Tribe

Tribe (מִטָּה and שֵׁבֶט; both originally meaning a rod or branch. φυλή) is the name of the great groups of families into which the Israelitish nation, like other Oriental races, was divided. The modern Arabs the Bedawin, and the Berbers, and also the Moors on the northern shores of Africa, are still divided into tribes. The clans in Scotland are also analogous to the tribes of the ancient Israelites. The division of a nation into tribes differs from a division into castes, since one is a division merely according to descent, and the other super adds a necessity of similar occupations being prevalent among persons connected by consanguinity. There occurs, however, among the Israelites a caste also, namely, that of the Levites. In Genesis 49 the tribes are enumerated according to their progenitors; viz.

1 Reuben, the first-born; 2, Simeon, and 3, Levi, instruments of cruelty; 4, Judah, whom his brethren shall praise; 5, Zebulon, dwelling at the haven of the sea; 6, Issachar, the strong; 7, Dan, the judge; 8, Gad, whom a troop shall overcome, but who shall vanquish at last; 9, Asher, whose bread shall be fat; 10, Naphtali, giving goodly words;

11, Joseph, the fruitful bough; 12, Benjamin, the wolf: all these were originally the twelve tribes of Israel (see Allin, Prophecies of the Twelve Tribes Lond. 1855]).

Definition of tribe

In this enumeration it is remarkable that the subsequent division of the tribe of Joseph into the two branches of Ephraim and Manasseh is not yet alluded to. After this later division of the very numerous tribe of Joseph into the two branches of Ephraim and Manasseh had taken place, there were, strictly speaking, thirteen tribes. It was, however, usual to view them as comprehended under the number twelve, which was the more natural, since one of them, namely, the caste of the Levites, did not live within such exclusive geographical limits as were assigned to the others after they exchanged their nomadic migrations for settled habitations, but dwelt in towns scattered through all the other twelve tribes. It is also remarkable that the Ishmaelites, as well as the Israelites, were divided into twelve tribes; and that the Persians also, according to Xenophon (Cyclopaedia, 1, 2, 4 sq.), were similarly divided. Among other nations also occur ethnological and' geographical divisions, according to the number twelve. From this we infer that the number twelve was held in so much favor that, when possible, doubtful cases were adapted to it. An analogous case we find even at a later period, when the spiritual progenitors of the Christian δωδεκάφυλον, or the apostles, who were, after the death of Judas, the election of Matthias, and the vocation of Paul, really thirteen in number, were, nevertheless, habitually viewed as twelve; so that wherever, during the Middle Ages, any division was made with reference to the apostles, the number twelve, and not thirteen, was adopted, whether applied to the halls of theological libraries, or to the great barrels of costly wines in the cellar of the civic authorities at Bremen. Concerning the arrangement of these tribes on their march through the wilderness, in their encampments around the ark, and in their occupation of the land of Canaan, see the cognate articles, such as SEE EXODE; SEE ENCAMPMENT; SEE GENEALOGIES; SEE LEVITES, SEE WANDERING; and the names of the several tribes. We confine ourselves here to two points.

I. The "Lost Tribes." — This has been an inexhaustible source of theologico-historical charlatanism, on which there have been written so many volumes that it would be difficult to condense the contradictory opinions advanced in them within the limits of a moderate article. Suffice it to say that there is scarcely any human race so abject, forlorn, and dwindling, located anywhere between the Chinese and the American Indians, who have not been stated to be the ten tribes which disappeared from history during and after the Babylonian captivity. If the books, written on the ten tribes contained much truth, it would be difficult to say where they are not.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

