JOSHUA - CHAPTER 17
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000 James Melough
“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”
chapter deals with the appointment of the lot for the half tribe of Manasseh on the
west side of Jordan, since the other half of the tribe had already been given Gilead
and Bashan on the east side. As has been
noted already, the spiritual lesson being taught in this assignment of a lot on each
side of Jordan, is that there is in our inheritance that which may be enjoyed “east
of Jordan,” i.e., here on earth in relation to temporal things.
For example, we are delivered from anxious care as to temporal needs, for we
have the assurance of God’s provision for such needs, Mt 6:25-34.
In bereavement we “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” 1 Thes
4:13. We have the assurance amid every
earthly circumstance that, “All things work together for good to them that love
God,” Ro 8:28. But we have a
portion also “west of Jordan,” i.e., the spiritual blessings that are ours in
Christ, and which may be enjoyed in spirit even here on earth.
the firstborn represents the flesh, his being Joseph’s firstborn continues to
emphasize that Manasseh declares not only that we are to exemplify the spirit of
forgetfulness relative to the past, but that he represents us also as men and women
still in natural bodies in which the new nature has to dwell side by side with the
old, that old nature remaining unchanged and continuing to delight in evil.
This truth is further emphasized in its being said, not only that Manasseh was
Joseph’s firstborn, but that Machir, meaning a salesman, was Manasseh’s
firstborn. For the significance of
Machir please see the notes on 13:31, and for Gilead heap of witness: rolling for
ever, 12:2,5. Whether as the name of
a place, a man, or a city, Gilead has the same meaning, and the same spiritual
significance. Relative to Bashan, the
notes on 9:10 and 12:4 should be consulted.
is instructive to note that just as the enjoyment of that literal portion in Canaan
required them to cross Jordan, so, if we are going to enjoy the corresponding
spiritual portion, “Jordan” must also be crossed. i.e., we must live as those who
are dead to the world, giving practical effect to what is written in Gal 2:20, “I
am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who
loved me, and gave himself for me.”
had Gilead and Bashan (east of Jordan, “because he was a man of war.”
The portion God would have us enjoy relative to temporal things is the same as
that which relates to spiritual blessings: neither will be ours apart from an
energetic warfare with the things and people Satan would use to rob us of what God
“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.”
as six is the number of man, weakness, failure, and sin, these six sons of Manasseh
would remind us that as men still in human bodies we too are marked by all that is
associated with the number six, but it is in just such weakness that God can manifest
His power, as Paul has written “And he (God) said unto me, My grace is sufficient
for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness” 2 Co 12:9.
Abiezer, meaning father of help, is the symbolic OT declaration of that
same truth, for it reminds us that the help or power of God our Father is available
to every obedient believer.
means a portion, and often a portion of spoil, so that in him we see
declared the truth that as God assigned each Israelite his portion in Canaan, so does
He also assign each of us his portion here on earth.
Our activity in the lot assigned to us, however, has a direct bearing on the
eternal portion that awaits us in heaven, and we should never forget that the
inheritance of the redeemed is the spoil secured for us as a result of the Lord’s
great victory over all the forces of darkness at Calvary.
meaning I shall be prince of God, scarcely needs comment. Transcending the grasp of human thought is the assurance that
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of
God: and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be
that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” Ro 8:16-18. “For if we be
dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer (endure, we shall also reign
with him....” 2 Tim 2:11-12.
means shoulder (literally early rising; diligence. The shoulder is one of the biblical symbols of strength and
security, and the first meaning shoulder recalls the parable of the lost
sheep, which when found, was placed on the shepherd’s shoulders, Lk 15:5.
The shepherd, of course, is Christ, and every believer is portrayed by the
recovered sheep. We have been lifted up to the equivalent of His shoulder: a place
of strength and security from which nothing can ever remove us.
rising and diligence are virtually synonymous, so that the second lesson of Shechem
is that we are to be diligent in the Lord’s business, the degree of our diligence
having a direct bearing on the measure of the reward that will be given us at the
the spiritual significance of Hepher which means a pit: shame, please consult
the notes on 12:17.
means name of knowledge: my name he knows, the obvious lesson being that God
knows my name, as He does that of all the redeemed.
