Joshua 11:17 MEANING

Joshua 11:17
(17) The mount Halak is marked as unknown in Conder's Biblical Gazetteer. But "the smooth hill which goeth up to Seir," may very possibly be the salt hill now called Khasur-Usdum, which has a glacier-like appearance, and forms a sufficiently striking object to be mentioned as a boundary-mark.

Baal-gad has by some been identified with Baal-hermon, afterwards Paneas, and Caesarea Philippi. Others think it is still unknown.

Verse 17. - The Mount Halak. The smooth mountain. Literally," monte glabro," Vulg.; λεῖον, Symmachus. This may either be interpreted "the mountain bare of foliage," as opposed to Seir, the hairy or wooded mountain, as Masius and Rosenmuller suppose, or, as the latter also suggests, it may mean the mountain which has a smooth outline, as opposed to a precipitous cliff. This falls in with the character of the hills on the south of Palestine (see note on Joshua 10:40). The LXX. renders by a proper name. But this the article forbids. The Syriac interpreter renders "the dividing mountain." But חלק rather signifies in this sense to assign by lot. Keil would identify it with "the row of white cliffs which cuts the Arabah obliquely at about eight English miles to the south of the Dead Sea," and divides the great valley into two parts, the Ghor and the Arabah. He gives up the other "smooth" or "bald" mountains, because they do not "go up to Self." Later explorers have failed to settle its situation. Seir. This mountainous region was well known as the territory of Esau (see Genesis 32:2). Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon. For valley (בִּקְעָה) see note on ver. 8. Baal-gad has been by some identified with Baalbek, or Heliopolis, a Syrian city, whose vast ruins strike the beholder with astonishment even now. But Baalbek lay considerably to the north of Palestine. It has therefore with greater probability been identified by Robinson, Von Raumer, and others, with Paneas or Caesarea Philippi. Baal-gad signifies "the lord of fortune," an aspect under which the Babylonian Baal or Bel was frequently worshipped. The word Gad, erroneously translated "troop" in our version (Genesis 30:11; Isaiah 65:11), is properly "fortune," and hence the god Fortune. The worship of Pan in later times supplanted that of Baal, but traces of both cults, in inscriptions and niches, may be found in the neighbourhood to the present day (see Tristram, 'Land of Israel'). All travellers speak with enthusiasm of the situation of Banias. Josephus says that it affords a profusion of natural gifts. Seetzen corroborates him. Dean Stanley compares it to Tivoli, and Canon Tristram thinks that in its rocks, caverns, and cascades there is much to remind the visitor of what is perhaps the loveliest place in all Italy. He continues, "The situation of Banias is indeed magnificent. With tall limestone cliffs to the north and east, a rugged torrent of basalt to the south, and a gentle slope for its western front, Banias is almost hidden till the traveller is among the ruins." Banias stands at the end of a gorge of the Hermon range with the wide range of the Huleh plain opening out before it, as the Campagna and Rome in the distance are seen from the mouth of the gorge at Tivoli. Vandevelds, however, identifies Banias with Beth-rehob, on the insufficient ground that Baal-gad is said to be in, not at, the mouth of the valley or Bik'ath of Lebanon. He prefers the castles either of Bostra or of Aisafa, the one an hour and a half, the other three hours north of Banias. It should be added that an arm of the Jordan rises and rushes through the gorge here, "praeceps," like the Anio at Tivoli. The valley of Lebanon is supposed by some not to be the valley between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, but the country on the southern declivity of Mount Hermon. But the term בִּקְעָה here unquestionably means the well-known Bukei'a or Coele Syria, i.e., the tract between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon (see Knobel).

11:15-23 Never let the sons of Anak be a terror to the Israel of God, for their day to fall will come. The land rested from war. It ended not in a peace with the Canaanites, that was forbidden, but in a peace from them. There is a rest, a rest from war, remaining for the people of God, into which they shall enter, when their warfare is accomplished. That which was now done, is compared with what had been said to Moses. God's word and his works, if viewed together, will be found mutually to set each other forth. If we make conscience of our duty, we need not question the performance of the promise. But the believer must never put off his armour, or expect lasting peace, till he closes his eyes in death; nay, as his strength and usefulness increase, he may expect more heavy trials; yet the Lord will not permit any enemies to assault the believer till he has prepared him for the battle. Christ Jesus ever lives to plead for his people, and their faith shall not fail, however Satan may be permitted to assault them. And however tedious, sharp, and difficult the believer's warfare, his patience in tribulation may be encouraged by the joyfulness of hope; for he will, ere long, rest from sin and from sorrow in the Canaan above.Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up unto Seir,.... Or the "smooth" and "bald" mountain, which had no trees on it, as some interpret it, observed by Kimchi; it was a mount on the borders of Edom, to which the land of Canaan reached on that side:

even unto Baalgad, in the valley of Lebanon, under Mount Hermon; and so describes the northern part of the land conquered by Joshua:

and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them; both in the southern and northern parts of the land.

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