Numbers 32:17
But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them to their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Will go ready armed . . . —Or, will equip ourselves in haste.

And our little ones shall dwell . . . —The word taph, which is here rendered “little ones,” appears to include all the defenceless portion of the nation. (See Exodus 12:37.)

Numbers 32:17. We ourselves will go — Either all, or as many of us as shall be thought necessary, leaving only so many as may be requisite to provide for the support and defence of our wives and children. Because of the inhabitants of the land — The Moabites and Edomites, or other neighbouring people, together with such of the Amorites as had saved themselves by flight, and would watch all opportunities of seeking to reinstate themselves in their lost possessions. Accordingly we find that forty thousand of the Reubenites and Gadites went over with their brethren, ready armed for war, to the plains of Jericho, Deuteronomy 3:18; Joshua 4:12.32:16-27 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. 17. and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land—There was good policy in leaving a sufficient force to protect the conquered region lest the enemy should attempt reprisals; and as only forty thousand of the Reubenites and the Gadites, and a half of Manasseh, passed over the Jordan (Jos 4:13), there were left for the security of the new possessions 70,580 men, besides women and children under twenty years (compare Nu 26:7, 18, 34).

We ourselves will go ready armed—that is, all of us in a collective body, or as many as may be deemed necessary, while the rest of our number shall remain at home to provide for the sustenance and secure the protection of our families and flocks. (See on [95]Jos 4:12).

We ourselves; either all, or as many of us as shall be thought necessary, leaving only so many as may be necessary to provide for the sustenance and defence of our wives and children here. See Joshua 4:12,13.

The inhabitants of the land; the Moabites and Edomites, or other bordering people. But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel,.... This they said to free themselves from the charge of cowardice, and that they did not mean to sit still while their brethren went to war; they were willing to put on their armour, and be ready to meet the enemy upon the borders of the land, and engage with them, and to expose their lives in favour of their brethren:

until we have brought them unto their place; to the land of Canaan, the place designed for them, and given unto them, to the possession of it, and a settlement in it:

and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities, because of the inhabitants of the land; where they might be safe from them, which they proposed to repair and refortify for the security of them, while they went with their brethren into the land of Canaan, to put them into possession of that, of which they made not the least doubt; and so served to clear them of suspicion of any distrust they had of entering into and possessing the land, which might tend to discourage the people.

But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their {e} place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land.

(e) In the land of Canaan.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. will be ready armed] Heb. has lit. ‘will arm ourselves hastening.’ But the expression is awkward, and the last word (חֻשִׁים) is doubtful. חֲמֻשִׁים should probably be read: will arm ourselves in battle array; cf. Exodus 13:18, Joshua 1:14; Joshua 4:12.

our little ones] Including, of course, the wives and all members of the family who were not fighting men. God would take care of them while all the soldiers were fulfilling the sacred duty of conquering the land of Canaan (cf. Exodus 34:24). An historical basis underlying the passage probably was that some portion of Gad took part in the battles on the west of Jordan. This seems to be referred to in the early poem in Deuteronomy 33 (Numbers 32:20 f.).Verse 17. - We ourselves will go ready armed. Rather, "we will equip ourselves in haste." נֵחָלַצ חֻשִׁים. They meant that they would not delay the forward movement of Israel, but would hasten to erect the necessary buildings, and to array themselves for war. Moses first of all blames their want of brotherly feeling: "Shall your brethren go into the war, and ye sit here?" He then calls their attention to the fact, that by their disinclination they would take away the courage and inclination of the other tribes to cross over the Jordan and conquer the land, and would bring the wrath of God upon Israel even more than their fathers who were sent from Kadesh to spy out the land, and who led away the heart of the people into rebellion through their unfavourable account of the inhabitants of Canaan, and brought so severe a judgment upon the congregation. מן את־לב הניא, to hold away the heart, i.e., render a person averse to anything. The Keri תּניאוּן, as in Numbers 32:9, is unquestionably to be preferred to the Kal תּנוּאוּן, in the Kethib of Numbers 32:7. - In Numbers 32:8-13, Moses reminds them of the occurrences described in ch. 13 and 14. On the expression, "wholly followed Jehovah," cf. Numbers 14:24. The words, "He drove them about in the desert," caused them to wander backwards and forwards in it for forty years, point back to Numbers 14:33-35.
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