February 21, 2008

Breadcrumb: What kind of directions are those?

Josh. 19:32-38 lays out yet another set of land allotments, this time for the tribe of Naphtali. But while most borders to date had been pretty straightforward, demarcated by cities, rivers, and seas, Naphtali throws us for a bit of a loop. Verse 33 in the KJV reads that the coast was "from Heleph, from Allon to Zaanannim." Which sounds wonderfully clear until we realize that "allon" means "oak" or "large tree." In other words, Naphtali's border was marked by an oak tree. Maybe the leaders of Naphtali just hoped that whoever owned that oak tree never wanted to expand his farm.

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