Joshua 15:19
Who answered, Give me a blessing; for you have given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.
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Joshua 15:19. A blessing — That is, a gift, as that word signifies, Genesis 33:11. A south land — That is, a dry land, which was much exposed to the south wind, which, in those parts, was very hot and drying, as coming from the deserts of Arabia. Springs of water — That is, a field wherein are springs of water, which in that country were of great price. Upper and nether springs — Of two fields, one above and the other below that south and dry ground which she complained of, that by this means it might be watered on both sides.15:13-19 Achsah obtained some land by Caleb's free grant. He gave her a south land. Land indeed, but a south land, dry and apt to be parched. She obtained more, on her request, and he gave the upper and the nether springs. Those who understand it but of one field, watered both with the rain of heaven, and the springs that issued out of the earth, countenance the allusion commonly made to this, when we pray for spiritual and heavenly blessings which relate to our souls, as blessings of the upper springs, and those which relate to the body and the life that now is, as blessings of the nether springs. All the blessings, both of the upper and the nether springs, belong to the children of God. As related to Christ, they have them freely given of the Father, for the lot of their inheritance.A south land - This term ("negeb") which is often equivalent to a proper name Joshua 15:21, importing the well-defined district which formed the south of the promised land (Numbers 13:17 note), seems here used in its more general sense Psalm 126:4, for a dry or barren land. The rendering of this passage adopted by Septuagint, several versions, and Commentators, etc., "thou hast given me into a south land," i. e. "hast given me in marriage into a south land" is forced; the construction of the verb "to give," with two accusatives, is natural and common to many languages.

Springs of water - The Hebrew words מים גלה gûllâh mayı̂m are found only here and in the parallel passage, Judges 1:15. Hence, some take it as a proper name, "Gulloth-maim," which like Beth-horon Joshua 16:3, Joshua 16:5, was applied to two distinct but adjoining places - distinguished as "the upper" and "the lower." The tract in question was no doubt a mountain slope which had springs both on its higher and lower ground; possibly the modern "Kurmul".

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. Give me a blessing, i.e. a gift, as that word signifies, Genesis 33:11.

A south land, i.e. a dry land, which was much exposed to the south wind, which in those parts was very hot and drying, as coming from the deserts of Arabia.

Springs of water, i.e. a.field, as she desired, Joshua 15:18, wherein are springs of water, which in that country were of great price; for it is not probable that he would give her the springs, and give to another the grounds in which the springs were, who could thereby at their pleasure deprive her of the use and benefit of her springs: so she begs a well-moistened field, which also might give some relief to that which was dry and barren.

The upper springs, and the nether springs, i.e. springs both in the higher and in the lower grounds; or two fields, one in high, another in low grounds; or rather, one above, and the other below, that south and dry ground which she complained of, that by this means it might be watered on both sides. Who answered, give me a blessing,.... By which she meant not a paternal benediction, or that he would wish and pray for a blessing on her; nor food, or a maintenance, as Jarchi, that her husband would provide for her; but rather an inheritance or possession, as the Targum; or a gift, as Abendana, a present, or something over and above what he had already given her; or an addition to her portion, as Kimchi: the word is sometimes used for a fish pool, as well as a blessing, and so glances at what she had in view, pools of water, or a well watered land:

for thou hast given me a south land; a dry land, as the Jewish writers (a) generally interpret this word, otherwise all the land belonging to the tribe of Judah was south land, and Caleb could give her no other; but Debir, as Hebron was, was in the hill country, was mountainous and so dry, and wanted watering:

give me also springs of water; she means land in which there were springs of water; for unless she was possessed of the land in which they were, she would have no command of the springs, and so have little or no use of them:

and he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs; such as were in the higher grounds, and such as were in the lower ones, that she might have a sufficiency to water all her lands and fields; or as she moved her husband to ask a field, and he put her on doing the same, Caleb gave her a field, in the upper part of which were springs, and also in the lower part; though he seems to have given more than she requested.

(a) So Jarchi and Kimchi in loc. R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 34. 1.

Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; {g} give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.

(g) Because her country was barren, she wanted a field that had springs from her father. Jud 1:14,15.

19. Give me a blessing] Comp. the words of Jacob to Esau, Genesis 33:11, “Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee;” Joshua 14:13, “And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb … Hebron for an inheritance;” and the words of Naaman to Elisha, “Now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.” 2 Kings 5:15.

a south land] He had given it to her, inasmuch as he had given her as a wife to the conqueror of Debir. The words are used in a double sense. “The south country” = “the barren and dry land,” “terram australem et torrentem dedisti mihi,” Vulgate; “the south loond and drye,” Wyclif.

springs of water] The word here used, “gulloth,” = “waves” or “bubblings.” “Underneath the hill on which Debir stood is a deep valley, rich with verdure from a copious rivulet, which, rising at the crest of the glen, falls, with a continuity unusual in the Judæan hills, down to its lowest depth. On the possession of these upper and lower ‘bubblings,’ so contiguous to her lover’s prize, Achsah had set her heart. The scene of this incident was first discovered by Dr Rosen, and under his guidance I saw it in 1862.” Stanley’s Lectures, i. 264.

the upper springs, and the nether springs] Caleb responded to her wish, and gave her the higher and lower fields watered by these springs. Nether adj. = lower. Comp. Exodus 19:17, “And Moses brought forth the people … and they stood at the nether part of the mount;” Deuteronomy 24:6, “No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge;” 1 Kings 9:17, “And Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon the nether;” Job 41:24, “His heart is as firm as a stone, yea as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.” A. S. nyðera, or nyðera. Comp. “the Netherlands” = “the Lowlands;” “a foolish hanging of thy nether lip.” Shakespeare, I. Henry IV. ii. 4.Verse 19. - A southland. Hebrew, the southland. The word Negeb signifies dry (see note on Negeb, Joshua 10:40). It must be remembered that it became the word for south, because the south of Palestine was an arid tract. Therefore Achsah must be understood as saying, "Thou hast given me a dry country, give me also a reservoir of water." The Vulgate translates Negeb twice over, "australem et arentem" (arentem only Judges 1:15). The LXX. translates both Negeb and Gulloth as proper names. But in the parallel passage in Judges Negeb is translated "south," and Gulloth appears as λύτρωσιν, as if from גלה to remove. Nothing can more clearly show that the LXX. translation is the work of Springs of water. גֻּלּת different hands. akin to our well and the German quelle, and derived from גלל to roll, from the circular motion observable in springs, as also from the rolling of waves. The Chaldee renders the house of irrigation (בֵיתּ שַׁקְיָא). Knobel translates reservoirs. The upper springs and the lower springs (see note on Debit, Joshua 10:38). The account of the conquest of the inheritance, which Caleb asked for and received before the lots were cast for the land (Joshua 14:6-15), by the extermination of the Anakites from Hebron, and the capture of the fortified town of Debir, is repeated with very slight differences in Judges 1:10-15, in the enumeration of the different conflicts in which the separate tribes engaged after the death of Joshua, in order to secure actual possession of the inheritance which had fallen to them by lot, and is neither copied from our book by the author of the book of Judges, nor taken from Judges by the author of Joshua; but both of them have drawn it from one common source, upon which the accounts of the conquest of Canaan contained in the book of Joshua are generally founded.

Joshua 15:13

As an introduction to the account of the conquest of Hebron and Debir, the fact that they gave Caleb his portion among the sons of Judah, namely Hebron, is first of all repeated from Joshua 14:13. נתן impers., they gave, i.e., Joshua (Joshua 14:13). The words "according to the command of Jehovah to Joshua" are to be explained from Joshua 14:9-12, according to which Jehovah had promised, in the hearing of Joshua, to give Caleb possession of the mountains of Hebron, even when they were at Kadesh (Joshua 14:12). The "father of Anak" is the tribe father of the family of Anakites in Hebron, from whom this town received the name of Kirjath-arba; see at Numbers 13:22 and Genesis 23:2.

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