Notes on Joshua 19:24-51

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Joshua 19:24-26 And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families. 25 And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph, 26 And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihorlibnath;

Carmel probably refers to Mt Carmel. That was the site, later on, of Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal to see which deity (God or Baal) would answer by fire (see 1 Kings 18 for the story).

There was another Carmel much closer to Judah but clearly it was not the same city.

27 And turneth toward the sunrising to Bethdagon, and reacheth to Zebulun, and to the valley of Jiphthahel toward the north side of Bethemek, and Neiel, and goeth out to Cabul on the left hand,

It is uncertain if Cabul, here, is the same as the cities which Solomon later gave to Hiram, king of Tyre. Hiram was apparently unimpressed with the gift and called them “the land of Cabul (1 Kings 9:13).”

28 And Hebron, and Rehob, and Hammon, and Kanah, (even) unto great Zidon; 29 And (then) the coast turneth to Ramah, and to the strong city Tyre; and the coast turneth to Hosah; and the outgoings thereof are at the sea from the coast to Achzib: 30 Ummah also, and Aphek, and Rehob: twenty and two cities with their villages.

Aphek was the site of several battles in the Old Testament: the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant here (1 Sam 4), they also battled Israel again (see 1 Sam 29)—David and his band of soldiers were basically working as mercenaries for the Philistines at the time!—and the northern kingdom of Israel fought against the Syrians here (1 Kings 20).

31 This (is) the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.

Asher received 22 cities with their villages for their inheritance.

32 The sixth lot came out to the children of Naphtali, (even) for the children of Naphtali according to their families. 33 And their coast was from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum; and the outgoings thereof were at Jordan: 34 And (then) the coast turneth westward to Aznothtabor, and goeth out from thence to Hukkok, and reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and reacheth to Asher on the west side, and to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising. 35 And the fenced cities (are) Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth,

Chinnereth is another name for the Sea of Galilee.

36 And Adamah, and Ramah, and Hazor, 37 And Kedesh, and Edrei, and Enhazor, 38 And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages. 39 This (is) the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.

Naphtali received 19 cities with their villages for their inheritance. Few of the cities were mentioned very often in the Old Testament.

40 (And) the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families. 41 And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Irshemesh,

Samson was buried in Eshtaol after he died with 3000 Philistines, maybe more, when he destroyed the Philistine temple at Gaza (see Judges 16). Samson apparently traveled between Eshtaol and Zorah (see Judges 13:25). His parents lived in Zorah (Judges 13:2) where they met the Angel of the Lord and received the promise that they would have a son!

42 And Shaalabbin, and Ajalon, and Jethlah,

The valley of Ajalon was where the long day of Scripture happened (see Joshua 10:12-13).

43 And Elon, and Thimnathah, and Ekron,

If the tribe of Dan actually conquered Ekron, it didn’t remain under their control for very long. Judges 5 and 6 describe how the other Philistine cities sent the Ark of the Covenant to Ekron.

“Thimnathah” is probably another name for Timnah, the Philistine city where Samson met and married one of the women there (Judges 14). This is one of the saddest short stories in all literature.

44 And Eltekeh, and Gibbethon, and Baalath, 45 And Jehud, and Beneberak, and Gathrimmon, 46 And Mejarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before Japho. 47 And the coast of the children of Dan went out (too little) for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.

This story is told in further detail in Judges, chapter 18. Leshem is another name for Laish, which was later renamed Dan in honor of the tribe’s father.

48 This (is) the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.

Altogether the Danites were given 17 cities in their original inheritance, close to the Mediterranean Sea. How many cities besides Leshem/Laish they conquered, further in the north, is not specified.

49 When they had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them: 50 According to the word of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, (even) Timnathserah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein. 51 These (are) the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. So they made an end of dividing the country.

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)

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