Joshua 16:9 MEANING

Joshua 16:9
(9) The separate cities for the children of Ephraim were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh; and Joshua 17:10-11 : "Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher, Beth-shean," &c. This fact would manifestly tend to produce a solidarity among the several tribes, and to prevent disunion by creating common interests. The interest of the stronger tribes would be served by completing the conquest of the territory assigned to the weaker. And the general formation thus produced would resemble that which was known by the name of the testudo, or tortoise, in Roman warfare. When a body of soldiers approached the wall of a town which it was intended to assault, they sometimes held their shields over them, overlapping like scales, each man's shield partly sheltering his own, and partly his neighbour's body, so that no missile could penetrate. Thus it may be said not only of Jerusalem, but of all the tribes in the land of their possession, that they were built as a city that is compact together, and at unity in itself: united by joints and bands, so that if one member of the body politic should suffer, all the members must suffer with it. For a further illustration of the same topic, see on the inheritance of Benjamin (Joshua 18:11) and of Simeon (Joshua 19:1).

Verse 9. - And the separate cities. Literally, and the cities divided off. The word "were," in our version, is misplaced. It should be read thus: "And there were cities divided off and assigned to the tribe of Ephraim in the midst of the inheritance of the sons of Manasseh" (see note on ver. 5). This fact, together with the compensation given to Manasseh, may serve to explain the cohesion of the ten tribes in opposition to Judah. The boundaries of the latter tribe were more strictly defined, her attitude more exclusive. We may almost discern this in the prominence given to Judah in the present book. Ephraim, already enraged at the passing away of the pre-eminence from itself, which had not merely been predicted, but, as Judges 8:1-3 and Judges 12:1 show, had been actually enjoyed, was closely allied to Manasseh, and Manasseh to Issachar and Zebulun, by the arrangement we are considering. It would naturally be able, by its position and these circumstances, to combine together the rest of the tribe against the somewhat overbearing attitude of the tribe of Judah (see 2 Samuel 19:43).

16:20-63 Here is a list of the cities of Judah. But we do not here find Bethlehem, afterwards the city of David, and ennobled by the birth of our Lord Jesus in it. That city, which, at the best, was but little among the thousands of Judah, Mic 5:2, except that it was thus honoured, was now so little as not to be accounted one of the cities.And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim,.... The tribe of Ephraim, being much larger than the half tribe of Manasseh, besides the lot that fell to it, described before by its boundaries, had several particular and distinct cities given to it: which

were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh; some that were upon the borders of Ephraim, and within the territory of Manasseh, and it may be where it jetted out in a nook or corner, see Joshua 17:8,

all the cities with their villages; not the separate cities only, but the little towns adjacent to them.

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