And in the mountains, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Joshua 15:48. The mountains — That is, in the higher grounds, called mountains or hills, in comparison of the sea-coast.Joshua 15:61-62 on the east. The mountains, which are of limestone, rise to a height of near 3,000 feet. At present, the highlands of Judah present a somewhat dreary and monotonous aspect. The peaks are for the most part barren, though crowned almost everywhere with the ruins of ancient towns, and bearing on their sides marks of former cultivation. Many of the valleys, especially toward the south, are, however, still very productive. The towns here enumerated are given in six groups.
First group: towns on the southwest. Dannah (is identified with "Idnah" (Conder)). Jattir ("Attir"), and Eshtemoh ("Semua") were priestly cities Joshua 21:14; 1 Chronicles 6:57, and the place to which David, after routing the Amalekites, sent presents 1 Samuel 30:27-28. Socoh is "Suweikeh."
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.Luke 1:39, in which were the following cities:
Shamir: the Alexandrian copy of the Greek version reads Sophir as the name, of the first of these cities; and Jerom says (d) there was a village of this name in the mountainous parts, situated between Eleutheropolis, and Ashkelon in the tribe of Judah; see Micah 1:11,
and Jattir the same writer calls Jether, in the tribe of Judah; and says (e) there was in his time a very large village called Jethira, twenty miles from Eleutheropolis, the inhabitants of which were then all Christians: it was situated in interior Daroma, near Malatha:And in the mountains, Shamir, and Jattir, and Socoh,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
48. And in the mountains] This section treats of the Cities in the Mountains or “the Hill Country,” (see above, Joshua 15:20), and includes five groups.
Shamir] Group I. consists of eleven cities on the south-western portion of the “hill Country:”—Verse 48. - The mountains. Compare the expression, "the hill country of Judaea" (τῇ ὀρεινῇ, the same as here in the LXX.), Luke 1:65. It extends northwards from near Debir to Jerusalem, attaining at Hebron a height of about 2,700 feet. The physical characteristics of the country are vividly described in Deuteronomy 8:7, 8. Dean Stanley ('Sinai and Palestine,' p. 100) descants on the home-like character of the scenery and vegetation to an Englishman, and remarks on the contrast between the life, activity, and industry displayed there, as contrasted with the desolation of the greater part of Palestine. A later traveller, who would not, of course, be so struck with the resemblance to English scenery, speaks of the fertility of the ground as a matter of possibility, rather than of fact. The rocky soil, when broken up by the combined influences of heat, rain, and frost, is, like the soil of other rocky districts, extremely susceptible of cultivation when laid out in terraces. He remarks how the signs of ancient cultivation in this manner are to be seen on all sides, and laments the misrule which has converted the "land flowing with milk and honey" into a wilderness (see Bartlett, 'Egypt and Palestine,' ch. 19, and note on Joshua 10:40). The time has not yet come for the Jews, now asserting their ancient greatness in statesmanship, literature, and art in every country in the civilised world, to return to their own land. Not till then, it is to be feared, will the prophecy in Isaiah 35. be fulfilled, and "the desert rejoice, and the wilderness blossom as the rose, while waters break out in the wilderness and streams in the desert, the parched ground becoming a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water."
Libnah: see at Joshua 10:29. Ether and Ashan, which were afterwards given to the Simeonites (Joshua 19:7), and are probably to be sought for on the border of the Negeb, have not yet been discovered. The conjecture that Ether is connected with the ruins of Attrah (Rob. iii. App.) in the province of Gaza, is a very uncertain one. Ashan, probably the same as Kor-ashan (1 Samuel 30:30), became a priests' city afterwards (1 Chronicles 6:44; see at Joshua 21:16).
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