The Period Of The Judges

 Chapter 6
Failure of Naphtali             [Judges 1:33]
   

Scripture

33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them.


Commentary

33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them.

Here, we are told that the tribe of Naphtali was unable to control Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath. Beth-shemesh means “house of the sun,” and Beth-anath means “house of anath”or “House of affliction”; they both were centers of Canaanite worship.

Naphtali was no exception in its dealings with those Canaanites living in its territory, for they also permitted the Canaanites to live among them; it was only by degrees that they gained sufficient control over them to extort contributions from them. Greed led the Israelites to spare the idolaters, contrary to the express command of God; and their disobedience to His orders in this matter involved them in many troubles which this book describes.

We know from Chapter 19 of Joshua that “The sixth lot came out to the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families. And their coast was from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum; and the outgoings thereof were at Jordan: And then the coast turneth westward to Aznothtabor, and goeth out from thence to Hukkok, and reacheth to Zebulun on the south side, and reacheth to Asher on the west side, and to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising. And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth, And Adamah, and Ramah, and Hazor, And Kedesh, and Edrei, and Enhazor, And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages” (Joshua 19.32-39). Generally, the portion which fell to the descendants of Naphtali was located in the extreme north between the Jordan River and the territory of Asher. The border was from Heleph through Lakum unto the Jordan on the east. Here the territory turned westward to Aznoth-tabor, southwest of the Sea of Galilee, until it reached the border of Zebulun on the south and Asher on the west. Thus, Naphtali was bounded by Asher on the west, Zebulun and Issachar on the south, and the Jordan on the east. The northern boundary is not clearly defined. The fortified cities include Chinnereth (on the Sea of Galilee which at that time bore the name Sea of Chinnereth), Hazor, Kedesh (home of Barak, [1]Jg. 4:6), Migdal-el (Magdala of the New Testament), and Beth-shemesh (a common name derived from the worship of the sun, and not the Bethshemesh of Judah or Issachar).

Beth Shemesh [beth SHEH mesh] (“house of the sun”). A Canaanite city, also one of the “fenced cities,” in the territory of Naphtali [2](Jos. 19:38)

After their victory at APHEK (1 Sam. 4), the Philistines took the ARK OF THE COVENANT to Ashdod and Ekron, cities upon which God’s judgment quickly fell (1 Sam. 5). The ark was removed then to Beth Shemesh (1 Sam. 6:10–7:2), where it remained until it was taken to KIRJATH JEARIM. Later, Beth Shemesh was in the second administrative district of Solomon [3](1 Kg. 4:9 ). At Beth Shemesh Israel’s king, JEHOASH, and Judah’s king, AMAZIAH, met in battle [4](2 Kg. 14:11–14 ).
Bethanath (House of affliction) A Canaanite city in the territory of Naphtali (Josh. 19:382)


