Joshua 17:2-6: The Families of Manasseh, Part 2

Verse 2:[1] There was also a lot for (Num. 26:29-32) the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; (1 Chron. 7:18) for the children of Abiezer[2] (Jeezer[3] in Num. 26:30), and for the children of Helek, (Num. 26:31) and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, (Num. 26:32) 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.

[And to the rest, etc.] Who did not receive a possession on the other side of Jordan (Junius, Malvenda). Concerning these his sons and families, see Numbers 26:29, etc. (Bonfrerius).

A lot, or, a portion, or distinct inheritance. The rest of the children of Manasseh, to wit, those of them which had not received their possessions beyond Jordan, Numbers 26:29, etc.

[The males] It is a παρασκευὴ/preface to the following digression concerning the daughters of Zelophehad. Otherwise it was sufficiently well-known that only males were wont to be enumerated when the speech concerning the distribution of inheritance (Masius).

These were the male children: this expression is used to bring in what follows, concerning his female children.


Verse 3:[4] But (Num. 26:33; 27:1; 36:2) 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.

[Daughters] Concerning these see Numbers 27:1, etc. (Malvenda). This history is related, so that it might be indicated that what was enjoined by God in Numbers 27:1, was here fulfilled (Bonfrerius).

No sons, but daughters; of whom see on Numbers 26:33; 27:1.


Verse 4:[5] And they came near before (Josh. 14:1) Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, (Num. 27:6, 7) 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.

[He gave to them] Who gave? Either, Joshua (Junius); or, the Eldership of the twelve men; or, it is to be interpreted passively, in the place of it, it was given to them (Masius).

He gave them, that is, Eleazar, or Joshua, with the consent of the princes appointed for that work.


Verse 5:[6] And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan…

[Ten lines[7]] That is, ten portions measured by lines (Masius, Lapide, Bonfrerius). But how ten? Those six families mentioned above received six portions; and the daughters of Zelophehad, four (Hebrews in Vatablus). But there were five girls; and so, not ten, but eleven, parts were to be made. Response: I reckon that the children of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, and Shemida received their own portions; but that there were no children of Hepher besides those five daughters of Zelophehad, who was the only son of Hepher (Masius, Lapide, Menochius, Malvenda). But note that the five portions of the daughters taken together were only equal to one portion of the men (Menochius out of Bonfrerius). It is likely that the division into lesser portions was left to each Tribe, so that those might decide among themselves by lot: Nevertheless, because concerning these it had been determined by God in a special manner, etc., Numbers 27, especially because women were less able to bring to completion this measuring among themselves, therefore the twelve men completed the measuring into individual heads (Bonfrerius).

Ten portions; either, 1. Six portions for the six sons, whereof one was Hepher; and because he had no sons, his part was subdivided into five equal parts, for each of the daughters. Or, 2. Ten portions, five for the sons, and five for the daughters; for as for Hepher, both he and his son Zelophehad were dead, and that without sons, and therefore he had no portion; but his daughters had several portions allotted to them.


Verse 6:[8] Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.

Among his sons, that is, no less than the sons; so their sex was no bar to their inheritance.

[That were left] That is, that were not of the stock of these six families: for this ought to be referred to these, not to the women alone, from whom he had just advanced (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַ֠יְהִי לִבְנֵ֙י מְנַשֶּׁ֥ה הַנּוֹתָרִים֮ לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם֒ לִבְנֵ֙י אֲבִיעֶ֜זֶר וְלִבְנֵי־חֵ֗לֶק וְלִבְנֵ֤י אַשְׂרִיאֵל֙ וְלִבְנֵי־שֶׁ֔כֶם וְלִבְנֵי־חֵ֖פֶר וְלִבְנֵ֣י שְׁמִידָ֑ע אֵ֠לֶּה בְּנֵ֙י מְנַשֶּׁ֧ה בֶּן־יוֹסֵ֛ף הַזְּכָרִ֖ים לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: אֲבִיעֶזֶר.

[3] Hebrew: אִיעֶזֶר.

[4] Hebrew: וְלִצְלָפְחָד֩ בֶּן־חֵ֙פֶר בֶּן־גִּלְעָ֜ד בֶּן־מָכִ֣יר בֶּן־מְנַשֶּׁ֗ה לֹא־הָ֥יוּ ל֛וֹ בָּנִ֖ים כִּ֣י אִם־בָּנ֑וֹת וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ שְׁמ֣וֹת בְּנֹתָ֔יו מַחְלָ֣ה וְנֹעָ֔ה חָגְלָ֥ה מִלְכָּ֖ה וְתִרְצָֽה׃

[5] Hebrew: וַתִּקְרַ֡בְנָה לִפְנֵי֩ אֶלְעָזָ֙ר הַכֹּהֵ֜ן וְלִפְנֵ֣י׀ יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן וְלִפְנֵ֤י הַנְּשִׂיאִים֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר יְהוָה֙ צִוָּ֣ה אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֔ה לָֽתֶת־לָ֥נוּ נַחֲלָ֖ה בְּת֣וֹךְ אַחֵ֑ינוּ וַיִּתֵּ֙ן לָהֶ֜ם אֶל־פִּ֤י יְהוָה֙ נַֽחֲלָ֔ה בְּת֖וֹךְ אֲחֵ֥י אֲבִיהֶֽן׃

[6] Hebrew: וַיִּפְּל֥וּ חַבְלֵֽי־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה עֲשָׂרָ֑ה לְבַ֞ד מֵאֶ֤רֶץ הַגִּלְעָד֙ וְהַבָּשָׁ֔ן אֲשֶׁ֖ר מֵעֵ֥בֶר לַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[7] Hebrew: חַבְלֵֽי־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה עֲשָׂרָ֑ה. חֶבֶל signifies a cord, or a portion.

