Joshua 17

1 And the lot came to the tribe of Manasseh (for he was the firstborn of Joseph), to Machir, the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, for he was a man of war, and he had Gilead and Bashan.
2 There was also [a portion] for the rest of the children of Manasseh according to their families: for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these are the children of Manasseh, the son of Joseph, the males, according to their families.
3 And Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
4 And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, Jehovah commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. And he gave them according to the commandment of Jehovah an inheritance among the brethren of their father.
5 And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which are beyond the Jordan.
6 For the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons; and the rest of Manasseh's sons had the land of Gilead.
7 And the territory of Manasseh was from Asher to Micmethath, which is before Shechem, and the border went on the right hand toward the inhabitants of En-Tappuah.
8 Manasseh had the land of Tappuah; but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim.
9 And the border descended to the torrent Kanah, south of the torrent. These cities were Ephraim's among the cities of Manasseh. And the territory of Manasseh was on the north side of the torrent, and ended at the sea.
10 Southward it was Ephraim's, and northward it was Manasseh's, and the sea was his border. And they touched upon Asher on the north, and upon Issachar on the east.
11 And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher, Beth-shean and its dependent villages, and Ibleam and its dependent villages, and the inhabitants of Dor and its dependent villages, and the inhabitants of En-Dor and its dependent villages, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its dependent villages, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its dependent villages, the three hilly regions.
12 But the children of Manasseh could not dispossess [the inhabitants of] those cities; and the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
13 And it came to pass when the children of Israel were become strong, that they made the Canaanites tributary; but they did not utterly dispossess them.
14 And the children of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me as inheritance one lot and one portion, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as Jehovah has blessed me hitherto?
15 And Joshua said unto them, If thou art a great people, then get thee up to the wood, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if the hill-country of Ephraim is too narrow for thee.
16 And the children of Joseph said, The hill-country will not be enough for us; and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, those that are of Beth-shean and its dependent villages, and those that are in the valley of Jizreel.
17 And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only,
18 but the hill-country shall be thine, as it is a wood, thou shalt cut it down, and its outgoings shall be thine; for thou shalt dispossess the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots; for they are powerful.

Joshua 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

The lot of Manasseh. (1-6) The boundaries of Manasseh, The Canaanites not driven out. (7-13) Joseph desires a larger portion. (14-18)

Verses 1-6 Manasseh was but half of the tribe of Joseph, yet it was divided into two parts. The daughters of Zelophehad now reaped the benefit of their pious zeal and prudent forecast. Those who take care in the wilderness of this world, to make sure to themselves a place in the inheritance of the saints in light, will have the comfort of it in the other world; while those who neglect it now, will lose it for ever. Lord, teach us here to believe and obey, and give us an inheritance among thy saints, in glory everlasting.

Verses 7-13 There was great communication between Manasseh and Ephraim. Though each tribe had its inheritance, yet they should intermix one with another, to do good offices one to another, as became those, who, though of different tribes, were all one Israel, and were bound to love as brethren. But they suffered the Canaanites to live among them, against the command of God, to serve their own ends.

Verses 14-18 Joshua, as a public person, had no more regard to his own tribe than to any other, but would govern without favour or affection; wherein he has left a good example to all in public trusts. Joshua tells them, that what was fallen to their share would be a sufficient lot for them, if they would but work and fight. Men excuse themselves from labour by any pretence; and nothing serves the purpose better than having rich and powerful relations, able to provide for them; and they are apt to desire a partial and unfaithful disposal of what is intrusted to those they think able to give such help. But there is more real kindness in pointing out the advantages within reach, and in encouraging men to make the best of them, than in granting indulgences to sloth and extravagance. True religion gives no countenance to these evils. The rule is, They shall not eat who will not work; and many of our "cannots" are only the language of idleness, which magnifies every difficulty and danger. This is especially the case in our spiritual work and warfare. Without Christ we can do nothing, but we are apt to sit still and attempt nothing. if we belong to Him, he will stir us up to our best endeavours, and to cry to him for help. Then our coast ( 1 Chronicles. 4:9 1 Chronicles. 4:10 ) rather, turned into joyful thanksgivings.

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Lit. 'daughters:' so throughout.
  • [b]. Or 'numerous;' and so vers. 15,17.
  • [c]. Or 'clear it.'
  • [d]. Or 'Rephaim:' see ch. 18.16; Deut. 2.11.
  • [e]. Or 'even to its extremities.'
  • [f]. Or 'though.'

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JOSHUA 17

This chapter gives an account of the lot that fell to the half tribe of Manasseh, to the male children of Manasseh, and to the daughters of Zelophehad, Jos 17:1-6; and describes the coast of that lot, Jos 17:7-13; and relates the request of the sons of Joseph, to have their lot enlarged, which was granted, Jos 17:14-18.

Joshua 17 Commentaries