Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Consult the notes to the passages referred to in the margin.
All the plain on the east - i. e. the Arabah or depressed tract along the east bank of Jordan, the modern El-Ghor (see Num 22:1).
From the middle of the river - i. e. as appears from Jos 13:9, Jos 13:16, "from the city that is in the midst of the river;" namely,, Ar Moab (see Deu 2:36).
From the plain - Render "over the plain;" for the words describe not one of the boundaries of Sihon's kingdom, but part of the territory included in it, i. e. the eastern portion of the Ghor, between the Sea of Tiberias and the Dead Sea.
The names of the kings are given in the order of their actual encounter with Joshua. Those enumerated in Jos 12:10-18 either belonged to the league of the southern Canaanites (Jos 10:1 ff), the power of which was broken in the battle of Beth-horon, or were at any rate conquered in the campaign following that battle. Those mentioned in Jos 12:19-24 were in like manner connected with the northern confederates (Jos 11:1 ff), who were defeated at the Waters of Merom.
The identification of several of these places is still uncertain: the same name (e. g. Aphek, Jos 12:18) being applied to various places in various parts of Palestine. Geder, or Gedor Jos 15:58, a city in the mountain district in the south of the territory of Judah, is no doubt the modern "Jedur".
Taanach - A Levitical town Jos 21:25 in the territory of Issachar, but assigned to the Manassites (Jos 17:11; Compare Ch1 7:29), is identified with "Taanuk". It was here that Barak encountered the host of Sisera Jdg 5:19. Megiddo was near it, and is thought to have been "el Lejjun" (the Roman Legion), (or Mujedd'a (Conder)).
Kedesh - i. e. Kedesh Naphtali, a city of refuge, a Levitical city, and the home of Barak Jdg 9:6.
Jokneam - A Levitical city in the territory of Zebulon Jos 19:11; perhaps the modern "Kaimon". "Tell Kaimon" is a conspicuous and important position, commanding the main pass across the ridge of Carmel from Phoenicia to Egypt. This famous mountain range (about 15 miles long) no doubt received the name Carmel (the word means "a fruitful field" as opposed to "wilderness") as descriptive of its character; and thus the name became an emblem of beauty and luxuriance (Isa 35:2; Sol 7:5, etc.). Its highest part, about 4 miles from Tell Kaimon, is nearly 1,750 feet above the sea. Its modern name, "Jebel Mar Elias", preserves still that association with the great deeds of Elijah, from which Carmel derives its chief Biblical interest. Mount Carmel was probably, like Lebanon, from very ancient Canaanite times, regarded as especially sacred; and since the altar of the Lord repaired by Elijah Kg1 18:30 was an old one which had been broken down, Carmel was probably no less esteemed by the Israelites also. In later times the caves which abound toward the western bluffs of the range have been frequented by Christian, Jewish, and Mussulman anchorites. The order of Carmelite or barefooted friars took its rise from the convent founded by Louis, which still crowns the western headland.
The king of the nations - See Gen 14:1 and note. It means king of certain mixed and probably nomadic tribes, which regarded Gilgal Jos 9:19 as their center and capital.
Tirzah - This place, the capital of Jeroboam and his successors until the clays of Omri (Kg1 14:17; Kg1 15:21, etc.), is identified by some with "Tulluzah", a town 3 miles northeast of Nablous, (by others with Teiasir).