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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 17

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-18

5. The Portion of Manasseh


1. Their names (Joshua 17:1-6 )

2. Their border (Joshua 17:7-13 )

3. The complaint and the answer (Joshua 17:14-18 )

Half of the tribe of Manasseh had their inheritance on the other side of Jordan, having joined themselves to Reuben and Gad. The rest of Manasseh are now named according to their families. These are: Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida, The son of Hepher, Zelophehad, had no sons (see Numbers 27:1-11 ); the names of the five daughters are given here again. They claim now the inheritance which the Lord had given to them. They, too, exhibit the courage of faith. May we also claim in faith that inheritance which belongs to us through the grace of God.

The complaint of the children of Joseph shows dissatisfaction with their lot; it was selfishness. Joshua takes them by their word. His answer reminds us of the divine command given in chapter 13. “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” Yonder were the stately forests, the wooded hills and mountains, inhabited still by the Perizzites and the giants. All they needed to do was to go there and drive them out and they would possess a larger portion. But this answer but brings out their unbelief and failure. They plead weakness; it was nothing less than unbelief, for they looked to the iron chariots the Canaanites possessed, instead of looking to the Lord and trusting His power. They refused to meet the enemy and have their borders enlarged under these conditions. What a contrast with bold and humble Caleb! And yet Joshua encourages them. He urges them to go forward and possess the forest and cut it down. It was his challenge to their faith. Faith does not reckon with chariots, with difficulties.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Joshua 17". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/joshua-17.html. 1913-1922.
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