[8] Hebrew: כִּ֚י בְּנ֣וֹת מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה נָחֲל֥וּ נַחֲלָ֖ה בְּת֣וֹךְ בָּנָ֑יו וְאֶ֙רֶץ֙ הַגִּלְעָ֔ד הָיְתָ֥ה לִבְנֵֽי־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה הַנּֽוֹתָרִֽים׃

Joshua 17:1: The Families of Manasseh, Part 1

Verse 1:[1] There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the (Gen. 41:51; 46:20; 48:18) firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for (Gen. 50:23; Num. 26:29; 32:39, 40; 1 Chron. 7:14) Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had (Deut. 3:15) Gilead and Bashan.

[A lot fell to the tribe of Manasseh (for he is the first-born of Joseph)] A lot, that is, an inheritance assigned by the casting of lots (Vatablus). Question: To what end are these last words added? Responses: 1. Either, 1. as the reason why two parts were allotted to Manasseh, because he was the first-born. See Deuteronomy 21:17. For, that in Genesis 48:18 Ephraim was set before Manasseh, is not to be understood as a transfer of the primogeniture, but as a prophetic blessing of the offspring (Junius). Jacob did indeed prophesy greater things for Ephraim eventually, Genesis 48:19, but he did not take the right of the first-born from Manasseh: neither did Manasseh deserve that (Grotius). If you wish the כִּי/for[2] to be a note of cause, rightly, if I am not mistaken, you would be saying that the condition of his birth is recalled as the cause of the wealth of Manasseh, and of the possessions received on both sides of Jordan (Masius). To others this reason is not satisfying: For it is not likely that in Genesis 48 Jacob wanted to ascribe three portions to Joseph, but only two, in such a way that Joseph enjoys the right of primogeniture, not Manasseh; and that the sons of Joseph come into possession of Canaan with the rest of the sons with an equal share only: And Manasseh was indeed the first-born with respect to Ephraim, but not in comparison with the other sons of Jacob, among whom the division was made. Moreover, there appears to have been no other reason for the division of this Tribe into two parts, than that the region on the other side of Jordan was not sufficient for all those, and so a possession was to be sought for the other part on this side of Jordan (Bonfrerius). Or, 2. this clause was added, so that the reader might observe that by that outcome of the lot was illustriously ratified the judgment of Jacob in Genesis 48:14, which I was just saying. The כִּי is to be translated in this way, now, Now, he was the first-born, etc. (Masius). Or, 3. he gives the reason why Manasseh, who was not of the sons of Jacob, nevertheless came into a portion of Canaan with the other sons; namely, because he was a son of Joseph (Bonfrerius out of Lapide), and also the firstborn. The same was able to be said concerning the lot of Ephraim; but the Scripture, passing over it there in silence, expressed it here, leaving the one to be gathered from the other (Bonfrerius).

He was the first-born of Joseph: the sense is, though Ephraim was to be more potent and numerous, yet Manasseh was the first-born, and had the privilege of the first-born, which was translated to Joseph, to wit, a double portion; and therefore though this were but half the tribe of Manasseh, yet they are not made inmates to Ephraim, but have a distinct lot of their own, as their brethren or other half tribe had beyond Jordan.

[To Machir, the first-born of Manasseh] Nay, he was an only child (Lapide, Menochius). But Scripture is wont to call even those that have no brothers the first-born. Thus Christ, in Matthew 1, is the first-born (Menochius).

Machir; the only son of Manasseh, who therefore is here, and Judges 5:14, put for the whole tribe. The first-born; so even only sons are sometimes called, as Matthew 1:25: see on Exodus 4:22.

[The father of Gilead[3]] [They vary:] The founder of Gilead (Junius and Tremellius). Some explain father as the Acquirer; for he begat, as it were, or gave birth to, that is, he acquired, that land. Now, Gilead here is a region, by ellipsis of the word אָרֶץ/land, which is expressed in Numbers 32:1. Although it appears simpler and closer to the truth to take each name properly here, from verse 3 (Piscator). Therefore, others translate it, and the father of Gilead (Munster, Tigurinus, similarly the Septuagint, Syriac, Pagnine, Castalio). All the families of the Manassites, on both sides of Jordan, are descended from Gilead, as it is evident from this place, and from Numbers 26:29, etc. But the name of Gilead stuck to the lands on the other side of Jordan (Bonfrerius on verses 1 and 2).

The father of Gilead; or, and the father, or who was also the father of Gilead; not of the land of Gilead, but of the man Gilead, who was Machir’s son, Numbers 26:29.

[Who was a fighter] Hebrew: man of war.[4] But where did he put forth that martial spirit and skill? For, since Gilead was born with his grandfather Joseph yet living, Genesis 50:22, it certainly appears that he died either in Egypt, or in the desert; otherwise in the exodus he must be one hundred and forty years old, in the entrance into Canaan one hundred and eighty years old (Lapide, Bonfrerius); which age no one was attaining at that time (Bonfrerius). Therefore, he was a man of war in Egypt, and under the Kings of Egypt, before the persecution began against the Hebrews, Exodus 1, in the battles of the Ephraimites (against the Philistines [Bonfrerius]), who are related to have been slain, 1 Chronicles 7:21 (Lapide, Bonfrerius).

He was a man of war; he, that is, Machir, had given great proof of his valour in his generation, (though the particular history be not mentioned,) and his posterity were no degenerate sons, but had his valiant blood still running in their veins.

