Joshua 17:11: The Lot of Manasseh, Part 3

Verse 11:[1] (1 Chron. 7:29) And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher (1 Sam. 31:10; 1 Kings 4:12) Beth-shean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries.

[And Manasseh had inheritance in Issachar and Asher] Hebrew: And there was to Manasseh in Issachar and in Asher Beth-shean,[2] etc. (Pagnine, similarly Munster, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Malvenda). He had in the two bordering tribes mentioned the following cities and villages (Menochius). Or, in Issachar, etc., is in the place of, near Issachar, etc.; or, on the border of the tribes of Issachar and Asher (Lapide, Bonfrerius). Just as the golden pot and the rod of Aaron are said to be in the ark, that is, by the Ark. See what things are on Hebrews 9:4 (Lapide).

In Issachar and in Asher; either, 1. Bordering upon them, as in Asher is taken, verse 10, and as Aaron’s rod is said to be in the ark, that is, close by it, Hebrews 9:4; or, 2. Properly in them, as Ephraim had some cities in the tribe of Manasseh, Joshua 16:9, and as it was not unusual, when the places allotted to any tribe was too narrow for it, and the next too large, to give away part from the larger to the less portion; nay, sometimes one whole tribe was taken into another, as Simeon was into Judah’s portion, when it was found too large for Judah, Joshua 19:9.

[Beth-shean] A celebrated city, afterwards called Scythopolis[3] (Bonfrerius, Lapide, Junius), not far from Gennesaret[4] (Masius, Bonfrerius).

[And the inhabitants of Dor] And the citizens, that is, and the city (Vatablus).

The inhabitants of Dor; not the places only, but the people; whom, contrary to God’s command, they spared and used for servants, whom therefore they are said to have or possess.

[En-dor, עֵין־דֹּר] That is, the Spring of Dor (Masius). It could seem near to Dor; but the matter is far otherwise, since Dor was maritime, but En-dor near mount Tabor[5] (Malvenda).

[And a third part of the city of Nopheth[6] (thus the Septuagint in Bonfrerius)] Elsewhere נֶפֶת signifies a region; here it is name of a city. Moreover, while a third part of the city is said to be in this tribe, he indicates that this city was on the border of two tribes, and that two other thirds of the city pertained to another tribe; just as part of Jerusalem was in the tribe of Benjamin, and part in the tribe of Judah. I add that it is likely that this Nopheth pertains to Napheth Dor, or the province of Dor, which was toward the sea[7] (Bonfrerius).

[שְׁלֹ֖שֶׁת הַנָּֽפֶת׃] They translate it, three regions (Jonathan, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus); that is, three corners (Syriac); those three tracts (Junius and Tremellius); three plots (Montanus, Vatablus), that is, of Dor (Vatablus). I think that those three cities are thus mentioned, En-dor, Taanach, and Megiddo, because they are as three regions in that tract of Dor pertaining to the Manassites. For, even if נֶפֶת signifies any tract of land, it is sometimes used peculiarly of that region alone in which the municipalities of Dor stand; but sometimes it is also used a little more broadly concerning the entire tract of Dor. Symmachus translates it, and three coasts of the sea. I myself translate it, a third part of the region (Masius). [Most correctly, as it appears; and it is strange that the rest of the interpreters do not consider that נֶפֶת here is singular.]

Three countries: this may be referred either to some, to wit, the three last places, or to all the places named in this verse, which are here said either to have three countries or tracts of land belonging to them, or to be in three several countries or portions, as they seem to have been, some in Issachar, and some in Asher, and yet both belonging to Manasseh. Or, the words may be rendered the third part of that country; for the Hebrew word is of the singular number, and the article seems emphatical; and so the meaning may be, that the cities and towns here mentioned are a third part of that country, that is, of that part of Issachar’s and Asher’s portion, in which those places lay.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֙י לִמְנַשֶּׁ֜ה בְּיִשָּׂשכָ֣ר וּבְאָשֵׁ֗ר בֵּית־שְׁאָ֣ן וּ֠בְנוֹתֶיהָ וְיִבְלְעָ֙ם וּבְנוֹתֶ֜יהָ וְֽאֶת־יֹשְׁבֵ֧י דֹ֣אר וּבְנוֹתֶ֗יהָ וְיֹשְׁבֵ֤י עֵֽין־דֹּר֙ וּבְנֹתֶ֔יהָ וְיֹשְׁבֵ֤י תַעְנַךְ֙ וּבְנֹתֶ֔יהָ וְיֹשְׁבֵ֥י מְגִדּ֖וֹ וּבְנוֹתֶ֑יהָ שְׁלֹ֖שֶׁת הַנָּֽפֶת׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֙י לִמְנַשֶּׁ֜ה בְּיִשָּׂשכָ֣ר וּבְאָשֵׁ֗ר בֵּית־שְׁאָ֣ן.

[3] It is said that during the Hellenistic period the city was settled by Scythian veterans, and hence the name.

[4] Beth-shean was about fifteen miles south of the Sea of Galilee, in the Jordan River valley.

[5] Mount Tabor was just south-west of the Sea of Galilee.

[6] Hebrew: שְׁלֹ֖שֶׁת הַנָּֽפֶת׃.

[7] Joshua 12:23:  “The king of Dor in the coast of Dor (לְנָפַ֥ת דּ֖וֹר, in Napheth Dor), one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one…”

2 thoughts on “Joshua 17:11: The Lot of Manasseh, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘Manasseh likewise had cities with their appurtenances in the tribes of Issachar and Asher (Joshua 17:11), God so ordering it, that though every tribe had its peculiar inheritance, which might not be alienated from it, yet they should thus intermix one with another, to keep up mutual acquaintance and correspondence among the tribes, and to give occasion for the doing of good offices one to another, as became those who, though of different tribes, were all one Israel, and were bound to love as brethren.’

  2. Westminster Confession of Faith 26:1: ‘All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by His Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with Him in His graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.’

    WCF 26:2: ‘Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.’

Leave a Comment