Numbers 32

Land on the east side of the Jordan River

1 The people in the tribes of Reuben and Gad had very many animals. They saw that the land in Jazer and Gilead was good for their animals. 2 They went to speak to Moses, Eleazar and the other leaders of the Israelites. 3 They said, ‘The land at Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon 4 is good for animals. The Lord has given all this land to us Israelites. We have very many animals, 5 so please let us have this land for our animals. Let us have this land to live on, instead of land on the other side of the Jordan River.’

32:5The Israelites were getting near to Canaan from the south-east. They already had power over much of the land east of the Jordan River.

6 Moses said to the men of Reuben and Gad, ‘The other Israelite tribes will go across the river to fight against the people who live there. It is not fair that you should stay here! 7 If you stay here, the rest of the Israelites may not want to cross the river. Do not stop them going into the land that the Lord has given to them! 8 Your fathers did the same thing when I sent them from Kadesh-Barnea to look at the land of Canaan. 9 They went to Eshcol valley and they saw the land. But they told the Israelites that it was not a good idea to go into Canaan. So the people did not go into the land that the Lord had given to them. 10 As a result, the Lord was very angry with them. 11 He promised, “None of the men that I brought out from Egypt will go into the land. It is the land that I promised to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But they have not trusted me completely. So any man who is 20 years old or older will not go into this land. 12 Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun are the only men who will go into the land. They are the only men who trusted me completely.”

13 At that time, the Lord was angry with all the Israelites. He caused them to travel in the desert for 40 years. After that, all the men who had turned against him were dead.’

14 Moses continued to say, ‘Now you are turning against God, as your fathers did. You are as bad as them! You will cause the Lord to be even more angry with the Israelites. 15 If you turn against him, he will leave them here in the desert. If all the Israelite people die, it will be because of you!’

16 The men of Reuben and Gad said to Moses, ‘Let us build strong houses here for our women and our children. We will also build places to keep our animals safe. 17 Then we will be ready to join the other tribes and we will lead them to the battle. While we are fighting, our families will be safe here. The people who live in this land will not be able to hurt them. 18 We will not return to our homes here until all the Israelite tribes receive their own part of the land. 19 We will not receive any of the land on the other side of the Jordan River. Our part of the land will be here, on the east side of the river.’

20 Moses said to the men, ‘You must really do as you have said. You must take your weapons and go to fight for the Lord. 21 Your men must cross over the Jordan River with the other tribes. You must continue to fight until we have won against all our enemies. 22 When the Lord has power over the whole land, then you can return here. You will have done everything that the Lord wants you to do. You will have helped the whole Israelite nation in the way that you should. The Lord will give to you this land on the east side of the Jordan River.

23 But if you do not do what you have promised, that will be a sin against the Lord. And be sure that God will punish you for your sin. 24 So build towns for your families, and build safe places for your animals. But then do everything that you have promised to do.’

25 The men in the tribes of Gad and Reuben said to Moses, ‘Yes sir, we will do what you have said. 26 Our women, children and our animals will stay here in Gilead's towns. 27 But all our men who are able to fight will cross over the river. We will fight on behalf of the Lord, as you have said that we should do.’

28 Moses gave this message to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun and to the leaders of the family clans. 29 He said to them, ‘The men in Reuben's tribe and in Gad's tribe must cross over the Jordan River to fight with you on behalf of the Lord. If they do that, you must give to them the land here in Gilead. When you have won power over the whole land, then this land will belong to them. 30 If they refuse to fight together with the other tribes, they will have no land here. They must have part of the land in Canaan, like the other tribes.’

31 The men in the tribes of Reuben and Gad said, ‘We will do what the Lord has told us to do. 32 We will take our weapons and we will cross over the Jordan River to fight on behalf of the Lord in Canaan. But then we will live in our land here on this side of the river.’

33 So Moses gave to them all the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and Og, the king of Bashan. He gave to them the land with its towns and all the land round the towns. He gave it to the descendants of Gad and of Reuben and half of the tribe of Joseph's son Manasseh.

34 The men in the tribe of Gad built up again Dibon, Ataroth and Aroer. 35 They also built up again Atroth-Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth-Nimrah and Beth-Haran. They built houses for their families and their animals. 37 The men in the tribe of Reuben built up again Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim. 38 Nebo, Baal-Meon and Sibmah. They gave new names to the cities that they built up again.

39 The descendants of Makir, the son of Manasseh, attacked Gilead. They sent away the people who lived there. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to the descendants of Makir who was the son of Manasseh. And they lived there. 41 Jair, who was a descendant of Manasseh, attacked some villages. He got power over them and he called them Havvoth-Jair. 42 Nobah attacked Kenath and the villages round it. He called it Nobah, like his own name.