Joshua 17

1 This was the allotment for the tribe of Manasseh as Joseph’s firstborn, that is, for Makir, Manasseh’s firstborn. Makir was the ancestor of the Gileadites, who had received Gilead and Bashan because the Makirites were great soldiers.
2 So this allotment was for the rest of the people of Manasseh—the clans of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida. These are the other male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph by their clans.
3 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah.
4 They went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our relatives.” So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to the LORD’s command.
5 Manasseh’s share consisted of ten tracts of land besides Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan,
6 because the daughters of the tribe of Manasseh received an inheritance among the sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh.
7 The territory of Manasseh extended from Asher to Mikmethath east of Shechem. The boundary ran southward from there to include the people living at En Tappuah.
8 (Manasseh had the land of Tappuah, but Tappuah itself, on the boundary of Manasseh, belonged to the Ephraimites.)
9 Then the boundary continued south to the Kanah Ravine. There were towns belonging to Ephraim lying among the towns of Manasseh, but the boundary of Manasseh was the northern side of the ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea.
10 On the south the land belonged to Ephraim, on the north to Manasseh. The territory of Manasseh reached the Mediterranean Sea and bordered Asher on the north and Issachar on the east.
11 Within Issachar and Asher, Manasseh also had Beth Shan, Ibleam and the people of Dor, Endor, Taanach and Megiddo, together with their surrounding settlements (the third in the list is Naphoth[a] ).
12 Yet the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region.
13 However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely.
14 The people of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the LORD has blessed us abundantly.”
15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.”
16 The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.”
17 But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment
18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.”

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.

Cross References 42

  • 1. S Numbers 1:34; 1 Chronicles 7:14
  • 2. S Genesis 41:51
  • 3. S Genesis 50:23
  • 4. S Joshua 12:2
  • 5. S Joshua 12:5
  • 6. Joshua 22:7
  • 7. S Numbers 26:30; Judges 6:11,34; Judges 8:2; 1 Chronicles 7:18
  • 8. 1 Chronicles 7:14
  • 9. S Numbers 27:1
  • 10. 1 Chronicles 7:19
  • 11. S Numbers 27:1
  • 12. S Numbers 26:33
  • 13. Numbers 27:5-7
  • 14. Joshua 13:30-31
  • 15. ver 10; Joshua 19:24,31; Joshua 21:6,30; Judges 1:31; Judges 5:17; Judges 6:35; Judges 7:23
  • 16. Joshua 16:6
  • 17. S Genesis 12:6; Joshua 21:21; Joshua 24:25; Judges 9:1
  • 18. S Joshua 12:17; Joshua 16:8
  • 19. S Joshua 16:8
  • 20. S ver 7
  • 21. S Genesis 30:18
  • 22. Ezekiel 48:5
  • 23. ver 10
  • 24. ver 16; Judges 1:27; 1 Samuel 31:10; 2 Samuel 21:12; 1 Kings 4:12; 1 Chronicles 7:29
  • 25. 2 Kings 9:27
  • 26. S Joshua 11:2
  • 27. 1 Samuel 28:7; Psalms 83:10
  • 28. S Joshua 12:21
  • 29. 1 Kings 9:15
  • 30. Ezekiel 48:4
  • 31. S Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:27
  • 32. Judges 1:27-28; Joshua 16:10
  • 33. Numbers 26:28-37
  • 34. 2 Samuel 18:6
  • 35. S Joshua 3:10
  • 36. S Genesis 14:5; Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; 2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 23:13; Isaiah 17:5
  • 37. ver 18; Judges 1:19; Judges 4:3,13
  • 38. S ver 11
  • 39. S Joshua 15:56; S 1 Samuel 29:1
  • 40. Ezekiel 48:5
  • 41. 1 Samuel 1:1
  • 42. S ver 16

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


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

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