Numbers 34:13
And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which you shall inherit by lot, which the LORD commanded to give to the nine tribes, and to the half tribe:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 34:13. This is the land which ye shall inherit — This is repeated, that they might not extend their desires beyond the bounds of God’s gracious grant to them. And, by the foregoing description, it appears that they were placed in a very pleasant land, sheltered from the sultry air of the deserts of Arabia by great mountains on the south, refreshed by western breezes from the Mediterranean sea, and on the north defended by mount Lebanon from the colder blasts of that quarter, and having the delightful plains of Jordan on the east.34:1-15 Canaan was of small extent; as it is here bounded, it is but about 160 miles in length, and about 50 in breadth; yet this was the country promised to the father of the faithful, and the possession of the seed of Israel. This was that little spot of ground, in which alone, for many ages, God was known. This was the vineyard of the Lord, the garden enclosed; but as it is with gardens and vineyards, the narrowness of the space was made up by the fruitfulness of the soil. Though the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, yet few know him, and serve him; but those few are happy, because fruitful to God. Also, see how little a share of the world God gives to his own people. Those who have their portion in heaven, have reason to be content with a small pittance of this earth. Yet a little that a righteous man has, having it from the love of God, and with his blessing, is far better and more comfortable than the riches of many wicked.Shepham, the first point after Hazar-enan, is unknown. The name Riblah is by some read Har-bel, i. e., "the Mountain of Bel;" the Har-baal-Hermon of Judges 3:3. No more striking landmark could be set forth than the summit of Hermon, the southernmost and by far the loftiest peak of the whole Antilibanus range, rising to a height of 10,000 feet, and overtopping every other mountain in the Holy land. Ain, i. e. the fountain, is understood to be the fountain of the Jordan; and it is in the plain at the southwestern foot of Hermon that the two most celebrated sources of that river, those of Daphne and of Paneas, are situate.

The "sea of Chinnereth" is better known by its later name of Gennesaret, which is supposed to be only a corruption of Chinnereth. The border ran parallel to this sea, along the line of hill about 10 miles further east.

13-15. The two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan—The conquered territories of Sihon and Og, lying between the Arnon and mount Hermon, were allotted to them—that of Reuben in the most southerly part, Gad north of it, and the half Manasseh in the northernmost portion. No text from Poole on this verse. And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying,.... Strictly enjoining them to observe what he was about to say to them:

this is the land which ye shall inherit by lot; as above described and bounded:

which the Lord commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half tribe; to the tribes of Judah, Simeon, Benjamin, Dan, Ephraim, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali, and the half tribe of Manasseh; though this command is not before expressed, it is very probable it was delivered to Moses at the same time he had the mind of God concerning the settlement of the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the other half tribe of Manasseh, on the other side Jordan; see Numbers 32:31.

