Joshua 17:10
Southward it was Ephraim's, and northward it was Manasseh's, and the sea is his border; and they met together in Asher on the north, and in Issachar on the east.
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Joshua 17:10. The sea is his border — Manasseh’s, whose portion is here described, and whose name was last mentioned. In Asher — That is, upon the tribe of Asher; for though Zebulun came between Asher and them for the greatest part of their land; yet it seems there were some necks of land, both of Ephraim’s and of Manasseh’s, which jutted out farther than the rest, and touched the borders of Asher.

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.Southward - i. e. of the river Kanah.

Render, "they (i. e. the two kindred tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the northern border being treated here as common to the two) reached unto Asher." (See the map.) The northern border is only indicated in general terms, perhaps because the Israelites were not yet completely masters of this part of the country, and so had not precisely determined it.

9. the coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river—The line which separated the possessions of the two brothers from each other ran to the south of the stream. Thus the river was in the territory of Manasseh; but the cities which were upon the river, though all were within the limits of Manasseh's possessions, were assigned partly to Ephraim, and partly to Manasseh; those on the south side being given to the former; those upon the north to the latter [Keil]. It appears (Jos 17:10) that Manasseh was still further interlaced with other neighboring tribes. His border; either,

1. Manasseh’s, whose portion is here described, and whose name was last mentioned. Or,

2. Ephraim’s and Manasseh’s, both expressed in the foregoing words, and implied in the following,


In Asher, i.e. upon the tribe of Asher; for though Zebulun came between Asher and them for the greatest part of their land, yet it seems there were some necks or parcels of land, both of Ephraim’s and of Manasseh’s, which jutted out farther than the rest, and touched the borders of Asher. And it is certain there were many such incursions of the land of one tribe upon some parcels of another, although they were otherwise considerably distant one from the other. See Joshua 19:34. And you must not judge of these things by the present maps, which are drawn according to the opinions of late authors, which many times are false; and they are to be judged by the Scripture, and not the Scripture by them: but that part of Manasseh did reach to Asher, appears from hence, that Dor, a city of Manasseh, Joshua 17:11, was, as Josephus witnesseth, near Carmel, which belonged to Asher, Joshua 19:26.

Southward it was Ephraim's, and northward it was Manasseh's,.... As Ephraim lay to the south of Manasseh, Manasseh lay to the north of Ephraim:

and the sea is his border; the Mediterranean sea was their boundary on the west:

and they met together in Asher on the north; that is, on the northwest towards the Mediterranean sea, as, at Mount Carmel:

and in Issachar on the east; towards Jordan.

Southward it was Ephraim's, and northward it was Manasseh's, and the sea is his border; and they met together in {f} Asher on the north, and in Issachar on the east.

(f) In the tribe of Asher, and tribe of Issachar.

10. southward] Southward of the brook the land belonged to Ephraim, northward of the same it belonged to Manasseh, and the sea constituted the western border.

they met] or “struck upon” Asher in the north and on Issachar in the east. Thus the two tribes were bounded (a) on the east by Issachar; (b) on the north by Asher; (c) on the west by the sea; (d) and on the south by Benjamin and Dan.

Verse 10. - And they met together. Rather, they (i.e., the Manassites) impinged (this is the very same word as the Hebrew יִפְגְעוּ), i.e., "touched upon." There has been great discussion concerning this passage. The literal meaning is clearly that Manasseh was bordered by Asher on the north, and Issachar on the east. The idea of an Asher-ham-Michmethah must be given up if we take this rendering of the Hebrew. Its only justification is the fact that if Michmethah be at once the northern border of Ephraim and Manasseh, the territory of Manasseh is cut almost in half. And, in fact, such a supposition makes confusion worse confounded. Is it probable that in vers. 7 and 10 Asher-ham-Michmethah is meant; that the town Asher is mentioned in similar terms to the tribe Issachar in the latter verse; and that in ver. 11, without a single intimation of the change of meaning, the tribes Issachar and Asher are mentioned? Again: if Dor - considerably to the south of Mount Carmel - was within the territory of Asher (ver. 11), how can we possibly, as Conder's 'Handbook' does, place the limits of Asher at Accho, and bring Zebulun to the sea (which it never reaches, for "toward the sea," in Joshua 19:11 clearly means "westward"), interposing a large strip of territory between Manasseh and Asher, placing Dor, in spite of ver. 11, far within the limits of Manasseh, and giving this last tribe, or rather half tribe, an extraordinarily disproportioned share of the land? (See the complaint in ver. 16). Zebulun, too, was on the eastern border of Asher (Joshua 19:27), and it is by no means certain that Shihor Libnath (see Joshua 19:26) is not the Wady Zerka, south of Dor. This is the view of Knobel, a commentator by no means void of acuteness. This contraction of Manasseh's territory explains why cities had to be given to it out of Asher and Issachar, as well as the complaint in the latter part of this chapter. Issachar, too, must have stretched considerably southward. But the vagueness of the description of Manasseh's border, especially on the north, prevents us from assigning any limits to Issachar in this direction; while it is impossible, with a writer in the Quarterly Papers of the Palestine Exploration Fund, to suppose that it extended from Jezreel and Shunem and Endor on the north as far as Jericho to the south. Joshua 17:10Boundaries and extent of the inheritance of the ten families of Manasseh. - Joshua 17:7-10, the southern boundary, which coincides with the northern boundary of Ephraim described in Joshua 16:6-8, and is merely given here with greater precision in certain points. It went "from Asher to Michmethah, before Shechem." Asher is not the territory of the tribe of Asher, but a distinct locality; according to the Onom. (s. v. Asher) a place on the high road from Neapolis to Scythopolis, fifteen Roman miles from the former. It is not to be found, however, in the ruins of Tell Um el Aschera (V. de Velde) or Tell Um Ajra (Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 310, 327), an hour to the south of Beisan, as Knobel supposes, but in the village of Yasir, where there are magnificent ruins, about five hours and ten minutes from Nabulus on the road to Beisan (V. de Velde, Mem. pp. 237, 289; R. ii. p. 295). Michmethah, before Shechem, is still unknown (see Joshua 16:6). Shechem was founded by the Hivite prince Shechem (Genesis 33:18), and is frequently mentioned in the book of Genesis. It stood between Ebal and Gerizim, was given up by Ephraim to the Levites, and declared a free city (city of refuge: Joshua 21:21; Joshua 20:7). It was there that the ten tribes effected their separation from Judah 1 Kings 12:1.), and Jeroboam resided there (1 Kings 12:25). In later times it was the chief city of the country of Samaria, and the capital of the Samaritans (John 4:5); and the name of Neapolis, or Flavia Neapolis, from which the present Nabulus or Nablus has come, was given to it in honour of Vespasian (see v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 161ff.). From this point the boundary went אל־היּמין (i.e., either "to the right side," the south side, or to Yamin), "To the inhabitants of En-tappuah." Whether Yamin is an appellative or a proper name is doubtful. But even if it be the name of a place, it is quite certain that it cannot be the village of Yamn, an hour to the south-east of Taanuk (Rob. iii. pp. 161, 167, etc.), as this is much too far north, and, judging from Joshua 17:11, belonged to the territory of Asher. In the case of En-tappuah, the inhabitants are mentioned instead of the district, because the district belonged to Manasseh, whilst the town on the border of Manasseh was given to the Ephraimites. The situation of the town has not yet been discovered: see at Joshua 16:8. From this point the boundary ran down to the Cane-brook (see Joshua 16:8), namely to the south side of the brook.

