The Reubenites and Gadites plead for their inheritance on the east side of Jordan. Moses reproveth them. They offer conditions; he is content; and assigneth the land to them, and to half the tribe of Manasseh. They build cities, and conquer what remained.
1NOW the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great 1multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place 2for cattle;
1 Hebr. very mighty. The Israelites indeed were generally much given to keeping cattle, as may be seen Gen. 46:32, 34; 47:3, 4, etc., but it seems that these two tribes have entered themselves to the same more than the rest, for, that (as some perceive) they have perhaps had extraordinary opportunity in Egypt of suitable regions in their places where they lived, and afterwards, in the subduing of the kingdoms of Sihon and Og and upon the great defeat of the Midianites, they would be able to take for themselves much cattle and buy or exchange from others.
2 Hebr. of cattle, that is, they observed and found that this entire country would be very suitable and commodious for their cattle.
2The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying,
3Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon,
4Even the country 3which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle:
3 That is, whose inhabitants.
5Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.
6¶And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, 4Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?
4 Moses does not simply refuse to assign them this land for an inheritance, for it was likewise given by God to the Israelites to inherit, Deut. 2:12, 31, but he rebukes them sharply here for that they sought to separate themselves from their brethren and enter into rest, while they must go to war alone. This was not a decent thing to do, and would have caused scandal and faint-heartedness among their fellow brethren, and obstruct (as much as was in them) the execution of God’s promises; as is declared in the sequel.
7And wherefore 5discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?
5 That is, discouraging and disheartening your brethren by your example. Compare Deut. 1:28; Acts 21:13. Also verse 9.
8Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadesh-barneaa to see the land.
a Num. 13:3; Deut. 1:22.
9For when they went up unto the 6valley 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.
6 Other, brook. See Num. 13:24; Deut. 1:24.
10And the LORD's anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying,
11Surelyb none of the men that came up out of Egypt, 7from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob;8 because they have not 9wholly followed me:
b Num. 14:28; Deut. 1:35.
7 Hebr. from a son of twenty years, etc.
8 This is an incomplete speech, usually in making an oath. See Num. 14:23, 28, 35; Deut. 1:35 and compare Gen. 14 on verse 23.
9 Hebr. they have not fulfilled to go after me. In a similar phrase it is said of Joshua and Caleb contrariwise in the next verse. See Num. 14:24; Deut. 1:36.
12Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the 10Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have 11wholly followed the LORD.
10 Compare Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13; 3:9, 11; 1 Chron. 4:13, 15.
11 See on the previous verse.
13And the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness 12forty years, until all the generation, that had done 13evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.
12 Bringing the two years within the account (to complete the number) from the exodus out of Egypt to the sending of the spies from Kadesh-barnea.
13 That is, which was displeasing to the LORD.
14And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, 14to augment yet the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel.
14 Hebr. for to add yet, or further to, etc., or above, beyond the fierce anger, etc.
15For if ye turn away from after 15him, he will yet again leave 16them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people.
15 Namely, from the LORD. The meaning is: If ye shall not be willing to follow the LORD any longer.
16 Namely, Israel. The sense is: God shall cause them to wander in the wilderness again, as their fathers did, until they perish all like them.
16¶And 17they came near unto him, and said, We will build 18sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
17 The Reubenites and Gadites came afterwards again to Moses.
18 The Hebrew word signifies such folds or enclosed places for cattle which are secured and guarded with hedges, poles or walls; also verse 24.
17But we ourselves will 19go ready 20armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities 21because of the inhabitants of the land.
19 Or, speedily, or cheerfully gird, or arm ourselves for to go before, etc.
20 That is, courageously marching along before our brethren, in such a number as shall be held requisite to bring them into their possession by force of arms. See Joshua 4:12, 13.
21 That is, in the meantime they may not be annoyed or endangered by the residue of the people of the land.
18We will not 22return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.
22 See Joshua 22:1-10.
19For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or 23forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan 24eastward.
23 That is, unto the remote borders of Canaan.
24 Namely, of the sun, that is, eastward, toward the east of Canaan where Gilead was situated.
20¶And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will 25go armed before the LORD to war,
25 Or, prepare, put on or gird arms about, as in verse 17 and in the next.
21And will go all of you armed over Jordan 26before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him,
26 That is, before the LORD, of Whose presence the ark of the covenant was a visible sign. See Joshua 4:13.
22And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.
23But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and 27be sure your sin will 28find you out.
27 Other, know that your sin shall find you, that is, the punishment of your sin will surely strike you.
28 That is, when ye shall be punished for the same.
24Build you cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which hath proceeded 29out of your mouth.
29 That is, what you have promised to perform. Compare Num. 30:3, etc.; Deut. 23:23; Mat. 15:18.
25And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben 30spake unto Moses, saying, Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth.
30 Hebr. said, in the singular, that is, they said all unanimously, with one accord, or, one of them, in the name of all.
26Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our cattle, shall be there in the cities of Gilead:
27But thy servants will pass over, 31every man armed for war, before the LORD to battle, as my lord saith.
31 Other, everyone that is prepared for war. Also verse 29.
28Soc concerning them Moses commanded Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel:
c Joshua 1:13; 4:12.
29And Moses said unto them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over Jordan, every man armed to battle, before the LORD, and the land shall be subdued before you; then ye shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession:
30But if they will not pass over with you 32armed, they shall have possessions among you 33in the land of Canaan.
32 Or, prepared, girded, as above.
33 They shall be constrained to abandon Gilead and have their share and inheritance, like the rest, in Canaan itself.
31And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As the LORD hath said unto thy servants, so will we do.
32We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be ours.
33Andd Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the 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, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about.
d Deut. 3:12; Joshua 13:8; 22:4.
34¶And the children of Gad 34built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer,
34 That is, they rebuilt, reared up again; and so in the sequel. All these places were situated on the east side of Jordan, between the rivers Arnon and the Jordan.
35And Atroth, Shophan, and Jaazer, and Jogbehah,
36And Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran, fenced cities: and folds for sheep.
37And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kirjathaim,
38And 35Nebo, and Baal-meon, (36their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they builded.
35 See of this city Deut. 34:1; Isa. 15:2; Jer. 48:1. Otherwise it was also the name of a mountain.
36 They gave them other names (as follows), because the former (names) were idolatrous; for, both Nebo and Baal were names of idols; and undoubtedly there were more of them.
39Ande the children of Machir the son of Manasseh 37went to Gilead, and took 38it, and 39dispossessed the Amorite which was in it.
e Gen. 50:23.
37 Or, were gone, etc., and had taken the same, and so in the next verse.
38 Understand a part of Gilead. See Deut. 3:12, 13, and there on verse 15. Likewise Gen. 31:21. This part of Gilead and the places of Jair extended northwards from the brook of Jabbok towards Syria.
39 Hebr. he expelled the Amorite, etc., he, namely, Machir, that is, his posterity.
40And Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt therein.
41And 40Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns 41thereof, and called them 42Havoth-jair.
40 This Jair is likewise reckoned under Manasseh by reason that his grandfather was married to Machir’s daughter. See 1 Chron. 2:21, 22.
41 Of the Gileadites.
42 That is, Jair’s villages, country towns or farms. See Deut. 3:14.
42And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the 43villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name.
43 That is, such small market towns, villages, small cities, which resorted under the jurisdiction of Kenath, as the capital. Hebr. daughters. See Num. 21 on verse 25 and compare 1 Chron. 2:23.