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Is there a contradiction? There were 38 / 29 cities of Judah toward Edom southward. [H, 387]

Joshua 15:20-32:

20 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.
21 And the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward were
Kabzeel [1], and Eder [2], and Jagur [3],
22 And Kinah [4], and Dimonah [5], and Adadah [6],
23 And Kedesh [7], and Hazor [8], and Ithnan [9],
24 Ziphv [10], and Telem [11], and Bealoth [12],
25 And Hazor [13], Hadattah [14], and Kerioth [15], and Hezron [16], which is Hazor,
26 Amam [17], and Shema [18], and Moladah [19],
27 And Hazargaddah [20], and Heshmon [21], and Bethpalet [22]
28 And Hazarshual [23] and Beersheba [24] and Bizjothjah [25]
29 Baalah [26], and Iim [27], and Azem [28] 30And Eltolad [29], and Chesil [30], and Hormah [31],
31 And Ziklag [32], and Madmannah [33], and Sansannah [34],
32 And Lebaoth [35], and Shilhim [36], and Ain [37], and Rimmon [38]: all the cities are twenty and nine, with their villages:

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In chapter 19 you will find the cities of the Tribe of Simeon. Nine of those cities are double listed here (Chapter 15) in the section about Judah. Had the count included all the cities, one would get the wrong number when he added all of them up at the end (if he wanted to). According to Rashi, these cities were taken over by the Simeon from Judah. 19:19 states that the allotment to Judah was too much for them so this take over may not have been a conquest but rather a sale of surplus.

  • Can you elaborate a bit? Which cites are double-listed? – Flimzy Aug 19 '14 at 11:19
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    Beer-sheba, and Moladah, and Hazar-shual, and Ezem, and Eltolad, and Hormah, and Ziklag, and Ain, and Rimmon. – Clint Eastwood Aug 19 '14 at 12:40
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The list is 29 cities plus their villages.

Apparently, the number of the cities was important, but some villages are important enough to name but not include in the number. An indication of this is some of the obvious repeats, like Hazor [8] and Hezron [16]. This looks like nearby settlements of certain cities are named because they are perceived as separate by some, but in the final tally, they are lumped in with their nearby large city.

The very large New York City, for example, has a few neighborhoods that people refer to separately, but they are all part of New York City, such as Queens or the Bronx. I would see this as a similar situation.

Another option is author confusion. Perhaps you are familiar with the Nephilim (if not, I'm sorry but this example will not help you). There are quite a few peoples named as Nephilim in the Old Testament and there appears to be some confusion about whom they herald from or are allied with. Near the end of my answer on a different post I state

It is possible, that because of confusion and different people using different names, that Anakites, Emites, and Rephaites were all the same people; it is also possible that Gittites were the same people as well.

If this kind of confusion can exist about a people then so can confusion about the cities they occupy.

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