, and the large host of 
9700 on the other, by the fulfilment of the command of God, the 
Lord required of him that he should send away the latter, " every 
man to his place," i.e. to his own home, promising that He would 
save Israel by the 300 men, and deliver the Midianites into their 
hand. The promise preceded the command, to render it easier to 
Gideon to obey it. " All the people," after taking out the 300 men, 
that is to say, the 9700 that remained. — Ver. 8. " & they (the 
300 picked men) took the provision of Hie people in their hand, and 
their (the people's) trumpets (the suffix points back to DVn, the 
people) ; and all the men of Israel (the 9700) he had sent away every 
one to his tents, i.e. to his home (see at Deut. xvi. 7), and the three 
hundred men he had kept by himself; but the camp of the Midianites 
teas below to him in the valley." These words bring the preparat- 
ions for the battle to a close, and the last clause introduces the 
ensuing conflict and victory. In the first clause DVn (the people) 
cannot be the subject, partly because of the actual sense, since the 
300 warriors, who are no doubt the persons intended (cf. ver. 16), 
cannot be called " the people," in distinction from " all the men of 
Israel," and partly also because of the expression 1TOTIK, which 
would be construed in that case without any article in violation of 
the ordinary rule. We must rather read oyn lYTYTiK, as the LXX. 
and the Chaldee have done. The 300 men took the provision of 
the people, i.e. provision for the war, from the people who had been 
sent away, and the war-trumpets ; so that every one of the 300 had 
a trumpet now, and as the provision of the people was also probably 
kept in vessels 6r pitchers (caddim : ver. 16), a jug as well. The 
subject to Vlp* is to be taken from the first clause of the seventh 
verse. The sentences which follow from E^iOS nto are circum- 
stantial clauses, introduced to bring out distinctly the situation in 
whi.:h Gideon was now placed. 3 P75& the opposite of W&, to send 

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away, signifies to hold fast, to keep back or by himself, as in Ex. 
ix. 2. S 1 ?, to him, Gideon, who was standing by the fountain of 
Harod with his 300 men, the situation of Midian was underneath 
in the valley (see ver. 1, and chap. vi. 33). 

Vers. 9-22. Gideon's Battle axd Victory. — Vers. 9-lla. 
The following night the Lord commanded Gideon to go down to 
the camp of the enemy, as He had given it into his hand (the 
perfect is used to denote the purpose of God which had already 
been formed, as in chap. iv. 14). But in order to fill him with 
confidence for such an enterprise, which to all human appearance 
was a very rash one, God added, " Jf thou art afraid to go down, no 
thou with thine attendant Purah dovm to the camp, and thou tcilt 
hear what they say, and thy hands will thereby become strong." The 
meaning of the protasis is not, If thou art afraid to go down into 
the camp of the enemy alone, or to visit the enemy unarmed, take 
Purah thine armour-bearer with thee, to make sure that thou hast 
weapons to use (Bertheau) ; for, apart from the fact that the addi- 
tion " unarmed" is perfectly arbitrary, the apodosis " thou wilt 
see,"' etc., by no means agrees with this explanation. The meaning 
is rather this : Go with thy 300 men into (3) the hostile camp to 
smite it, for I have given it into thy hand ; but if thou art afraid 
to do this, go down with thine attendant to (?X) the camp, to ascer- 
tain the state and feeling of the foe, and thou wilt hear what they 
say, i.e., as we gather from what follows, how they are discouraged, 
have lost all hope of defeating you, and from that thou wilt gather 
courage and strength for the battle. On the expression " thine 
hands shall be strengthened," see 2 Sam. ii. 7. The expression which 
follows, i" 1 .}™? 3 ?T^> i s n °t a mere repetition of the command to go 
down with his attendant to the hostile camp, but describes the result 
of the stimulus given to his courage : And then thou wilt go fear- 
lessly into the hostile camp to attack the foe. narraa. TV (vers. 9, 
11) is to be distinguished from fl3™?'T7K TV in ver. 10. The former 
signifies to go down into the camp to smite the foe ; the latter, to 
go down to the camp to reconnoitre it, and is equivalent to the 
following clause : " he went to the outside of the camp." — Vers. 
Hi- 14. But when Gideon came with his attendant to the end of 
the armed men (chamushim, as in Josh. i. 14, Ex. xiii. 18) in the 
hostile camp, and the enemy were lying spread out with their camels 
in the valley, an innumerable multitude, he heard one (of the 
fighting men) relate to his fellow (i.e. to another) a dream which he 

