Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
List of the Kings Slaughtered by the Israelites - Joshua 12
In the historical account of the wars of Joshua in the south and north of Canaan, the only kings mentioned by name as having been conquered and slain by the Israelites, were those who had formed a league to make war upon them; whereas it is stated at the close, that Joshua had smitten all the kings in the south and north, and taken possession of their towns (Jos 10:40; Jos 11:17). To complete the account of these conquests, therefore, a detailed list is given in the present chapter of all the kings that were slain, and not merely of those who were defeated by Joshua in the country on this side of the Jordan, but the two kings of the Amorites who had been conquered by Moses are also included, so as to give a complete picture of all the victories which Israel had gained under the omnipotent help of its God.
List of the kings whom the Israelites smote, and whose land they took, on the other side of the Jordan, - namely, the land by the brook Arnon (Mojeb; see Num 21:13) to Hermon (Jebel es Sheikh, Deu 3:8), and the whole of the eastern Arabah (the valley of the Jordan on the eastern side of the river).
On Sihon and his kingdom, see Num 21:24; Deu 2:36; Deu 3:16-17. "Aror on the Arnon:" the present ruins of Araayr, on the northern bank of the Mojeb (see Num 32:34). הנּחל ותוך, "and (from) the middle of the valley onwards:" i.e., according to the parallel passages in Jos 13:9, Jos 13:16, and Deu 2:36, from the town in the Arnon valley, the city of Moab mentioned in Num 22:36, viz., Ar or Areopolis (see at Num 21:15) in the neighbourhood of Aror, which is mentioned as the exclusive terminus a quo of the land taken by the Israelites along with the inclusive terminus Aror. "Half-Gilead," i.e., the mountainous district on the south side of the Jabbok (see at Deu 3:10), "to the river Jabbok," i.e., the upper Jabbok, the present Nahr Ammn (see at Num 21:24).
"And (over) the Arabah, etc., Sihon reigned," i.e., over the eastern side of the Ghor, between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea (see at Deu 3:17). "By the way to Bethjeshimoth, and towards the south below the slopes of Pisgah" (see at Num 21:15 and Num 27:12), i.e., to the north-eastern border of the desert by the Dead Sea (see at Num 22:1).
"And the territory of Og," sc., they took possession of (Jos 12:1). On Og, vid., Deu 3:11; and on his residences, Ashtaroth (probably to be seen in Tell Ashtereh) and Edrei (now Draa or Dra), see at Gen 14:5 and Num 21:33. On his territory, see Deu 3:10, Deu 3:13-14.
These two kings were smitten by Moses, etc.: vid., Num 21:21., and Num 32:33.
List of the thirty-one kings of Canaan whom Joshua smote on the western side of the Jordan, "from Baal-gad, in the valley of Lebanon, to the bald mountain that goeth up towards Seir" (see Jos 11:17). This land Joshua gave to the other tribes of Israel. (On the different parts of the land, see at Jos 9:1; Jos 10:40, and Jos 11:2.)
The different kings are given in the order in which they were defeated: Jericho (Jos 6:1); Ai (Jos 7:2); Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon (Jos 10:3); Gezer (Jos 10:33); and Debir (Jos 10:38). Those given in Jos 12:13 and Jos 12:14 are not mentioned by name in Josh 10. Geder, possibly the same as Gedor upon the mountains of Judah (Jos 15:58), which has been preserved under the old name of Jedur (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 186, and Bibl. Res. p. 282). Hormah (i.e., banning) was in the south of Judah (Jos 15:30), and was allotted to the Simeonites (Jos 19:4). It was called Zephath by the Canaanites (Jdg 1:17; see at Num 21:3), was on the southern slope of the mountains of the Amalekites or Amorites, the present ruins of Septa, on the western slope of the table-land of Rakhma, two hours and a half to the south-west of Khalasa (Elusa: see Ritter, Erdk. xiv. p. 1085). Arad, also in the Negeb, has been preserved in Tell Arad (see at Num 21:1). Libnah (see at Jos 10:29). Adullam, which is mentioned in Jos 15:35 among the towns of the plain between Jarmuth and Socoh, was in the neighbourhood of a large cave in which David took refuge when flying from Saul (Sa1 22:1; Sa2 23:13). It was fortified by Rehoboam (Ch2 11:7), and is mentioned in 2 Macc. 12:38 as the city of Odollam. The Onomast. describes it as being ten Roman miles to the east of Eleutheropolis; but this is a mistake, though it has not yet been discovered. So far as the situation is concerned, Deir Dubbn would suit very well, a place about two hours to the north of Beit Jibrin, near to a large number of caves in the white limestone, which form a kind of labyrinth, as well as some vaulted grottos (see Rob. Pal. ii. p. 353, and Van de Velde, Reise, pp. 162-3). Makkedah: possibly Summeil (see at Jos 10:10). Bethel, i.e., Beitin (see Jos 8:17). The situation of the towns which follow in Jos 12:17 and Jos 12:18 cannot be determined with certainty, as the names Tappuach, Aphek, and Hefer are met with again in different parts of Canaan, and Lassaron does not occur again. But if we observe, that just as from Jos 12:10 onwards those kings'-towns are first of all enumerated, the capture of which has already been described in Josh 10, and then in Jos 12:15 and Jos 12:16 certain other towns are added which had been taken in the war with the Canaanites of the south, so