Joshua 17:2-6: The Families of Manasseh, Part 2

Verse 2:[1] There was also a lot for (Num. 26:29-32) the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; (1 Chron. 7:18) for the children of Abiezer[2] (Jeezer[3] in Num. 26:30), and for the children of Helek, (Num. 26:31) and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, (Num. 26:32) and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families.

[And to the rest, etc.] Who did not receive a possession on the other side of Jordan (Junius, Malvenda). Concerning these his sons and families, see Numbers 26:29, etc. (Bonfrerius).

A lot, or, a portion, or distinct inheritance. The rest of the children of Manasseh, to wit, those of them which had not received their possessions beyond Jordan, Numbers 26:29, etc.

[The males] It is a παρασκευὴ/preface to the following digression concerning the daughters of Zelophehad. Otherwise it was sufficiently well-known that only males were wont to be enumerated when the speech concerning the distribution of inheritance (Masius).

These were the male children: this expression is used to bring in what follows, concerning his female children.


Verse 3:[4] But (Num. 26:33; 27:1; 36:2) Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

[Daughters] Concerning these see Numbers 27:1, etc. (Malvenda). This history is related, so that it might be indicated that what was enjoined by God in Numbers 27:1, was here fulfilled (Bonfrerius).

No sons, but daughters; of whom see on Numbers 26:33; 27:1.


Verse 4:[5] And they came near before (Josh. 14:1) Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, (Num. 27:6, 7) The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father.

[He gave to them] Who gave? Either, Joshua (Junius); or, the Eldership of the twelve men; or, it is to be interpreted passively, in the place of it, it was given to them (Masius).

He gave them, that is, Eleazar, or Joshua, with the consent of the princes appointed for that work.


Verse 5:[6] And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan…

[Ten lines[7]] That is, ten portions measured by lines (Masius, Lapide, Bonfrerius). But how ten? Those six families mentioned above received six portions; and the daughters of Zelophehad, four (Hebrews in Vatablus). But there were five girls; and so, not ten, but eleven, parts were to be made. Response: I reckon that the children of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, and Shemida received their own portions; but that there were no children of Hepher besides those five daughters of Zelophehad, who was the only son of Hepher (Masius, Lapide, Menochius, Malvenda). But note that the five portions of the daughters taken together were only equal to one portion of the men (Menochius out of Bonfrerius). It is likely that the division into lesser portions was left to each Tribe, so that those might decide among themselves by lot: Nevertheless, because concerning these it had been determined by God in a special manner, etc., Numbers 27, especially because women were less able to bring to completion this measuring among themselves, therefore the twelve men completed the measuring into individual heads (Bonfrerius).

Ten portions; either, 1. Six portions for the six sons, whereof one was Hepher; and because he had no sons, his part was subdivided into five equal parts, for each of the daughters. Or, 2. Ten portions, five for the sons, and five for the daughters; for as for Hepher, both he and his son Zelophehad were dead, and that without sons, and therefore he had no portion; but his daughters had several portions allotted to them.


Verse 6:[8] Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.

Among his sons, that is, no less than the sons; so their sex was no bar to their inheritance.

[That were left] That is, that were not of the stock of these six families: for this ought to be referred to these, not to the women alone, from whom he had just advanced (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַ֠יְהִי לִבְנֵ֙י מְנַשֶּׁ֥ה הַנּוֹתָרִים֮ לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם֒ לִבְנֵ֙י אֲבִיעֶ֜זֶר וְלִבְנֵי־חֵ֗לֶק וְלִבְנֵ֤י אַשְׂרִיאֵל֙ וְלִבְנֵי־שֶׁ֔כֶם וְלִבְנֵי־חֵ֖פֶר וְלִבְנֵ֣י שְׁמִידָ֑ע אֵ֠לֶּה בְּנֵ֙י מְנַשֶּׁ֧ה בֶּן־יוֹסֵ֛ף הַזְּכָרִ֖ים לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: אֲבִיעֶזֶר.

