Joshua 19:38
And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(38) Migdal-el and Horem are identified as Kh.-Mujeidil and Hârah on sheet 2, further north again; and Beth-anath as ‘Ainatha (sheet 4).

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.The number of the fortified cities of Naphtali is remarkable, though it does not tally with the catalogue. It was no doubt good policy to protect the northern frontier by a belt of fortresses, as the south was protected by the fenced cities of Judah. Hammath, a Levitical city (compare Joshua 21:32; 1 Chronicles 6:76), is not to be confounded with the Hamath on the northeastern frontier of the land Numbers 13:21. The name (from a root signifying "to be warm") probably indicates that hot springs existed here; and is perhaps rightly traced in Ammaus, near Tiberias. Rakkath was, according to the rabbis, rebuilt by Herod and called Tiberias. The name ("bank, shore") suits the site of Tiberias very well. Migdal-el, perhaps the Magdala of Matthew 15:39, is now the miserable village of "El Mejdel." 34. Aznoth-tabor—on the east of Tabor towards the Jordan, for the border ran thence to Hukkok, touching upon that of Zebulun; and as the territory of Zebulun did not extend as far as the Jordan, Aznoth-tabor and Hukkok must have been border towns on the line which separated Naphtali from Issachar.

to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising—The sixty cities, Havoth-jair, which were on the eastern side of the Jordan, opposite Naphtali, were reckoned as belonging to Judah, because Jair, their possessor, was a descendant of Judah (1Ch 2:4-22) [Keil].

Nineteen cities: See Poole "Joshua 19:15", See Poole "Joshua 19:22", See Poole "Joshua 19:30".

And Iron,.... Of Iron no mention is made elsewhere:

and Migdalel, which Jerom calls Magdiel, he says (m) was shown a small village, five miles from Dara, as you go to Ptolemais:

and Horem is not mentioned anywhere elsewhere;

and Bethanath; Jerom also relates (n), that Bathana, in the tribe of Naphtali, was a village that went by the name of Betbanes, fifteen miles from Caesarea:

and Bethshemesh was another city, in which was a temple dedicated to the sun, when inhabited by the Canaanites; see Joshua 19:22; and so in Bethanath there might be a temple dedicated to some deity, though now uncertain what:

nineteen cities with their villages; there are more mentioned, but some of them might be only boundaries, and so belonged to another tribe.

(m) De loc. Heb. fol. 93. L. (n) Ibid. fol. 89. H.

And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
38. Iron] has not been identified. Migdal-el has been by some supposed to be the Magdala of Matthew 15:39, the place of which is now occupied by a miserable collection of hovels known as el-Mejdel, on the western side of the Lake of Gennesareth, and at the S. E. corner of the plain. Neither Horem, Beth-anath, nor Beth-shemesh has at present been identified.

Verse 38. - Migdal-el. The Magdala of the New Testament. It lay on the lake of Gennesareth. Beth-shemesh. A common name, derived from the worship of the sun. This is neither Beth-shemesh of Judah nor of Issachar (see ver. 22). Joshua 19:38Jireon (Iron) is probably the present village of Jarn, an hour to the south-east of Bint-Jebeil, with the ruins of an ancient Christian church (Seetzen, ii. pp. 123-4; Van de Velde, R. i. p. 133). Migdal-el, so far as the name is concerned, might be Magdala (Matthew 15:39), on the western shore of the Lake of Gennesareth, between Capernaum and Tiberias (Rob. iii. pp. 279ff.); the only difficulty is, that the towns upon this lake have already been mentioned in Joshua 19:35. Knobel connects Migdal-el with Chorem, so as to form one name, and finds Migdal el Chorem in the present Mejdel Kerum, on the west of Rameh (Seetzen, ii. p. 130; Van de Velde, i. p. 215), a common Mahometan village. But there is nothing to favour this combination, except the similarity in sound between the two names; whereas it has against it not only the situation of the village, which was so far to the west, being not more than three hours from Acca, that the territory of Naphtali can hardly have reached so far, but also the very small resemblance between Chorem and Kerum, not to mention the fact that the accents separate Chorem from Migdal-el, whilst the omission of the copula (vav) before Chorem cannot have any weight, as the copula is also wanting before Zer and Rakkath. Chorem and Beth-anath have not yet been discovered. From the latter place Naphtali was unable to expel the Canaanites (Judges 1:33). Beth-shemesh, a different place from the town of the same name in Issachar (Joshua 19:22), is also still unknown. The total number of towns is given as nineteen, whereas only sixteen are mentioned by name. It is hardly correct to seek for the missing places among the border towns mentioned in Joshua 19:33 and Joshua 19:34, as the enumeration of the towns themselves is introduced by מבצר וערי in Joshua 19:35, and in this way the list of towns is separated from the description of the boundaries. To this we may add, that the town of Karthan or Kirjathaim, which Naphtali gave up to the Levites (Joshua 21:32; 1 Chronicles 6:61), does not occur either among the border towns or in the list of towns, from which we may see that the list of towns is an imperfect one.
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