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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 19

A.M. 2560. B.C. 1444.

The lot of Simeon, Joshua 19:1-9 . Of Zebulun, Joshua 19:10-16 . Of Issachar, Joshua 19:17-23 . Of Asher, Joshua 19:24-31 . Of Naphtali, Joshua 19:32-39 . Of Dan, Joshua 19:40-48 . The inheritance assigned to Joshua and his family, Joshua 19:49-51 .

Verse 1

Joshua 19:1. The second lot came forth to Simeon God disposed it so by an especial providence, Simeon being the eldest son of Jacob that was unprovided for. Their inheritance was within the inheritance of Judah This also was ordered by God’s providence, partly to fulfil that threatening that he would divide and scatter this tribe in Israel, (Genesis 49:7,) which was hereby done in part, because they had no distinct lot, but were as inmates to Judah; partly because now, upon the more exact survey of the land, it appeared that the part given to Judah did far exceed the proportion which they needed, or which the other tribes could expect. And this was the least of the tribes, (Numbers 26:14,) and therefore fittest to be put within another tribe.

Verse 11

Joshua 19:11. Toward the sea The lot of this tribe was washed by the midland sea on the west, and by the sea of Tiberias on the east, answering Jacob’s prophecy, Zebulun shall be a haven of ships; trading ships on the great sea, and fishing ships on the sea of Galilee. Before Jokneam Supposed to be Kishon.

Verse 15

Joshua 19:15. Beth-lehem Not that where Christ was born, which was in Judah, but another. Twelve cities They are more numerous here, but the rest either were not cities, properly so called, or were not within this tribe, but only bordering upon it, and belonging to other tribes.

Verse 18

Joshua 19:18. Jezreel The royal city, 1 Kings 21:1. This tribe, because it lay between Benjamin on the south and Zebulun on the north, is not here described by its borders, which were the same with theirs, but by some of its cities.

Verse 26

Joshua 19:26. Carmel westward Or, Carmel by the sea, to distinguish it from Carmel in the tribe of Judah. This was a place of eminent fruitfulness, agreeably to the prophecy concerning Asher, Genesis 49:20.

Verse 27

Joshua 19:27. Cabul A city so called. Left hand That is, on the north, which, when men look toward the east, as is usual, is on their left hand.

Verse 28

Joshua 19:28. Kanah Namely, Kanah the greater, in the Upper Galilee; not Kanah the less, which was in the Lower Galilee. Zidon Called great for its antiquity, and riches, and glory. The city either was not given to the Israelites, or at least was never possessed by them; not without a singular providence of God, that they might not by the opportunity of so good a port be engaged in much commerce with other nations; from which, together with wealth, that great corrupter of mankind, they might contract their errors and vices.

Verses 29-30

Joshua 19:29-30. To Ramah From the north southward. To the strong city of Tyre This translation is questionable; for we never read one word of the city of Tyre (unless it be here) until the days of David; though we often read of Sidon in the books of Moses; even in the prophecy of Jacob. It is highly probable some other place is meant by Tzor, as the word is in the Hebrew. And the out-goings thereof, &c. That is, it ended at the country which belonged to Achzib; for so hebel, which we here translate coast, signifies. Twenty-two cities Here are more named, but some of them were not within this tribe, but only bordering places.

Verses 32-33

Joshua 19:32-33. The sixth lot came out, &c. Here the younger son of Bilhah, the hand-maid of Rachel, is preferred before the elder, who was Dan, (Genesis 30:6; Genesis 30:8,) as Zebulun was before Issachar. Such was the method of Divine Providence in that nation, to convince them that they ought not to value themselves too highly, as they were apt to do, upon their external privileges. Their coast Their northern border, drawn from west to east, as appears; because, when the coast is described and brought to its end, it is said to turn from the east westward, Joshua 19:34. The out- goings The end of that coast.

Verses 34-35

Joshua 19:34-35. And to Judah upon Jordan It was not near Judah, there being several tribes between them. Therefore the meaning is, this tribe had a communication with that of Judah, by means of the river Jordan. So the word upon, in our translation, ought to be interpreted. This river afforded them the convenience of carrying merchandises to Judah, or bringing them from thence. And thus, some think, the prophecy of Moses was accomplished, (Deuteronomy 33:23.) Possess thou the west and the south; which doth not signify that they had any land in the south; but that they trafficked with that country by the means of Jordan. Chinnereth Whence the lake of Cinnereth, or Genesareth, received its name. Geneser signifies the gardens of princes; and here were fine gardens, and a kind of paradise. The Jews say the name Cinnereth was taken from its fruits, which were as sweet to the taste as the cinnor, or harp, to the ear.

Verse 47

Joshua 19:47. The coast of Dan went out too little The words too little are not in the Hebrew, where there is nothing that corresponds with them. The passage runs thus: The coast of the children of Dan went out from them; that is, they were dispossessed of it in some parts, or kept out of them by the former inhabitants; and we find, by Judges 1:34, that the Amorites forced them into the mountains, and would not suffer them to dwell in the valley. This reduced them to such straits, that they were constrained to enlarge their border some other way; which they did as follows. They went up to fight against Leshem A city not far from Jordan, called Laish in the book of Judges, before it was taken by the Danites. And called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father It was customary for conquerors to change the names of those places they subdued. This was done with respect to Leshem, after the death of Joshua; and is related more largely in the book of Judges, chap. 18., where the whole expedition is recorded. From whence some have argued that this book was not written by Joshua; whereas no more can fairly be inferred, than that, in after times, Ezra, or some other, thought good to insert this verse here, in order to complete the account of the Danites’ possessions.

Verse 49

Joshua 19:49. When they had made an end of dividing the land That is, after every tribe had had their respective portion assigned to them. The children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua We cannot but admire the wonderful modesty of this great man, who received his portion last of all, and then, not by lot, but by their gift, who were already possessed of the whole land.

Verse 50

Joshua 19:50. According to the word of the Lord, they gave him the city which he asked God indeed had ordered that he should have a portion, and that he himself should choose it; but he was content to stay for it till every one else was amply provided for. We do not expressly read of this command; but many particulars were said and done which are not recorded. And Joshua being as faithful and upright as Caleb, and chosen besides to be the captain of God’s people, we cannot but think, that when God ordered what Caleb should have, he gave the same direction with respect to Joshua: see Joshua 16:6. Even Timnath-serah in mount Ephraim Joshua did not choose the best place in all the country, but a convenient one in his own tribe; which was seated on the north side of a hill called Gaash, as we read in the latter end of this book. And he built the city and dwelt therein Repaired it, we suppose, (for in all probability there was a city in that situation before,) and made a convenient habitation for his family and relations. But we read nothing of them afterward; for as he did not affect to make himself king of Canaan, so he contented himself with a moderate allotment, and made no large provision for his posterity.

Verse 51

Joshua 19:51. These are the inheritances, &c. Upon the whole of this division of the land, it deserves our remarking, that the lot fell to the several tribes just as Jacob and Moses had foretold. And this division served to keep up the distinction of tribes, which was to continue till the coming of the Messiah. And we may observe further, that God had expressly named, some years before, as we find by Numbers 34:17-29, the very persons who should divide the land unto the children of Israel, and expressly described the bounds how far every way the land reached which was to be divided by them.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 19". Benson's Commentary. 1857.