Joshua 19:29
And then the coast turneth to Ramah, and to the strong city Tyre; and the coast turneth to Hosah; and the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to Achzib:
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Joshua 19:29-30. To Ramah — From the north southward. To the strong city of Tyre — This translation is questionable; for we never read one word of the city of Tyre (unless it be here) until the days of David; though we often read of Sidon in the books of Moses; even in the prophecy of Jacob. It is highly probable some other place is meant by Tzor, as the word is in the Hebrew. And the out-goings thereof, &c. — That is, it ended at the country which belonged to Achzib; for so hebel, which we here translate coast, signifies. Twenty-two cities — Here are more named, but some of them were not within this tribe, but only bordering places.

19:17-51 Joshua waited till all the tribes were settled, before he asked any provision for himself. He was content to be unfixed, till he saw them all placed, and herein is an example to all in public places, to prefer the common welfare before private advantage. Those who labour most to do good to others, seek an inheritance in the Canaan above: but it will be soon enough to enter thereon, when they have done all the service to their brethren of which they are capable. Nor can any thing more effectually assure them of their title to it, than endeavouring to bring others to desire, to seek, and to obtain it. Our Lord Jesus came and dwelt on earth, not in pomp but poverty, providing rest for man, yet himself not having where to lay his head; for Christ pleased not himself. Nor would he enter upon his inheritance, till by his obedience to death he secured the eternal inheritance for all his people; nor will he account his own glory completed, till every ransomed sinner is put in possession of his heavenly rest.These verses refer to the northern portion of the territory of Asher, on the Phoenician frontier. Some names may have dropped out of the text, the number Joshua 19:30 not tallying with the catalogue. Ramah still retains its ancient name, and lies about twelve miles southeast of Tyre. Achzib is the modern "Zib," on the coast, eight or nine miles north of Acre. 29. and then the coast turneth to Ramah—now El-Hamra, which stood where the Leontes (Litany) ends its southern course and flows westward.

and to the strong city Tyre—The original city appears to have stood on the mainland, and was well-fortified. From Tyre the boundary ran to Hosah, an inland town; and then, passing the unconquered district of Achzib (Jud 1:31), terminated at the seacoast.

The coast turneth from the north southward.

To the strong city Tyre; exclusively, for this city was no part of the land given them.

And then the coast turneth to Ramah,.... Which was a city in the tribe of Naphtali, Joshua 19:36; and on the borders of Asher; though Jerom (y) distinguishes them, and speaks of a Ramah in Asher, and another in Naphtali, as different cities of the same name; as there were several of this name, so called from their being built on an eminence. Masius conjectures it is the same with Sarepta, Luke 4:26; famous for its wine; and Bacchus, as the poet says, loves the hills:

and to the strong city Tyre; it is thought this is not to be understood of the famous city, so much spoken of in other parts of Scripture, and in profane history; since, as it is observed, that is not mentioned in Scripture until the times of David; and though Homer makes frequent mention of Sidon, yet never of Tyre. The words signify the strong fortress of a rock, or a fortress on a high rock; so Kimchi and Ben Melech; and it might be a fortified city, which being built on a rock, might have the name of Zor or Tyre, and not be the famous city of that name. Jerom (z) renders it the fortified city of the Assyrians:

and the coast turneth to Hosah; of which we nowhere else read:

and the outgoings thereof are at the sea; the Mediterranean sea; where the coast ended this way:

from the coast to Achzib; this Jerom (a) says is Ecdippa, nine miles from Ptolemais, as you go to Tyre; and this is confirmed by a learned traveller of our own nation (b); it is now called Zib; See Gill on Micah 1:14.

(y) De loc. Heb. fol. 94. B. (z) De loc. Heb. fol. 94. B. (a) Ibid. fol. 88. I.((b) Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 53.

And then the coast turneth to Ramah, and to the strong city {g} Tyre; and the coast turneth to Hosah; and the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to Achzib:

(g) Which was Zoar, a strong city at the sea.

