The country of Samaria contained only two tribes, and those of the brethren, Ephraim and Manasses: Galilee four, Issachar, Zebulun, Nephthalim, and Asher, and a part also of the Danites.
The maps agree indeed about the order in which these tribes were seated, but about the proper place of their situation, Oh how great a disagreement is there among them! The tribe of Issachar held the south country of Galilee: some maps place it on the south of the sea of Gennesaret, not illy: but it is ill done of them to stretch it unto the sea itself: and others, worst of all, who set it on the west of that sea. Of this land Josephus writes thus; |And after these (the Manassites) Issachar maketh mount Carmel and the river her bounds in length, and mount Itaburion in breadth.|
The country of Zabulon touched upon that of Issachar on the north. Some maps spread it out unto the sea of Gennesaret; some place it a long way above that sea northwardly; the former not well, -- the latter exceedingly ill. Of it thus writes the same Josephus, |The Zabulonites had for their portion the land unto Gennesaret, extending unto Carmel and the sea.| Observing that clause, |unto Gennesaret,| we (persuaded also by the Talmudical writers, and led by reason) do suppose the land of Zabulon to lie on the south shore and coast of the sea of Gennesaret, and that whole sea to be comprised within the land of Nephthali. With what arguments, we are led we shew afterward, when we treat of that sea. Which assertion, we know, is exposed, and lies open to this objection: --
Object. Josephus saith, in the place but now quoted, that, |the upper parts of Galilee unto mount Libanus, and the springs of Jordan,| belonged to the portion of Nephthali. But now if you stretch the portion of Nephthali from the springs of Jordan to the utmost southern coast of the sea of Gennesaret (which our opinion does), alas, how much doth this exceed the proportion of the other tribes! For from Scythopolis, the utmost south border of Galilee, to the south coast of the sea of Gennesaret, was not above fifteen miles: within which space the whole breadth of the two tribes of Issachar and Zabulon is contained. But from the south coast of Gennesaret to the springs of Jordan, were about forty miles; which to assign to the land of Nephthali alone, is neither proportionable nor congruous.
Ans. This objection indeed would have some weight in it, if the land of Nephthali did extend itself eastwardly as much as the land of Issachar and Zabulon. For these run out as far as the Mediterranean sea; but that hath the land of Asher, and the jurisdiction of Tyre and Sidon lying between it and the sea. So that when the breadth of those countries is measured from south to north, the breadth of this is measured from east to west. There is therefore no such great inequality between these, when this is contained in the like straits of breadth with them, and they enjoy the like length with this.
The confines of the land of Nephthali bounded the land of Asher on one side, and those of Tyre and Sidon on the other: and this land, in the same manner as the portion of Nephthali, extends itself in length from south to north; and (which somewhat agrees with our opinion, and answers the objection mentioned before) Josephus allows it a greater length than we do the land of Nephthali, or at least equal to it. For, |The Asherites possess all that hollow valley so called, because it is such that runs from Carmel to Sidon.|