[And he had possession of Gilead and Bashan] Gilead was both a man, and a mountain or region; but neither took its name from the other: not the mountain, etc., from the man, for before the birth of Gilead thus the mountain was called, Genesis 31:48; nor the man from the mountain, etc., for this Gilead was born in Egypt; unless one should attribute this name to the inspiration of God, because his posterity was going to inhabit the region of Gilead. Moreover, the region of Gilead is taken either broadly, for that entire region on the other side of Jordan, especially for that part which fell to the Gadites and Manassites; or strictly, for that part of it which is closer to mount Gilead Eastward. But that part is called Bashan which is closer to Jordan (Bonfrerius). Gilead and Bashan; that is, partly; it is a Synecdoche (Junius and Malvenda): for the other part of Gilead had fallen to the Gadites, and the other part of Bashan had fallen to the Reubenites, as it is shown from Joshua 13:30, 31 (Malvenda). Now, Gilead is said to have had this possession, not because he himself held it, but rather his sons and grandsons (Menochius). He obtained this inheritance, because he was the first-born, and a man of war (Munster).

Gilead and Bashan, that is, part of those countries; for part of them was also given to the Reubenites, and part to the Gadites, as appears from Joshua 13:30, 31. This may be added as a reason, either, 1. Why he got those places from the Amorites; or, 2. Why they were allotted to him or his posterity, because this was a frontier country, and the outworks to the land of Canaan, and therefore required such valiant persons to defend it.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֤י הַגּוֹרָל֙ לְמַטֵּ֣ה מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה כִּי־ה֖וּא בְּכ֣וֹר יוֹסֵ֑ף לְמָכִיר֩ בְּכ֙וֹר מְנַשֶּׁ֜ה אֲבִ֣י הַגִּלְעָ֗ד כִּ֣י ה֤וּא הָיָה֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֔ה וַֽיְהִי־ל֖וֹ הַגִּלְעָ֥ד וְהַבָּשָֽׁן׃

[2] Joshua 17:1a:  “There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for (כִּי) he was the firstborn of Joseph…”

[3] Hebrew: אֲבִ֣י הַגִּלְעָ֗ד.

[4] Hebrew: אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֔ה.

Joshua 17 Outline

The inheritance of Manasseh, and its borders, 1-11. They could not drive out the Canaanites, but made them tributary, 12, 13. The children of Joseph complain that their borders are too narrow: Joshua promises them the subduing of the Canaanites, 14-18.

Joshua 16:10: The Lot of Ephraim, Part 3

Verse 10:[1] (Judg. 1:29; see 1 Kings 9:16) And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.

[He was dwelling in Gezer] Note that these Canaanites, especially near the shore of the sea, fortified themselves to such an extent that by the Judahites, although they were especially willing, they were not able to be conquered. For an example may this Gezer be, that David was not able to make his own: But Pharaoh finally took it, 1 King 9:16. Which narration the Septuagint has in this place (Tirinus). Now, this came to pass from the Ephraimites’ idleness, and impiety (Masius), and from avarice (Tirinus). For these cities were perpetually thronged by diverse nations for the purpose of conducting trade (Masius). And for the sake of filthy lucre they were tolerated by the Ephraimites, who nevertheless were contaminated with their wickedness. And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich:[2] that is to say, I care nothing for the wickedness, as long as I grow rich on their tribute (Tirinus). See what things are on Judges 1:29 (Bonfrerius).

The Canaanites were not driven out until Solomon’s time, 1 Kings 9:16.

[Unto this day] Namely, unto the times of Solomon [as has already been said (Malvenda)]. Moreover, this clause was added, not by Joshua, but by another; since this happened after the death of Joshua (Bonfrerius).

[As a tributary] So also in Joshua 17:13; 1 Kings 9:16. It is likely that the laws imposed on them were ascribed to Adam and Noah (Grotius).

Under tribute, as Joshua 17:13; 1 Kings 9:16.

[1] Hebrew: וְלֹ֣א הוֹרִ֔ישׁוּ אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י הַיּוֹשֵׁ֣ב בְּגָ֑זֶר וַיֵּ֙שֶׁב הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֜י בְּקֶ֤רֶב אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ עַד־הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה וַיְהִ֖י לְמַס־עֹבֵֽד׃

[2] Hosea 12:8.

Joshua 16:9: The Lot of Ephraim, Part 2

Verse 9:[1] And (Josh. 17:9) the separate cities for the children of Ephraim were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages.

[And cities were separated to the children of Ephraim in the midst of the possession of the children of Manasseh] Some thus take it: The line that was dividing these two Tribes sometimes sometimes invaded the borders of Manasseh, sometimes withdrew: and hence it happened that there were certain towns of Ephraim that with the line drawn straight were in the tribe of Manasseh (Lyra, Salazar[2] in Menochius). Others thus: To the Ephraimites were given certain cities (with their villages [Estius, Osiander]), situated within the borders of the Manassites (Masius, thus Lapide, Bonfrerius). For to them less populous cities had fallen by lot (Lapide, Bonfrerius). Because the lots were fixed as equal, but Ephraim was much greater than Manasseh, it was fitting that some part of the lot of Manasseh be separated for Ephraim, so that that inequality might be eliminated (Estius, Menochius, similarly Masius).

[And cities were separated, וְהֶעָרִ֗ים הַמִּבְדָּלוֹת֙[3]] They translate it, separating, or distinguishing (certain interpreters in Malvenda), bordering (Junius and Tremellius), separated (Munster, Tigurinus, Vatablus, similarly Pagnine). And the cities were designated separately to the children of Ephraim (certain interpreters in Malvenda). But this will be said more plainly in the next chapter (Malvenda). The sense: In addition to the described inheritance this Tribe also has other cities within the limits of the Tribe of Manasseh: not that the Tribes were mixed together, but that sometimes in the limits there were recesses, entering into the other tribe outside of a straight line. In הַמִּבְדָּלוֹת Hireq (ִ) is written in the place of Sureq (וּ)[4] (Munster).

