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and is often so rendered, is by the connection of the discourse restrained to a particular country, as in Isa. xiii. 5. (Sept.); and to the land of Judæa, as in Luke ii. 1. xxi. 26. Acts xi. 28. and James v. 17. But the country occupied by the Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews, is in the sacred volume more particularly called,
1. The Land of Canaan, from Canaan, the youngest son of Ham, and grandson of Noah, who settled here after the confusion of Babel, and divided the country among his eleven children, each of whom became the head of a numerous tribe, that ultimately became a distinct nation. (Gen. x. 15. et seq.)
2. The Land of Promise (Heb. xi. 9.), from the promise made by Jehovah to Abraham, that his posterity should possess it (Gen. xii. 7. and xiii. 15.); who being termed Hebrews, this region was thence called the Land of the Hebrews.1 (Gen. xl. 15.)
3. The Land of Israel, from the Israelites, or posterity of Jacob, having settled themselves there. This name is of most frequent occurrence in the Old Testament: it is also to be found in the New Testament (as in Matt. ii. 20, 21.); and in its larger acceptation comprehended all that tract of ground on each side the course of the river Jordan, which God gave for an inheritance to the children of Israel. Within this extent lay all the provinces or countries visited by Jesus Christ, except Egypt, and consequently almost all the places mentioned or referred to in the four Gospels.
4. The Land of Judah. Under this appellation was at first comprised only that part of the region which was allotted to the tribe of Judah; though the whole land of Israel appears to have been occasionally thus called in subsequent times, when that tribe excelled all the others in dignity. After the separation of the ten tribes, that portion of the land which belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who formed a separate kingdom, was distinguished by the appellation of the land of Judah (Psal. lxxvi. 1.) or of Judæa; which last name the whole country retained during the existence of the second temple, and under the dominion of the Romans.
5. The Holy Land; which appellation is to this day conferred on it by all Christians, because it was chosen by God to be the immediate seat of his worship, and was consecrated by the presence, actions, miracles, discourses and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also because it was the residence of the holy patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. This name does not appear to have been used by the Hebrews themselves, until after the Babylonish Captivity, when we find the prophet Zechariah applying it to his country. (ii. 12.) After this period it seems to have become a common appellation: we meet with it in the apocryphal book of Wisdom (xii. 3.), and also in the second book of Maccabees. (i. 7.) The whole world was divided by the antient Jews into two general parts,
1 This appellation (the land of the Hebrews) is recognized by Pausanias (lib. vi. c. 24. in fine), By heathen writers the Holy Land is variously termed, Syrian Palestine, Syria, and Phenicia; but as these appellations are not applied generally in the Scriptures to that country, any further notice of them is designedly omitted.
the land of Israel, and the land out of Israel, that is, all the countries inhabited by the nations of the world, or the Gentiles: to this distinction there seems to be an allusion in Matt. vi. 32. All the rest of the world, together with its inhabitants (Judæa excepted), was accounted as profane, polluted, and unclean (see Isa. xxxv. 8. lii. 1. with Joel iii. 17. Amos vii. 17. and Acts x. 14.); but though the whole land of Israel was regarded as holy, as being the place consecrated to the worship of God, and the inheritance of his people, whence they are collectively styled saints, and a holy nation or people in Exod. xix. 6. Deut. vii. 6. xiv. 2. xxvi. 19. xxxiii. 3. 2 Chron. vi. 41. Psal. xxxiv. 9. 1. 5. 7. and lxxix. 2.; yet the Jews imagined particular parts to be vested with more than ordinary sanctity according to their respective situations. Thus the parts situated beyond Jordan were considered to be less holy than those on this side: walled towns were supposed to be more clean and holy than other places, because no lepers were admissible into them, and the dead were not allowed to be buried there. Even the very dust of the land of Israel was reputed to possess such a peculiar degree of sanctity, that when the Jews returned from any heathen country, they stopped at its borders, and wiped the dust of it from their shoes, lest the sacred inheritance should be polluted with it: nor would they suffer even herbs to be brought to them from the ground of their Gentile neighbours, lest they should bring any of the mould with them, and thus defile their pure land. To this notion our Lord unquestionably alluded when he commanded his disciples to shake off the dust of their feet (Matt. x. 14.) on returning from any house or city that would neither receive nor hear them; thereby intimating to them, that when the Jews had rejected the Gospel, they were no longer to be regarded as the people of God, but were on a level with heathens and idolaters.1
6. The appellation of Palestine, by which the whole land appears to have been called in the days of Moses (Exod. xv. 14.), is derived from the Philistines, a people who migrated from Egypt, and, having expelled the aboriginal inhabitants, settled on the borders of the Mediterranean; where they became so considerable as to give their name to the whole country, though they in fact possessed only a small part of it.
