And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spoke Joshua, saying,…
There was no going back from their word, even though they might have found a loophole of escape. They might have said that as the conquest of Sihon and Og had been accomplished so easily, so the conquest of the western tribes would be equally simple. Or they might have said that the nine tribes and a half could furnish quite a large enough army to dispossess the Canaanites. Or they might have discovered that their wives and children were exposed to dangers they had not apprehended, and that it would be necessary for the entire body of the men to remain and protect them. But they fell back on no such afterthought. They kept their word at no small cost of toil and danger, and furnished thereby a perpetual lesson for those who, having made a promise under pressure, are tempted to retire from it when the pressure is removed. Fidelity to engagements is a noble quality, just as laxity in regard to them is a miserable sin. Even pagan Rome could boast of a Regulus who kept his oath by returning to Carthage, though it was to encounter a miserable death. In Psalm 15. it is a feature in the portrait of the man who is to abide in God's tabernacle and dwell in His holy hill, that he "sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not."
(W. G. Blaikie, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,