The separate cities, that is, besides those cities which were within Ephraim’s bounds, he had some other cities, to which all their territories were annexed out of Manasseh’s portion, because his tribe was all here, and was larger than Manasseh’s.

[1] Hebrew: וְהֶעָרִ֗ים הַמִּבְדָּלוֹת֙ לִבְנֵ֣י אֶפְרַ֔יִם בְּת֖וֹךְ נַחֲלַ֣ת בְּנֵֽי־מְנַשֶּׁ֑ה כָּֽל־הֶעָרִ֖ים וְחַצְרֵיהֶֽן׃

[2] Ferdinand Chirinos de Salazar (1576-1646) was a Jesuit exegete. He wrote commentaries on Proverbs and the Song of Solomon.

[3] מִבְדָּלָה signifies a separate place.

[4] A Sureq (וּ) in the place of a Hireq (ִ) would change the noun הַמִּבְדָּלוֹת, separate places, into a Hophal participle, הַמֻּבְדָּלוֹת/separated.

Joshua 16:5-8: The Lot of Ephraim, Part 1

Verse 5:[1] And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was thus: even the border of their inheritance on the east side was (Josh. 18:13) Ataroth-addar, (2 Chron. 8:5) unto Beth-horon the upper…

[And the border was made, etc.] These and the following things are more involved (Bonfrerius), and obscured with overmuch brevity (Masius). But yet it is not doubtful that the descriptions of the places at that time were especially perspicuous: yet, because that region, almost completely ravaged by the Romans and Barbarians, has a far different face than formerly, it is not the case that those studious of Theology trouble themselves much in tracking down the situation of the places (Osiander on Joshua 15:12). Masius alone appears to have aptly distinguished the places of this chapter; but Adrichomius errs in many things (Bonfrerius). [Concerning which consult the Author, if there is time: For I undertake the explication of matters, not the censure or defense of persons.] In this verse is not described some extreme limit, but the entire breadth in that part in which it has the greatest breadth Eastward, while concerning the rest farther toward Jordan and the East it is forced by degrees into a narrow space (Bonfrerius). Therefore, the Manassites were insinuating themselves in a certain measure between the Ephraimites and the Jordan Eastward, just as likewise the children of Issachar between the Manassites and the Jordan, Joshua 17:10 (Bonfrerius on verse 6). And so the greatest breadth is here placed between Ataroth-addar on the South, and Beth-horon the upper on the North. Moreover, it is evident that no extreme limit is here designated, because in what follows other extreme limits Eastward, Northward, Westward, are described; although one ought to have more discrimination, aptly distinguishing all things (Bonfrerius almost out of Masius).

[Over against the east, מִזְרָחָה] Toward (or, unto) the east (Junius and Tremellius). On the side of the rising of the sun, that is, he beginson the eastern side. The breadth of Ephraim is described where it looks toward the East (Vatablus). Nevertheless, it does not designate the farthest coast of the East. For there from Jordan Jericho was first occurring, then Bethel, etc. (Masius).

On the east side, that is, the north-east side. It is no wonder, if some of these descriptions are dark and doubtful to us at this distance of time and place; there having been so many alterations made in places, and so many circumstances being now altogether undiscoverable. But this is evident to every man of common sense, that this and all the descriptions here mentioned were then certain and evident to the Israelites, because these were the foundation of their present practice, and of all the possessions which then they took and peaceably possessed in succeeding ages.


Verse 6:[2] And the border went out toward the sea to (Josh. 17:7) Michmethah on the north side; and the border went about eastward unto Taanath-shiloh, and passed by it on the east to Janohah…

[They went out…unto the sea] Namely, from Beth-horon the upper (Bonfrerius). Now, the only describes vaguely the Northern Border, inasmuch as it is to be described more precisely in verse 8 (Bonfrerius almost out of Masius). Its length is described from the West, verging toward the East (Vatablus).

Toward the sea; the midland sea, towards the west.

[And it skirts the borders: It is a defect in our text, and is to be read, and the border skirts, out of the Hebrew (Bonfrerius, Serarius); וְנָסַ֧ב הַגְּב֛וּל[3]] And the border turns itself, that is, the line marking the border and boundaries (Vatablus). The border was turned toward the east, from that Beth-horon (Masius), where the line is bent, and he describes the eastern borders obliquely by proceeding toward Jericho. Now, it is sufficiently evident that the eastern borders are not enclosed on both ends [that is, both on the South and on the North] by Jordan, for the Scripture would have indicated that; neither in describing those would it have been necessary to enumerate so many places and cities, through which these borders pass (Bonfrerius).

[In Thanath-selo, תַּאֲנַ֣ת שִׁלֹ֑ה] Taanath-Shiloh (Montanus, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius); unto the fig tree of Shiloh[4] (Jonathan).

[On the east of Janohah (thus certain Hebrews in Vatablus)] On the east to Janohah (Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus).


Verse 7:[5] And it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, (1 Chron. 7:28) and to Naarath, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan.

Came to Jericho: Not to the city of Jericho, which belonged to Benjamin’s lot, Joshua 18:21, but to its territory.


Verse 8:[6] The border went out from Tappuah westward unto the (Josh. 17:9) river Kanah; and the goings out thereof were at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim by their families.

[From Tappuah, etc.] He returns, as far as I am able to see, to complete the limits of the Northern length, from Michmethah unto the Mediterranean Sea. For, that Tappuah was there, but not near Jordan, it is certain from the description of the borders of Manasseh[7] (Masius). The return of the length toward the West is described. The border proceeds, that is, the line tracing the border and boundaries returns westward, that is, whence it had come (Vatablus).

