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Numbers 32:20-42 (A Possession East of Canaan)

Nov 3, 2019   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Numbers, Numbers Sermons (written), Old Testament, Old Testament (written), Sermons, Torah, Torah (written), Writings  //  2 Comments

Numbers 32:20-42
A Possession East of Canaan

Of the first five verses of Chapter 32, Matthew Henry draws a parallel to the things of the world and the life which is found in Christ. He says –

“Here is a proposal made by the Reubenites and Gadites, that the land lately conquered might be allotted to them. Two things common in the world might lead these tribes to make this choice; the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. There was much amiss in the principle they went upon; they consulted their own private convenience more than the public good. Thus to the present time, many seek their own things more than the things of Jesus Christ; and are led by worldly interests and advantages to take up short of the heavenly Canaan.” Matthew Henry

This comparison is not unfounded, but to be fully understood, there has to be a parallel to the men who are noted in today’s verses who do, in fact, go over Jordan to help the rest of the tribes secure their inheritance in Canaan.

It’s not good to arbitrarily make comparisons in the Bible unless other parts of the narrative fit as well. And so, if these tribes who are making a claim east of the Jordan compare to people who reject what God offers in Christ, then who do the men armed for war who must go in to help subdue Canaan represent?

Text Verse:  “So the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, which they had obtained according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.” Joshua 22:9

Once the land of Canaan was subdued, the men of war who fought the battles along with the inheritors of Canaan went back to their possession outside of the land of promise. They were happy to walk away from what God had promised and get about the earthly life they had hoped for.

The only reasonable parallel that I can think of for such people are those who filled the synagogues of the past until Christ’s coming, and those who fill the church today. They are of the same caliber because they fail to simply have faith in God and receive His inheritance.

Jesus said in Matthew 23:15, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

These were people supposedly set to fight the Lord’s battles, and yet they had only this world as their inheritance. Paul was one of them until he was called out of that and into the light of Christ. But those types of people didn’t go away.

There are innumerable pastors, priests, and preachers who have led many to Christ, bringing them to their allotted inheritance, and yet they have already secured their inheritance in this earthly life. They do not believe, and indeed, they desire what this world offers far more than what God promises. What a sad, hollow existence.

John Wesley went as a missionary to Georgia in 1735. He was an ordained priest in the Anglican Church, and yet he knew nothing of the salvation found in Christ. In his journal he wrote, “I went to America, to convert the Indians; but oh! who shall convert me?”

Until he finally came to know Christ, his lot was in this world. He fought battles for the people to come to Christ, and yet he remained an earthly man, outside of the promise himself. Eventually, that changed. He crossed the Jordan and received his place in God’s promised inheritance, but countless others failed to do so.

Think on such people as we go through our verses today. Think on your own state as well. Have you truly entered into the promise that God offers in Christ? Or are your efforts simply helping others to get there while you remain apart from Him altogether? Only you and the Lord know. May your efforts be for others because you already have your inheritance, not despite lacking one yourself.

Such things need to be evaluated, and the place to do that is found in His superior word. And so, let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. If… (verses 20-30)

20 Then Moses said to them: “If you do this thing,

The excited anger of Moses from the previous verses begins to abate by the words of the children of Gad and the children of Reuben. This is apparent because he changes his tone from direct assault to a more subdued proclamation – “If you do this thing.”

Here, he is speaking directly to the leaders. He expects that what he will next say will apply to them personally. They will not be exempt from the overall directive given to the tribe as a whole. This is apparent from the words of verse 21.

Here, it is seen that he is willing to consider the request and grant these tribes what they desire, but his approval is conditional, and so he continues with…

20 (con’t) if you arm yourselves

He uses the same word they used in verse 17, khalats, translated here as “armed.” It is the same word used in 31:3 and 31:5 when speaking of arming men for the battle against Midian. The word comes from a primitive root signifying “to pull off.” And so, it gives the sense of being pulled off or separated. One could paraphrase Moses’ words as, “If you separate yourselves.” And this separation is to be…

20 (con’t) before the Lord for the war,

Again, this is the same preposition they used in verse 17 where it said, “before the children of Israel.” One can see that their term, “the children of Israel” is being equated by Moses to the Lord’s instrument for milkhama, or war.

The obvious meaning is to leave their homes and families and join the forces for battle, thus “arming” themselves. One concept directly leads to the next.