And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot, which the LORD commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half tribe:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The northern boundary cannot be determined with certainty. "From the great sea, mark out to you (תּתאוּ, from תּאה equals תּוה, to mark or point out), i.e., fix, Mount Hor as the boundary" - from thence "to come to Hamath; and let the goings forth of the boundary be to Zedad. And the boundary shall go out to Ziphron, and its goings out be at Hazar-enan." Of all these places, Hamath, the modern Hamah, or the Epiphania of the Greeks and Romans on the Orontes (see at Numbers 13:21, and Genesis 10:18), is the only one whose situation is well known; but the geographical description of the northern boundary of the land of Israel חמת לבא (Numbers 13:21; Joshua 13:5; Judges 3:3; 1 Kings 8:65; 2 Kings 14:25; 1 Chronicles 13:5; 2 Chronicles 7:8; Amos 6:14; Ezekiel 47:15, Ezekiel 47:20; Ezekiel 48:1) is so indefinite, that the boundary line cannot be determined with exactness. For no proof can be needed in the present day that חמת לבא cannot mean "to Hamath" (Ges. thes. i. p. 185; Studer on Judges 3:3, and Baur on Amos 6:2), in such a sense as would make the town of Hamath the border town, and בּא a perfectly superfluous pleonasm. In all the passages mentioned, Hamath refers, not to the town of that name (Epiphania on the Orontes), but to the kingdom of Hamath, which was named after its capital, as is proved beyond all doubt by 2 Chronicles 8:4, where Solomon is said to have built store cities "in Hamath." The city of Hamath never belonged to the kingdom of Israel, not even under David and Solomon, and was not reconquered by Jeroboam II, as Baur supposes (see my Commentary on the Books of Kings, and Thenius on 2 Kings 14:25). How far the territory of the kingdom of Hamath extended towards the south in the time of Moses, and how much of it was conquered by Solomon (2 Chronicles 8:4), we are nowhere informed. We simply learn from 2 Kings 25:21, that Riblah (whether the same Riblah as is mentioned in Numbers 34:11 as a town upon the eastern boundary, is very doubtful) was situated in the land of Hamath in the time of the Chaldeans. Now if this Riblah has been preserved in the modern Ribleh, a miserable village on the Orontes, in the northern part of the Bekaa, ten or twelve hours' journey to the south-west of Hums, and fourteen hours to the north of Baalbek (Robinson, iii. p. 461, App. 176, and Bibl. Researches, p. 544), the land of Canaan would have reached a little farther northwards, and almost to Hums (Emesa). Knobel moves the boundary still farther to the north. He supposes Mount Hor to be Mons Casius, to the south-west of Antioch, on the Orontes, and agrees with Robinson (iii. 461) in identifying Zedad, in the large village of Zadad (Sudud in Rob.), which is inhabited exclusively by Syriac Christians, who still speak Syriac according to Seetzen (i. 32 and 279), a town containing about 3000 inhabitants (Wetstein, Reiseber. p. 88), to the south-east of Hums, on the east of the road from Damascus to Hunes, a short day's journey to the north of Nebk, and four (or, according to Van de Velde's memoir, from ten to twelve) hours' journey to the south of Hasya (Robinson, iii. p. 461; Ritter, Erdk. xvii. pp. 1443-4).

Ziphron, which was situated upon the border of the territory of Hamath and Damascus, if it is the same as the one mentioned in Ezekiel 47:16, is supposed by Knobel and Wetstein (p. 88) to be preserved in the ruins of Zifran, which in all probability have never been visited by any European, fourteen hours to the north-east of Damascus, near to the road from Palmyra. Lastly, Hazar-enan (equivalent to fountain-court) is supposed to be the station called Centum Putea (Πούτεα in Ptol. v. 15, 24), mentioned in the Tabul. Peuting. x. 3, on the road from Apamia to Palmyra, twenty-seven miles, or about eleven hours, to the north-west of Palmyra. - But we may say with certainty that all these conclusions are incorrect, because they are irreconcilable with the eastern boundary described in Numbers 34:10, Numbers 34:11. For example, according to Numbers 34:10, Numbers 34:11, the Israelites were to draw (fix) the eastern boundary "from Hazar-enan to Shepham," which, as Knobel observes, "cannot be determined with exactness, but was farther south than Hazar-enan, as it was a point on the eastern boundary which is traced here from north to south, and also farther west, as we may infer from the allusion to Riblah, probably at the northern end of Antilibanus". From Shepham the boundary was "to go down to Riblah," which Knobel finds in the Ribleh mentioned above. Now, if we endeavour to fix the situation of these places according to the latest and most trustworthy maps, the incorrectness of the conclusions referred to becomes at once apparent. From Zadad (Sudad) to Zifran, the line of the northern boundary would not have gone from west to east, but from north to south, or rather towards the south-west, and from Zifran to Centum Putea still more decidedly in a south-westerly direction. Consequently the northern boundary would have described a complete semicircle, commencing in the north-west and terminating in the south-east. But if even in itself this appears very incredible, it becomes perfectly impossible when we take the eastern boundary into consideration. For if this went down to the south-west from Hazar-enan to Shepham according to Knobel's conclusions, instead of going down (Numbers 34:11) from Shepham to Riblah, it would have gone up six or seven geographical miles from south to north, and then have gone down again from north to south along the eastern coast of the Lake of Gennesareth. Now it is impossible that Moses should have fixed such a boundary to the land of Israel on the north-east, and equally impossible that a later Hebrew, acquainted with the geography of his country, should have described it in this way.

