The villages of Judah (Neh 11:25-11:30)

“As for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, Dibon and its villages, Jekabzeel and its villages, Jeshua, Moladah, Beth-pelet, Hazar-shual, Beer-sheba and its villages, Ziklag, Meconah and its villages, En-rimmon, Zorah, Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beer-sheba to the valley of Hinnom.”

Nehemiah mentioned 17 towns outside of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is not mentioned.   Some of these towns had villages and fields, while others did not. Some were way south while others were in the western or central parts of Judah. Kiriath-arba may refer to Hebron, about 10 miles south of Jerusalem. Dibon, Jeshua, Moladah were southern towns in Judah, south of Hebron. This is the only mention of Jekabzeel and Meconah. Beth-pelet, Hazar-shual, and Beer-sheba were on the southern border with Edom. Ziklag, a place where David was, En-rimmon, and Lachish were in the southwest bordering with the old Philistine towns. Zorah is on the northwest side of Judah in old Dan territory. Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam, and Azekah were in central Judah.

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Dwelling places of the Simeonites (1 Chr 4:28-4:33)

“The Simeonites lived in Beersheba, Moladah, Hazar-shual, Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri, and Shaaraim. These were their towns until David became king. Their villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen, and Ashan, five towns, along with all their villages which were around about these towns as far as Baal. These were their settlements. They kept a genealogical record.”

This list is almost the same as Joshua, chapter 19. Simeon got many of these towns in the partition of the Promised Land, because Judah had too much land. These towns lay within the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. They got the towns of Beersheba, Moladah, Hazar-shual, Ezem, Eltolad or Tolad, Bethul or Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, Beth-biri or Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen or Shaaraim. They also got villages of Ain, Rimmon, Ether or Tochen, and Ashan. They also got all the villages all around these towns as far as Baal or Baalath-beer. Only 2 towns are mentioned here that were in Joshua, Bilhah and Etam. Bilhah was the name of the slave girl of Rachel in Genesis, chapter 30. Etam was a town in Judah. Most of these towns were in part of the territory of Judah. Thus the tribe of Simeon literally got no land, much like the Levites. However, it is not clear why. Perhaps they were too small of a tribe. Remember that the tribe of Simeon did not get a blessing from Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter 33. They were really at the bottom of the totem pole. What land they had was on the southern border of Judah, just before the wilderness. Of the 17 towns mentioned here, 12 towns were also mentioned as belonging to Judah in Joshua, chapter 15.