Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Tribe of Menashe

As descendants of the original 12 sons of Israel, the lives and personalities of the descendants of Jacob significantly impacted on the history and behavior of the future tribe members who were to descend from them. While Menashe and Ephraim were grandsons rather than sons of Jacob, once the Children of Israel left Egypt, the descendants of Menashe and Ephraim became unique tribes of their own (instead of there being a single Tribe of Joseph).

Among the descendants of the Tribe of Menashe were Zelophchad and his daughters, Mach’lah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirza. The orphaned daughters of Zelophchad are noted in the Torah (Numbers 27:8) for coming to Moses and requesting to inherit their father’s portion of land in Canaan, since he had no sons . Their request was ultimately granted. (Click here to read more.)

Although it is not mentioned where Zelophchad’s portion of land was to be, it should be noted that the Tribe of Menashe had the distinction of being divided into two separate areas on either side of the Jordan River. When the leaders of the Tribes of Reuben and Gad asked to settle on the land east of the Jordan, Moses allocated some of that land to half the Tribe of Menashe as well (Numbers 32:16-17).  (Click here to read more.)

Once the Israelites settled in the Promised Land, there were a number of Menashites among the Judges who led the people: Gideon and his son Avimelech, Yair the Gileadite, and Japhethah the Gileadite.

When the unified kingdom divided, Menashe became part of the Northen Kingdom of Israel. In fact, the Kingdom of Israel’s first capital, Shechem, was in the territory of Menashe.

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