The truth, however, of the matter seems rather to be as follows. After the division of the Israelites under Jeroboam and Rehoboam into the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel, the believers in whom the feelings of ancient theocratic legitimacy and nationality predominated, and especially the priests and Levites, who were, connected by many ties with the sanctuary at Jerusalem, had a tendency to migrate towards the visible center of their devotions; while those, members of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin who had an individual hankering after the foreign fashions adopted in Samaria, and the whole kingdom of Israel, had a tendency externally to unite themselves to a state of things corresponding with their individuality. After the political fall of both kingdoms, when all the principal families connected with the possession of the soil had been compelled to emigrate, most Israelites who had previously little feeling for theocratic nationality gradually amalgamated by marriages and other connections with the nations by which they were surrounded; while the former inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah felt their nationality revived by the very deprivation of public worship which they suffered in foreign lands. Many of the pious members of those tribes which had formerly constituted the kingdom of Israel undoubtedly joined the returning colonies which proceeded, by permission of the Persian monarchs, to the land of their fathers. However, these former members of the other tribes formed so decidedly a minority among the members of the tribe of Judah that henceforth all believers and worshippers of Jehovah were called יהודים, Ι᾿ουδαίοι, Judaei, Jews. Thus it came to pass that the best, although smaller, portion of the ten tribes amalgamated with the Jews, some of whom preserved their genealogies till after the destruction of Jerusalem; while the larger proportion of the ten tribes amalgamated with the Gentiles of Central Asia, to whom they probably imparted some of their notions and customs, which again were, in a state more or less pure, propagated to distant regions by the great national migrations proceeding from Central Asia. We are glad to find that this, our historical conviction, has also been adopted by the most learned among the Jews themselves (see Jost, Allgemeine Geschichte des Israelitischen Volkes [Berlin, 1832], 1, 407 sq., 416 sq.). SEE CAPTIVITY.

II. Boundary-lines of the Tribes Identified. — This topic has usually been abandoned by commentators as hopeless. Keil (Comment. on Joshua) is really the only one who has seriously grappled with its difficulties, some of which even he is compelled to pronounce insoluble. See each tribe in its alphabetical place.

1. Reuben. — On the south, being the southern boundary of the trans- Jordanic tribes, beginning at the mouth of the river Arnon (Wady el- Mojeb) on the Dead Sea; thence along the Arnon to Aroer (Ariir) (Jos 13:16); thence along the south-eastern boundary of the trans- Jordanic tribes (which extended as far as the "plain" or tableland stretching eastward from Jordan [12:1], being that containing Medeba and Dibon [13:9]) (north-easterly along the Wady Enkheileh to Leflm); thence along the eastern boundary of the trans-Jordanic tribes (east of the ruius of El- Herri); then with an inclination west of north so as to exclude Jazer (ver. 25) (Seir), also Rabbath-ammon (2Sa 11:1) (to a point below Jebeiha which was excluded, probably being the Jogbehah of the Gadites, Nu 32:35); thence entirely south of Gilead (Jos 13:25) (directly west, down the wadies Naur and Hesban), excluding Beth-haran (Beit-hatran) (ver. 27) and Atroth-shophau (near Merjakkeh) (Nu 32:35), but including Heshlon (Hesbln), Elealeh (El-Ai), Bamoth (comp. 21:19, 20) (probablly Jebel Humeh), and Nebo (now discovered in Jebel Neba) (32;37; Jos 13:17); thence southerly along the Jordan to the place of beginning (ver. 23).

2. Gad. — On the south, following the northern line of Reuben from the Jordan to the eastern boundary of the trans-Jordanic tribes (at Jebeiha); thence north by east along the eastern boundary of the trans-Jordanic tribes (around the northern brow of Jebel Zerka) (to a point opposite Jerash [Gerasa] between Jebel Zerka and Jebel Kafkafka); thence in a north- westerly, direction across the region of Gilead (Jos 13:25,31), passing near Mahaijaimn (ver. 26, 30) (Mabneh), to the southern extremity of the sea of Cinllereth (sea of Galilee) (ver. 27), with the Jordan for the western boundary.

