Joshua – Chapter 17

Tzelofchad's Daughters Return!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Continuing the territory of Joseph’s sons, the Navi moves on the half of the Tribe of Menashe that did not settle in Trans-Jordan. Elazar the High Priest and Joshua were now approached by the daughters of Tzelofchad. You may recall that these five women approached Moshe in parshas Pinchas, saying that their deceased father had no sons. G-d instructed Moshe that they should inherit their father’s portion in Eretz Yisroel. At this time, that promise was fulfilled. (Tzelofchad is identified in the Talmud as the man who gathered wood on Shabbos in parshas Shlach.)

The Tribe of Menashe, accompanied by Ephraim, complained to Joshua that the land they received was not sufficient, since they were a very large Tribe. During the time between the first census taken in the desert and entering the Land, Menashe had grown more than any other Tribe. They may have expected Joshua’s sympathy, as he was from Ephraim, but the division of land was ordained by G-d. Joshua suggested that they clear some forest land in their territory. The Tribes of Joseph’s sons balked out of fear of the Canaanite forces there. Joshua assured them that they would be victorious, despite the enemy’s chariots.

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