Notes on Joshua chapter 16

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit,, MO)

Text: Jos 16:1-10 KJV 1 And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel, 2 And goeth out from Bethel to Luz, and passeth along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth,


“Children of Joseph” refer to Ephraim and Manasseh. Part of Manasseh had settled on the east side of the Jordan along with the tribes of Gad and Reuben.

Nothing else is mentioned of the “water of Jericho” but the city surely had to have a water supply in the vicinity. The only other mention of Jericho’s water is in 2 Kings 2:19-22, when Elisha the prophet was asked to heal the water.

3 And goeth down westward to the coast of Japhleti, unto the coast of Bethhoron the nether, and to Gezer: and the goings out thereof are at the sea.

The Mediterranean Sea was the west border for the western branch of Manasseh.

4 So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance. 5 And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was (thus): even the border of their inheritance on the east side was Atarothaddar, unto Bethhoron the upper; 6 And the border went out toward the sea to Michmethah on the north side; and the border went about eastward

unto Taanathshiloh, and passed by it on the east to Janohah; 7 And it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Naarath, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan.

The location of some of these cities is uncertain except for Jericho and the Jordan River.

8 The border went out from Tappuah westward unto the river Kanah; and the goings out thereof were at the sea. This (is) the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim by their families.

The “river Kanah” is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture except for three times in the book of Joshua. This stream was probably the border between Manasseh and Ephraim.

9 And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim (were) among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages.

It is not clear why this situation existed but there later was a parallel. Simeon’s population was apparently quite small so they were given part of Judah’s territory (see Joshua 19:1-9).

10 And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.

Another case of incomplete obedience. The phrase “unto this day”, as mentioned before, means this was the situation as of the time when Joshua wrote this book.

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).

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