3. Manasseh East. — On the south, following the northern line of Gad to its intersection with the eastern boundary of the trans-Jordanic tribes (at the opening of the valley between Jebel Zerka and Jebel Katafkafka, with the plain lying east of the latter); thence north-easterly along the boundary of the trans-Jordanic tribes (in a direct line across the last-named plain, over the northern end of Jebel es-Zumle, and partly across the plain of the Hanran), and again along the same boundary with a northerly and north- westerly curve through the plain of Bashan (Jos 13:30) (i.e. the Hauran), so as to include Edrei (which may be Draa or Dera) (ver. 31), and so on north-westerly to the vicinity of Mount Hermon (ver. 11) (i.e. Jebel eshSheikh, where the northern line probably followed the present boundaries of the Arab clans along the top of the Hermon range to its junction with Wady el-Teim at Hasbeiyah); where it joined the northern boundary of the cis-Jordanic tribes at the "entrance into Hamath" (Nu 34:8); thence southerly along the sources of the Jordan (down Nahr el-Banmias and its brook), through the lake of Merom, the upper Jordan, and the sea of Galilee, to the place of beginning (ver. 10-12).

4. Judah. On the south, the southerly boundary of Canan, beginning on the border of Edom, at the southern bay of the Dead Sea, southward (along the Ghor) past the ascent of Acrabbim, near the desert of Zin (the Wady el- Jeib or the Arabah), to the vicinity of Kradesh-barnea (Ain-weibeh or Ain- hasb) (Jos 15:1-3; Nu 34:2-4); thence westward to Hezron, along the southern boundary of Canaan (perhaps through Wady Fikreh) (where we may assign a location) to Adar of Hazar-addar: thence westerly around (perhaps by wadies Maderah and Marreh) to:Karkaa (perhaps in this latter), then still westerly to Azmon (possibly in the vicinity south of the ancient Elisa); thence north-westerly (perhaps by Wady en- Abiya) to "the river of Egypt" (or El-Arish), and so on to the Mediterranean, which formed the western boundary of Palestine (Jos 15:3-4,12; Nu 34:4,6). See Quar; Statement of "Pal. Explor. Fund," p. 68 sq.; April, 1874, p. 68, 82; July, 1874, p. 190.

On the north, beginning at the northern bay of the Dead Sea (which formed the eastern boundary), where the Jordan empties into it (see this whole line in Jos 15:5-12, ad inversely in 18:14-20): obliquely across the plain of the Jordan to Beth-hoglah (Ainl-hajla), thence to Beth-arabah (at first included, but afterwards excluded) (hence situated probably at the present Kusr Hajla); thence to the stone of Bohan (apparently very near the last place, and on the eminences in tile side of Wady Dabus); thence (westerly) in the direction of Delbit (which must therefore be placed on the west side of Wady Dabus [near its head], which last the boundary crossed, as expressed by coming) from the valley of Achor, thence northward towards Gilgalor Geliloth (which is explained as being in front of the ascent to Adummim (apparently lying on the hills skirting the Jordan just west of Gilgal, to which the access would be by the valley on the south side of Jebel el-Fasca; Adummim [probably at ed-Dem near es-Snmreh] being further described as lying on the south side of the "river," probably Wady Kelt); thence to the waters of En-shemesh (probably the "fountain of the apostles," on the road between Bethany and Jericho); thence (across the Mount of Olives by way of Bethany) to En-rogel (the well of Job near Jerusalem); thence around the valley of Hinnom (but at a later date across Mount Moriah, which David purchased, and north of Jebus, which he conquered, and thus acquired both for Judah), through the valley of Gihon to the hill at its northwestern end, bounding the plain or valley of Rephaim west of the city; thence along the ridge of this elevated plain or "hill" to the fountain of Nephtoah (probably Ain Yalo in Wady el-Werd, which last it probably followed after crossing the "giants' plain;" for it must have bent considerably to the south, since it passed near Rachel's sepulcher, now Kubbet Rahil, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem [2Sa 10:2]); thence in the direction of Mount Ephron (lying considerably northward of this vicinity, although among its "cities" may properly have been reckoned Kirjath-jearim; this line being probably carried through Wady Bittir, then by Waldy Sataf, due north) to Kirjath-jearim (otherwise Baalah or Kirjathbaal) (now Kuiryet el-Enab); thence west (across the intervening valley occupied by the Beni-melik in the direction of Yalo) to the ridge of Seir (perhaps indicated by the modern Saris); thence (south-westerly along this mountain) to a more southern spur called Mount Jearim (just across Wady Ghurab), where is located (Kesla, the representative of) Chesalo (or Chesulloth); thence (still keeping south-westerly along the same range of hills, between Zanoah [Zanfia], anld Zorah [Sufra], the last of which was afterwards assigned to Dan, with several other cities on this part of the boundary [Jos 19:41 sq.]) to Enshemesh (or Ir-shemesh) (now Ain- shems); thence (a little south of Waidy Surar) near Timnath (Tibneh. and Ekron (Akir) (the last three towns being finally reckoned as belonging to Dam), and so on to the Mediterranean, passing successively Shicron (perhaps Beit-sit), next Mount Baalah (possibly Tell Hermes), and finally Jabneel (elsewhere Jabneh [now Yebna]) (but eventually deserting the Nahr Rubin a little beyond its junction with Wady Marubah, and runuing thence south-west so as to include Gederah [Gheterah], but exclude Jal)neh and Bene-berak [Burka], reaching the sea by Wady Stimt).

