Deuteronomy 3:18
And I commanded you at that time, saying, The LORD your God has given you this land to possess it: you shall pass over armed before your brothers the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war.
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(18, 19) This is a summary of the agreement made and described in Numbers 32:20—-32. (See also Note on Joshua 1:12.)

Deuteronomy 3:18. I commanded you — Namely, the Reubenites and Gadites. All that are meet — In such number as your brethren shall judge necessary. They were in all above a hundred thousand. Forty thousand of them went over Jordan before their brethren.3:12-20 This country was settled on the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh: see Nu 32. Moses repeats the condition of the grant to which they agreed. When at rest, we should desire to see our brethren at rest too, and should be ready to do what we can towards it; for we are not born for ourselves, but are members one of another.The sense is that the Reubenites and Gadites were to possess the district from the Jabbok on the north to the Arnon on the south, including the middle part of the valley of the Arnon, and the territory ("coast" or "border") thereto pertaining. 16. from Gilead—that is, not the mountainous region, but the town Ramoth-gilead,

even unto the river Arnon half the valley—The word "valley" signifies a wady, either filled with water or dry, as the Arnon is in summer, and thus the proper rendering of the passage will be—"even to the half or middle of the river Arnon" (compare Jos 12:2). This prudent arrangement of the boundaries was evidently made to prevent all disputes between the adjacent tribes about the exclusive right to the water.

I commanded you, to wit, the Reubenites and Gadites, mentioned Deu 3:16, to whom he now turns his speech by an apostrophe.

Meet for the war; in such number as your brethren shall judge necessary. See Joshua 1:14 4:13. And I commanded you at that time,.... Not all Israel, but the tribes of Reuben and God, and the half tribe of Manasseh; for what follows only concerns them:

saying, the Lord your God hath given you this land to possess it; the land before described, lately in the hands of Sihon and Og; this at their request Moses gave them, by the direction of the Lord, on the following condition:

you shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war; that is, they should pass over Jordan with the rest of the tribes, being armed to assist them in the conquest of Canaan: for this phrase, which we render "before your brethren", does not signify that they went in the forefront of them, only that they were present with them, and joined them in their war against their enemies; see Numbers 32:29 and therefore should be rendered "with your brethren" (a); even as many of them as were able to bear arms, at least as many as Joshua would choose to take of them; for he did not take them all by a great many; see Joshua 4:13.

(a) "cum fratribus vestris", Noldius, p. 531, No. 1492.

And I commanded {g} you at that time, saying, The LORD your God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war.

(g) That is, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half Manasseh, as in Nu 32:32.

18. And I commanded you] Them would be more natural, which some read; retain you, a symptom of the want of absolute preciseness in the writer’s style.

armed] It is doubtful whether that is the original meaning of the Heb. word or with loins girt, or stripped of superfluous clothing, expeditus; the same word in Numbers 32:21 ff. (JE?): P also uses it but with a following noun id. 27, 29 and Joshua 4:13.

children of Israel] Not deuteronomic. See on Deuteronomy 4:44.

all the men of valour] Heb. sons of strength or valour. Like our force the Heb. ḥail is also used for army, but with the article (e.g. 2 Samuel 24:2), which does not occur in this phrase. The meaning is all capable of bearing arms.

18–22. Directions to the Two-and-a-Half Tribes and to Joshua

At that time Moses charged the two-and-a-half tribes to send their warriors over Jordan till the conquest there was completed, leaving their families and cattle in the cities already given them (18–20). At that time, too, he charged Joshua (21 f.).—To the charge to the two-and-a-half tribes the parallel is Numbers 32:16-32, which says that Reuben and Gad (these alone) offered to send their warriors to the W. campaign after building or fortifying cities for their children, and folds for their cattle E. of Jordan; and that Moses enforced this plan with threats of disaster if it was not carried out. Of this composite passage various analyses have been made; all that is clear is that JE narrated some such episode.—To the charge to Joshua, at that time, the Pent has no parallel. On the ground that it anticipates 28 f. and Deuteronomy 31:7 ff. it is removed by some after Deuteronomy 3:28, where indeed it is suitable, but by others has been taken to be no original part of the First Discourse by Moses. Yet the Discourse is not so compact and free of repetition that we need deny to its author such an anticipation of his own words; nor would it be surprising that in the traditions with which he worked there were recorded more than one charge to Joshua or at least several emphases of the fact that Joshua was exhorted by Moses; cp. Deuteronomy 1:38. On the mixed forms of address, thou and you, see notes below.Verses 18-20. - Moses reminds the two and a half tribes of the conditions on which they had received the possessions they had desired beyond Jordan (see Numbers 32:20-32). All that are meet for the war; literally, all the sons of might (בְּנֵי חַיִל), i.e. not all who were men of war or of age to go to war, but men specially powerful and fitted for warlike enterprise. Until the Lord hath given rest auto your brethren (corer. Exodus 33:14). Review of the Distribution of the Conquered Land. - The land which the Israelites had taken belonging to these two kingdoms was given by Moses to the two tribes and a half for their possession, viz., the southern portion from Aroer in the Arnon valley (see at Numbers 32:34), and half Gilead (as far as the Jabbok: see at Deuteronomy 3:10) with its towns, which are enumerated in Joshua 13:15-20 and Joshua 13:24-28, to the Reubenites and Gadites; and the northern half of Gilead, with the whole of Bashan (i.e., all the region of Argob: see at Deuteronomy 3:4, and Numbers 32:33), to the half-tribe of Manasseh. לכל־הבּשׁן, "as for all Bashan," is in apposition to "all the region of Argob," and the ל simply serves to connect it; for "all the region of Argob" was not merely one portion of Bashan, but was identical with "all Bashan," so far as it belonged to the kingdom of Og (see at v. 4). All this region passed for a land of giants. הקּרא, to be called, i.e., to be, and to be recognised as being.
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