But His knowing my name implies that He knows everything about me, and a
question we would do well to ask is, How much do I know about Him?
His desire is that the knowledge be reciprocal.
He wants us to know Him, not just as a distant abstraction, but as He knows
us: intimately. He wants us to know Him
not only as the Mighty God, but as our Father; and the way to acquire that knowledge
is to study and obey the written Word, for it is in that Word that He is revealed.
The Lord Jesus Christ was the living manifestation of the Father, as it is
written, “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels,
preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” 1 Tim
3:16, so that He could say, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou
not know me, Philip? He that hath seen
me hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” Jn 14:9.
But since the written Word is the revelation or manifestation of the Lord
Jesus Christ, it follows that as we know that Word we know Him, and therefore know
also the Father.
its being said that “these were the male children of Manasseh,” - emphasizing the
distinction between them and the daughters of Zelophehad, with whom they shared the
territory west of Jordan - we find further instructiuon, for in Scripture the male
represents activity of the will; and the female, passivity.
In the properly balanced Christian life there is need of both.
There must first be submission to learn God’s will, and to accept it, and
then there must be a corresponding activity to do His will.
In this, as in all things, it is the Lord Himself Who demonstrates perfectly
these two aspects of the human will. No
one was ever as subject to God’s will as He, nor was anyone ever as zealous in
carrying out that will.
“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.”
means shadow of fear: first rupture, meanings which when added to the fact
that he had no sons, has an ominous significance.
His having no sons speaks of lack of activity of the will in doing God’s
will, while fear and rupture also do not have a good spiritual connotation.
He portrays the believer whose life is marked by submission without the
necessary corresponding activity. He
represents those who refrain from doing wrong, but also from actively doing good.
Their obedience is onesided, consisting mainly of heeding God’s “thou
shalt not,” while ignoring His “thou shalt.”
Activity in service is lacking from their lives.
means sickness, and the lesson is too obvious to miss.
Lack of activity in service is a spiritual sickness, and sadly it is one from
which many professing Christians suffer. God
has work for each of us to do. We are
saved to serve. The Lord’s command,
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” Mk 16:15, is
addressed to every believer, not just to the disciples.
And we have no excuse. Anyone can
pass on a tract.
meaning rest, assures us, though, that however delinquent we may be, every
believer will enter into God’s eternal rest, but where there has been no service it
will be to enter into that rest without the reward that faithful service would have
means the feast has languished, and in the meaning of this name God would
teach us at least two lessons. First,
obedience to the Gospel brings the onetime prodigal back to the Father’s house to
enjoy a spiritual feast, but the partial obedience that refuses to serve, will rob
that believer of much of the joy of his salvation.
For him the feast will “languish.”
other lesson relates to the feast of the Lord’s supper, which throughout most of
Christendom has become a travesty of the original as ordained by God.
The scriptural pattern is for believers, and only believers, to gather
together around the Lord’s table on the first day of each week to present their
worship, the women, with covered heads, offering their worship silently; and those
men whom the Spirit may lead, offering theirs audibly, that vocalized worship
being not only the expression of the personal worship of the man participating, but
of the whole company. In very many
instances, however, even where the scriptural pattern is followed, the feast has
“languished,” for it is often painfully apparent that much of what passes for
worship is prompted by the flesh rather than the Holy Spirit.
meaning a queen, does not have a good connotation, for the Church, the bride
of Christ, is never referred to as a queen; but concerning the evil harlot
organization which is Satan’s counterfeit of the Church, it is recorded that “she
saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow” Re
18:7. That diabolic travesty which
virtually rules Christendom today has been so successful in disguising her true
character that even the majority of genuine believers know nothing of the depths of
her wickedness , and blinded by her outward glory, have been induced to adopt some of
meaning she will delight, represents the true Church, and since the spiritual
significance of the woman Tirzah is the same as the city of that name, the notes on
12:24 should be consulted here.
this mixture of good and bad associated with the meanings of the names of the
daughters of Zelophehad we see the truth that while we are here in the body there
will be also a mixture of good and bad in our conduct.
