Numbers 34:4
And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea, and shall go on to Hazaraddar, and pass on to Azmon:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) And your border shall turn from the south . . . —Better, And your border shall turn on (or, to) the south side of the ascent of Akrabbim, and shall pass over to Zin; and the goings forth thereof shall be on the south of Kadesh-barnea. The meaning appears to be that the boundary line was to go in a south-westerly direction from the southern point (or, tongue) of the Dead Sea, as far as the height (or, ascent) of Akrabbim; and was to be continued from this point in a westerly direction as far as Kadesh-barnea, which was at the western extremity of the desert of Zin, and was to be included within the Israelitish territory. What is here called the height of Akrabbim is supposed to be a row of white cliffs, which run obliquely across the Arabah, at a distance of about eight miles from the Dead Sea. (Comp. Joshua 15:3-4.)

Numbers 34:4-6. From the south to Kadesh-barnea — Rather, shall extend on the south to Kadesh-barnea westward. Unto the river of Egypt — That is, the Nile. Not that the Jews did really extend their territories so far as the Nile; but thus far they were allowed to extend them. The goings out of it shall be at the sea — The Midland or Mediterranean sea, called the sea, emphatically, and (Numbers 34:6,) the great sea, in opposition to the sea of Galilee, and the Dead sea, which are indeed but lakes. This midland sea was to be their western border.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.The southern boundary commenced at the Dead Sea. The broad and desolate valley by which the depressed bed of that sea is protected toward the south, is called the Ghor. A deep narrow glen enters it at its southwest corner; it is called Wady-el-Fikreh, and is continued in the same southwestern direction, under the name of Wady el-Marrah; a wady which loses itself among the hills belonging to "the wilderness of Zin;" and Kadesh-barnea (see Numbers 13:26 note), which is "in the wilderness of Zin," will be, as the text implies, the southernmost point of the southern boundary. Thence, if Kadesh be identical with the present Ain el-Weibeh, westward to the river, or brook of Egypt, now Wady el-Arish, is a distance of about seventy miles. In this interval were Hazar-addar and Azmon; the former being perhaps the general name of a district of Hazerim, or nomad hamlets (see Deuteronomy 2:23), of which Adder was one: and Azmon, perhaps to be identified with Kesam, the modern Kasaimeh, a group of springs situate in the north of one of the gaps in the ridge, and a short distance west of Ain el-Kudeirat.

(Others consider the boundary line to have followed the Ghor along the Arabah to the south of the Azazimeh mountains, thence to Gadis round the southeast of that mountain, and thence to Wady el-Arish.)

3-5. your south quarter—The line which bounded it on the south is the most difficult to trace. According to the best biblical geographers, the leading points here defined are as follows: The southwest angle of the southern boundary should be where the wilderness of Zin touches the border of Edom, so that the southern boundary should extend eastward from the extremity of the Dead Sea, wind around the precipitous ridge of Akrabbim ("scorpions"), thought to be the high and difficult Pass of Safeh, which crosses the stream that flows from the south into the Jordan—that is, the great valley of the Arabah, reaching from the Dead to the Red Sea. Akrabbim, called Maaleh-acrabbim, Joshua 15:3, which was at the south end of the Salt or Dead Sea.

From the south, or, on the south, i.e. proceeding onward towards the south.

Kadesh-barnea was on the southern part of Canaan, Numbers 13:17.

Hazar-addar, in Joshua 15:3, may seem distinguished into two places, Hezron and Adar, which here are united, because peradventure they were contiguous, or joined together. Or, the village of Addar; and so this is the same place called Adar, Joshua 15:3; and for Hezron, that may be another place here omitted, and there supplied for more exactness. Azmon is at the west end of the Mount of Edom. And your border,.... That is, the south border, which is still describing:

shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim; or Maalehacrabbim, as in Joshua 15:3 so called from the multitude of serpents and scorpions in it, see Deuteronomy 8:15, so Kimchi says (k), a place of serpents and scorpions was this ascent: Dr. Shaw (l) says Akrabbim may probably be the same with the mountains of Accaba, according to the present name, which hang over Eloth, where there is a "high steep road", well known to the Mahometan pilgrims for its ruggedness: and he thinks (m) it very probable, that Mount Hor was the same chain of mountains that are now called Accaba by the Arabs, and were the easternmost range, as we may take them to be, of Ptolemy's black mountains: Josephus (n) speaks of Acrabatene as belonging to the Edomites, which seems to be this same place:

and pass on to Zin; that is, which ascent goes on to it; the Targum of Jonathan is,"and shall pass on to the palm trees of the mountain of iron;''by which is meant the same with the wilderness of Zin: perhaps Zinnah is rather the name of a city; the Septuagint call it Ennac: the Vulgate Latin, Senna: Jerom (o) makes mention of a place called Senna, seven miles from Jericho:

and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea; from whence the spies were sent southward to search the land, Numbers 13:17.

and shall go on to Hazaraddar; called Adar, Joshua 15:3 and where it seems to be divided into two places, Hezron and Adar, which very probably were near each other, and therefore here put together, as if but one place:

and pass on to Azmon; which the Targums call Kesam.

