The Tribe of Manasseh. 1 This was the allotment for the tribe of Manasseh, who was the firstborn of Joseph, that is, of Machir, who was the firstborn of Manasseh, and he was also the father of the Gileadites because he had received Gilead and Bashan since he was a mighty warrior. 2 This was the allotment for the rest of the Manassehites, the clans of the descendants of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These are the other male descendants of Manasseh, the son of Joseph, according to their clans.
3 [a]Now Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh had no sons, only daughters. These are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 4 They went to Eleazar, the priest, to Joshua, the son of Nun, and the elders and said, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” He therefore gave them an inheritance among the brothers of their father, just as the Lord had commanded.
5 Manasseh’s portion consisted of ten parcels of land besides Gilead and Bashan, which were on the east side of the Jordan, 6 for the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance along with the sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh. 7 The territory of the Manassehites ran from Asher to Micmethath east of Shechem. The boundary then ran south from there, so it included the people living at En-tappuah. 8 (Manasseh had received the land around Tappuah, which lay on the boundary with Manasseh, but Tappuah itself belonged to the Ephraimites.) 9 The boundary then continued on south to the Wadi Kanah. There were some towns that belonged to Ephraim among the towns of Manasseh, but Manasseh’s boundary ran along the north side of the river, ending at the sea. 10 To the north, the land belonged to Ephraim, while to the south the land belonged to Manasseh. Its boundary ended at the sea, bordering Asher on the north and Issachar on the east.
11 Within Asher and Issachar, Manasseh also possessed Beth-shan and the towns that were dependent upon it, Ibleam and the towns dependent upon it, the inhabitants of Dor and the towns dependent upon it, the inhabitants of Endor and the towns dependent upon it, the inhabitants of Taanach and the towns dependent upon it, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and the towns dependent upon it. (These are three mountainous areas.)
12 Yet, the Manassehites were not able to occupy these cities, for the Canaanites were determined to continue to live in that land. 13 When the Israelites grew stronger, they did subject the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely. 14 [b]The descendants of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment, one portion as our inheritance. We are quite numerous, for the Lord has blessed us.” 15 But Joshua answered them, “If you are too numerous for the hill country of Ephraim, then go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim.” 16 The descendants of Joseph replied, “The hill country is too small for us, and the Canaanites who live in the plains have iron chariots, both the ones living in Beth-shean and the towns dependent upon it and those living in the Valley of Jezreel.” 17 Joshua said to the descendants of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are a numerous and very powerful people. You will have more than one allotment. 18 The forested hill country will also be yours. Cut it down, and it will be yours right to its fringes. The Canaanites might have iron chariots and be strong, but you can drive them out.”
- Joshua 17:3 The unusual situation of Israelite women inheriting property is carried out by Joshua in accordance with the law instituted by Moses at God’s command (Num 27:1-11). Zelophehad’s daughters reaped the benefits of this new law and set a precedent for future women.
- Joshua 17:14 Here we see the real damage that ensued in Ephraim and Manasseh because they had not driven out the Canaanites from the land. Rather than simply hand over more land to them because of what was occupied, Joshua insisted that they prove themselves worthy.