Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.
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).
And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay that looketh southward:
2. the bay—Hebrew, "tongue." It pushes its waters out in this form to a great distance [Robinson].
And it went out to the south side to Maalehacrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadeshbarnea, and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa:
3. Maaleh-akrabbim—Hebrew, "the ascent of scorpions"; a pass in the "bald mountain" (see on Jos 11:17), probably much infested by these venomous reptiles.
From thence it passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast.
And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of Jordan. And their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the uttermost part of Jordan:
5. the end—that is, the mouth of the Jordan.
And the border went up to Bethhogla, and passed along by the north of Betharabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben:
6. Beth-hogla—now Ain Hajla, a fine spring of clear and sweet water, at the northern extremity of the Dead Sea, about two miles from the Jordan [Robinson].
Beth-arabah—"the house," or "place of solitude," in the desert of Judah (Jos 15:61).
stone of Bohan the son of Reuben—the sepulchral monument of a Reubenite leader, who had been distinguished for his bravery, and had fallen in the Canaanite war.
And the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river: and the border passed toward the waters of Enshemesh, and the goings out thereof were at Enrogel:
7. Achor—(see on Jos 7:26).
Adummim—a rising ground in the wilderness of Jericho, on the south of the little brook that flowed near Jericho (Jos 16:1).
En-shemesh—"the fountain of the sun"; "either the present well of the apostle, below Bethany, on the road to Jericho, or the fountain near to St. Saba" [Robinson].
En-rogel—"the fuller's fountain," on the southeast of Jerusalem, below the spot where the valleys of Jehoshaphat and Hinnom unite.
And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward:
And the border was drawn from the top of the hill unto the fountain of the water of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border was drawn to Baalah, which is Kirjathjearim:
And the border compassed from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, on the north side, and went down to Bethshemesh, and passed on to Timnah:
And the border went out unto the side of Ekron northward: and the border was drawn to Shicron, and passed along to mount Baalah, and went out unto Jabneel; and the goings out of the border were at the sea.
And the west border was to the great sea, and the coast thereof. This is the coast of the children of Judah round about according to their families.
And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron.
Jos 15:13-15. Caleb's Portion and Conquest.
13. unto Caleb he gave a part among the children of Judah—(See on Jos 14:6).
And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.
14. drove thence the three sons of Anak—rather three chiefs of the Anakim race. This exploit is recorded to the honor of Caleb, as the success of it was the reward of his trust in God.
And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher.
15. Debir—"oracle." Its former name, Kirjath-sepher, signifies "city of the book," being probably a place where public registers were kept.
And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.
Jos 15:16-20. Othniel, for His Valor, Has Achsah to Wife.
16-20. He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher—This offer was made as an incentive to youthful bravery (see on 1Sa 17:25); and the prize was won by Othniel, Caleb's younger brother (Jud 1:13; 3:9). This was the occasion of drawing out the latent energies of him who was destined to be the first judge in Israel.
And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.
And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou?
18, 19. as she came unto him—that is, when about to remove from her father's to her husband's house. She suddenly alighted from her travelling equipage—a mark of respect to her father, and a sign of making some request. She had urged Othniel to broach the matter, but he not wishing to do what appeared like evincing a grasping disposition, she resolved herself to speak out. Taking advantage of the parting scene when a parent's heart was likely to be tender, she begged (as her marriage portion consisted of a field which, having a southern exposure, was comparatively an arid and barren waste) he would add the adjoining one, which abounded in excellent springs. The request being reasonable, it was granted; and the story conveys this important lesson in religion, that if earthly parents are ready to bestow on their children that which is good, much more will our heavenly Father give every necessary blessing to them who ask Him.
Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.
This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.
And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward were Kabzeel, and Eder, and Jagur,
Jos 15:21-63. Cities of Judah.
21-63. the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah—There is given a list of cities within the tribal territory of Judah, arranged in four divisions, corresponding to the districts of which it consisted—the cities in the southern part (Jos 15:21-32), those in the lowlands (Jos 15:33-47), those in the highlands (Jos 15:48-60), and those in the desert (Jos 15:61, 62). One gets the best idea of the relative situation of these cities by looking at the map.
And Kinah, and Dimonah, and Adadah,
And Kedesh, and Hazor, and Ithnan,
Ziph, and Telem, and Bealoth,
And Hazor, Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which is Hazor,
Amam, and Shema, and Moladah,
And Hazargaddah, and Heshmon, and Bethpalet,
And Hazarshual, and Beersheba, and Bizjothjah,
Baalah, and Iim, and Azem,
And Eltolad, and Chesil, and Hormah,
And Ziklag, and Madmannah, and Sansannah,
And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages:
And in the valley, Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah,
And Zanoah, and Engannim, Tappuah, and Enam,
Jarmuth, and Adullam, Socoh, and Azekah,
And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages:
Zenan, and Hadashah, and Migdalgad,
And Dilean, and Mizpeh, and Joktheel,
Lachish, and Bozkath, and Eglon,
And Cabbon, and Lahmam, and Kithlish,
And Gederoth, Bethdagon, and Naamah, and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages:
Libnah, and Ether, and Ashan,
And Jiphtah, and Ashnah, and Nezib,
And Keilah, and Achzib, and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages:
Ekron, with her towns and her villages:
From Ekron even unto the sea, all that lay near Ashdod, with their villages:
Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof:
And in the mountains, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh,
And Dannah, and Kirjathsannah, which is Debir,
And Anab, and Eshtemoh, and Anim,
And Goshen, and Holon, and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages:
Arab, and Dumah, and Eshean,
And Janum, and Bethtappuah, and Aphekah,
And Humtah, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, and Zior; nine cities with their villages:
Maon, Carmel, and Ziph, and Juttah,
And Jezreel, and Jokdeam, and Zanoah,
Cain, Gibeah, and Timnah; ten cities with their villages:
Halhul, Bethzur, and Gedor,
And Maarath, and Bethanoth, and Eltekon; six cities with their villages:
Kirjathbaal, which is Kirjathjearim, and Rabbah; two cities with their villages:
In the wilderness, Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah,
And Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi; six cities with their villages.
As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.