Joshua 17:1-6 . LOT OF MANASSEH.
1-6. There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh--Ephraim was mentioned, as the more numerous and powerful branch of the family of Joseph ( Genesis 48:19 Genesis 48:20 ); but Manasseh still retained the right of primogeniture and had a separate inheritance assigned.
the father of Gilead--Though he had a son of that name ( Numbers 26:29 , 27:1 ), yet, as is evident from the use of the Hebrew article, reference is made, not to the person, but the province of Gilead. "Father" here means lord or possessor of Gilead. This view is confirmed by the fact that it was not Machir, but his descendants, who subdued Gilead and Bashan ( Numbers 32:41 , Deuteronomy 3:13-15 ). These Machirites had their portion on the east side of Jordan. The western portion of land, allotted to the tribe of Manasseh, was divided into ten portions because the male descendants who had sons consisted of five families, to which, consequently, five shares were given; and the sixth family, namely, the posterity of Hepher, being all women, the five daughters of Zelophehad were, on application to the valuators, endowed each with an inheritance in land
Joshua 17:7-11 . THIS COAST.
7-11. the coast of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethah--The southern boundary is here traced from the east. Asher (now Yasir), the starting point, was a town fifteen Roman miles east of Shechem, and anciently a place of importance.
9. the coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river--The line which separated the possessions of the two brothers from each other ran to the south of the stream. Thus the river was in the territory of Manasseh; but the cities which were upon the river, though all were within the limits of Manasseh's possessions, were assigned partly to Ephraim, and partly to Manasseh; those on the south side being given to the former; those upon the north to the latter [KEIL]. It appears ( Joshua 17:10 ) that Manasseh was still further interlaced with other neighboring tribes.
11. Beth-shean and her towns--Greek, "Scythopolis" (now Beisan), in the valley of the Jordan, towards the east end of the plain of Jezreel. "Beth-shean" means "house of rest," so called from its being the halting place for caravans travelling between Syria or Midian, and Egypt, and the great station for the commerce between these countries for many centuries.
Ibleam and her towns--in the neighborhood of Megiddo ( 2 Kings 9:27 ).
the inhabitants of Dor and her towns--(now Tantoura), anciently a strong fortress; a wall of wild precipitous rock defended the shore fortifications against attack from the land side.
En-dor and her towns--situated on a rocky eminence, four Roman miles south of Tabor.
Taanach and . . . Megiddo--These were near to each other, and they are generally mentioned in Scripture together. They were both royal and strongly fortified places
three countries--districts or provinces. It is computed that Manasseh possessed in Asher and Issachar portions of ground to the extent of more than two hundred square miles.
12, 13. Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out those cities--probably due to indolence, a love of ease. Perhaps a mistaken humanity, arising from a disregard or forgetfulness of the divine command, and a decreasing principle of faith and zeal in the service of God, were the causes of their failure.
Joshua 17:14-18 . THE CHILDREN OF JOSEPH ASK FOR ANOTHER LOT.
14-18. the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua--The two tribes join in laying a complaint before the leader, as to the narrow boundaries of their allotment and its insufficiency to be the residence of tribes so vastly increased. But Joshua's answer was full of wisdom as well as patriotism. Knowing their character, he treated them accordingly, and sarcastically turned all their arguments against themselves. Thus he rebuked their unbelief and cowardice.
15. mount Ephraim--called so here by anticipation. The Gilboa range between Beth-shean and the plain of Jezreel is meant, anciently covered with an extensive forest.
16. chariots of iron--unusually strengthened with that metal, and perhaps armed with projecting scythes.