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Boasting accomplishes nothing

The next allotment of land was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph’s older son. Makir, the firstborn son of Manasseh, was the father of Gilead. Because his descendants were experienced soldiers, the regions of Gilead and Bashan on the east side of the Jordan had already been given to them. So the allotment on the west side of the Jordan was for the remaining families within the clans of the tribe of Manasseh: Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These clans represent the male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph...But the descendants of Manasseh were unable to occupy these towns because the Canaanites were determined to stay in that region. Later, however, when the Israelites became strong enough, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves. But they did not drive them out of the land. The descendants of Joseph came to Joshua and asked, “Why have you given us only one portion of land as our homeland when the Lord has blessed us with so many people?” Joshua replied, “If there are so many of you, and if the hill country of Ephraim is not large enough for you, clear out land for yourselves in the forest where the Perizzites and Rephaites live....But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots, both those in Beth-shan and its surrounding settlements and those in the valley of Jezreel. They are too strong for us... Then Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph, “Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion. The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners. And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.” Joshua 17:1-2, 13-15,17-18 NLT

Joshua once again is facing a problem with the son of Joseph regarding the allotment of the land and this time it was Manasseh. He complained that they were not given enough land. He even bragged that they deserved to have a big portion for they are a great people blessed by God until now (v. 14). This is the only complaint about the inheritance. The complaint was unfounded for they have already received a good amount of the allotments. Joshua being from the tribe of Ephraim (Numbers 13:8) was expected to give in to the request since Ephraim and Manasseh are sons of Joseph. There exists a relationship therefore they deserved special treatment. But instead of giving in to the whims of Manasseh, Joshua told his relatives that if they are such a great people then they can easily defeat the Canaanites living in the land apportioned to them. Manasseh does not really believe in their greatness for he cited another excuse by telling Joshua that the Canaanites “are strong and have iron chariots” (v. 18). Joshua responded by rebuking Manasseh and reminded him of the responsibility expected because of greatness and not on privilege. Joshua will not be swayed by favoritism and selfish interests. This attitude of pride and selfishness of Manasseh persisted that he did not listen to Joshua and had cost the downfall of his tribe. Later on, his tribe just like the tribe of Ephraim created problems for Joshua and Gideon (see Judges 8). It is not boasting and pride that provides victory but faith and humility.



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