Article 1.9: NAPHTALI, TRIBE OF
The tribe that sprang from NAPHTALI [NAF tuh lie] (my wrestling).The tribe’s four great families were descendants of Naphtali’s four sons: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem or Shallum (Num. 26:48–49). The first wilderness census numbered the tribe of Naphtali at 53,000 fighting men (Num. 2:29–30); the second census put it at 45,400 (Num. 26:50). The fifth son of Jacob; the second child borne to him by Bilhah, Rachel’s slave. His birth and the bestowal of his name are recorded in Gen. 30:8. When the census was taken at Mount Sinai the tribe of Naphtali numbered no less than 53,400 fighting men, Num. 1:43; 2:30; but when the borders of the promised land were reached, its numbers were reduced to 45,400. Num. 26:48-50. During the march through the wilderness Naphtali occupied a position on the north of the sacred tent with Dan and Asher. Num. 2:25-31. In the apportionment of the land, the lot of Naphtali was enclosed on three sides by those of other tribes. On the west lay Asher, on the south Zebulun, and on the east the transjordanic Manasseh. (In the division of the kingdom Naphtali belonged to the kingdom of Israel, and later was a part of Galilee, bordering on the northwestern part of the Sea of Galilee, and including Capernaum and Bethsaida.—ED.)
Along with Asher, Naphtali was the northernmost tribe of Israel, occupying a long, narrow piece of land—about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north to south and 16 to 24 kilometers (10 to 15 miles) from east to west. Naphtali was mountainous (Josh. 20:7) and very fertile. Fortified cities within the tribe’s boundaries included Ramah, Hazor, Kedesh, Iron, and Beth Anath (Josh. 19:36–38). The three cities given to the Levites in Naphtali were Kedesh (a city of refuge), Hammoth Dor, and Kartan (Josh. 21:32).
The tribe of Naphtali did not drive out all the Canaanites, but it did receive tribute from them. Members of the tribe of Naphtali fought bravely under Deborah and Barak (Judg. 4:6, 10; 5:18) and responded to Gideon’s call (Judg. 6:35; 7:23). When Saul’s son Ishbosheth challenged David for the throne, 37,000 fighting men of Naphtali, led by 1,000 captains, joined David (1 Chr. 12:34).
A part of the Northern Kingdom after the Israelites divided into two kingdoms, Naphtali was ravaged by the Syrian king Ben-Hadad (1 Kin. 15:20). The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III carried many from Naphtali into captivity (2 Kin. 15:29). Isaiah prophesied that one day the land of Naphtali, “in Galilee of the Gentiles,” would see a great light (Is. 9:1–7).
Indeed, Jesus made the cities of Chorazin, Capernaum, and Tiberias—all situated within the former territory of Naphtali—a focal point of His ministry. “And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali” (Matt. 4:12–16).


Thus far, we have been told of six tribes that failed to drive ... the Canaanites from their territory: Benjamin (v. 21), Manasseh (vv. 27, 28), Ephraim (v. 29), Zebulun (v. 30), Asher (vv. 31, 32), Naphtali (v. 33). We will finish out the Chapter with the Tribe of Dan (vv. 34–36).

General Notes

[1](Jg 4:6) “And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?” The fact that she was a woman has caused questions as to why she occupied the position of a judge. A thorough reading of chapters 4 and 5 makes it clear that women played the predominant roles in this entire incident, and their significance is a reflection on the weakness of male leadership in Israel at that time.
[2](Jos. 19:38, 39) “And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.” Generally, the portion which fell to the descendants of Naphtali was located in the extreme north between the Jordan River and the territory of Asher. The border was from Heleph through Lakum unto the Jordan on the east. Here the territory turned westward to Aznoth-tabor, southwest of the Sea of Galilee, until it reached the border of Zebulun on the south and Asher on the west. Thus, Naphtali was bounded by Asher on the west, Zebulun and Issachar on the south, and the Jordan on the east. The northern boundary is not clearly defined. The fortified cities include Chinnereth (on the Sea of Galilee which at that time bore the name Sea of Chinnereth), Hazor, (see 11:1–10), Kedesh (home of Barak, Jud 4:6), Migdal-el (Magdala of the New Testament), and Beth-shemesh (a common name derived from the worship of the sun, and not the Bethshemesh of Judah or Issachar).
[3](1 Kg. 4:9) “The son of Dekar, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Bethshemesh, and Elonbethhanan:”
[4](2 Kg. 14:11–14) “But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah. And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents. And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Bethshemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.” Amaziah was so confident of victory that he attacked Jehoash on his own territory at Beth-shemesh, about fifteen miles west of Jerusalem. Judah was soundly defeated by Israel. Amaziah himself was temporarily taken captive; the wall of Jerusalem was broken; the palace and Temple were spoiled; and Tehoash returned to Samaria with hostages (lit., sons of the pledges), indicating that Amaziah was probably subjected to serving Jehoash.

Make a Free Website with Yola.