29. and then the coast turneth to Ramah] Having reached Zidon by Kanah, the boundary bent southward by Ramah, and so turned to the “strong,” or “fortified city” of Tyre. Robinson would identify Ramah with Rameh, south-east of Tyre, on a solitary hill in the midst of a basin of green fields, and surrounded by greater heights (Bib. Res. iii. 63).

the strong city Tyre] “The most strengthened citie Tyruns” (Wyclif) here alluded to is not the island of Tyre, but the city standing on the mainland, now Sûr.

turneth to Hosah] From Tyre the border turned toward Hosah, the site of which is unknown, and finally ran towards the sea in the region of Achzib, the modern es-Zib, on the sea-shore, little more than two hours from Acre. The Canaanites, we are told (Jdg 1:31), were afterwards not expelled from it by the tribe of Asher, and in classical times it was known as Ecdippa. It is to be noted that both the fortified city Tyre and great Zidon were included in Asher’s inheritance, but no effort was made by the Israelites to obtain possession of these Phœnician cities.

Verse 29. - The strong city Tyre. Rather, the fortified city. The general impression among commentators appears to be that the island city of Tyre, afterwards so famous, had not as yet come into existence. And the word here used, מִבְצַר seems to be more in accordance with the idea of a land fortress than of one so exceptionally protected as an island fortress would be. This expression, like "great Zidon" above, implies the comparative antiquity of the Book of Joshua. The island city of Tyre, so famous in later history, was not yet founded. The city on the mainland (called Ancient Tyre by the historians) was "the chief seat of the population till the wars of the Assyrian monarchs against Phoenicia" (Kenrick, 'Phoenicia,' p. 344). He adds, "The situation of Palae-Tyrus was one of the most fertile spots on the coast of Phoenicia. The plain, is here about five miles wide; the soft is dark, and the variety of its productions excited the wonder of the Crusaders." William of Tyre, the historian of the Crusades, tells us that, although the territory was scanty in extent, "exiguitatem suam multa redimit ubertate." The position of Tyre, as a city of vast commercial importance and artistic skill in the time of David and Solomon, is clear enough from the sacred records. It appears still (2 Samuel 24:6, 7) to have been on the mainland, for the successors of Rameses II., up to the time of Sheshonk, or Shishak, were unwarlike monarchs, and the Assyrian power had not yet attained its subsequent formidable dimensions. We meet with Eth-baal, or Itho-baal, in later Scripture history, remarkable as the murderer of the last of Hiram's descendants, and the father of the infamous Jezebel, from which we may conclude that a great moral and therefore political declension had taken place since the days of Hiram. The later history of Tyre may be inferred from the prophetic denunciations, intermingled with descriptive passages, found in Isaiah 23, and Ezekiel 26, 27; Joel (Joel 3:3-8) and Amos (Amos 1:9) had previously complained of the way in which the children of Israel had become the merchandise of Tyre, and had threatened the vengeance of God. But the minute and powerful description in Ezekiel 27, shows that Tyre was still great and prosperous. She was strong enough to resist the attacks of successive Assyrian monarchs. Shalmaneser's victorious expedition (so Alexander tells us) was driven back from the island fortress of Tyre. Sennacherib, in his vainglorious boast of the cities he has conquered (Isaiah 36, 37.), makes no mention of Tyre. Even Nebuchadnezzar, though he took and destroyed Palae-Tyrus, appears to have been baffled in his attempt to reduce the island city. Shorn of much of its ancient glory, Tyre still remained powerful, and only succumbed, after a resistance of seven months, to the splendid military genius of Alexander the Great. But Alexander refounded Tyre, and its position and its commercial reputation secured for it a large part of its former importance. The city continued to flourish, even though Phoenicia was for a long period the battleground