Saturday, August 14, 2010

Joshua 17

Manasseh's western territory (vs. 1-18)--As we have already noted several times, the tribe of Manasseh received a portion of their land on the eastern side of the Jordan. Now their western allotment is detailed. The "Machir" of verse one was surely dead by now, or he would have been over 200 years old. So no doubt his descendants are meant. Gilead and Bashan were mainly the territories occupied by Manasseh on the east of the Jordan River.

The story of Zelophedad's daughters is here recounted again. In Numbers 27, we learned that a man named Zelophedad had only daughters, no sons. They come to Moses requesting land of their own, lest they be left destitute. Moses took the matter before Jehovah who sided with Zelophedad's five daughters and announced that if a man died without having any sons, then the inheritance was to pass to his daughters. If he had no daughters, either, then his brother received his land. If no brothers, then to his uncles (Numbers 27:1-9). However, the daughters of Zelophedad were required to marry within their tribe or they would lose their inheritance (Numbers 36:3). Their circumstance is mentioned here again in Joshua 17:3-6).

Verses 7-11 delineate the land given to Manasseh west of the Jordan. It was a large piece of geography in the center of Palestine. Verse 11 indicates that Manasseh even received some cities within the territory of the tribes of Asher and Issachar (north of Manasseh). En-dor is famous; it is the location where Saul went to consult the witch (I Sam. 28:7). Verse 12 indicates that the warriors of Mannaseh apparently wearied of trying to drive the inhabitants of certain cities out of their region, so they put them to tribute instead. This indicates a lack of faith in God, and perseverance. We must not give up hope and trust in Him.

The "children of Joseph"--both Ephraim and Manasseh (v. 17) want more land (v. 14), "since we are a great people." Joshua tells them to go conquer more land in the mountain region (v. 15). But even that wasn't good enough for them so Joshua indicates they "shall not have only one lot, but the mountain country shall be yours" (vs. 17-18). This seems to be a conversation Joshua had with the two tribes before the land was divided up. Because Manasseh and Ephraim together outnumbered the rest of the tribes, they thought they should have more land, and Joshua agreed. But Ephraim and Manasseh were to "drive out the Canaanites" (v. 18), something, as we saw, they did not do.

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