Joshua 15:3
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:
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15:1-12 Joshua allotted to Judah, Ephraim, and the half of Manasseh, their inheritances before they left Gilgal. Afterwards removing to Shiloh, another survey was made, and the other tribes had their portion assigned. In due time all God's people are settled.The inheritance of the tribe of Judah is described first by its general boundaries on all four sides Joshua 15:1-12; then reference is again made, for the sake of completeness, to the special inheritance of Caleb which lay within these boundaries Joshua 15:13-20; and lastly a list of the towns is given Joshua 15:21-63. Consult the marginal references. 3. Maaleh-akrabbim—Hebrew, "the ascent of scorpions"; a pass in the "bald mountain" (see on [193]Jos 11:17), probably much infested by these venomous reptiles. Concerning this description of the southern coast of Judah, see Numbers 34:3-5.

And it went out to the south side of Maalehacrabbim,.... Or the ascent of Akrabbim, as it is called; see Gill on Numbers 34:4,

and passed along to Zin, and ascended upon the south side unto Kadeshbarnea; which perfectly agrees with the southern border of the land, as described in Numbers 34:4,

and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar; which two places being near to one another, as is very likely, are put together, as if one place, and called Hazaraddar, Numbers 34:4; and mention is made of Hezron, which is Hazor, Joshua 15:25; but not of Adar:

and fetched a compass to Karkaa; which Jerom (w) calls Acchara, a village in the wilderness; and if the same with Carcaria, it was according to him a day's journey from Petra in Idumea; but that is not likely; see Judges 8:10.

(w) De loc. Heb. fol. 88. E. 90. C.

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. and it went out to the south] From this point the border ran in a tolerably direct course towards the south side of Maaleh-acrabbim, “the ascent of scorpions,” “the stiyinge vp of Scorpion,” Wyclif; “the going up to Akrabbim,” as it is given in Numbers 34:4; Jdg 1:36, a pass in “the bald mountain” (Joshua 11:17; Joshua 12:7), which “goeth up to Seir.” De Saulcy suggests it was the Wâdy Zouara, and testifies to “the scorpions” there found under every pebble. S. and P. 113, n.

and passed along to Zin] Thence it passed along to Zin, i.e. a certain spot in the desert of Zin not far from Kadesh-barnea, and passed over to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass or turned to Karkaa, and thence towards Azmon, and went out at the water-course of Egypt, i.e. the “torrent of Egypt, the Wady-el-Arish, already spoken of in ch. Joshua 13:3. The border went directly southwards to Kadesh-barnea; south of Kadesh it turned westward, and came out finally at the “torrent of Egypt” and at the Mediterranean Sea. Hezron, Adar, Karkaa, Azmon, are unknown sites.

fetched a compass] Compare Fr. compas, It. compasso, a compass, circle; compasser, to compass, encircle; from Latin cum, passus. The word is used both as (1) a noun and (2) a verb. (a) In the sense of “circumference” it occurs in Exodus 27:5; Exodus 38:4, of “circuit” in 2 Samuel 5:23; 2 Kings 3:9; Acts 28:13. Here, to fetch a compass = simply to “turn,” to “go round.” Thus Fuller (Pisgah View, IV.II. 2:43) says: “Wicked men may for a time retard, not finally obstruct our access to happiness. It is but fetching a compass, making two steps for one; a little more pains and patience will do the deed;” and he says of the Jordan, “he fetcheth many turnings and windings, but all will not excuse him from falling into the Dead Sea” (Holy War, 1. 18).

