Joshua 15

The Word Made Fresh

1The families of Judah were given land in the south to the boundary with Edom and the wilderness of Zin. 2Their southern boundary was from the south end of the Salt Sea 3to the rise at Akrabbim and on through Zin south of Kadesh-Barnea, then by Hezron and up to Addar. From there it turns at Karka 4and then goes to Azmon to the streambed of Egypt and ends at the sea. 5Their eastern boundary is the Salt Sea north to where the Jordan River enters it. 6From there the boundary runs to Beth-Hoglah and continues north of Beth-Arabah; then it goes up to the Stone of Bohan (Reuben’s son). 7From there the boundary runs from the valley of Achor to Debir, then northward toward Gilgal across from the Adummim slopes on the south side of the valley. From there it extends to the waters of En-shemesh to En-Rogel. 8Then along the valley of Hinnom from the southern slope of the Jebusites at Jerusalem, and then to the peak opposite the Hinnom valley on the west, and just north of the valley of Rephaim. 9From there it goes to the spring called the Waters of Nephtoah, then to the villages at Mt. Ephron. From there the boundary curves around to Baalah (also known as Kiriath-Jearim) 10and westward on to Mt. Seir. Then to the north slope of Mt. Jearim (also known as Chesalon), and down to Beth-Shemesh and on by Timnah. 11Then it continues to the hill north of Ekron and around Shikkeron, passes on to Mt. Baalah on to Jabneel, and finally ends at the Mediterranean Sea which is the western boundary. This is the territory of the tribe of Judah.

13Then, as the LORD commanded Joshua, Caleb son of Jephunneh was given, as his special inheritance among the people of Judah, the city of Arba (the father of Anak), which is called Hebron. 14Caleb evicted Sheshai, Aheman, and Talmai, the sons of Anak, 15and then went on to attack Debir (formerly known as Kiriath-Sepher). 16He announced that he would give his daughter Achsah to whoever captured the city. 17His nephew Othniel, son of his brother Kenaz, took it, and Caleb gave him Achsah as his wife. 18When she came to Othniel she pressed him to ask her father for a field, and he gave her land in the Negev. Then, when she dismounted from her donkey, her father Caleb asked her what she wanted as a bride gift 19and she said, “Give me some springs of water also, since you’ve given me land in the Negev.” So, Caleb also gave her the upper and lower springs.

20So, so here is an inventory of what the tribe of Judah inherited:

21In the south toward Edom were these towns and villages: Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25Hazor-Hadattah, Kerioth-Hezron (also known as Hazor), 26Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27Hazar-Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth-Pelet, 28Hazar-Shual, Beer-Sheba, Biziothiah, 29Baalah, Iim, Ezem, 30Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah; 31Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon – twenty-nine towns in all, including their settlements.

33In the lowlands: Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34Zanoah, En-Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 36Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, Gederothaim – fourteen in all, with their outlying settements.

37Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal-Gad, 38Kilan, Mizpeh, Johthe-El, 39Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40Cabbon, Lahmam, Chitlish, 41Gederoth, Beth-Dagon, Naamah, and Makkedah – sixteen in all, including their settlements.

42Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah – nine towns including their settlements.

45Ekron, with the villages around it, 46and all the villages from Ekron to the sea near Ashdod.

47Ashdod and its surrounding settlements; Gaza and its surrounding settlements to the streambed of Egypt and along the coast of the Mediterranean.

48In the hill country there was Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49Dannah, Kiriath-Sannah (also known as Debir), 50Annab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51Goshen, Holon, and Giloh; eleven towns and their settlements.

52Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53Janim, Beth-Tappuah, Aphekah, 54Humtah, Kiriath-Arba (Hebron), and Zior: nine towns and their villages.

55Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57Kain, Gilbeah, and Timnah – ten towns and villages.

58Halhul, Beth-zur, Gedor, 59Maarath; Beth-Anoth, and Eltekon – six towns and villages.

60Kiriath-Baal (also known as Kiriath-Jearim) and Rabbah – two towns and their settlements.

61In the wilderness, Beth-Arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62Nibshan, the City of Salt, and Engedi – six towns and their settlements.

63However, the tribe of Judah was unable to displace the Jebusites – the people in Jerusalem – so they live with the people of Judah in Jerusalem today.

Commentary

1-12: Judah is given a large territory in the south, including the Philistine territories on the coast, although there was apparently some effort at avoiding immediate conflict with them. None of the five Philistine cities are included in the list, and verse 11 specifically says that the boundary passes north of Ekron, one of the Philistine capitals along the coast.

13-19: Caleb’s territory is within Judah, but he has to fight to take control of it. He settles Hebron, Abraham’s primary address in the book of Genesis. Indeed, these verses sound like the stories we read in Genesis. Caleb gives his daughter to his nephew, Othniel, for taking the stronghold of Kiriath-Sepher. She is shrewd and asks for pastureland as a wedding gift, and then insists on wells (or springs) also.

20-63: The list of towns given to Judah. The boundary passes just to the south of Jebus, which could not be subdued.

Takeaway

It’s good to see that Caleb gets his reward – although he has to fight for it, and he is 85 years old, now. This is one of those tedious chapters, but as we continue through the historical books of the Old Testament (Judges, Samuel, etc.) many of these places will be the center of attention.