Of Judah only are there any distinct and regular subdivisions given (for Keil's arrangement of the towns of Simeon in four groups according to Jos 15:21-32 [Comment. ad loc.] is not justified by the parallel passage [Jos 19:2-8], nor by the analogy of enumeration in the case of the other subdivisions of Judah [15:33-62] and Benjamin [18:21-28], nor with the Masoretic punctuation ["and" being omitted only between different designations of the same locality], nor, finally, with the actual juxtaposition of the sites). The southernmost section (stretching apparently entirely across from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean) constituted the territory of Simeon, including (as appears from a comparison of Jos 15:21-32 with 19:1-8) twenty-nine (strictly twenty-six) cities (namely, Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, Kinah, Dinmonmah, Adadah, Kedesh [Kadesh- barnea], Hazor, the twofold town Ithnan-Ziph [Zephath] with its neighboring ruins, Hormah [?Hazar-addar], Telem, Shenma or Sheba [Hazar-shual], Moladah, Heshmon o[Azmon], Beth-palet, Beer-sheba, the twin-towns Bealoth or Balah [Ramath-nekeb] and Bizjothjah-baalah or Baalath-beer [Lehi], Iim, Azem, Eltolad, Chesil or Bethul. Ziklag, Madiannlah or Beth-marcabothi, Sansannlah or Hazar-suisah,Lebaoth or Beth-lebaloth, ShiThim or Sharuhen, and the double town Ain-rimnion or Enrimmon), besides three villages dependent upon two of these (namely, Hazor-hadattlah and Kerioth-hezron or Hazor-amam [belonging to Hazor proper], and Hazar-gaddah [to Hazar-shual]), and in addition two of the towns in the plain (namely, Ether and Ashan), with others doubtless not here enumerated. The plain district or "valley" was again subdivided into four sections-the first comprising (originally) fourteen towns (Gederah and Gederothaim being the same), situated in the north-western corner of the tribe; the second comprising sixteen towns, situated immediately south of this, in the western part of the tribe; the third comprising nine towns (two 'of which,' as above, were afterwards set off to Simeon, doubtless lying on the southern boundary between the tribes), situated east of the last group and south of the preceding, in the middle of the tribe, east of the road leading from Eleutheropolis to Jerusalem; the fourth comprising the five principal Philistine towns, situated on the extreme west of the tribe along the Mediterranean coast (Ekron being really in Dan, and Gath-mizpeh in the "valley"). The highland district, or "mountains," was likewise subdivided into five groups-the first containing eleven chief towns, situated along the border of Simeon, in the middle: the second containing nine chief cities, situated immediately north of the foregoing in the southern part of the tribe around Helron: the third containing ten metropolitan towns, situated immediately east of the two preceding; the fourth embracing six principal cities, situated immediately north of the last two groups, as far as Jerusalem, on the northern boundary; and the fifth containing only two metropolitan towns, situated in the northern medial angle between the last- named group and the valley district. The remaining districts embraced the desert tract or "wilderness" along the Dead Sea, and included six chief towns (Beth-arabah being in Benjamin). The remarkable addition in the Septuagint (at ver. 59) of eleven cities (namely, Tekoah, Bethlehem, Phagor, Etam, Kulon, Tatam, Saris, Iareli, Gallim, Bether, and Menuchah), probably real localities (see each in its place), is perhaps entitled to a place in the genuine text; and would indicate a group between the third land fourth above, reaching to Jerusalem (Kulon, Saris, and Gallim being in Benjamin).

