Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
BORDERS OF THE
1. This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah--In what
manner the lot was drawn on this occasion the sacred historian does not
say; but it is probable that the method adopted was similar to that
Though the general survey of the country had not been completed, some
rough draft or delineation of the first conquered part must have been
made, and satisfactory evidence obtained that it was large enough to
furnish three cantons, before all the tribes cast lots for them; and
they fell to Judah, Ephraim, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The lot of
Judah came first, in token of the pre-eminence of that tribe over all
the others; and its destined superiority thus received the visible
sanction of God. The territory, assigned to it as a possession, was
large and extensive, being bounded on the south by the wilderness of
Zin, and the southern extremity of the Salt Sea
on the east, by that sea, extending to the point where it receives the
waters of the Jordan; on the north, by a line drawn nearly parallel to
Jerusalem, across the country, from the northern extremity of the Salt
Sea to the southern limits of the Philistine territory, and to the
Mediterranean; and on the west this sea was its boundary, as far as
Sihor (Wady El-Arish).
2. the bay--Hebrew, "tongue." It pushes its waters out in this
form to a great distance [ROBINSON].
3. Maaleh-akrabbim--Hebrew, "the ascent of scorpions"; a pass in
the "bald mountain"
probably much infested by these venomous reptiles.
5. the end--that is, the mouth of the Jordan.
6. Beth-hogla--now Ain Hajla, a fine spring of clear and sweet
water, at the northern extremity of the Dead Sea, about two miles from
the Jordan [ROBINSON].
Beth-arabah--"the house," or "place of solitude," in the desert of
stone of Bohan the son of Reuben--the sepulchral monument of a
Reubenite leader, who had been distinguished for his bravery, and had
fallen in the Canaanite war.
7. Achor--(see on
Adummim--a rising ground in the wilderness of Jericho, on the south
of the little brook that flowed near Jericho
En-shemesh--"the fountain of the sun"; "either the present well of the
apostle, below Bethany, on the road to Jericho, or the fountain near to
St. Saba" [ROBINSON].
En-rogel--"the fuller's fountain," on the southeast of Jerusalem, below
the spot where the valleys of Jehoshaphat and Hinnom unite.
13. unto Caleb he gave a part among the children of
14. drove thence the three sons of Anak--rather three chiefs of the
Anakim race. This exploit is recorded to the honor of Caleb, as the
success of it was the reward of his trust in God.
15. Debir--"oracle." Its former name, Kirjath-sepher, signifies
"city of the book," being probably a place where public registers were
16-20. He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher--This offer was made as an
incentive to youthful bravery (see on
and the prize was won by Othniel, Caleb's younger brother
(Jud 1:13; 3:9).
This was the occasion of drawing out the latent energies of him who was
destined to be the first judge in Israel.
18, 19. as she came unto him--that is, when about to remove from her
father's to her husband's house. She suddenly alighted from her
travelling equipage--a mark of respect to her father, and a sign of
making some request. She had urged Othniel to broach the matter, but he
not wishing to do what appeared like evincing a grasping disposition,
she resolved herself to speak out. Taking advantage of the
parting scene when a parent's heart was likely to be tender, she begged
(as her marriage portion consisted of a field which, having a southern
exposure, was comparatively an arid and barren waste) he would add the
adjoining one, which abounded in excellent springs. The request being
reasonable, it was granted; and the story conveys this important lesson
in religion, that if earthly parents are ready to bestow on their
children that which is good, much more will our heavenly Father give
every necessary blessing to them who ask Him.
21-63. the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of
Judah--There is given a list of cities within the tribal territory
of Judah, arranged in four divisions, corresponding to the districts of
which it consisted--the cities in the southern part
those in the lowlands
those in the highlands
and those in the desert
(Jos 15:61, 62).
One gets the best idea of the relative situation of these cities by
looking at the map.