Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 3 (Part Thirteen)

Were Zorah and Eshtaol Danite or Judean Cities?
            According to Joshua 15:20,33 (NWT), which says: “This was the inheritance of the tribe of Judah by their families. . . . In the Shephelah, there were: Eshtaol, [and] Zorah.” Zorah and Eshtaol were Judean cities. But it seems, as the skeptic says, that Joshua 19:40,41 (NWT), which says: “The seventh lot came out for the tribe of Dan by their families. And the border of their inheritance was Zorah, [and Eshtaol],” contradicts that by assigning them to Dan. Is the skeptic right?
            We note, however, that Joshua 15:33 does not state that Judah’s territory went up to, but did not include, Eshtaol and Zorah, but that they were listed as Judean cities. In the case of Dan, though, these cities were listed as being their border; that is, Dan’s territory went up to them, but did not include them (this, however, does not preclude Danites from living there).[1]
            Take the example of the United States of America. Their territory reaches as far as Mexicali. Also, the United Mexican States, for their territory reaches as far as Mexicali, and Mexicali is their city. Did I contradict myself? No, for Mexicali is a border city, both countries reach as far as the northern edge of the city, but only one possesses it. We can see that there is no contradiction in the biblical account either.

Were Aijalon and Gathrimmon Given to Levi From Dan or Ephraim?
      Insight on the Scriptures says that Gathrimmon is “A city of Dan (Jos 19:40, 41, 45) assigned to the Kohathite Levites. (Jos 21:20, 23, 24) First Chronicles 6:66-70 appears to make Gath-rimmon an Ephraimite city. However, on the basis of the parallel account at Joshua 21:23, 24, Hebrew scholars believe that, because of scribal error, a portion of the text has accidentally dropped out and been lost. So, they suggest inserting the following (corresponding to Jos 21:23) before 1 Chronicles 6:69: “And from the tribe of Dan, Elteke and its pasture ground, Gibbethon and its pasture ground . . . ” This could have been the original reading. However, not to be overlooked is the possibility that Gath-rimmon was a Danite enclave city located within Ephraim’s territory.”[2]
      Further, they suggest the same thing could be said of Aijalon, but they also submit this reason, namely: “The Danites at first proved unable to oust the Amorites from Aijalon, but it appears that Ephraim from the N came to their aid and “the hand of the house of Joseph got to be so heavy that they [the Amorites] were forced into task work.” (Jg 1:34, 35) This may be the reason 1 Chronicles 6:69 lists Aijalon as belonging to Ephraim and as given by them to the Kohathites.”[3] Therefore, we see that there is no reason to conclude that the biblical record is at odds with itself, but there is more than enough evidence to suppose that it is harmonious.

[1] Insight on the Scriptures (vol. 2, p. 1241) notes that Zorah was “A city in the Shephelah allotted to the Tribe of Judah. . . . [It was s]ituated on the boundary between Dan and Judah, it was inhabited by people of Dan” though not exclusively. Nor, does the inhabitance of a city determine which tribe it was properly allotted to.

[2] Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 1, p. 900
[3] Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 1, p. 67-68

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