If, in order to obtain a more accurate view of the extent of the land towards the north and north-east, we compare the statements of the book of Joshua concerning the conquered land with the districts which still remained to be taken at the time of the distribution; Joshua had taken the land "from the bald mountain which ascends towards Seir," i.e., probably the northern ridge of the Azazimeh mountains, with its white masses of chalk (Fries, ut sup. p. 76; see also at Joshua 11:17), "to Baal-Gad, in the valley of Lebanon, below Mount Hermon" (Joshua 11:17; cf. Numbers 12:7). But Baal-Gad in the valley (בּקעה) of Lebanon is not Heliopolis (now Baalbek in the Bekaa, or Coelesyria), as many, from Iken and J. D. Michaelis down to Knobel, suppose; for "the Bekaa is not under the Hermon," and "there is no proof, or even probability, that Joshua's conquests reached so far, or that Baalbek was ever regarded as the northern boundary of Palestine, nor even that the adjoining portion of Anti-Lebanon was ever called Hermon" (Robinson, Biblical Researches, p. 409). Baal-Gad, which is called Baal-Hermon in Judges 3:3 and 1 Chronicles 5:23, was the later Paneas or Caesarea Philippi, the modern Banias, at the foot of the Hermon (cf. v. Raumer, Pal. p. 245; Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 408-9, Pal. iii. pp. 347ff.). This is placed beyond all doubt by 1 Chronicles 5:23, according to which the Manassites, who were increasing in numbers, dwelt "from Bashan to Baal-hermon, and Senir, and the mountains of Hermon," since this statement proves that Baal-hermon was between Bashan and the mountains of Hermon. In harmony with this, the following places in the north of Canaan are mentioned in Joshua 13:4-5, and Judges 3:3, as being left unconquered by Joshua: - (1.) "All the land of the Canaanites (i.e., of the Phoenicians who dwelt on the coast), and the cave of the Sidonians to Aphek;" מערה, probably the spelunca inexpugnabilis in territorio Sidoniensi, quae vulgo dicitur cavea de Tyrum (Wilh. Tyr. xix. 11), the present Mughr Jezzin, i.e., caves of Jezzin, to the east of Sidon upon Lebanon (Ritter, Erdk. xvii. pp. 99, 100); and Aphek, probably the modern Afka, to the north-east of Beirut (Robinson, Bibl. Res.). (2.) "The land of the Giblites," i.e., the territory of Byblos, and "all Lebanon towards the east, from Baal-Gad below Hermon, till you come to Hamath," i.e., not Antilibanus, but Lebanon, which lies to the east of the land of the Giblites. The land of the Giblites, or territory of Gebal, which is cited here as the northernmost district of the unconquered land, so that its northern boundary must have coincided with the northern boundary of Canaan, can hardly have extended to the latitude of Tripoli, but probably only reached to the cedar grove at Bjerreh, in the neighbourhood of which the highest peaks of the Lebanon are found. The territory of the tribes of Asher and Naphtali (Joshua 19:24-39) did not reach farther up than this. From all these accounts, we must not push the northern boundary of Canaan as far as the Eleutherus, Nahr el Kebir, but must draw it farther to the south, across the northern portion of the Lebanon; so that we may look for Hazar-enan (fountain-court), which is mentioned as the end of the northern boundary, and the starting-point of the eastern, near the fountain of Lebweh. This fountain forms the water-shed in the Bekaa, between the Orontes, which flows to the north, and the Leontes, which flows to the south (cf. Robinson, Bibl. Res. p. 531), and is not only a very large fountain of the finest clear water, springing at different points from underneath a broad piece of coarse gravel, which lies to the west of a vein of limestone, but the whole of the soil is of such a character, that "you have only to dig in the gravel, to get as many springs as you please." The quantity of water which is found here is probably even greater than that at the Anjar. In addition to the four principal streams, there are three or four smaller ones (Robinson, Bibl. Res. p. 532), so that this place might be called, with perfect justice, by the name of fountain-court. The probability of this conjecture is also considerably increased by the fact, that the Ain, mentioned in Numbers 34:11 as a point upon the eastern boundary, can also be identified without any difficulty (see at Numbers 34:11).

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