After describing the allotment of Judah’s territory, the book of Joshua next describes the allotment of the tribe of Joseph (chapters 16–17). This tribe, however, is divided into two separate subdivisions: Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim’s inheritance is described first (16:5–10), followed by a description of Manasseh’s inheritance (chapter 17). Unlike the description he gave of Judah’s territory, which is extensive, the author’s description of the Josephites’ inheritance is fragmentary and terse.
Chapter 16 begins by giving a general outline of Joseph’s territory (verses 1–4). This outline frames the overall following description of Ephraim’s and Manasseh’s respective allotments. The chapter also ends with a similar description to one seen previously in the overview of Judah’s territory: “And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute” (verse 10; compare 15:63). The Josephites’ failure to drive out the lingering Canaanite populace in the territory will feature later, in the book of Judges, as part of the reason for continual strife between the two nations (see Judges 1:29).