Joshua 16

Joshua 16 defines the part of the Promised Land that was provided to Ephraim and Manasseh, the children of Joseph.  They had been officially adopted by Jacob as his own sons, endowing them with status equal in every way to the remainder of the Twelve Patriarchs.  By this maneuver, Jacob gave the “double portion,” one of the prerogatives of the birthright to Joseph.  They were to have land of honor along with Judah and were given the best portion of the northern part of Canaan just like Judah got the best part of the southern part.

This chapter defines those boundaries and lays out how the land was to be divided for these tribes.  There was some uncertainty, confusion, and an inadequate nature of the instructions here given.  The detail is no where near the previous chapter where the definition of the land given to Judah was defined.

The territory of the tribes of Joseph was drawn as one allotment. Afterward, it was divided between Ephraim (the southern part), and the half-tribe of Manasseh (the northerm part). Note that Ephraim’s border is outlined first, although that tribe was smaller and Ephraim was younger than Manasseh.

Just like the tribe of Judah, they too failed to remove all the enemy from their midst.  “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”.  These Canaanites were a pesky people and not easily displaced.  So they remained, just as they did in Judah.

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