The General Borders of the Sons of
1. the lot of the children of Joseph
fell—Hebrew, "went forth," referring either to the lot
as drawn out of the urn, or to the tract of land thereby assigned. The
first four verses describe the territory allotted to the family of
Joseph in the rich domains of central Palestine. It was drawn in one
lot, that the brethren might be contiguously situated; but it was
afterwards divided. The southern boundary only is described here; that
on the north being irregular and less defined (Jos 17:10, 11), is not mentioned.
water of Jericho—(2Ki 2:19), at the joint of its junction with the
mount Beth-el—the ridge south of
Beth-el. Having described the position of Joseph's family generally the
historian proceeds to define the territory; first, that of Ephraim.
The Borders of the Inheritance of
5-9. the border of their inheritance … was
Ataroth-addar—Ataroth-addar (now Atara), four miles south of
Jetta [Robinson], is fixed on as a
center, through which a line is drawn from Upper Beth-horon to
Michmethah, showing the western limit of their actual possessions. The
tract beyond that to the sea was still unconquered.
6, 7. Michmethah on the north side—The
northern boundary is traced from this point eastward to the Jordan.
8. from Tappuah westward unto the river
Kanah—It is retraced from east to west, to describe the
prospective and intended boundary, which was to reach to the sea. Kanah
("reedy") flows into the Mediterranean.
9. separate cities for the children of Ephraim
were among the inheritance of Manasseh—(Jos 17:9), because it was found that the tract
allotted to Ephraim was too small in proportion to its population and
10. they drave not out the Canaanites … but
the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve
under tribute—This is the first mention of the fatal policy
of the Israelites, in neglecting the divine command (De 20:16) to exterminate the idolaters.