There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Joshua 17:1. There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh — That half of it which had no portion on the other side Jordan. For he was the firstborn of Joseph — The sense of this, as it here stands, is very obscure. But if the particle כי, ki, here rendered for, be translated though, as it often is, and as Bishop Patrick thinks it ought to be here, the meaning is plain, that the second lot was for Manasseh, because, though he was the firstborn of Joseph, yet Jacob had preferred Ephraim before him, Genesis 48:19-20. Or the sense may be, though Ephraim was to be more potent and numerous than Manasseh, according to the prophecy of Jacob, yet this should be no prejudice to Manasseh, nor deprive him of any privilege to which he might lay claim as the elder. “Both being sons of Joseph, drew but one lot; and their estates and cities were in some degree mixed together; but after having described the portion of the lot which fell to Ephraim, it was proper in like manner to describe the portion of his brother, as being the first born.” — Dodd. For Machir — The only son of Manasseh, who, therefore, is here put for the whole tribe. The firstborn — So even only sons are sometimes called, as Matthew 1:25. Because he was a man of war — That is, had given great proof of his valour, (though the particular history be not mentioned,) and his posterity were no degenerate sons, but had his valiant blood still running in their veins. Gilead and Bashan — Part of those countries; for part of them was given to the Reubenites, and part to the Gadites. This may be added as a reason, either, 1st, Why he got those places from the Amorites. Or, 2d, Why they were allotted to him or his posterity, because this was a frontier country, and the outworks to the land of Canaan, and therefore required valiant persons to defend it.Genesis 48:20, yet Manasseh received "the double portion" which was the special privilege of the first-born Deuteronomy 21:17.
Jos 17:1-6. Lot of Manasseh.
1-6. There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh—Ephraim was mentioned, as the more numerous and powerful branch of the family of Joseph (Ge 48:19, 20); but Manasseh still retained the right of primogeniture and had a separate inheritance assigned.
the father of Gilead—Though he had a son of that name (Nu 26:29; 27:1), yet, as is evident from the use of the Hebrew article, reference is made, not to the person, but the province of Gilead. "Father" here means lord or possessor of Gilead. This view is confirmed by the fact that it was not Machir, but his descendants, who subdued Gilead and Bashan (Nu 32:41; De 3:13-15). These Machirites had their portion on the east side of Jordan. The western portion of land, allotted to the tribe of Manasseh, was divided into ten portions because the male descendants who had sons consisted of five families, to which, consequently, five shares were given; and the sixth family, namely, the posterity of Hepher, being all women, the five daughters of Zelophehad were, on application to the valuators, endowed each with an inheritance in land (see on Nu 27:4).The inheritance of Manasseh, and its borders, Joshua 17:1-11. They could not drive out the Canaanites, but made them tributary, Joshua 17:12,13. The children of Joseph complain that their borders are too narrow: Joshua promises them the subduing of the Canaanites, Joshua 17:14-18.
for he was the firstborn of Joseph; and therefore ought to have his part and share in the lot of the children of Joseph, though Ephraim was preferred before him in the blessing of Jacob. Some think this is given as a reason why he had a double portion, one on the other side Jordan, and another in the land of Canaan:
to wit, for Machir, the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead; who was the only son of Manasseh, and so through him, and by his son Gilead, the whole tribe sprung from that patriarch: and
because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan; which were given to his posterity by Moses, and lay on the other side Jordan, see Deuteronomy 3:13. This Machir very likely had shown his warlike disposition and courage in Egypt, and had fought under the kings there against the common enemy of that country; for it is highly probable he was dead before the children of Israel came out from thence, but the same warlike spirit continued in his posterity; they had their part assigned them on the other side Jordan, to defend that country, while the tribes of Reuben and Gad attended to the care of their flocks and herds.There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Joshua 17:1-6. The Inheritance of Western Manasseh
1. There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh] Although the tribe of Manasseh had already, as we have seen, obtained an extensive inheritance east of the Jordan, where a portion of the warlike descendants of Machir had left their families, the rest of the tribe now claimed a further grant of land in addition to what they had acquired by force of arms.
for he was the firstborn of Joseph] Comp. Genesis 41:51, “And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh (a forgetter); for God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.” And again, Genesis 48:14, “And Israel stretched out his … left hand, and laid it upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.” The birth of this child in Egypt, before the commencement of the famine, was the first alleviation of Joseph’s sorrows since he left his home and his father, who loved him with such passionate affection.
for Machir] The eldest son of the patriarch Manasseh. His mother was an Aramæan or Syrian concubine (1 Chronicles 7:14-15). Her name is not preserved, but her children are commemorated as having been caressed by Joseph before his death; “the children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were brought up (borne, marg.) upon Joseph’s knees (Genesis 50:23).
