Joshua 15:32
And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages:
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Joshua 15:32. Twenty-nine — Here are thirty-seven or thirty-eight cities named before; how then are they only reckoned twenty-nine? There were only twenty-nine of them which either, 1st, Properly belonged to Judah; the rest falling to Simeon’s lot. Or, 2d, Were cities properly so called; that is, walled cities, or such as had villages under them, as it here follows; the rest being great, but unwalled towns, or such as had no villages under them.

15:20-63 Here is a list of the cities of Judah. But we do not here find Bethlehem, afterwards the city of David, and ennobled by the birth of our Lord Jesus in it. That city, which, at the best, was but little among the thousands of Judah, Mic 5:2, except that it was thus honoured, was now so little as not to be accounted one of the cities.Twenty and nine - The King James Version gives 34 names. The difference is due either to the confusion by an early copyist of letters similar in form which were used as numerals; or to the separation in the King James Version of names which in the original were one (e. g. Joshua 15:25).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.

Object. Here are thirty-seven or thirty-eight cities named before; how then are they only reckoned twenty-nine?

Answ. There were only twenty-nine of them, which either,

1. Properly belonged to Judah; the rest fell to Simeon’s lot; or,

2. Were cities properly so called, i.e. walled cities, or such as had villages under them, as it here follows, the rest being great but unwalled towns, or such as had no villages under them.

And Lebaoth,.... Whether Lebaoth is the same with Bethlebaoth, given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:6; is not certain:

and Shilhim is nowhere else spoken of:

and Ain seems to be the same with that in Numbers 34:11; also See Gill on Numbers 34:11.

and Rimmon, the place Jerom (e) calls Eremmon, which he says was a large village of the Jews, sixteen miles from Eleutheropolis to the south, in Daroma; this and the preceding are joined together as one, and called Enrimmon, Nehemiah 11:29. It is probable they were near to each other, and in process of time the buildings of each might increase, so as to meet and join each other:

all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages; but according to our version, and as we point them, they are thirty eight; some make them thirty six, others thirty seven; the Jews generally make thirty eight of them, as we do, and account for the difference of number thus; that nine of these cities were given to the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:1; and these being taken out of the thirty eight, there remain twenty nine; so Jarchi and Kimchi account for it; but as the number of the cities is uncertain, and this account is given before the separation of the nine, and they are all reckoned together, this does not seem to be satisfactory; rather, as Abarbinel observes, the twenty nine of the places enumerated were cities, and the other were villages, unwalled towns, or not of so much note as the twenty nine.

(e) De loc. Heb. fol. 91. C.

And Lebaoth, and Shilhim, and Ain, and Rimmon: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages:
32. all the cities are twenty and nine] Thirty-six, however, are actually given, viz., (1) the first group = 9; (2) the second group = 5; (3) the third group = 9; (4) the fourth group 13 =36 in all. The discrepancy has been variously explained by supposing (a) that some of the places were merely hamlets or villages, and were therefore not counted with the rest; (b) that in some cases two names may have belonged to the same city; (c) that there is an error in the numeral letters; (d) that the author originally wrote fewer names, and “that others were added by a later hand without a corresponding alteration being made in the number.” (See Keil in loc.)

Verse 32. - Ain, Rimmon (see Joshua 19:7; 1 Chronicles 4:32; Nehemiah 11:29). More likely the name of one place Ain-Rimmon, the fountain of the god Rimmon. For Rimmon see 2 Kings 5:18. The word signifying eye, or fountain, is written indifferently Ain or En in our version (see En-shemesh and En-rogel in this chapter). Bitumen is mentioned in Zechariah 14:10 as "south of Jerusalem." Now Umm er-Rumamin (Conder). Verse 32. Twenty-nine. There is another of the very common errors of numbers here. The actual number is thirty-six. The error is as old as the LXX. version. Joshua 15:32Lebaoth, one of the Simeonite towns, called Beth-lebaoth (i.e., lion-house) in Joshua 19:6, and Beth-birei in 1 Chronicles 4:31, has not been discovered yet. Shilchim, called Sharuchen in Joshua 19:6, and Shaaraim in 1 Chronicles 4:31, may possibly have been preserved in Tell Sheriah, almost half-way between Gaza and Beersheba (V. de Velde, ii. p. 154). Ain and Rimmon are given as Simeonite towns, and being written without the copula, are treated as one name in Joshua 19:7 and 1 Chronicles 4:32, although they are reckoned as two separate towns in Joshua 19:7. But as they were also called En Rimmon after the captivity, and are given as one single place in Nehemiah 11:29, they were probably so close together that in the course of time they grew into one. Rimmon, which is mentioned in Zechariah 14:10 as the southern boundary of Judah, probably the Eremmon of the Onom. ("a very large village of the Judaeans, sixteen miles to the south of Eleutheropolis in Daroma"), was probably the present ruin called Um er Rummanim, four hours to the north of Beersheba (Rob. iii. p. 8). Not more than thirty or thirty-five minutes distant from this, between Tell Khuweilifeh (Rob. iii. p. 8) or Chewelfeh (V. de Velde) and Tell Hhora, you find a large old but half-destroyed well, the large stones of which seem to belong to a very early period of the Israelitish history (V. de Velde, ii. p. 153). This was mentioned as a very important drinking-place even in the lifetime of Saladin, whilst to the present day the Tillah Arabs water their flocks there (see Rob. iii. p. 8). To all appearance this was Ain (see V. de Velde, Mem. p. 344). "All the cities were twenty and nine, and their villages." This does not agree with the number of towns mentioned by name, which is not twenty-nine, but thirty-six; to that the number twenty-nine is probably an error of the text of old standing, which has arisen from a copyist confounding together different numeral letters that resembled one another.

(Note: Some commentators and critics explain this difference on the supposition that originally the list contained a smaller number of names (only twenty-nine), but that it was afterwards enlarged by the addition of several other places by a different hand, whilst the number of the whole was left just as it was before. But such a conjecture presupposes greater thoughtlessness on the part of the editor than we have any right to attribute to the author of our book. If the author himself made these additions to his original sources, as Hvernick supposes, or the Jehovist completed the author's list from his second document, as Knobel imagines, either the one or the other would certainly have altered the sum of the whole, as he has not proceeded in so thoughtless a manner in any other case. The only way in which this conjecture could be defended, would be by supposing, as J. D. Michaelis and others have done, that the names added were originally placed in the margin, and that these marginal glosses were afterwards interpolated by some thoughtless copyist into the text. But this conjecture is also rendered improbable by the circumstance that, in the lists of towns contained in our book, not only do other differences of the same kind occur, as in v. 36, where we find only fourteen instead of fifteen, and in Joshua 19:6, where only thirteen are given instead of fourteen, but also differences of the very opposite kind, - namely, where the gross sum given is larger than the number of names, as, for example, in Joshua 19:15, where only five names are given instead of twelve, and in Joshua 19:38, where only sixteen are given instead of nineteen, and where it can be shown that there are gaps in the text, as towns are omitted which the tribes actually received and ceded to the Levites. If we add to this the fact that there are two large gaps in our Masoretic text in Joshua 15:59-60, and Joshua 21:35, which proceed from copyists, and also that many errors occur in the numbers given in other historical books of the Old Testament, we are not warranted in tracing the differences in question to any other cause than errors in the text.)

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