Verses 11–28

We have here the lot of the tribe of Benjamin, which Providence cast next to Joseph on the one hand, because Benjamin was own and only brother to Joseph, and was little Benjamin (Ps. 68:27), that needed the protection of great Joseph, and yet had a better protector, for the Lord shall cover him all the day long, Deut. 33:12. And it was next to Judah on the other hand, that this tribe might hereafter unite with Judah in an adherence to the throne of David and the temple at Jerusalem. Here we have, 1. The exact borders and limits of this tribe, which we need not be exact in the explication of. As it had Judah on the south and Joseph on the north, so it had Jordan on the east and Dan on the west. The western border is said to compass the corner of the sea southward (Josh. 18:14), whereas no part of the lot of this tribe came near to the great sea. Bishop Patrick thinks the meaning is that it ran along in a parallel line to the great sea, though at a distance. Dr. Fuller suggests that since it is not called the great sea, but only the sea, which often signifies any lake or mere, it may be meant of the pool of Gibeon, which may be called a corner or canton of the sea; it is called the great waters of Gibeon (Jer. 41:12), and it is compassed by the western border of this tribe. 2. The particular cities in this tribe, not all, but the most considerable. Twenty-six are here named. Jericho is put first, though dismantled, and forbidden to be rebuilt as a city with gates and walls, because it might be built and inhabited as a country village, and so was not useless to this tribe. Gilgal, where Israel first encamped when Saul was made king (1 Sam. 11:15), was in this tribe. It was afterwards a very profane place. Hos. 9:15; All their wickedness is in Gilgal. Beth-el was in this tribe, a famous place. Though Benjamin adhered to the house of David, yet Beth-el, it seems, was in the possession of the house of Joseph (Jdg. 1:23-25), and there Jeroboam set up one of his calves. In this tribe was Gibeon, where the altar was in the beginning of Solomon’s time, 2 Chron. 1:3. Gibeah likewise, that infamous place where the Levite’s concubine was abused. Mizpeh, and near it Samuel’s Ebenezer, and also Anathoth, Jeremiah’s city, were in this tribe, as was the northern part of Jerusalem. Paul was the honour of this tribe (Rom. 11:1; Phil. 3:5); but where his land lay we know not: he sought the better country.