Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 3. Saban, and Nebo. These towns were afterwards retaken by the Moabites, Isaias xv. 2, 8. — Beon. Perhaps the same with Mehon, or Beth Baal Mehon, Josue xiii. 17. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Jordan. They are a figure of those who would possess heaven without labour. But none is crowned, except he strive lawfully, 2 Timothy ii. 5. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Overturn. Hebrew nua, “to discourage,” (Haydock) break, dissolve, &c., ver. 9. (Menochius) — The same history is mentioned, (Deuteronomy iii. 12, 18,) but without these reproaches. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. If, &c. They shall not see Chanaan. (Menochius) — In Scripture, odious things are not fully expressed, particularly in oaths, Psalm lxxxviii. 36., and cxxxi. 2. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “surely none….shall see….because they have not perfectly followed me.” (Grotius) (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Cenezite. His father was either called Cenez, or a part of the country of the Cenezites, being promised to Caleb at Cades-barne, he assumed his title, Josue xiv. 6.
Ver. 13. Led, &c. Septuagint, “he rolled them over,” to denote their afflictions. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Of all. Hebrew, “if, or because you will not follow after him. He will stop them in the desert, and you will destroy all the people.” Septuagint, “because you will turn away from him, to abandon him again in the desert, and you will sin against all this congregation.” God had decreed that all should go together to the conquest of the promised land; so that, if these children of Ruben and of Gad should refuse to comply, Moses was afraid that all might be ruined. Perceiving that his discourse turned on this subject, they approached with greater confidence, and shewed their readiness to fight for their brethren. Upon which Moses was satisfied. (Haydock)
Ver. 17. Cities, which in the space of two months they would repair sufficiently, so that their children might be protected against the Amorrhites, &c. They left strong garrisons very prudently, to keep possession of the conquered country: 70,580 remained in the cities; while 40,000 went before their brethren. See chap. xxvi. 7, 18., and Josue iv. 13.
Ver. 19. Jordan. Hebrew adds, “or forward,” any where, in case fresh conquests be made. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Lord, or the ark, under the guidance and protection of God.
Ver. 21. Man, that may be required: Josue only took 40,000 for the vanguard. (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Ruben. No mention is made of those of the half tribe of Manasses. Perhaps they only joined the rest afterwards, chap. v. 33. They occupied the northern parts. (Haydock) — The Hebrew has here a solecism, “the sons of Gad he said;” to avoid which, Onkelos adds, the tribe, &c. (Houbigant)
Ver. 26. Galaad. Only a small part of the territory properly went by that name, ver. 39. (Calmet)
Ver. 30. With you. Septuagint, “armed for war before the Lord; take by force their baggage, wives and cattle, before you, into Chanaan, and let them have shares with you in Chanaan.” (Haydock)
Ver. 34. Built, or repaired; for they had been cities of the Amorrhites before. — Aroer was occupied by the Moabites after the Israelites were led into captivity, Jeremias xlviii. 1, 19.
Ver. 35. Sophan. Some believe that this is the same city with Etroth, and that it took its name from Saphon, the son of Gad, chap. xxvi. 15. — Jegbaa, perhaps the Beon, ver. 3. See Judges viii. 11.
Ver. 36. Betharan, which Herod enlarged, and called Livias, south of Hesebon. (Calmet)
Ver. 38. Nabo. Probably the same as Nebo and Nobe. — Baalmeon. This city had a variety of names, ver. 3, 35. Those who rebuilt these cities gave them their own names, ver. 42. (Hebrew Targum of Jerus.) Yet they were often known by their former appellations. (Calmet) — The rebuilders chiefly objected to the names of idols, Baal, &c., which were joined with these cities. (Menochius)
Ver. 40. In it, by means of his descendants. For Machir must have been above 250 years old, if he were still alive. Many children are attributed to Machir and his father, Manasses, who were not their immediate offspring. The latter had only Machir, who survived him; Ezriel was probably a grandson of Machir, as he is styled the son of Galaad, chap. xxvi. 31., and Josue xvii. 2. See 1 Paralipomenon vii. Adoptive and legal children, are often confounded with those who are really born of a person, as also those places which are inhabited by his posterity. (Calmet)
Ver. 41. Jair was born of Segub, the son of Esron, by a daughter of Machir, 1 Paralipomenon i. 21. He did not remain in the tribe of Juda, but dwelt in that of his mother, (Calmet) or perhaps he married a descendant of Machir, and obtained these villages. (Selden, Suc. c. xviii.) — Havoth, means “a circle of cabins or shepherds’ huts,” in Arabic. (Bochart)
Ver. 42. Canath. This town is reckoned among those of Jair, (1 Paralipomenon ii. 23,) either because Nobe conquered it under his banners, or because it fell to the share of Jair, after the death of Nobe. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The tribes of Ruben and Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasses, receive their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan, upon conditions approved of by Moses.
