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Within the inheritance of Judah - This was so ordered by God's providence, partly to fulfil that threatning that he would divide and scatter this tribe in Israel, Genesis 49:7, which was hereby done in part, because they had no distinct lot, but were as inmates to Judah; partly, because now upon the more exact survey of the land, it appeared, that the part given to Judah did far exceed the proportion which they needed, or which the other tribes could expect. And this was the least of the tribes, Numbers 26:14, and therefore fittest to be put within another tribe.
Toward the sea - The lot of this tribe was washed by the midland sea on the west, and by the sea of Tiberias on the east, answering Jacob's prophecy, Zebulun shall be an haven of ships; trading ships on the great sea, and fishing ships on the sea of Galilee. Before Jokneam - Supposed to be Kishon.
Beth-lehem - Not that where Christ was born, which was in Judah, but another. Twelve cities - There are more numbered here, but the rest either were not cities properly so called, or were not within this tribe, but only bordering upon it, and belonging to other tribes.
Jezreel - The royal city, 1 Kings 21:1. This tribe, because it lay between Benjamin on the south, and Zebulun on the north, is not here described by its borders, which were the same with theirs; but by some of its cities.
Carmel west-ward - Or, Carmel by the sea, to distinguish it from Carmel in the tribe of Judah. This was a place of eminent fruitfulness, agreeable to the prophecy concerning Asher, Genesis 49:20.
Cubal - A city so called. Left hand - That is, on the north, which, when men look towards the east, as is usual, is on their left hand.
Kenah - Namely, Kenah the greater, in the upper Galilee; not Kenah the less, which was in the lower Galilee. Zidon - Called great for its antiquity, and riches, and glory. The city either was not given to the Israelites, or at least was never possessed by them; not without a singular providence of God, that they might not by the opportunity of so good a port, be engaged in much commerce with other nations; from which, together with wealth, that great corrupter of mankind, they might contract their errors and vices.
To Ramah - From the north southward. To Tyre - Exclusively, for this city was no part of the land given them. But this was not the same city we read of afterwards. For that was built on an island, this on the continent. Probably into these strong holds Tyre and Sidon, many of the Canaanites fled, when Joshua invaded them.
Twenty two cities - Here are more named, but some of them were not within this tribe, but only bordering places.
Their coast - Their northern border drawn from west to east, as appears, because when this coast is described and brought to its end, the coast is said to turn from the east westward, verse 34. The out-goings - The end of that coast.
Cinnereth - Whence the lake of Cinnereth or Genesareth received its name.
Of their inheritance - Which is here described only by its cities, not its borders, which are in part the same with Judah's, and their inheritance is in good part taken out of Judah's too large portion; as appears from divers of the cities here mentioned, which are also reckoned in Judah's portion.
Went up to fight - This was done after Joshua's death, and seems to be here inserted, that all the chief places where the Danites dwelt, tho' far distant, might be mentioned together; and to give an account of this strange accident, why they removed from their appointed portion to so remote a place; which may be this, that being much molested by their bad neighbours, they thought fit to go to some place remote from them, which also they were in a manner constrained to do, because otherwise they must have taken some part of the portions of other tribes, whereas now going to the very utmost northern point of the land, they took that which did not belong to any other tribe.
The children of Israel - That is, they are said to give it, because the whole land was given to Joshua, and Eleazar, and the princes, as joint trustees, acting in the name, and for the good of the people: so that even Joshua could take nothing without their gift.
The word of The Lord - As God had promised, or commanded; either formerly, or at this time by Eleazar. He built - That is, repaired and enlarged it, in which sense Nebuchadnezzar is said to have built Babylon, Daniel 4:30.
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