Chapter 16


Land Allotted to Joseph’s Descendants

      • The allotment for Joseph’s descendants extended from the Jordan River near Jericho, to the waters of Jericho on the east, into the wilderness, going up from Jericho into the hill country of Bethel. It went from Bethel (that is, Luz) over to the border of the Archites by Ataroth. From there, it descended westward to the Japhletites’ territory as far as the territory of Lower Beth-horon, then on to Gezer, and ending at the Mediterranean Sea. This was how Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, received their inheritance.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 41:50-52). Half of Manasseh’s descendants had received their inheritance east of the Jordan River. The tribe of Ephraim and the rest of the tribe of Manasseh now received their allotments.”

        • There is a translation discrepancy with respect to Bethel and Luz. The Masoretic Text says that the territory went from “Bethel to Luz”, while the Septuagint omits Luz, saying that the territory went from Bethel to the borders of Achatarothi. The implication being that Bethel and Luz are the same place. Therefore, many of the newer translations opt for the rendering I noted above, “Bethel (that is, Luz)”. This is logical to me because, as a whole, the Septuagint seems to be more reliable than the Masoretic with respect to its territory descriptions and city listings (here in Joshua anyway) as we have seen in the previous chapters. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible gives this additional reasoning for siding with the Septuagint, “The association of the name of Bethel with Luz occurs three times in Genesis (Genesis 28:19; 35:6; 48:3), twice in Joshua (here, 18:13), and twice in Judges (Judges 1:23, 26).”

Land Allotted to Ephraim

      • The following territory was allotted to the clans of the tribe of Ephraim:

        • Their eastern border went from Ataroth-addar to Upper Beth-horo, then continued to the Mediterranean Sea. From Micmethath in the north, the border turned toward the east to Taanath-shiloh, and passed beyond it to the east of Janoah. From Janoah, it went down to Ataroth and Naarah. It touched Jericho and ended at the Jordan. From Tappuah, the border went westward to the brook of Kanah and ended at the Mediterranean Sea.

        • This was the allotment of the tribe of Ephraim’s descendants by their clans. In addition, some of the cities with their villages that were set apart for Ephraim’s descendants were located within the territory allotted to Manasseh’s descendants.

          • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “These previously unattested sites move from west to east along the northern border of Ephraim and the southern border of Manasseh.”

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible adds, “The brook Kanah is a small river that starts near Schechem and joins the Yarkon.”

        • However, they didn’t drive the Canaanites out of Gezer. So these Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim as forced laborers to this day.

        • Guzik writes, “If they had the power to make the people of Gezer forced laborers, they certainly had the power to defeat them completely, especially because Gezer was a city that Joshua had already conquered (Joshua 10:33 and Joshua 12:12)…This sort of compromise seems innocent, but it became the way that much idolatry and immoral worship came into the people of Israel. This is one reason why we see so many struggles in the days of the Judges.”