Numbers 32:38
And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names to the cities which they built.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 32:38. Their names being changed — Conquerors of places have been wont to change their names. But as the Israelites were forbidden to mention the names of other gods, and as these places, it seems had their names from the false gods worshipped in them, (which was unquestionably the case with Nebo and Baal-meon,) the Israelites might judge it proper to change the names of these places, in order to abolish all footsteps of idolatry.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.The Reubenites established themselves more compactly than the Gadites. Elcalch (el-'Al) a mile to the northeast; Nebo (Nebbeh) probably three miles to the southwest; Baal-meon (Main) nearly two miles to the south; Kirjathaim (Kureiyat?): and Shibmah, more properly Sibmah, famous at a later period for its vines (compare Isaiah 16:8), four miles east of Heshbon; all clustered round the old Amorite Capital. The Reubenites probably retained at the partition all these cities with the exception of Heshbon, which, passing to the Levites, were thenceforth reckoned as within the tribe of Gad.

Neither the Reubenites nor the Gadites were "builders" in the sense of founders of the cities of which they thus took possession. They probably fortified them, for the first time or afresh, so as to render them places of safety for their families during the campaigns on the other side of the Jordan; and provided them with all conveniences for their flocks and herds.

38. (their names being changed)—either because it was the general custom of conquerors to do so; or, rather, because from the prohibition to mention the names of other gods (Ex 23:13), as Nebo and Baal were, it was expedient on the first settlement of the Israelites to obliterate all remembrance of those idols. (See Jos 13:17-20). Nebo; of which city see Deu 34:1 Jeremiah 48:1.

Their names being changed; either because conquerors of places use to do so; or because the names of other gods (which Nebo and Baal-meon unquestionably were) were not to be mentioned, Exodus 23:13, especially at the first settling of the Israelites there, that the very remembrance of the idols might be blotted out, and so the temptation to idolatry removed, though afterwards, when that danger was over, they were called by their old names again, Joshua 13:17,20. And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,).... For Nebo was the name of an idol, after which perhaps the city was called: Baalmeon signifies "Baal's habitation", and where it is highly probable was a temple of his; and the children of Reuben, not liking to retain such idolatrous names, gave them others, but what they were it is not said; and certain it is, that when these places came into the hands of the Moabites, their ancient names were restored to them, as appears from Isaiah 15:2.

and Shibmah; the same with Shebam, Numbers 32:3, and gave other names unto the cities which they built; but they are neither known, nor did they always continue, as has been observed.

And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they builded.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
38. their names being changed] The parenthesis is strange, for the change of names by the Manassites is related immediately afterwards. Some think that it is a marginal note to the reader that the names are to be changed and read otherwise than they are written in the text. The words refer to Nebo and Baal-meon. Both Nebo and Baal suggested pagan worship, and the latter was frequently altered, e.g. Ish-bosheth, Mephi-bosheth, El-yada, for Ish-baal, Merib-baal, Baal-yada.Verse 38. - Baalomeon. Called Been in verse 3, Beth-meon in Jeremiah 48:23, Beth-Baal-meon in Joshua 13:17. Their names being changed. מוּסַבֹּת שֵׁם, "with change of name," dependent on the verb "built." The Septuagint has περικεκυκλωμένας (Symmachus, περιτετευχισμένας), apparently reading שׁוּר for שֵׁם, but without authority. It is possible that the Been of verse 3 may be an instance of this attempt to change names, many of which were connected with idolatry. The attempt failed, but both the attempt itself and its failure were very characteristic of the partial and feeble hold which Israel had on this territory. Gave other names to the cities which they builded. Literally, "they called by names the names of the towns;" a round-about expression correctly paraphrased by the A.V. The Gadites and Reubenites repeated their promise once more (Numbers 32:25), and added still further (Numbers 32:32): "We will pass over armed before Jehovah into the land of Canaan, and let our inheritance be with us (i.e., remain to us) beyond the Jordan."
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