Add parallel Print Page Options

Ephraim's Land

16 1-4 Ephraim and Manasseh are the two tribes descended from Joseph, and the following is a description of the land they received. The southern border of their land started at the Jordan River east of the spring at Jericho. From there it went west through the desert up to the hill country around Bethel. From Bethel it went to Luz and then[a] to the border of the Archites in Ataroth.[b] It continued west down to the land that belonged to the Japhlet clan, then went on to Lower Beth-Horon, Gezer, and the Mediterranean Sea.

The following is a description of the land that was divided among the clans of the Ephraim tribe. Their southern border started at Ataroth-Addar and went west to Upper Beth-Horon 6-8 and the Mediterranean Sea. Their northern border started on the east at Janoah, curved a little to the north, then came back south to Michmethath and Tappuah, where it followed the Kanah Gorge west to the Mediterranean Sea.

The eastern border started on the north near Janoah and went between Janoah on the southwest and Taanath-Shiloh on the northeast. Then it went south to Ataroth, Naarah, and on as far as the edge of the land that belonged to Jericho. At that point it turned east and went to the Jordan River. The clans of Ephraim received this region as their tribal land. Ephraim also had some towns and villages that were inside Manasseh's tribal land.

10 (A) Ephraim could not force the Canaanites out of Gezer, so there are still some Canaanites who live there among the Israelites. But now these Canaanites have to work as slaves for the Israelites.

Manasseh's Land West of the Jordan River

17 1-6 (B) Manasseh was Joseph's oldest son, and Machir was Manasseh's oldest son. Machir had a son named Gilead, and some of his descendants had already received the regions of Gilead and Bashan because they were good warriors. The other clans of the Manasseh tribe descended from Gilead's sons Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. The following is a description of the land they received.

Hepher's son Zelophehad did not have any sons, but he did have five daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. One day the clans that were descendants of Zelophehad's five daughters went to the priest Eleazar, Joshua, and the leaders of Israel. The people of these clans said, “The Lord told Moses to give us land just as he gave land to our relatives.”[c]

Joshua followed the Lord's instructions and gave land to these five clans, as he had given land to the five clans that had descended from Hepher's brothers.[d] So Manasseh's land west of the Jordan River was divided into ten parts.

The land of the Manasseh tribe went from its northern border with the Asher tribe south to Michmethath, which is to the east of Shechem. The southern border started there, but curved even farther south to include the people who lived around Tappuah Spring.[e] The town of Tappuah was on Manasseh's border with Ephraim. Although the land around Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, the town itself belonged to Ephraim.

9-10 Then the border went west to the Kanah Gorge and ran along the northern edge of the gorge to the Mediterranean Sea. The land south of the gorge belonged to Ephraim. And even though there were a few towns that belonged to Ephraim north of the gorge, the land north of the gorge belonged to Manasseh.

The western border of Manasseh was the Mediterranean Sea, and the tribe shared a border with the Asher tribe on the northwest and with the Issachar tribe on the northeast.

11 Manasseh was supposed to have the following towns with their surrounding villages inside the borders of Issachar's and Asher's tribal lands:

Beth-Shan, Ibleam, Endor, Taanach, Megiddo, and Dor, which is also called Naphath.[f]

12 (C) But the people of Manasseh could not capture these towns, so the Canaanites kept on living in them. 13 When the Israelites grew stronger, they made the Canaanites in these towns work as their slaves, though they never did force them to leave.

Joseph's Descendants Ask for More Land

14 One day the Joseph tribes[g] came to Joshua and asked, “Why didn't you give us more land? The Lord has always been kind to us, and we have too many people for this small region.”

15 Joshua replied, “If there's not enough room for you in the hill country of Ephraim, then go into the forest that belonged to the Perizzites and the Rephaim.[h] Clear out the trees and make more room for yourselves there.”

16 “Even if we do that,” they answered, “there still won't be enough land for us in the hill country. And we can't move down into Jezreel Valley, because the Canaanites who live in Beth-Shan and in other parts of the valley have iron chariots.”

17 “Your tribes do have a lot of people,” Joshua admitted. “I'll give you more land. Your tribes are powerful, 18 so you can have the rest of the hill country, but it's a forest, and you'll have to cut down the trees and clear the land. You can also have Jezreel Valley. Even though the Canaanites there are strong and have iron chariots, you can force them to leave the valley.”

Joshua Gives Out the Rest of the Land

18 After Israel had captured the land, they met at Shiloh and set up the sacred tent.[i] There were still seven tribes without any land, 3-7 so Joshua told the people:

The Judah tribe has already settled in its land in the south, and the Joseph tribes[j] have settled in their land in the north. The tribes of Gad, Reuben, and East Manasseh already have the land that the Lord's servant Moses gave them east of the Jordan River. And the people of Levi won't receive land like the other tribes. Instead, they will serve the Lord as priests.

