11. And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Bethshean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Endor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries.
11. Fuitque ipsi Manasse in Issachar, et in Aser, Beth-sean, et oppida ejus: et Ibleam, et oppida ejus: et habitatores Dor, et oppida ejus: et habitatores Endor, et oppida ejus: et habitatores Thaanach, et oppida ejus: et habitatores Magiddo, et oppida ejus, tres regiones.
12. Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
12. Et non potuerunt filii Manasse expellere habitatores urbium istarum, sed coepit Chananaeus habitare in terra ipsa.
13. Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.
13. Quum autem roborati essent filii Israel, posuerunt Chananaeum tributarium, nec expellendo expulerunt eum.
14. ¶ And the children of Joseph spoke unto Joshua, saying, Why has thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD has blessed me hitherto?
14. Loquui sunt autem filii Joseph ad Josue, dicendo, Cur dedisti mihi in haereditatem sortem unam, et haereditatem unam, quum ego sim populus multus, ita quod hucusque benedixerit mihi Jehova?
15. And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.
15. Dixitque ad eos Josue, Si populus multus es, ascende in sylvam, et succide tibi illic in terra Perizaei, et Rephaim, si angustus est tibi mons Ephraim.
16. And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.
16. Cui responderunt filii Joseph, Non sufficiet nobis mons ille: et currus ferrei sunt in omni Chananaeo qui habitat in terra vallis, et ei qui habitat in Beth-sean et oppidis ejus, et ei qui habitat in valle Jezrael.
17. And Joshua spoke unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and has great power: thou shall not have one lot only:
17. Dixitque Josue ad domum Joseph, nempe ad Ephraim et Manasse, dicendo, Populus multus es, et fortitudo magna est tibi: non erit tibi sors unica.
18. But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shall cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.
18. Mons enim erit tibi, quia sylva est: succides ergo eam, et erunt tibi exitus ejus: quia expelles Chananaeum, quanquam currus ferrei sint ei, quanquam fortis sit.
Here, again, a question arises, How were cities granted to them in the tribe of Asher and Issachar, when the portions of both were as yet unknown? Here, therefore, that which had not yet taken place is related by way of anticipation. Be this as it may, we gather that from ignorance of the localities, single portions were not divided so exactly as not to make it necessary afterwards to correct what had been more or less decided.3 And we must hold in general, with regard both to the tribe of Ephraim and the others, that many of the cities which they gained were of no account because of the devastation. I doubt not that many ruins here lie buried. On the other hand, we must conclude that in fertile spots, or spots possessed of other advantages, where petty villages only existed, their famous cities were founded. It is certain that Sichem was of sufficient importance to hold both a name and rank, and yet there is no mention of it here. The same is the case with Samaria, which, as is well known, belonged to the same tribe of Ephraim when it was the metropolis of the kingdom of Israel. It is plain, therefore, that each tribe possessed several cities, which are here passed over in silence.
We are therefore led to conclude, that when the lots were cast for the two tribes, the admirable counsel of God arranged that the brothers, who had a common father, should be contiguous and neighbors to each other. It is unworthy in them, therefore, to complain and plead that only one inheritance had been given to them, because Joshua had neither such heartlessness nor so much malice as to defraud them of a clear right either through thoughtlessness or envy. 5 But herein lay the falsehood of their complaint concerning narrow boundaries, that they counted all that was yet to be acquired by warlike prowess as nothing; as if the lot had assigned portions to the other tribes only in subjugated territory. Joshua, accordingly, in a single sentence, refutes and disposes of their plea, and retorts upon them a charge by which they were trying to throw obloquy upon him. If your resources and your numbers are so great, why, he asks, do you not make an inroad on the enemy, whose country has been given to you? Nor will the event disappoint you, if, trusting to the promise of God, you boldly proceed to the inheritance which he has bestowed upon you. We see how, although proper provision had been made for them, they were so blinded by sloth as to complain that they were straitened for room, because they were unwilling to move their finger to seek the full possession of their inheritance. Wherefore, this passage teaches us, that if at any time we think less is performed for us than is due, we ought carefully to shake off all delays, and not rashly throw upon others the blame which is inherent in ourselves.
1 Latin, "
2 Latin, "
3 In the French this section of the commentary stops here, and all that follows in the Latin is omitted. It only amounts, however, to a transposition, as the omitted paragraph is inserted under the section of Joshua 17:14, at the place indicated by a note. -- Ed.
5 It is impossible, of course, to make any suppositions at variance with the honor and integrity of Joshua, and it must therefore be held that in whatever manner the lot was taken for the children of Joseph, the strictest equity was observed. Is it necessary, however, to adopt one of the two alternatives, -- either that separate lots were taken for Ephraim and Manasseh, or that Joshua deceived them? Though they counted as two tribes, they had only one patriarch for their ancestor, and it may therefore have been most expedient that, as they were brethren, their settlements should be adjacent to each other. This might, perhaps, have been obtained by taking separate lots, for we have already seen, on several occasions, how the lot, though apparently fortuitous, was providentially controlled, so as to give results at once confirmatory of ancient predictions, and conducive to the public good; and we may therefore presume that even if separate lots had been taken, the result might be still have been to place the two kindred tribes in juxtaposition. But this was only problematical, and the only way of placing the matter beyond doubt was to make one lot serve for both. And there was no necessary injustice in this, since, as has been repeatedly observed, the lot only fixed the locality, without determining its precise limits, and thus left it open to enlarge or curtail them according to the extent of the population. If injustice had been done to the children of Joseph, it would not have been merely because they had been placed in one lot, but because this lot, though really intended for two tribes, had been left as small as if it had been intended only for one. The unreasonableness and dishonesty of the complaint, therefore, lay, according to this view, in their insisting on the fact that only one lot had been taken, and at the same time keeping out of view the other equally important fact, that in fixing its boundaries due allowance had been made for their numbers, and distinct settlements of sufficient magnitude given to each. That only one lot had been taken is strongly confirmed by the whole tenor of the narrative: First, When the children distinctly put the question to Joshua, "Why has thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit?" he does not silence them at once by answering that the assertion which they thus broadly made in the form of a question was not true. On the contrary, the indirectness of his answer seems to imply that the truth of the assertion could not be denied. Secondly, The narrative in Joshua 16, in describing the allocations of Ephraim and Manasseh, speak of them as forming only one lot. Thus, it is said, (Joshua 16:1,)
"The lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho,
unto the water of Jericho on the east;"
and (Joshua 16:4.)
"So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim,
took their inheritance."