This term, “before the Lord,” is seen by some as meaning according to the order of the tribes as they marched in the wilderness. Numbers 2 showed that Reuben and Gad were under one banner, and that as they marched, it was in front of the most holy objects. Thus, they were literally “before the Lord.”

However, this is probably not what is being referred to. There is no reason to assume that the entire sanctuary was carried into battle. The term “before the Lord,” has two references. The first is that of verse 22 of this chapter where Moses spoke of the land being subdued “before the Lord.” It is a general expression.

The second reference is in Joshua 4, which says that the priests stood in the midst of the Jordan with the ark as the children of Israel crossed over. At that time, it says –

“And the men of Reuben, the men of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses had spoken to them. 13 About forty thousand prepared for war crossed over before the Lord for battle, to the plains of Jericho.” Joshua 4:12, 13  

This is what Moses is referring to. The leaders of these tribes would cross over first before the children of Israel, which means that they crossed over first before the Lord, because Israel is the Lord’s instrument of war. With it understood that he is not exempting the leaders from the directive, he next continues with…

21 and all your armed men cross over the Jordan before the Lord 

Though most translations have the word “all” qualify the word “men,” it only qualifies those men who do go. The Hebrew reads, “And cross over your men, every-armed.”

The Hebrew is even hyphenated to ensure that this mistake is not made, and yet most translations fail in this. This is important because it takes us back to what we saw last week, and what we just saw in the quote from Joshua.

Actually, only a portion of the men crossed over, about forty thousand out of almost one hundred and eleven thousand. Thus, one can see the importance of proper translation. A small change from “all men” to “all armed” makes a large difference in intent.

As you can see, the words of this verse were literally fulfilled in Joshua 4. However, it can still be debated whether the men of these tribes actually went first across the Jordan, or whether the term liphne Yehovah, or “before the Lord,” is being used, even there, in a general sense.

It is best to not get overly dogmatic because even though Israel let slip the dogs of war on Canaan, it is only a poetic term, and real dogs were not employed in their battles. No matter what, we have a sure record of the fulfillment of Moses’ words in Joshua. These tribes would go into battle, and that would last…

21 (con’t) until He has driven out His enemies from before Him,

Here, Moses uses the common word yarash, or dispossess. The idea is that Israel’s inheritance, meaning Canaan, involves the disinheritance of the Canaanites. Further, he makes this statement in the third person, singular – “until He (meaning the Lord) has dispossessed His (meaning the Lord’s) enemies from before Him (meaning the Lord).

The land is the Lord’s, and He has given it to Israel. The significance of this is not to be missed. Their inheritance, and their continuance in their inheritance, is completely conditional. The Lord is giving the land to Israel. They may dwell in it when they are obedient, and they may not when they are disobedient.

That this is certain is because here the inhabitants of the land are called oyevav, or “His enemies.” But Jeremiah, using the same word, oyev, says this in Lamentations –

“Standing like an enemy, He has bent His bow;
With His right hand, like an
adversary,
He has slain all 
who were pleasing to His eye;
On the tent of the daughter of Zion,
He has poured out His fury like fire.
The Lord was like an enemy.
He has swallowed up Israel,
He has swallowed up all her palaces;
He has destroyed her strongholds,
And has increased mourning and lamentation
In the daughter of Judah.” Lamentations 2:4, 5

The Lord dispossessed His enemies, meaning Israel, sending them into captivity, some by the Assyrians, some by the Babylonians, and some by the Romans. But unlike the Canaanites, the Lord made a covenant with Israel.

Were it not for His faithfulness to that covenant, there would not be a single Hebrew left. Moses’ words concerning the Lord’s conquest, rather than Israel’s, is actually a stern warning to Israel. This continues to be seen next…

22 and the land is subdued before the Lord,

This is the first time since Genesis 1 that the word kabash, or subdue, has been seen. It is a possible choice for the root of kibosh, as in “putting the kibosh on something.” It signifies to bring into bondage or subdue. The Lord told man to subdue the earth and fill it. Now, Moses speaks of the land of Canaan being subdued before the Lord.