likewise in Jos 12:19 and Jos 12:20 the capitals of the allied kings of northern Canaan are given first, and after that the other towns that were taken in the northern war, but had not been mentioned by name in Josh 11: there can be no doubt whatever that the four towns in Jos 12:17 and Jos 12:18 are to be classed among the kings'-towns taken in the war with the king of Jerusalem and his allies, and therefore are to be sought for in the south of Canaan and not in the north. Consequently we cannot agree with Van de Velde and Knobel in identifying Tappuach with En-Tappuach (Jos 17:7), and looking for it in Atf, a place to the north-east of Nablus and near the valley of the Jordan; we connect it rather with Tappuach in the lowlands of Judah (Jos 15:34), though the place itself has not yet been discovered. Hefer again is neither to be identified with Gath-hepher in the tribe of Zebulun (Jos 19:13), nor with Chafaraim in the tribe of Issachar (Jos 19:19), but is most probably the capital of the land of Hefer (Kg1 4:10), and to be sought for in the neighbourhood of Socoh in the plain of Judah. Aphek is probably the town of that name not far from Ebenezer (Sa1 4:1), where the ark was taken by the Philistines, and is most likely to be sought for in the plain of Judah, though not in the village of Ahbek (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 343); but it has not yet been traced. Knobel imagines that it was Aphek near to Jezreel (Sa1 29:1), which was situated, according to the Onom., in the neighbourhood of Endor (Sa1 29:1; Kg1 20:25, Kg1 20:30); but this Aphek is too far north. Lassaron only occurs here, and hitherto it has been impossible to trace it. Knobel supposes it to be the place called Saruneh, to the west of the lake of Tiberias, and conjectures that the name has been contracted from Lassaron by aphaeresis of the liquid. This is quite possible, if only we could look for Lassaron so far to the north. Bachienne and Rosenmller imagine it to be the village of Sharon in the celebrated plain of that name, between Lydda and Arsuf.
Madon, Hezor, Shimron-meron, and Achshaph (see at Jos 11:1).
Taanach, which was allotted to the Manassites in the territory of Issachar, and given up to the Levites (Jos 17:11; Jos 21:25), but was not entirely wrested from the Canaanites (Jdg 1:27), is the present Tell Tanak, an hour and a quarter to the south-east of Lejun, a flat hill sown with corn; whilst the old name has been preserved in the small village of Tanak, at the south-eastern foot of the Tell (see Van de Velde, i. p. 269, and Rob. Pal. iii. p. 156). - Megiddo, which was also allotted to the Manassites in the territory of Issachar, though without the Canaanites having been entirely expelled (Jos 17:11; Jdg 1:27), was fortified by Solomon (Kg1 9:15), and is also well known as the place were Ahaziah died (Kg2 9:27), and where Josiah was beaten and slain by Pharaoh Necho (Kg2 23:29-30; Ch2 35:20.). Robinson has shown that it was preserved in the Legio of a later time, the present Lejun (Pal. iii. pp. 177ff.; see also Bibl. Res. p. 116).
Kedesh, a Levitical city and city of refuge upon the mountains of Naphtali (Jos 19:37; Jos 20:7; Jos 21:32), the home of Barak (Jdg 4:6), was conquered and depopulated by Tiglath-Pileser (Kg2 15:29), and was also a well-known place after the captivity (1 Macc. 11:61ff.) It is now an insignificant village, still bearing the ancient name, to the north-west of the lake of Huleh, or, according to Van de Velde (Reise. ii. p. 355), nothing but a miserable farmstead upon a Tell at the south-west extremity of a well-cultivated table-land, with a large quantity of antiquities about, viz., hewn stones, relics of columns, sarcophagi, and two ruins of large buildings, with an open and extensive prospect on every side (see also Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 367ff.). Jokneam, near Carmel, as a Levitical town in the territory of Zebulun (Jos 19:11; Jos 21:34). Van de Velde and Robinson (Bibl. Res. p. 114) suppose that they have found it in Tell Kaimn, on the eastern side of the Wady el Milh, at the north-west end of a chain of hills running towards the south-east; this Tell being 200 feet high, and occupying a very commanding situation, so that it governed the main pass on the western side of Esdraelon towards the southern plain. Kaimn is the Arabic form of the ancient Καμμωνά, Cimana, which Eusebius and Jerome describe in the Onom. as being six Roman miles to the north of Legio, on the road to Ptolemais.
Dor: see Jos 11:2. Gilgal: the seat of the king of the Goyim (a proper name, as in Gen 14:1), in all probability the same place as the villa nomine Galgulis mentioned in the Onom. (s. v. Gelgel) as being six Roman miles to the north of Antipatris, which still exists in the Moslem village of Jiljule (now almost a ruin; see Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 136), although this village is only two miles E.S.E. of Kefr Sba, the ancient Antipatris (see Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 568-9). Thirza, the capital of the kings of Israel down to the time of Omri (Kg1 14:17; Kg1 15:21, Kg1 15:33; Kg1 16:6.), is probably the present Talluza, an elevated and beautifully situated place, of a considerable size, surrounded by large olive groves, two hours to the north of Shechem (see Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 302, and Van de Velde, ii. p. 294).