Verse 3. And it went out to the south side to Maaleh-acrabbim. Or, perhaps, and it went to the southward of Maaleh-acrabbim, translated in Numbers 34:4, "the ascent of Acrabbim." The literal meaning of Maaleh-acrabbim is Scorpion Rise (see Judges 1:36). Keil thinks that it was a pass in the Mount Halak, or the Smooth Mountain, mentioned in Joshua 11:17; Joshua 12:7. "De Saulcy suggests the Wady Zouara, and testifies to the scorpions found under every pebble" (Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 113). And Ainsworth, 'Travels in Asia Minor,' 2:354, says that some spots are almost uninhabitable in consequence. Knobel supposes it to be the pass es-Sufah on the road between Petra and Hebron. But the border of Judah seems to have gone in a southwesterly direction. To Zin. Rather, in the direction of Zin. On the south side unto Kadesh-barnea. Or, as above, southward of Kadesh-barnea. The exact position of Kadesh-Burnea has not been ascertained. It was between the wilderness of Zin and that of Paran (Numbers 13:26; Numbers 20:1). Dean Stanley identifies it with Petra, which was about 30 miles in a northeasterly direction from the Gulf of Akaba on the Red Sea, and close to Mount Her. A more recent traveller (see Bartlett, 'Egypt and Palestine,' pp. 366-376) identifies it with Ain Gadis, about 60 miles to the westward of Petra, and he claims Winer, Kurz, Kalisch, and Knobel as supporters of his view. The latter founds his view on the discovery of Ain Gadis by Rowlands, and supports it by the authority of Ritter. Ritter, however, as his translator informs us, embodied the results of the investigations of Mr. Rowlands' while his work was preparing for the press, and did not give the matter that full consideration which he was accustomed to do. The chief objection to it is that (see vex. 1) Ain Gadis can hardly be described as on "the border of Edom." The general view is that it lay somewhat to the northeast of Hezron and to the northwest of Petra, at the foot of the range of mountains which form the southern boundary of Judesa. Here the spies brought their report to Moses (ch. 14:6, 7; Numbers 13:26). Here Miriam was buried, and where Moses incurred the wrath of God from his mode of working the miracle which supplied the Israelites with water (Numbers 20.). It was "a city in the uttermost border" of Edom (Numbers 20:16), and it was some distance from Mount Hor, for we find it described as a journey (Numbers 20:22); and by passing from Kadesh to Mount Hor and thence by the way of the Red Sea, the Israelites "compassed the land of Edom" (Numbers 21:4), a fact which seems to prove that Petra and Kadesh-barnea were not the same place. Kadesh is supposed by M. Chabas to be the "Qodesh of the country of the Amaor," or Amorites, in the monuments of Seti I. and Rameses II. It is depicted as "on a hillside with a stream on one side," and is thus distinguished from Qodesh of the Kheta or Hittites, which is in a flat country beside a lake (Tomkins, 'Studies of the Time of Abraham,' p. 84). Fetched a compass to Karkaa. Rather, was deflected in the direction of Karkaa. Nothing is known of the places here mentioned. Cf. Numbers 34:4, where Karkaa is not mentioned, but the deflection in the neighbourhood of Asmon is. Joshua 15:3Thence it proceeded "to the southern boundary of the ascent of Akrabbim," i.e., the row of lofty whitish cliffs which intersects the Arabah about eight miles below the Dead Sea (see at Numbers 34:4), "and passed across to Zin," i.e., the Wady Murreh (see at Numbers 13:21), "and went up to the south of Kadesh-barnea," i.e., by Ain Kudes (see at Numbers 20:16), "and passed over to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and turned to Karkaa, and went over to Azmon, and went out into the brook of Egypt," i.e., the Wady el Arish. On the probable situation of Hezron, Adar, Karkaa, and Azmon, see at Numbers 34:4-5. "And the outgoings of the boundary were to the sea" (the Mediterranean). The Wady el Arish, a marked boundary, takes first of all a northerly and then a north-westerly course, and opens into the Mediterranean Sea (see Pent. p. 358). היה in the singular before the subject in the plural must not be interfered with (see Ewald, 316, a.). - The words "this shall be your south coast" point back to the southern boundary of Canaan as laid down in Numbers 34:2., and show that the southern boundary of the tribe-territory of Judah was also the southern boundary of the land to be taken by Israel.
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