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Monday, July 2 2012
Why East And West Manasseh?
The Israelite patriarch Joseph was sold away by his jealous brothers. Despite his hardship at first (see Was Her Name Zuleikha?), the LORD blessed Joseph and enabled him to become the ruler of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh (see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt). While in Egypt, Joseph married an Egyptian woman who gave birth to two sons - Ephraim and Manasseh. Joseph had by that time apparently resigned himself to never returning to his family in the land of Canaan (which he never did), "For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house."
"41:50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
Joseph was nevertheless reunited with his family after they not only came to Egypt to escape a famine, but permanently settled there (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?). Jacob / Israel lived for about seventeen years before he died in Egypt, during which he adopted Joseph's sons as his sons (see Why Did Jacob Adopt Ephraim And Manasseh?). In effect Jacob promoted his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to sons - the reason, as we will read, that their descendants received tribal territories of their own in the land of Israel.
"48:1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 48:2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
After the Exodus, the LORD commanded that a census was to be done of the Israelites ("1:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 1:2 Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; 1:3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies" Numbers 1:1-3 KJV). The military-age men of Manasseh totalled 32,200 - the least of all of the tribes of Israel (keeping in mind that the other tribes had not been divided into two, as Ephraim and Manasseh were from Joseph).
"1:32 Of the children of Joseph, namely, of the children of Ephraim, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:33 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred.
Forty years later, just before the Israelites were to take possession of their promised land, another census was done. At that time, the military-age men of Manasseh totalled 52,700. It was a substantial increase, making Manasseh second only in number to Judah's 76,500.
"26:28 The sons of Joseph after their families were Manasseh and Ephraim.
"These are the sons of Joseph after their families"
Unlike their first approach to the promised land, from the southern desert (see The Negev Of Israel), forty years before, in which the Israelites refused to go (the reason that they were punished with a forty-years wandering in the Sinai; see A Journey Without A Destination), their later approach was from the east - hence the reason that, unlike the southern route, they had to cross the Jordan River. It was not however a rushed journey; the Israelites saw that the lands east of the Jordan were good for pasture and well watered. Ironically or not, they were not far from the place, also east of the Jordan River (shown in the photograph) that their ancestor Jacob had his name changed to Israel (see see Where Jacob Became Israel). The leaders of the tribes of Reuben and Gad therefore asked to make that land, east of the Jordan, their inheritance.
"32:1 Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle; 32:2 The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying, 32:3 Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon, 32:4 Even the country which the LORD [see Appearances Of The LORD God] smote before the congregation of Israel [see The Church In The Wilderness], is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle: 32:5 Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan." (Numbers 32:1-5 KJV)
Moses at first thought that he had another refusal on his hands, just as he did forty years earlier.
"32:6 And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? 32:7 And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them? 32:8 Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land. 32:9 For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the LORD had given them. 32:10 And the LORD's anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying, 32:11 Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: 32:12 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD. 32:13 And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed [see A Journey Without A Destination].
Upon explanation, Moses agreed to the request, if the men of Reuben and Gad would nevertheless accompany the other tribes across the Jordan to assist them in securing their lands in the same way that those other tribes had already fought to obtain the lands east of the Jordan.
"32:16 And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones: 32:17 But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land. 32:18 We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance. 32:19 For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward [see also Beyond Jordan].
So the leaders of the tribes of Reuben and Gad agreed. Note carefully that there is no mention of Manasseh yet.
"32:25 And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spake unto Moses, saying, Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth. 32:26 Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our cattle, shall be there in the cities of Gilead: 32:27 But thy servants will pass over, every man armed for war, before the LORD to battle, as my lord saith.
The idea originated with the leaders of Reuben and Gad, as a purely business decision (for their flocks and herds). Then, we read that a portion of the land east of the Jordan was also allotted "unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph" - as the Reuben and Gad had requested.
"32:33 And Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about." (Numbers 32:33 KJV)
It should be noted however that it wasn't simply a random division of Manasseh into territories east and west of the Jordan. It was done along clan lines, within the one tribe e.g. as would happen if the descendants of one grandson of a patriarch lived to the east and the descendants of the other grandson of a patriarch lived to the west. In this case, "the children of Machir the son of Manasseh" remained east of the Jordan.
"32:34 And the children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer, 32:35 And Atroth, Shophan, and Jaazer, and Jogbehah, 32:36 And Bethnimrah, and Bethharan, fenced cities: and folds for sheep. 32:37 And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kirjathaim, 32:38 And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they builded.
Moses himself did not cross the Jordan River into the promised land west of the Jordan, but the place where he died and was buried was in the Israelite territory east of the Jordan.
"34:1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 34:2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 34:3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 34:4 And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.
So, as agreed, "the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them." When the lands west of the Jordan were taken, they returned to their lands east of the Jordan.
