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Numbers 32 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Land East of the Jordan River Is Settled

32 The tribes of Reuben and Gad owned a lot of cattle and sheep, and they saw that the regions of Jazer and Gilead had good pastureland. So they went to Moses, Eleazar, and the other leaders of Israel and said, 3-4 “The Lord has helped us capture the land around the towns of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon. That’s good pastureland, and since we own cattle and sheep, would you let us stay here east of the Jordan River and have this land as our own?”

Moses answered:

You mean you’d stay here while the rest of the Israelites go into battle? If you did that, it would discourage the others from crossing over into the land the Lord promised them. This is exactly what happened when I sent your ancestors from Kadesh-Barnea to explore the land. They went as far as Eshcol Valley, then returned and told the people that we should not enter it. 10 The Lord became very angry. 11 And he said that no one who was twenty years or older when they left Egypt would enter the land he had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Not one of those people believed in the Lord’s power, 12 except Caleb and Joshua.[a] They remained faithful to the Lord, 13 but he was so angry with the others that he forced them to wander around in the desert forty years. By that time everyone who had sinned against him had died.

14 Now you people of Reuben and Gad are doing the same thing and making the Lord even angrier. 15 If you reject the Lord, he will once again abandon his people and leave them here in the desert. And you will be to blame!

16 The men from Reuben and Gad replied:

Let us build places to keep our sheep and goats, and towns for our wives and children, 17 where they can stay and be safe. Then we’ll prepare to fight and lead the other tribes into battle. 18 We will stay with them until they have settled in their own tribal lands. 19 The land on this side of the Jordan River will be ours, so we won’t expect to receive any on the other side.

20 Moses said:

You promised that you would be ready to fight for the Lord. 21 You also agreed to cross the Jordan and stay with the rest of the Israelites, until the Lord forces our enemies out of the land. If you do these things, 22 then after the Lord helps Israel capture the land, you can return to your own land. You will no longer have to stay with the others. 23 But if you don’t keep your promise, you will sin against the Lord and be punished.

24 Go ahead and build towns for your wives and children, and places for your sheep and goats. Just be sure to do what you have promised.

25 The men from Reuben and Gad answered:

Sir, we will do just what you have said. 26 Our wives and children and sheep and cattle will stay here in the towns in Gilead. 27 But those of us who are prepared for battle will cross the Jordan and fight for the Lord.

28 Then Moses said to Eleazar, Joshua, and the family leaders, 29 “Make sure that the tribes of Gad and Reuben prepare for battle and cross the Jordan River with you. If they do, then after the land is in your control, give them the region of Gilead as their tribal land. 30 But if they break their promise, they will receive land on the other side of the Jordan, like the rest of the tribes.”

31 The tribes of Gad and Reuben replied, “We are your servants and will do whatever the Lord has commanded. 32 We will cross the Jordan River, ready to fight for the Lord in Canaan. But the land we will inherit as our own will be on this side of the river.”

33 So Moses gave the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh[b] the territory and towns that King Sihon the Amorite had ruled, as well as the territory and towns that King Og of Bashan had ruled.[c]

34 The tribe of Gad rebuilt the towns of Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35 Atroth-Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth-Nimrah, and Beth-Haran. They built walls around them and also built places to keep their sheep and goats.

37 The tribe of Reuben rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38 Sibmah, as well as the towns that used to be known as Nebo and Baal-Meon. They renamed all those places.

39 The clan of Machir from the tribe of East Manasseh went to the region of Gilead, captured its towns, and forced out the Amorites. 40 So Moses gave the Machirites the region of Gilead, and they settled there.

41 Jair from the Manasseh tribe captured villages and renamed them “Villages of Jair.”[d]

42 Nobah captured the town of Kenath with its villages and renamed it Nobah.

Footnotes:

  1. 32.12 Caleb and Joshua: See the note at 14:30.
  2. 32.33 half of Manasseh: Or “East Manasseh.”
  3. 32.33 ruled: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 33.
  4. 32.41 Villages of Jair: Or “Havvoth-Jair.”

Numbers 32 New International Version (NIV)

The Transjordan Tribes

32 The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon the land the Lord subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.

Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, “Should your fellow Israelites go to war while you sit here? Why do you discourage the Israelites from crossing over into the land the Lord has given them? This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land. After they went up to the Valley of Eshkol and viewed the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land the Lord had given them. 10 The Lord’s anger was aroused that day and he swore this oath: 11 ‘Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob 12 not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ 13 The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.

14 “And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the Lord even more angry with Israel. 15 If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the wilderness, and you will be the cause of their destruction.

16 Then they came up to him and said, “We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and children. 17 But we will arm ourselves for battle[a] and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our homes until each of the Israelites has received their inheritance. 19 We will not receive any inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan, because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan.”

20 Then Moses said to them, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves before the Lord for battle 21 and if all of you who are armed cross over the Jordan before the Lord until he has driven his enemies out before him 22 then when the land is subdued before the Lord, you may return and be free from your obligation to the Lord and to Israel. And this land will be your possession before the Lord.

23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. 24 Build cities for your women and children, and pens for your flocks, but do what you have promised.

25 The Gadites and Reubenites said to Moses, “We your servants will do as our lord commands. 26 Our children and wives, our flocks and herds will remain here in the cities of Gilead. 27 But your servants, every man who is armed for battle, will cross over to fight before the Lord, just as our lord says.”

28 Then Moses gave orders about them to Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and to the family heads of the Israelite tribes. 29 He said to them, “If the Gadites and Reubenites, every man armed for battle, cross over the Jordan with you before the Lord, then when the land is subdued before you, you must give them the land of Gilead as their possession. 30 But if they do not cross over with you armed, they must accept their possession with you in Canaan.

31 The Gadites and Reubenites answered, “Your servants will do what the Lord has said. 32 We will cross over before the Lord into Canaan armed, but the property we inherit will be on this side of the Jordan.

33 Then Moses gave to the Gadites, the Reubenites and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan—the whole land with its cities and the territory around them.

34 The Gadites built up Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35 Atroth Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth Nimrah and Beth Haran as fortified cities, and built pens for their flocks. 37 And the Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh and Kiriathaim, 38 as well as Nebo and Baal Meon (these names were changed) and Sibmah. They gave names to the cities they rebuilt.

39 The descendants of Makir son of Manasseh went to Gilead, captured it and drove out the Amorites who were there. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to the Makirites, the descendants of Manasseh, and they settled there. 41 Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, captured their settlements and called them Havvoth Jair.[b] 42 And Nobah captured Kenath and its surrounding settlements and called it Nobah after himself.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 32:17 Septuagint; Hebrew will be quick to arm ourselves
  2. Numbers 32:41 Or them the settlements of Jair
New International Version (NIV)

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