Joshua 17:12, 13: Manasseh’s Disobedience with Regard to the Canaanites

Verse 12:[1] Yet (Judg. 1:27, 28) the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.

[They were not able] Understanding, in the beginning, or, at that time (Vatablus). Either, they were not able at all, or, except with great difficulty (Bonfrerius).

Could not drive out: See on Joshua 15:63.

[The inhabitants/citizens[2]] The name of cities by Hypallage[3] was used in the place of the citizens themselves (Masius, similarly Piscator, Bonfrerius).

[But the Canaanite began to dwell in his land (thus the Septuagint, Pagnine)] Not as if they were not previously inhabiting, but that at that time they began to dwell in the midst of the Israelites (Bonfrerius).

[וַיּ֙וֹאֶל֙ הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֔י לָשֶׁ֖בֶת[4]] And (or but [Munster, Vatablus, Pagnine], for [Junius and Tremellius], hence [Vatablus]) he willed (chose [Vatablus], presumed [Munster, similarly Castalio]) to dwell (Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus), even with the Israelites being unwilling (Osiander). Because they had consented to dwell (Syriac). [Others otherwise:] While the Canaanite had despaired of inhabiting this land (Tigurinus).

Would dwell; were resolved to fight, rather than be turned out of their ancient habitations.


Verse 13:[5] Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to (Josh. 16:10) tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.

[And they made them tributaries] In which they sinned against the precept in Deuteronomy 20:16 (Menochius). The Israelites sinned, not because delayed the driving out of the Canaanites until they so increased that they might be able to occupy the whole land; but because, when they were increased with strength, and were able to wipe them out, they preserved them alive under condition of tribute (Bonfrerius on verses 12 and 13). Note that these things in verses 12 and 13 are said proleptically, for their expulsion was not attempted while Joshua was alive, still less that subjection, or servitude of tribue, imposed (Bonfrerius out of Masius). From which you may again gather that, if the writer of this book is Joshua, this was here inserted afterwards by another (Bonfrerius).

Did not utterly drive them out: Which they were obliged to, now they were strong and numerous enough to possess those places.

[1] Hebrew: וְלֹ֤א יָכְלוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה לְהוֹרִ֖ישׁ אֶת־הֶֽעָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיּ֙וֹאֶל֙ הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֔י לָשֶׁ֖בֶת בָּאָ֥רֶץ הַזֹּֽאת׃

[2] Joshua 17:12a:  “Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out those cities (לְהוֹרִ֖ישׁ אֶת־הֶֽעָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה; has civitates subvertere, to overthrow these citizens, in the Vulgate)…”

[3] That is, a reversal of an expected syntactical relationship between two words.

[4] יָאַל in the Hiphil signifies to show willingness, or to determine.

[5] Hebrew: וַֽיְהִ֗י כִּ֤י חָֽזְקוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּתְּנ֥וּ אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י לָמַ֑ס וְהוֹרֵ֖שׁ לֹ֥א הוֹרִישֽׁוֹ׃

1 thought on “Joshua 17:12, 13: Manasseh’s Disobedience with Regard to the Canaanites

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘[T]hey suffered the Canaanites to live among them, contrary to the command of God, serving their own ends by conniving at them, for they made them tributaries, Joshua 17:12, 13. The Ephraimites had done the same (Joshua 16:10), and from them perhaps the Manassites learned it, and with their example excused themselves in it. The most remarkable person of this half tribe in aftertime was Gideon, whose great actions were done within this lot. He was of the family of Abiezer; Caesarea was in this lot, and Antipatris, famed in the latter ages of the Jewish state.’

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