Numbers 32:22
And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward you shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) And this land shall be your possession before the Lord.—See Deuteronomy 3:12-20; Joshua 13:15-33.

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. 20-33. Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing—with sincerity and zeal.

go before the Lord to war—The phrase was used in allusion to the order of march in which the tribes of Reuben and Gad immediately preceded the ark (see on [96]Nu 2:10-31), or to the passage over the Jordan, in which the ark stood in mid-channel, while all the tribes marched by in succession (Jos 3:4), of course including those of Reuben and Gad, so that, literally, they passed over before the Lord and before the rest of Israel (Jos 4:13). Perhaps, however, the phrase is used merely in a general sense to denote their marching on an expedition, the purpose of which was blessed with the presence, and destined to promote the glory, of God. The displeasure which Moses had felt on the first mention of their proposal had disappeared on the strength of their solemn assurances. But a lurking suspicion of their motives seems still to have been lingering in his mind—he continued to speak to them in an admonitory strain; and he concluded by warning them that in case of their failing to redeem their pledge, the judgments of an offended God would assuredly fall upon them. This emphatic caution against such an eventuality throws a strong doubt on the honesty of their first intentions; and yet, whether through the opposing attitude or the strong invectives of Moses they had been brought to a better state of mind, their final reply showed that now all was right.

Before the Lord, i.e. by his presence, and gracious and powerful assistance. And the land be subdued before the Lord,.... For the inhabitants fleeing before his people, and being conquered by them, might be said to be subdued before the Lord, this being done in his presence, by his power, and for his people:

then afterward ye shall return: to this side of Jordan, the land of Jazer and Gilead, to their cities, and families there:

and be guiltless before the Lord, and before Israel: having fulfilled all that they promised:

and this land shall be your possession before the Lord; be established and settled in it as their inheritance, the Lord seeing and approving of it, and protecting them in the enjoyment of it.

And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession {h} before the LORD.

(h) The Lord will grant you this land which you request, Jos 1:15.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The 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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