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CHAP. VII. 9-22. 345 

had had : " Behold a cake of barley bread was rolling into the camp 
of Midian, and it came to the tent and smote it, so' that it fell and 
turned upwards, and the tent lay along." Then the other replied, 
" This is nothing else than the sxcord of Gideon the son of Joash the 
Israelite : God hath given Midian and all the camp into his hand." 
" The end of fighting men" signifies the outermost or foremost of 
the outposts in the enemy's camp, which contained not only fighting 
men, but the whole of the baggage of the enemy, who had invaded 
the land as nomads, with their wives, their children, and their flocks. 
In ver. 12, the innumerable multitude of the enemy is described 
once more in the form of a circumstantial clause, as in chap. vi. 5, 
not so much to distinguish the fighting men from the camp gene- 
rally, as to bring out more vividly the contents and meaning of the 
following dream. The comparison of the enemy to the sand by the 
sea-side recalls Josh. xi. 4, and is frequently met with (see Gen. xxii. 
17, xxxii. 13 ; 1 Sam. xiii. 5). With the word K3fl in ver. 13, the 
thread of the narrative, which was broken off by the circumstantial 
clause in ver. 12, is resumed and carried further. The air. \ey. ?VS 
(Keri, ?yS) is rendered cake, placenta, by the early translators : see 
Ges. Thes. p. 1170. The derivation of the word has been disputed, 
and is by no means certain, as 7W does not give any suitable mean- 
ing, either in the sense of to ring or to be overshadowed, and the 
meaning to roll (Ges. I.e.) cannot be philologically sustained; whilst 
n?S, to roast, can hardly be thought of, since this is merely used to 
denote the roasting of flesh, and n?j? was the word commonly applied 
to the roasting of grains, and even " the roasted of barley bread" 
would hardly be equivalent to subcinericeus panis ex hordeo (Vulgate). 
" The tent" with the definite article, is probably the principal tent 
in the camp, i.e. the tent of the general. •»W?, upwards, so that 
the bottom came to the top. " 'The tent lay along" or the tent fell, 
lay in ruins, is added to give emphasis to the words. " This is 
nothing if not" i.e. nothing but. The cake of bread which had 
rolled into the Midianitish camp and overturned the tent, signifies 
nothing else than the sword of Gideon, i.e. Gideon, who is bursting 
into the camp with his sword, and utterly destroying it. 

This interpretation of the dream was certainly a natural one 
under the circumstances. Gideon is especially mentioned simply 
as the leader of the Israelites ; whilst the loaf of barley bread, 
which was the food of the poorer classes, is to be regarded as 
strictly speaking the symbol of Israel, which was so despised 
among the nations. The rising of the Israelites under Gideon had 

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not remained a secret to the Midianites, and no doubt filled them 
with fear ; so that in a dream this fear might easily assume the 
form of the defeat or desolation and destruction of their camp by 
Gideon. And the peculiar form of the dream is also psychologi- 
cally conceivable. As the tent is everything to a nomad, he might 
very naturally picture the cultivator of the soil as a man whose life 
is all spent in cultivating and baking bread. In this way bread 
would become almost involuntarily a symbol of the cultivator of 
the soil, whilst in his own tent he would see a symbol not only of 
his mode of life, but of his freedom, greatness, and power. If we 
add to this, that the free pastoral tribes, particularly the Bedouins 
of Arabia, look down with pride not only upon the poor tillers of 
the soil, but even upon the inhabitants of towns, and that in Pales- 
tine, the land of wheat, none but the poorer classes feed upon barley 
bread, we have here all the elements out of which the dream of the 
Midianitish warrior was formed. The Israelites had really been 
crushed by the Midianites into a poor nation of slaves. But whilst 
the dream itself admits of being explained in this manner in a per- 
fectly natural way, it acquires the higher supernatural character of 
a divine inspiration, from the fact that God not only foreknew it, 
but really caused the Midianite to dream, and to relate the dream 
to his comrade, just at the time when Gideon had secretly entered 
the camp, so that he should hear it, and discover therefrom, as God 
had foretold him, the despondency of the foe. Under these circum- 
stances, Gideon could not fail to regard the dream as a divine 
inspiration, and to draw the assurance from it, that God had cer- 
tainly given the Midianites into his hands. — Vers. 15-18. When 
therefore he had heard the dream related and interpreted, he wor- 
shipped, praising the Lord with joy, and returned to the camp to 
attack the enemy without delay. He then divided the 300 men 
into three companies, i.e. three attacking columns, and gave them 
all trumpets and empty pitchers, with torches in the pitchers in their 
hands. The pitchers were taken that they might hide the burning 
torches in them during their advance to surround the enemy's camp, 
and then increase the noise at the time of the attack, by dashing 
the pitchers to pieces (ver. 20), and thus through the noise, as well 
as the sudden lighting up of the burning torches, deceive the enemy 
as to the strength of the army. At the same time he commanded 
them, " See from me, and do likewise" — a short expression for, As 
ye see me do, so do ye also (1?, without the previous 3, or it???, as 
in chap. v. 15 ; see Ewald, § 260, a.), — " I blow the trumpet, land 

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CHAP. VII. 9-22. 347 

all who are with me; ye also blow the trumpets round about the entire 
camp" which the 300 men divided into three companies were to 
surround, " and say, To the Lord and Gideon? According to ver. 
20, this war-cry ran fully thus : " Sword to (for) the Lord and 
Gideon." This addition in ver. 2Q, however, does not warrant us 
in inserting " chereb" (sword) in the text here, as some of the 
early translators and MS8. have done. 1 — Ver. 19. Gideon then pro- 
ceeded with the 100 who were with him, i.e. the company which was 
led by himself personally, to the end of the hostile camp, at the 
beginning of the middle watch, i.e. at midnight, tftfi is an accusa- 
tive defining the time : see Ges. § 118, 2, and Ewald, § 204, a. The 
only other watch that is mentioned in the Old Testament beside 
the middle night-watch, is the morning night-watch (Ex. xiv. 24 ; 
1 Sam. xi. 11), from which it has been correctly inferred, that the 
Israelites divided the night into three night-watches. The division 
into four watches (Matt. xiv. 25 ; Mark vi. 48) was first adopted 
by the Jews from the Romans. " They (the Midianites) had only 
(just) posted the watchmen (of the middle watch)," — a circumstan- 
tial clause, introduced to give greater distinctness to the situation. 
When the first sentries were relieved, and the second posted, so that 
they thought they might make quite sure of their night's rest once 
more, Gideon and his host arrived at the end of the camp, and, as 
we must supply from the context, the other two hosts at two other 
ends of the camp, who all blew their trumpets, breaking the pitchers 
in their hands at the same time. The inf. abs. fiw, as a continua- 
tion of the finite verb WpJV, indicates that the fact was contempo- 
raneous with the previous one (see Ewald, § 351, c). — Ver. 20. 
According to the command which they had received (ver. 17), the 
other two tribes followed his example. " Tlien the three companies 

