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Yoshuwa 16

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1 Laphuma iqashiso noonyana bakaYosefu, lathabathela eYordan malunga neYeriko ngasemanzini aseYeriko ngasempumalanga, kwintlango enyuka eYeriko, eya ezintabeni ngaseBheteli.

2 Waphuma umda eBheteli, wasinga eLuzi, wegqitha waya emdeni wama-Arki eAtaroti; wehla waya entshonalanga emdeni wamaYafeleli,

3 wesa emdeni weBhete-horon yasezantsi, wesa eGezere; ukuma kwawo waya wema ngolwandle.

4 Balabelwa ke ilifa labo oonyana bakaYosefu, uManase noEfrayim.

5 Umda woonyana bakaEfrayim wenjenje: Umda welifa labo ngasempumalanga wayiAtaroti-adare, wesa eBhete-horon engasentla;

6 waphuma umda waya elwandle, eMikemetati ngasentla; wajika umda waya empumalanga eTahanati-shilo, wegqitha khona ngasempumalanga eYanowa;

7 wehla eYanowa waya eAtaroti, naseNaharati, weza eYeriko, wema ngeYordan;

8 umda wesuka eTapuwa waya entshonalanga, eMlanjaneni weeNgcongolo; nokuma kwawo waya wema ngolwandle. Lilo elo ilifa lesizwe soonyana bakaEfrayim ngokwemizalwane yabo;

9 nemizi leyo yahlulelwa oonyana bakaEfrayim yayiphakathi kwelifa loonyana bakaManase; yonke imizi yayinemizana yayo.

10 Abawagqogqanga amaKanan abemi eGezere. Ema amaKanan phakathi kwamaEfrayim unanamhla, akhonza efakwa uviko.

  

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Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 16

     

Joshua 16: The territories of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Chapter 16 tells about the land given to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph. Only Ephraim’s territory is covered in this chapter; Manasseh’s territory is discussed in Joshua 17.

The first three verses describe Ephraim and Manasseh’s territories as one large area. Half of Manasseh had already been given land on the other side of the River Jordan, (see Joshua 13 for more). Together, Ephraim and (the second half of) Manasseh’s territory is in the center of the land west of the Jordan.

This seems to suggest that the spiritual meaning of those two tribes is of major importance for us. Ephraim, Joseph’s younger son, stands for our understanding of the Lord’s truths, while Manasseh, the older son, stands for the good which these truths lead us to do (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 8399).

It is a spiritual truth that we need an understanding of what is true - in the Word, and about the Lord - before we can begin to do what is genuinely good. Yet it is good which is the most important thing in our spiritual life, so this is really the first in importance (see Swedenborg’s True Christian Religion 336[2]).

This ‘switch’ is reflected in Genesis chapter 48, when Joseph takes his two sons to his dying father, Israel, for him to bless them. But Israel (Jacob) blesses younger Ephraim first, and Manasseh second; he reverses the order of their birth. For us, it is important to see that both good and truth combined are essential, each for the sake of the other. The tribes’ central location in the Land of Canaan and adjoining territories illustrate this point.

Verse 9 brings out this unity even further. It says: “The separate cities for the children of Ephraim were among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages.” Not only were the two territories adjacent, but they overlapped, with separate cities for Ephraim being among the territory of Manasseh. Truth and good are partnered in a kind of marriage together (read Swedenborg’s Doctrine of Life 33).

The last verse of this short chapter raises another interesting point, which has been mentioned previously: while Israel had conquered the land of Canaan, there were places where the people of Canaan still lived among the Israelites. Verse 10 states: “And they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced labourers.”

We came across a similar situation in Joshua 9 with the Gibeonites, who made a treaty with Israel but became woodcutters and watercarriers to serve Israel. The meaning for us is that the lower or more outward, natural things of life are there to serve our spiritual life. They are not to be destroyed, because natural life is the arena in which we live out the beliefs and values that form our spiritual life (True Christian Religion 339).

The Canaanites in Gezer, who were forced to work for the Ephraimites, represent our lower nature. It is still active in us at times, rising up, showing itself, but we realize that this takes place so that it works for our spiritual growth and regeneration (Arcana Caelestia 5947).

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Genesis 48

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1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,

4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

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.

6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem.

8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?

9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.

10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.

11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.

12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.

14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,

16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.

18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.

  

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