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׃

1 thought on “Joshua 16:2-4: The Lot of Joseph, Part 2

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘Though Joseph was one of the younger sons of Jacob, yet he was his eldest by his most just and best beloved wife Rachel, was himself his best beloved son, and had been the greatest ornament and support of his family, kept it from perishing in a time of famine, and had been the shepherd and stone of Israel, and therefore his posterity were very much favoured by the lot. Their portion lay in the very heart of the land of Canaan. It extended from Jordan in the east (Joshua 16:1) to the sea, the Mediterranean Sea, in the west, so that it took up the whole breadth of Canaan from side to side; and no question the fruitfulness of the soil answered the blessings both of Jacob and Moses, Genesis 49:25, 26, and Deuteronomy 33:13, etc. The portions allotted to Ephraim and Manasseh are not so particularly described as those of the other tribes; we have only the limits and boundaries of them, not the particular cities in them, as before we had the cities of Judah and afterwards those of the other tribes. For this no reason can be assigned, unless we may suppose that Joshua being himself of the children of Joseph they referred it to him alone to distribute among them the several cities that lay within their lot, and therefore did not bring in the names of their cities to the great council of their princes who sat upon this affair, by which means it came to pass that they were not inserted with the rest in the books.’

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