Here, it is apparent that Israel is the Lord’s instrument of warfare. It is to these tribes of Israel that the word from Moses is given. And yet, what they will do is ascribed to the presence of the Lord. When the land is subdued before the Lord…

22 (con’t) then afterward you may return and be blameless before the Lord and before Israel;

Moses has said that the land is to be subdued before the men of war from these tribes can return. Once that is accomplished, then they will be neqiyim m’Yehovah u-mi’Yisrael, or “innocent from Yehovah and innocent from Israel.” It is only upon completion of the conquest of Canaan that their innocence will be established. Technically only once that occurs will the next words be true…

22 (con’t) and this land shall be your possession before the Lord.

It would be unfair for Gad and Reuben to have the final granting of their possession proclaimed before the land of the other tribes was subdued. They are given it now, they are allowed to build on it now, but it only becomes a true possession at the end of the matter.

23 But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.

The idea here is of the personification of sin. Their promise is that they would go before the children of Israel until every one of them had received his inheritance. To not keep this promise would be sin, and it would overtake them and come upon them in the form of guilt. And with the guilt of sin will come punishment. With this understanding, Moses concedes to their request…

24 Build cities for your little ones and folds for your sheep, and do what has proceeded out of your mouth.”

Moses substantially repeats the words of Numbers 30:2 –

“If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Numbers 30:2

Their words in verses 16 & 17 were, “We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones, 17 but we ourselves will be armed, ready to go before the children of Israel until we have brought them to their place.”

Moses reprioritizes their words, placing the people above the animals, but he otherwise leaves them unchanged. And then he reminds them that the words of a vow are binding. They must be fulfilled.

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

Here, their voices are united as one. It says, “Your servants (plural noun), will do (3rd person plural) as my (singular noun) lord commands.” One is probably speaking for the group, and so he affirms the vow for all.

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

Here both “wives” and “flocks” are mentioned for the only time in the chapter. Before, they were lumped into the general thought of “little ones” and “livestock,” but now they are separated.

The only thing I can think concerning this is that until this point some betrothals or anticipated marriages may have been at stake. Without the approval of Moses, other tribes may not have wanted to allow their daughters to marry into these tribes. But now, that will no longer be the case.

Also, the Hebrew doesn’t say Gilead, but rather, “the Gilead.” The term is being used to express the entire area where the tribes have been allowed to settle. The term then is synonymous with what was said in verse 1 – “the land of Gilead.” This land, the Gilead, has been granted as their future possession.

27 but your servants will cross over, every man armed for war, before the Lord to battle, just as my lord says.”

As in verse 21, the Hebrew specifically says, “every-armed.” It is only referring to those men who are separated for war. And again, as in verse 26, the voices are united. One person speaks for the whole. Here, he again finishes with “my lord” in the singular.

Also, in verse 17, these men said they were ready to go “before the children of Israel.” Since then, Moses has said, “before the Lord,” or “before Him,” meaning the Lord, six times. He also noted one time that they would sin against the Lord if they did not comply.

Now, these men acknowledge that they will go before the Lord. Their thinking has been corrected, their priorities have been corrected, and also their theology has been corrected.

28 So Moses gave command concerning them to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel.

The decision is made by the Lord. This is certain based on verse 32. However, it is Moses who then passes the command on to the leaders who would be affected by it.

This is because he already knows he is not to enter Canaan. And so, the verse is given to show that there would be no confusion after that time. Israel was to allow these tribes the land, but these tribes were expected to fulfill their obligation first, as is next seen…

29 And Moses said to them: “If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben cross over the Jordan with you, every man armed for battle before the Lord, and the land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead as a possession.

Again, as has been seen twice already, Moses uses the same term, “every-armed.” The precise wording is needed to show that not all men will go, but every man that goes will be armed. Otherwise, after Moses died, a dispute could arise that Moses intended for every man to go, thus leaving the women and children to build and defend the cities. It would immediately force these tribes to give up this grant.

However, it is now a given that some will stay while others will go to battle. After the faithful service of these men, drawn off from the whole, they would then have earned their right to return and possess, with their brothers, the homes and lands which had been tended to during their time of war.

30 But if they do not cross over armed with you,

Here, the verb “armed” is plural, khalutsim. The plural is speaking of the very separation that we have been noting. As the word signifies “to draw off,” we could paraphrase these words as, “But if they do not cross over, drawings off, with you.” Those “drawings off” imply those that will be armed for war.

30 (con’t) they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.”

The words here are passive. If they don’t actively go out to battle with the other tribes, they will be settled among the tribes in Canaan. John Lange argues that this means they would be settled among the inheritances of the other tribes, meaning that they would not be settled “as two separate and independent tribes.”