5. Simeon. — This tribe had a portion set off from the above bounded territory of Judah (Jos 19:1-8), embracing some seventeen or twenty cities (according as we make several in the list identical or different), of which only two or three have been located with any degree of definiteness, namely, Beer-sheba (probably Bir-es-Saba), Moladah (perhaps el-Miil), and Hormah (or Zephath, possibly represented by the pass es-Sutif); this much only is evident, that they all lay on the extreme south of Judah, and we shall therefore probably be not far from correct if we draw the dividing line between Judah and Simeon west by north from the Dead Sea at Massada, up Wady Sebbeh, thence cross in the same direction front Ehdeit, just south of Arad (Tell Arad) and Jattir (Attir),to the junction of Wady Khamleilifeh with Wady Khulil; thence still in the same direction up the former of these wadies to the summit of the mounts of Judah; thence west by south (along Wady Sheriah) to the Mediterranean, a short distance south of Gaza (Ghuzzeh).

6. Benjamin. — On the north, following the boundary of Ephraim (Jos 16:1-3,6; Jos 18:11-13), beginning at the Jordan opposite Jericho (probably at the mouth of Wady Nuwaimeh); thence (across the plain of the Jordan along this wady) to the northward of Jericho (ver. 12) (so as to include Zemaraim [es-Surnrah], ver. 22); thence northward (ver. 12) by the water east (i.e. north-east) of Jericho (16:1) (perhaps Ras el-Ain, which discharges its water in that direction) through the mountainous (18:12) desert (26:1) of Beth-aven (Beni-salim) (18:12), that extends from Jericho to the hilly region of Beth-el (16:1)-a description that appears to apply as well as any to the plain northwest of Jebel Kurunntul (Mt. Quarantania), the northern part of which the line would partly traverse, so as to include (18:23, 24) Ophrah (perhaps et-Tayibeh) and O)hni (probably Jifna)

(probably up Wady el-Anjeh) as it ascended Wady Habis, passing Natarah (16:7, Narath-Naaron) on the way, which lay east of Bethel (1Ch 7:28) (perhaps at el-Nejenieh); from Bethel (now Beitin) (which, being included in Benjamin, the expression "to the side of Luz southward" [Jos 18:13] must be interpreted as indicating that the line ran between Beth-el on the south and the ancient site of Luz a little to the north, the two spots being distinguished in Jos 16:2, although occupying the same vicinity) the line passed (directly south-west naming the Nahlas road, west of Bireh [Beeroth]), passing Alchi (situated perhaps at the ruined Kefr-musr) (16:2) to Ataroth (called also Ataroth-adar or- Ataroth-addarl), in a lower spot near the hill oil the south side of Beth- horon the lower (18:13), yet with some interval to the east of this last place (16:3), and at the southern extremity of this part of the line l between Ephraim and Benjamin (that faced the east), not far from Beth-horton the upper (ver. 5), and west of Naiarah on that part of the same line near the Jordan (i.e. facing the south) (ver. 7); indications that all point to some site (for one place of the name seems to be designated, since these descriptions [ver. 5-6 last clause, 7] are all of parts of the same southern boundary of Ephraim [the first two clauses of ver. 6, and the whole of ver. 8, however, refer to the northern border as Keil, in his Comment, admits, although he confesses himself unable to clear up the difficulties of the passage], reckoned first [ver. 5, 6 last clause] westward to Beth-horon, and thence back again [ver. 7] more minutely over the same line and eastward e to the Jordan) directly east of Beth-horon (doubtless the Atara, whose ruins are still found at this point, a little north of the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem; and in that case we must locate "the hill south of Beth-horon the nether" among the eminences opposite Belt Ur el-Tahta, on the south side of Wady Suleiman, through which this road runs); from Ataroth the line ran south- westerly along the Wady Suleiman, so as to include Chephirah (18:26) (probably Keftir, near this road), opposite the hill above described (ver. 14, where the expression rendered "compassed the corner of the sea" appears to signify [as some copies of the Sept. translate] a bend from a seaward [i.e. westerly] direction), an a again south-easterly to Kirjathjearimn (thus forming the western side), where it joined the boundary of Judah, which it followed back to the Jordan, and so up to the point of beginning.

