Joshua 15:36
And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages:
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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.

Object. There are fifteen numbered.

Answ. Either one of them was no city strictly called; or

Gederah and

Gederothaim is put for Gederah or Gederothaim, so called, possibly, because the city was double, as there want not instances of one city divided into two parts, called the old and the new city. So the conjunction and is put for the disjunctive or, whereof examples have been given before. And Sharaim,.... Sharaim seems to be the Saara of Jerom, which he describes as a village on the borders of Eleutheropolis, to the north as you go to Nicopolis (or Emmaus), about ten miles from it in the tribe of Dan or Judah (o); there was a place called Bethshaaraim, where the sanhedrim sometimes sat (p), and where R. Judah was buried (q). This seems to be the same with Shaaraim in 1 Samuel 17:52,

and Adithaim; Jerom observes (r), under the word "Adithaim", that there is a village called Adia, near Gaza, and another Aditha, near Diospolis (or Lydda), to the east:

and Gederah, which seems to be the same Jerom calls Gaddera, in the tribe of Judah (s), now, he says, called a village belonging to the country of Aelia (or Jerusalem), by the name of Gadera, about the turpentine tree.

and Gederothaim, of which we nowhere else read; Kimchi thinks Gederah and Gederothaim were one city:

fourteen cities with their villages; but, upon counting them, it will appear there are fifteen, which may be reduced to fourteen, if with Kimchi we take the two last to be but one, who in this way reconciles it; or with Jarchi make Tappuah and Enam to be one also, called Entappuah, which is the way he takes to solve the difficulty; but perhaps the case is this, that one of the places in the account was not a city, but a village.

(o) Ut supra. (De loc. Heb. fol. 88. E.) (p) T. Bab. Roshhashauah, fol. 31. 2.((q) Gloss. in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 47. 1.((r) Ut supra, (De loc. Heb.) fol. 88. F. (s) De loc. Heb. fol. 92. B.

And Sharaim, and Adithaim, and Gederah, and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages:
36. fourteen cities] The LXX. omits Gederothaim, which makes fourteen instead of fifteen cities.Eltolad, which was given to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:4), and is called Tolad (without the Arabic article) in 1 Chronicles 4:29, has not been discovered. Chesil, for which the lxx have Βαιθήλ, is probably, as Reland supposes, simply another name, or as Knobel suggests a corrupt reading for, Bethul or Bethuel, which is mentioned in Joshua 19:4 and 1 Chronicles 4:30, between Eltolad and Hormah, as a town of the Simeonites, and the same place as Beth-el in 1 Samuel 30:27. As this name points to the seat of some ancient sanctuary, and there was an idol called Khalasa worshipped by the Arabs before the time of Mohamet, and also because Jerome observes (vita Hilar. c. 25) that there was a temple of Venus at Elusa, in which the Saracens worshipped Lucifer (see Tuch, Deutsch. Morgenl. Ztschr. iii. pp. 194ff.), Knobel supposes Bethul (Chesil) to be Elusa, a considerable collection of ruins five hours and a half to the south of Beersheba (see Rob. i. p. 296): assuming first of all that the name el Khulasa, as the Arabs called this place, was derived from the Mahometan idol already referred to; and secondly, that the Saracen Lucifer mentioned by Jerome was the very same idol whose image and temple Janhari and Kamus call el Khalasa. Hormah: i.e., Zephoth, the present Sepata (see at Joshua 12:14). Ziklag, which was assigned to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:5; 1 Chronicles 4:30), burnt down by the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:1.), and still inhabited after the captivity (Nehemiah 11:28), is supposed by Rowland to be the ancient place called Asluj or Kasluj, a few hours to the east of Zepata, with which Knobel, however, in a most remarkable manner, identifies the Asluj to the south-west of Milh on the road to Abdeh, which is more than thirty-five miles distant (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 621). Both places are too far to the south and east to suit Ziklag, which is to be sought for much farther west. So far as the situation is concerned, the ruins of Tell Sheriah or Tell Mellala, one of which is supposed by V. de Velde to contain the relics of Ziklag, would suit much better; or even, as Ritter supposes (Erdk. xvi. pp. 132-3), Tell el Hasy, which is half an hour to the south-west of Ajlan, and in which Felix Fabri found the ruins of a castle and of an ancient town, in fact of the ancient Ziklag, though Robinson (i. pp. 389ff.) could discover nothing that indicted in any way the existence of a town or building of any kind. Madmannah and Sansannah cannot be traced with any certainty. Madmannah, which is confounded in the Onom. (s. v. Medemena) with Madmena, a place to the north of Jerusalem mentioned in Isaiah 10:31, though elsewhere it is correctly described as Menois oppidum juxta civitatem Gazam, has probably been preserved in the present Miniay or Minieh, to the south of Gaza. Sansannah, Knobel compares with the Wady Suni, mentioned by Robinson (i. p. 299), to the south of Gaza, which possibly received its name from some town in the neighbourhood. But in the place of them we find Beth-marcaboth (i.e., carriage-house) and Hazar-susa (i.e., horse-court) mentioned in Joshua 19:5 and 1 Chronicles 4:31 among the towns of the Simeonites, which Reland very properly regards as the same as Madmannah and Sansannah, since it is very evident from the meaning of the former names that they were simply secondary names, which were given to them as stations for carriages and horses.
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