The bounds of the inheritance of Judah, ver. 1 - 12.
The assignment of Hebron to Caleb and his family, ver. 13 - 19.
The cities of Judah, ver. 20 - 63.
1: The lot - For the general understanding of this, it must be known
That casting lots was transacted with great seriousness and solemnity,
in God's presence, with prayer and appeal to him for the decision of the
That although exact survey of this land was not taken 'till(Jos 18:4,5), yet there was, and must needs be a general description
of it, and a division thereof into nine parts and an half; which, as far
as they could guess, were equal either in quantity or quality.
That the lot did not at this time so unchangeably determine each tribe,
that their portion could neither be increased or diminished; as is
manifest, because after Judah's lot was fixed, Simeon's lot was
taken out of it, (Jos 19:9), though after the land was more
distinctly known and surveyed, it is likely the bounds were more certain
That the lot determined only in general what part of the land belonged to
each tribe, but left the particulars to be determined by Joshua and
For the manner of this, it is probably conceived, that there was two pots,
into one of which were put the names of all the tribes, each in a distinct
paper, and into the other the names of each portion described; then
Eleazar or some other person, drew out first the name of one of the
tribes out of one pot, and then the name of one portion out of the other,
and that portion was appropriated to that tribe. And with respect to these
pots, in the bottom of which the papers lay, these lots are often said to
come up, or come forth. Of Judah - Whose lot came out first by
God's disposition, as a note of his preeminency above his brethren.
Of Edom - Which lay south - east from Judah's portion. Judah and
Joseph were the two sons of Jacob, on whom Reuben's forfeited
birthright devolved. Judah had the dominion entailed upon him, and
Joseph the double portion. Therefore these two tribes are first seated:
and on them the other seven attended.
2: The bay - Heb. the tongue: either a creek or arm of that sea;
or a promontory, which by learned authors is sometimes called a tongue.
Every sea is salt, but this had an extraordinary saltness, the effect of
that fire and brimstone which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah: the
ruins of which lie buried at the bottom of this dead water, which never was
moved itself by any tides, nor had any living thing in it.
5: The end of Jordan - That is, the place where Jordan runs into
the salt - sea.
6: The stone of Bohan - A place so called, not from Bohan's
dwelling there, (for the Reubenites had no portion on this side
Jordan) but from some notable exploit which he did there, though
it is not recorded in scripture.
8: Went up - Properly; for the line went from Jordan and the salt
sea, to the higher grounds nigh Jerusalem; and therefore the line is
said to go down, (Jos 18:16), because there it takes a contrary
course, and goes downward to Jordan and the sea. Valley of Hinnom - A
very pleasant place, but afterward made infamous.
Of the Jebusites - Of the city of the Jebusites, which was
anciently called Jebussi. Jerusalem - It may seem hence, that
Jerusalem properly, or at least principally, belonged to Benjamin;
and yet it is ascribed to Judah also; either because a part of the city
was allotted to Judah; or because the Benjamites desired the help
and conjunction of this powerful tribe of Judah, for the getting and
keeping of this most important place. And when the Benjamites had in
vain attempted to drive out the Jebusites, this work was at last done by
the tribe of Judah, who therefore had an interest in it by the right of
war; as Ziglag which belonged to the tribe of Simeon, being gotten
from the Philistines by David, was joined by him to his tribe of
Judah, (1Sa 27:6).
10: Mount Seir - Not that of Edom, but another so called from
some resemblance it had to it.
13: He - Joshua. City of Arba - Or, Kirjath - arba. Not the
city, which was the Levites, but the territory of it, (Jos 21:13).
14: Drove thence - That is, from the said territory, from their caves
and forts in it. These giants having either recovered their cities, or
defended themselves in the mountains. Three sons of Anak - Either the
same who are mentioned, (Nu 13:33), and so they were long - lived men,
such as mainly were in those times and places: or their sons, called by
their father's names, which is very usual.
15: Debir - The same mentioned above, ver.(7). The name was
Kirjath - sepher - This clause seems to be added to distinguish this from
the other Debir subdued by Joshua, (Jos 10:38,39).
16: To wife - Which is to be understood with some conditions, as, if
he were one who could marry her by God's law; and if she were willing; for
though parents had a great power over their children, they could not force
them to marry any person against their own wills. He might otherwise be an
unfit and unworthy person; but this was a divine impulse, that Othniel's
valour might be more manifest, and so the way prepared for his future
government of the people, (Jdg 3:9).
18: As she came - Or, as she went, namely, from her father's
house to her husband's, as the manner was. She moved him - She persuaded
her husband, either,
That he would ask: or rather,
That he would suffer her to ask, as she did.
She lighted - That she might address herself to her father in an humble
posture, and as a suppliant, which he understood by her gesture.
19: A blessing - That is, a gift, as that word signifies,(Ge 33:11).
A south land - That is, a dry land, much exposed to the south wind, which
in those parts was very hot and drying, as coming from the deserts of
Springs of water - That is, a field, wherein are springs of water,
which in that country were of great price; she begs a well moistened field,
which also might give some relief to that which was dry and barren.
Upper and nether springs - Or two fields, one above and the other below
that south and dry ground which she complained of, that by this means it
might be watered on both sides.
32: Twenty nine - Here are thirty seven or thirty eight cities named
before; how then are they only reckoned twenty nine?
There were only twenty nine of them, which either,
properly belonged to Judah; the rest fell to Simeon's lot; or
Were cities properly so called, that is, walled cities, or such as had
villages under them, as it here follows; the rest being great, but
unwalled towns, or such as had no villages under them.
48: The mountains - That is, in the higher grounds called mountains
or hills, in comparison of the sea - coast.
55: Ziph - Which gave its name to the neighbouring mountains,(1Sa 26:1).
62: City of salt - So called either from the salt sea, which was near
it; or from the salt which was made in, or about it.
63: Inhabitants of Jerusalem - For though Jerusalem was in part
taken by Joshua before this; yet the upper and stronger part of it,
called Zion, was still kept by the Jebusites, even until David's
time; and it seems from thence they descended to the lower town called
Jerusalem, and took it so that the Israelites were forced to win it
a second time; yea, and a third time also: for afterwards it was possessed
by the Jebusites, (Jdg 19:11,2Sa 5:6,7).
Could not drive them out - Namely, because of their unbelief, as Christ
could do no mighty work, because of the peoples unbelief,(Mk 6:5,6,Mt 13:58), and because of their sloth, and cowardice, and
wickedness, whereby they forfeited God's help.
The children of Judah - The same things which are here said of the
children of Judah, are said of the Benjamites, (Jdg 1:21).
Hence ariseth a question, To which of the tribes Jerusalem belonged?
It seems probable, that part of it, and indeed the greatest part, stood in
the tribe of Benjamin; and hence this is mentioned in the list of their
cities, and not in Judah's list; and part of it stood in Judah's
share, even mount Moriah, on which the temple was built; and mount
Sion, when it was taken from the Jebusites. To this day - When
this book was written, whether in Joshua's life, which continued many
years after the taking of Jerusalem; or after his death, when this
clause was added by some other man of God. But this must be done before
David's time, when the Jebusites were quite expelled, and their