Joshua 16

Joshua 16

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The Allotment for Ephraim and Manasseh

16 The allotment of the people of Joseph went from the Jordan by Jericho, east of the waters of Jericho, into the wilderness, going up from Jericho into the hill country to Bethel. Then going from Bethel to Luz, it passes along to Ataroth, the territory of the Archites. Then it goes down westward to the territory of the Japhletites, as far as the territory of Lower Beth-horon, then to Gezer, and it ends at the sea.

The people of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance.

The territory of the people of Ephraim by their clans was as follows: the boundary of their inheritance on the east was Ataroth-addar as far as Upper Beth-horon, and the boundary goes from there to the sea. On the north is Michmethath. Then on the east the boundary turns around toward Taanath-shiloh and passes along beyond it on the east to Janoah, then it goes down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, and touches Jericho, ending at the Jordan. From Tappuah the boundary goes westward to the brook Kanah and ends at the sea. Such is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Ephraim by their clans, together with the towns that were set apart for the people of Ephraim within the inheritance of the Manassites, all those towns with their villages. However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor.


Joshua 16 Commentary

by Hank Workman

It’s an interesting thought to ponder. The tribes of Joseph were given land but not titled in the 12 Tribes as a whole.  Joseph did not have a tribe named after him.  This is because he received a double portion of the inheritance from his father Jacob.  When Joseph died, this inheritance was passed down to his 2 sons Ephraim and Manasseh.  Although Joseph did not have a title within the tribes, his sons did who when the allotment of land came, they had the largest, double portion if you will, of the entire northern territory.

That said, in the account of this divvying up verse 10 states:

“But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites live in the midst of Ephraim to this day, and they became forced laborers.”

Joshua 16:10

There are a few different theories on this but the overarching result is the same.  The Canaanites still had a presence in Israel, even if under labor.

We are forgiven and set free in Christ.  Our sins are remembered no more.  But as we spiritually grow, we will continue to wrestle with our own sinful nature.  Its presence is still among us.  Now, even though the Canaanites still had a physical presence among the Israelites, they had no rights.  So too in our ever-growing journey we must not allow sin to gain ground back.

“Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 

Genesis 4:7

“Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace”.   

Romans 6:12-14

Even though sin lurks among each of us – continue in this journey of mastering it.  Pray for the strength of the Holy Spirit to help you overcome and subdue.

Joshua 16 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance.

Joshua 16:4 

This made up a good chunk of the land.

Again, this point has already been discussed extensively, but a big takeaway from this chapter is found in verse 10. Ephraim fails to drive out all of the Canaanites.  God addressed this issue in Deuteronomy.

“Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes.

Deuteronomy 20:16 

They resorted to making the Canaanites labors for their cause. Logic tells us that if they had enough power to force them into labor, they probably could have completely eliminated them. We see this time and time again with Israel. God gives a firm command and instead of following through completely, they decided to take shortcuts or ignore details.

It’s possible that Israel did this for convenience to which there is still no excuse. Thank God for Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  We are empowered to choose God’s way instead of our own selfish way!

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