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was not in the possession of the Israelites till the time of David, 2 Sam. v. 6.
"The second lot came forth to Simeon; and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah," Josh. xix. 1. There was not any particular district, within the bounds of Judah, allotted to the Simeonites. They possessed eighteen cities, scattered through the territory of that tribe: these are enumerated, Josh. xix. 2-7. In the reign of Hezekiah, the tribe of Simeon found it necessary to procure additional settlements, in Mount Seir, south-east of Judah.
VII. The boundaries of the land of Zebulun are given in Josh. xix. 10-16; but as the situation of the places there mentioned as land-marks, are now unknown, the precise location of this tribe is, of course, uncertain. From a comparison of the limits of the neighbouring tribes it is probable that Zebulun was bounded on the north and west by Asher, on the northeast by Naphtali, and extended as far south as Mount Tabor. That it bordered upon the sea of Gennesaret is evident from Matt. iv. 13, where Capernaum is said to be "upon the sea-coast, in the borders of Zebulun and Nephthalim." Twelve cities, with their villages, are enumerated, Josh. xix. 10-15, as belonging to the tribe of Zebulun.
VIII. The portion of Issachar was bounded, on the north, by that of Zebulun; on the west, by that of Manasseh; on the south, by that of Ephraim; on the east, by the river Jordan. The district thus laid off was in the form of a triangle.
Joshua (xix. 17-22) enumerates sixteen cities belonging to the tribe of Issachar. These, however, were probably only the most considerable; as two of the cities allotted to the Levites within the bounds of Issachar are omitted in this list, and as sixteen would scarcely be sufficient for a tribe which sent above 64,000 men to war.
IX. The territory of the tribe of Asher was a small tract of land on the Mediterranean coast; bounded on
the east by Zebulun, Issachar, and Naphtali. Its southern extremity was a little to the south of Carmel; its northern not far from Sidon in Phenicia, Josh. xix. 24-30.
Of the twenty-four cities belonging to this tribe some were never occupied by Israelites. In Judges i. 31, we find seven mentioned, from which the Canaanites had not been driven out.
X. To the tribe of Naphtali was assigned a narrow tract of land reaching from the land of Asher on the west, to the Jordan on the east. On the south, it was bounded by the tribe of Zebulun, Josh. xix. 34. This was the most northerly of all the tribes. Within its bounds was the city of Dan, commonly spoken of in Scripture to denote the northern extremity of Palestine. It is not, indeed, mentioned among the cities of Naphtali in Joshua xix. 35-38, because it belonged at that time to the Sidonians, and bore the name of Laish. It was afterwards conquered by an army of Danites, who changed its name to that of their own tribe.
XI. The last and least portion assigned was that of the tribe of Dan. Like that of Benjamin, it lay between the territories of Judah and Joseph, and was bounded on the east by the land of Benjamin, and on the west by the Mediterranean.
The Danites do not appear, at any time, to have been in full possession of the land allotted to them. Ekron, one of their cities, Josh. xix. 43, is mentioned as a city of the Philistines, 1 Sam. v. 10; 2 Kings i. 2. And we read, in Judg. i. 34, 35, that "the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley." Before the tribe of Dan had possession of their territory, a part of them, as we have already mentioned, took the city of Laish on the northern frontier of the Holy Land, Judg. xviii.
It has already been mentioned, that the tribe of Levi had no part of the land assigned to them as their exclusive portion, but were allowed forty-eight cities,
with the adjacent fields for the pasturage of their cattle, lying within the limits of the other tribes, each of which gave up, for this purpose, more or less, according to their size and population. Most of these places were in the neighbourhood of the sanctuary, and thirteen of them (all situated in the tribe of Benjamin) were appropriated, by lot, to the priests, Josh. xxi. 4, etc.
THE DIVISION OF THE LAND UNDER THE KINGS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL.
AFTER the death of Solomon, ten of the tribes threw off their allegiance to his son. They established a new kingdom, called the kingdom of Israel; while the tribes which adhered to Rehoboam, from that time bore the name of the kingdom of Judah, 1 Kings xii. 19, 20.
