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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Manasseh Tribe of

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Manas´seh, Tribe of. When the tribe of Manasseh departed from Egypt, it numbered 32,200 adult males (), being 8300 less than the tribe of Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph. This was the lowest number of adult males in any tribe at that period; but if we add the two together, the tribe of Joseph, composed of these two tribes, reached to 72,700, which was more than any other tribe contained, except Judah. During the sojourn in the wilderness, the tribe of Manasseh rose to 52,700 (), being an increase of 20,500. This gave it rank in point of population as the sixth of the tribes, Judah, Issachar, Zebulon, Dan, and Asher only being more numerous. In the same period Ephraim had declined to nearly the same position which Manasseh had previously occupied, its numbers being reduced to 32,500. Yet the prophecy of Jacob was fulfilled, and, when settled in Canaan, Ephraim became superior in wealth, power and population, not only to Manasseh, but to all the tribes except Judah. One circumstance tending to weaken Manasseh may have been the division which took place in it on entering Palestine. The pastoral half of the tribe was allowed to establish itself with Reuben and Gad, on the east of the Jordan, where it occupied the northernmost portion, consisting of Argob and Bashan, from the Jabbok to Mount Hermon (; : ; ; ; ), while the other half was provided for with the rest of the tribes in Canaan proper, west of the Jordan, where it had a fine tract of country extending from that river to the Mediterranean, with the kindred tribe of Ephraim on the south, and Issachar on the north (; ). The half-tribe west of the river was not, however, for some time able to expel the former inhabitants of the territory, so as to obtain the exclusive possession of it (; ). The tribe of Manasseh makes no figure in the history of the Hebrews.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Manasseh Tribe of'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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