Pastoral Commentary for Numbers 32
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
When the leaders of the tribes of Gad and Reuben saw the fertile grazing land to the east of the Jordan River, they immediately saw an opportunity to settle down with their large flocks and herds. They approached Moses and asked to be given the land of the Transjordan region for their inheritance. Moses knew that if these two tribes would settle there immediately it would cause a division in Israel and would discourage the other tribes from crossing the Jordan and taking the land that God had promised to them. Moses warned that if they would not follow the LORD into the Promised Land that God would leave the whole assembly in the desert, as He did when the ten spies counseled against taking the land almost 40 years earlier. The Gadites and Reubenites asked Moses to allow them to build pens for their livestock and walled fortresses to protect their families, but they promised to take up arms and march across the Jordan with Israel and fight until every Israelite received their inheritance. Moses agreed, but warned them strongly against going back on their word. He told them that the Transjordan would be taken from them if they failed their duty to Israel. Ultimately, the half-tribe of Manasseh drove out the Amorites and joined Reuben and Gad in settling east of the Jordan River.