NORTHERN TRIBES INTENSIFY THE DISAPPOINTING PATTERN OF FAILED OBJECTIVES AND COMPROMISE WITH THE ENEMY
I. (:22-29) HOUSE OF JOSEPH
A. (:22-26) Acts of Joseph – Tribe of Benjamin
“Likewise the house of Joseph went up against Bethel, and the LORD was with them. And the house of Joseph spied out Bethel (now the name of the city was formerly Luz). And the spies saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, ‘Please show us the entrance to the city and we will treat you kindly.’ So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go free. And the man went into the land of the Hittites and built a city and named it Luz which is its name to this day.”
Josh. 18:22 – Bethel assigned to tribe of Benjamin??
Block: However, unlike Rahab, whose family is fully integrated into Israelite faith and life, the “traitor” (from the Canaanite point of view) is permitted to leave and build his own city and continue his life as a Hittite. Technically Luz/Bethel was conquered, but in reality the city was simply transferred to a new site. The mandate had been betrayed. The new city functions as a sanctioned symbol of” the Canaanite in their midst.”
B. (:27-28) Tribe of Manasseh
“But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; so the Canaanites persisted in bliving in that land. And it came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.”
Jordan: Ordinarily the firstborn of the house receives both the rule over his brethren and a double portion of the inheritance. Jacob divided these two blessings, giving rulership to Judah, and the double portion to Joseph, so that the tribe of Joseph became two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh (Gen. 48). Ordinarily Scripture refers to the tribe of Ephraim or the tribe of Manasseh. It is unusual to refer, as here, to the “house of Joseph.” In this context, the initially faithful actions of the Joseph tribes are said to be the acts of Joseph, while the later failures of these tribes are said to be the acts of Manasseh and Ephraim.
C. (:29) Tribe of Ephraim
“Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.”
II. (:30) TRIBE OF ZEBULUN
“Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor.”
III. (:31-32) TRIBE OF ASHER
“Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob. So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.”
IV. (:33) TRIBE OF NAPHTALI
“Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.”
V. (:34-36) TRIBE OF DAN
“Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; yet the Amorites persisted in living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the power of the house of Joseph grew strong, they became forced labor. And the border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.”
Jordan: Finally, in verse 36, we come to the appalling climax of the second section of this narrative, the response of man. We are told that the Amorites had a border. That is, they were so strong that they had a defined territory which was their own. They were not just hiding out in Israelite territory; they had their own land, and their own recognized border!