But though God by His foreknowledge could declare what the state of the Church
would be here on earth, we are to remember that this does not imply that it has to be
the condition of any individual believer. Each
one of us has been endowed with the power to keep the flesh where it belongs: in the
place of death, and we are to use that power, the encouragement given us being the
assurance that, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth me” Php
4:13. Our prayer should be for grace to
live so that we will fulfill the type of Tirzah rather than Milcah.
“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.”
the spiritual significance of Eleazar please see the notes on 14:1; and for Joshua
and Nun, the notes on 1:1. The princes
are types of the elders of the local churches. The
coming of these five sisters before Eleazar, Joshua, and the princes, for the
resolution of their problem, provides the pattern for the resolution of problems in
the Church. They are to be brought, in
prayer, before “Eleazar,” Christ as our Great High Priest; and “Joshua,”
Christ, the Captain of our salvation; and the “princes,” the elders.
earlier command given Moses relative to the portion for these daughters of Zelophehad
is recorded in Numbers 24. Since Moses
is a type of Christ leading us out of spiritual bondage; and Joshua, a type of Christ
as Captain of our salvation, leading us into our spiritual inheritance, the
resolution of the problem before Moses is the typological revelation of the truth
that our inheritance has been secured for us through Christ’s death; but the
present resolution before Joshua reminds us that we enter into the possession of our
inheritance through association with Christ resurrected.
already noted, the woman speaks of submission of the will, as the man does of its
activity; while the number five speaks of responsibility. In the present context therefore the activity of these five women
in seeking an inheritance, portrays the truth that in all things we are responsible
to ensure that the activity of our will is preceded by its submission to God’s
“And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and
Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan;”
“Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and
the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.”
we have already discussed Manasseh, Gilead, Bashan, and Jordan, it remains only to
look at the significance of the ten portions given Manasseh west of Jordan.
Since ten is the number associated with God as the Governor, as twelve is with
those under His government, in Manasseh’s ten portions we are being reminded that
God must be obeyed if we are to be blessed.
“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
glance at a map reveals that the places mentioned don’t really mark Manasseh’s
border, for they run from the promontory of Mount Carmel on the north west coast, on
Asher’s border, down to Entappuah in the northern part of Ephraim’s lot,
confirming what we have already noted: in most cases the geographic location is
incidental to the spiritual lesson embodied in the meanings of the names.
is the only scriptural reference to Entappuah, and it is generally taken to be simply
another form of Tappuah, both names having almost identical meanings, Tappuah meaning
thou wilt cause to breathe; and Entappuah meaning fount of the apple or
has already been discussed in our study of 1:12; 4:12; 12:6; 13:7,29,31; 14:4;
16:4,9; Michmethah, in 16:6; Shechem, in 17:2; and Entappuah (Tappuah, in 12:17;
15:34; 16:8, so it is necessary here to look only at Asher meaning happy. As a
tribe of Israel he represents a characteristic that should mark us as believers: of
all the people on earth we have most cause to be happy.
“Now Manasseh had the land of Tappuah: but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh
belonged to the children of Ephraim:”
have already noted that Manasseh represents us not only as those who should not
permit the failures of the past to discourage us; but that he also serves to remind
us that the flesh, the old nature is still with us. Ephraim, on the other hand, speaks exclusively of us as spiritual
men who are therefore to be bearing spiritual fruit. Tappuah’s being as it were common to both, continues to
emphasize the truth that though we are new creatures in Christ, we are also still in
the same natural bodies as when unconverted. Its
being said, however, that “Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the
children of Ephraim” declares the truth that the flesh is to be kept under the
control of the Spirit.
