Joshua 13:29-31: The Inheritance of Manasseh

Verse 29:[1] And Moses gave inheritance unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and this was the possession of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families.

[He gave] Understand, a possession (Vatablus).

[To the half tribe of Manasseh] Question: For what reason were seats allotted to them on this side of the river? Responses: Either, 1. with the Reubenites and Gadites they entreated for this inheritance; but this was not mentioned, because they were only half a tribe (Ibn Ezra in Masius). Or, rather, 2. this reward was also conferred upon the valor of Machir by Moses,[2] who understood that the Manassite valor was remarkable in doing battle with Og, and that two so ample kingdom by only two tribe were not able to be occupied completely, nor to be defended adequately (Masius).

Unto the half tribe of Manasseh; not that they desired it, as Reuben and Gad did, Numbers 32:1, but partly as a recompence to Machir the Manassite for his valiant acts against Og; and partly for the better security and defence of the other two tribes, by so considerable an accession to them, which also was without any inconvenience to them, because the country was too large for the two tribes of Reuben and Gad.


Verse 30:[3] And their coast was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and (Num. 32:41; 1 Chron. 2:23) all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, threescore cities…

[This is the beginning[4]] Hebrew: border, namely, of the allotted region (Vatablus). In describing the inheritance of these, as in the case of the others, progress is made from South to North. Now, even if the Northern limits of the Manassites are not found here, they are named in 1 Chronicles 5:23; Baal-hermon, and Senir, and mount Hermon (Masius).

[All the kingdoms of Og] Which were three, Argob, Bashan, and part of Gilead. Nevertheless, he is more frequently called the king of Bashan, under which the other two are understood (Lapide, Bonfrerius).

[The villages of Jair, חַוֹּ֥ת יָאִ֛יר] The villages (Jonathan, Septuagint), country estates (Junius and Tremellius), country districts, or, if you prefer, cities, of Jair. Concerning these see what things are on Numbers 32:41. Now, think that these places of Jair and Nobah were conquered little by little after the grant made to them by Moses: And, although the narrative is thus composed in Deuteronomy 3:4, as if all were seized in one assault; nevertheless, it is to be understood that Moses summarily reviews what things were done unto that day, but does not set forth distinctly the order of the things done. Moreover, it is to be marveled at that Jair obtained sixty whole cities among the Manassites, who it is certain was not of Manasseh, but of Judah, for he was a son Segub, grandson of Hezron, 1 Chronicles 2:21, 22. But he accompanied the Manassites, since he was begotten of a daughter of the Manassite Machir, a most famous man, whence he is also called a son of Manasseh, Numbers 32:41. Not by lot, but by the decision of Moses or God, this inheritance was assigned to him (Masius).

Jair, who, though of the tribe of Judah by the father, 1 Chronicles 2:21, 22, yet is called the son of Manasseh, Numbers 32:41, because he married a daughter of Manasseh, and wholly associated himself with those valiant Manassites, and with their help took sixty cities or great towns, Deuteronomy 3:4, 14, which thence were called the towns of Jair.

[Which are in Bashan, בַּבָּשָׁן] That is, in the region of Bashan; or, who was reigning in Bashan (Vatablus).


Verse 31:[5] And half Gilead, and (Josh. 12:4) Ashtaroth, and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were pertaining unto the children of Machir the son of Manasseh, even to the one half of the (Num. 32:39, 40) children of Machir by their families.

[To the half part of the sons of Machir; understanding, were (Vatablus), לַחֲצִי] That is, to the half part (Arabic, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius). It is not clear whether a lesser or equal part was on this side of Jordan. Neither does חֲצִי/half determine this. For it signifies one part of a thing, not only halved, but divided in whatever mannter (Masius). But why are those that were previously called the sons of Manasseh now called the sons of Machir, when it appears that Manasseh had two sons; Ashriel by his wife, and Machir by a concubine, 1 Chronicles 7:14? Responses: 1. If this were true, you might say that perhaps Ashriel died without offspring, and so the entire stock of Manasseh fell to Machir (Masius). Machir alone was surviving his father Manasseh (Lapide, Bonfrerius). Manasseh had no other posterity than of Machir, Numbers 26:29; indeed, he had no other son than Machir (Bonfrerius). Perhaps Ashriel was also a name for Machir (Masius). 2. Ashriel was not a son of Manasseh, but a great grandson, as it is evident from Numbers 26:29-31 (Masius, Bonfrerius), since that Ashriel had Gilead as father, and Machir as grandfather (Bonfrerius). But why, in reviewing the stock of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 7), the great grandson would be mentioned before the son, it is able to be done so that he might have the greater glory of that time from the matters conducted. 3. If these things do not satisfy, we might suppose that, while Manasseh had two sons, not the posterity of only the one, Machir, and then not the whole but half, remained on this side of Jordan (Masius).

The children of Machir; whom before he called the children of Manasseh, he now calls the children of Machir, because Machir was the most eminent, and, as it may seem, the only surviving son of Manasseh, Numbers 26:29; 1 Chronicles 7:14-16. For the other half of Machir’s or Manasseh’s children, see Joshua 17:1, etc.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּתֵּ֣ן מֹשֶׁ֔ה לַחֲצִ֖י שֵׁ֣בֶט מְנַשֶּׁ֑ה וַיְהִ֗י לַחֲצִ֛י מַטֵּ֥ה בְנֵֽי־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה לְמִשְׁפְּחוֹתָֽם׃

[2] See Numbers 32:39, 40.

[3] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֣י גְבוּלָ֗ם מִמַּחֲנַ֙יִם כָּֽל־הַבָּשָׁ֜ן כָּֽל־מַמְלְכ֣וּת׀ ע֣וֹג מֶֽלֶךְ־הַבָּשָׁ֗ן וְכָל־חַוֹּ֥ת יָאִ֛יר אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּבָּשָׁ֖ן שִׁשִּׁ֥ים עִֽיר׃

[4] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֣י גְבוּלָ֗ם.

[5] Hebrew: וַחֲצִ֤י הַגִּלְעָד֙ וְעַשְׁתָּר֣וֹת וְאֶדְרֶ֔עִי עָרֵ֛י מַמְלְכ֥וּת ע֖וֹג בַּבָּשָׁ֑ן לִבְנֵ֤י מָכִיר֙ בֶּן־מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה לַחֲצִ֥י בְנֵֽי־מָכִ֖יר לְמִשְׁפְּחוֹתָֽם׃

1 thought on “Joshua 13:29-31: The Inheritance of Manasseh

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The lot of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua 13:29-31. Bashan, the kingdom of Og, was in this allotment, famous for the best timber, witness the oaks of Bashan—and the best breed of cattle, witness the bulls and rams of Bashan. This tribe lay north of Gad, reached to Mount Hermon, and had in it part of Gilead. Mizpeh was in this half-tribe, and Jephthah was one of its ornaments; so was Elijah, for in this tribe was Thisbe, whence he is called the Tishbite; and Jair was another. In the edge of the tribe stood Chorazin, honoured with Christ’s wondrous works, but ruined by his righteous woe for not improving them.’

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