Today's passage: Numbers 32
- With the military victories they'd already had behind them, some in Israel saw the land east of the Jordan River as very good for their livestock and people. Before the conquest of the Promised Land ever began, these tribes were ready to settle these recently conquered territories.
- Moses' was concerned. If these tribes refused to go into the Promised Land to participate in the battles, the rest of Israel might fear defeat and give up on what God had commanded them to do.
- The results of this fear would have the same effect as when the spies brought back their faithless reports.
- The leaders of the tribes of Reuben and Gad assured Moses, they would not abandon Israel or quit short of the command of God to take the land together.
- Half the tribe of Manasseh joined in the idea of settling east of the Jordan (Often called “Transjordan”). Further military victories were required and given to fulfill the need for land.
- With all these victories, Israel would be crossing the Jordan on a winning streak. The people west of the Jordan would hear and know trouble was coming.
Questions to consider:
- At this stage of Moses' life and just before Israel was to cross into the Promised Land, why would Moses be so distraught about the suggestion of these tribes who wanted to settle east of the Jordan? What had he seen repeatedly for the last 40 plus years? How could the events at Kadesh-Barnea have correlated with what they were asking for at that point?
- What is the meaning of Moses' statement at the end of verse 23? How does remembering Moses' death was drawing near help us to understand why he might have said that? Ultimately, who should the men have feared/revered in such a way to encourage their obedience?
- Why would the potential consequence of verse 30 have been such a concern? If the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh were all able to fit into the inheritances in Canaan, what would have happened to the size of their tribes? What does it also guarantee for the rest of Israel if these tribes had gone against their promise and not helped? What would God accomplish with out without their participation? Is anything too hard for the Lord?