[Over against the sea unto the valley of reeds, יָ֙מָּה֙ נַ֣חַל קָנָ֔ה[8]] [Not in one way do they render it.] Toward the sea (Pagnine, Montanus, Septuagint) (from the sea [Jonathan], over against the sea [Tigurinus]) the torrent of Kanah (Montanus), unto the torrent of Kanah (Tigurinus), or of the reed (Pagnine), in Chelcana (Septuagint). [In the place of נַחַל קָנָה, the river of Kanah, they appear to have read בְּחַלְקָנָה, in Chelcana.] Others thus: Westward to the torrent, or river, of Kanah (Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, English, Dutch, Castalio, Munster). To the torren full of rushes, or reedy (Masius), where the thicket of reeds, or reed-bed, was dense. Yet to others [as we saw] Kanah is a proper name (Malvenda). Some suppose that is valley, or torrent, is that כְּרִית/Cherith, concerning which 1 Kings 17. But it hinders that Cherith is Eastward, and near Jordan; but this place is Westward, and near the sea, as it shall soon be evident (Bonfrerius).

[Unto the saltiest sea[9]] That is, the Dead Sea (Lyra, Lapide); as it is evident in Joshua 18:19;[10] Numbers 34:3[11] (Lapide). But the borders of Ephraim nowhere reach unto the Dead Sea. This is also refuted by that description of the borders of Manasseh (Masius) [concerning which in the next chapter]. Therefore, in this place the Sea is the Mediterranean (Vatablus, Masius, Bonfrerius, Menochius, Malvenda). That word, saltiest, is not present in the Hebrew, Chaldean, or Septuagint (Bonfrerius). Moreover, there is no need to describe the Southern limits of Ephraim separately, nor the western: for they are those that we said belong to Joseph all together (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֛י גְּב֥וּל בְּנֵֽי־אֶפְרַ֖יִם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם וַיְהִ֞י גְּב֤וּל נַחֲלָתָם֙ מִזְרָ֔חָה עַטְר֣וֹת אַדָּ֔ר עַד־בֵּ֥ית חוֹרֹ֖ן עֶלְיֽוֹן׃

[2] Hebrew: וְיָצָ֙א הַגְּב֜וּל הַיָּ֗מָּה הַֽמִּכְמְתָת֙ מִצָּפ֔וֹן וְנָסַ֧ב הַגְּב֛וּל מִזְרָ֖חָה תַּאֲנַ֣ת שִׁלֹ֑ה וְעָבַ֣ר אוֹת֔וֹ מִמִּזְרַ֖ח יָנֽוֹחָה׃

[3] Joshua 16:6b:  “…and the border went about (וְנָסַ֧ב הַגְּב֛וּל) eastward unto Taanath-shiloh…”

[4] תְּאֵנָה signifies fig tree.

[5] Hebrew: וְיָרַ֥ד מִיָּנ֖וֹחָה עֲטָר֣וֹת וְנַעֲרָ֑תָה וּפָגַע֙ בִּֽירִיח֔וֹ וְיָצָ֖א הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[6] Hebrew: מִתַּפּ֜וּחַ יֵלֵ֙ךְ הַגְּב֥וּל יָ֙מָּה֙ נַ֣חַל קָנָ֔ה וְהָי֥וּ תֹצְאֹתָ֖יו הַיָּ֑מָּה זֹ֗את נַחֲלַ֛ת מַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵי־אֶפְרַ֖יִם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָֽם׃

[7] Joshua 17:7-9.

[8] קָנֶה signifies reed.

[9] Thus the Vulgate.

[10] Joshua 18:19:  “And the border passed along to the side of Beth-hoglah northward:  and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the salt sea (יָם־הַמֶּלַח; maris salsissimi, in the Vulgate) at the south end of Jordan:  this was the south coast.”

[11] Numbers 34:3:  “Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea (יָם־הַמֶּלַח; mare salsissimum, in the Vulgate) eastward…”

Joshua 16:2-4: The Lot of Joseph, Part 2

Verse 2:[1] And goeth out from Beth-el to (Josh. 18:13; Judg. 1:26) Luz, and passeth along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth…

[And it went forth] That is, the measuring line (Menochius).

[From Bethel-Luzah[2]] From Beth-el to Luz, or, toward Luz (Drusius, Masius). לוּזָה, to Luz[3] (Drusius). But the same place that was formerly called Luz, was afterwards called Beth-el, Genesis 28:19 (Masius, Bonfrerius). Response 1: There were two Beth-els; the one in Genesis 28, and the other not very far off, built by some Bethelite, concerning which Judges 1:26 (Junius). This does not satisfy (Bonfrerius, Malvenda). For that other Luz was farther away (Malvenda). See what things we have on Genesis 28:19 (Bonfrerius). Response 2: In ancient times Beth-el was a different place from Luz, yet near it. Jacob says, Genesis 48:3, that in Luz the vision appeared to him, although it is altogether certain that, not in a town, but in a field, that appeared to him while sleeping (Masius). Luz and Beth-el were at first two towns, but were afterwards conjoined together; yet in such a way that they retained their proper names (Lyra). Response 3: Luz is set down here by way of apposition, and is a cognomen of Beth-el. Hebrew: from Bethel-Luz; that is, from Beth-el, which was formerly called Luz, or Luzah (Malvenda nearly out of Bonfrerius). Unot Bethel-Luzah (Septuagint). [Nevertheless, the rest translate it, from Beth-el unto, or towards, Luz (thus Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Tigurinus, English).]

From Beth-el to Luz, or, from Bethel-luzah, as the Septuagint here join the words; for Beth-el was anciently called Luz, Genesis 28:19; 48:3; though some think this was another Luz, spoken of Judges 1:26. Others make Beth-el and Luz two neighbouring towns, which afterwards being more built and inhabited, became one, as oft hath happened.

