Joshua 17:17, 18: Joshua Reiterates God’s Requirement and Promise

Verse 17:[1] And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only

Not…one lot only: Thou needest and deservest more than that lot, of which thou art actually possessed, and thou hast power to get more; which if thou endeavourest to do, God will bless thee, and give thee more.


Verse 18:[2] But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, (Deut. 20:1) though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.

[But thou shalt pass over to the mountain, כִּ֣י הַ֤ר יִֽהְיֶה־לָּךְ֙ וגו״] [In this verse the particle כִּי occurs five times; in the rendering of which interpreters vary.] The first כִּי they translate, but (because [Montanus], for [Pagnine, Vatablus], for which reason [Munster]) the mountain shall be to thee, or, thine (Jonathan, Arabic, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus).

[And thou shalt cut down, etc., כִּֽי־יַ֣עַר ה֔וּא וּבֵ֣רֵאת֔וֹ] Because (for [Jonathan]) that is a wood (Montanus, Pagnine, Vatablus). For it is a wood: that is to say, It is useless to thy brother, for it is full of trees: therefore, cut it down; that is, clear it of trees (Vatablus). On which is a wood (Tigurinus). And thou shalt cut down the wood on it (Munster). If it is a wood, yet thou shalt cut it down, so that its outgoings may be thine (Junius and Tremellius). Which [namely, the mountain], although it is a wood, nevertheless thou shalt clear it (Arabic).

[And thou shalt be able to advance further, וְהָיָ֥ה לְךָ֖ תֹּֽצְאֹתָ֑יו] And its outgoing shall be (outgoings shall be [Pagnine, Vatablus]) to thee (Jonathan, Montanus, Malvenda), that is, any of its outlets. Outgoings here are, either, valleys and plains into which one descends and departs from the mountains (Masius, certain interpreters in Malvenda); or, all the approaches to invade the enemy, and to receive thine own; or, the fruit and produce from the cultivation of the mountain; or, its borders (Malvenda). And its borders also shall be thine (Munster, similarly Tigurinus). In this manner thou shalt be able to proceed further (Vatablus).

The outgoings of it; either, 1. The productions or of that land, when it is cleared from the wood, and purged; or rather, 2. The valleys and fields belonging or adjoining to it, for there the Canaanites were, verse 16.

[When thou hast turned out the Canaanite, כִּֽי־תוֹרִ֣ישׁ אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֗י וגו״] Because (for [Junius and Tremellius]) thou shalt drive out (Pagnine, Montanus); if, or supposing, thou cast out (Tigurinus, similarly Munster). When thou drivest out (Vatablus, similarly Jonathan), understanding, seeing that otherwise they will be able to harm thee (Vatablus). Then it follows, because they have iron chariots, and because they are strong, that is, because they have chariots armed with scythes; who thou sayest have chariots armed with scythes, and they are strong (Vatablus).

[Who thou wilt say have iron chariots, כִּ֣י רֶ֤כֶב בַּרְזֶל֙ ל֔וֹ] Because, or seeing that, he has iron chariots (Jonathan, Arabic, Montanus). The reason is signified why those places are allotted to Manasseh, namely, because they are difficult; but the Manassites are powerful in might and number. Thus Rabbi Salomon and Nahmanides (Masius). Others: although they have chariots of iron (Masius, certain interpreters in Malvenda, similarly Pagnine, Tigurinus). Who have chariots of iron (Munster).

[And that he is exceedingly powerful, כִּ֥י חָזָ֖ק הֽוּא׃] Because (for [Jonathan], and [Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus]) he is strong (Montanus, similarly Jonathan, Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית יוֹסֵ֔ף לְאֶפְרַ֥יִם וְלִמְנַשֶּׁ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר עַם־רַ֣ב אַתָּ֗ה וְכֹ֤חַ גָּדוֹל֙ לָ֔ךְ לֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֥ה לְךָ֖ גּוֹרָ֥ל אֶחָֽד׃

[2] Hebrew: כִּ֣י הַ֤ר יִֽהְיֶה־לָּךְ֙ כִּֽי־יַ֣עַר ה֔וּא וּבֵ֣רֵאת֔וֹ וְהָיָ֥ה לְךָ֖ תֹּֽצְאֹתָ֑יו כִּֽי־תוֹרִ֣ישׁ אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֗י כִּ֣י רֶ֤כֶב בַּרְזֶל֙ ל֔וֹ כִּ֥י חָזָ֖ק הֽוּא׃

1 thought on “Joshua 17:17, 18: Joshua Reiterates God’s Requirement and Promise

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘ Joshua endeavours to reconcile them to their lot. He owns they were a great people, and being two tribes ought to have more than one lot only (Joshua 17:17), but tells them that what had fallen to their share would be a sufficient lot for them both, if they would but work and fight. They desired a lot in which they might indulge themselves in ease and luxury. “No,” says Joshua, “you must not count upon that; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread is a sentence in force even in Canaan itself.” He retorts their own argument, that they were a great people. “If so, you are the better able to help yourselves, and have the less reason to expect help from others. If thou hast many mouths to be filled, thou hast twice as many hands to be employed; earn, and then eat.”… 2. He bids them fight for more (Joshua 17:17-18), when they pleaded that they could not come at the woodlands he spoke of because in the valley between them and it were Canaanites whom they durst not enter the lists with. “Never fear them,” said Joshua, “thou hast God on thy side, and thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, if thou wilt set about it in good earnest, though they have iron chariots.” We straiten ourselves by apprehending the difficulties in the way of our enlargement to be greater than really they are. What can be insuperable to faith and holy resolution?’

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