|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:7-13 There was great communication between Manasseh and Ephraim. Though each tribe had its inheritance, yet they should intermix one with another, to do good offices one to another, as became those, who, though of different tribes, were all one Israel, and were bound to love as brethren. But they suffered the Canaanites to live among them, against the command of God, to serve their own ends.
Verse 7. - Coast. Rather, border. Asher. This has been supposed not to be the tribe of Asher, for this was on the north, but a city which has been identified with the modern Yasir, about five hours' distance from Nablous, or Neapolis, on the road to Beisan,or Beth-shean, where, says Delitzsch, there are "magnificent ruins" now to be seen. See, however, note ver. 10. Michmethah (see Joshua 16:6). This place has not been identified. All we know is that it is opposite (עַל־פְנֵי) Shechem. Some have thought that this is simply the denominative of Asher, to distinguish it from the tribe, and that for "Asher to Michmethah" we should read "Asher-ham-Michmethah." But this could hardly be the Yasir above, since it is opposite Shechem. Shechem. Now Nablous. This place is famous both in the Old and the New Testament. We first read of it, under the name of Sichem, in Genesis 12:6. It was the abode of Shechem and Hamor his son, when Jacob abode in Canaan after his return from Padan-aram. It was situated between Gerizim and Ebal, and became an important city in the days of the Judges (Judges 9.). It was destroyed by Abimelech (Judges 9:45), but it seems to have recovered. It was thither that Rehoboam went to be crowned, and there that his injudicious answer alienated forever the ten tribes from his rule. Jeroboam made it his capital and is said to have "built" it (1 Kings 12:25). He afterwards, however, abandoned it for Penuel, and Penuel again apparently for Tirzah (1 Kings 14:17), and Tirzah for Jezreel, which remained the capital until Omri built Samaria (1 Kings 16:24). It is no doubt the Sychar mentioned in St. John 4. Most travelers have admired the picturesque situation of Shechem. It has even extorted a tribute from Dr. Peterman, in his 'Reisen im Orient,' a work which, however full of valuable information regarding the condition and customs of the people, does not abound m description of scenery. He becomes almost poetical as he speaks of this town, resting on the slopes of Gerizim, a mountain fruitful to its summit, and having opposite the bare, stony el Ebal, its outline unrelieved by verdure, the haunt of jackals, whose howls, like the cry of wailing children in distress, disturb the silence of the night. Thomson ('Land and the Book,' p. 470) thus describes the scene: "A valley green with grass, grey with olives, gardens sloping down on each side, fresh springs rushing down in all directions; at the end a white town embosomed in all this verdure lodged between the two high mountains which extend on each side of the valley; this is the aspect of Nablous, the most beautiful, perhaps it might be said the only beautiful, spot in Central Palestine. Thirty-two springs can be traced in different parts. Here the bilbul delights to sit and sing, and thousands of other birds delight to swell the chorus."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the coast of Manasseh was from Asher,.... Not from the border of the tribe of Asher, as Kimchi, in which he is followed by Vatablus; for that was at too great a distance; but a city of the tribe of Manasseh; and in Jerom's (l) time a village of this name was shown fifteen miles from Neapolis or Shechem, as you go from thence to Scythopolis, near the public road:
to Michmethah, that lieth before Shechem; the same place mentioned in the description of the border of Ephraim; see Gill on Joshua 16:6,
and the border went along on the right hand, unto the inhabitants of Entappuah; that is, leaving this place, and its inhabitants to the right, which was a place in the land of that name, next mentioned; and seems to be so called from a fountain in it, or near it, as well as from a multitude of apples growing there, and with which perhaps the country abounded, of which in Joshua 17:8.
(l) De loc. Heb. fol. 88. G.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jos 17:7-11. This Coast.
7-11. the coast of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethah—The southern boundary is here traced from the east. Asher (now Yasir), the starting point, was a town fifteen Roman miles east of Shechem, and anciently a place of importance.
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