Joshua 15:33
And in the valley, Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah,
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(33) In the valleyi.e., the Shephêlah, or plain of the coast. Of the fourteen that follow in Joshua 15:33-36, Conder identifies ten.

Eshtaol, and Zoreah, were afterwards assigned to Dan (Joshua 19:41).

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."The valley" or the Shephelah, is bounded on the south by the Negeb, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the north by the plain of Sharon, on the east by "the mountains" Joshua 15:48. It is a well-defined district, of an undulating surface and highly fertile character, thickly dotted, even at the present time, with villages, which are for the most part situated on the different hills. The towns in this district, like those in the Negeb, are classed in four groups.

Joshua 15:33-36

First group of fourteen towns: these belong to the northeastern portion of the Shephelah. Eshtaol and Zoreah were afterward assigned to the tribe of Dan, and inhabited by Danites Judges 13:25; Judges 18:2, Judges 18:8,Judges 18:11. The latter place was the home of Samson Judges 13:2. It was one of the cities fortified by Rehoboam 2 Chronicles 11:10, and was re-occupied by the Jews after the captivity Nehemiah 11:29. It is probably the modern Surah. (Eshtaol has been identified with Eshua (Conder)). Both places were in later times partly populated by Judahites from Kirjath-jearim; perhaps after the departure of the colony of Danites for Dan-Laish. Zanoah is the present "Zanna", not far from Surah. Socoh is the modern "Shuweikah". Sharaim is perhaps to be sought in the modern "Zakariya". Gederah ("wall" or "fortress") was a name borne with various terminations by several places.

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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And in the valley,.... In Joshua 15:33 are enumerated the several cities belonging to the tribe of Judah which lay in the valley. Jerom (f) says, that now all the plain and champaign country near Eleutheropolis, which verges to the north and west, is called "Sephela", or the valley:

Eshtaol; the two first of these seem to be given afterwards to the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:41; between these two places Samson was born and buried, Judges 13:2; they were both at the same distance from Eleutheropolis, according to Jerom; of Eshtaol he says (g), it is showed to this day ten miles from Eleutheropolis, to the north, as you go to Nicopolis or Emmaus:

and Zoreah, of which he calls Saara, he says (h) it is a village on the borders of Eleutheropolis, as you go to Nicopolis, about ten miles of it in the tribe of Dan or Judah:

and Ashnah, of which no mention is made elsewhere; there was another place of the same name, but different from this, Joshua 15:43.

(f) De. loc. Heb. fol. 94. M. (g) Ibid. fol. 91. C. (h) lbid. fol. 94. I.

And in the valley, Eshtaol, and Zoreah, and Ashnah,
33–47. Cities in the Lowland

33. in the valley] i.e. the Lowland. See above, Joshua 15:20, and also Joshua 10:40; Joshua 11:16. The places mentioned are arranged in four groups. The first of these lies in the north-eastern portion of the Shephêlah:—

Group I. 1. Eshtaol = Yeshû’a; 2. Zoreah = Sûrah, the residence of Manoah (Jdg 13:2; Jdg 13:25) and the native place of Samson. It lay close to Eshtaol. Here Samson spent his boyhood, and to a spot between the two places his dead body was brought after his last great exploit (Jdg 13:25; Jdg 16:31); 3. Ashnah, unknown; 4. Zanoah now Zântû’a; 5. En-gannim, and 6. Tappuah are unknown; 7. Enam is mentioned Genesis 38:14; Genesis 38:21; Genesis 8. Jarmuth (Yarmuk), a Canaanitish capital, see above Joshua 15:35; Joshua 9. Adullam, see above Joshua 15:35; Joshua 10. Socoh, now Shuweikeh; 11. Azekah (see above, Joshua 10:10), the beautiful vale, “the valley of Elah,” between it and Socoh, was celebrated for the combat between David and Goliath; 12. Sharaim, see 1 Samuel 17:52; 1 Samuel 13. Adithaim, site unknown; 14. Gederah, with the article, properly = “the wall,” undiscovered; 15. Gederothaim, unknown.

