The Allotment for Judah
15 The allotment for the tribe of the people of Judah according to their clans reached southward to the boundary of Edom, to the wilderness of Zin at the farthest south. And their south boundary ran from the end of the Salt Sea, from the bay that faces southward. It goes out southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, passes along to Zin, and goes up south of Kadesh-barnea, along by Hezron, up to Addar, turns about to Karka, passes along to Azmon, goes out by the Brook of Egypt, and comes to its end at the sea. This shall be your south boundary. And the east boundary is the Salt Sea, to the mouth of the Jordan. And the boundary on the north side runs from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan. And the boundary goes up to Beth-hoglah and passes along north of Beth-arabah. And the boundary goes up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben. And the boundary goes up to Debir from the Valley of Achor, and so northward, turning toward Gilgal, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south side of the valley. And the boundary passes along to the waters of En-shemesh and ends at En-rogel. Then the boundary goes up by the Valley of the Son of Hinnom at the southern shoulder of the Jebusite (that is, Jerusalem). And the boundary goes up to the top of the mountain that lies over against the Valley of Hinnom, on the west, at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. Then the boundary extends from the top of the mountain to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, and from there to the cities of Mount Ephron. Then the boundary bends around to Baalah (that is, Kiriath-jearim). And the boundary circles west of Baalah to Mount Seir, passes along to the northern shoulder of Mount Jearim (that is, Chesalon), and goes down to Beth-shemesh and passes along by Timnah. The boundary goes out to the shoulder of the hill north of Ekron, then the boundary bends around to Shikkeron and passes along to Mount Baalah and goes out to Jabneel. Then the boundary comes to an end at the sea. And the west boundary was the Great Sea with its coastline. This is the boundary around the people of Judah according to their clans.
According to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, he gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh a portion among the people of Judah, Kiriath-arba, that is, Hebron (Arba was the father of Anak). And Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak, Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the descendants of Anak. And he went up from there against the inhabitants of Debir. Now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher. And Caleb said, “Whoever strikes Kiriath-sepher and captures it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter as wife.” And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it. And he gave him Achsah his daughter as wife. When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she got off her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Give me a blessing. Since you have given me the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water.” And he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
This is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Judah according to their clans. The cities belonging to the tribe of the people of Judah in the extreme south, toward the boundary of Edom, were Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, Hazor-hadattah, Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor), Amam, Shema, Moladah, Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, Beth-pelet, Hazar-shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, Baalah, Iim, Ezem, Eltolad, Chesil, Hormah, Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon: in all, twenty-nine cities with their villages.
And in the lowland, Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, Zanoah, En-gannim, Tappuah, Enam, Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, Shaaraim, Adithaim, Gederah, Gederothaim: fourteen cities with their villages.
Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal-gad, Dilean, Mizpeh, Joktheel, Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, Cabbon, Lahmam, Chitlish, Gederoth, Beth-dagon, Naamah, and Makkedah: sixteen cities with their villages.
Libnah, Ether, Ashan, Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah: nine cities with their villages.
Ekron, with its towns and its villages; from Ekron to the sea, all that were by the side of Ashdod, with their villages.
Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; to the Brook of Egypt, and the Great Sea with its coastline.
And in the hill country, Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, Dannah, Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir), Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, Goshen, Holon, and Giloh: eleven cities with their villages.
Arab, Dumah, Eshan, Janim, Beth-tappuah, Aphekah, Humtah, Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior: nine cities with their villages.
Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah: ten cities with their villages.
Halhul, Beth-zur, Gedor, Maarath, Beth-anoth, and Eltekon: six cities with their villages.
Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), and Rabbah: two cities with their villages.
In the wilderness, Beth-arabah, Middin, Secacah, Nibshan, the City of Salt, and Engedi: six cities with their villages.
But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.
Joshua 15 Commentary
by Hank Workman
As the allotment of the land for Judah takes place, Caleb makes another appearance. Be it ever so brief we read of his nephew Othniel. After Joshua died, the Israelite’s would fight and lose battles against the Canaanites. They would grow disobedient.
As the onslaught of defeat raged, the people would cry out and God would raise up Caleb’s younger brother to become the first Judge of Israel. Recorded in the book of Judges, there’s a beautiful statement of “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him so he became Israel’s judge and went to war.” Judges 3:10
The Holy Spirit gave Othniel extraordinary strength for the task at hand.
There are two thoughts to consider.
The first is Caleb’s legacy of faithfulness continued to the next generation. As we live, so we make impressions. We are making a deep impact for the Kingdom within the relationships we hold. Some of these will be future leaders. Our faithfulness to God is far reaching. Furthermore, it not only is pleasing to God, it is used to impact lives entrusted to us.
The second thought is when God brought Othniel to the forefront, He supplied the strength through His Spirit to finish the mission. There are many times we feel so inadequate to our calling. We’re burned out, weary and weak. The strand of hope here is God will supply our needs through His Spirit and give extraordinary strength for the task He’s laid before us.
Joshua 15 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Israel’s land promised by God spanned a great distance in the middle east but they currently occupy a fraction of what should have been theirs. In Joshua 14, I explained that Caleb had to go back to Hebron as an old man in order to wipe out the enemy from the land promised to him by God. Here in Joshua 15, we read the details of that victory…
As the LORD commanded Joshua, part of the territory of Judah was given to Caleb son of Jephunneh, from the tribe of Judah. He received Hebron, the city belonging to Arba, father of Anak. 14 Caleb drove the descendants of Anak out of the city—the clans of Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. 15 From there he went to attack the people living in Debir. (This city used to be called Kiriath Sepher.)Joshua 15:13-15 GNB
The chapter, however, ends on a somewhat sour note because Israel was unable to conquer Jerusalem.
But the people of Judah were not able to drive out the Jebusites, who lived in Jerusalem. The Jebusites still live there with the people of Judah.Joshua 15:63 GNB
The Jebusites were descendants from the third king of Canaan who Joshua had slain after he joined a pact against Gibeon (Joshua 10). They apparently fled to Jerusalem and were able to defend it. Most everyone attributes this to a lack of faith and a presence of fear with the sons of Judah. It was hard to conquer, sitting high on a hill. The truth remained, however, that God had promised it to Israel.
We see a clear line between those who functioned in the courage of the Lord and those who did not. It seems the majority did not. This goes to show that even with strong leaders (Joshua & Caleb), the people under that leadership will not always follow. In the bigger picture, even though God gives life to every human being and gives them every reason to know Him and love Him, many will not follow. This is the sad reality of leadership.