II. The extent of the Holy Land has been variously estimated by geographers; some making it not to exceed one hundred and seventy or eighty miles in length, from north to south, and one hundred and fifty miles from east to west in its broadest parts (or towards the south), and about seventy miles in breadth, where nar
Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. in Matt. x. 14.; Reland, Antiquitates Hebraice, pp. 1. 17. This distinction of holy and unholy places and persons throws considerable light on 1 Cor. i. 28. where the apostle, speaking of the calling of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews, says, that God hath chosen base things of the world, and things that are despised, yea, and things which are not, (that is, the Gentiles,) to bring to nought (Gr. to abolish) things that are; in other words, to become God's church and people, and so to cause the Jewish church and economy to cease. See Whitby in loc.
rowest, towards the north. From the latest and most accurate maps, however, it appears to have extended nearly two hundred miles in length, and to have been about eighty miles in breadth about the middle, and ten or fifteen, more or less, where it widens or contracts.
By the Abrahamic covenant recorded in Gen. xv. 18. the original grant of the Promised Land to the Israelites, was from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates. The Boundaries of it are thus accurately described by Moses (Num. xxxiv. 1-16.), before the Israelites entered into it: "When ye come into the land of Canaan, (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan, with the coasts thereof,) your SOUTH QUARTER shall be from the wilderness of Zin, along by the coast of Edom," or Idumæa. This was its general description. The boundary itself is next traced : "And your south border shall be the utmost coast of the Salt Sea eastward," or as explained by Joshua's description afterwards, (xv. 2-4.) "the south border of the tribe of Judah began from the bay of the Salt Sea that looketh southward;" or by combining both, from the south-east corner of the Salt Sea, or Asphaltite lake. "From thence, your border shall turn southwards to the ascent of Akrabbim," or the mountains of Accaba, (signifying "ascent" in Arabic) which run towards the head of the Elanitic, or Eastern gulph of the Red Sea; passing (we may presume) through the sea-ports of Elath and Eziongeber, on the Red Sea, which belonged to Solomon (1 Kings ix. 26.), though they are not noticed in this place." Thence it shall pass on to [the wilderness of] Zin," on the east side of Mount Hor, including that whole mountainous region within the boundary; " and the going forth thereof shall be to Kadesh Barnea southwards; and it shall go on to Hazar Addar, and pass on to Azmon." "And the border shall fetch a compass," or form an angle, "from Azmon," or turn westwards "towards the river of Egypt," or Pelusiac branch of the Nile; " and its outgoings shall be at the sea," the Mediterranean.2 "And as for the WESTERN BORDER, ye shall have the Great Sea for a border. This shall be your west border." The Great Sea is the Mediterranean, as contrasted with the smaller seas or lakes, the Red Sea, the Salt Sea, and the Sea of Tiberias, or Galilee.
And this shall be your NORTH BORDER: from the Great Sea you shall point out Hor ha-hor, (not "Mount Hor," as rendered in our English Bible, confounding it with that on the southern border, but) "the mountain of the mountain," "the double mountain," or Mount Lebanon, which formed the northern frontier of Palestine, dividing it from Syria; consisting of two great parallel ranges, called
1 Joshua (xv. 3.) interposes two additional stations, Hezron and Kirkaa, before and after Addar, or Hazer Addar, which are not noticed by Moses.
2 This termination of the southern border westwards, is exactly conformable to the accounts of Herodotus and Pliny the former represents Mount Casius lying between Pelusium and the Sirbonic lake, as the boundary between Egypt and Palestine Syria, (3, 5.) the latter reckoned the Sirbonic lake itself as the boundary. (Nat. Hist. 5. 13.)
3 The Septuagint Version has judiciously rendered it, wapa ro opos ro opos, "the mountain beside the mountain."
Libanus and Antilibanus, and running eastwards from the neighbourhood of Sidon to that of Damascus.
"From Hor ha-hor ye shall point your border to the entrance of Hamath;" which Joshua, speaking of the yet unconquered land, describes, "All Lebanon, towards the sun-rising, from (the valley of) Baal Gad, under Mount Hermon, unto the entrance of Hamath. (Josh. xiii. 5.) This demonstrates, that Hor ha-hor corresponded to all Lebanon, including Mount Hermon, as judiciously remarked by Wells,1 who observes, that it is not decided which of the two ridges, the northern or the southern, was properly Libanus; the natives at present call the southern so, but the Septuagint and Ptolemy called it Antilibanus." From Hamath it shall go on to Zedad, and from thence to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar Enan, (near Damascus, Ezek. xlviii. I.) This shall be your north border."
