Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 17:1

Now this was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. To Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, were allotted Gilead and Bashan, because he was a man of war.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Bashan;   Gilead;   Machir;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Children;   Manasseh, the Tribe of;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gilead or Galeed;   Machir;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gilead;   Manasseh, tribe of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Machir;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gilead;   Joshua, the Book of;   Manasseh (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Hepher;   Machir;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ephraim;   Joshua;   Machir;   Manasseh;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Lots;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abiezer ;   Gilead ;   Machir ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ma'chir;   Manas'seh;   Shi'loh;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abiezer;   Ephraim (1);   Joshua, Book of;   Machir;   Manasseh (2);   Wist;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Lots;   Machir;   Manasseh;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh - It was necessary to mark this because Jacob, in his blessing, ( Genesis 48:19, Genesis 48:20;), did in a certain sense set Ephraim before Manasseh, though the latter was the first-born; but the place here shows that this preference did not affect the rights of primogeniture.

For Machir - because he was a man of war - It is not likely that Machir himself was now alive; if he were, he must have been nearly 200 years old: It is therefore probable that what is spoken here is spoken of his children, who now possessed the lot that was originally designed for their father, who it appears had signalized himself as a man of skill and valor in some of the former wars, though the circumstances are not marked. His descendants, being of a warlike, intrepid spirit, were well qualified to defend a frontier country, which would be naturally exposed to invasion.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Manasseh, as the “first-born,” was to receive not only the territory on the east of Jordan won by the valor of the Machirites, but also a portion with the other tribes on the west of Jordan, the holy land of promise strictly so called. Thus, though Ephraim took precedence of Manasseh, according to the prediction of Joseph Genesis 48:20, yet Manasseh received “the double portion” which was the special privilege of the first-born Deuteronomy 21:17.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-17.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

This and the preceding chapters deal with the inheritance of Ephraim and Manasseh, Ephraim's having been outlined in Joshua 16, and Manasseh's boundaries are given in this.

"And this was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the first-born of Joseph. As for Machir the first-born of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. So the lot was for the rest of the children of Manasseh according to their families: for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Ariel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph according to their families.

When given the PROPER RESPECT and READ THOUGHTFULLY AND CAREFULLY, the Bible is a unified, extremely informative, cohesive, and well-organized book. If critics would spend half as much time trying to understand what the Bible SAYS, instead of flipping through its pages with eyes only for something to support their destructive theories, there would be a lot fewer criticisms. The passage before us presents no problem whatever. Ephraim was blessed by Jacob and given precedence over Manasseh, but here we are not dealing with the sons of Jacob (adopted), but with the sons of MANASSEH. Manasseh was the firstborn of Joseph; and Jacob could NOT possibly have had anything to do with who received the birthright from Joseph. That was none of Jacob's business! That is why Manasseh is here designated as "the firstborn of Joseph." Thus, there is no justification whatever for the fact that, "Many interpreters consider that this reference to Manasseh as `firstborn,' is an indication that this relation (Manasseh-Ephraim) was different."[1]

The bearing of this on the distribution of the land is seen at once when it is remembered that Manasseh's DOUBLE PORTION (as was his right as the first-born) was already ONE-HALF expended in the settlement of Manasseh's first-born (who was Machir) who possessed Gilead and Bashan eastward of the Jordan. In that light, how logical and necessary is the next declaration that, "the lot was for the rest of the children of Manasseh." There were six of these "other male children" of Manasseh, the names of which are listed here. The six cited here are actually GRANDSONS of Machir through Gilead (Numbers 26:30-42). Hepher was deceased, leaving only five "sons."

"Gilead ..." This was primarily the name of a fertile district east of the Jordan river, but here it appears as a man's name. Such double uses of names is universal. There are a number of persons named `Dallas.'

