Joshua 22:7, 8: Joshua Blesses and Dismisses the Half Tribe of Manasseh

Verse 7:[1] Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: (Josh. 17:5) but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them…

[Now to the half tribe of Manasseh, etc.] Because there had been a mention of the Manassites, the reason why this Tribe was divided into two parts is explained parenthetically (Masius, Bonfrerius).

[And when he sent them away…and had blessed them,וְ֠גַם כִּ֣י שִׁלְּחָ֧ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ אֶל־אָהֳלֵיהֶ֖ם וַיְבָרֲכֵֽם׃] [They vary. Some take this of the Manassites:] So then Joshua dismissed them [namely, the Manassites] also…blessing them (Tigurinus, Munster) [similarly Castalio, and, if I am not mistaken, Jonathan and the Arabic]. [Others understand it of all the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites:] And also, when he sent them away, and had bless them, verse 8, then he said, etc. (Pagnine). [The Syriac refers it to verse 6, and encloses most of verse 7 in parentheses, in this manner:] verse 6, Joshua blessed them, and sent them away, and they departed to their cities, verse 7, (for to the half tribe…on the other side of Jordan westward), these, I say, he sent away…and they departed, and he blessed them (Syriac).

 

Verse 8:[2] And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: (Num. 31:27; 1 Sam. 30:24) divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.

[Divide the spoil with your brethren] Question: With what justice are those that remained at home in peace made level with those that endured war and dangers? Response: Neither the verb חָלַק, to divide,[3] nor חָצָה, to divide,[4] proves that they had equal parts. And, even if we should grant it so to be, nevertheless, when those that took the spoil keep half for themselves, they take far more man-by-man than those sitting idle; for they were far fewer. For only forty thousand fought,[5] but above seventy thousand remained on the other side of Jordan.[6] But neither are those treated as equal in Numbers 31. But there was a different method with those in 1 Samuel 30, for the danger of all was equal; since the enemy was able easily to overwhelm those two hundred also (Masius). Joshua does not consult, but he prescribes (Lapide, Serarius, Masius, Bonfrerius, Tirinus). [Grotius takes the passage otherwise: Divide the spoil, etc., that is, Depart happily with that part of the spoil that has fallen to you (Grotius).

With your brethren: that is, With them who staid beyond Jordan for the defence of their land, and wives, and children, who therefore were to have a share, though not an equal share, with these. See Numbers 31:27. But for them, 1 Samuel 30:24, their share was equal, because their danger was equal.

[1] Hebrew: וְלַחֲצִ֣י׀ שֵׁ֣בֶט הַֽמְנַשֶּׁ֗ה נָתַ֣ן מֹשֶׁה֮ בַּבָּשָׁן֒ וּלְחֶצְי֗וֹ נָתַ֤ן יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ עִם־אֲחֵיהֶ֔ם מֵעֵ֥בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן יָ֑מָּה וְ֠גַם כִּ֣י שִׁלְּחָ֧ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֛עַ אֶל־אָהֳלֵיהֶ֖ם וַיְבָרֲכֵֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֜ם לֵאמֹ֗ר בִּנְכָסִ֙ים רַבִּ֜ים שׁ֤וּבוּ אֶל־אָֽהֳלֵיכֶם֙ וּבְמִקְנֶ֣ה רַב־מְאֹ֔ד בְּכֶ֙סֶף וּבְזָהָ֜ב וּבִנְחֹ֧שֶׁת וּבְבַרְזֶ֛ל וּבִשְׂלָמ֖וֹת הַרְבֵּ֣ה מְאֹ֑ד חִלְק֥וּ שְׁלַל־אֹיְבֵיכֶ֖ם עִם־אֲחֵיכֶֽם׃

[3] Joshua 22:8b:  “…divide (חִלְקוּ) the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.”

[4] Numbers 31:27:  “And divide (וְחָצִיתָ) the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation…”

[5] Joshua 4:12, 13.

[6] See Numbers 26:7, 18, 34.

1 thought on “Joshua 22:7, 8: Joshua Blesses and Dismisses the Half Tribe of Manasseh

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘He dismisses them with their pay; for who goes a warfare at his own charge? Return with much riches unto your tents, Joshua 22:8. Though all the land they had helped to conquer was to go to the other tribes, yet they should have their share of the plunder, and had so, and this was all the pay that any of the soldiers expected; for the wars of Canaan bore their own charges. “Go,” says Joshua, “go home to your tents,” that is, “your houses,” which he calls tents, because they had been so much used to tents in the wilderness; and indeed the strongest and stateliest houses in this world are to be looked upon but as tents, mean and movable in comparison with our house above. “Go home with much riches, not only cattle, the spoil of the country, but silver and gold, the plunder of the cities, and,” 1. “Let your brethren whom you leave behind have your good word, who have allowed you your share in full, though the land is entirely theirs, and have not offered to make any drawback. Do not say that you are losers by us.” 2. “Let your brethren whom you go to, who abode by the stuff, have some share of the spoil: Divide the spoil with your brethren, as that was divided which was taken in the war with Midian, Numbers 31:27. Let your brethren that have wanted you all this while be the better for you when you come home.”…

    He dismisses them with a blessing (Joshua 22:6), particularly the half tribe of Manasseh, to which Joshua, as an Ephraimite, was somewhat nearer akin than to the other two, and who perhaps were the more loth to depart because they left one half of their own tribe behind them, and therefore, bidding often farewell, and lingering behind, had a second dismission and blessing, Joshua 22:7. Joshua not only prayed for them as a friend, but blessed them as a father in the name of the Lord, recommending them, their families, and affairs, to the grace of God. Some by the blessing Joshua gave them understand the presents he made them, in recompence of their services; but Joshua being a prophet, and having given them one part of a prophet’s reward in the instructions he gave them (Joshua 22:5), no doubt we must understand this of the other, even the prayers he made for them, as one having authority, and as God’s vicegerent.’

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