“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:”
the significance of Kanah please consult the notes on 16:8.
the south is the direction that speaks of faith, Ephraim’s lot being south of the
river is the symbolic reminder that as spiritual men portrayed by Ephraim, we too are
to dwell in the south land, i.e., we are to walk by faith, and not by sight, 2 Co
5:7. Manasseh, on the other hand, who
speaks more of what we are as men still in earthly bodies, had his lot north of the
river, and the north speaks scripturally of human intelligence, working very often in
opposition to faith. We are to guard
against the temptation to walk according to the dictates of our own minds, rather
than by the written Word.
fact that the cities of Ephraim were among the cities of Manasseh, continues to
emphasize the same lesson as is taught in verse 8.
the significance of the sea, please consult the notes on 15:12.
“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
first part of this verse continues to emphasize the same lessons we have already
considered relative to what is of the body, and what pertains to the spirit; and the
spiritual significance of the sea has already been examined in our study of 15:12
where we noted that it represents the great sea of unconverted humanity in which we
are to be God’s fishermen seeking to catch men in the net of the Gospel.
Asher means happy, a useful lesson is taught in its being said that the
borders of Ephraim and Manasseh were the sea, and that they met in Asher (a town, not
the tribe, but having the same meaning. The
believer who devotes himself with a whole heart to the great work of fishing for
souls, will be a happy man.
and in Issachar in the east.” Issachar
means he will be hired: there is reward: he will bring reward, and only a very
small section of his western border constituted Manasseh’s eastern border; but the
linking together here of these two tribes may be designed to teach the truth that
even with all the failure resulting from the activity of the flesh in our lives, God
still has a work for every believer to do, and that work done to the best of our
ability will be rewarded at the Bema.
“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.”
meaning house of quiet, and being given to Manasseh, seems to be the symbolic
announcement of the truth that
though the old nature is still with us, obedience makes available to us the peace or
quiet of God which passeth all understanding, Php 4:7.
meaning he will swallow them: he will swallow the people, on the other hand,
has an ominous significance, and sounds the warning that Satan, working through the
flesh, can bring us to ruin, not in the sense of taking away our salvation, but by
leading us into disobedience which will rob us of the reward that obedience would
have secured for us.
meaning generation: dwelling, has already been discussed in our study of 11:2,
which notes the reader may now review.
means fountain of the dwelling, and inasmuch as a fountain is one of the
biblical symbols of the written Word, the lesson is that we are to take possession of
“Endor,” that is, we are to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the study of
Scripture, so that we may “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ” 2 Pe 3:18, as it is written, “Study to show thyself approved
unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth” 2 Tim 2:15.
meaning she will afflict thee, has been discussed in 12:21, and it is
suggested that the reader review those notes.
meaning invading: gathering for cutting (self: his cutting place, has also
been discussed in 12:21, and has the same significance here.
even three countries” is generally considered to refer to the lots of Manasseh and
Ephraim, plus the towns which had been given them within the territories of Asher and
“Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those
cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.”
“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.”
Manasseh, as with Judah, it appears to have been a case of “would not” rather
than “could not,” and it is no different in the churches today. The “traffickers” whom the Canaanites represent, “dwell in
the land,” i.e., constitute part (and often the larger part of many a congregation.
And true believers make no attempt to remove them.
They are, in fact, “put to tribute.”
They are encouraged to remain because of what they can contribute financially.
Relative to the Canaanites dwelling in the midst of Israel see also the
comments on 15:63 and 16:10.
“And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given
me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as
the Lord hath blessed me hitherto?"
“And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to
the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of
the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.”
is clear that while Ephraim and Manasseh had each his own territory in Canaan, the
boundaries were ill defined, the towns of one being often located within the borders
of the other; and we have already noted that the reason lies in the fact that while
Ephraim portrays us as spiritual men, Manasseh portrays us more as men still in
natural bodies, and therefore subject to infirmity, and to the activity of the old
nature. Here on earth the two natures
dwell in the same body, and so here these two tribes are spoken of as one:Josheph;
but while there may be two of us, the natural and the spiritual, in God’s referring
to Ephraim and Manasseh as Joseph, He would remind us that in spite of the old nature
still within us, He views us as “Joseph’s” - He sees us as we are in Christ.
failure to see that in what they had been given they had everything they needed, is
the symbolic picture of the attitude of many a believer, and many a church.
