Bible Commentaries

Joshua 16

Verses 1-10

Next in order we have an account of the inheritance of Joseph divided between his sons Ephraim and Manasseh. The part allotted to Ephraim was a fertile and beautiful district, perhaps in many respects the most desirable in all the country. Nevertheless, it was a place of peculiar difficulty at the time from the fact that it lay still wholly in the power of the Canaanites. The campaigns of Joshua had not perfectly dealt with it and cities possessed by the Canaanites existed.

This, in itself is suggestive so far as Ephraim's responsibility was concerned. The richest tracts of country in the possessions which God intends for His people can be possessed only by victories over the strongest foes. The whole history of Ephraim was a sad one for long centuries and their failure began here and is recorded in the words, "And they drove not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell in the midst of Ephraim unto this day, and are become servants to do task-work."