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-17.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh,.... As well as for the tribe of Ephraim:

for he was the firstborn of Joseph; and therefore ought to have his part and share in the lot of the children of Joseph, though Ephraim was preferred before him in the blessing of Jacob. Some think this is given as a reason why he had a double portion, one on the other side Jordan, and another in the land of Canaan:

to wit, for Machir, the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead; who was the only son of Manasseh, and so through him, and by his son Gilead, the whole tribe sprung from that patriarch: and

because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan; which were given to his posterity by Moses, and lay on the other side Jordan, see Deuteronomy 3:13. This Machir very likely had shown his warlike disposition and courage in Egypt, and had fought under the kings there against the common enemy of that country; for it is highly probable he was dead before the children of Israel came out from thence, but the same warlike spirit continued in his posterity; they had their part assigned them on the other side Jordan, to defend that country, while the tribes of Reuben and Gad attended to the care of their flocks and herds.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-17.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This is but a continuation of the former chapter, inasmuch as the same subject is continued. The children of Joseph, in the half tribe of Manasseh, have their portion assigned them. They petition for more. Joshua gives them an answer.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-17.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.

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 Matthew 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, 1. why he got those places from the Amorites: or2. 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.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-17.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 17:1 There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he [was] the firstborn of Joseph; [to wit], for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.

Ver. 1. For he was the firstborn of Joseph.] And so had right to a double portion. [Deuteronomy 21:17]

For Machir the firstborn of Manasseh.] Indeed, his only son. See the like expression in Matthew 1:25.

Because he was a man of war.] Machir was: or if he was dead by this time, - as he was, or else he was very old, - by Machir is meant his posterity the Machirites (Numbers 26:29; compare 5:14).

Therefore he had Gilead,] i.e., Half Gilead; for Reuben had the other half.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-17.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 1. There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh, &c.— As if it were said, "A lot for Manasseh after Ephraim, though Manasseh was the first-born." Or, rather, these words form a parenthesis, as our version gives it, the design of which is, to show the reader that Jacob had testified some preference for Ephraim. Genesis 48:19-20. However, he did not pretend to take from Manasseh the least privilege to which he might have a right. Both being sons of Joseph, they drew but one lot, and their estates and cities were, in some degree, mixed together; but, after having described the portion of the lot which fell to Ephraim, it was proper, in like manner, to describe the portion of his brother Manasseh. Machir, the only son of Manasseh, Numbers 26:28-29 must have been either dead, or one hundred and eighty years of age, at the time of the division of the country by Moses. This is proved from his son Gilead's being himself born while Joseph was living. Machir, therefore, must have had the honour of passing for a man of war, by some warlike exploit performed during his stay in Egypt, and perhaps in the bloody quarrels which early subsisted between the Ephraimites and Manassites. 1 Chronicles 7:21. Others think, that the name of father is here put to signify the whole family; as if the author had said, because the children of Machir were men of war. God, on account of the valour of the Gileadites, who were as courageous as Machir from whom they descended, had settled them in a part of the country of Bashan, and in a part of that of Gilead; ch. Joshua 13:11; Joshua 13:31. The latter bore the name of Gilead so early as in the time of Jacob, Genesis 31:21. Gilead never set foot in it himself, as he was not born before the death of Joseph; but he occupied it by his posterity, who were there settled.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-17.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

JOSHUA CHAPTER 17

The inheritance of Manasseh, and its borders, Joshua 17:1-11. They could not drive out the Canaanites, but made them tributary, Joshua 17:12,13. The children of Joseph complain that their borders are too narrow: Joshua promises them the subduing of the Canaanites, Joshua 17:14-18.

He was 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, to wit, a double portion; and therefore though this were but half the tribe of Manasseh, yet they are not made inmates to Ephraim, but have a distinct lot of their own, as their brethren or other half tribe had beyond Jordan. Machir; the only son of Manasseh, who therefore is here, and Jude 5:14, put for the whole tribe. The first-born; so even only sons are sometimes called, as Matthew 1:25: see Poole "Exodus 4:22".