Whether that is correct or not is debatable. But if it was so, it would mean they would eventually be swallowed up and lose their identity. If that is a correct assumption, it would be a huge motivating factor for them to uphold their part of this vow.

31 Then the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying: “As the Lord has said to your servants, so we will do.

This shows that it is the Lord who gave the command, unless it is implying that Moses made the decision because he speaks for the Lord. But it seems unlikely that Moses would decide this without the Lord’s approval. Canaan was the land of promise and the goal to be obtained. For Moses to decide such a matter without the Lord seems quite out of place, but it is also not out of the question.

32 We will cross over armed before the Lord into the land of Canaan, but the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us on this side of the Jordan.”

The agreement is made, but the inheritance is conditional based on fulfillment of the promise. The land is theirs, if. And again, the word “armed,” is plural like in the previous verse. A group of the whole will be drawn off to cross over before the Lord.

Take note if you sin against the Lord
If you speak out a vow and do not follow through
The sin that you commit, for it wrath is stored
And He will repay trouble back to you

When you sin, your sin will find you out
And what you deserve will be catching up with you
Be sure of this; you need have no doubt
The Lord will require it, and He will follow through

But there is also grace with the Lord
And so, when you come to Christ, mercy is waiting there for you
The wrath will abate, every bit that was stored
When you heard the word of truth, you also followed though

Peace with God is found in Christ, so it is true
Come to God through Christ; yes, in this please follow through

II. Request Granted (verses 33-42)

33 So Moses gave to the children of Gad, to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph,

With the approval of the agreement, Moses at this time gives the land as it was requested. However, it is a conditional grant. Along with the request of Gad and Reuben, something new is introduced.

For the first time, the half tribe of Manasseh is suddenly brought into the narrative. Their inclusion, though, is based on what has already occurred, but which is not recorded until verse 39 where it notes that some from Manasseh were instrumental in subduing Gilead.

Going back to the second census in Chapter 26, we noted that Manasseh bore Machir to a concubine from Aram. From there, Machir named his son Gilead. It is this same area which is now under discussion, and which they had valiantly subdued, probably because of their heritage.

When the request was granted by Moses, this half tribe of Manasseh either came forward hoping to obtain what they had won in battle, or Moses simply gave it to them before they even asked about it. Either way, the ironic element is that the same place from which Machir’s son was named based on his mother being from this location – Gilead – has become their possession.

33 (con’t) the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land with its cities within the borders, the cities of the surrounding country.

The land of these two kings was subdued by Israel as is recorded in Numbers 21. That area, which Gad and Reuben so desired, and which Manasseh so valiantly strived to subdue, is now their grant. The inheritance of areas within this larger area are now described in order. First Gad, then Reuben, then the half tribe of Manasseh…

34 And the children of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer,

Dibon probably means “Pining.” Ataroth means “Crowns.” Aroer means “Stripped,” “Bare,” or “Naked.”

35 Atroth and Shophan and Jazer and Jogbehah,

There is no “and” between Atroth and Shophan. It is more likely one location called Atroth-Shophan. It means something like “Surrounded by the Rock Badger,” or maybe “Crowns of the Rock Badger,” or something entirely different. Jazer means “Helpful,” or “He Shall Help.” Jogbehah means “Lofty,” or “Exalted.”

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

Beth Nimrah means “House of the Leopard,” or “House of Clean Water.” Beth Haran means “House of the Lofty,” or maybe “Mountain House.” These cities are all said to be fortified cites. Along with them gidrot, or folds for the sheep, were constructed.

Much of the building, or rebuilding, of these cities probably occurred while the men of war were fighting the campaign. The other two-thirds of the men remained behind and built.

37 And the children of Reuben built Heshbon and Elealeh and Kirjathaim,

Heshbon means something like “Intelligence.” Elealeh means “God has ascended.” Kirjathaim means “Twin Cities,” or “Double Cities.”

38 Nebo and Baal Meon (their names being changed) and Shibmah;

Nebo means Interpreter or Foreteller (?). Baal Meon means Master of the House (?). The name Shibmah should read Sibmah, and it may mean “Spice.”

38 (con’t) and they gave other names to the cities which they built.

