Makir was the son of Manasseh, son of Joseph. In biblical times, Makir’s name became synonymous with that of his father Manasseh, the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Makir was the grandson of Joseph, the last of the great patriarchs. As such, he was the subject of a recurring family ritual that may seem unusual to modern readers.
Before he died, Jacob took Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, on his knees (Genesis 48:12)—an ancient way of saying he adopted them as his own sons. It was a strange thing to do, particularly since Jacob was so close to death while their real father, Joseph, was alive and well. However, as Jacob’s “sons,” Manasseh and Ephraim were entitled to a share of Jacob’s blessing. They would be forever counted among the forefathers of Israel’s twelve tribes.
Years later Joseph repeated the same ritual with his great-grandchildren, adopting Makir’s offspring as his own, confirming to all present that Makir’s descendants would play an important part in Israel’s development.
So ye Some of Makir’s descendants became known as the Gileadites, part of the tribe of Manasseh. They were responsible for conquering and settling the portion of the Promised Land that bore their name, Gilead.
Later, when the prophetess Deborah celebrated Manasseh’s part in delivering Israel from the Canaanites, she actually used the name Makir instead of Manasseh. As a result, Makir’s legacy was forever etched into Israel’s story.
Half of Makir’s descendants settled on the east side of the Jordan River, in what is modern-day Syria.