1 Similar stratagems to the one adopted by Gideon here are recorded by 
Polymus (Strateg. ii. c. 37) of Dicetas, at the taking of Heraea, and by Plu- 
tarch (Fabius Max. c. 6) of Hannibal, when he was surrounded and completely 
shut in by Fabius Maximus. An example from modern history is given by 
Niebuhr (Beschr. von Arabien, p. 804). About the middle of the eighteenth 
century two Arabian chiefs were fighting for the Imamate of Oman. One of 
them, Bel- Arab, besieged the other, Achmed ben Said, with four or five thousand 
men, in a small castle on the mountain. But the latter slipped out of the castle, 
collected together several hundred men, gave every soldier a sign upon his head, 
that they might be able to distinguish friends from foes, and sent small com- 
panies to all the passes. Every one had a trumpet to blow at a given signal, 
and thus create a noise at the same time on every side. The whole of the 
opposing army was thrown in this way into disorder, since they found all the 
passes occupied, and imagined the hostile army to be as great as the noise. 

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blew the trumpets, broke the pitcliers, and field the torches in their left 
hands, and the trumpets in tlieir right to blow, and cried, Sword to Hie 
Lord and Gideon ! A nd iliey stood evert/ one in his place round 
about the camp," sc. without moving, so that the Midianites neces- 
sarily thought that there must be a numerous army advancing 
behind the torch-bearers. 'Ul pvi, " and the whole army ran," i.e. 
there began a running hither and thither in the camp of the enemy, 
who had been frightened out of their night's rest by the unexpected 
blast of the trumpets, the noise, and the war-cry of the Israelitish 
warriors ; " and they (the enemy) lifted up a cry (of anguish and 
alarm), and caused to fly" (carried off), sc. their tents (i.e. their 
families) and their herds, or all their possessions (cf. chap. vi. 11, 
Ex. ix. 20). The Chethibh W3J is the original reading, and the 
Ken *Dir a bad emendation. — Ver. 22. Whilst the 300 men blew 
tlieir trumpets,. " Jehovah set the sword of one against the other, and 
against the wliole camp," i.e. caused one to turn his sword against 
the other and against all the camp, that is to say, not merely man 
against man, but against every one in the camp, so that there arose 
a terrible slaughter throughout the whole camp. The first clause, 
" and the three hundred blew the trumpets," simply resumes the 
statement in ver. 20, " the three companies blew the trumpets," for 
the purpose of appending to it the further progress of the attack, 
and the result of the battle. Bertheau inserts in a very arbitrary 
manner the words, " the second time." His explanation of the 
next clause (" then the 300 fighting men of Gideon drew the sword 
at Jehovah's command, every man against his man") is still more 
erroneous, since it does violence to the constant usage of the ex- 
pression injna e"K (see 1 Sam xiv. 20, 2 Chron. xx. 23, Isa. iii. 5, 
Zech. viii. 10). " And all the camp of tlie Midianites fled to Beth- 
shittah to Zeredah, to the shore of Abel-meholaJi, over TabbatJi." The 
situation of these places, which are only mentioned here, with the 
exception of Abel-meholah, the home of Elisha (1 Kings xix. 16, 
iv. 12), has not yet been determined. According to the Syriac, the 
Arabic, and some of the mss., we should read ZeredatlwJi instead 
of Zereratltah, and Zeredathah is only another form for ZarUian 
(comp. 1 Kings vii. 46 with 2 Chron. iv. 17). This is favoured 
by the situation of Zarthan in the valley of the Jordan, probably 
near the modern Kurn Sartabeh (see p. 46), inasmuch as in all 
probability Beth-shittah and Abel-meholali are to be sought for in 
the valley of the Jordan ; and according to ver. 24, the enemy fled 
to the Jordan. Beth-shittah, i.e. acacia-house, is not the same place 

