Joshua 12:24
The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Joshua 12:24. All the kings, thirty and one — It may seem strange to us that in so small a country there were so many kings; but in those ages kings were only petty princes, or lords of cities, which had a few villages depending on them. This appears by Joshua 12:9, where we read of the king of Beth-el; which was so small a place, that he and the king of Ai, joined together, had but twelve thousand subjects, Joshua 8:25. However, the conquering of so many cities and places, within so short a space of time, and with so little loss, showed that the Israelites were marvellously protected and assisted, and was an evidence to them, as it is to us all, of the truth of all God’s promises; and that they will certainly be accomplished, what obstacles soever there may be in the way of them. We here see the Israelites put in possession of that very country, and those very places, which God had promised ages before, to their pious ancestors, to give to their posterity, when they had not so much as a foot of land in any of these countries, and wandered about from place to place, having no possessions anywhere. This promise is not only once, but many times repeated, in books which we are certain were written many years before the Israelites came into possession of any part of the land, and when there was little likelihood of their obtaining it. And, therefore, their coming into actual possession of it, and with so little loss, is a very corroborating proof of the truth of those books which record the promises of God on this occasion; as the event so fully justified what they had recorded.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.Tirzah - This place, the capital of Jeroboam and his successors until the clays of Omri (1 Kings 14:17; 1 Kings 15:21, etc.), is identified by some with "Tulluzah", a town 3 miles northeast of Nablous, (by others with Teiasir). Jos 12:7-24. The One and Thirty Kings on the West Side of Jordan, Which Joshua Smote.

7. Baal-gad … even unto … Halak—(See on [188]Jos 11:17). A list of thirty-one chief towns is here given; and, as the whole land contained a superficial extent of only fifteen miles in length by fifty in breadth, it is evident that these capital cities belonged to petty and insignificant kingdoms. With a few exceptions, they were not the scenes of any important events recorded in the sacred history, and therefore do not require a particular notice.

Each being confined to a narrow compass, and being king only of one city, or small province belonging to it, which was by the wise and singular providence of God, that they might be more easily and successively conquered by the Israelites one after another, as they were. 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.

The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. Tirzah] Three miles from the city of Samaria, now called Tellûzah, of proverbial beauty. Song of Solomon 6:4, “Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah.” It was to Shechem afterwards “what Windsor is to London,” and became the residence of Jeroboam and his successors (1 Kings 14:17). Here Zimri was besieged by Omri, and perished in the flames of his palace (1 Kings 16:18).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."



The different kings are given in the order in which they were defeated: Jericho (Joshua 6:1); Ai (Joshua 7:2); Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon (Joshua 10:3); Gezer (Joshua 10:33); and Debir (Joshua 10:38). Those given in Joshua 12:13 and Joshua 12:14 are not mentioned by name in Joshua 10. Geder, possibly the same as Gedor upon the mountains of Judah (Joshua 15:58), which has been preserved under the old name of Jedur (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 186, and Bibl. Res. p. 282). Hormah (i.e., banning) was in the south of Judah (Joshua 15:30), and was allotted to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:4). It was called Zephath by the Canaanites (Judges 1:17; see at Numbers 21:3), was on the southern slope of the mountains of the Amalekites or Amorites, the present ruins of Septa, on the western slope of the table-land of Rakhma, two hours and a half to the south-west of Khalasa (Elusa: see Ritter, Erdk. xiv. p. 1085). Arad, also in the Negeb, has been preserved in Tell Arad (see at Numbers 21:1). Libnah (see at Joshua 10:29). Adullam, which is mentioned in Joshua 15:35 among the towns of the plain between Jarmuth and Socoh, was in the neighbourhood of a large cave in which David took refuge when flying from Saul (1 Samuel 22:1; 2 Samuel 23:13). It was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7), and is mentioned in 2 Macc. 12:38 as the city of Odollam. The Onomast. describes it as being ten Roman miles to the east of Eleutheropolis; but this is a mistake, though it has not yet been discovered. So far as the situation is concerned, Deir Dubbn would suit very well, a place about two hours to the north of Beit Jibrin, near to a large number of caves in the white limestone, which form a kind of labyrinth, as well as some vaulted grottos (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 353, and Van de Velde, Reise, pp. 162-3). Makkedah: possibly Summeil (see at Joshua 10:10). Bethel, i.e., Beitin (see Joshua 8:17). The situation of the towns which follow in Joshua 12:17 and Joshua 12:18 cannot be determined with certainty, as the names Tappuach, Aphek, and Hefer are met with again in different parts of Canaan, and Lassaron does not occur again. But if we observe, that just as from Joshua 12:10 onwards those kings'-towns are first of all enumerated, the capture of which has already been described in Joshua 10, and then in Joshua 12:15 and Joshua 12:16 certain other towns are added which had been taken in the war with the Canaanites of the south, so likewise in Joshua 12:19 and Joshua 12:20 the capitals of the allied kings of northern Canaan are given first, and after that the other towns that were taken in the northern war, but had not been mentioned by name in Joshua 11:there can be no doubt whatever that the four towns in Joshua 12:17 and Joshua 12:18 are to be classed among the kings'-towns taken in the war with the king of Jerusalem and his allies, and therefore are to be sought for in the south of Canaan and not in the north. Consequently we cannot agree with Van de Velde and Knobel in identifying Tappuach with En-Tappuach (Joshua 17:7), and looking for it in Atf, a place to the north-east of Nablus and near the valley of the Jordan; we connect it rather with Tappuach in the lowlands of Judah (Joshua 15:34), though the place itself has not yet been discovered. Hefer again is neither to be identified with Gath-hepher in the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:13), nor with Chafaraim in the tribe of Issachar (Joshua 19:19), but is most probably the capital of the land of Hefer (1 Kings 4:10), and to be sought for in the neighbourhood of Socoh in the plain of Judah. Aphek is probably the town of that name not far from Ebenezer (1 Samuel 4:1), where the ark was taken by the Philistines, and is most likely to be sought for in the plain of Judah, though not in the village of Ahbek (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 343); but it has not yet been traced. Knobel imagines that it was Aphek near to Jezreel (1 Samuel 29:1), which was situated, according to the Onom., in the neighbourhood of Endor (1 Samuel 29:1; 1 Kings 20:25, 1 Kings 20:30); but this Aphek is too far north. Lassaron only occurs here, and hitherto it has been impossible to trace it. Knobel supposes it to be the place called Saruneh, to the west of the lake of Tiberias, and conjectures that the name has been contracted from Lassaron by aphaeresis of the liquid. This is quite possible, if only we could look for Lassaron so far to the north. Bachienne and Rosenmller imagine it to be the village of Sharon in the celebrated plain of that name, between Lydda and Arsuf.
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