Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
Borders of the children of Joseph, Jos 16:1-4. The borders of the Ephraimites, Jos 16:5-9. The Canaanites dwell tributary among them, Jos 16:10.
The children of Joseph - Ephraim and Manasseh, and their descendants. The limits of the tribe of Ephraim extended along the borders of Benjamin and Dan, from Jordan on the east to the Mediterranean on the west.
From Bethel to Luz - From Gen 28:19 (note) it appears that the place which Jacob called Beth-el was formerly called Luz; see the note there: but here they seem to be two distinct places. It is very likely that the place where Jacob had the vision was not in Luz, but in some place within a small distance of that city or village, (see the note on Gen 28:12), and that sometimes the whole place was called Beth-el, at other times Luz, and sometimes, as in the case above, the two places were distinguished. As we find the term London comprises, not only London, but also the city of Westminster and the borough of Southwark; though at other times all three are distinctly mentioned.
Archi to Ataroth - Archi was the country of Hushai, the friend of David, Sa2 15:32, who is called Hushai the Archite. Ataroth, called Ataroth-addar, Ataroth the illustrious, Jos 16:5, and simply Ataroth, Jos 16:7, is supposed to have been about fifteen miles from Jerusalem.
Beth-horon the nether - This city was about twelve miles from Jerusalem, on the side of Nicopolis, formerly Emmaus. - Calmet. See the note on Jos 10:10.
Ataroth-addar - See the note on Jos 16:2.
Beth-horon the upper - The situation of this town is little known. It was eastward of Beth-horon the nether, and consequently not far from it.
Tappuah - This was a city in the tribe of Manasseh, and gave name to a certain district called the land of Tappuah. See Jos 17:8.
The sea - The Mediterranean, as before.
And the separate cities - That is, the cities that were separated from the tribe of Manasseh to be given to Ephraim; see Jos 17:9.
The Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer - It appears that the Canaanites were not expelled from this city till the days of Solomon, when it was taken by the king of Egypt his father-in-law, who made it a present to his daughter, Solomon's queen. See Kg1 9:16. And see the note on Jos 10:33. The Ephraimites, however, had so far succeeded in subjecting these people as to oblige them to pay tribute, though they could not, or at least did not, totally expel them.
Of the names and places in this chapter, we may say the same as of others already mentioned. See the note on Jos 15:1. Many of those towns were small, and, we may rationally conclude, slightly built, and consequently have perished perhaps more than a thousand years ago. It would be therefore useless to look for such places now. Several of the towns in England, a land not exposed to such revolutions as that of Palestine has ever been, mentioned by Caesar and other ancient writers, are no longer discernible. Several have changed their names, and not a few their situation. Tradition states that the city of Norwich anciently stood some miles from its present situation; and we have the fullest proof that this was the case with the city of Salisbury. Such changes do not affect the truth of the ancient geography of our own country; nor can they impeach that of the sacred historian before us.