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CHAP. VII. 23- VIII. 3. 349 

as the village of Shutta mentioned by Robinson (iii. p. 219), since 
this village, according to Van de Velde's map, was to the north of 
Gilboa. For although Shutta is favoured by the circumstance, 
that from a very ancient time there was a road running from 
Jezreel along the valley, between the so-called Little Hermon 
(Duhy) and the mountains of Gilboa, and past Beisan to the 
Jordan ; and the valley of Jalud, on the northern side of which 
Shutta was situated, may be regarded as the opening of the plain 
of Jezreel into the valley of the Jordan (see v. Haunter, Pal. p. 41, 
and Hob. iii. p. 176) ; and v. JRaumer conjectures from this, that 
" the flight of the Midianites was apparently directed to Bethsean, 
on account of the nature of the ground," — this assumption is ren- 
dered very questionable by the fact that the flying foe did not cross 
the Jordan in the neighbourhood of Beisan, but much farther to the 
south, viz., according to chap. viii. 4, in the neighbourhood of SuccoUiy 
which was on the south side of the Nahr Zerka (Jabbok). From 
this we are led to conjecture, that they were not encamped in the 
north-eastern part of the plain of Jezreel, in the neighbourhood of 
Jezreel (Zerin)* and Shunem (Solam), but in the south-eastern part 
of this plain, and that after they had been beaten there they fled 
southwards from Gilboa, say from the district of Ginsea (Jenin) to 
the Jordan. In this case we have to seek for Abel-shittah on the 
south-east of the mountains of Gilboa, to the north of Zeredathah 
(Zarthan). From this point they fled on still farther to the " sJwre 
of Abel-meholah." neb does not mean boundary, but brink; here 
the bank of the Jordan, like firm T\Bfc in 2 Kings ii. 13. The 
bank or strand of Abel-meholah is that portion of the western bank 
of the Jordan or of the Ghor, above which Abel-meholah was 
situated. According to the Onom. (s. v. ' AfSeXpaeKai, Abelmaula), 
this place was in the Aulon (or Ghor), ten Roman miles to the south 
of Scythopolis (Beisan), and was called at that time BrjdfiaieKd or 
Bethaula. According to this statement, Abel-meholah would have 
to be sought for near Churbet es Shuk, in the neighbourhood of the 
Wady Maleh (see V. de Velde, Mem. p. 280). And lastly, Tabbath 
must Lave been situated somewhere to the south of Abel-meholah. 

Ver. 23-chap. viii. 3. Pursuit of the Enemy as far as the Jordan. 
— Ver. 23. As soon as the Midianites had been put to flight, the 
Israelitish men of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, let themselves 
be convened for the purpose of pursuing them : i.e. the men of 
these tribes, whom Gideon had sent away before the battle, and 
who were on their way home, could be summoned back again in 

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a very short time to join in tbe pursuit of the flying foe. The 
omission of Zebulun (chap. vi. 35) is, in all probability, simply to 
be attributed to the brevity of the account. — Vers. 24, 25. In 
order to cut off the retreat of the enemy who was flying to the 
Jordan, Gideon sent messengers into the whole of the mountains 
of Ephraim with this appeal to the Ephraimites, a Come down (from 
your mountains into the lowlands of the Jordan) to meet Midian, 
and take the waters from them to Betltbarah and the Jordan" se. by 
taking possession of this district (see chap. iii. 28). " TJte waters" 
mentioned before the Jordan and distinguished from it, must have 
been streams across which the flying foe would have to cross to 
reach the Jordan, namely, the different brooks and rivers, such as 
Wady Maleh, Fyadh, Jamel, Tubas, etc., which flowed down from 
the eastern side of the mountains of Ephraim into the Jordan, and 
ran through the Ghor to Bethbarah. The situation of Bethbarah 
is unknown. Even Eiisebius could say nothing definite concerning 
the place; and the conjecture that it is the same as Bethabara, 
which has been regarded ever since the time of Origen as the 
place mentioned in John i. 28 where John baptized, throws no light 
upon the subject, as the situation of Bethabara is also unknown, 
to say nothing of the fact that the identity of the two names is 
very questionable. The Ephraimites responded to this appeal and 
took possession of the waters mentioned, before the Midianites, 
who could only move slowly with their flocks and herds, were able 
to reach the Jordan. They then captured two of the princes of 
the Midianites and put them to death : one of them, Oreb, i.e. the 
raven, at the rock Oreb ; the other, Zeeb, i.e. the wolf, at the wine- 
press of Zeeb. Nothing further is known about these two places. 
The rock of Oreb is only mentioned again in Isa. x. 26, when the 
prophet alludes to this celebrated victory. So much, however, is 
evident from the verse before us, viz. that the Midianites were 
beaten by the Ephraimites at both places, and that the two princes 
fell there, and the places received their names from that circum- 
stance. They were not situated in the land to the east of the 
Jordan, as Gesenius (on Tsa. x. 26), Rosenm&ller, and others infer 
from the fact that the Ephraimites brought the heads of Oreb and 
Zeeb to Gideon VP*?. " I 3?9 (ver. 25), but on the western side of the 
Jordan, where the Ephraimites had taken possession of the waters 
and the Jordan in front of the Midianites. XTvZ "'j 1 ?? does not 
mean "from the other side of the Jordan," but simply u on the 
oilier side of (beyond) the Jordan," as in Josh. xiii. 32, xviii. 7, 1 

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CHAP. VTIL 1-12. 351 

Kings xiv. 15 ; and the statement here is not that the Ephraimites 
brought the heads from the other side to Gideon on the west of the 
river, but that they brought them to Gideon when he was in the 
land to the east of the Jordan. This explanation of the words is 
required by the context, as well as by the foregoing remark, " they 
pursued Midian," according to which the Ephraimites continued 
the pursuit of the Midianites after slaying these princes, and also 
by the complaint brought against Gideon by the Ephraimites, 
which is not mentioned till afterwards (chap. viii. 1 sqq.), that he 
had not summoned them to the war. It is true, this is given before 
the account of Gideon's crossing over the Jordan (chap. viii. 4), 
but in order of time it did not take place till afterwards, and, as 
Beriheau has correctly shown, the historical sequence is somewhat 