And ye shall point out your EAST BORDER from Hazar Enan to Shephan, and the coast shall go down to Riblah, on the east side of Ain ("the fountain" or springs of the river Jordan) and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the [east] side of the sea of Chinnereth. And the border shall go down to Jordan on the east side, and the goings out of it shall be at the Salt Sea." There it met the southern border, at the south-east corner of that sea, or the Asphaltite lake.
"This shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about" in circuit.2
Such was the admirable geographical chart of the Land of Promise, dictated to Moses by the God of Israel, and described with all the accuracy of an eye-witness. Of this region, however, the Israelites were not put into immediate possession. In his first expedition, Joshua subdued all the southern department of the Promised Land, and in his second the northern, having spent five years in both (Josh. xi. 18.): what Joshua left unfinished of the conquest of the whole, was afterwards completed by David and Solomon. (2 Sam. viii. 3-14. 2 Chron. ix. 26.) In the reign of the latter was realised the Abrahamic covenant in its full extent. And Solomon reigned over all the kingdoms from the river (Euphrates) unto the land of the Philistines, and the border of Egypt: for he had dominion over all the region on this side of the river (Euphrates) from Tipsah (or Thapsacus situated thereon) even to Azzah (or Gaza with her towns and villages,) "unto the river" of Egypt, southward, "and the Great Sea," westward, (Josh. xv. 47.) even over all the kings on this side the river (Euphrates). 1 Kings iv. 21-24.3
But the Israelites did not always retain possession of this tract, as is shown in the succeeding pages. It lies far within the temperate zone, and between 31 and 33 degrees of north latitude, and was
1 Sacred Geography, vol. ii. p. 271.
2 Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. pp.
bounded on the west by the Mediterranean or Great Sea, as it is often called in the Scriptures; on the east by Arabia; on the south by the river of Egypt (supposed to be not the Nile, but the Sichor, Josh. xiii. 3. Jer. ii. 18.), and the Desert of Sin, or Beersheba, the southern shore of the Dead Sea, and the river Arnon; and on the north by the chain of mountains termed Antilibanus, near which stood the city of Dan: hence in the sacred writings we frequently meet with the expression, from Dan to Beersheba, in order to denote the whole length of the land of Israel.1
III. The Land of Canaan, previously to its occupation by the Israelites, was possessed by the descendants of Canaan, the youngest son of Ham, and grandson of Noah; who divided the country among his eleven sons, each of whom was the head of a numerous clan or tribe. (Gen. x. 15-19.) Here they resided upwards of seven centuries, and founded numerous republics and kingdoms. In the days of Abraham, this region was occupied by ten nations; the Kenites, Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, to the east of Jordan; and westward, the Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaims, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and the Jebusites. (Gen. xv. 18-21.) These latter in the days of Moses were called the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites (Deut. vii. 1. Josh. iii. 10. xxiv. 11.); the Hivites being substituted for the Rephaims. These seven nations were thus distributed :
The Hittites, or sons of Heth, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwelt in the mountains, or hill country of Judæa, southward; the Canaanites dwelt in the midland by the sea, westward, and by the coast of Jordan eastward; and the Girgashites, or Gergesenes, along the eastern side of the sea of Galilee; and the Hivites in Mount Lebanon, under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh or Gilead, northward. (Compare Numb. xiii. 29. Josh. xi. 3. Judges iii. 3. and Matt. viii. 28.) Of all these nations the Amorites became the most powerful, so as to extend their conquests beyond the river Jordan over the Kadmonites; whence they are sometimes put for the whole seven nations, as in Gen. xv. 16. Josh. xxiv. 15. and 2 Sam. xxi. 2.
These nations were the people whom the children of Israel were commanded to exterminate. Within the period of seven years Moses conquered two powerful kingdoms on the east, and Joshua thirty-one smaller kingdoms on the west of Jordan, and gave their land to the Israelites; though it appears that some of the old inhabitants were permitted by Jehovah to remain there, to prove their conquerors, whether they would hearken to the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses and the nations thus spared were afterwards suffered to oppress the Israelites with great severity. (Numb. xxi. 21-35. xxxii. and xxxiv. Deut. ii. 26-37. iii. 1-20.` Josh. vi. 21. Judg. i. 4.) Nor were
1 For a full investigation of the boundaries of the promised land, see Michaelis's Commentaries on the Law of Moses, vol. i. pp. 55-97.