Verse 33. The valley. בְַּשפֵלָה (see note on Joshua 9:1; 10:40). This was the fertile part of Judah, and formed a part of the rich plain which has been described as extending northward as far as Carmel. It was "renowned for the beauty of its flowers" (Delitzsch). With the exception of Zorah and Eshtaol, border towns to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:41; Judges 13:25), famous in the history of Samson (see Judges 13-16.), and mentioned in 2 Chronicles 11:10; Nehemiah 11:29, the cities remarkable in history have been noticed already. It is worthy of remark that the cities of the Philistines were included in this list. But the Philistines, save during the reigns of David and Solomon, retained their independence, and in earlier and later times alike even encroached upon the Jewish territory (see 1 Samuel 13:5; 2 Chronicles 28:18; and note on ver. 11). Joshua 15:33Towns in the lowland or shephelah. - The lowland (shephelah), which is generally rendered ἡ πεδινή in the Sept., rarely τὸ πεδιόν (Deuteronomy 1:7), but which is transferred as a proper name ἡ Σεφηλά in Obadiah 1:19; Jeremiah 32:44; Jeremiah 33:13, as well as in 1 Macc. 12:38, where even Luther has Sephela, is the name given to the land between the mountains of Judah and the Mediterranean Sea, - a broad plain of undulating appearance, intersected by heights and low ranges of hills, with fertile soil, in which corn fields alternate with meadows, gardens, and extensive olive groves. It is still tolerably well cultivated, and is covered with villages, which are situated for the most part upon the different hills. Towards the south, the shephelah was bounded by the Negeb _(Joshua 15:21); on the north, it reached to Ramleh and Lydda, or Diospolis, where the plain of Sharon began, - a plain which extended as far as Carmel, and was renowned for the beauty of its flowers. Towards the east the hills multiply and shape themselves into a hilly landscape, which forms the intermediate link between the mountains and the plain, and which is distinguished from the shephelah itself, in Joshua 10:40 and Joshua 12:8, under the name of Ashedoth, or slopes, whereas here it is reckoned as forming part of the shephelah. This hilly tract is more thickly studded with villages than even the actual plain (See Rob. Pal. ii. p. 363, and iii. p. 29.) The towns in the shephelah are divided into four groups.

Joshua 15:33-36

The first group contains the towns in the northern part of the hilly region or slopes, which are reckoned as forming part of the lowland: in all, fourteen towns. The most northerly part of this district was given up to the tribe of Dan on the second division (Joshua 19:41.). Eshtaol and Zoreah, which were assigned to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:41), and were partly inhabited by Danites (Judges 13:25; Judges 18:2, Judges 18:8,Judges 18:11) and partly by families of Judah, who had gone out from Kirjath-jearim (1 Chronicles 1:53; 1 Chronicles 4:2), probably after the removal of the 600 Danites to Laish-Dan (Joshua 19:47; Judges 18:1), were situated, according to the Onom. (s. v. Esthaul and Saara), ten Roman miles to the north of Eleutheropolis, on the road to Nicopolis. Zoreah, the home of Samson, who was buried between Zoreah and Eshtaol (Judges 13:2; Judges 16:31), was fortified by Rehoboam, and still inhabited by Judaeans after the captivity (2 Chronicles 11:10; Nehemiah 11:29); it has been preserved in the ruins of Sur, at the south-western end of the mountain range which bounds the Wady es Surar on the north (Rob. ii. p. 341, and Bibl. Res. p. 153). Eshtaol has probably been preserved in Um Eshteiyeh, to the south-west (Rob. ii. p. 342). Ashnah is possibly to be read Ashvah, according to the lxx, Cod. Vat. (Ἄσσα). In that case it might resemble a town on the east of Zorea (Tobler, p. 180), as Knobel supposes.

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