The towns of this tribe enumerated in Jos 18:21-28 appear to be classed under two general sections--the twelve in ver. 21-24 lying north and east of Jerusalem, while the fourteen others occupy the more southern and western portion of the territory. At least one of these cities, Kiljath- jearim, was really (eventually) within the limits of the adjoining tribe, Judah (Jg 18:12).

7. Dan. — This tribe was bounded by the Mediterranean on the west, and by the tribes of Judah on the south, Benjamin on the east, and Ephraim on the north. (The Danites also conquered from the Cananites Leshem or Laish, in the extreme northern part of Palestine, within the bounds of Manasseh east, and retained it under the name of Dan.) The only position unidentified is the northern boundary, which will be considered under Ephraim.

8. Ephraim. — The Mediterranean was the western and the Jordan the eastern boundary. The southern boundary has been already defined from the Jordan westward as far as Ataroth from this point it passed westward (to the Jaffa road), in the vicinity of Japhleti (perhaps situated at Beit-Unia; but this word should probably be rendered "the Japhletites," i.e. family of Japhlet, a descendant of Asher [1Ch 7:32-33], although it is difficult to explain their existence in this location), to Beth-horon the nether (Jos 16:3); thence more northerly (i.e. in a general north- westerly direction) to the Mediterranean (probably along tile Jaffa road to Wady Budrfis, and thence north on the western brow of the hills to Wady el-Atnjeh, which it may naturally have followed westward to the sea; for it excluded Batlath [Balait], Jehnd [Yehudieh], and Japho [Joppa], 19:44, 45, but. included Bethhorton and Gezer [Abu-churheb], 21:21, 22), passing on the way Gezer (16:3) west of Beth-el (1Ch 7:2S [the other passages where it is mentioned do not help to fix the locality more definitely]; lately thought to have been found in Tell Jazer). The remainder of the description of the southern boundary (Jos 16:5, last clause of 6, and whole of 7) is the same as that of Benjamin on the north.

The northern boundary (the account in Jos 16:7, with the exception of the first name, must be transposed so as to connect immediately with the description of the south border in ver. 5), beginning tat the Jordan (probably at the mouth of Wady Fusail), passed westward (up this wady, otherwise called Wady Mudadireh, or Burshek) to Taanath-shiloh (ver. 6) (probably the present Ain-Fhria); thence north-westerly to Tappulah (17, 7) (probably the Belad el-Taffne [or Atuf] mentioned by some travelers east of Shechem); thence northerly to Michmnethah (16:61, 17:7) (apparently at the intersection of the line 'with Wady Tubas); thence, with a north-westerly curve, to Asher (ibid.) (probably represented by the modern Yasir) thence the line is only given in general terms as extending to the river Kanah on the Mediterranean (16:8; 17:9) (no doubt the present Nahr Falaik, which is the principal marshy stream in that region).

