Numbers chapter 32

The tribes of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh settle outside the Promised Land.

 


 

GAD, REUBEN, AND MANASSEH

 

VERSE 1. Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock. They saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead. Behold, the place was a place for livestock.

the land of Jazer. This was a settlement (perhaps modern Khirbet Jazzir) about seven miles west of Rabbath Ammon, in the great southern plateau of Gilead.

the land of Gilead. This refers to the more northern part.

 

VERSE 2. Then the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the princes of the congregation, saying,

spoke to Moses. The tribes of Gad and Reuben initiate a dialogue with Moses.

 

VERSE 3. “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon,

 

VERSE 4. the land which The LORD struck before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock; and your servants have livestock.”

 

VERSE 5. They said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession. Don’t bring us over the Jordan.”

Don’t bring us over the Jordan. The people have not yet crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

 

VERSE 6. Moses said to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here?

go to war while you sit here. If the tribes of Gad and Reuben settle now, they will be dodging the war to take the Promised Land.

 

VERSE 7. Why do you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD has given them?

discourage the heart of the children of Israel. If the tribes of Gad and Reuben settle now, they will discourage the nation from crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

 

VERSE 8. Your fathers did so when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to see the land.

 

VERSE 9. For when they went up to the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the LORD had given them.

they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel. Ten of the twelve spies gave a bad report to the nation.

It devastated the morale of the people. They lost all confidence that they could take the Promised Land.

 

VERSE 10. The LORD’s anger burned in that day, and he swore, saying,

 

VERSE 11. ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me,

 

VERSE 12. except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, because they have followed the LORD completely.’

Caleb … Joshua. These two spies were the only ones to give a favorable report about the Promised Land.

 

VERSE 13. The LORD’s anger burned against Israel, and he made them wander back and forth in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation who had done evil in the LORD’s sight was consumed.

 

VERSE 14. “Behold, you have risen up in your fathers’ place, an increase of sinful men, to increase the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel.

an increase of sinful men. That is, a brood of sinners.

 

VERSE 15. For if you turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and you will destroy all these people.”

 

VERSE 16. They came near to him, and said, “We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones;

 

VERSE 17. but we ourselves will be ready armed to go before the children of Israel, until we have brought them to their place. Our little ones shall dwell in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land.

we ourselves will be ready armed. The tribes of Gad and Reuben will indeed join in the battle to take the Promised Land.

in the fortified cities. Some translations say “in the van.”

 

VERSE 18. We will not return to our houses until the children of Israel have all received their inheritance.

 

VERSE 19. For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has come to us on this side of the Jordan eastward.”

 

VERSE 20. Moses said to them: “If you will do this thing, if you will arm yourselves to go before the LORD to the war,

 

VERSE 21. and every one of your armed men will pass over the Jordan before the LORD until he has driven out his enemies from before him,

 

VERSE 22. and the land is subdued before the LORD; then afterward you shall return, and be clear of obligation to the LORD and to Israel. Then this land shall be your possession before the LORD.

 

VERSE 23. “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.

your sin will find you out. That is, “you will not escape the consequences of your sin.” We are not able to escape the consequences of our actions.

There is a law of “sowing and reaping” throughout the Bible. We don’t know how to fully reconcile it with grace and mercy. Here are the verses we’ve found »

 

VERSE 24. Build cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which has proceeded out of your mouth.”

 

VERSE 25. The children of Gad and the children of Reuben spoke to Moses, saying, “Your servants will do as my lord commands.

 

VERSE 26. Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our livestock shall be there in the cities of Gilead;

 

VERSE 27. but your servants will pass over, every man who is armed for war, before the LORD to battle, as my lord says.”

 

VERSE 28. So Moses commanded concerning them to Eleazar the priest, and to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the heads of the fathers’ households of the tribes of the children of Israel.

 

VERSE 29. Moses said to them, “If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over the Jordan, every man who is armed to battle before the LORD, and the land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession;

 

VERSE 30. but if they will not pass over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.”

 

VERSE 31. The children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, “As the LORD has said to your servants, so will we do.

 

VERSE 32. We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, and the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us beyond the Jordan.”

 

VERSE 33. Moses gave to them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan; the land, according to its cities and borders, even the cities of the surrounding land.

Gad … Reuben … Manasseh. These three tribes settled outside the  Promised Land.

Sihon king of the Amorites … Og king of Bashan. Kings who opposed the Israelites were conquered. Or exterminated.

 

VERSE 34. The children of Gad built Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer,

 

VERSE 35. Atroth-shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah,

 

VERSE 36. Beth Nimrah, and Beth Haran: fortified cities and folds for sheep.

 

VERSE 37. The children of Reuben built Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim,

 

VERSE 38. Nebo, and Baal Meon, (their names being changed), and Sibmah. They gave other names to the cities which they built.

 

VERSE 39. The children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were therein.

 

VERSE 40. Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh; and he lived therein.

 

VERSE 41. Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its villages, and called them Havvoth Jair.

 

VERSE 42. Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and called it Nobah, after his own name.

 


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