|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:1-15 Canaan was of small extent; as it is here bounded, it is but about 160 miles in length, and about 50 in breadth; yet this was the country promised to the father of the faithful, and the possession of the seed of Israel. This was that little spot of ground, in which alone, for many ages, God was known. This was the vineyard of the Lord, the garden enclosed; but as it is with gardens and vineyards, the narrowness of the space was made up by the fruitfulness of the soil. Though the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, yet few know him, and serve him; but those few are happy, because fruitful to God. Also, see how little a share of the world God gives to his own people. Those who have their portion in heaven, have reason to be content with a small pittance of this earth. Yet a little that a righteous man has, having it from the love of God, and with his blessing, is far better and more comfortable than the riches of many wicked.
Verse 4. - Shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim. It is not at all clear what מִנֶּגֶב לִמַעַלֵה can mean in this sentence. The A.V., which follows the Septuagint and the Targums, does not seem to give any sense, while the rendering, "to the south side of the ascent," does not seem grammatically defensible. Moreover, it is quite uncertain where the "ascent of Akrabbim," i.e., the "Scorpion-pass," or "Scorpion-stairs," is to be placed. Some travelers have recognized both place and name in a precipitous road which ascends the northern cliffs towards the western end of the Wady Murreh, and which the Arabs call Nakb Kareb; others would make the ascent to be the steep pass of es Sufah, over which runs the road from Petra to Hebron; others, again, identify the Scorpion-stairs with the row of white cliffs which obliquely cross and close in the Ghor, some miles south of the Salt Sea, and separate it from the higher level of the Arabah. None of these identifications are satisfactory, although the first and last have more to be said in their favour than the second. Possibly the ascent of Akrabbim may have been only the Wady Fikreh, along which the natural frontier would run from the point of the Salt Sea into the Wady Murreh. Pass on to Zin. It is only here and in Joshua 15:3 that the name Zin stands by itself; it may have been some place in the broadest part of the Wady Murreh which gave its name to the neighbouring wilderness. From the south to Kadesh-barnea. Here again we have the expression מִנֶּגֶב לְאּ, of which we do not know the exact force. But if Kadesh was in the neighbourhood of the present Ain Kudes, then it may be understood that the frontier, after reaching the western end of the Wady Murreh, made a detour to the south so as to include Kadesh, as a place of peculiarly sacred memory in the annals of Israel. It is indeed very difficult, with this description of the southern frontier of Canaan before us, to believe that Kadesh was in the immediate neighbourhood of the Arabah, where many commentators place it; for if that were the case, then the boundary line has not yet made any progress at all towards the west, and the only points given on the actual southern boundary are the two unknown places which follow. Hazar-addar. In Joshua 15:3 this double name is apparently divided into the two names of Hezron and Addar, but possibly the latter only is the place intended here. A Karkaa is also mentioned there, which is equally unknown with the rest.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And your border,.... That is, the south border, which is still describing:
shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim; or Maalehacrabbim, as in Joshua 15:3 so called from the multitude of serpents and scorpions in it, see Deuteronomy 8:15, so Kimchi says (k), a place of serpents and scorpions was this ascent: Dr. Shaw (l) says Akrabbim may probably be the same with the mountains of Accaba, according to the present name, which hang over Eloth, where there is a "high steep road", well known to the Mahometan pilgrims for its ruggedness: and he thinks (m) it very probable, that Mount Hor was the same chain of mountains that are now called Accaba by the Arabs, and were the easternmost range, as we may take them to be, of Ptolemy's black mountains: Josephus (n) speaks of Acrabatene as belonging to the Edomites, which seems to be this same place:
and pass on to Zin; that is, which ascent goes on to it; the Targum of Jonathan is,"and shall pass on to the palm trees of the mountain of iron;''by which is meant the same with the wilderness of Zin: perhaps Zinnah is rather the name of a city; the Septuagint call it Ennac: the Vulgate Latin, Senna: Jerom (o) makes mention of a place called Senna, seven miles from Jericho:
and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea; from whence the spies were sent southward to search the land, Numbers 13:17.
and shall go on to Hazaraddar; called Adar, Joshua 15:3 and where it seems to be divided into two places, Hezron and Adar, which very probably were near each other, and therefore here put together, as if but one place:
and pass on to Azmon; which the Targums call Kesam.
(k) Sepher Shorash. "in voce" (l) Travels, tom. 2. ch. 1. p. 279. (m) Travels, tom. 2. ch. 1. p. 323. (n) Antiqu. l. 12. c. 8. sect. 1. see 1 Maccab. 5. 3.((o) De loc. Heb. fol. 94. H.
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