But the rest of you haven't done a thing to take over any land. The Lord God who was worshiped by your ancestors has given you the land, and now it's time to go ahead and settle there.

Seven tribes still don't have any land. Each of these tribes should choose three men, and I'll send them to explore the remaining land. They will divide it into seven regions, write a description of each region, and bring these descriptions back to me. I will find out[k] from the Lord our God what region each tribe should get.

Just before the men left camp, Joshua repeated their orders: “Explore the land and write a description of it. Then come back to Shiloh, and I will find out from the Lord how to divide the land.”

The men left and went across the land, dividing it into seven regions. They wrote down a description of each region, town by town, and returned to Joshua at the camp at Shiloh. 10 Joshua found out from the Lord how to divide the land, and he told the tribes what the Lord had decided.

Benjamin's Land

11 Benjamin was the first tribe chosen to receive land. The region for its clans lay between the Judah tribe on the south and the Joseph tribes[l] on the north. 12 Benjamin's northern border started at the Jordan River and went up the ridge north of Jericho, then on west into the hill country as far as the Beth-Aven Desert. 13-14 From there it went to Luz, which is now called Bethel. The border ran along the ridge south of Luz, then went to Ataroth-Orech[m] and on as far as the mountain south of Lower Beth-Horon. At that point it turned south and became the western border. It went as far south as Kiriath-Baal, a town in Judah now called Kiriath-Jearim.

15 Benjamin's southern border started at the edge of Kiriath-Jearim and went east to the ruins[n] and on to Nephtoah Spring. 16 From there it went to the bottom of the hill at the northern end of Rephaim Valley. The other side of this hill faces Hinnom Valley, which is on the land that slopes south from Jerusalem.[o] The border went down through Hinnom Valley until it reached Enrogel.

17 At Enrogel the border curved north and went to Enshemesh and on east to Geliloth,[p] which is across the valley from Adummim Pass. Then it went down to the Monument of Bohan,[q] who belonged to the Reuben tribe. 18 The border ran along the hillside north of Beth-Arabah,[r] then down into the Jordan River valley. 19 Inside the valley it went south as far as the northern hillside of Beth-Hoglah. The last section of the border went from there to the northern end of the Dead Sea,[s] at the mouth of the Jordan River. 20 The Jordan River itself was Benjamin's eastern border.

These were the borders of Benjamin's tribal land, where the clans of Benjamin lived.

21-24 One region of Benjamin's tribal land had twelve towns with their surrounding villages. Those towns were Jericho, Beth-Hoglah, Emek-Keziz, Beth-Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, Chephar-Ammoni, Ophni, and Geba.

25-28 In the other region there were the following 14 towns with their surrounding villages: Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah, Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, Zelah, Haeleph, Gibeah, Kiriath-Jearim,[t] and Jerusalem, which is also called Jebusite Town.

These regions are the tribal lands of Benjamin.


  1. 16.1-4 it … then: Or “which is also called Luz, it went.”
  2. 16.1-4 Ataroth: This is the same Ataroth as Ataroth-Addar in verse 5, but a different Ataroth from the one in verses 6-8.
  3. 17.1-6 The Lord told Moses … relatives: See Numbers 27.1-11; 36.1-12.
  4. 17.1-6 the clans that were descendants of Zelophehad's five daughters … Hepher's brothers: Or “Zelophehad's five daughters went to the priest Eleazar, Joshua, and the leaders of Israel. The five sisters said, ‘The Lord told Moses to give us land just as he gave land to our relatives.’ Joshua followed the Lord's instructions and gave land to these five sisters, as he had given land to Hepher's brothers.”
  5. 17.7 to include … Tappuah Spring: Hebrew; one ancient translation “to Jassiben-Tappuah” or “and turns toward Tappuah Spring.”
  6. 17.11 Dor … Naphath: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 17.14 Joseph tribes: Ephraim and the half of Manasseh that lived west of the Jordan River.
  8. 17.15 Rephaim: See the note at 12.4.
  9. 18.1 sacred tent: Or “meeting tent.”
  10. 18.3-7 Joseph tribes: See the note at 17.14.
  11. 18.3-7 find out: Hebrew “cast lots to find out” (see the note at 14.1-5).
  12. 18.11 Joseph tribes: See the note at 17.14.
  13. 18.13,14 Ataroth-Orech: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Ataroth-Addar.”
  14. 18.15 the ruins: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  15. 18.16 Jerusalem: Hebrew “the Jebusite town.”
  16. 18.17 Geliloth: Probably another name for Gilgal.
  17. 18.17 Monument of Bohan: See the note at 15.6.
  18. 18.18 hillside north of Beth-Arabah: One ancient translation (see also the border description in 15.6); Hebrew “the northern hillside overlooking the Jordan River valley.”
  19. 18.19 northern … Dead Sea: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  20. 18.25-28 Kiriath-Jearim: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Kiriath.”

Bible Gateway Recommends