between the Syrian and the Egyptian monarchies. To Christian readers, the description by Eusebius of the splendid church erected at Tyre by its Bishop Paulinus will have an interest. He describes it as by far the finest in all Phoenicia, and appends the sermon he preached on the occasion. Even in the fourth century after Christ, St. Jerome ('Comm. ad Ezekiel,' 26:7.) wonders why the prophecy concerning Tyre has never been fulfilled. "Quod sequitur, 'nee aedificaberis ultra,' videtur facere quaestionem quomodo non sit aedificata, quam hodie cernimus nobilissimam et pulcherrimam civitatem." But the present state of Tyre warns us not to be too hasty in pronouncing any Scripture prophecy to have failed. Even Sidon is not the wretched collection of huts and ruined columns which is all that remains of the once proud city Tyre. And the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to Achzib. Rather, and the western extremity is from Hebel to Achzib. Hebel signifies a region or possession, as in ver. 9. Here, however, it seems to be a proper name. Achzib. "A city of Asher, not conquered by that tribe (Judges 1:31), now the village of Zib, two-and-a-half hours north of Akka," or Acre (Vandevelde). Keil and Delitzsch make the journey a three hours' one. But Manndrell, who also corroborates St. Jerome in the distance (nine Roman miles), states that he performed the journey hence to Acre in two hours. Joshua 19:29"And the boundary turned (probably from the territory of Sidon) to Ramah, to the fortified town of Zor." Robinson supposes that Rama is to be found in the village of Rameh, on the south-east of Tyre, where several ancient sarcophagi are to be seen (Bibl. Res. p. 63). "The fortified town of Zor," i.e., Tyre, is not the insular Tyre, but the town of Tyre, which was on the mainland, the present Sur, which is situated by the sea-coast, in a beautiful and fertile plain (see Ritter, Erdk. xvii. p. 320, and Movers, Phnizier, ii. 1, pp. 118ff.). "And the boundary turned to Hosah, and the outgoings thereof were at the sea, by the side of the district of Achzib." Hosah is unknown, as the situation of Kausah, near to the Rameh already mentioned (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 61), does not suit in this connection. מחבל, lit. from the district, i.e., by the side of it. Achzib, where the Asherites dwelt with the Canaanites (Judges 1:31-32), is the Ekdippa of the Greeks and Romans, according to the Onom. (s. v. Achziph) nine Roman miles, or according to the Itiner. Hieros. p. 584, twelve miles to the north of Acco by the sea, the present Zib, a very large village, three good hours to the north of Acre, - a place on the sea-coast, with considerable ruins of antiquity (see Ges. Thes. p. 674; Seetzen, ii. p. 109; Ritter, xvi. pp. 811-12). - In Joshua 19:30 three separate towns are mentioned, which were probably situated in the eastern part of the northern district of Asher, whereas the border towns mentioned in Joshua 19:28 and Joshua 19:29 describe this district in its western half. Ummah (lxx Ἀμμά) may perhaps have been preserved in Kefr Ammeih, upon the Lebanon, to the south of Hammana, in the district of Jurd (Rob. iii. App.; Ritter, xvii. p. 710). Aphek is the present Afka (see at Joshua 13:4). Rehob cannot be traced with certainty. If it is Hub, as Knobel supposes, and the name Hub, which is borne by a Maronite monastery upon Lebanon, in the diocese of el-Jebail (to the north-east of Jebail), is a corruption of Rehob, this would be the northernmost town of Asher (see Seetzen, i. pp. 187ff., and Ritter, xvii. p. 791). The number "twenty-two towns and their villages" does not tally, as there are twenty-three towns mentioned in Joshua 19:26-30, if we include Sidon, Tyre, and Achzib, according to Judges 1:31-32. The only way in which the numbers can be made to agree is to reckon Nehiel (Joshua 19:27) as identical with Neah (Joshua 19:13). But this point cannot be determined with certainty, as the Asherites received other towns, such as Acco and Aclaph, which are wanting in this list, and may possibly have simply fallen out.
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