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In Joshua 15:21-32 (NASB)

21 Now the cities at the extremity of the tribe of the sons of Judah toward the border of Edom in the south were Kabzeel, Eder, and Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, and Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, and Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, and Bealoth, 25 Hazor-hadattah, Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, and Moladah, 27 Hazar-gaddah, Heshmon, and Beth-pelet, 28 Hazar-shual, Beersheba, and Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, Iim, and Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Chesil, and Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, and Sansannah, 32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmonin all, twenty-nine cities with their villages.

What's the reason for the number of cities to be over the twenty-nine?

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  • Martins Peres How many villages in this list?
    – C. Stroud
    Mar 13 at 14:13
  • @C.Stroud that'd be a valid answer => that in fact only 29 are considered cities (including references) Mar 13 at 15:04
  • @C.Stroud could also be related with Joshua 19:9. In other words, only 29 are necessarily from Judah and the rest would belong to Simeon. Mar 14 at 12:29
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Matthew Poole offers this explanation:

Object. Here are thirty-seven or thirty-eight cities named before; how then are they only reckoned twenty-nine?

Answ. There were only twenty-nine of them, which either,

  1. Properly belonged to Judah; the rest fell to Simeon’s lot; or,

  2. Were cities properly so called, i.e. walled cities, or such as had villages under them, as it here follows, the rest being great but unwalled towns, or such as had no villages under them.

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges suggests more possibilities:

  1. all the cities are twenty and nine] Thirty-six, however, are actually given, viz.,
    (1) the first group = 9;
    (2) the second group = 5;
    (3) the third group = 9;
    (4) the fourth group 13 =36 in all.
    The discrepancy has been variously explained by supposing
    (a) that some of the places were merely hamlets or villages, and were therefore not counted with the rest;
    (b) that in some cases two names may have belonged to the same city;
    (c) that there is an error in the numeral letters;
    (d) that the author originally wrote fewer names, and “that others were added by a later hand without a corresponding alteration being made in the number.” (See Keil in loc.)

Yes, Joshua 15:21-32 is a rather muddy passage in terms of counting. In any case, there are reasonable explanations.

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