[And it passes the border of Archi, Ataroth, הָאַרְכִּ֖י עֲטָרֽוֹת׃] Some divide these words, as signifying two places (Malvenda). Of Archi (or of Archæus [Junius and Tremellius, Dutch], of the Archæites [Vatablus]) unto, or toward, Ataroth (Jonathan, Munster, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, English, Dutch). The Tipha accent (֖) under הָאַרְכִּ֖י/Archi appears to favor these[4] (Masius, Malvenda). The former place is Erec, whence Hushai is called the Archite, or Erecæus, 2 Samuel 16:16. But Ataroth was a field situated on the border of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Judah. For which reason, according to the reckoning of the border, it was distinguished with various names, Joshua 16:5, 7; 1 Chronicles 2:54 (Junius). But others conjoin these words, Archihataroth (thus Pagnine, Montanus, Castalio, Septuagint, and the Latin according to Masius). It is one place, which is here called Archi-Ataroth (that is to say, long Ataroth[5] [Bonfrerius]), and in verse 5; and also in Joshua 18:13 Ataroth-Adar (Bonfrerius, Masius) (that is to say, Ataroth the illustrious[6]). This is evident from the fact that the Southern border of Ephraim here passes through Archi-Ataroth; but the Northern border of Benjamin, which is the same as the Southern border of Ephraim, passes through Ataroth-Adar, Joshua 18 (Bonfrerius). The name Ataroth signifies crown;[7] and is applied to several cities in Scripture (Masius). To it an epithet is added, so that it might be distinguished from the other Ataroth, concerning which verse 7 (Bonfrerius).


Verse 3:[8] And goeth down westward to the coast of Japhleti, (Josh. 18:13; 2 Chron. 8:5) unto the coast of Beth-horon the nether, and to (1 Chron. 7:28; 1 Kings 9:15) Gezer: and the goings out thereof are at the sea.

[Near the border of Japhletites[9]] Who are Pelethites,[10] 2 Samuel 8:18; 15:18 (Grotius), with the ט/Teth/t changed into a ת/Tau/t (Malvenda out of Junius). To some it is a family name, from Japhlet, a descendant of Asher, 1 Chronicles 7:32. But here it is placed in the tribe of Joseph, not of Asher (Malvenda). Of the Japhletite (Junius and Tremellius), that is, of the Japhletites (Piscator).

[Unto the borders of lower Beth-horon, עַ֣ד גְּב֧וּל בֵּית־חוֹרֹ֛ן תַּחְתּ֖וֹן] Toward the lower border of Beth-horon (Pagnine, Montanus, Arabic). Others: toward the border of the lower Beth-horon (Jonathan, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius, Munster, Tigurinus, similarly the Septuagint, Masius). Concerning both Beth-horons, both the upper and the lower, see on Joshua 10:10 (Bonfrerius, Malvenda).

Of the two Beth-horons, see Joshua 10:10, 11.


Verse 4:[11] (Josh. 17:14) So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance.

[And they possessed, etc., וַיִּנְחֲלוּ וגו״] And their inheritance, or possession, they received (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius). They possessed, namely, that region (Bonfrerius). They divided the inheritance, etc., because of course Ephraim and Manasseh were two different Tribes. It is not of great concern whether immediately, or after the casting of lots for the rest of the tribes, they divided privately among themselves the inheritance that they had received in the one common lot, as I said: The latter is more probable. It is not of the greatest moment whether the lots themselves were cast privately, or indeed, as it is more credible, that matter was also conducted by the twelve men. But this is to be observed, by right Ephraim was set before Manasseh by Jacob, Genesis 48, while also Ephraim drew the lot earlier, and was closer to the Temple (Masius).

Manasseh, that is, half Manasseh, by a synecdoche. Their inheritance, that is, their several portions which here follow. Some think that they had but one lot between them; and therefore they are now said to take their inheritance, to wit, by dividing it between them according to the direction of Joshua and Eleazar, etc.; for that phrase being used of them, and not to my remembrance of any other tribes, may seem to have some peculiar signification, which doth not agree to the other tribes. But there being mention of a peculiar lot taken out for Manasseh, Joshua 17:1, shows that their several inheritances fell to them, as the rest did to the other tribes, even by several lots; and it is said of them, that they took their inheritance, which also Judah had done before them, because the tribes of Judah and Joseph did take their inheritances before the rest; and it was fit they should do so, for the security of the main camp, and the body of the people which were at Gilgal. See Joshua 18:5.

[1] Hebrew: וְיָצָ֥א מִבֵּֽית־אֵ֖ל ל֑וּזָה וְעָבַ֛ר אֶל־גְּב֥וּל הָאַרְכִּ֖י עֲטָרֽוֹת׃

[2] Hebrew: מִבֵּֽית־אֵ֖ל ל֑וּזָה.

[3] The ה is the old accusative ending, used to indicate motion towards.

[4] The Tipha is a disjunctive accent; however, based on context, its disjunctive force can be exceedingly weak or non-existent.

[5] אָרַךְ signifies to be long.

[6] אָדַר signifies to be great.

[7] עָטַר signifies to surround.

[8] Hebrew: וְיָֽרַד־יָ֜מָּה אֶל־גְּב֣וּל הַיַּפְלֵטִ֗י עַ֣ד גְּב֧וּל בֵּית־חוֹרֹ֛ן תַּחְתּ֖וֹן וְעַד־גָּ֑זֶר וְהָי֥וּ תֹצְאֹתָ֖ו יָֽמָּה׃

[9] Hebrew: אֶל־גְּב֣וּל הַיַּפְלֵטִ֗י.

[10] Hebrew: פְּלֵתִי.

