約書亞記 17

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1 瑪拿西是約瑟的長子,他的支派拈鬮所得之地記在下面。至於瑪拿西長子基列之父(父或作:主)瑪吉,因為是勇士就得了基列和巴珊。

2 瑪拿西的子孫,按著宗族拈鬮分地,就是亞比以謝子孫,希勒子孫,亞斯列子孫,示劍子孫,希弗子孫,示米大子孫;這些按著宗族,都是約瑟兒子瑪拿西子孫的男丁。

3 瑪拿西的元孫,瑪吉的曾孫,基列的孫子,希弗的兒子西羅非哈沒有兒子,只有女兒。他的女兒名叫瑪拉、挪阿、曷拉、密迦、得撒;

4 他們來到祭司以利亞撒和嫩的兒子約書亞並眾首領面前,說:耶和華曾吩咐摩西我們弟兄中分我們產業。於是約書亞照耶和華所吩咐的,在他們伯叔中,把產業分他們。

5 除了約但河東的基列和巴珊地之外,還有分地歸瑪拿西

6 因為瑪拿西的孫女們在瑪拿西的孫子中得了產業。基列地是屬瑪拿西的子孫。

7 瑪拿西的境界:從亞設起,到示劍前的密米他,往北到隱他普亞居民之地。

8 他普亞地歸瑪拿西,只是瑪拿西境界上的他普亞城歸以法蓮子孫。

9 其界到加拿邊。在瑪拿西城邑中的這些城邑都歸以法蓮瑪拿西的地界是在直通到為止;

10 以法蓮瑪拿西,以為界;邊到亞設,東邊到以薩迦。

11 瑪拿西在以薩迦和亞設境內,有伯善和屬伯善的鎮市,以伯蓮和屬以伯蓮的鎮市,多珥的居民和屬多珥的鎮市;又有處山岡,就是隱多珥和屬隱多珥的鎮市;他納的居民和屬他納的鎮市,米吉多的居民和屬米吉多的鎮市。

12 只是瑪拿西子孫不能趕出這些城的居民,迦南人偏要在那地。

13 以色列人強盛了,就使迦南人做苦工,沒有把他們全然趕出。

14 約瑟的子孫約書亞耶和華到如今既然賜福與我們,我們也族大人多,你為甚麼僅將段之地分我們為業呢?

15 約書亞:你們如果族大人多,嫌以法蓮地窄小,就可以上比利洗人、利乏音人之地,在樹林中砍伐樹木

16 約瑟的子孫:那地容不下我們,並且平原的迦南人,就是伯善和屬伯善的鎮市,並耶斯列平原的人,都有車。

17 約書亞對約瑟家,就是以法蓮瑪拿西人,:你是族人多,並且強盛,不可僅有鬮之地,

18 地也要歸你,雖是樹林,你也可以砍伐;靠近之地必歸你。迦南人雖有車,雖是強盛,你也能把他們趕出去。


Exploring the Meaning of 約書亞記 17      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 17: The tribe of Manasseh receives the western half of its territory.

The previous chapter (Joshua 16) dealt with the territory given to Ephraim, Manasseh’s younger brother; this one covers the western half of Manasseh (the other half tribe of Manasseh was bound to live across the Jordan).

Interestingly, this chapter mentions many people by name, instead of only describing locations as we’ve seen before. Verses 1 and 2 list all seven of Manasseh’s sons and their families. Then verse 3 mentions Zelophehad, the great-grandson of Manasseh, who had had five daughters, but no sons. When Zelophehad died on the journey through the wilderness, his daughters came to Joshua to claim the inheritance Moses had promised them (see Numbers 27). So, both the sons and daughters of Manasseh’s family received land.

After the area given to Manasseh was outlined, the people of Ephraim and Manasseh came to Joshua and complained that they deserved more land, because of their important standing among the tribes of Israel (verse 14). They claimed that they had been specially blessed, and should receive much more.

Joshua told them that if they were such a great people, they should go to the forest country and seize land from the Perrizites and the giants living there. The people were not pleased, and told Joshua that the Canaanites who still roamed there were strong, and had chariots of iron. Even so, Joshua told them again to cut down the wood and use it, because they would eventually be able to drive out the Canaanites.

The spiritual meaning of this story is all about the relationship between good and truth. Again, there are many names to indicate the geography of the area of “West Manasseh”, and the meaning of these names very often links in with the spiritual meaning of the tribe. Beyond that, the specific area in Canaan given to a tribe is spiritually important. Ephraim and Manasseh are right in the middle of the land because they stand for truth and good, for truth leading to good, for good coming from truth.

The story about Zelophehad’s five daughters also relates to the place of truth and good. This is because sons stand for truths, often for truths which fight for us during our temptations, while daughters stand for the good in our spiritual life which bears ‘children’ (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 8993 [3,4]).

Verses 5 and 6 describe this union of good and truth very beautifully: “Ten portions were given to Manasseh because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons; and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.” It is worth noting here that the spiritual meaning of the number ‘ten’ has to do with wholeness, and also ‘remains,’ or memories, which the Lord imparts to us when we are very young (Arcana Caelestia 4638).

When the people of Ephraim and Manasseh complained to Joshua, it is much like us wanting our spiritual life to be easy. We want it to be something given to us, and not something which we will need to work on and even fight for in ourselves.

Finally, the meaning of using wooden chariots to fight the Canaanites means to fight from our love of what is good. This is because wood corresponds to good, since it is alive and has grown. ‘Iron’ here stands for the harshness of truth without any good, which appears invincible, but in reality is weaker than the power of goodness and love (Arcana Caelestia 426[3]).

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