The Hebrew more closely reads, “and they called in names, names of the cities.” It means they renamed the cities. A reason for this is because the conqueror or builder of a city has the right to name it what he wishes. And secondly, some of the city names are of pagan gods. And so, to adhere to the law of not invoking the names of other gods (Ex 23:13), the names of the cities would be changed.

39 And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were in it.

This verse speaks of what occurred in the battles against Sihon and Og in Numbers 21, and which was explained earlier. It is the reason that the half tribe of Manasseh has been granted this land…

40 So Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh, and he dwelt in it.

The meaning of this is that the land was given to the family of Machir, not specifically to Machir. Machir was Manasseh’s son, and was long since gone. But being the head of the family, he is remembered in this way. The Gilead is granted by Moses to this family, and so this is where they settled.

41 Also Jair the son of Manasseh

Here, Jair is introduced as a “son of Manasseh.” This means that he is a descendant of Manasseh. 1 Chronicles 2:21, 22 shows that he is a descendant of Manasseh, Machir, Machir’s daughter, her son Segub, and then came Jair. Thus, Manasseh is his great, great, grandfather. Yair, means “He enlightens.”

The surprising part of his genealogy is that he is reckoned as a son of Manasseh, rather than a son of Judah, despite Machir’s daughter having married Hezron, a grandson of Judah. This could be because Hezron was old when he married her and already had other children. He may not have wanted this son to interfere with the inheritance rights of his other children, so their son was reckoned through Manasseh.

41 (con’t) went and took its small towns, and called them Havoth Jair.

This person, Jair, is said to have taken these small towns, and renamed them after himself. The word Khavoth is the plural of the name Khavah, or “Life.” It is the same name as Khavah, or Eve, Adam’s wife. It is often translated as “the towns of Jair,” probably because a town or city is where the bustle of life occurs.

In 1 Chronicles 2, Jair is said to have twenty-three cites. However, in Deuteronomy 3, Moses says there are sixty. People look to this as a contradiction, but that is because they don’t see that the term Khavoth Jair is being used in both a wider and a narrower sense. That is next seen with our final verse of the day…

*42 (fin) Then Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and he called it Nobah, after his own name.

Novakh means “To Bark.” He is said to have gone and taken Kenath and its surrounding villages. Kenath means “Acquisition.” In 1 Chronicles 2, it says –

“(Geshur and Syria took from them the towns of Jair, with Kenath and its towns—sixty towns.) All these belonged to the sons of Machir the father of Gilead.” 1 Chronicles 2:23

What this means is that when Moses speaks of the sixty towns of Jair in Deuteronomy 3, he is referring to everything taken by both Jair and Nobah. Here in Numbers, it is used in its stricter sense, meaning only the cities captured by Jair. But the wider sense used in Deuteronomy is inclusive of what Nobah has taken here in Kenath and its daughter villages.

A simple example would be that Tom Thumb has 15 McDonald’s franchises in Sarasota. Those are Tom’s McDonald’s. However, there are 25 McDonald’s in Sarasota. One might say, I’m going to Tom’s McDonald’s for lunch, while actually going to one that isn’t Tom’s. The term is simply used for the whole. This is the case here. And to throw in a monkey wrench, in Judges 10, it says –

“After him arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years. Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys; they also had thirty towns, which are called “Havoth Jair” to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. And Jair died and was buried in Camon.” Judges 10:3-5

There is no contradiction in this. The sons of Jair were given thirty of the sixty towns in this area to rule, and they were called by the name of their father within the wider sense of the term mentioned above. And so, once again, the Bible passage ends with no contradictions. It just takes research to find this out.

What we have recorded here is the first granting of land to any people found in Israel. It seems as if it is a notable thing, and that their decision to stay to the east of Canaan was a good one. They were set in their towns and villages, and did not have to wait any time at all to get started with the work of settling the land.

But what starts well outside of the land of promise is also destined to end badly in the same way. In 1 Chronicles 5, this is recorded –

And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan to this day.” 1 Chronicles 5:25-26

The first to settle in their granted land were also the first to be dispossessed from it. The majority of the people of these tribes disappeared into obscurity. Any that were left were assimilated into the last remaining named tribe of Israel, that of Judah.

The people had rejected the promised land of the Lord at the beginning, and they had rejected the Lord, the God of their fathers, after that. The land they thought was fair and nice was only a temporary possession, and without keeping their faith and trust in the Lord, it was taken from them.