It is the biblical demonstration of the fact that many of us, like them, want
more territory (spiritual enrichment), but without the toil that produces it.
emphasized that they were “a great people,” i.e., a numerous people, but it is
instructive to note that God attaches little importance to numbers, note for example,
His reduction of Gideon’s army from thirty-two thousand to three hundred.
Almost invariably He uses individuals.
also had to confess that God had already blessed them, and so must we.
At incalculable cost He has secured for us eternal life, and though priceless,
has bestowed it upon us as a gift.
reply is the symbolic announcement of another truth.
Experience confirms what Scripture everywhere declares: a genuine concern for
men’s souls, a zeal in going out with the Gospel, go hand in hand not only with
numerical growth, but with prosperity of soul. Who
will fail to trace the hand of the Holy Spirit in what is written here?
We have noted already that the two tribes involved speak of a forgetting that
results in fruitfulness; and lest we should fail to see that fruitfulness is the
subject here, God, instead of using the tribal names, refers to them as Joseph,
meaning let him add.
is significant also that the language used here is virtually the same as that used by
Haggai to the disobedient remnant regarding the building of God’s house.
Here it is, “Get thee up to the wood (country is not in the original,
and cut down for thyself,” and in Haggai it is, “Go up to the mountain, and bring
wood, and build the house,” Hag 1:8. The
symbols are the same in both cases. Since
a mountain represents a king or a kingdom, the command to us is to “go up” from
occupation with earthly things, to the high ground of His kingdom.
How? Set apart a time each day to
be alone with God. The first step to an
obedient, and therefore happy and fruitful Christian life is to have a place where I
can go and shut the door on earth’s distractions, where I can open my Bible and
listen while God talks to me from its pages, and where I can kneel and talk with Him
wood too is symbolic: it represents humanity. As
the returned remnant spoken of in Haggai was to cut down literal wood, and then
fashion it into boards for God’s house, so are we to go out with the Gospel, the
instrument of the Holy Spirit to first cut men down by showing them their need of a
Savior, and then following their conversion, to shape them into “boards” for
God’s house; first cut down by the convicting power of the Word; but then, as
obedient believers, shaped according to that same Word, each is set by Divine
appointment in his proper place in God’s house, the Church.
wooded country was, “... in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants (Rephaim.”
Perizzite means rustic: squatter. He represents the unsaved.
They are spiritual “rustics,” i.e., untaught in spiritual things;
“squatting” upon, occupying without right, the world that God has given to
believers; and the Rephaim, meaning the dead: giants, portray another of the
characteristics of those to whom we are to preach the Gospel: they may be
“giants” in commerce, education, art, etc., but they are spiritually dead.
personal, individual faithful zealous Gospel outreach is the biblical way to
true enlargement and blessing. (For
further details concerning the Perizzites, see also the notes on 12:8.
“And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the
Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who
are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.”
the hill speaks of that place to which we go to have our strength renewed by the
study of Scripture and by prayer, the valley represents the sphere of service where
we are to be about our Father’s business. Their
objection that the hill wasn’t enough for them, translates into the almost
universal belief of Christendom that study and prayer are inadequate preparation for
Christian service. The general
misconception is that special training in a seminary or Bible school is also
essential. Nothing could be further from
the truth. In those early days when the
Church flourished there were neither seminaries nor Bible schools.
We read that “They (the believers continued steadfastly in the apostles’
doctrine (the study of God’s Word and fellowship (a loving care for one another,
and in breaking of bread (the weekly commemoration of the Lord’s death and
resurrection, by means of the Lord’s supper, and in prayers” Ac 2:42.
