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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Manasseh, Tribe of

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Among the tribes of Israel there were two, Ephraim and Manasseh, that took their names not from Jacob’s sons but from his grandsons. Ephraim and Manasseh were the sons of Joseph.

When Jacob determined to give the firstborn’s blessing to Joseph instead of to Reuben (for Reuben had disqualified himself by raping one of his father’s concubines; Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:3-4; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2), he raised Joseph’s two sons to the same status as Joseph’s brothers (Genesis 48:5-6). As a result Joseph, through his two sons, received two tribes, but each of his brothers received only one. Though Manasseh was born before Ephraim, Ephraim’s tribe was senior to Manasseh’s (Genesis 48:12-20).

Manasseh differed from all other tribes in Israel in that it was divided into two portions. Half the tribe lived in Canaan (the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea) and the other half lived in the area east of Jordan (Joshua 22:7). In all there were nine and a half tribes in Canaan and two and a half east of Jordan.

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Manasseh, Tribe of'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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