9. Manasseh West. — The boundaries of this tribe are given with great indistinctness, and must be in part collected from the contiguous portions of Ephraim, Asher, and Issachar, from which certain towns were set off in addition to its proper territory (Jos 17:11). From the Mefgditerranean, the northern boundary, beginning at Carmel (for Dor, below Carmel, is included [ibid.; 19:26]), and following the edge of the mountain (probably along the Kishon [Nahr-el-Mukattah]) south-easterly (as far as Joklneamn [Tell-el-Kamon ], and thence keeping the mountain more closely so as to throw the plain of Esdraelmo entirely within Issachar [Ge 49:15]), so as to include (Jos 17:11) Meriddo (Lejjun), Taanach (Ta'anuk), but so as to exclude (Jos 19:21) En-gannlim (Jenii); thence (with a sharp curve) due north (on the west brow of Mts. Gilboa and Little Herrnon), so as to include En-dor (Endiur) (Jos 17:11), but not Jezreel (Zerin), nor Chesulloth (Iksal), nor Shunem (Solam) (Jos 19:18), nor Tabor (vol. 21): thence (with another sharp curve) south-east (probably down Wady Oskeh), so as to include Beth-shean (Beisan) (Jos 17:11), to the Jordan, which formed the eastern boundary.

10. Issachar. — This tribe was hemmed in on the south, by Manasseh West, on the west by Asher, and on the north by Zebulon, leaving, only the Jordan as a natural boundary on the east (Jos 19:22).

11. Zebulun In Jacob's dying blessing (Ge 49:13), the territory o f this tribe is prophetically described as being suitable for maritime purposes, and as extending along a sea as far as Sidol, which must le explained as meaning that it reached Phoenicia, through which latter seafaring people a communication was kept up through the river Kishon and the harbor at Carmel. In Jos 19:10-15, the boundaries are definitely laid down thus: Be ginning at a place called Sarid, which is nowhere else mentioned in Scripture, but which, is here described as situated eastward from the Mediterranean, with high country intervening, one or two stations distant from the river before Jokneam (doubtless the Kishon), also as situated west of Chisloth-tabor, and beyond (i.e. south of) Daberath and Japhia, and finally on the southern boundary (for the northern line is subsequently described); all which details point to some spot about midway on the northern side of the plain of Esdraelons (probably the ruins on the "Mount of Precipitation," near el-Mezraah, on the north-west); thence westward ("towards the sea"), passing Maralah (perhaps at Mujeidil) and Dabbasheth (perhaps the present Jebuta), to the Kishon opposite Jokneam (probably Tell el-Kuurntn); then returning to Sarid, and passing northerly in the general direction of Chislou Tabor (Iksail) and Daberath (Debhfrieh) (leaving these ins Issachar), so as on the way to include Japhia (Yafa) (situated on higher ground); thence (northward) facing the east to Gittah- hepher (or Gath-hepher, 2Ki 14:25) (at el-Meshad) (included within Zebulun) and Ittah-kazin (perhaps the modern Kefr Kenna); finally (as regards the southern line) extending (due north) in the direction of Rimmon that pertains to Neah ("Rimmon-methoar to Neah") (the former answering doubtless to Rumaneh and the latter possibly to Nirmrin, the names apparently being associated as adjacent) (and excluding both these, as will appear presently), so as to meet the line of Naphtali in Aznoth-tabor (apparently Kurn Hattin) (Jos 19:34). After this the description applies to the northern boundary (for the expression "compasseth it [Rimmon] on the north side" cannot mean that the southern border passed to the north of Rimmon, as this place belonged to Zebulun [1Ch 6:17, which likewise includes Tabor, i.e. apparently Hattin, in the same tribe]), which does not appear to have extended to the Sea of Galilee (since the northern border of Issachar terminated at the Jordan [Jos 19:22], and the border of Naphiali, as it included various towns on the southern end of the shore [ver. 35; Mt 4:13], as well as Aznoth-tabor [Jos 19:34], must have passed up to this last point not far from the Wady Bestuin), turning (with a north-westerly sweep) "so as to exclude (ibid.) Hukkok (Yakufk), and, passing (apparently west) along Wady Selanmeh, so as to include Hunnethon (perhaps Deir Hlannali), and running (south-west) to the valley of Jiphthah-el (probably marked by the modern Jefat), where it met the border ofAsher (ver. 27).

