Joshua 17

Joshua 17 has Joshua handing out more land – this time to Manasseh.  “Allotment was made to the people of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph….according to the mouth of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among the brothers of their father”.  Half the tribe of Manasseh received land on the other side of the Jordan.  Remember that the daughters of Manasseh had gone to Moses while he was alive asking for their own inheritance.  So the land is divided a bit differently for this tribe.

Joshua gives them land, “Yet the people of Manasseh could not take possession of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land”.  That is a familiar problem.  These Canaanites were unwilling to be removed.  They didn’t stay in power or control, but they did stay.  “When the people of Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out”.  They were able to make them slaves, but they were not able to move them completely out of their inheritance.

The people of Manasseh questioned Joshua.  “Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance”.  They think they are getting the short end of the stick.  In fact, they weren’t, but it seems that all mankind thinks they deserve more than they have.  We are never satisfied.  We always want more.  Joshua listens, and then gives a very clear and concise response.  “You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only”.  He doesn’t waver here.  He tells them exactly what will be.

He does make one small concession in that he says “but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong”.  They were worried about the resistance of the Canaanites, but Joshua knew they could conquer the land if they would just do it.  He knew a bit part of the problem was the mental belief that they could.  And being one of the original spies that told Moses to take the land, he knew what they could do.

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