[11] Hebrew: וַיִּנְחֲל֥וּ בְנֵי־יוֹסֵ֖ף מְנַשֶּׁ֥ה וְאֶפְרָֽיִם׃

Joshua 16:1: The Lot of Joseph, Part 1

Verse 1:[1] And the lot of the children of Joseph fell (Heb. went forth[2]) from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Beth-el…

[And also the lot of the children of Joseph fell, etc.] That is, of Ephraim and the half Tribe of Manasseh (Lapide). For one was the lot of the two brothers, Manasseh and Ephraim, in that casting of lots, as was explained above by us (Malvenda). Therefore, these Tribes had conjoined possessions. For which reason it happens that the Southern border of these conjoined together is here described; although actually it is only the border of Ephraim, which toward the south had the tribe of Benjamin, toward the North Manasseh. Now, since Jericho was in Benjamin, it is evident that the Southern borders are described; for it is sufficiently apparent that the tribe of Benjamin was shut up between Ephraim and Judah (Bonfrerius). That וַיֵּצֵא they translate, it[3] went forth (Junius and Tremellius), or, went out, namely, extracted from the urn (Piscator); or, it went forth, or extended (certain interpreters in Vatablus).

Of Joseph, that is, of Ephraim, and the half tribe of Manasseh, which are here put together in one; not because they had but one lot, for Ephraim had one here, Joshua 16:5, and Manasseh another, Joshua 17:1; but because in these first verses he speaks of them in common, and of the south border, which seems to be the same, either wholly or in a great part; and then he comes to the particular description of their several portions. It is here further remarkable, that God so disposed of these lots, that they came forth in decent and due order; Judah’s first, to whom the sovereignty was promised; and then Joseph’s, who succeeded Reuben in the other privilege of the birth-right, the double portion, 1 Chronicles 5:1, 2.

[From Jordan over against Jericho] Hebrew: from Jordan Jericho[4] (Malvenda); from Jordan opposite to Jericho (Junius and Tremellius); in which part it flowed near Jericho (Vatablus).

[And the waters thereof on the east: the wilderness that ascends from Jericho to mount Beth-el, לְמֵ֥י יְרִיח֖וֹ מִזְרָ֑חָה הַמִּדְבָּ֗ר עֹלֶ֧ה מִירִיח֛וֹ בָּהָ֖ר בֵּֽית־אֵֽל׃] [They render it variously:] To the waters of Jericho eastward, and the desert that ascends from Jericho through mount Beth-el (Munster, Tigurinus). To the waters of Jericho eastward: the desert ascending from Jericho into mount Beth-el (Montanus, Pagnine, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Dutch, Osiander, Syriac). Unto mount Beth-el, not of Beth-el; for הָר/mountain is marked with a Qametz (ָ)[5] (Drusius, similarly Masius). Hence it is evident that that mountain was called Beth-el after the city (Malvenda, Masius). Or, through the mountain unto Beth-el (Dutch); or, through mountainous Beth-el (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus). And also to that tribe pertains the wilderness that ascends from Jericho unto the mountain that was near the city of Beth-el (Osiander). [To all these the desert is said to ascend (so also the Chaldean in Masius, Syriac), that is, to extend upwards.] Now, this is the desert of Beth-aven, which he relates in Joshua 18 was west of Jericho (Masius). Others in the place of and the desert, etc., read to the desert that ascends, etc. (thus Pagnine, English). To others it is not the desert, but the lot, that is said to ascend, and they connect עֹלֶה, going up, with הַגּוֹרָל, the lot (thus Masius out of Rabbi Salomon, Bonfrerius, Malvenda). The lot went forth…by ascending, etc. (Arabic). For these things are explained in this way in Joshua 18:12 (Masius). Moreover, the waters of it, that is, of Jericho (Bonfrerius, Masius), are distinguished from the waters of Jordan of Jericho, and are those waters that flow from the spring of Elisha, from which the dry ground of Jericho is irrigated by trenches and pools. What is here said, to the waters of Jericho, that is plainly what in Joshua 18 is written, to the side of Jericho on the north: for that Spring was toward the North and West (Masius). Or, מֵי יְרִיחוֹ, the waters of Jericho, Me-Jericho, is the name of a place (Vatablus). I translate מִזְרָחָה, from the east: the letter ה in this place is a note of movement from a place, not toward a place, as it is wont. For by this word this only is signified, that this designation of boundaries is begun from the East, that is, from Jordan (Masius). This is to be observed by us elsewhere, נֶגְבָּה, from the south, יָמָּה, from the sea/west (Drusius). Moreover, it is rightly said to ascend from Jericho into the mountain; for that city, or, more accurately, that plain (which I would prefer to be signified here) was surrounded on all sides by mountains as by a theater (Masius).

The water of Jericho; of which see 2 Kings 2:19-22. The wilderness that goeth up from Jericho; the wilderness of Beth-aven, as appears by comparing Joshua 18:12, which speaks of the very same border which was on the south of Ephraim, and on the north of Benjamin.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵ֙א הַגּוֹרָ֜ל לִבְנֵ֤י יוֹסֵף֙ מִיַּרְדֵּ֣ן יְרִיח֔וֹ לְמֵ֥י יְרִיח֖וֹ מִזְרָ֑חָה הַמִּדְבָּ֗ר עֹלֶ֧ה מִירִיח֛וֹ בָּהָ֖ר בֵּֽית־אֵֽל׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵא.

[3] That is, the lot.

[4] A woodenly literalistic rendering.  Hebrew: מִיַּרְדֵּ֣ן יְרִיח֔וֹ.

[5] Rather than with a Patah (ַ), indicating that it is in the absolute, not construct, state.

Joshua 16 Outline

The general borders of the sons of Joseph, 1-4. The borders of Ephraim, 5-9. Some of the Canaanites not expelled, but made tributary, 10.


This chapter is indeed brief, but obscure, and somewhat more confused in order (Bonfrerius).

Joshua 15:63: The Cities of Judah, Part 9 (Jerusalem)

Verse 63:[1] As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, (see Judg. 1:8, 21; 2 Sam. 5:6) the children of Judah could not drive them out: (Judg. 1:21) but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.