In the enumeration of the border and interior towns of this tribe (Jos 19:10-15), twelve metropolitan cities only are counted, six others (Maralah, Jokneam, Chislothtabor, Daberath, Ittah-kazin, and Jiphthah-el) being situated outside the boundary line.

12. Asher. — The description of the boundary (Jos 19:24-30) begins with a generals statement of several towns Helkath (perhaps Ukreth), Hall (perhaps Alia), Beteni (perhaps el-Baneh), Achshaph (probably Kesaf), Alamrimelech (probably some place on the Waidy el-Melek), Amad (perhaps Shefu-namar), and Mishal (probably Missalli)-as lying near the border, which, crossing Carmel, reached to Shihor-libnuath (perhaps Wady Milheh), just above Dor (see 17:11), leaving in Naphtali the city of Heleph (probably Beit lif); then returning: eastward the same line, passing Beth- dagon (probably Hajeb) and the city of Zebulun (now Alidin) as far as Jiphthah-el, pursued this last valley northward past Beth-eniek and Neiel, leaving Cabul (Kabul) on the north, and, including several cities generally described .(Hebron [i.e. Abdon], Rehob, Hammomi, and Kanah), ran east of north (doubtless so as to strike the Litany), and then was continued as the northern boundary about opposite Sidon, where (without including the Philenician sea-coast): it turned south-westerly (as the western border) past Tyre as far as Achzib (Zib).

In the recapitulation of the cities of this tribe (Jos 19:25-30), twenty-two metropolitan towns only are reckoned, three others (Jiphthah- el, Sidon, and Tyre) being outside the border, and two other names (Carmel and Shitior-libnath) it being towns.

13. Naphtai was bounded by Issachar, Zebulun, and Asher on the south and west, and extended as far as Mount Hermon on the north, and eastward by the sea of Galilee, the Jordan, sea of Merom, and the Damascus road, extending to Juduah-upon-Jordan (Tell Naby Sidihnda), and including, Beth-shemesh (Medjel es-Sheirns) (Jos 19:22). The northerly limits of this tribe are stated in the general boundaries of Palestine (q.v.), laid down in Nu 34:7-11, as follows: A line from the Mediterranean Sea crossing the mountain-range (Lebanon, or its offshoot Hermon), and intersecting the "entrance to 1iamath" (Coele-Syria or the valley of the Leontes) apparently at Zedad (perhaps the present Jedeimdeh); thence to Ziphrou (probably another place in the same valley [possibly Kankaha]), and so by way of Hazar-enan (perhaps Hasbeya) to the edge of the Hanuran. From Hazarenan, the southern boundary bent southward (so as to firm in part the eastern boundary), so as to follow substantially the eastern arm of the-upper Jordan, taking in successively Shepham (perhaps Caesare Philippi; comp. Baal-gad in Jos 11:17) and Riblah (not the Iiblah of Hamath, but a much: more southerly place), east of Ain (perhaps the spring of Tell el-Kady), and so on down to the sea of Galilee. The account in Eze 47:14-17 (which is evidently a. copy of that in Numbers) contains the following additional names: Hethlon, Berothah, Sibraim, and Hazar-hatticon, which (at least the middle two), from their association with Hamath, appear (in this vague enumeration) to have been situated beyond the bounds of the Oriental Promised Land altogether.

In the sum of the cities enumerated in connection with this tribe, nineteen metropolitan towns only are included, five of the names (Allon-zaanaim, Adami-nekeb, Ziddimzer, Hammath rakkath, and Migdal el Horem) being double, and two others (Aznoth-tabor and Judah-upon Jordan) lying outside the border. SEE PALESTINE.

 
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