Joshua, Chapter 16

- ל ו ו -

The Tribe of Joseph Choose Their Inheritance

The next to be apportioned their inheritance is the house of Joseph, subdivided into the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim’s territory is located in central Canaan, north of the Judean foothills and stretching from the sea to the Jordan River. The children of Joseph are second only to Judah in their leadership position in Israel. The daughters of Zelophehad inherit their father’s land, as was promised to them by God in the desert (see Numbers 27:1-11). Since they belong to Manasseh, their inheritance is found in their tribe’s territory. 

Half of the tribe of Manasseh receives territory in central Canaan. Their inheritance encompasses Samaria and part of the Carmel range and stretches all the way to the Jordan River. The other half settles on the eastern side of the river. The representatives of these tribes complain about the conditions of their inheritance—the mountainous woodlands make it challenging to grow crops and the area is home to many hostile Canaanites. Joshua urges them to face their challenges. He is disappointed in them for not accepting their inheritance with the same fortitude and motivation displayed by Caleb and the tribe of Judah. In this decisive hour, all Israelites are expected to set aside their personal needs and undertake the great mission of settling the Promised Land. They must unite and cooperate to undertake their duties properly, because only they can accomplish the difficult tasks at hand. If every person or group were to focus only on themselves and their needs, all of society would fail. 

“And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jerichoon the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel. And goeth out from Bethel to Luz, and passeth along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth, And goeth down westward to the coast of Japhleti, unto the coast of Bethhoron the nether, and to Gezer” (Joshua 16:1-3)

Unselfishness is seeking to receive for the purpose of sharing; unlike selfishness, which is seeking to receive for our own benefit.