"4:1 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, 4:2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, 4:3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
The other half of the tribe of Manasseh received their land west of the Jordan.
"13:7 Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 13:8 With whom the Reubenites and the Gadites have received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond Jordan eastward, even as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them" (Joshua 13:7-8 KJV)
The Levites, as the priesthood, were given lands and towns throughout the other tribes (see Are Levites 'Jews'?, The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood and No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?; also How Did The Messiah's Levite Priesthood Change?).
"13:14 Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them." (Joshua 13:14 KJV)
The orderly dividing of Manasseh into east and west is further explained along clan lines, within the single tribe of Manasseh.
"17:1 There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. 17:2 There was also a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families." (Joshua 17:1-2 KJV)
There is no Biblical account of how Dinah, the only recorded daughter of Jacob / Israel, received her inheritance, however the legal principle established by Zelophehad's daughters may provide the answer.
"17:3 But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 17:4 And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father. 17:5 And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan; 17:6 Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh's sons had the land of Gilead." (Joshua 17:3-6 KJV)
As with the eastern area of Manasseh, the western section had specified borders (see also The Boundary Law).
"17:7 And the coast of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethah, that lieth before Shechem; and the border went along on the right hand unto the inhabitants of Entappuah. 17:8 Now Manasseh had the land of Tappuah: but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim; 17:9 And the coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river: these cities of Ephraim are among the cities of Manasseh: the coast of Manasseh also was on the north side of the river, and the outgoings of it were at the sea: 17:10 Southward it was Ephraim's, and northward it was Manasseh's, and the sea is his border; and they met together in Asher on the north, and in Issachar on the east. 17:11 And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Bethshean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Endor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries." (Joshua 17:7-11 KJV)
Further adjustments were made, with the responsibility given to those who actually there.
"17:12 Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. 17:13 Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.
As shown in the listings below, Jacob/Israel had twelve sons and one daughter from two wives and two concubines. The tribal allotment for Joseph was divided into two, Ephraim and Manasseh (it could not have been otherwise - there could not have been tribal territories for Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh because Ephraim and Manasseh were all of the people of Joseph).
As shown in the map below, at the end of the First World War, the fall of the Ottoman Empire that had ruled the Middle East for centuries opened the way for the creation of the present-day nations there, from Egypt to Iraq. At that time, Britain held and administered much of Arabia, and the land of Israel - including, as shown on the map below, the entire lands of all of the tribes of Israel, on both sides of the Jordan. Unfortunately, just one tribe, Judah, became impatient; the result was the confined borders of "Israel" today (see the Fact Finder question below).
Fact Finder: (a) How and when were the Israelite tribal lands east of the Jordan lost, in ancient times? (b) How did the deadly impatience of the returning people of Judah in the modern era cause an opportunity to reclaim all of Israel, including the eastern Israelite tribal lands, to be lost?
This Day In History, July 2
626: Li Shimin, the succeeding Emperor Taizong of Tang, Emperor of China, killed his rival brothers in an ambush at the Xuanwu Gate.
1298: An army under Albert of Austria defeated and killed Adolf of Nassua near Vorms (often rendered in English as "Worms"), Germany.
1555: The Ottoman Admiral Turgut Reis sacked Paola, Italy (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1625: The Spanish army took Breda, Spain, after nearly a year of siege.
1644: The Battle of Marston Moor near York brought the first major Royalist defeat in the English Civil War.
1747: Marshall Saxe led French forces to victory over an Anglo-Dutch force under the Duke of Cumberland at the Battle of Lauffeld.
1777: Vermont becomes the first U.S. territory to abolish slavery.
1853: The Russian army crossed the Pruth River, invading Turkey and beginning the Crimean War.
1871: Rome officially became capital of a united Italy; after 1,500 years, Rome again the capital of Italy.
1881: U.S. President James Garfield, who was sworn-in only 3 months earlier, was shot by Charles Guiteau. He died from the injury on September 19.
1897: Guglielmo Marconi, a scientist from Italy, obtained a patent for his "radio" in London.
1900: Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin flew his first airship, over Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.
1937: Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while trying to fly around the world.
1940: The liner Arandora Star was torpedoed by a German submarine while transporting German and Italian prisoners to Canada; over 750 prisoners and crew died.
1962: The first Wal-Mart store opened, in Rogers, Arkansas.
1964: U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and the Public Accommodations Bill that guaranteed equality to blacks. Despite the new laws, a month later 3 civil rights workers were found murdered in Mississippi; police were implicated.
1966: France detonated a nuclear bomb at a test site in the Pacific.
1976: Following Vietnam War (which was actually a civil war between the Vietnamese people whose nation had been divided into two by western imperial powers in 1954), North and South Vietnam were reunited as one country with Hanoi as the capital.
2000: Vicente Fox Quesada was elected President of Mexico, the first from an opposition party, after over 70 years of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.