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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
Joshua 17



Verses 1-13

These verses describe the territory of the half tribe of Manasseh west of the Jordan and north of Ephraim. It extended north to the valley of Jezreel. The Manassehites also failed to exterminate all the Canaanites in their area ( Joshua 17:12-13).

Verses 14-18

The extent of the territory given these two tribes was not sufficient for them, in their opinion, so they asked Joshua for more land. He dealt with them very diplomatically by complimenting and encouraging them ( Joshua 17:18). Their complaint seems to have sprung from a spirit of carnality (cf. Joshua 17:16). [Note: See John H. Paterson, "The Touchy Tribe," Toward the Mark 16:6 (November-December1987):110-13.] They did not share Caleb"s spirit ( Joshua 14:6-15). Evidently they counted as their land only the parts that were then easily accessible to them. They discounted the forested areas that needed clearing and the parts dominated by the Perizzites and the Rephaim ( Joshua 17:15). Joshua assured them that when they subdued their inheritance it would prove adequate for them ( Joshua 17:18).

"The purpose of inserting this episode at the conclusion of the description of Joseph"s portion may be to alert the reader to the fact that the promised land, if it is to be possessed, requires the activity of the tribes, who must not be deterred by the threats of Canaan"s superior military force." [Note: Woudstra, p267.]

The writer of the Book of Joshua noted carefully the failures of the tribes to drive the Canaanites out of their territories, as well as their successes in doing so (e.g, Caleb). The extent of their occupation of their land depended on the extent of their ability to annihilate the Canaanites by God"s power.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Joshua 17:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

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Monday, January 20th, 2020
the Second Week after Epiphany
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