the father of Gilead] The word “Gilead” here in the original has the article. This denotes not a person, but the province, or district of Gilead, and the word rendered father = “lord,” or “possessor.” The expression “father of Gilead” therefore = “lord” or “possessor of Gilead.”
therefore he had Gilead and Bashan] Machir is here used for his family, for it was not he himself, but his descendants Jair and Nobah, who conquered the territory east of the Jordan. Jair captured the whole of the tract of Argob (Deuteronomy 3:14), and in addition took possession of some nomad villages in Gilead, which he called after his own name, Havoth-Jair (Numbers 32:41; 1 Chronicles 2:23). Nobah possessed himself of the town of Kenath and the hamlets dependent upon it, and gave them his own name (Numbers 32:42). For the territory of the half tribe of Manasseh east of the Jordan, see above, ch. Joshua 13:29-32. The district called “Gilead” is also sometimes called “Mount Gilead” (Genesis 31:25); sometimes “the land of Gilead” (Numbers 32:1); and sometimes simply “Gilead” (as here, and Genesis 37:25; Psalm 60:7). The name signifies the physical aspect of the country = a “hard rocky region.” It extended from the parallel of the south end of the Sea of Galilee to that of the north end of the Dead Sea, about 60 miles, and its average breadth scarcely exceeded 20. See Smith’s Bibl. Dict.Verse 1. - There was also a lot. The preferable translation is, "and the lot for the tribe of Manasseh - for he was the firstborn of Joseph - was (or fell) to Machir the son of Manasseh. That is to say, the proper possession of the tribe of Manasseh fell to Machir and his descendants only, because of their warlike spirit, and possibly on account of their numbers also. They were sufficient to occupy the land of Gilead and Bashan, extensive and powerful though it was, while the rest of the tribe had a share in the inheritance westward of Jordan (see also Joshua 13:29-31). For he was the firstborn of Joseph. There has been much discussion why these words were introduced. It is probable that they are intended as an explanation of the existence of Ephraim and Manasseh as separate tribes; or possibly this is introduced to suggest the reason for mentioning the tribes in this order since Ephraim was not the firstborn (see Genesis 48:5, 14). The father of Gilead. There seems no reason to accept Keil's dictum, that because Gilead here has the article, whereas in other places where it signifies Machir's son it has not, the country and not the man is meant, and "father" must be taken as equivalent to "lord." The usage is found in Arabic and Ethiopic, but not in Hebrew. The reason why Gilead as the name of the individual has the article here is most likely because he gave his name to the territory mentioned immediately afterwards. Therefore he had. There is no "therefore" in the original, where we find "and he had." We must understand this as spoken of the tribe, not personally of Machir, who had been long dead (see note on Joshua 6:25). Joshua 16:5. "The border of their inheritance was from the east Atroth-addar and (along the line) to Upper Beth-horon," - a brief description of the southern boundary, which is more minutely described in Joshua 16:1-3. Upper Beth-horon is mentioned here instead of Lower Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3). This makes no difference, however, as the two places stood quite close to one another (see at Joshua 10:10). In Joshua 16:6-8 the northern boundary of Ephraim is given, namely, from the middle, or from "a central point near the watershed" (Knobel), first towards the east (Joshua 16:6 and Joshua 16:7), and then towards the west (Joshua 16:8). The eastern half of the northern boundary went ימּה, i.e., when regarded from the west, or looked at towards the west, to the north side of Michmethah. According to Joshua 17:7, this place was before Shechem, and therefore in any case it was not far from it, though it has not been discovered yet. Knobel supposes it to have been on the site of the present Kabate (Seetzen, ii. p. 166), Kubatiyeh, an hour and a half to the south of Jenin (Rob. iii. 154), assuming that Michmethah might also have been pronounced Chemathah, and that ב may have been substituted for מ. But Kabate is six hours to the north of Shechem, and therefore was certainly not "before Shechem" (Joshua 17:7). It then turned "eastward to Taanath-shiloh" (Τηαν̀θ Σηλώ, lxx), according to the Onom. (s. v. Thenath) ten Roman miles from Neapolis (Sichem), on the way to the Jordan, most probably the Thena of Ptol. (v. 16, 5), the present Tana, Ain Tana, a heap of ruins on the south-east of Nabulus, where there are large cisterns to be found (see Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 295; Ritter, Erdk. xv. p. 471). And "then went by on the east to Janoah" (i.e., Jano in Acrabittena regione, twelve Roman miles from Neapolis: Onom.), the present ruins of Jann, a miserable village, with extensive ruins of great antiquity, about three hours to the south-east of Nabulus, three-quarters of an hour to the north-east of Akrabeh (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 297; Van de Velde, R. ii. p. 268).
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