Bible Commentaries

Joshua 17

Verses 1-18

It is interesting to note that in the territory allotted to Manasseh, some of the cities of Ephraim are included; and, moreover, that some of the cities of Manasseh are within the territory of Asher and Issachar. The reason for this may be, in the first case, to mark the unity between Ephraim and Manasseh as the sons of Joseph; and, in the second case, because Asher and Issachar, especially the latter, were not strong enough to subdue the territory committed to them.

Ephraim was discontented with the portion allotted to it and complained to Joshua. The newer he gave was characteristic of him and a revelation of the greatness of his statesmanship. He manifested an understanding of the weakness of these tribes and of the principles on which alone they might become strong. He did not deny their declaration that they were a great people, but with what would seem to have been a touch of irony, he charged them to demonstrate their greatness by taking possession of what they had. He instructed them to go up to the mountains and cut down the trees and drive out their foes. The principle thus revealed is of perpetual application. If the Church of God would possess its possessions it would be far more powerful.