Joshua 17
Land for everyone,  including Zelophehad's daughters
Manasseh did not drive out the Canaanites
Children of Joseph wanted more land; Joshua gave them the mountain in spite of giants
 1 ¶ There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.
.2 There was also a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh by 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 were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families.
  2 - Lot for the rest This second land area was granted because Manasseh was Joseph's firstborn de2117. Ephriam had received the blessing of the firstborn ge4817 and his land had been granted first. See jo1605 in the previous chapter.
.3 But 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, The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father.
 5 And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan;
 6 Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh's sons had the land of Gilead.
  3 - Zelophehad One of the sons of Gilead had one son by this name, Hepher. He died in the wilderness with no male heir but he had five daughters as mentioned in the verse (nu2633,4, nu2701-5). Without a husband with inheritance, theses women would have no inheritance. "The decision that Moses rendered under the direction of God was that the women would inherit their father's inheritance on the condition that they married within their own tribe so as to keep property in their own tribe. In point of fact, the sisters married their own cousins, and thus fulfilled the law nu27-6-11, nu3610-12.... Wherever the principles of the true God have been established, there the state of womanhood has been exalted." (SDA-Bible Commentary)
.7 ¶ And the coast of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethah, that lieth before Shechem; and the border went along on the right hand unto the inhabitants of Entappuah.
 8 Now Manasseh had the land of Tappuah: but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim;
 9 And the coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river: these cities of Ephraim are among the cities of Manasseh: the coast of Manasseh also was on the north side of the river, and the outgoings of it were at the sea: 
 10 Southward it was Ephraim's, and northward it was Manasseh's, and the sea is his border; and they met together in Asher on the north, and in Issachar on the east.
.11 And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Bethshean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Endor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries.
  7 - Asher to Michmethah The southern boundary is here traced from the east. Asher (now Yasir) [or was at the time this commentary was written], the starting point, was a town fifteen Roman miles east of Shechem, and anciently a place of importance.
  11 - Bathsheba See Galilee map, south edge. Endor and Abloom are also on the map.
 12 Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
.13 Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.
  13 - Did not utterly drive them out This is a sad testimony. God had promised to drive them out ex2330.
.14 ¶ And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?
.15 And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. 
 16 And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.
  14 - One lot "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." (JFB Commentary).
  15 - Giants See on jb2605.
 17 And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even 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 mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.
  17 - One lot only "These tribes were not to designate their inheritance as one lot only, because actually it was sufficiently large if only they would possess the whole. By going up into the woods and clearing it they would be able to double their territory. Evidently a large section of their territory was wooded in those days (see on de0807) (SDA Bible Commentary).


Joshua home
Commentary home