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Manasseh’s Land

17 The lot was drawn for the tribe of Manasseh, because Manasseh was Joseph’s firstborn. Machir, Manasseh’s firstborn, the ancestor of the people living in Gilead, had received Gilead and Bashan because he was a soldier. The land was given to the rest of the families descended from Manasseh, to the descendants of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These were the male descendants of Joseph’s son Manasseh listed by their families.

Zelophehad, son of Hepher, grandson of Gilead, and great-grandson of Machir, whose father was Manasseh, had no sons—only daughters. Their names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. They came to the priest Eleazar, Joshua (son of Nun), and the leaders. They said, “Yahweh commanded Moses to give us some land as an inheritance among our male relatives.” So they gave them an inheritance among their father’s relatives as Yahweh had required. Ten portions of land went to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan River. These portions were distributed because Manasseh’s daughters were given an inheritance along with his sons, while Gilead belonged to Manasseh’s other descendants.

Manasseh’s border extends from Asher to Michmethath, which faces Shechem. Then the border goes south toward the people who live in En Tappuah. (The land of Tappuah belongs to Manasseh, but Tappuah itself, on the border of Manasseh, belongs to Ephraim.) The border then descends southward to the Kanah River. These cities belong to Ephraim, although they are among Manasseh’s cities. Manasseh’s southern border is the river, which ends at the Mediterranean Sea. 10 What is south of the river belongs to Ephraim, and what is north of it belongs to Manasseh. So the Mediterranean Sea is its western border, Asher its northern border, and Issachar its eastern border. 11 In Issachar and Asher, Manasseh possessed Beth Shean and Ibleam with their villages and the people living in Dor, En Dor, Taanach, and Megiddo and their villages. The last three are on mountain ridges.[a]

12 But Manasseh was not able to take possession of these cities since the Canaanites were determined to stay in this land. 13 When the Israelites became strong enough, they made the Canaanites do forced labor, since they didn’t force all of them out.

14 Joseph’s descendants asked Joshua, “Why did you give us only one region for an inheritance? We have a lot of people because Yahweh has blessed us.”

15 Joshua replied, “If there are so many of you, go into the forest! Clear ground for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaim if the mountains of Ephraim are too confining for you.”

16 Joseph’s descendants responded, “The mountains are not enough for us either. Besides, all the Canaanites living in the valley, in Beth Shean and its villages, and in the valley of Jezreel have chariots made of iron.”

17 Then Joshua said to the descendants of Joseph, the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are an important and very powerful people. One region is really not enough for you. 18 The mountain region will be yours as well. It is a forest, so you will have to clear it. All of it will be yours. But you must force out the Canaanites, even though they are strong and have chariots made of iron.”


  1. Joshua 17:11 Hebrew meaning uncertain.

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