The scene is played out in the countless human souls that have heard the message of Christ and determined that life outside of His promise is better than life in it. We might look to the abundance of the fields, the possibilities for wealth and possessions, but we don’t stop to consider how temporary and fleeting it all is.

In the passing of a breath, our lives are done, and there is nothing left but death and separation from God, who we have already separated ourselves from. Is this to be your sad lot, or are you looking to the better, eternal inheritance that comes by faith in God and in His provision found in Christ?

The same God who created the land east of the Jordan also created the land west of it. And the same God who offered rest to Israel offers rest to us today. We just have to be wise enough to accept what He has already set apart for us.

In the short term, the hills and pasture lands of the world are certainly enticing, but they require work. However, what God offers requires faith. One seems harder at the outset, and yet it is so much easier in the end. The other seems so rewarding at first, but it leads to a life which can never satisfy. We can work the fields for a thousand years, and yet the fields still need work. But faith in Christ leads us to the restful fields which lay by still waters.

Choose what you will do with Christ, but choose wisely. The work He worked is one-time and for all time. The land of promise is just ahead if you will reach out by faith and receive it.

Closing Verse: “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15

Next Week: Numbers 33:1-15 Israel trekked and trekked, but eventually the trekking was done… (The Journeys of Israel, Part I – From Egypt to Sinai) (64th Numbers Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It may seem at times as if you are lost in a desert, wandering aimlessly. But the Lord is there, carefully leading you to the Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

A Possession East of Canaan

Then Moses said to them:
“If you do this thing; if you arm yourselves
———-before the Lord for the war
And all your armed men cross over the Jordan
Before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies
———-from Him before

And the land is subdued before the Lord, as to you I now tell
Then afterward you may return and be blameless
———-it shall be as a reward
Before the Lord and before Israel
And this land shall be your possession before the Lord

But if you do not do so, then take note
You have sinned against the Lord
And be sure your sin will find you out
Pay close heed now to my word

Build cities for your little ones and folds for your sheep too
And do what has proceeded out of your mouth, so you shall do

And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben
Spoke to Moses, saying:
“Your servants will do as my lord commands
Just as you have been conveying

Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our livestock
Will be there in the cities of Gilead, according to your word
But your servants will cross over, every man armed for war
Before the Lord to battle, just as says my lord

So Moses gave command concerning them
To Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun as well
And to the chief fathers of the tribes
Of the children of Israel

And Moses said to them:
“If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben
———-cross over the Jordan with you in your procession
Every man armed for battle before the Lord
———-and the land is subdued before you
Then you shall give them the land of Gilead as a possession

But if they do not cross over armed with you
They shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan too

Then the children of Gad and the children of Reuben
———-answered, saying
“As the Lord has said to your servants, so we will do
We will cross over armed before the Lord into the land of Canaan
But the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us
———-on this side of the Jordan, our word shall be true

So Moses gave to the children of Gad, to the children of Reuben
———-and to 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 its cities within the borders
The cities of the surrounding country
———-which they had set their hopes on

And the children of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer
Atroth and Shophan and Jazer and Jogbehah too
Beth Nimrah and Beth Haran
Fortified cities, and folds for sheep, so they did do

And the children of Reuben built Heshbon and Elealeh
And Kirjathaim, Nebo and Baal Meon also
(Their names being changed) and Shibmah
And they gave other names to the cities which they built
———-as we now know

And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh
Went to Gilead and took it, he kept going and didn’t quit
And dispossessed the Amorites who were in it
So Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh
———-and he dwelt in it 

Also Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its small towns
And called them Havoth Jair, that name he did claim
Then Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages
And he called it Nobah, after his own name

Lord God, we are even now in a wilderness
And we are wanting to be led by You
Without You to direct, our lives would be a mess
And so be our guide, O God; You who are faithful and true

We long for the water in this barren land
May it flow forth from the Rock, our souls to satisfy
Give us this refreshing, spiritual hand
And may we take it, and to our lives daily it apply

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

2 Comments

  • Hello Pastor Charlie
    Once again thank you for your teaching in the book of Numbers. I have a question.
    When I went to Israel, I had the privilege to go to Jordan. We were taken up Mount Nebo and had the opportunity to see a vast expanse of land as far as the eye could see. It was barren and deserted. Is this the parcel of land that was given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh? This came to mind as I studied today’s lesson.

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