Chap. viii. 1-3. When the Ephraimites met with Gideon, after 
they had smitten the Midianites at Oreb and Zeeb, and were 
pursuing >them farther, they said to him, " What is the thing that 
thou hast done to us (i.e. what is the reason for your having done 
this to us), not to call us when tliou wentest forth to make war upon 
Midian ? And they did chide with him sJiarply," less from any dis- 
satisfied longing for booty, than from injured pride or jealousy, 
because Gideon had made war upon the enemy and defeated them 
without the co-operation of this tribe, which was striving for the 
leadership. Gideon's reply especially suggests the idea of injured 
ambition : " What have I now done like you?" i.e. as if I had done 
as great things as you. " Is not the gleaning of Ephraim better than 
the vintage of Abiezert" The gleaning of Ephraim is the victory 
gained over the flying Midianites. Gideon declares this to be 
better than the vintage of Abiezer, i.e. the victory obtained by him 
the Abiezrite with his 300 men, because the Ephraimites had slain 
two Midianitish princes. The victory gained by the Ephraimites 
must indeed have been a very important one, as it is mentioned by 
Isaiah (x. 26) as a great blow of the Lord upon Midian. "And 
what could I do like you?" i.e. could I accomplish such great deeds 
as you ? u Then their anger turned away from him." HV>, the 
breathing of the nose, snorting, hence " anger" as in Isa. xxv. 4, etc. 

Pursuit of the Midianites. Other Acts of Gideon ; Ids Appointment 
as Judge. — Chap. viii. 4-35. 

Vers. 4-12. Pubsuit and complete Overthrow op the 
Midiahites. — That the Midianites whom God had delivered into 

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his hand might be utterly destroyed, Gideon pursued those who 
had escaped across the Jordan, till he overtook them on the eastern 
boundary of Gilead and smote them there. — Vers. 4, 5. When 
he came to the Jordan with his three hundred men, who were 
exhausted with the pursuit, he asked the inhabitants of Succoth 
for loaves of bread for the people in his train. So far as the 
construction is concerned, the words from "Ofc to D'S'f 1 ^ form a 
circumstantial clause inserted as a parenthesis into the principal 
sentence, and subordinate to it : " When Gideon came to the Jordan, 
passing over he and ilie three hundred men . . . then he said to the 
men of Succoth." " Exhausted and pursuing" i.e. exhausted with 
pursuing. The vav is explanatory, lit. " and indeed pursuing," for 
" because he pursued." The rendering ireiv&vre<s adopted by the 
LXX. in the Cod. Alex, is merely an arbitrary rendering of the 
word Q , ?*T', and without any critical worth. Gideon had crossed 
the Jordan, therefore, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Succoth. 
Succoth was upon the eastern side of the valley of the Jordan 
(Josh. xiii. 27), not opposite to Bethshean, but, according to Gen. 
xxxiii. 17, on the south side of the Jabbok (Zerka). — Ver. 6. The 
princes of Succoth, however, showed so little sympathy and nation- 
ality of feeling, that instead of taking part in the attack upon the 
enemies of Israel, they even refused to supply bread to refresh 
their brethren of the western tribes who were exhausted with the 
pursuit of the foe. They said (the sing, ion 4 } may be explained 
on the ground that one spoke in the name of all : see Ewald, § 
319, a.), " Is Hie fist of Zebah and Zalmunna already in thy hand 
(power), that we should give thine army bread?" In these words 
there is not only an expression of cowardice, or fear of the ven- 
geance which the Midianites might take when they returned upon 
those who had supported Gideon and his host, but contempt of the 
small force which Gideon had, as if it were impossible for him to 
accomplish anything at all against the foe ; and in this contempt 
they manifested their utter want of confidence in God. — Ver. 7. 
Gideon threatened them, therefore, with severe chastisement in 
the event of a victorious return. " If Jehovah give ZebaJi and 
Zalmunna into my hand, 1 will thresh your flesh (your body) with 
desert thorns and thistles." The verb E*W, constructed with a double 
accusative (see Ewald, § 283, a.), is used in a figurative sense : " to 
thresh," in other words, to punish severely. "Thorns of the desert" 
are strong thorns, as the desert is the natural soil for thorn-bushes. 
The air. "Key. D'?^? also signifies prickly plants, according to the 

