Numbers 34:8
From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:
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(8) From Mount Hor . . . —From Mount Hor the boundary line was to pass the unknown Ziphron to the village of Enan, or Hazar-enan, which is likewise unknown. (Comp. Ezekiel 47:16-18.) This line probably crossed the northern portion of the Lebanon.

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 northern border. On the "Mount Hor," compare Numbers 20:22 note. Here the name denotes the whole western crest of Mount Lebanon, 80 miles in length, commencing east of Zidon, and terminating with the point immediately above the entrance of Hamath (compare Numbers 13:21). The extreme point in the northern border of the land was the city of Zedad (Sadad), about 30 miles east of the entrance of Hamath. Hence, the border turned back southwestward to Ziphron (Zifran), about 40 miles northeast of Damascus. Hazar-enan may be conjecturally identified with Ayun ed-Dara, a fountain situate in the very heart of the great central chain of Antilibanus. 8. entrance of Hamath—The northern plain between those mountain ranges, now the valley of Balbeck (see on [107]Nu 13:21).

Zedad—identified as the present Sudud (Eze 47:15).

Hamath, called Hamath the great, Amos 6:2, which is among the northern borders, Ezekiel 47:16,17. See Genesis 10:15,18 Num 13:21 Judges 3:3 1 Kings 8:65.

From Mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath,.... Antiochia, as Jarchi; or rather Epiphania, as Jerom (r); the former being described by Hemath the great, Amos 6:2, this entrance was a narrow pass leading from the land of Canaan to Syria, through the valley which lies between Lebanon and Antilibanus:

and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad; the same boundary as here is given in Ezekiel 47:15.

(r) Comment. in Ezekiel 47. 16.

From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:
Verse 8. - From Mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath. Literally, "from Mount Hor point out (תְּתָאוּ, as in the previous verse) to come to Hamath," which seems to mean, "from Mount Hor strike a line for the entrance to Hamath." The real difficulty lies in the expression לְבאֹ חַמָת, which the Septuagint renders εἰσπορευομέν ον εἰς Ἐμάθ, "as men enter into Hamath." The same expression occurs in Numbers 13:21, and is similarly rendered by the Septuagint. A comparison with Judges 3:3 and other passages will show that "Ibo Chamath" had a definite geographical meaning as the accepted name of a locality in the extreme north of Canaan. When we come to inquire where "the entrance to Hamath" was, we have nothing to guide us except the natural features of the country. Hamath itself, afterwards Epiphancia on the Orontes, lay far beyond the extremest range of Jewish settlement; nor does it appear that it was ever conquered by the greatest of the Jewish kings. The Hamath in which Solomon built store cities (2 Chronicles 8:4), and the Hamath which Jeroboam II. "recovered" for Israel (2 Kings 14:28), was not the city, but the kingdom (or part of the kingdom), of that name. We do not know how far south the territory of Hamath may have extended, but it is quite likely that it included at times the whole upper valley of the Leontes (now the Litany). The "entrance to Hamath" then must be looked for at some point, distinctly marked by the natural features of the country, where the traveler from Palestine would enter the territory of Hamath. This point has been usually fixed at the pass through which the Orontes breaks out of its upper valley between Lebanon and anti-Lebanon into the open plain of Hamath. This point, however, is more than sixty miles north of Damascus (which confessedly never belonged to Israel), and nearly a hundred miles north-north-west from Dan. It would require some amount of positive evidence to make it even probable that the whole of the long and narrow valley between Lebanon and anti-Lebanon, widening towards the north, and separated by mountainous and difficult country from the actual settlements of the Jews, was yet Divinely designated as part of their inheritance. No such positive evidence exists, and therefore we are perfectly free to look for "the entrance to Hamath" much further to the south. It is evident that the ordinary road from the land of Canaan or from the cities of Phoenicia to Hamath must have struck the valley of the Leontes, have ascended that river to its sources, and crossed the watershed to the upper stream of Orontes. The whole of this road, until it reached the pass already spoken of leading down to the Emesa of after days, and so to Hamath, lay through a narrow valley of which the narrowest part is at the southern end of the modern district of el Bekaa, almost in a straight line between Sidon and Mount Hermon. Here the two ranges approach most nearly to the bed of the Litany (Leontes), forming a natural gate by which the traveler to Hamath must needs have entered from the south. Here then, very nearly in lat. 88° 80', we may reasonably place the "entrance to Hamath" so often spoken of, and so escape the necessity of imagining an artificial and impracticable frontier for the northern boundary of the promised land. Zedad. Identified by some with the present village of Sadad or Sudad, to the south-east of Emesa (Hums); but this identification, which is at best very problematic, is wholly out of the question if the argument of the preceding note be accepted. Numbers 34:8The 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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