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The Tribes East of the Jordan
(Deuteronomy 3:12–22; Joshua 13:8–14)
1 Now the Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, surveyed the lands of Jazer and Gilead, and they saw that the region was suitable for livestock. 2 So the Gadites and Reubenites came to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the leaders of the congregation, and said, 3 “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, a Nebo, and Beon, 4 which the LORD conquered before the congregation of Israel, are suitable for livestock—and your servants have livestock.”
5 “If we have found favor in your sight,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”
6 But Moses asked the Gadites and Reubenites, “Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here? 7 Why are you discouraging the Israelites from crossing into the land that the LORD has given them? 8 This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to inspect the land.
9 For when your fathers went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land that the LORD had given them. 10 So the anger of the LORD was kindled that day, and He swore an oath, saying, 11 ‘Because they did not follow Me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years of age or older who came out of Egypt will see the land that I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob— 12 not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun—because they did follow the LORD wholeheartedly.’ 13 The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation who had done evil in His sight was gone.
14 Now behold, you, a brood of sinners, have risen up in place of your fathers to further stoke the burning anger of the LORD against Israel. 15 For if you turn away from following Him, He will once again leave this people in the wilderness, and you will be the cause of their destruction.”
16 Then the Gadites and Reubenites approached Moses and said, “We want to build sheepfolds here for our livestock and cities for our little ones. 17 But we will arm ourselves and be ready b to go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them into their place. Meanwhile, our little ones will remain in the fortified cities for protection from the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our homes until every Israelite has taken possession of his inheritance. 19 Yet we will not have an inheritance with them across the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan.”
20 Moses replied, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves before the LORD for battle, 21 and if every one of your armed men crosses the Jordan before the LORD, until He has driven His enemies out before Him, 22 then when the land is subdued before the LORD, you may return and be free of obligation to the LORD and to Israel. And this land will belong to you as a possession before the LORD. 23 But if you do not do this, you will certainly sin against the LORD—and be assured that your sin will find you out. 24 Build cities for your little ones and folds for your flocks, but do what you have promised.”
25 The Gadites and Reubenites said to Moses, “Your servants will do just as our lord commands. 26 Our children, our wives, our livestock, and all our animals will remain here in the cities of Gilead. 27 But your servants are equipped for war, and every man will cross over to the battle before the LORD, just as our lord says.”
28 So Moses gave orders about them to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua son of Nun, and to the family leaders of the tribes of Israel. 29 And Moses said to them, “If the Gadites and Reubenites cross the Jordan with you, with every man armed for battle before the LORD, and the land is subdued before you, then you are to give them the land of Gilead as a possession. 30 But if they do not arm themselves and go across with you, then they must accept their possession among you in the land of Canaan.”
31 The Gadites and Reubenites replied, “As the LORD has spoken to your servants, so we will do. 32 We will cross over into the land of Canaan armed before the LORD, that we may have our inheritance on this side of the Jordan.”
33 So Moses gave to the Gadites, to the Reubenites, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan—the land including its cities and the territory surrounding them.
34 And the Gadites built up Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35 Atroth-shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran as fortified cities, and they built folds for their flocks.
37 The Reubenites built up Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38 as well as Nebo and Baal-meon (whose names were changed), and Sibmah. And they renamed the cities they rebuilt.
39 The descendants of Machir son of Manasseh went to Gilead, captured it, and drove out the Amorites who were there. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to the clan of Machir son of Manasseh, and they settled there. 41 Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, went and captured their villages and called them Havvoth-jair. c 42 And Nobah went and captured Kenath and its villages and called it Nobah, after his own name.
3 a Hebrew; see verse 38, and similarly in SP and LXX Sibmah
17 b LXX we will arm ourselves for battle
41 c Havvoth-jair means the villages of Jair .