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CHAP. VIII. 4-11. 353 

early versions and the Rabbins, probably u such as grow upon 
stony ground " (Bertheau). The explanation " threshing machines 
with stones or flints underneath them/' which was suggested by 
J. D. Miehaelis and Celsius, and adopted by Gesenius, cannot be 
sustained. — Vers. 8, 9. The inhabitants of Pnuel on the north 
bank of the Jabbok (see at Gen. xxxii. 24 sqq.) behaved in the 
same churlish manner to Gideon, and for this he also threatened 
them : u If I return in peace" ue. unhurt, " I will destroy this tower" 
(probably the castle of Pnuel). — Vers. 10-12. The Midianitish 
kings were at Karkor with all the remnant of their army, about 
fifteen thousand men, a hundred and twenty thousand having 
already fallen. Gideon followed them thither by the road of the 
dwellers in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbeha ; and falling 
upon them unawares, smote the whole camp, which thought itself 
quite secure, and took the two kings prisoners, after discomfiting 
all the camp. The situation of Karkor, which is only mentioned 
here, cannot be determined with certainty. The statement of 
Eusebius and Jerome {Onom. s. v. Kapica, Carear), that it was the 
castle of Carearia, a day's journey from Petra, is decidedly wrong, 
since this castle is much too far to the south, as Gesenius (Thes. p. 
1210) has shown. Karkor cannot have been very far from Nobah 
and Jogbeha. These two places are probably preserved in the 
ruins of Nowakis and Jebeiha, on the north-west of Atnmdn 
(Babbath-ammon ; see at Num. xxi. 31). Now, as Burckhardt 
(Syr. p. 612) also mentions a ruin in the neighbourhood, called 
Karkagheisch, on the left of the road from Szalt to Amman, and 
at the most an hour and a half to the north-west of Amm&n, 
Knobel (on Num. xxxii. 42) is inclined to regard this ruin as 
Karkor. If this supposition could be proved to be correct, Gideon 
would have fallen upon the camp of the enemy from the north-east. 
For " the way of the dwellers in tents on the east of Nobah and 
Jogbeha " cannot well be any other than the way which ran to the 
east of Nobah and Jogbeha, past the most easterly frontier city of 
the Gadites, to the nomads who dwelt in the desert. &'<?£? WB'ri 
has the article attached to the governing noun, which may easily 
be explained in this instance from the intervening preposition. 
The passive participle ]&& has an intransitive force (see Ewald, § 
149, a.). The verb i^nn in the circumstantial clause acquires the 
force of the pluperfect from the context. When he had startled 
the camp out of its security, having alarmed it by his unexpected 
attack, he succeeded in taking the two kings prisoners. 


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Vers. 13-21. Punishment of the Towns of Stjccoth and 
Pnuel, and Execution of the captured Kmos of Midian. 
— Vers. 13, 14. Gideon returned victorious from the war, *vjn??D 
Cinn, "from by the ascent (or mountain road) of Hecheru? a place 
in front of the town of Succoth, with which we are not acquainted. 
This is the rendering adopted by the LXX., the Peshito, and the 
Arabic ; but the rest of the early translators have merely guessed at 
the meaning. The Ckaldee, which has been followed by the Rabbins 
and Luther, has rendered it "before sunset," in utter opposition to 
the rules of the language; for although chere* is a word used 
poetically to denote the sun, n?jn? cannot mean the setting of the 
sun. Aquila and Symmachut, on the other band, confound Din 
with D^n. — Gideon laid hold of a young man of the people of 
Succoth, and got him to write down for him the princes and elders 
(magistrates and rulers) of the city, — in all seventy-seven men. 
ato*} VPKB^ is a short expression for " he asked him the names of 
the princes and elders of the city, and the boy wrote them down." 
WK, Ut. to him, i.e. for him. — Vers. 15, 16. Gideon then reproached 
the elders with the insult they had offered him (ver. 6), and had 
them punished with desert thorns and thistles. " Men of Sueeotli" 
(vers. 15a and 16 J) is a general expression for " elders of Succoth" 
(ver. 16a) ; and elders a general term applied to all the represen- 
tatives of the city, including the princes. 'fitt BRtnn "\v* } with 
regard to whom ye have despised me. ">tfc is the accusative of the 
more distant or second object, not the subject, as Stud, supposes. 
" And he taught the men of Succoth (i.e. caused them to know, made 
them feel, punished them) with them (the thorns)." There is no 
good ground for doubting the correctness of the reading JH 1 !. The 
free renderings of the LXX., Vulg., etc., are destitute of critical 
worth ; and Bertheau's assertion, that if it were the ffiphil it would 
be written JTTi% is proved to be unfounded by the defective writing 
m Num. xvi. 5, Job xxxii. 7. — Ver. 17. Gideon also inflicted upon 
Pnuel the punishment threatened in ver. 9. The punishment 
inflicted by Gideon upon both the cities was well deserved in all 
respects, and was righteously executed. The inhabitants of these 
cities had not only acted treacherously to Israel as far as they could, 
from the most selfish interests, in a holy conflict for the glory of the 
Lord and the freedom of His people, but hi their contemptuous 
treatment of Gideon and his host they had poured contempt upon 
the Lord, who had shown them to be His own soldiers before the 
eyes of the whole nation by the victory which He had given them 

