Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Nu 34:1-29. The Borders of the Land of Canaan.
Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:)
2. this is the … land of Canaan—The details given in this chapter mark the general boundary of the inheritance of Israel west of the Jordan. The Israelites never actually possessed all the territory comprised within these boundaries, even when it was most extended by the conquests of David and Solomon.
Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward:
3-5. your south quarter—The line which bounded it on the south is the most difficult to trace. According to the best biblical geographers, the leading points here defined are as follows: The southwest angle of the southern boundary should be where the wilderness of Zin touches the border of Edom, so that the southern boundary should extend eastward from the extremity of the Dead Sea, wind around the precipitous ridge of Akrabbim ("scorpions"), thought to be the high and difficult Pass of Safeh, which crosses the stream that flows from the south into the Jordan—that is, the great valley of the Arabah, reaching from the Dead to the Red Sea.
And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea, and shall go on to Hazaraddar, and pass on to Azmon:
And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.
5. river of Egypt—the ancient brook Sihor, the Rhinocolura of the Greeks, a little to the south of El-Arish, where this wady gently descends towards the Mediterranean (Jos 13:3).
And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.
6. the western border—There is no uncertainty about this boundary, as it is universally allowed to be the Mediterranean, which is called "the great sea" in comparison with the small inland seas or lakes known to the Hebrews.
And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor:
7-9. north border—The principal difficulty in understanding the description here arises from what our translators have called mount Hor. The Hebrew words, however, Hor-ha-Hor, properly signify "the mountain of the mountain," or "the high double mountain," which, from the situation, can mean nothing else than the mountain Amana (So 4:8), a member of the great Lebanon range (Jos 13:5).
From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:
8. entrance of Hamath—The northern plain between those mountain ranges, now the valley of Balbeck (see on Nu 13:21).
Zedad—identified as the present Sudud (Eze 47:15).
And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazarenan: this shall be your north border.
9. Ziphron—("sweet odor").
Hazar-enan—("village of fountains"); but the places are unknown. "An imaginary line from mount Cassius, on the coast along the northern base of Lebanon to the entering into the Bekaa (Valley of Lebanon) at the Kamosa Hermel," must be regarded as the frontier that is meant [Van De Velde].
And ye shall point out your east border from Hazarenan to Shepham:
10-12. east border—This is very clearly defined. Shepham and Riblah, which were in the valley of Lebanon, are mentioned as the boundary line, which commenced a little higher than the sources of the Jordan. Ain is supposed to be the source of that river; and thence the eastern boundary extended along the Jordan, the sea of Chinnereth (Lake of Tiberias), the Jordan; and again terminated at the Dead Sea. The line being drawn on the east of the river and the seas included those waters within the territory of the western tribes.
And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward:
And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about.
And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot, which the LORD commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half tribe:
13-15. The two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan—The conquered territories of Sihon and Og, lying between the Arnon and mount Hermon, were allotted to them—that of Reuben in the most southerly part, Gad north of it, and the half Manasseh in the northernmost portion.
For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance:
The two tribes and the half tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan near Jericho eastward, toward the sunrising.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
16-29. names of the men … which shall divide the land—This appointment by the Lord before the Jordan tended not only to animate the Israelites faith in the certainty of the conquest, but to prevent all subsequent dispute and discontent, which might have been dangerous in presence of the natives. The nominees were ten princes for the nine and a half tribes, one of them being selected from the western section of Manasseh, and all subordinate to the great military and ecclesiastical chiefs, Joshua and Eleazar. The names are mentioned in the exact order in which the tribes obtained possession of the land, and according to brotherly connection.
These are the names of the men which shall divide the land unto you: Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun.
And ye shall take one prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.
And the names of the men are these: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
And of the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud.
Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon.
And the prince of the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki the son of Jogli.
The prince of the children of Joseph, for the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel the son of Ephod.
And the prince of the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan.
And the prince of the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan the son of Parnach.
And the prince of the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel the son of Azzan.
And the prince of the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud the son of Shelomi.
And the prince of the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud.
These are they whom the LORD commanded to divide the inheritance unto the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.