(k) Sepher Shorash. "in voce" (l) Travels, tom. 2. ch. 1. p. 279. (m) Travels, tom. 2. ch. 1. p. 323. (n) Antiqu. l. 12. c. 8. sect. 1. see 1 Maccab. 5. 3.((o) De loc. Heb. fol. 94. H.

And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea, and shall go on to Hazaraddar, and pass on to Azmon:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. the ascent of Akrabbim] i.e. the ‘Scorpion Pass.’ ‘From the Dead Sea the line indicated probably ran at first S.W. through the Wady el-Fiḳreh, which is a natural boundary, and then, turning round the Jebel Madurah [see on Numbers 20:22], much more directly south to Ḳadesh. The ascent of ‘Aḳrabbim may be sought in one of the passes on the N. side of the Wady el-Fiḳreh, and perhaps in particular in the Naḳb el-Yemen, which starts just opposite the Jebel Madurah, or in the Naḳb eṣ-Ṣafâ’ (Gray).Verse 4. - Shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim. It is not at all clear what מִנֶּגֶב לִמַעַלֵה can mean in this sentence. The A.V., which follows the Septuagint and the Targums, does not seem to give any sense, while the rendering, "to the south side of the ascent," does not seem grammatically defensible. Moreover, it is quite uncertain where the "ascent of Akrabbim," i.e., the "Scorpion-pass," or "Scorpion-stairs," is to be placed. Some travelers have recognized both place and name in a precipitous road which ascends the northern cliffs towards the western end of the Wady Murreh, and which the Arabs call Nakb Kareb; others would make the ascent to be the steep pass of es Sufah, over which runs the road from Petra to Hebron; others, again, identify the Scorpion-stairs with the row of white cliffs which obliquely cross and close in the Ghor, some miles south of the Salt Sea, and separate it from the higher level of the Arabah. None of these identifications are satisfactory, although the first and last have more to be said in their favour than the second. Possibly the ascent of Akrabbim may have been only the Wady Fikreh, along which the natural frontier would run from the point of the Salt Sea into the Wady Murreh. Pass on to Zin. It is only here and in Joshua 15:3 that the name Zin stands by itself; it may have been some place in the broadest part of the Wady Murreh which gave its name to the neighbouring wilderness. From the south to Kadesh-barnea. Here again we have the expression מִנֶּגֶב לְאּ, of which we do not know the exact force. But if Kadesh was in the neighbourhood of the present Ain Kudes, then it may be understood that the frontier, after reaching the western end of the Wady Murreh, made a detour to the south so as to include Kadesh, as a place of peculiarly sacred memory in the annals of Israel. It is indeed very difficult, with this description of the southern frontier of Canaan before us, to believe that Kadesh was in the immediate neighbourhood of the Arabah, where many commentators place it; for if that were the case, then the boundary line has not yet made any progress at all towards the west, and the only points given on the actual southern boundary are the two unknown places which follow. Hazar-addar. In Joshua 15:3 this double name is apparently divided into the two names of Hezron and Addar, but possibly the latter only is the place intended here. A Karkaa is also mentioned there, which is equally unknown with the rest. The command to divide the land by lot among the families is partly a verbal repetition of Numbers 26:53-56. וגו לו יצא אל־אשׁר: literally, "into that, whither the lot comes out to him, shall be to him" (i.e., to each family); in other words, it is to receive that portion of land to which the lot that comes out of the urn shall point it. "According to the tribes of your fathers:" see at Numbers 26:55. - The command closes in Numbers 33:55, Numbers 33:56, with the threat, that if they did not exterminate the Canaanites, not only would such as were left become "thorns in their eyes and stings in their sides," i.e., inflict the most painful injuries upon them, and make war upon them in the land; but Jehovah would also do the very same things to the Israelites that He had intended to do to the Canaanites, i.e., drive them out of the land and destroy them. This threat is repeated by Joshua in his last address to the assembled congregation (Joshua 23:13).
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