[3] Hebrew: אִיעֶזֶר.

[4] Hebrew: וְלִצְלָפְחָד֩ בֶּן־חֵ֙פֶר בֶּן־גִּלְעָ֜ד בֶּן־מָכִ֣יר בֶּן־מְנַשֶּׁ֗ה לֹא־הָ֥יוּ ל֛וֹ בָּנִ֖ים כִּ֣י אִם־בָּנ֑וֹת וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ שְׁמ֣וֹת בְּנֹתָ֔יו מַחְלָ֣ה וְנֹעָ֔ה חָגְלָ֥ה מִלְכָּ֖ה וְתִרְצָֽה׃

[5] Hebrew: וַתִּקְרַ֡בְנָה לִפְנֵי֩ אֶלְעָזָ֙ר הַכֹּהֵ֜ן וְלִפְנֵ֣י׀ יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן וְלִפְנֵ֤י הַנְּשִׂיאִים֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר יְהוָה֙ צִוָּ֣ה אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֔ה לָֽתֶת־לָ֥נוּ נַחֲלָ֖ה בְּת֣וֹךְ אַחֵ֑ינוּ וַיִּתֵּ֙ן לָהֶ֜ם אֶל־פִּ֤י יְהוָה֙ נַֽחֲלָ֔ה בְּת֖וֹךְ אֲחֵ֥י אֲבִיהֶֽן׃

[6] Hebrew: וַיִּפְּל֥וּ חַבְלֵֽי־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה עֲשָׂרָ֑ה לְבַ֞ד מֵאֶ֤רֶץ הַגִּלְעָד֙ וְהַבָּשָׁ֔ן אֲשֶׁ֖ר מֵעֵ֥בֶר לַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[7] Hebrew: חַבְלֵֽי־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה עֲשָׂרָ֑ה. חֶבֶל signifies a cord, or a portion.

[8] Hebrew: כִּ֚י בְּנ֣וֹת מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה נָחֲל֥וּ נַחֲלָ֖ה בְּת֣וֹךְ בָּנָ֑יו וְאֶ֙רֶץ֙ הַגִּלְעָ֔ד הָיְתָ֥ה לִבְנֵֽי־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה הַנּֽוֹתָרִֽים׃

1 thought on “Joshua 17:2-6: The Families of Manasseh, Part 2

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘That part on this side Jordan as subdivided into ten families, Joshua 17:5. There were six sons of Gilead here named (Joshua 17:2), the same that are recorded Numbers 26:30-32, only that he who is there called Jeezer is here called Abiezer. Five of these sons had each of them their portion; the sixth, which was Hepher, had his male line cut off in his son Zelophehad, who left daughters only, five in number, of whom we have often read, and these five had each of them a portion; though perhaps, they claiming under Hepher, all their five portions were but equal to one of the portions of the five sons. Or if Hepher had other sons besides Zelophehad, in whom the name of his family was kept up, their posterity married to the daughters of Zelophehad the elder brother, and in their right had these portions assigned them. See Numbers 36:12. Here is, (1.) The claim which the daughters of Zelophehad made, grounded upon the command God gave to Moses concerning them, Joshua 17:4. They had themselves, when they were young, pleaded their own cause before Moses, and obtained the grant of an inheritance with their brethren, and now they would not lose the benefit of that grant for want of speaking to Joshua, but seasonably put in their demand themselves, as it should seem, and not their husbands for them. (2.) The assignment of their portions according to their claim. Joshua knew very well what God had ordered in their case, and did not object that they having not served in the wars of Canaan there was no reason why they should share in the possessions of Canaan, but readily gave them as inheritance among the brethren of their father. And now they reaped the benefit of their own pious zeal and prudent forecast in this matter. Thus those who take care in the wilderness of this world to make sure to themselves a place in the inheritance of the saints in light will certainly have the comfort of it in the other world, while those that neglect it now will lose it for ever.’

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