Bible Commentaries
Joshua 17

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Jos 17:1 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.

Ver. 1. For he was the firstborn of Joseph. ] And so had right to a double portion. Deu 21:17

For Machir the firstborn of Manasseh. ] Indeed, his only son. See the like expression in Matthew 1:25 .

Because he was a man of war. ] Machir was: or if he was dead by this time, - as he was, or else he was very old, - by Machir is meant his posterity the Machirites (Numbers 26:29 ; compare Jdg 5:14 ).

Therefore he had Gilead, ] i.e., Half Gilead; for Reuben had the other half.

Verse 2

Jos 17:2 There was also [a lot] for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these [were] the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families.

Ver. 2. For the rest of the children of Manasseh. ] That is, for his grand-children by Gilead, Num 26:29 who were yet unprovided of a portion, and were to receive it beyond Jordan in the land of Canaan.

Verse 3

Jos 17:3 But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these [are] the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

Ver. 3. But Zelophehad. ] These daughters of his are commended by their names, by their masculine faith, and by their modesty in suing for their portion. See their plea and success in Numbers 27:1-3 , &c.

Verse 4

Jos 17:4 And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father.

Ver. 4. He gave them an inheritance. ] But with this caution, that they should not marry out of their own tribe. Num 36:6

Verse 5

Jos 17:5 And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which [were] on the other side Jordan;

Ver. 5. And there fell ten portions to Manasseh. ] Six to his six sons, Jos 17:2 and the rest to Zelophehad’s daughters.

Verse 6

Jos 17:6 Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.

Ver. 6. Because the daughters of Manasseh. ] Here was no Salic law to exclude them. In many women, besides their sex, there is nothing womanlike, or weak souls have no sexes; and women’s bodies are of a more exact composition, &c.

Verse 7

Jos 17:7 And the coast of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethah, that [lieth] before Shechem; and the border went along on the right hand unto the inhabitants of Entappuah.

Ver. 7. And the coast of Manasseh was from Asher. ] Which was a town, say some, seated at the south-east end of Manasseh’s lot.

Verse 8

Joshua 17:8 [Now] Manasseh had the land of Tappuah: but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh [belonged] to the children of Ephraim;

Ver. 8. Belonged to the children of Ephraim. ] These two tribes were one within another, yet did not well agree.

Fratrum concordia rara est.

Verse 9

Jos 17:9 And the coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river: these cities of Ephraim [are] among the cities of Manasseh: the coast of Manasseh also [was] on the north side of the river, and the outgoings of it were at the sea:

Ver. 9. See Joshua 17:8 ; and take heed of unnatural wars and bickerings.

Nullos habitura triumphos.

Verse 10

Jos 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.

Ver. 10. And the sea is his border. ] The Syrian or Midland Sea.

And they met together in Asher on the north, and in Issachar on the east. ] And yet their spirits lay sometimes like that haven in Acts 27:12 , "toward the south-west and north-west," two opposite points.

Verse 11

Jos 17:11 And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Bethshean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Endor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, [even] three countries.

Ver. 11. Bethshean. ] Afterwards called Scythopolis. 2Ma 12:29

Verse 12

Jos 17:12 Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out [the inhabitants of] those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.

Ver. 12. Could not drive out. ] As their fathers could not enter the promised land, so neither could they possess it, "because of unbelief."

Verse 13

Jos 17:13 Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.

Ver. 13. They did not utterly. ] This was their covetousness; they kept them and squeezed them, as the Papists do at this day deal by the Jews that live amongst them.

Verse 14

Jos 17:14 And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me [but] one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I [am] a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?

Ver. 14. And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua. ] Presuming, it may be, on his nearness unto them in blood and kindred, as being of the same tribe. But this did nothing sway him from a course of justice: the sun might sooner be turned out of his track, as it was once said of Fabricius. Joshua will not be partial, or gratify his kinsmen by scanting others, but putteth them upon labour.

Why hast thou given me but one lot? ] Two they had, but they reckon it but for one, through discontent. The world is full of such μεμψιμοιροι , who know not when they are pleased, but are ready to complain both full and fasting.

Verse 15

Jos 17:15 And Joshua answered them, If thou [be] a great people, [then] get thee up to the wood [country], and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.

Ver. 15. If thou be a great people. ] Thus he retorteth their arguments upon themselves, that if they were so numerous, they were the better able to enlarge their borders by their own endeavours, though it might be to their pains and peril.

Get thee up to the wood. ] Where many hands may make light work, and soon lay all level, fit for thy use.

If mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. ] And so thou want room, as bees do, that for like cause, do hang out of the hive’s mouth on heaps.

Verse 16

Jos 17:16 And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, [both they] who [are] of Bethshean and her towns, and [they] who [are] of the valley of Jezreel.

Ver. 16. And the Canaanites … have chariots of iron.] Which were first a terror, and then a scorn, as was before noted out of Vegetius. But where there wanteth a heart, there is never wanting some lion in the way, Proverbs 22:13 ; Pro 26:13 yea, two lions for failing, one in the fields, and another in the streets: so here. The hill is not enough for us, and the Canaanites are too hard for us.

Verse 17

Jos 17:17 And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, [even] to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou [art] a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot [only]:

Ver. 17. Thou art a great people, and hast great power. ] And therefore it were a shame for thee to want room, to despair of victory, having God’s promise for thine encouragement, and being so well able to deal with the enemy: η ταν η επι ταν , said she to her son, when she gave him a shield, and sent him forth to the battle: Either bring this back with thee, or be thou brought back dead upon it. Either vanquish or die, said the Black Prince’s father to him at the battle of Cressy, where he was in great distress. So saith Joshua here to his contribules: If you want room, cut your way through a wood of men, through a forest of wood; cast not perils, but venture and prosper.

"Audaces Deus ipse iuvat.

Verse 18

Jos 17:18 But the mountain shall be thine; for it [is] a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, [and] though they [be] strong.

Ver. 18. But the mountain shall be thine. ] Since God hath promised it, thou art bound to believe it; and being armed with God, and going on in his strength, thou shalt do great exploits, and devour greatest difficulties. Faith eateth its way through the Alps of whatsoever opposition, and sticketh at nothing.

For thou shalt drive out the Canaanites. ] Through the help of the Almighty, who will not fail thee, but give thee to feel and find, Quod nequaquam frustra nititur qui Deo innititur, that he laboureth not in vain who feareth God. Haec autem omnia cum suis tribulibus Iehoshuah quodammodo egit pertinacius, saith Junius. a Valiant Joshua seemeth here to bespeak his kinsmen, as once the Prince of Orange did his soldiers at the battle of Newport, where they had the sea on one side and the Spaniards on the other: If, said he, you will live, you must either eat up these Spaniards, or drink up this sea. b So here; either you must cast out these Canaanites, as you may, or still want room, as you must.

a Annot. in Loc.

b Hist. of Netherl.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 17". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.