The kingdom of Israel comprehended all the country east of Jordan, and the northern districts on the other side. The kingdom of Judah consisted of the tribe of that name, and the southern part of the land of Benjamin. That the northern possessions of the latter tribe belonged to the new kingdom is evident, from the fact that Bethel and Ramah, cities of Benjamin, were subject to the authority of Jeroboam, 1 Kings xii. 29; xv. 17. On the other hand, such possessions of the tribe of Simeon as lay within the bounds of Judah, remained in the possession of the latter. Thus, Beersheba, Hormah, Ziklag, which, in Joshua xix. 2-5, are recorded among the cities of Simeon, are, in 1 Kings xix. 3; 1 Sam. xxvii. 6; xxx. 30, mentioned as belonging to the kingdom of Judah. So also Zorah and Ajalon were cities of Dan, Josh. xix. 41, 42; but remained in the possession of the kings of Judah, 2 Chron. xi. 10.
After the return of the Jews from captivity to the land of their fathers, the ancient distribution of the country among the twelve tribes was no longer kept
Those who availed themselves of the permis
sion granted them by Cyrus, to return to Palestine, were principally of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. These, it is true, resumed their ancient possessions, and observed their ancient limits. But of the other Israelites very few returned. The greater part of them chose rather to continue in the land where they had been so long compelled to dwell. The few who did return, settled within the bounds of Benjamin and Judah, and amalgamated with them. Besides, during the 200 years which had elapsed since the ten tribes were carried into captivity, the ancient land-marks and bounding lines must have been obliterated and forgotten.
It has been inferred from Matt. iv. 13-16, that the ancient division of the country still prevailed in the time of Christ. It is evident, however, that the evangelist mentions the situation of Capernaum according to the ancient geographical divisions, merely to show the precise correspondence of the fact which he records with the prediction of the prophet. "And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles," etc.
In no other part of the New Testament is the situation of any place described by a reference to the ancient distribution of the land among the tribes.
THE DIVISIONS OF PALESTINE UNDER THE ROMANS.
How Palestine was divided while subject to the kings of Persia we have now no means of ascertaining. Under the Syrian kings, the region west of Jordan was divided into Judea, Samaria, and Galilee; which division was adopted and continued by the Romans. The country east of Jordan bore the Greek name Peraea, derived from a preposition which signifies beyond. As
this is the division recognised in the New Testament, as well as by the Greeks and Romans, by Josephus, and by some of the early Christian writers, we shall adopt it as our guide in describing more minutely the particular parts of the country. In so doing, we shall begin with, 1. Peraea, or the region beyond Jordan, and then proceed to the districts west of Jordan, passing from north to south; 2. Galilee; 3. Samaria; 4. Judea.
THIS name was used to denote, sometimes the whole region beyond Jordan, sometimes a particular district of that region. In the former sense, it included the districts of Trachonitis, Ituraea, Gaulanitis, Auranitis, Batanaea, and Peraea Proper, as well as the greater part of Decapolis.
1. Trachonitis derived its name from two remarkable mountains, called by the Greeks Trachones. It extended northward to the district of Damascus, and southward to the city of Bostra. It was bounded on the west by Gaulanitis; on the east by Auranitis and the deserts of Arabia.
The greater part of Trachonitis was not strictly within the bounds of Palestine. It is, nevertheless, a proper subject of sacred geography, being mentioned in Luke iii. 1, as a part of the tetrarchy of Philip, to whom it was left by his father Herod the Great. Herod obtained it, together with all the northern parts of Peraea, from the Romans, on condition of his extirpating the robbers by whom it was infested.
A part of Trachonitis, stretching from Damascus westward, was subject, during the reign of the latter Syrian kings, to Lysanias, an independent chief who resided at Abila. This region is called, in Luke iii. 1, Abilene.
2. Ituraea was so called from Jetur, one of the sons of Ishmael, Gen. xxv. 15; 1 Chron. i. 31, by whose descendants it was once inhabited. In the time of