The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleNumbers 33:18
And they departed from Hazeroth, and pitched at Rithmah.
Eight miles from Hazeroth: Rethem, from whence this place seems to have
had its name, is generally rendered by "juniper", (1 Kings 19:4,5) and the
Targum of Jonathan here adds, where the juniper trees grew; and,
perhaps, it is the same with the valley of Retheme, of which some
travellers F5 thus write, "this valley", called in the Hebrew Retheme,
and commonly Ritma, derives its name from a yellow flower, with which
the valley is covered; we found here, on the left hand, two cisterns
of excellent water; and water being to be had here, might be the
reason of the Israelites pitching in this place. Some learned men F6
think it is the same with Kadeshbarnea, from whence the spies were
sent, that being the next remove from Hazeroth, as this was; see
(Numbers 12:16) (13:26) (32:8) (Deuteronomy 2:14) (Joshua 14:7) , with which agrees the remark
of Jarchi, that this place was so called, because of the evil tongue of
the spies, as it is said, (Psalms 120:3,4) "what shall be done unto thee,
thou false tongue? sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper";
alluding to the signification of Rithmah; perhaps this is the same
place, which by Josephus F7 is called Dathema, and so in the Apocrypha:
``Then the heathen that were at Galaad assembled themselves
together against the Israelites that were in their
quarters, to destroy them; but they fled to the fortress
of Dathema.'' (1 Maccabees 5:9)
F5 Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 154.
F6 Dr. Lightfoot, vol. 1. p. 35. Dr. Clayton's Chronology of the
Hebrew Bible, p. 382, 383.
F7 Antiqu. l. 12. c. 8. sect. 4.