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CHAP. VIII. 22-3J. 355 

over the innumerable army of the foe. Having been called by the 
Lord to be the deliverer and judge of Israel, it was Gideon's duty 
to punish the faithless cities. — Vers. 18-21. After punishing these 
cities, Gideon repaid the two kings of Midian, who had been taken 
prisoners, according to their doings. From the judicial proceedings 
instituted with regard to them (vers. 18, 19), we learn that these 
kings had put the brothers of Gideon to death, and apparently not 
in open fight; but they had murdered them in an unrighteous and 
cruel manner. And Gideon made them atone for this with their 
own lives, according to the strict jus talionis. ^S, in ver. 18, does 
not mean where ? but " in what condition, of what form, were the 
men whom ye slew at Tabor V i.e. either in the city of Tabor or at 
Mount Tabor (see chap. iv. 6, and Josh. xix. 22). The kings 
replied: "As thou so they" (those men), i.e. they were all as stately 
as thou art, " every one like the form of kings* sons." intt, one, for 
every one, like *Jnst \thf in 2 Kings xv. 20, or more frequently E^** 
alone. As the men Who had been slain were Gideon's own brothers, 
he swore to those who had done the deed, i.e. to the two kings, " As 
truly as Jehovah liveth, if ye had let them live I should not have put 
you to death;" and then commanded his first-bom son Jether to slay 
them, for the purpose of adding the disgrace of falling by the hand 
of a boy. " But the boy drew not his sword from fear, because he 
was yet a boy." And the kings then said to Gideon, " Rise thou 
and stab us, for as the man so is his strength," i.e. such strength does 
not belong to a boy, but to a man. Thereupon Gideon slew them, 
and took the little moons upon the necks of their camels as booty. 
" 2%e little moons" were crescent-shaped ornaments of silver or gold, 
such as men and women wore upon their necks (see ver. 26, and 
Isa. iii. 18), and which they also hung upon the necks of camels, — 
a custom still prevalent in Arabia (see Schrdder, de vestitu mul. hebr. 
pp. 39, 40, and Wellsted, Reisen in Arab. i. p. 209). 

Vers. 22-32. Gideon's remaining Acts, an© DeaYh. — Vers. 
22, 23. As Gideon had so gloriously delivered Israel from the severe 
and long oppression on the part of the Midianites, the Israelites 
offered him an hereditary crown. " The men of Israel" were hardly 
all the twelve tribes, but probably only the northern tribes of the 
western part of the land already mentioned in chap. vi. 35, who had 
suffered the most severely from the Midianitish oppression, and had 
been the first to gather round Gideon to make an attack upon the 
foe. The temptation to accept the government c f Israel was resisted 

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by this warrior of God. " Neither I nor my son shall rule over you; 
Jehovah shall rule over you" was his reply to this offer, containing 
an evident allusion to the destination and constitution of the tribes 
of Israel as a nation which Jehovah had chosen to be His own 
possession, and to which He had just made himself known in so 
conspicuous a manner as their omnipotent Ruler and King. This 
refusal of the regal dignity on the part of Gideon is not at variance 
with the fact, that Moses had already foreseen the possibility that 
at some future time the desire for a king would arise in the nation, 
and had given them a law for the king expressly designed for such 
circumstances as these (Deut. xvii. 14 sqq.). For Gideon did not 
decline the honour because Jehovah was King in Israel, i.e. because 
he regarded an earthly monarchy in Israel as irreconcilable with 
the heavenly monarchy of Jehovah, but simply because he thought 
the government of Jehovah in Israel amply sufficient, and did 
not consider either himself or his sons called to found an earthly 
monarchy. — Vers. 24 sqq. Gideon resisted the temptation to put an 
earthly crown upon his head, from true fidelity to Jehovah ; but he 
yielded to another temptation, which this appeal on the part of the 
people really involved, namely, the temptation to secure to himself 
for the future the position to which the Lord had called and exalted 
him. The Lord had called him to be the deliverer of Israel by 
visibly appearing in His angel, and had not only accepted the gift 
which he offered Him, as a well-pleasing sacrifice, but had also 
commanded him to build an altar, and by offering an atoning burnt- 
sacrifice to re-establish the worship of Jehovah in his family and 
tribe, and to restore the favour of God to His people once more. 
Lastly, the Lord had made His will known to him again and again ; 
whilst by the glorious victory which He had given to him and to 
his small band over the powerful army of the foe, He had confirmed 
him as His chosen servant to be the deliverer and judge of Israel. 
The relation which Gideon thus sustained to the Lord he imagined 
that he ought to preserve ; and therefore, after declining the royal 
dignity, he said to the people, " I will request of you one request, 
that ye give me every one the ring that he has received as booty." 
This request the historian explains by adding the remark : " for 
they (the enemy) had golden rings, for they were Ishmaelites" from 
whom therefore the Israelites were able to get an abundance of 
rings as booty. Ishmaelites is the general name for the nomad 
tribes of Arabia, to whom the Midianites also belonged (as in Gen. 
xxxvii. 25). — Vers. 25, 26. This request of Gideon's was cheer- 

