Numbers 32:33
And Moses gave to them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about.
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(33) And unto half the tribe of Manasseh . . . —This is the first mention of the tribe of Manasseh. The application for a grant of the land on the eastern side of the Jordan appears to have been made only by the tribes of Reuben and Gad. The explanation, however, of this mention of the half tribe of Manasseh is found in Numbers 32:39, from which it appears that a portion of that tribe had been chiefly, if not exclusively, engaged in the conquest of certain portions of Gilead and Bashan, and had, therefore, justly acquired a claim to the possession of the districts which they had subjugated. (See Deuteronomy 3:13-15.)

32:28-42 Concerning the settlement of these tribes, observe, that they built the cities, that is, repaired them. They changed the names of them; probably they were idolatrous, therefore they should be forgotten. A spirit of selfishness, of seeking our own, not the things of Christ, when each one ought to assist others, is as dangerous as it is common. It is impossible to be sincere in the faith, sensible of the goodness of God, constrained by the love of Christ, sanctified by the power of the Holy Ghost, and yet be indifferent to the progress of religion, and the spiritual success of others, through love of ease, or fear of conflict. Let then your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.Half the tribe of Manasseh - That is, (compare Numbers 32:39; Joshua 17:1) the families of Machir. Moses, when assigning to the pastoral tribes the inheritance which they desired, appropriated to these Manassites especially the district they had already subdued, as a reward for their valour and exploits. Thus the whole of the conquered country was provisionally disposed of, and the forwardness anti valour of the Machirites rewarded. It seems clear from Numbers 32:39 and Joshua 17:1, that the claims of the Machirites arose simply out of their exploits. 33. half the tribe of Manasseh—It is nowhere explained in the record how they were incorporated with the two tribes, or what broke this great tribe into two parts, of which one was left to follow the fortunes of its brethren in the settled life of the western hills, while the other was allowed to wander as a nomadic tribe over the pasture lands of Gilead and Bashan. They are not mentioned as accompanying Reuben and Gad in their application to Moses [Nu 32:1]; neither were they included in his first directions (Nu 32:25); but as they also were a people addicted to pastoral pursuits and possessed as immense flocks as the other two, Moses invited the half of them to remain, in consequence, probably, of finding that this region was more than sufficient for the pastoral wants of the others, and he may have given them the preference, as some have conjectured, for their valorous conduct in the contests with the Amorites (compare Nu 32:39, with Jos 17:1). Half the tribe of Manasseh are here added to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, either because upon the good success of the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, they were encouraged to make the same request for themselves, as having much cattle as well as they; or because upon further consideration it was found that this portion of land was more than sufficient for those two tribes; and it was given by Moses to these rather than to any other, because they fought against the Amorites with great courage and success, here Numbers 32:39 Joshua 17:1. And Moses gave unto them,.... By word of mouth, in the presence of the court, or rather by some instrument drawn up and signed by him and the sanhedrim, or witnessed by them:

even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph; no mention is made of this half tribe joining with the other two tribes in the request to settle on this side Jordan, and therefore it is generally thought that they were encouraged, by the success of the two tribes, to make a like motion; or else Moses and the princes, observing that there was too much land for the said tribes, joined this half tribe with them, the land being suitable for them:

the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about; of which kingdoms, and the conquest of them, see Numbers 21:24, and several of the cities in them are after mentioned.

And Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the {m} Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about.

(m) The Amorites dwelled on both sides of Jordan: but here he makes mention of them that dwelt on this side: Jos 10:12 he speaks of them that inhabited beyond Jordan.

33. and unto the half tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph) This clause, or perhaps the whole verse, is a later addition to P . See prelim. note above.Verse 33. - And unto half the tribe of Manasseh. As no mention has been previously made of this tribe in this connection, we are left to conjecture why it should, contrary to all analogy, have been divided at all, and why the one half should have received the remote regions of Northern Gilead and Bashan. That the tribe was divided at all can only be explained by the pre-existence of some schism in its ranks, the probable origin and nature of which are discussed in the notes on verses 39, 41. The enormous increase in the tribal numbers during the wanderings (see on chapter Numbers 26:34) may have made the division more advisable, and the adventurous and independent character of the Machirites may have rendered it almost a necessity. They had not apparently preferred any request to Moses, but since the trans-Jordanic territory was to be occupied, Moses probably prevented a grave difficulty by recognizing their claim to the conquests they had made. Upon this declaration Moses absolves them from all guilt, and promises them the desired land for a possession, on condition that they fulfil their promise; but he reminds them again of the sin that they will commit, and will have to atone for, if their promise is not fulfilled, and closes with the admonition to build towns for their families and pens for their flocks, and to do what they have promised. Upon this they promise again (Numbers 32:25-27), through their spokesman (as the singular ויּאמר in Numbers 32:25, and the suffix in אדני in Numbers 32:27, clearly show), that they will fulfil his command. The use of the expression "before Jehovah," in the words, "go armed before Jehovah to war," in Numbers 32:20 and Numbers 32:21, may be explained from the fact, that in the war which they waged at the command of their God, the Israelites were the army of Jehovah, with Jehovah in the midst. Hence the ark of the covenant was taken into the war, as the vehicle and substratum of the presence of Jehovah; whereas it remained behind in the camp, when the people wanted to press forward into Canaan of their own accord (Numbers 14:44). But if this is the meaning of the expression "before Jehovah," we may easily understand why the Reubenites and Gadites do not make use of it in Numbers 32:17, namely, because they only promise to go equipped "before the children of Israel," i.e., to help their brethren to conquer Canaan. In Numbers 32:32 they also adopt the expression, after hearing it from the mouth of Moses (Numbers 32:20).

(Note: This completely sets aside the supposed discrepancy which Knobel adduces in support of his fragmentary hypothesis, viz., that the Elohist writes "before Israel" in Numbers 32:17 and Numbers 32:29, when the Jehovist would write "before Jehovah," - a statement which is not even correct; since we find "before Jehovah" in Numbers 32:29, which Knobel is obliged to erase from the text in order to establish his assertion.)

נקיּים, innocent, "free from guilt before Jehovah and before Israel." By drawing back from participation in the war against the Canaanites, they would not only sin against Jehovah, who had promised Canaan to all Israel, and commanded them to take it, but also against Israel itself, i.e., against the rest of the tribes, as is more fully stated in Numbers 32:7-15. In Numbers 32:22, "before Jehovah" signifies according to the judgment of Jehovah, with divine approval. חטּאתכם וּדעוּ, "ye will know your sin," which will overtake (מצא) or smite you, i.e., ye will have to make atonement for them.

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