Joshua 16:1 ¶ And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel,

Joshua 16:2 And goeth out from Bethel to Luz, and passeth along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth,

Joshua 16:3 And goeth down westward to the coast of Japhleti, unto the coast of Bethhoron the nether, and to Gezer: and the goings out thereof are at the sea.

Joshua 16:4 So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance.


As noted at the beginning of chapter 15, I am leaning heavily on commentaries in trying to summarize the land inheritances.


The children of Joseph were Manasseh and Ephraim; as noted previously Jacob adopted them as his own, thereby giving Joseph a double portion in the inheritance of the land.


Genesis 48:5 “And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.”


Dummelow’s Commentary summarizes the combined inheritance of Joseph’s sons on the west side of the Jordan River as follows:  “The territory of the two tribes…comprised the central and most fertile part of Palestine. The south border ran from Jericho to Bethel and Beth-horon to the sea (the Mediterranean); and the north border ran from Mount Carmel, along the southern border of the plain of Esdraelon to the Jordan.”


Joshua 16:5 ¶ And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was thus: even the border of their inheritance on the east side was Atarothaddar, unto Bethhoron the upper;

Joshua 16:6 And the border went out toward the sea to Michmethah on the north side; and the border went about eastward unto Taanathshiloh, and passed by it on the east to Janohah;

Joshua 16:7 And it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Naarath, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan.

Joshua 16:8 The border went out from Tappuah westward unto the river Kanah; and the goings out thereof were at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim by their families.


This section provides more detail regarding the land inheritance of Ephraim.  Ellicot summarizes it as follows:  “We thus obtain for the territory of Ephraim four boundary-lines—viz.: (a) the plain of Jordan on the east; (b) the line of hills bordering the Shephelah on the west; (c) the brook Kanah, and the line passing through Taanath-shiloh and Janohah to Jordan on the north; and (d) the north border of Benjamin on the south.”


Joshua 16:9 And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages.

Joshua 16:10 And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.


Guzik offers the following insight:  “If they had the power to make the people of Gezer forced laborers, they certainly had the power to defeat them completely, especially because Gezer was a city that Joshua had already conquered (Joshua 10:33 and Joshua 12:12).  This sort of compromise seems innocent, but it became the way that much idolatry and immoral worship came into the people of Israel.  This is one reason why we see so many struggles in the days of the Judges.”


Matthew Henry provides some interesting information regarding the land assigned to Ephraim:  “Many famous places were within this lot of the tribe of Ephraim, although not mentioned here: (1) Samuel's city Ramah (Arimathea in the N.T.), from whom another Joseph requested of Pilate the body of Jesus; (2) Shiloh where the tabernacle was first set up; (3) Tizrah, the capital of Jeroboam and his successors; (4) Samaria, built by Omri, and the capital of the Northern Kingdom in its final years; (5) Shechem, the city where Jacob lived; (6) Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, where the children of Israel pledged themselves to observe the whole Law of Moses; (7) Sychar, where, ‘Jesus sat thus by the well!’ and (8) Ephraim, the city to which Jesus retired during his last week on earth were all a part of the territory of Ephraim.”