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Volume 27 - Page 62 of 212 Index | Zoom | |
Shadows of good things to come (18:-24:).
pp. 83 - 89
We have already given some attention to the record of Josh. 14: and 15:, where the
allotment of Judah's portion of the land is described. Joseph's double portion comes
next, and, according to promise, this is divided between Ephraim and Manasseh.
In Josh. 16: we observe the sad fact that: "The Canaanites dwell among the
Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute" (Josh. 16: 10). This proved to be a
fatal compromise for Ephraim, and in later years the prophet Hosea uses the name
Ephraim as representing the two sins of covetousness and idolatry.
"Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone" (Hos. 4: 17). "He is a merchant (Heb.
Canaanite), the balances of deceit are in his hands" (Hos. 12: 7; see also 12: 14, 13: 1).
The tribute that was paid by the Canaanites really put the Ephraimites themselves
under tribute, instead of their occupying their rightful place as children and heirs of God.
Any complicity with our spiritual Canaanites, however apparently advantageous, must of
necessity prove the undoing of our spiritual life and service. When the woman possessed
by the spirit of Python cried after the apostles: "These men are the servants of the Most
High God, which show unto us the way of salvation" (Acts 16: 17), her words were true;
and had the apostle been of the same mind as the Ephraimites, he might have accepted
the testimony. However, as we read in Acts xvi, he would not tolerate any fellowship of
this kind, however superficially true, and said: "I command thee in the name of Jesus
Christ to come out of her" (Acts 16: 18). As a result the apostle received ill-treatment
and imprisonment, but the fruits of his faithfulness in his first witness to Europe are ours
to this day.
We noticed in a previous article, when speaking of Caleb and his claim, how he based
it all upon the word of the Lord to Moses, and in the passage before us, we find the same
thing with the daughters of Zelophehad (Josh. 17: 3, 4).
In Josh. 17: 12-18, we find Joshua administering a well-deserved rebuke to
Manasseh, and the passage contains a lesson that is true for all time. At the beginning
Manasseh could not drive out the Canaanite. This meant lack of faith, for God had
promised that all that was needed was faith in Himself. When "the children of Israel
waxed strong", instead of using their strength to fulfil the Lord's command, they fell
instead into the same snare as Ephraim, and put the Canaanites under tribute. In spite of
their failure we find that "the children of Joseph" came to Joshua and boasted of their
greatness and blessedness, and asked why they had received but one lot and one portion.
"And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood
country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if
mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee" (Josh. 17: 15).