The father of Gilead; or, and the father, or who was also the father of Gilead; not of the land of Gilead, but of the man Gilead, who was Machir’s son, Numbers 26:29.

He was a man of war; he, i.e. Machir, had given great proof of his valour in his generation, (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, i.e. part of those countries; for part of them was also given to the Reubenites, and part to the Gadites, as appears from Joshua 13:30,31. This may be added as a reason, either,

1. Why he got those places from the Amorites; or,

2. Why they were allotted to him or his posterity, because this was a frontier country, and the outworks to the land of Canaan, and therefore required such valiant persons to defend it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-17.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

MANASSEH’S LOT IN WESTERN PALESTINE, Joshua 17:1-13.

1.Manasseh, the firstborn of Joseph, and retaining the rights of primogeniture, is put second because of Ephraim’s political superiority. Compare note at the beginning of chap. 16. Thus the prophetic words of their grandfather Jacob are fulfilled: “Ephraim will be greater than Manasseh.” Genesis 48:5; Genesis 48:14-19. Machir designates not the man but the family. His descendants, Jair and Nobah, conquered Bashan. Numbers 32:41-42. The portion of the half tribe of Manasseh east of the Jordan is here brought in to give a complete view of the settlement of that tribe. See note on Joshua 13:29.

For he was the firstborn of Manasseh — And therefore was honourably entitled to a share of the good land promised to the fathers.

The father of Gilead — Literally, the father of the Gilead; that is, the country, as designated by the Hebrew article. He had a son by that name. Numbers 26:29. The term father, when followed by the name of a country, signifies lord or possessor, and is usually applied to the conqueror of the country. The Machirites had already received their portion east of Jordan. See Joshua 13:29-33.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-17.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Chapter 17 The Allotment to Manasseh - Joseph’s Complaint.

In this chapter Manasseh’s allotment is described, as part of the allotment to the tribe of Joseph. Ephraim and Manasseh then complain that there is not sufficient room for them and are told to use their initiative and cut down the forests so that they have virgin land on which to live.

Joshua 17:1

And this was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. As for Machir, the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, because he was a man of war therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.’

It was possibly because of its relationship with Ephraim that Manasseh was such a mixture of a tribe. It was not centrally unified and the section who remained in Transjordan were clearly a militant lot, useful to have guarding the northern borders from the Aramaeans and wandering desert tribes, but more brotherly at a distance. Although the tribe of the firstborn of Joseph, Manasseh were from the beginning secondary to Ephraim (Genesis 48:10-22). At this time it was a separate tribe and yet not a separate tribe.

“Because he was a man of war.” This may suggest that in Egypt Machir had been a military commander and had influenced his family in that direction so that certain sections of them had become military specialists. or it may just suggest that they had inherited his fierceness. ‘Father of Gilead’ may here, in contrast to Joshua 17:3, be referring to that portion of Manasseh seen as ‘Gilead’ because of their residence in Transjordan. But there may be a play on the names.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-17.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 17:1. There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh — That half of it which had no portion on the other side Jordan. For he was the firstborn of Joseph — The sense of this, as it here stands, is very obscure. But if the particle כי, ki, here rendered for, be translated though, as it often is, and as Bishop Patrick thinks it ought to be here, the meaning is plain, that the second lot was for Manasseh, because, though he was the firstborn of Joseph, yet Jacob had preferred Ephraim before him, Genesis 48:19-20. Or the sense may be, though Ephraim was to be more potent and numerous than Manasseh, according to the prophecy of Jacob, yet this should be no prejudice to Manasseh, nor deprive him of any privilege to which he might lay claim as the elder. “Both being sons of Joseph, drew but one lot; and their estates and cities were in some degree mixed together; but after having described the portion of the lot which fell to Ephraim, it was proper in like manner to describe the portion of his brother, as being the first born.” — Dodd. For Machir — The only son of Manasseh, who, therefore, is here put for the whole tribe. The firstborn — So even only sons are sometimes called, as Matthew 1:25. Because he was a man of war — That is, 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 those countries; for part of them was given to the Reubenites, and part to the Gadites. This may be added as a reason, either, 1st, Why he got those places from the Amorites. Or, 2d, Why they were allotted to him or his posterity, because this was a frontier country, and the outworks to the land of Canaan, and therefore required valiant persons to defend it.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-17.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Born. Machir was the only son of Manasses. But the Scripture uses the word first-born for such, as it does for our Saviour, Matthew i. (Menochius) --- If Machir was living when Moses assigned the territory to the half tribe of Manasses, he must have been 180 years old. (Calmet) --- But he probably received the inheritance only in his posterity. (Haydock) --- Galaad did not give his name to the country, as it was called so in the days of Jacob. Perhaps he took his name from the land, as many noblemen do, though he is styled Galaad before the war against Sehon commenced, Numbers xxvi. 29. By giving Ephraim the preference before his elder brother, Jacob did not deprive the latter of his birth-right. (Calmet) --- In effect, Manasses was partly (Haydock) provided for before Ephraim received any portion. (Calmet) --- This, however, was a privilege, and not a right. He had also two allotments, because his numbers required so much land. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a lot = the lot. Compare Joshua 16:1, above.

