Judges 1:27-29: Mannasseh and Ephraim’s Unfaithfulness in the Conquest

Verse 27:[1] (Josh. 17:11-13) Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.

[He did not destroy Beth-shean] Understand, the inhabitants of Beth-shean (Vatablus).

Manasseh, that is, that half of this tribe which dwelt in Canaan. Beth-shean; a place near Jordan, Joshua 17:11. Taanach; of which see Joshua 12:21; 17:11. Dor; a great city with large territories. See Joshua 11:2; 12:23; 17:11. Megiddo; a royal city. See Joshua 12:21; 17:11.

[And the Canaanite began to dwell with them (thus the Septuagint, Pagnine), וַיּ֙וֹאֶל֙ הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֔י לָשֶׁ֖בֶת[2]] And he willed (presumed [Munster]; dared, as in Genesis 18:27;[3] chosen; attempted [Tigurinus Notes]) to dwell (Montanus): he was submitting so that he might dwell (Piscator, similarly Junius and Tremellius), that is, he was submitting to dwell in hard conditions in that land, rather than that he might depart (Junius). Others: although he had despaired of dwelling in that land (Tigurinus). And he left the Canaanite to dwell (Jonathan).


Verse 28:[4] And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.

[He made them tributaries] Not having been turned from idolatry, and after the first denunciation was despised by them; neither of which was lawful (Grotius). Out of love for filthy lucre (Tirinus, Lyra). He made a covenant with them, with no other condition than that of tribute, with God’s worship and express commandment neglected, Exodus 23:32, 33; 34:12, 15 (Junius).


Verse 29:[5] (Josh. 16:10; 1 Kings 9:16) Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.

[But he dwelt with him] There is no mention of tribute here; hence I suspect that they made with them a covenant of friendship and commerce, without tribute (Montanus’ Commentary). But it is not likely that those Ephraimites were more benevolent than the others: Therefore, I think that tribute was imposed, although it is not mentioned (Martyr).

The Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them: Which they possessed till Solomon’s time, 1 Kings 9:16.

[1] Hebrew: וְלֹא־הוֹרִ֣ישׁ מְנַשֶּׁ֗ה אֶת־בֵּית־שְׁאָ֣ן וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֶיהָ֮ וְאֶת־תַּעְנַ֣ךְ וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֶיהָ֒ וְאֶת־יֹשְׁבֵ֨ ד֜וֹר וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֶ֗יהָ וְאֶת־יוֹשְׁבֵ֤י יִבְלְעָם֙ וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֶ֔יהָ וְאֶת־יוֹשְׁבֵ֥י מְגִדּ֖וֹ וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֶ֑יהָ וַיּ֙וֹאֶל֙ הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֔י לָשֶׁ֖בֶת בָּאָ֥רֶץ הַזֹּֽאת׃

[2] יָאַל in the Hiphil signifies to show willingness.

[3] Genesis 18:27:  “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me (הוֹאַלְתִּי, I have dared) to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes…”

[4] Hebrew: וַֽיְהִי֙ כִּֽי־חָזַ֣ק יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י לָמַ֑ס וְהוֹרֵ֖ישׁ לֹ֥א הוֹרִישֽׁוֹ׃

[5] Hebrew: וְאֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ לֹ֣א הוֹרִ֔ישׁ אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י הַיּוֹשֵׁ֣ב בְּגָ֑זֶר וַיֵּ֧שֶׁב הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֛י בְּקִרְבּ֖וֹ בְּגָֽזֶר׃

1 thought on “Judges 1:27-29: Mannasseh and Ephraim’s Unfaithfulness in the Conquest

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘(1.) Manasseh failed to drive out the Canaanites from several very considerable cities in their lot, and did not make any attempt upon them, Judges 1:27. But the Canaanites, being in possession, were resolved not to quit it; they would dwell in that land, and Manasseh had not resolution enough to offer to dispossess them; as if there was no meddling with them unless they were willing to resign, which it was not to be expected they ever would be. Only as Israel got strength they got ground, and served themselves, both by their contributions and by their personal services, Judges 1:28, 35. (2.) Ephraim likewise, though a powerful tribe, neglected Gezer a considerable city, and suffered the Canaanites to dwell among them (Judges 1:29), which, some think, intimates their allowing them a quiet settlement, and indulging them with the privileges of an unconquered people, not so much as making them tributaries.’

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