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Joshua 19


Territory of Simeon Simeon's Inheritance with Judah Territory of Other Tribes The Territory Assigned to Simeon The Tribe of Simeon
19:1-9 19:1-9 19:1-9 19:1-6 19:1-2
      19:7-9 19:7-8a
Territory of Zebulun The Land of Zebulun   The Territory Assigned to Zebulun The Tribe of Zebulun
19:10-16 19:10-16 19:10-16 19:10-16 19:10-15
Territory of Issachar The Land of Issachar   The Territory Assigned to Issachar The Tribe of Asher
19:17-23 19:17-23 19:17-23 19:17-23 19:17-22
Territory of Asher The Land of Asher   The Territory Assigned to Asher  
19:24-31 19:24-31 19:24-31 19:24-31 19:24-31
Territory of Naphtali The Land of Naphtali   The Territory Assigned to Naphtali The Tribe of Naphtali
19:32-39 19:32-39 19:32-39 19:32-39 19:32-38
Territory of Dan The Land of Dan   The Territory Assigned to Dan The Tribe of Dan
19:40-48 19:40-48 19:40-48 19:40-48 19:40-46
  Joshua's Inheritance   The Final Appointment of the Land  
19:49-50 19:49-51 19:49-50 19:49-50 19:49-50
19:51   19:51 19:51 19:51

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired but it is the key to following the original author's intent which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



 1Then the second lot fell to Simeon, to the tribe of the sons of Simeon according to their families, and their inheritance was in the midst of the inheritance of the sons of Judah. 2So they had as their inheritance Beersheba or Sheba and Moladah, 3and Hazar-shual and Balah and Ezem, 4and Eltolad and Bethul and Hormah, 5and Ziklag and Beth-marcaboth and Hazar-susah, 6and Beth-lebaoth and Sharuhen; thirteen cities with their villages; 7Ain, Rimmon and Ether and Ashan; four cities with their villages; 8and all the villages which were around these cities as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negev. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Simeon according to their families. 9The inheritance of the sons of Simeon was taken from the portion of the sons of Judah, for the share of the sons of Judah was too large for them; so the sons of Simeon received an inheritance in the midst of Judah's inheritance.

19:1 Part of Judah's land was given to Simeon. Simeon was incorporated early into Judah and lost its identity. It is not even listed in Moses' blessings to the tribes in Deuteronomy 33.

19:2 "Beersheba" This means "well of oath" (BDB 92). It is one of the most southern cities. It was part of the idiomatic phrase, "from Dan to Beersheba" which described the Promised Land.

▣ "Sheba" In Jos. 15:26, it is called "Shema" which is the Hebrew word "to hear so as to do" (BDB 1035). It is the name of the famous creedal statement of Deut. 6:4-5 (BDB 1033). The NKJV and the JPSOA translations think it was another way of referring to Beersheba or possibly a scribal error in writing the last of the previous city's name twice. In Jos. 19:6 it says 13 cities, but there are 14 names.

19:4 "Bethul" This city ("man of God," BDB 143) is also in the allocation of Judah (cf. 1 Sam. 30:27; 1 Chr. 4:30, spelled "Bethuel").

19:9 This verse explains why Simeon received part of Judah's land inheritance and also that Judah was having trouble possessing its land.

Simeon's allotted area was totally surrounded by Judah's allotment. In time Simeon disappears as an individual tribe. They are not even listed in Moses' blessings of Deuteronomy 33. In 1 Kgs. 19:3 Beersheba (cf. Jos. 19:2) is said to belong to Judah.

 10Now the third lot came up for the sons of Zebulun according to their families. And the territory of their inheritance was as far as Sarid. 11Then their border went up to the west and to Maralah, it then touched Dabbesheth and reached to the brook that is before Jokneam. 12Then it turned from Sarid to the east toward the sunrise as far as the border of Chisloth-tabor, and it proceeded to Daberath and up to Japhia. 13From there it continued eastward toward the sunrise to Gath-hepher, to Eth-kazin, and it proceeded to Rimmon which stretches to Neah. 14The border circled around it on the north to Hannathon, and it ended at the valley of Iphtahel. 15Included also were Kattah and Nahalal and Shimron and Idalah and Bethlehem; twelve cities with their villages. 16This was the inheritance of the sons of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.

19:13 "Gath-hepher" This is the birthplace of the prophet Jonah (cf. 2 Kgs. 14:25), about three miles northeast of Nazareth.

19:15 "Bethlehem" This means "house of bread" (BDB 111, cf. Jdgs. 12:8,10); it was about ten miles west of Nazareth. It was a common name. This is not the one in Judah (i.e., Gen. 35:19; 48:7; Ruth 1:1-2,19; Micah 5:2).

 17The fourth lot fell to Issachar, to the sons of Issachar according to their families. 18Their territory was to Jezreel and included Chesulloth and Shunem, 19and Hapharaim and Shion and Anaharath, 20and Rabbith and Kishion and Ebez, 21and Remeth and En-gannim and En-haddah and Beth-pazzez. 22The border reached to Tabor and Shahazumah and Beth-shemesh, and their border ended at the Jordan; sixteen cities with their villages. 23This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Issachar according to their families, the cities with their villages.

