Numbers 32:16
And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
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(16) We will build sheepfolds . . . —The sheepfolds were commonly constructed of loose stones piled up on one another.

And cities for our little ones.—The word which is rendered “buildoften means to “build up” or “repair,” and it probably has that meaning in this place, as applied to the cities. (See Numbers 32:26.)

32:16-27 Here is the good effect of plain dealing. Moses, by showing their sin, and the danger of it, brought them to their duty, without murmuring or disputing. All men ought to consider the interests of others as well as their own; the law of love requires us to labour, venture, or suffer for each other as there may be occasion. They propose that their men of war should go ready armed before the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, and that they should not return till the conquest of Canaan was ended. Moses grants their request, but he warns them of the danger of breaking their word. If you fail, you sin against the Lord, and not against your brethren only; God will certainly reckon with you for it. Be sure your sin will find you out. Sin will surely find out the sinner sooner or later. It concerns us now to find our sins out, that we may repent of them, and forsake them, lest they find us out to our ruin.The Kenezite - Kenaz Genesis 36:11 was the name of one of the "dukes of Edom:" but Israel and Edom were of kindred origin, and the use of similar names by the two peoples is not surprising. 16. they came near—The narrative gives a picturesque description of this scene. The suppliants had shrunk back, dreading from the undisguised emotions of their leader that their request would be refused. But, perceiving, from the tenor of his discourse, that his objection was grounded only on the supposition that they would not cross the Jordan to assist their brethren, they became emboldened to approach him with assurances of their goodwill.

We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones—that is, rebuild, repair. It would have been impossible within two months to found new cities, or even to reconstruct those which had been razed to the ground. Those cities of the Amorites were not absolutely demolished, and they probably consisted only of mud-built, or dry-stone walls.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And they came near unto him,.... The heads of the tribes of Gad and Reuben came a little nearer to Moses, having something more to say unto him, in order to explain their meaning, and in doing which they used some degree of freedom and boldness with him, see Genesis 44:18.

and said, we will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones not build new ones, but repair the old ones; for there were cities enough in the country, as before named, and no doubt sheepfolds too, as the land was a place of cattle, but those were through the war broken down and demolished, and needed repairing; and this they proposed to do, and leave their children and their cattle to the care of their servants, under the protection of the divine Providence, and did not mean for the present to take up their abode here.

And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
Verse 16. - Sheep-folds. גִּדְרֹת צֹאן. These were rude enclosures built of loose stones piled on one another, into which the flocks were driven at night for safety. Numbers 32:16The persons thus reproved came near to Moses, and replied, "We will build sheep-folds here for our flocks, and towns for our children; but we will equip ourselves hastily (חשׁים, part. pass. hasting) before the children of Israel, till we bring them to their place" (i.e., to Canaan). צאן גּדרת, folds or pens for flocks, that were built of stones piled up one upon another (1 Samuel 24:4).

(Note: According to Wetstein (Reiseber. p. 29), it is a regular custom with the nomads in Leja, to surround every place, where they pitch their tents, with a Sira, i.e., with an enclosure of stones about the height of a man, that the flocks may not be scattered in the night, and that they may know at once, from the noise made by the falling of the smaller stones which are laid at the top, if a wolf attempts to enter the enclosure during the night.)

By the building of towns, we are to understand the rebuilding and fortification of them. טף, the children, including the women, and such other defenceless members of the family as were in need of protection (see at Exodus 12:37). When their families were secured in fortified towns against the inhabitants of the land, the men who could bear arms would not return to their houses till the children of Israel, i.e., the rest of the tribes, had all received their inheritance: for they did not wish for an inheritance on the other side of Jordan and farther on, if (כּי) their inheritance was assigned them on this side Jordan towards the east. The application of the expression היּרדּן מעבר to the land on the east of the Jordan, as well as to that on the west, points to a time when the Israelites had not yet obtained a firm footing in Canaan. At that time the land to the west of the river could very naturally be spoken of as "beyond the Jordan," from the subjective stand-point of the historian, who was then on the east of the river; whereas, according to the objective and geographical usage, the land "beyond Jordan" signifies the country to the east of the river. But in order to prevent misunderstanding, in this particular instance the expression היּרדּן עבר is defined more precisely as מזרחה, "towards the east," when it is intended to apply to the land on the east of the Jordan.

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