The families of Manasseh, ver. 1 - 6.
The country that fell to their lot, ver. 7 - 18.
Their request for more land, ver. 14 - 18.
1: The first born of Joseph - The sense is, though Ephraim was to
be more potent and numerous, yet Manasseh was the first - born, and had
the privilege of the first - born, which was translated to Joseph, namely,
a double portion; and therefore though this was but half the tribe of
Manasseh, yet they are not made intimates to Ephraim, but have a
distinct lot of their own, as their brethren, or other half tribe had beyond
Jordan. For Machir - The only son of Manasseh, who therefore is
here, put for the whole tribe. The first - born - So even only sons are
sometimes called, as (Mt 1:25).
He - That is, Machir, 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 these countries; for part of them was also given to
the Reubenites, and part to the Gadites.
This may be added as a reason, either,
why he got those places from the Amorites: or
why they were allotted to him or his posterity, because this was a
frontier country, and the out - works to the land of Canaan, and
therefore required valiant persons to defend it.
2: A Lot - A distinct inheritance. The rest - Namely, those of
them which had not received their possessions beyond Jordan.
Male - children - This expression is used to bring in what follows,
concerning his female children.
4: He - That is, Eleazar, or Joshua, with the consent of the
princes appointed for that work.
5: Ten portions - Five for the sons, and five for the daughters; for
as for Hepher, both he and his son Zelophehad was dead, and that
without sons, and therefore had no portion; but his daughters had several
portions allotted to them.
6: The daughters - Not less than the son, so the sex was no bar to
9: Three cities - Tappuah, and the cities upon the coast
descending to the river, &c. last mentioned. Among the cities of
Manasseh - That is, are intermixed with their cities, which was not
strange nor unfit, these two being linked together by a nearer alliance
than the rest.
10: 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 Zebulon came between Asher and them for the
greatest part of their land; yet it seems there was 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. 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.
11: Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher - As Ephraim had some
cities in the tribe of Manasseh, and as it was not unusual, when the
place allotted to any tribe was too narrow for it, and the next too large,
to give away part from the larger to the less portion; nay, sometimes one
whole tribe was taken into another; as Simeon's was into Judah's
portion, when it was found too large for Judah.
Inhabitants of Dor - Not the places only, but the people; whom they spared
and used for servants. Three countries - The words may be rendered,
the third part of that country; and so the meaning may be, that the
cities and towns here mentioned are a third part of that country, that is,
of that part of Issachar's and Asher's portion, in which those
14: Children of Joseph - That is, of Ephraim and Manasseh.
Spake unto Joshua - That is, expostulated with him, when they went and saw
that portion which was allotted them, and found it much short of their
expectation. One portion - Either,
because they really had but one lot, which was afterwards divided by
the arbitrators between them. Or,
because the land severally allotted to them, was but little enough
for one of them.
15: A great people - He retorts their own argument; seeing thou art a
great and numerous people, turn thy complaints into action, and enlarge thy
borders by thy own hand, to which thou mayest confidently expect God's
assistance. The wood - country - To the mountain, as it is called,
ver.(18), where among some towns there is much wood - land, which thou
mayest without much difficulty possess, and so get the more room.
And cut down - The wood, for thy own advantage; in building more cities
and towns; and preparing the land for pasture and tillage.
The Perizzites - Supposed to be a savage and brutish kind of people, that
lived in woods and mountains. Giants - Who lived in caves and mountains,
now especially when they were driven out of their cities.
If mount Ephraim - Or, seeing mount Ephraim is too narrow for thee, as
thou complainest; take to thyself the rest of that hilly and wood country.
Mount Ephraim was a particular portion of the land, belonging to the
tribe of Ephraim. And this seems to be here mentioned, for all the
portion allotted to Ephraim and Manasseh, as appears from their
complaint, which was not, that this part, but that their whole portion was
too strait for them.
16: Is not enough - Heb. the hill will not be found, that is,
obtained by us; those fierce and strong people the Perizzites and
the giants will easily defend themselves, and frustrate our attempts, having
the advantage of the woods and mountains.
The Canaanites that dwell - That is, and if thou sayest, that if the hill
either cannot be conquered, or is not sufficient for us, we may go down and
take more land out of the pleasant and fruitful valleys, we shall meet with
no less difficulty there than in the mountains. Chariots of iron - Not
all made of iron, but armed with iron, not only for defence, but for offence
also, having as it were scythes and swords fastened to them, to cut down all
that stood in their way.
17: One lot only - Thou needest and deservedst more than that lot, of
which thou art actually possessed, and thou hast power to get more; which if
thou endeavourest to do, God will bless thee, and give thee more.
18: The out - goings of it - The valleys and fields belonging or
adjoining to it, for there the Canaanites were, ver.(16).