104-1018-Joshua Chapter 17
Zelophehad did not have any sons but only daughters. It was not the custom to give inheritance to the daughters and this is why in that day it was important for a man to have sons. Because of the importance of the land to remain in the ancestral families this custom was excused and the daughters of Zelophehad inherited their father’s land. This decision had already been made by Moses. (Numbers 27:1-11)
The failure of Manasseh is of the same reasoning of Ephraim in Joshua 16:10. The Canaanites themselves were willing to remain in the land. What were lacking was the determination of the Israelite people to drive them out. They were much more satisfied to use the Canaanite people as forced labor.
The combined tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim were a large tribe in the Israelite nation. They numbered larger than any other single tribe. This was the reason for their complaining as their numbers were large for the land they had received.
Joshua’s reply to their complaints was wise. He tells them, “If you are a great people, then go and get the land for yourself; fully occupy what the LORD has given you.” These tribes had not taken the land which had been allotted to them. Their land was mountainous and hard to settle and because of this it was hard and dangerous work.
See the difference of their attitude than that of Caleb’s in Joshua 14:11-2! They wanted easy land given to them instead of being satisfied with the promise of God and taking what God has allotted to them. This is a good principle for our Christian living today. If we want more than the first thing we must be do is to be faithful with what we have already received.