|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:7-24 We have here the limits of the country Joshua conquered. A list is given of the kings subdued by Israel: thirty-one in all. This shows how fruitful Canaan then was, in which so many chose to throng together. This was the land God appointed for Israel; yet in our day it is one of the most barren and unprofitable countries in the world. Such is the effect of the curse it lies under, since its possessors rejected Christ and his gospel, as was foretold by Moses, De 29:23. The vengeance of a righteous God, inflicted on all these kings and their subjects, for their wickedness, should make us dread and hate sin. The fruitful land bestowed on his chosen people, should fill our hearts with hope and confidence in his mercy, and with humble gratitude.
Verse 24. - Tirzah meets us as the residence of the kings of Israel for a time in the narrative in 1 Kings. Jeroboam's wife went thither after her interview with Ahijah (Joshua 14:17). Baasha dwelt there (Joshua 15:21, 33; Joshua 16:6), Elah was slain there by Zimri (Joshua 16:9, 10), and it. remained the capital until Omri built Samaria (Joshua 16:23, 24). Thenceforward we hear no more of it till the time of Menahem (2 Kings 15:14, 16), when it disappears from history. It has been variously identified - by Robinson and Yandevelde (whom Knobel follows) with Talluza, two hours journey north of Shechem; by Conder with Teiasu, where there are numerous rock sepulchres. It was a place of great beauty, if we may judge from Song of Solomon 6:4, "Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The king of Tirzah, one,.... To what tribe this place fell is nowhere said: Adrichomius (u) places it in the tribe of Manasseh; and so does Bunting (w), who says of it, that it was a fair and beautiful city, situated on a high and pleasant mountain, in the tribe of Manasseh, twenty four miles from Jerusalem to the north: here Jeroboam had his royal seat, and so his successors unto Omri, 1 Kings 14:17; and Dr Lightfoot (x) seems to suspect as if Shechem in Mount Ephraim and Tirzah were the same; for, he says, if Shechem and Tirzah were not one and the same town, it appears that Jeroboam had removed his court, when his son died, from where it was when he first erected his idols; compare 1 Kings 12:25, with 1 Kings 14:17; and so it may argue that there was some space between: it was, no doubt, a very pleasant and beautiful city, as not only appears from its name, but from the allusion to it in Sol 6:4,
all the kings thirty and one: it may seem strange that, in so small a country as Canaan was, there should be so many kings in it, since the length of it from Dan to Beersheba was scarce an hundred sixty miles, as Jerom (y) says; who further observes, that he was ashamed to give the breadth of it, lest it should give occasion to Heathens to blaspheme; for, adds he, from Joppa to our little village Bethlehem (where they then were) were forty six miles, to which succeeded only a vast desert: but it may be observed, that in ancient times, in other countries, there were a great many kings, as here in Britain, and in France, Spain, and Germany, as Bishop Patrick has observed from several writers; and Strabo (z) testifies the same of the cities of Phoenicia or Canaan, that they had each of them separate kings, as Joshua here describes them.
(u) Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 74. (w) Travels, &c. p. 160. (x) Works, vol. 1. p. 78. (y) Epist. Dardano, tom. 3. p. 22. I. K. (z) Geograph. l. 16. p. 519.
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