Josh 16.1-10 deals with the territory of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. So, lets deal with each verse and see what they allude to. The other half of Manasseh settled on the east side of the Jordan. It says that this portion, as with the others as well, was apportioned by lot. This was to show that it was the Lord who gave them the land and their inheritance. It is the same way with us. This lot went from the Jordan (death) at Jericho (fragrance) to the waters of Jericho on the east (away from God) into the wilderness (the world is a wilderness) through the hill country (mountain) to Bethel (house of God). Spiritually, this alludes to our inheritance begins at death and our conversion (a fragrance to God), and the waters of death (Jordan) flows through the world on the east (away from God) to the kingdom and the house of God.
It went from Bethel (house of God) to Luz (almond tree) and continued to the border of the Archites (long) at Ataroth (crowns). The almond tree is the first tree to bloom in the spring and speaks of resurrection. Our eternal life (long) begins at the resurrection moving west (towards God) and we receive the crown of life. Josh 16.3 says that the border went down westward (towards God) to the territory of the Japhletites (belonging to) as far as lower Beth-horon (cavernous house= where the unbeliever goes at death) to Gezer (cut off= Satan is cut off) and it ended at the sea (humanity is in conflict and we need to be fishers of men-Isa 57.20; Matt 4.18-19).
Josh 16.4 says that Manasseh (to forget= we need to forget the past failures) and Ephraim (fruitful= we need to be fruitful) received their inheritance. Now this was the territory of the sons (our origins go back to the Messiah) of Ephraim. The border of their inheritance eastward was Ataroth (crowns of righteousness-2 Tim 4.8) as far as upper Beth-horon. Then the border went west (towards God) at Michmethath (place of hiding) on the north (direction of wisdom/intellect) and the border turned east (away from God) to Taanath-shiloh (approach to Shiloh= peace) and continue beyond it to the east of Janoah (resting place). Even though a believer turns east he has an opportunity to repent and obtain peace from God and find a resting place.
In Josh 16.7 the border went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah (maiden) and then reached Jericho and came out at the Jordan. The bride will have a fragrance when she reaches death, what she will be like. Then Josh 16.8 says from Tappuah (apple, cause to breathe= life) the border continued westward (towards God) to the brook of Kanah (place of reeds) and ended at the sea. This was Ephraim’s inheritance. Josh 16.9 says says that this went together with the cities which were set apart for the sons of Ephraim in the “midst” of the inheritance of the sons of Manasseh. This teaches us that fruitfulness (Ephraim) can still be in the midst of forgetfulness in the flesh (Manasseh), the old nature and past failures.
Josh 16.10 says that they did not drive out the Canaanites (trafficker, merchants) who lived in Gezer (cut off), so the Canaanites lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day and they became forced laborers. This tells us what we should do. We need to drive out the spiritual merchants and traffickers, too, or the blessing will be cut off from God.
Now we come to Josh 17.1-18 and the lot (showing that this inheritance was from God) for Manasseh (to forget). He was the firstborn of Joseph (remember, the first born represents the flesh). To Machir (bought/bartered), the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, was allotted Gilead (heap of stones/witness) and Bashan (in the tooth, ivory). The believer was bought at Golgotha (heap of witness/stone) by the pure (ivory) word (tooth) of God. In Josh 17.2 it says that a lot was made for the rest of the sons of Manasseh. In verse 3 it says that Zelophedad (dark shadow) did not have any sons, only daughters. So they came before Eleazar the high priest and Joshua to plead for an inheritance, and they were given one among their fathers’ brothers. This is discussed here because it was unusual for women to receive an inheritance. In this case it was more important to have the land stay within the ancestral families than to follow custom. This was already decided upon with Moses back in Num 27.1-11.
In Josh 17.7-13 we have the boundaries of the western half of Manasseh and their incomplete defeat of the land. Ten portions (ten is the number of God’s government) to Manasseh, besides Gilead and Bashan. The border of Manasseh ran from Asher (happy) to Michmethath (place of hiding) which was east (direction away from God) of Shechem (shoulder), then went south (direction of faith) to En-tappuah (fountain of an apple, to breathe). The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on the border belonged to Ephraim.
In Josh 17.9 it says that the border went down to the brook Kanah (place of reeds), southward of the brook among the cities of Manasseh, and the border of Manasseh was on the north side (wisdom/intellect) of the brook and it ended at the sea (humanity-Isa 57.20). In verse 10 it says the south side (believers live in faith) belonged to Ephraim (fruitfulness) and the north side (intellect/wisdom) and they reached to Asher (happy) on the north to Issachar (man of hire/work) on the east (away from God). If we devote ourselves to the great work of fishing for men in the sea of humanity we will be happy.
Josh 17.11 tells us that Issachar, Asher and Manasseh had Beth-shean (house of quiet= believers can have peace-Phil 4.7) and its towns and Iblean (he will swallow= reminds us that Satan can ruin us) and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor (habitation) and its towns, the inhabitants of Endor (fountain of Dor) and its towns and the inhabitants of Taanach (who answers you) and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo (he will afflict you) and its towns, and Napheth (height). But in Josh 17.12 it says that Manasseh could not take possession of these cities because the Canaanite persisted in living in the land. Spiritually, the merchants and the traffickers will always hinder us in the congregations. In Josh 17.13 it says that when Israel became strong they put the Canaanites to forced labor but they did not drive them out completely.
In Josh 17.14-18 the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua and said that their portion was too small, they were numerous. But Joshua told them to go up to the forest and and clear a place for themselves in the land of the Perizzites (squatters) and of the Rephaim (giants), since the hill country in Ephraim is too narrow. They are like believers today who want more spiritual territory without doing the work. But the sons of Joseph said the hill country was not enough (prayer and study isn’t enough for some) and the Canaanites in the valley of Beth-shean (house of quiet) and Jezreel (God will sow) had chariots. Spiritually, the traffickers in the faith are powerful (have chariots) as they rule but God will sow the good seed of peace and quiet (Psa 46.10). Joshua tells them in verse 17 that they will have another lot because they were too numerous and had great power. We will have our lot on earth, but we will have an additional lot in the Olam Haba. He also said in verse 18 that the hill country (mountain) will be theirs. They will drive out the Canaanites there because Joseph was powerful. This alludes to the fact that the kingdom (seen as a mountain-Dan 2.35; Isa 2.2-4) shall be ours even though the spiritual traffickers and merchants rule now. They will be driven out of the kingdom when Yeshua comes (Zech 14.21; Rev 22.15).
In Part 10 we will pick up in Josh 18.