|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:1-12 Joshua allotted to Judah, Ephraim, and the half of Manasseh, their inheritances before they left Gilgal. Afterwards removing to Shiloh, another survey was made, and the other tribes had their portion assigned. In due time all God's people are settled.
Verse 1. - The lot of the tribe of the children of Judah. The first twelve verses of this chapter define the boundaries of Judah. With it compare Numbers 34:3-5, which gives the southern border of the Israelitish territory, corresponding closely with this account of the southern border of Judah. The word tribe here is, as might be expected from the context מַטֶה and not שֶּׁבֶט. Even to the border of Edom. The literal translation, which makes the passage clearer, is, "the border of Edom, the wilderness of Zin towards the dry region (נֶגְבָּה) from the extreme limit of the south תֵימָן. The latter of these words, derived from יָמִין "right hand," being the position of the south when regarded from the point of view of a man looking eastward, denotes the southward direction (see above, Joshua 12:2). The former word has reference to the physical conditions of the country, its heat and dryness. The LXX. does not attempt to translate the former word and has evidently מִקָּדֵשׁ for מִקְצֶה. The wilderness of Zin. Not to be confounded with the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:1; cf. Numbers 34:11, 36). This wilderness was on the border of Edom (Numbers 20:1; Numbers 27:14). Thence the border of Judah (which here includes the small portion afterwards allotted to Simeon) extended to the utmost limits of the south (see Joshua 19:1, 9). A wall of mountains extends southwestward from the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, and formed the natural boundary of Judaea.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families,.... The land of Canaan was divided by lot to the several tribes, and the tribe of Judah had its lot first; of the manner of casting lots; see Gill on Numbers 26:55; It seems as if the lot was first cast for the tribes of Judah and Joseph, when the former had the southern, and the latter the northern part of the land for their portion, which was done in Gilgal; after this lots were cast in Shiloh for the other seven tribes, who had the land divided among them, which lay between Judah and Joseph, or between the southern and northern parts of the land, see Joshua 18:1, &c. and it seems that not only the land was divided to the tribes by lot, but that the portion of land which belonged to each tribe was divided in the same way to the several families and households belonging thereunto; as is here suggested, with respect to the tribe of Judah, whose lot reached
even to the border of Edom; or Idumea, which lay to the south of the land of Canaan:
the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast; the same with Kadesh, and lay upon the borders of Edom; see Numbers 33:36.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jos 15:1-12. Borders of the Lot of Judah.
1. This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah—In what manner the lot was drawn on this occasion the sacred historian does not say; but it is probable that the method adopted was similar to that described in Jos 18:10. Though the general survey of the country had not been completed, some rough draft or delineation of the first conquered part must have been made, and satisfactory evidence obtained that it was large enough to furnish three cantons, before all the tribes cast lots for them; and they fell to Judah, Ephraim, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The lot of Judah came first, in token of the pre-eminence of that tribe over all the others; and its destined superiority thus received the visible sanction of God. The territory, assigned to it as a possession, was large and extensive, being bounded on the south by the wilderness of Zin, and the southern extremity of the Salt Sea (Nu 34:3-5); on the east, by that sea, extending to the point where it receives the waters of the Jordan; on the north, by a line drawn nearly parallel to Jerusalem, across the country, from the northern extremity of the Salt Sea to the southern limits of the Philistine territory, and to the Mediterranean; and on the west this sea was its boundary, as far as Sihor (Wady El-Arish).
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