1 And the sons of Ruben and Gad *had many flocks of cattle, and their substance in beasts was infinite. And when they saw the lands of Jazer and Galaad fit for feeding cattle,
2 *They came to Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and the princes of the multitude, and said:
3 Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nemra, Hesebon, and Eleale, and Saban, and Nebo, and Beon,
4 The land which the Lord hath conquered in the sight of the children of Israel, is a very fertile soil for the feeding of beasts: and we, thy servants, have very much cattle:
5 And we pray thee, if we have found favour in thy sight, that thou give it to us, thy servants, in possession, and make us not pass over the Jordan.
6 And Moses answered them: What, shall your brethren go to fight, and will you sit here?
7 Why do ye overturn the minds of the children of Israel, that they may not dare to pass into the place which the Lord hath given them?
8 Was it not thus your fathers did, when I sent from Cades-barne to view the land?
9 *And when they were come as far as the valley of the cluster, having viewed all the country, they overturned the hearts of the children of Israel, that they should not enter into the coasts, which the Lord gave them.
10 *And he swore in his anger, saying:.
11 If these men, that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I promised with an oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: because they would not follow me,
12 Except Caleb, the son of Jephone, the Cenezite, and Josue, the son of Nun: these have fulfilled my will.
13 And the Lord being angry against Israel, led them about through the desert forty years, until the whole generation, that had done evil in his sight, was consumed.
14 And behold, said he, you are risen up instead of your fathers, the increase and offspring of sinful men, to augment the fury of the Lord against Israel.
15 For if you will not follow him, he will leave the people in the wilderness, and you shall be the cause of the destruction of all.
16 But they coming near, said: We will make sheepfolds, and stalls for our cattle, and strong cities for our children:
17 And we ourselves will go armed and ready for battle before the children of Israel, until we bring them in unto their places. Our little ones, and all we have, shall be in walled cities, for fear of the ambushes of the inhabitants.
18 We will not return into our houses, until the children of Israel possess their inheritance:
19 Neither will we seek any thing beyond the Jordan, because we have already our possession on the east side thereof.
20 And Moses said to them: *If you do what you promise, go on well appointed for war before the Lord:
21 And let every fighting man pass over the Jordan, until the Lord overthrow his enemies,
22 And all the land be brought under him: then shall you be blameless before the Lord and before Israel, and you shall obtain the countries that you desire, before the Lord.
23 But if you do not what you say, no man can doubt but you sin against God: and know ye that your sin shall overtake you.
24 Build therefore cities for your children, and folds and stalls for your sheep and beasts: and accomplish what you have promised.
25 *And the children of Gad and Ruben said to Moses: We are thy servants, we will do what my lord commandeth.
26 We will leave our children, and our wives, and sheep, and cattle, in the cities of Galaad:
27 And we, thy servants, all well appointed, will march on to the war, as thou my lord speakest.
28 Moses therefore commanded Eleazar the priest, and Josue, the son of Nun, and the princes of the families of all the tribes of Israel, and said to them:
29 *If the children of Gad, and the children of Ruben, pass with you over the Jordan, all armed for war before the Lord, and the land be made subject to you: give them Galaad in possession.
30 But if they will not pass armed with you into the land of Chanaan, let them receive places to dwell in among you.
31 And the children of Gad, and the children of Ruben, answered: As the Lord hath spoken to his servants, so will we do:
32 We will go armed before the Lord into the land of Chanaan, and we confess that we have already received our possession beyond the Jordan.
33 Moses therefore gave to the children of Gad and of Ruben, and to the half tribe of Manasses, the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sehon, king of the Amorrhites, and the kingdom of Og, king of Basan, and their land and the cities thereof round about.
34 And the sons of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer,
35 And Etroth, and Sophan, and Jazer, and Jegbaa,
36 And Bethnemra, and Betharan, fenced cities, and folds for their cattle.
37 But the children of Ruben built Hesebon, and Eleale, and Cariathaim,
38 And Nabo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed) and Sabama: giving names to the cities which they had built.
39 *Moreover the children of Machir, the son of Manasses, went into Galaad, and wasted it, cutting off the Amorrhites, the inhabitants thereof.
40 And Moses gave the land of Galaad to Machir, the son of Manasses, and he dwelt in it.
41 And Jair, the son of Manasses, went and took the villages thereof, and he called them Havoth Jair, that is to say, the villages of Jair.
42 Nobe also went, and took Canath, with the villages thereof: and he called it by his own name, Nobe.
1: Deuteronomy iii. 12.
2: Year of the World 2553.
9: Numbers xiii. 24.
10: Numbers xiv. 29.
20: Josue i. 14.
25: Josue iv. 12.
29: Deuteronomy iii. 12.; Josue xiii. 8. and xxii. 4.
39: Genesis l. 22.