Joshua 19:6
And Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages:
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19:1-9 The men of Judah did not oppose taking away the cities within their border, when convinced that they had more than was right. If a true believer has obtained an unintended and improper advantage in any thing, he will give it up without murmuring. Love seeketh not her own, and doth not behave unseemly; it will induce those in whom it richly dwells, to part with their own to supply what is lacking to their brethren.Thirteen - Fourteen names have been given. The error is probably due to the use of letters for numbers, which has led to many similar mistakes in other places (see Joshua 15:32). CHAPTER 19

Jos 19:1-9. The Lot of Simeon.

1. the second lot came forth to Simeon—The next lot that was drawn at Shiloh, gave the tribe of Simeon his inheritance within the territory, which had been assigned to that of Judah. The knowledge of Canaan possessed by the Israelites, when the division of the land commenced, was but very general, being derived from the rapid sweep they had made over it during the course of conquest; and it was on the ground of that rough survey alone that the distribution proceeded, by which Judah received an inheritance. Time showed that this territory was too large (Jos 19:9), either for their numbers, however great, to occupy and their arms to defend, or too large in proportion to the allotments of the other tribes. Justice therefore required (what kind and brotherly feeling readily dictated) a modification of their possession; and a part of it was appropriated to Simeon. By thus establishing it within the original domain of another tribe, the prophecy of Jacob in regard to Simeon was fulfilled (Ge 49:7); for from its boundaries being not traced, there is reason to conclude that its people were divided and dispersed among those of Judah; and though one group of its cities named (Jos 19:2-6), gives the idea of a compact district, as it is usually represented by map makers, the other group (Jos 19:7, 8) were situated, two in the south, and two elsewhere, with tracts of the country around them.

Thirteen cities, or, towns, as some of them are called. 1 Chronicles 4:32. Nor are all Simeon’s cities here numbered, for Etam is added, 1 Chronicles 4:32, unless that were built afterward. And Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen,.... Whether the first is the same with Lebaoth, a city of Judah, Joshua 15:32; and with the Bethleptepha of Josephus (b), and the Betholene of Pliny (c), is not certain: in this place secret to have been an idol temple of the Canaanites, dedicated to lions, as in Egypt there was a city called Leontopolis, from whence was the Leontopolitan nome, the inhabitants of which worshipped lions (d); and the Egyptians had temples dedicated to them, as Aelianus (e) relates. Both these places are thought to be the same with Bethbirei and Shaaraim in 1 Chronicles 4:31; of the latter of which see Joshua 15:36. Those who take Sheba, Joshua 19:2, to be the same with Shema, Joshua 15:26, make but one city here, and take away the last, as the Greek version does, and render the word "and their fields", and so the number still is as follows:

thirteen cities and their villages; the sum total of those enumerated above.

(b) De Jud. Bell. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 1.((c) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 14. (d) Strabo. Geograph. l. 17. p. 559. (e) De Animal. l. 12. c. 7.

And Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages:
6. 12. Beth-lebaoth] contrasted with Lebaoth above, Joshua 15:32, is called Beth-birei in 1 Chronicles 4:31; 1 Chronicles 13. Sharuhen = Shilhim in Joshua 15:32 = Shaaraim, 1 Chronicles 4:31.Zelah, the burial-place of Saul and his family (2 Samuel 21:14), is otherwise unknown. Gibeath or Gibeah, i.e., Gibeah of Benjamin, which was destroyed by the other tribes of Israel in the time of the judges, on account of the flagrant crime which had been committed there (Judges 19-20), is also called Gibeah of Saul, as being the home and capital of Saul (1 Samuel 10:26; 1 Samuel 11:4, etc.), and was situated, according to Judges 19:13 and Isaiah 10:29, between Jerusalem and Ramah, according to Josephus (Bell. Jud. v. 2, 1, 8) about twenty or thirty stadia from Jerusalem. These statements point to the Tell or Tuleil el Phul, i.e., bean-mountain, a conical peak about an hour from Jerusalem, on the road to er-Rm, with a large heap of stones upon the top, probably the ruins of a town that was built of unhewn stones, from which there is a very extensive prospect in all directions (Rob. ii. p. 317). Consequently modern writers have very naturally agreed in the conclusion, that the ancient Gibeah of Benjamin or Saul was situated either by the side of or upon this Tell (see Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 286; Strauss, Sinai, etc., p. 331, ed. 6; v. Raumer, Pal. p. 196). Kirjath has not yet been discovered, and must not be confounded with Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 18:14; cf. Joshua 15:60).
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