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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 16

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-10

Joshua - Chapter 16

Ephraim’s Lot, vs 1-10

Verses 1 through 4 delineates generally, the south boundary of the two tribes of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. This allotment is in accord to the provision of the double portion for Joseph by the patriarch Jacob himself (Genesis 48:5), when he put these two sons of Joseph in the place of Reuben and Simeon, his firstborn sons.

The southern border does not reach to Judah’s northern border, for Benjamin will receive the area between them, but begins north of Jericho and passes westward to mount Bethel and thus to Luz, or Bethel, which Jacob renamed it (Genesis 28:19). Archi and Ataroth were minor towns on the border with Benjamin. The coast (border) of Japhleti may have been a landmark preserved from the Canaanites. It stretched slightly southwestward to Nether (Lower) Beth-boron, thence to Gezer and across the Philistine settlements to the Mediterranean Sea.

A more detailed description continues in verse 5 of the territory assigned specifically to the tribe of Ephraim. Its starting point was Ataroth, near Upper Beth-horon, and proceeded to Michmethah toward the Mediterranean, marking the border with Manasseh, to the north. From this point it went to Taanath-shiloh, or the approach to Shiloh, where the tabernacle was first erected in the land. From here it passed Janohah to the east and came to another Ataroth, in the Jordan valley, then went back down the valley to Naarath in the area of Jericho. From a point west of the latter Ataroth, Tappuah, the boundary went westward to the river (a brook only) Kanah, proceeding along its course to the Mediterranean Sea. These boundaries are extremely hard to follow today, so that it is hard to find two map-makers who agree in affixing tribal boundaries exactly. The boundaries may not have been as hard and fast as boundaries are now thought of.

The inspired account records that Ephraim also received cities and suburbs (the surrounding area) in the allotment of Manasseh. Probably this is because Manasseh had more larger towns than did Ephraim in his territory. The children of Ephraim were also limited in their possession by their failure to drive the Canaanites out of Gezer. This was a notable town in the foothills of the southwestern corner of Ephraim’s inheritance. The Canaanites were still there when the inspired record was made. The Israelites took taxes from them.

Note that the Israelites were careful to honor the will of Jacob, their forefather, in giving the double portion of the land to the sons of Joseph One should always seek to abide in the Lord’s will and plan his actions according thereto, (3 John 1:5).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Joshua 16". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/joshua-16.html. 1985.
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