Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle;
Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon,
Even the country which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle:
Wherefore, 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.
if we have
And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?
shall ye sit here
And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?
Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land.
For when they went up unto 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.
And the LORD'S anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying,
Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:
wholly followed me
Heb. fulfilled after me.
Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.
And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.
And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel.
For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people.
if ye turn
he will yet
And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land.
We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.
For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward.
on this side
And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war,
And 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.
But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
if ye will
be sure your sin
If the persons concerned prevaricated, and so imposed on men, or if they afterwards refused to fulfil their engagement, God would most certainly detect and expose their wickedness, and inflict condign punishment upon them. Of all the ways, says Dr. South, to be taken for the prevention of that great plague of mankind, Sin, there is none so rational and efficacious as to confute and baffle those motives by which men are induced to embrace it; and among all such motives, the heart of man seems to be chiefly overpowered and prevailed upon by two, viz. secrecy in committing sin, and impunity with respect to its consequences. Accordingly, Moses, in this chapter, having to deal with a company of men suspected of a base and fraudulent design, though couched under a very fair pretence, as most such designs are, endeavours to quash it in its very conception, by secretly applying himself to encounter those secret motives and arguments, which he knew were the most likely to encourage them in it. And this he does very briefly, but effectually, by assuring them, that how covertly and artificially soever they might carry on their dark project, yet their sin would infallibly find them out. Though the subject and occasion of these words are indeed particular, yet the design of them is manifestly of an universal import, as reaching the case of all transgressors, in their first entrance on any sinful act or course.
Build you cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which hath proceeded out of your mouth.
And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spake unto Moses, saying, Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth.
But thy servants will pass over, every man armed for war, before the LORD to battle, as my lord saith.
as my lord
So 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:
But if they will not pass over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.
And 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.
And the children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer,
Eusebius says that Dibon was a large town, near the river Arnon. Burckhardt says, that when he was about an hour's distance north of the Modjeb or Arnon, he was shown to the N. E. the ruins of Diban, the ancient Dibon, situated in the low ground of the Koura, or plains of Moab.
Aroer was situated, according to Eusebius, on a mountain on the north bank of the river Arnon. This is confirmed by Burckhardt, who says it is called Araayr, and is seated on the edge of the precipice, at the foot of which the river flows.
And Atroth, Shophan, and Jaazer, and Jogbehah,
And Bethnimrah, and Bethharan, fenced cities: and folds for sheep.
Probably the same as Nimrim in Jer 48:34, and the Bethnabris mentioned by Eusebius, five miles north from Livias. Burckhardt says, that "in the valley of the Jordan, south of Abou Obeida, are the ruins of Nemrim, probably the Beth-nimrah of the Scriptures."
And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kirjathaim,
Elealeh is placed, by Eusebius, a mile from Heshbon. It is now called El Aal, "the high," and is situated on a hill.
And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they builded.
This town is placed, by Eusebius and Jerome, nine miles from Heshbon, at the foot of mount Abarim.
gave other names unto the cities
Heb. they called by names the names of the cities.
And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorite which was in it.
And Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt therein.
And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns thereof, and called them Havothjair.
And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name.