Notes on Joshua 19:1-23
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
Jos 19:1, KJV 1 And the second lot came forth to Simeon, (even) for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.
This is explained further in verse 9.
2 And they had in their inheritance Beersheba, or Sheba, and Moladah,
Beersheba is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The expression “from Dan to Beersheba” indicated the northern (Dan) and southern boundaries of Israel (Beersheba). The city of Beersheba dates back at least to Abraham’s time (Genesis 21). Abraham seems to have made Beersheba his home (Genesis 22) as did Isaac (Genesis 26), in spite of conflicts with the Philistines nearby. Jacob was raised there (Genesis 28:10) and left from there as he went to his uncle Laban’s territory in Haran. Years later Jacob, now called Israel, stopped at Beersheba before he went to join Joseph in Egypt (Gen 46).
3 And Hazarshual, and Balah, and Azem, 4 And Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormah, 5 And Ziklag, and Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusah,
Ziklag was given to Simeon here but eventually the Philistines conquered it. Achish, king of Gath, ironically gave Ziklag back to David (1 Samuel 27:6). David commanded a band of soldiers there (1 Chron. 12) and made it his headquarters, so to speak.
6 And Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages: 7 Ain, Remmon, and Ether, and Ashan; four cities and their villages: 8 And all the villages that (were) round about these cities to Baalathbeer, Ramath of the south. This (is) the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families.
The tribe of Simeon lost many of its men aged 20 and over during the wilderness journeys (compare Numbers 1:23, 59.300 “able to go to war” with Num. 26:14, 22,200). We are not told how many they had at this particular time but they had an army of only 7,500 “mighty men of valour (sic)” to make David king at Hebron (see 1 Chron. 12:25).
9 Out of the portion of the children of Judah (was) the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them.
This probably meant that Judah was given a rather large inheritance so God gave Simeon part of the land of Judah. According to verses 6-8, Simeon only received 21 cities plus the villages (or, suburbs).
10 And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families: and the border of their inheritance was unto Sarid:
Zebulun was the youngest son of Jacob and
Leah. When Jacob gave a final blessing/prophecy about his sons, he said. “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon (Gen. 49:13).”11 And their border went up toward the sea, and Maralah, and reached to Dabbasheth, and reached to the river that (is) before Jokneam; 12 And turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrising unto the border of Chislothtabor, and then goeth out to Daberath, and goeth up to Japhia, 13 And from thence passeth on along on the east to Gittahhepher, to Ittahkazin, and goeth out to Remmonmethoar to Neah; 14 And the border compasseth it on the north side to Hannathon: and the outgoings thereof are in the valley of Jiphthahel: 15 And Kattath, and Nahallal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities with their villages.
This Bethlehem was clearly not the same as the Bethlehem near Jerusalem. Micah’s prophecy about the birthplace of Messiah (Micah 5:2) specified the southern Bethlehem to avoid any confusion.16 This (is) the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.
Zebulun received twelve cities plus their villages for their inheritance.17 (And) the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families. 18 And their border was toward Jezreel, and Chesulloth, and Shunem,
Jezreel and Shunem were mentioned a number of times in the Old Testament. When rain finally came to Israel after a three-year drought, Elijah led the way for Ahab down to Jezreel (1 Kings 18:46). Also, Jezreel was the site of Naboth’s vineyard, which Ahab and Jezebel basically stole from Naboth (1 Kings 21). Jezebel later met her fate at Jezreel when Jehu took over the kingdom (2 Kings 9).
Shunem was only mentioned twice besides this verse. Shunem was the site of Saul’s last battle before he was killed in action (1 Sam 28:4) and later, a “great woman” of Shunem established one of the first “prophet’s chambers” for Elisha (2 Kings 4:8). 19 And Hapharaim, and Shion, and Anaharath, 20 And Rabbith, and Kishion, and Abez, 21 And Remeth, and Engannim, and Enhaddah, and Bethpazzez; 22 And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Bethshemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.
Tabor probably refers to Mt Tabor. The east border of Issachar’s territory was the Jordan River.23 This (is) the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their families, the cities and their villages.
Issachar received sixteen cities plus their villages for their inheritance.
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).