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The Book of Joshua: Chapter 17

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Manasseh. 1Now as for the lot that fell to the tribe of Manasseh u Gn 41, 51; 46, 20; 48, 18; 50, 23; Nm 26, 29; Dt 3, 13. 15 . as the first‐born of Joseph: since his eldest son, Machir, the father of Gilead, was a warrior, who had already obtained Gilead and Bashan, 2 v Nm 26, 29–32 . the allotment was now made to the other descendants of Manasseh, the clans of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida, the other male children of Manasseh, son of Joseph.

3Furthermore, Zelophehad, son of Hepher, w Nm 26, 33; 27, 1; 36, 2 . son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, had had no sons, but only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 4These presented themselves to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua, son of Nun, and to the princes, saying, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us a heritage among our kinsmen.” So in obedience to the command of the LORD a heritage was given to each of them among their father's kinsmen. x Nm 27, 6f; 36, 2 . 5Thus ten shares fell to Manasseh apart from the land of Gilead and Bashan beyond the Jordan, y Jos 13, 30f . 6since these female descendants of Manasseh received each a portion among his sons. The land of Gilead fell to the rest of the Manassehites.

7Manasseh bordered on Asher.* From Michmethath, near Shechem, another boundary ran southward to include the natives of En‐Tappuah, 8because the district of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, although Tappuah itself was an Ephraimite city on the border of Manasseh. 9This same boundary continued down to the Wadi Kanah. z Jos 16, 8f . The cities that belonged to Ephraim from among the cities of Manasseh were those to the south of the wadi; thus the territory of Manasseh ran north of the wadi and ended at the sea. 10The land on the south belonged to Ephraim and that on the north to Manasseh; with the sea as their common boundary, they reached Asher on the north and Issachar on the east.

11 a 1 Chr 7, 29 . Moreover, in Issachar and in Asher Manasseh was awarded Beth‐shean b 11ff: Jgs 1, 27f . and its towns, Ibleam and its towns, Dor and its towns and the natives there, Endor and its towns and natives, Taanach and its towns and natives, and Megiddo and its towns and natives [the third is Naphath‐dor]. 12Since the Manassehites could not conquer these cities, the Canaanites persisted in this region. 13When the Israelites grew stronger they impressed the Canaanites as laborers, but they did not drive them out.

Protest of Joseph Tribes. 14The descendants of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one lot and one share as our heritage? c Jos 16, 4; Gn 48, 19f. 22 . Our people are too many, because of the extent to which the LORD has blessed us.” 15Joshua answered them, “If you are too many, go up to the forest and clear out a place for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaim, since the mountain regions of Ephraim are so narrow.” 16For the Josephites said, “Our mountain regions are not enough for us; on the other hand, the Canaanites living in the valley region all have iron chariots, in particular those in Beth‐shean and its towns, and those in the valley of Jezreel.” d Jgs 6, 33 . 17Joshua therefore said to Ephraim and Manasseh, the house of Joseph, “You are a numerous people and very strong. You shall have not merely one share, 18for the mountain region which is now forest shall be yours when you clear it. Its adjacent land shall also be yours if, despite their strength and iron chariots, you drive out the Canaanites.”

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

16, 1–17, 18 :

The boundaries and cities of Judah, the most important tribe, having been given, the land of the next most important group, the two Josephite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, is now described, though it was separated from Judah by the territories of Benjamin (Jos 18, 11–20 ) and Dan (Jos 19, 40–48 ).

17, 7 :

Manasseh bordered on Asher: only at the extreme northwestern section of Manasseh's territory. The boundary given in the following sentences (vv 7–10 ) is a more detailed description of the one already mentioned in Jos 16, 5ff , as separating Manasseh from Ephraim.

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