Q&A: Was Jerusalem in Benjamin or Judah? Joshua 15:8 and 18:28

Was Jerusalem in Benjamin or Judah? Joshua 15:8 and 18:28

Question

Was Jerusalem in Benjamin or Judah? Joshua 15:8 and 18:28

Answer

Joshua 15:8 Then it ran up the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem). From there it climbed to the top of the hill west of the Hinnom Valley at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim.

Joshua 18:28 Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath - fourteen towns and their villages. This was the inheritance of Benjamin for its clans.

John Lightfoot (The Temple-Service: and the Prospect of the Temple, Chapter 1, J.F. Dove, 1823) states that according to Jewish tradition the altars and sanctuary were in Benjamin, while the courts of the temple were in Judah. So both would be correct. Regardless. Jerusalem lay outside Judah's territory (Josh 15:8) until the city was finally captured by David (2 Sam. 5:7). Butler states:

The border here is carefully defined to go just south of Jerusalem itself, while the corresponding description for Benjamin places it just inside Benjaminite territory (18:16). This is a major point used by scholars in trying to date the list (cf. Soggin, 173-74).

Reference

Butler, T. C. Vol. 7, Word Biblical Commentary: Joshua (188). Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).