1 The next allotment of land was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph’s older son. Makir, the firstborn son of Manasseh, was the father of Gilead. Because his descendants were experienced soldiers, the regions of Gilead and Bashan on the east side of the Jordan had already been given to them. 2 So the allotment on the west side of the Jordan was for the remaining families within the clans of the tribe of Manasseh: Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida. These clans represent the male descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph.
3 However, Zelophehad, a descendant of Hepher son of Gilead, son of Makir, son of Manasseh, had no sons. He had only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 4 These women came to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the Israelite leaders and said, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us a grant of land along with the men of our tribe.”
So Joshua gave them a grant of land along with their uncles, as the Lord had commanded. 5 As a result, Manasseh’s total allocation came to ten parcels of land, in addition to the land of Gilead and Bashan across the Jordan River, 6 because the female descendants of Manasseh received a grant of land along with the male descendants. (The land of Gilead was given to the rest of the male descendants of Manasseh.)
7 The boundary of the tribe of Manasseh extended from the border of Asher to Micmethath, near Shechem. Then the boundary went south from Micmethath to the settlement near the spring of Tappuah. 8 The land surrounding Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but the town of Tappuah itself, on the border of Manasseh’s territory, belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. 9 From the spring of Tappuah, the boundary of Manasseh followed the Kanah Ravine to the Mediterranean Sea.a Several towns south of the ravine were inside Manasseh’s territory, but they actually belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. 10 In general, however, the land south of the ravine belonged to Ephraim, and the land north of the ravine belonged to Manasseh. Manasseh’s boundary ran along the northern side of the ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. North of Manasseh was the territory of Asher, and to the east was the territory of Issachar.
11 The following towns within the territory of Issachar and Asher, however, were given to Manasseh: Beth-shan,b Ibleam, Dor (that is, Naphoth-dor),c Endor, Taanach, and Megiddo, each with their surrounding settlements.
12 But the descendants of Manasseh were unable to occupy these towns because the Canaanites were determined to stay in that region. 13 Later, however, when the Israelites became strong enough, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves. But they did not drive them out of the land.
14 The descendants of Joseph came to Joshua and asked, “Why have you given us only one portion of land as our homeland when the Lord has blessed us with so many people?”
15 Joshua replied, “If there are so many of you, and if the hill country of Ephraim is not large enough for you, clear out land for yourselves in the forest where the Perizzites and Rephaites live.”
16 The descendants of Joseph responded, “It’s true that the hill country is not large enough for us. But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots, both those in Beth-shan and its surrounding settlements and those in the valley of Jezreel. They are too strong for us.”
17 Then Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph, “Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion. 18 The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners. And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.”
a. 17:9 Hebrew the sea; also in 17:10.
b. 17:11a Hebrew Beth-shean, a variant spelling of Beth-shan; also in 17:16.
c. 17:11b The meaning of the Hebrew here is uncertain.