Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 3. The
most salt sea. The lake of Sodom, otherwise called the Dead Sea. (Challoner) --- Limits. These are very properly
defined in this place, that the Hebrews may know what nations they ought to destroy. (Menochius) --- A line may be drawn from
the southern point of the Dead Sea, through Adar, as far as the Nile and the Mediterranean Sea, comprising a part of the desert
of Sin, or Zin.
Ver. 4. The
Scorpion. A mountain so called, from having a great number of scorpions. (Challoner) --- Hebrew Hakrabbim. There
was a city of the same name, the capital of Acrabathene, (1 Machabees iii. 3,) not far from Petra. --- Senna, a town
of the desert of Zin, (Calmet) or a mountain specified [in] Judges i. 36. (St. Jerome) --- Adar. Hebrew, "Hasor Adar."
But they seem to be two distinct towns, Josue xv. 3. --- Asemona. See chap. xxxiii. 30.
Ver. 5. Egypt.
Many suppose the rivulet of Rinocorura is meant. (Menochius) --- But it seems more probable that the Nile, the only river
of Egypt, or the eastern branch of it, where Pelusium stands, is designated. There is no proof that the former rivulet
belonged to Egypt; and though some assert that the Hebrews never dwelt to the west of it, the territory was so barren, that
nothing may be said respecting that affair. We find, however, that under Solomon they inhabited as far as the river of Egypt;
(1 Paralipomenon xiii. 5., and 3 Kings viii. 65,) and if they had not, God's promise entitled them to that part of the country;
as well as to that which extends to the great river Euphrates, though they perhaps never took possession of it. See Genesis
xv. 18., and Josue xiii. 3. Pelusium is commonly reckoned the frontier town of Egypt, Ezechiel xxx. 15. (Stabo xvi.) In another
place, the promised land extends from Emath to the torrent of Egypt, (1 Kings viii. 55,) or of the desert, Amos
vi. 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Great
sea, compared with those of Palestine, which were only like pools or lakes. The Hebrews call every great collection of
water, a sea. The Mediterranean bounded the promised land entirely, on the west.
Ver. 7. The
most high mountain. Libanus. (Challoner) --- Hebrew, "the mountain of the mountain, or of Hor." Some understand
Mount Casius, Hermon, Taurus, or Amanus; which last lies on the confines of Cilicia, and hence the Rabbins draw a line by
the straits of Gibraltar to Pelusium, so as to comprise all the islands and the waters of the Mediterranean. (Selden, Marc.
Claus. i. 6.) But Grotius denies that the sea can be claimed by any one, nor was it, even for fishing, says he, before the
days of Justinian. (Jur. ii. 2, 3.) (Calmet) --- At any rate, Moses here seems to mean the northern limits from the point
of the Mediterranean, where Libanus is situated, across the country eastward to Emath, and as far as the village of Enan,
ver. 9. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Emath.
It is of great importance to fix the situation of this city. Some take it to be Antioch, the capital of Syria, on the Orontes.
But that was a modern city, founded by Nicanor, and called after his father, Antiochus, and embellished by Callinicus and
Epiphanes. (Strabo xvi.) --- Others believe it is Epiphania, at the foot of Libanus, on the same river, and a distinct city
from Emath Rabba, or "the great," of Amos vi. 2. Josephus [Antiquities?] i. 7, (Calmet) and St. Jerome (in Isaias x.)
seem to be of this opinion. (Menochius) --- But the city in question was most probably Emesa, of which Amos speaks above.
It was also upon the river Orontes, at a small distance to the east of Libanus, on the road to Damascus. This road was the
northern boundary. Emesa was perhaps formerly the capital of the country of Soba, (2 Paralipomenon viii. 3,) and was taken
by Solomon. Reblatha, or Rebla, (ver. 11,) was a part of its territory. (Theodoret in Jer. xxxix. 5.) (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Enan.
Hebrew, "Hazer Henan." In Ezechiel, (xlvii. 17,) it is called the court of Enon. It may be Gaana, north of Damascus,
or rather Inna, placed to the south of that city by Ptolemy.
Ver. 11. Sephama,
or Apamea. (Targum) --- Rebla. Septuagint, "Bela, or Asbela." (Haydock) --- St. Jerome understands Antioch,
near which was the fountain of Daphnis, or Daphne, a word which is inserted in the Targum, though it be not found in
Hebrew. But Antioch did not lie on the eastern borders, and this fountain may be the same place as Enan, ver. 9. --- Against.
Hebrew, "on the east side of Ain, or the fountain." (Calmet) --- Cenereth. This is the sea of Galilee, illustrated
by the miracles of our Lord. (Challoner) --- The line was not drawn to this lake of Genesareth, or of Tiberias, as it was
likewise called, but comprised a large territory lying to the east of it, (Calmet) and given to the tribes of Manasses, Gad,
and Ruben, which inhabited the country east of the Jordan and of the Salt Sea. (Haydock) --- Eastward: the Septuagint
insinuate, "to the south, leaving the sea of Cenereth on the east." --- The fountain of Daphnis may probably be that
near the Semechonite lake, through which the Jordan runs. (Josephus, Jewish Wars iv. 1.) It may have received the title of
Daphnis, from the laurels with which it is adorned, like the suburbs of Antioch. (Bonfrere) (Menochius) --- It appears
that Moses has only in view, the nine tribes for which a provision was not yet made; and their eastern limits extended from
Emath, down the Jordan to the Dead Sea, so as to comprise no part to the east of that river, which was already given to their
brethren; (see ver. 13, 15, 29;) and thus the observation of Calmet, respecting the countries east of Cenereth,
will be rather inaccurate, as the line must run through that sea, following the course of the Jordan. These were properly
the eastern limits of Chanaan, which country comprised all between Egypt and Idumea, as far as Sidon and Mount Libanus,
being bounded by the Jordan on the east. The other three tribes were hemmed in on the north and east by the mountains of Hermon,
Basan, Galaad, and Arnon; beyond which, the nations about Damascus, and the descendants of Ammon, Ismael, and Moab dwelt,
in Syria and the desert of Arabia, so that the latter country was the eastern boundary of the promised land, taken in its
utmost extent. (Haydock) --- The respective limits must naturally vary, when we speak of the whole or a part only. (Du Hamel)