19:22 "Beth-shemesh" This name means "sun-temple" (BDB 112). This is not the same as the city by the same name in the tribal allocation of Judah (cf. Jos. 15:10) or in Naphtali (Jos. 19:38).

 24Now the fifth lot fell to the tribe of the sons of Asher according to their families. 25Their territory was Helkath and Hali and Beten and Achshaph, 26and Allammelech and Amad and Mishal; and it reached to Carmel on the west and to Shihor-libnath. 27It turned toward the east to Beth-dagon and reached to Zebulun, and to the valley of Iphtahel northward to Beth-emek and Neiel; then it proceeded on north to Cabul, 28and Ebron and Rehob and Hammon and Kanah, as far as Great Sidon. 29The border turned to Ramah and to the fortified city of Tyre; then the border turned to Hosah, and it ended at the sea by the region of Achzib. 30Included also were Ummah, and Aphek and Rehob; twenty-two cities with their villages. 31This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.

19:27 "east. . .south" The ancient Hebrews denoted compass directions by facing "east" (the rising sun). The tabernacle faced east. It became a symbol of help and hope. The Messiah will come from the east.

As a person faces east, the right hand points south and the left hand points north. North came to be a symbol of invasion and bad news because the Mesopotamian powers always invaded from the coastal plain through Phoenicia (because of the desert to the east of Palestine).

▣ "Beth-dagon" This means "house of Dagon" (BDB 111), who was the Philistine fertility god (i.e., grain god).

19:28 "the Great Sidon" This shows the antiquity of the text because in the future Sidon is replaced by Tyre as Phoenicia's capital (cf. Jos. 19:29).

 32The sixth lot fell to the sons of Naphtali; to the sons of Naphtali according to their families. 33Their border was from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim and Adami-nekeb and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum, and it ended at the Jordan. 34Then the border turned westward to Aznoth-tabor and proceeded from there to Hukkok; and it reached to Zebulun on the south and touched Asher on the west, and to Judah at the Jordan toward the east. 35The fortified cities were Ziddim, Zer and Hammath, Rakkath and Chinnereth, 36and Adamah and Ramah and Hazor, 37and Kedesh and Edrei and En-hazor, 38and Yiron and Migdal-el, Horem and Beth-anath and Beth-shemesh; nineteen cities with their villages. 39This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Naphtali according to their families, the cities with their villages.

19:33 "from the oak" Trees often were associated with holy sites (cf. Gen. 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; 21:33; 35:4; Jdgs. 4:5,11; 6:11,19; 9:6,37; 1 Sam. 10:3), possibly because of the presence of underground water which was so valuable to desert and semi-desert peoples.

19:38 "Beth-anath" This name means "temple of Anath" (BDB 112, cf. Jdgs. 1:32). Anath was a fertility goddess.

 40The seventh lot fell to the tribe of the sons of Dan according to their families. 41The territory of their inheritance was Zorah and Eshtaol and Ir-shemesh, 42and Shaalabbin and Aijalon and Ithlah, 43and Elon and Timnah and Ekron, 44and Eltekeh and Gibbethon and Baalath, 45and Jehud and Bene-berak and Gath-rimmon, 46and Me-jarkon and Rakkon, with the territory over against Joppa. 47The territory of the sons of Dan proceeded beyond them; for the sons of Dan went up and fought with Leshem and captured it. Then they struck it with the edge of the sword and possessed it and settled in it; and they called Leshem Dan after the name of Dan their father. 48This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.

19:47 This refers to the movement of Dan to the north (cf. Judges 17-18). Joshua told Ephraim earlier that if they wanted more land they should conquer what was already allocated to them. Some commentators see this as explaining Dan's relocation, but to me it was an act of unbelief. This is why it is listed in the conclusion of Judges (cf. chapters 17-21) which documents the Israelites acts of faithlessness. Dan's original allocation was in the Philistine area. They chose to move instead of trusting YHWH to help them take their land.

▣ "Leshem" This city (BDB 546) is also called Laish ("lion," BDB 539, cf. Jdgs. 18:7,14,27,29).

 49 When they finished apportioning the land for inheritance by its borders, the sons of Israel gave an inheritance in their midst to Joshua the son of Nun. 50In accordance with the command of the Lord they gave him the city for which he asked, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. So he built the city and settled in it.

 51These are the inheritances which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel distributed by lot in Shiloh before the Lord at the doorway of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.

19:51 "the tent of meeting" The tent of meeting is the same as the tabernacle. It is described in Exodus 25-40. Its procedures are given in Leviticus. The Shekinah cloud of glory, which led the Israelites during the exodus and wilderness wandering period, disappeared as soon as Israel crossed Jordan. YHWH's presence was now enshrined at the tabernacle. It was first set up at Gilgal (4:10), then moved to Shiloh (18:1; 19:51; 1 Sam. 2:22). Later the tabernacle, without the ark (Jdgs. 20:18,27), was at Gibeon (cf. 1 Chr. 16:39-40; 2 Chr. 1:3-6).


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