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CHAP. VIIL 82-82. 357 

fully fulfilled : " They tpread out the cloth (brought for collecting 
the rings), and threw into it every one the ring that he had received as 
booty" Simlah, the upper garment, was for the most part only. a 
large square piece of cloth. The weight of these golden rings 
amounted to 1700 shekels, t.e. about 50 lbs., (|0 *w) separate from, 
i.e. beside, the remaining booty, for which Gideon had not asked, 
and which the Israelites kept for themselves, viz. the little moons, 
the ear-pendants (netiphoth, lit. little drops, probably pearl-shaped 
ear-drops : see Isa. iii. 19), and the purple clothes which were worn 
by the kings of Midian (i.e. which they had on), and also apart 
from the neck-bands upon the necks of their camels. Instead of 
the anakoih or necklaces (ver. 26), the saharonim, or little moons 
upon the necks of the camels, are mentioned in ver. 21 as the 
more valuable portion of these necklaces. Even at the present 
day the Arabs are accustomed to ornament the necks of these 
animals " with a band of cloth or leather, upon which small shells 
called cowries are strung or sewed in the form of a crescent. The 
sheiks add silver ornaments to these, which make a rich booty in 
time of war" (Wellsted, Reise, i. p. 209). The Midiauitish kings 
had their camels ornamented with golden crescents. This abun- 
dance of golden ornaments will not surprise us, when we consider 
that the Arabs still carry their luxurious tastes for such things to a 
very great excess. Wellsted (i. p. 224) states that " the women in 
Oraftn spend considerable amounts in the purchase of silver orna- 
ments, and their children are literally laden with them. I have some- 
times counted fifteen ear-rings upon each side; and the head, breast, 
arms, and ankles are adorned with the same profusion." As the 
Midianitish army consisted of 130,000 men, of whom 15,000 only 
remained at the commencement of the last engagement, the Israelites 
may easily have collected 5000 golden rings, or even more, which 
might weigh 1700 shekels. — Ver. 27. " And Gideon made it into an 
ephod" i.e. used the gold of the rings obtained from the booty for 
making an ephod. There is no necessity, however, to understand 
this as signifying that 1700 shekels or 50 lbs. of gold had been used 
for the ephod itself, but simply that the making of the ephod was 
accomplished with this gold. The word ephod does not signify 
an image of Jehovah, or an idol, as Gesenius and others maintain, 
but the shoulder-dress of the high priest, no doubt including the 
choshen belonging to it, with the Urim and Thummim, as in 1 Sam. 
xiv. 3, xxi. 10, xxui. 6, 9, etc The material for this was worked 
throughout with gold threads ; and in addition to that there were 

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precious stones set in gold braid upon the shoulder-pieces of the 
ephod and upon the choshen, and chains made of gold twist for 
fastening the choshen upon the ephod (see Ex. xxviii. 6-30). Now, 
if 50 lbs. of gold could not be nsed for these things, there were also 
fourteen precious stones to be procured, and the work itself to be 
paid for, so that 50 lbs. of gold might easily be devoted to the pre- 
paration of this state dress. The large quantity of gold, therefore, 
does not warrant us in introducing arbitrarily into the text the 
establishment of a formal sanctuary, and the preparation of a golden 
image of Jehovah in the form of a bull, as Bertheau has done, since 
there is no reference to 70B or H3DD, as in chap. xvii. xviii. ; and 
even the other words of the text do not point to the founding of a 
sanctuary and the setting up of an image of Jehovah.' The ex- 
pression which follows, folk Jin, does not affirm that " he set it up," 
but may also mean, " he kept it in hit city of Ophrah." 2W} is never 
used to denote the setting up of an image or statue, and signifies 
not only to put up, but also to lay down (e.g. chap. vi. 37), and to 
let a thing stand, or leave behind (Gen. xxxiii. 15). The further 
remark of the historian, " and all Israel vent tltither a whoring after 
it, and it became a tnare to Gideon and hit house" does not pre- 
suppose the founding of a sanctuary or temple in Ophrah, and the 
setting up of a golden calf there. In what the whoring of Israel 
after the ephod, i.e. the idolatry of the Israelites with Gideon's 
ephod which was kept in Ophrah, consisted, cannot be gathered or 
determined from the use of the ephod in the worship of Jehovah 
under the Mosaic law. " The breastplate upon the coat, and the 
holy lot, were no doubt used in connection with idolatry" (Oehler), 
and Gideon had an ephod made in his town of Ophrah, that he might 
thereby obtain revelations from the Lord. We certainly are not 
for a moment to think of an exposure of the holy coat for the people 
to worship. It is far more probable that Gideon put on the ephod 
and wore it as a priest, when he wished to inquire and learn the 
will of the Lord. It is possible that he also sacrificed to the Lord 
upon the altar that was built at Ophrah (chap. vi. 24). The motive 
by which he was led to do this was certainly not merely ambition, 

1 Oehler has correctly observed in Herzog't Cyclopedia, that Bertheau acts 
very arbitrarily when he represents Gideon as setting up the image of a boll, 
as Jeroboam did afterwards, since there is nothing to sustain it in the account 
itself. Why cannot Gideon have worshipped without any image of Jehovah, 
with the help of the altar mentioned in chap. vi. 24, which was a symbol of 
Jehovah's presence, and remained standing till the historian's own time ? 

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. chap, via »-n. 859 

as Bertheau supposes, impelling the man who, along with his fol- 
lowers, had maintained an independent attitude towards the tribe 
of Ephraim in the war itself (chap. viii. 1 sqq.), to act indepen- 
dently of the common sanctuary of the congregation which was 
within the territory of Ephraim, and also of the office of the high 
priest in the time of peace as well. For there is not the slightest 
trace to be found of such ambition as this in anything that he did 
during the conflict with the Midianites. The germs of Gideon's 
error, which became a snare to him and to his house, lie unquestion- 
ably deeper than this, namely, in the fact that the high-priesthood 
had probably lost its worth in the eyes of the people on account of the 
worthlessness of its representatives, so that they no longer regarded 
the high priest as the sole or principal medium of divine revelation ; 
and therefore Gideon, to whom the Lord had man