"These towns were assigned to Ephraim in the midst of the towns of Manasseh, and (but) the territory of Manasseh was on the north of the brook." The only possible meaning of these words is the following: From Tappuah, the boundary went down to the Cane-brook and crossed it, so that the south side of the brook really belonged to the territory of Manasseh; nevertheless the towns on this south side were allotted to Ephraim, whilst only the territory to the north of the brook fell to the lot of the Manassites. This is expressed more plainly in Joshua 17:10: "To the south (of the brook the land came) to Ephraim, and to the north to Manasseh." In Joshua 17:10 the northern and eastern boundaries are only briefly indicated: "And they (the Manassites) touched Asher towards the north, and Issachar towards the east." The reason why this boundary was not described more minutely, was probably because it had not yet been fixed. For (Joshua 17:11) Manasseh also received towns and districts in (within the territory of) Issachar and Asher, viz., Beth-shean, etc. Beth-shean, to the wall of which Saul's body was fastened (1 Samuel 31:10.; 2 Samuel 21:12), was afterwards called Scythopolis. It was in the valley of the Jordan, where the plain of Jezreel slopes off into the valley; its present name is Beisan, a place where there are considerable ruins of great antiquity, about two hours from the Jordan (vid., Seetzen, ii. pp. 162ff.; Rob. iii. p. 174; Bibl. Res. p. 325; v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 150-1). This city, with its daughter towns, was in the territory of Issachar, which was on the east of Manasseh, and may have extended a considerable distance towards the south along the valley of the Jordan, as the territory of Manasseh and Ephraim did not run into the valley of the Jordan; but Asher (Yasir) is mentioned in Joshua 17:7 as the most easterly place in Manasseh, and, according to Joshua 16:6-7, the eastern boundary of Ephraim ran down along the eastern edge of the mountains as far as Jericho, without including the Jordan valley. At the same time, the Ghor on the western side of the Jordan below Beisan, as far as the plain of Jericho, was of no great value to any tribe, as this district, according to Josephus (de Bell. Jud. iv. 8, 2, and iii. 10, 7), was uninhabited because of its barrenness. The other towns, Ibleam, etc., with the exception of Endor perhaps, were in the territory of Asher, and almost all on the south-west border of the plain of Esdraelon. Ibleam, called Bileam in 1 Chronicles 6:55 (70), a Levitical town (see at Joshua 21:25), was not very far from Megiddo (2 Kings 9:27), and has probably been preserved in the ruins of Khirbet-Belameh, half an hour to the south of Jenin; according to Schultz, it is the same place as Belamon, Belmen, or Belthem (Judith 4:4; 7:3; 8:3). With דאר ואת־ישׁבי the construction changes, so that there is an anacolouthon, which can be explained, however, on the ground that ל היה may not only mean to be assigned to, but also to receive or to have. In this last sense ואת is attached. The inhabitants are mentioned instead of the towns, because the historian had already the thought present in his mind, that the Manassites were unable to exterminate the Canaanites from the towns allotted to them. Dor is the present Tortura (see at Joshua 11:2). Endor, the home of the witch (1 Samuel 28:7), four Roman miles to the south of Tabor (Onom.), at present a village called Endr, on the northern shoulder of the Duhy or Little Hermon (see Rob. iii. p. 225; Bibl. Res. p. 340). Taanach and Megiddo, the present Taanuk and Lejun (see at Joshua 12:21). The three last towns, with the places dependent upon them, are connected more closely together by הנּפת שׁלשׁת, the three-hill-country, probably because they formed a common league.

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