The result was that they “ate their food with gladness and singleness of
heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people.
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” Ac
that early love and zeal and simple obedience soon faded away as the things of the
world began to usurp the place of the things of God; and the sad result is that today
all that can be heard in the professing church is what one has aptly called “the
clanking of eccleastical machinery.” The
theologically educated hireling has replaced those with spiritual gift, and the
result is that an outward form is all that remains of the former glory.
It is as it was in the days of Rehoboam: the shields of gold (symbols of
God’s protection and glory carried away by Egypt (the world, have been replaced
with brass replicas (symbols of God’s judgment, see 2 Ch 12:9-10.
the valley represents the sphere of service, the Canaanites (traffickers dwelling
there furnish a dramatically accurate symbolic picture of the state in Christendom
today. The “valley,” the sphere of
Chrisitan service, swarms with spiritual “Canaanites” who have so entrenched
themselves that there is virtually no opportunity for the exercise of genuine
spiritual spiritual gift in the churches. Nor
are the “chariots of iron” any less accurate pictures of the present state in
Christendom. The “Canaanites” have
become so powerful that they rule unchallenged over the sphere that God has assigned
special spheres of Canaanite might are mentioned, and significantly both are valleys:
the valley of Bethshean, and the valley of Jezreel. As discussed already, the valley represents the sphere of
Christian service; and Bethshean speaks not only of the peace of God, but also of the
quietness with which He works through His Holy Spirit.
The fanfare so common in so-called Christian work today, is conspicuously
absent in connection with the work of the Holy Spirit.
other valley is that of Jezreel, meaning it will be sown of God, and in the
present context it speaks symbolically of the fact that in spite of all opposition
God will continue to sow the good seed of the Gospel.
For further discussion of the significance of Jezreel please see the notes on
chariots of iron indicate not only the power of the Canaanites, but also the power of
their present day counterparts.
to those iron chariots, however, it is instructive to note what is written, “When
thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a
people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee,
which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” De 20:1.
That same assurance is ours also. But
they obviously had either forgotten it, or they refused to believe it in spite of
having the witness of God’s power put forth to deliver them from Egypt’s bondage.
We too either forget or refuse to believe His promises in spite of having
proof of His power, displayed at Calvary, which has delivered us from a far more
terrible bondage than that of Egypt.
“And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh,
saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot
being described first as Joseph, and then as Ephraim and Manasseh continues to
emphasize that God views us as He does Christ rather than as what we are in these
art a great people, and hast great power” is also true of us, though there may be
little outwardly to indicate that we are either great or powerful, but we are to
remember what is written concerning us, “Ye are of God, little children, and have
overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world,”
1 Jn 4:4; “I can do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth me,” Php 4:13;
“We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us,” Ro 8:37; and twice in
the Epistle of John we are assured that we have already overcome Satan, the most
powerful foe of all, 1 Jn 2:13-14; and in Jn 16:33 we read, “In the world ye shall
have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I (Christ have overcome the world.”
assurance “... thou shalt not have one lot only” is also given to us, for during
our earthly lives we have the better part in this world, and in the Millennium we
will reign over it from the heavenly Jerusalem with Christ, 2 Tim 2:12.
“But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it
down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the
Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.”
the promise that they would literally possess the mountain, and cut down the trees so
as to be able to cultivate it, is a prophetic promise of far greater significance yet
to be fulfilled. As noted already a
mountain is the biblical symbol of a king and/or a kingdom, while trees are symbols
of men, and almost invariably of unconverted men.
When Christ returns to end the Tribulation and inaugurate His millennial
kingdom, the dominion of the earth will be given to Israel, and “the wood will be
cut down,” for the unconverted will be banished bodily into hell, and those
remaining, the converted, will gladly accept His appointment of Israel as head of the
nations. In that coming glorious age the
“Canaanites” who rule today seemingly all powerful, will be gone, having been
swept with all other unbelievers into hell by Christ at His return in power and