[Now, the Jebusite, the inhabitant of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah were not able to destroy] Question 1: How is this said of the sons of Judah, while the exact same thing is said concerning the Benjamites, Judges 1:21? And unto which tribe did Jerusalem have regard? For here and in Psalm 78:68 it is ascribed to Judah; but in Genesis 49:27; Deuteronomy 33:12 (and Jeremiah 6:1 [Bonfrerius]) it is allotted to Benjamin (Malvenda). Response 1: Some think that that city was left in the middle (certain interpreters in Masius). It is likely that it was a border city inhabited promiscuously by Judahites and Benjamites, and pertained to both, and is attributed sometimes to the former and sometimes to the latter (Malvenda). But this opinion is manifestly refuted by the designated borders of the Benjamite possessions (Masius). Response 2: It is likely that most cities were greatly changed after they were brought under the power of the Israelites; especially Jerusalem, which from a small town was built up into a most spacious city. Therefore, since he that in latter times gathered the sacred history, previously dispersed throughout the records, and digested it into those books that we now have, made use of those names of place that were used in his age, it is not strange if we see one and the same city possessed by diverse tribes, since formerly they were two, which thereafter were inclosed within one wall. But concerning this matter there is to be discussion again in Joshua 18 (Masius). Response 3: Others assigne to each Tribe their own parts in it (Masius). The whole lower city belonged to the Benjamities (Bonfrerius), which was called Salem, and was Northward (Menochius): but the Southern part, that is, mount Zion and perhas a small part of the lower city, with the line led through the peak of mount Moriah, was in the tribe of Judah. Hence in Nehemiah 11:4 both the Judahites and the Benjamites are said to have dwelt in Jerusalem (Bonfrerius). Question 2: How is this said, when Jerusalem was captured by Joshua, Joshua 10 and Judges 1:8? Response: The city was captured, but not the citadel, or the upper part of the city; which also Josephus clearly indicates, Antiquities 5:2. Compare Judges 1, verse 8 and verse 21. You will say, But that city belonged to the Jebusites, Judges 19:11, 12. But concerning this matter see what is written there (Bonfrerius). The Jebusites were holding the citadel: thence it happened that after the death of Joshua they gradually occupied the entire city again, as they occupied Hebron and Debir, previously conquered by Joshua: hence it was necessary for the sons of Judah to conquer Jerusalem after the death of Joshua, which was accomplished in Judges 1 (Lapide, similarly Bonfrerius). But the Jebusites held the citadel until the time of David, because it was most heavily fortified (Bonfrerius). Question 3: Why were they not able to remove these? This appear to obscure the glory of the mightiest Tribe, that I might not say that it fought also with the promises of God of the happiest success everywhere (Masius). Responses: 1. The Judahites had hindered themselves by their sluggishness, and sins, by which having been provoked, God withdrew His help, according to Judges 2:20 (Masius, Lapide). 2. Thos Jebusites were not of those seven peoples,[2] but were deriving their origin from Jebus, who was of the stock of the Philistine (Vatablus).

[He dwelt with the children of Judah, אֶת־בְּנֵי] Near the children; for they were adjacent to the Tribe of Judah (Vatablus). The rest translate it, with the sons (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius).

The Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, etc.: For though Jerusalem was in part taken by Joshua before this, yet the upper and stronger part of it, called Zion, was still kept by the Jebusites, even until David’s time; and it seems from thence they descended to the lower town called Jerusalem, and took it; so that the Israelites were forced to win it a second time; yea, and a third time also, for afterwards it was possessed by the Jebusites, Judges 19:11; 2 Samuel 5:6, 7. Could not drive them out; namely, because of their unbelief, as Christ could do no mighty work—because of the people’s unbelief, Mark 6:5, 6; Matthew 13:58, and because of their sloth, and cowardice, and wickedness, whereby they forfeited God’s help, and then they must needs be impotent; but this inability was wilful, and brought upon them by themselves. Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem: the same things which are here said of the children of Judah, are said of the Benjamites, Judges 1:21. Hence ariseth a question, To which of the tribes Jerusalem belonged? whether to Benjamin, as is gathered from Genesis 49:27; Deuteronomy 33:12; Jeremiah 6:1, or to Judah, as is implied here, and Psalm 78:68, 69. Some think, that being in the borders of both, it was common to both, and promiscuously inhabited by both; and it is certain that after the captivity it was possessed by both, Nehemiah 11:4. But for the present, though it did belong to Benjamin, yet the children of Judah being possibly very active in the first taking of it by Joshua, as they certainly were after his death, Judges 1:8, they might thereby get some right share with the Benjamites in the possession of it. It seems most probable that part of it, and indeed the greatest part and main body of it, stood in the tribe of Benjamin; and hence this is mentioned in the list of their cities, and not in Judah’s list: and part of it stood in Judah’s share, even Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built; and Mount Sion, when it was taken from the Jebusites.

[Unto the present day] This is said with respect to the time when these things were written (Vatablus). Hence also it appears that not by Joshua, nor close to his times, was this book written, or completed (Grotius).

Unto this day; when this book was written, whether in Joshua’s life and old age, which continued many years after the taking of Jerusalem; or after his death, when this clause was added here and elsewhere in this book by some other man of God, which must needs be done before David’s time, when the Jebusites were quite expelled, and their fort taken.

[1] Hebrew: וְאֶת־הַיְבוּסִי֙ יוֹשְׁבֵ֣י יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֔ם לֹֽא־יוּכְל֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יְהוּדָ֖ה לְהֽוֹרִישָׁ֑ם וַיֵּ֙שֶׁב הַיְבוּסִ֜י אֶת־בְּנֵ֤י יְהוּדָה֙ בִּיר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

[2] See Deuteronomy 7:1.