Joshua 17

1 This was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. As for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. 2 So this was for the rest of the children of Manasseh according to their families: for the children of Abiezer, for the children of Helek, for the children of Asriel, for the children of Shechem, for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida. These were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph according to their families. 3 But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters. These are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 4 They came to Eleazar the priest, and to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the princes, saying, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance amongst our brothers.” Therefore according to the commandment of the LORD he gave them an inheritance amongst the brothers of their father. 5 Ten parts fell to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan; 6 because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance amongst his sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh. 7 The border of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethath, which is before Shechem. The border went along to the right hand, to the inhabitants of En Tappuah. 8 The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh; but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim. 9 The border went down to the brook of Kanah, southward of the brook. These cities belonged to Ephraim amongst the cities of Manasseh. The border of Manasseh was on the north side of the brook, and ended at the sea. 10 Southward it was Ephraim’s, and northward it was Manasseh’s, and the sea was his border. They reached to Asher on the north, and to Issachar on the east. 11 Manasseh had three heights in Issachar, in Asher Beth Shean and its towns, and Ibleam and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of Endor and its towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns. 12 Yet the children of Manasseh couldn’t drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. 13 When the children of Israel had grown strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, and didn’t utterly drive them out. 14 The children of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me just one lot and one part for an inheritance, since we are a numerous people, because the LORD has blessed us so far?” 15 Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest, and clear land for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim; since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16 The children of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us. All the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both those who are in Beth Shean and its towns, and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.” 17 Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, that is, to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, “You are a numerous people, and have great power. You shall not have one lot only; 18 but the hill country shall be yours. Although it is a forest, you shall cut it down, and it’s farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.”

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Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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 will be enlarged, 1Ch 4:9, 10, and complainings silenced, or rather, turned into joyful thanksgivings.

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