firstborn of Joseph., Genesis 41:51; Genesis 46:20; Genesis 50:23. Nahum 32:39.

man = Hebrew. ish. App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.

There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh. Ephraim had been mentioned first, as the more numerous and powerful branch of the family of Joseph (Genesis 48:19-20); but Manasseh still retained the right of primogeniture, and had a separate inheritance assigned.

Machir - his descendants.

The father of Gilead. Though he had a son of that name (Numbers 26:29; Numbers 27:1), yet, as is evident from the use of the Hebrew article [ '

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-17.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.
the firstborn
Genesis 41:51; 46:20; 48:18; Deuteronomy 21:17
Machir
Genesis 50:23; Numbers 26:29; 27:1; 32:39,40; Judges 5:14; 1 Chronicles 2:23; 7:14,15
Gilead
Numbers 26:29; 32:33,40; Deuteronomy 3:13-15
Reciprocal: Numbers 1:34 - Manasseh;  Numbers 33:54 - give the less inheritance;  Deuteronomy 3:15 - Machir;  Joshua 22:7 - GeneralJudges 20:1 - with the;  2 Samuel 17:26 - General1 Chronicles 12:31 - the half tribe;  Psalm 60:7 - Gilead;  Ezekiel 48:4 - Manasseh

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-17.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The historian returns to the tribe of Manasseh with the view of confirming what we formerly saw with regard to the daughters of Selophead. For though it was a novelty for females to succeed indiscriminately with males, yet as five of them had survived their father, they proved it to be equitable that they should be admitted to a portion, lest while he was innocent he should lie under the reproach of having died childless. God had replied to Moses by his oracle, that in regard to succession they should be counted as one head. They now demand that the decision thus given by the mouth of the Lord shall be carried into effect. As to the name of first-born, still given to Manasseh, it must be understood so as not to be at variance with the prophecy of Jacob; or rather his primogeniture is here in a manner buried, and his dignity restricted to the past. Here, however, it is to be observed, that men are so tenacious and so much devoted to their own interests, that it seldom occurs to them to give others their due. The daughters of Selophead had obtained a portion by a heavenly decree; nor had any one dared to utter a word against it; and yet if they had remained silent no regard would have been paid to them. Therefore, lest the delay should prove injurious to them, they apply to Joshua and Eleazar, and insist that they shall not be deprived of their legitimate succession. No delay is interposed by Joshua to prevent their immediately obtaining what is just, nor is there any murmuring on the part of the people. Hence we infer, that all were disposed to act equitably; but every one is occupied with his own interest, and too apt carelessly to overlook that of others.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 17:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-17.html. 1840-57.