Numbers 32


The Reubenites and Gadites request Moses to give them their

inheritance on this side of Jordan, 1-5.

Moses expostulates with and reproves them, 6-15.

They explain themselves, and propose conditions, with which

Moses is satisfied-they are to build cities for their wives and

children, and folds for their cattle, and go ever Jordan armed

with the other tribes, and fight against their enemies till the

land is subdued; after which they are to return, 16-27.

Moses proposes the business to Eleazar, Joshua, and the elders,


The Gadites and Reubenites promise a faithful observance of the

conditions, 31, 32;

on which Moses assigns to them, and the half tribe of Manasseh,

the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of

Og, king of Bashan, 33.

The cities built by the Gadites, 34-36.

The cities built by the Reubenites, 37, 38.

The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, expel the Amorites

from Gilead, 39,

which Moses grants to them, 40.

Jair, the son of Manasseh, takes the small towns of Gilead, 41.

And Nobah takes Kenath and its villages, 42.


Verse 3. Ataroth, and Dibon, &c.] The places mentioned here

belonged to Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan,

which being conquered by the Israelites, constituted ever after a

part of their territories, Nu 32:33.

Verse 5. Let this land be given unto thy servants] Because it

was good for pasturage, and they had many flocks, Nu 32:1.

Verse 12. Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite] It was

Jephunneh that was the Kenezite, and not Caleb. Kenaz was

probably the father of Jephunneh.

Verse 16. We will build-cities for our little ones] It was

impossible for these, numerous as they might be, to build cities

and fortify them for the defence of their families in their

absence. Calmet supposes they meant no more than repairing the

cities of the Amorites which they had lately taken; which work

might have been very easily accomplished in the time which they

spent on this side of Jordan, before they went over with their

brethren, to put them in possession of the land.

Verse 17. Because of the inhabitants of the land.] These were

the Ammonites, Moabites, Idumeans, and the remains of the

Midianites and Amorites. But could the women and children even

keep the defenced cities, when placed in them? This certainly

cannot be supposed possible. Many of the men of war must of

course stay behind. In the last census, chap. xxvi., the tribe of

Reuben consisted of 43,730 men; the tribe of Gad, 40,500; the

tribe of Manasseh, 52,700; the half of which is 26,350. Add this

to the sum of the other two tribes, and the amount is 110,580.

Now from Jos 4:13 we learn that of the tribes of Reuben and Gad,

and the half of the tribe of Manasseh, only 40,000 armed men passed

over Jordan to assist their brethren in the reduction of the land:

consequently the number of 70,580 men were left behind for the

defence of the women, the children, and the flocks. This was more

than sufficient to defend them against a people already panic

struck by their late discomfitures and reverses.

Verse 34. The children of Gad built-Aroer] This was situated

on the river Arnon, De 2:36; 2Ki 10:33. It was formerly

inhabited by the Emim, a warlike and perhaps gigantic people.

They were expelled by the Moabites; the Moabites by the Amorites;

and the Amorites by the Israelites. The Gadites then possessed it

till the captivity of their tribe, with that of Reuben and the

half of the tribe of Manasseh, by the Assyrians, 2Ki 15:29, after

which the Moabites appear to have repossessed it, as they seem to

have occupied it in the days of Jeremiah, Jer 48:15-20.

Verse 38. And Nebo-their names being changed] That is, Those

who conquered the cities called them after their own names. Thus

the city Kenath, being conquered by Nobah, was called after his

name, Nu 32:42.

Verse 41. Havoth-jair.] That is, the villages or

habitations of Jair; and thus they should have been translated.

As these two tribes and a half were the first, says Ainsworth, who

had their inheritance assigned to them in the promised land, so

they were the first of all Israel that were carried captive out of

their own land, because of their sins. "For they transgressed

against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after other

gods. And God delivered them into the hands of Pul and

Tiglath-Pilneser, kings of Assyria, and they brought them to

Halah, Habor, Hara, and Gozan, unto this day." See 1Ch 5:25, 26.

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