Jos 15:1-12. Borders of the Lot of Judah.
1. This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah -- In what manner the lot was drawn on this occasion the sacred historian does not say; but it is probable that the method adopted was similar to that described in Jos 18:10. Though the general survey of the country had not been completed, some rough draft or delineation of the first conquered part must have been made, and satisfactory evidence obtained that it was large enough to furnish three cantons, before all the tribes cast lots for them; and they fell to Judah, Ephraim, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The lot of Judah came first, in token of the pre-eminence of that tribe over all the others; and its destined superiority thus received the visible sanction of God. The territory, assigned to it as a possession, was large and extensive, being bounded on the south by the wilderness of Zin, and the southern extremity of the Salt Sea (Nu 34:3-5); on the east, by that sea, extending to the point where it receives the waters of the Jordan; on the north, by a line drawn nearly parallel to Jerusalem, across the country, from the northern extremity of the Salt Sea to the southern limits of the Philistine territory, and to the Mediterranean; and on the west this sea was its boundary, as far as Sihor (Wady El-Arish).
2. the bay -- Hebrew, |tongue.| It pushes its waters out in this form to a great distance [Robinson].
3. Maaleh-akrabbim -- Hebrew, |the ascent of scorpions|; a pass in the |bald mountain| (see on Jos 11:17), probably much infested by these venomous reptiles.
5. the end -- that is, the mouth of the Jordan.
6. Beth-hogla -- now Ain Hajla, a fine spring of clear and sweet water, at the northern extremity of the Dead Sea, about two miles from the Jordan [Robinson].
Beth-arabah -- |the house,| or |place of solitude,| in the desert of Judah (Jos 15:61).
stone of Bohan the son of Reuben -- the sepulchral monument of a Reubenite leader, who had been distinguished for his bravery, and had fallen in the Canaanite war.
7. Achor -- (see on Jos 7:26).
Adummim -- a rising ground in the wilderness of Jericho, on the south of the little brook that flowed near Jericho (Jos 16:1).
En-shemesh -- |the fountain of the sun|; |either the present well of the apostle, below Bethany, on the road to Jericho, or the fountain near to St. Saba| [Robinson].
En-rogel -- |the fuller's fountain,| on the southeast of Jerusalem, below the spot where the valleys of Jehoshaphat and Hinnom unite.
Jos 15:13-15. Caleb's Portion and Conquest.
13. unto Caleb he gave a part among the children of Judah -- (See on Jos 14:6).
14. drove thence the three sons of Anak -- rather three chiefs of the Anakim race. This exploit is recorded to the honor of Caleb, as the success of it was the reward of his trust in God.
15. Debir -- |oracle.| Its former name, Kirjath-sepher, signifies |city of the book,| being probably a place where public registers were kept.
Jos 15:16-20. Othniel, for His Valor, Has Achsah to Wife.
16-20. He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher -- This offer was made as an incentive to youthful bravery (see on 1Sa 17:25); and the prize was won by Othniel, Caleb's younger brother (Jud 1:13; 3:9). This was the occasion of drawing out the latent energies of him who was destined to be the first judge in Israel.
18, 19. as she came unto him -- that is, when about to remove from her father's to her husband's house. She suddenly alighted from her travelling equipage -- a mark of respect to her father, and a sign of making some request. She had urged Othniel to broach the matter, but he not wishing to do what appeared like evincing a grasping disposition, she resolved herself to speak out. Taking advantage of the parting scene when a parent's heart was likely to be tender, she begged (as her marriage portion consisted of a field which, having a southern exposure, was comparatively an arid and barren waste) he would add the adjoining one, which abounded in excellent springs. The request being reasonable, it was granted; and the story conveys this important lesson in religion, that if earthly parents are ready to bestow on their children that which is good, much more will our heavenly Father give every necessary blessing to them who ask Him.
Jos 15:21-63. Cities of Judah.
21-63. the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah -- There is given a list of cities within the tribal territory of Judah, arranged in four divisions, corresponding to the districts of which it consisted -- the cities in the southern part (Jos 15:21-32), those in the lowlands (Jos 15:33-47), those in the highlands (Jos 15:48-60), and those in the desert (Jos 15:61, 62). One gets the best idea of the relative situation of these cities by looking at the map.