Dave Burnette's Commentary

Numbers Chapter 32

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: A Record of A New Generation (c 27-36)
Theme: A Second Approach to the Promised Land (c 22-36)
Message: Two and 1/2 Tribes Receive their Land (v 1-42)

Numbers 32 Commentary

(32:1-10) Moses Jumps to a Wrong Conclusion - Three tribes (Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) wanted to live east of the Jordan River (sometimes referred to as the Transjordan area) on land they had already conquered. Moses immediately assumed they had selfish motives and were trying to avoid helping the others fight for the land across the river. But Moses jumped to the wrong conclusion. In dealing with people, we must find out all the facts before making up our minds. We shouldn't automatically assume that their motives are wrong, even if their plans sound suspicious.

(32:12) God's Blessings - Caleb and Joshua followed God wholeheartedly, and they were richly rewarded for it. The key to a enjoying a fulfilling Christian life here on earth and to be rewarded more abundently in Heaven is trusting and following God with all your heart, not just half of it (see Proverbs 3:5).

(32:16-19) The Tribes Work in Unity - The land on the east side of the Jordan had been conquered. The hard work had been done by all the tribes together. But the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh did not stop after their land was cleared. They promised to keep working with the others until everyone's land was conquered. After others have helped you, do you make excuses to escape helping them? Finish the whole job, even those parts that may not benefit you directly.

(32:16) The Sheepfold -  A simple sheepfold had four roughly built stone walls, high enough to keep wild animals out. Sometimes the tops of the walls were lined with thorns to further discourage predators and thieves. The sheepfold's single entrance made it easier for a shepherd to guard his flock. Often several shepherds used a single fold and took turns guarding the entrance. Mingling the animals was no problem since each flock responded readily to their own shepherd's voice. The three tribes who chose to remain east of the Jordan River wanted to build sheepfolds to protect their flocks and cities to protect their families before the men crossed the river to help the rest of the tribes conquer the Promised Land.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Drive Out the Enemies

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of Numbers with Chapter 32 and in today's text we see two and a half tribes receiving their land and we see the principle of not just separating but driving out the sinful ones that have come into the promise land. In making application we see the need to also, not just separate, but to drive out those things of sin that will try to possess the land. The enemy will try to put things in your life to create strongholds with the goal of weakening us and our influence with our lives. When we recognize these things, we too must take a stand and drive them out. We can not afford to be politically correct. When it comes to our lives we must do as Israel was instructed and drive out the enemies of our Lord. How about you? Do you recognize the enemies in you life that weaken your testimony before the Lord? Let us learn from today's text and drive out the enemies of God that attempt to gain strongholds and destroy our lives. 


Numbers 32

Numbers 32

 1Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle;

 2The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying,

 3Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon,

 4Even the country which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle:

 5Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.

 6And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?

 7And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?

 8Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land.

 9For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the LORD had given them.

 10And the LORD'S anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying,

 11Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:

 12Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.

 13And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.

 14And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel.

 15For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people.

 16And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:

 17But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land.

 18We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.

 19For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward.

 20And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war,

 21And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him,

 22And 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 before the LORD.

 23But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

 24Build you cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which hath proceeded out of your mouth.

 25And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spake unto Moses, saying, Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth.

 26Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our cattle, shall be there in the cities of Gilead:

 27But thy servants will pass over, every man armed for war, before the Lord to battle, as my lord saith.

 28So concerning them Moses commanded Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel:

 29And Moses said unto them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over Jordan, every man armed to battle, before the LORD, and the land shall be subdued before you; then ye shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession:

 30But if they will not pass over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.

 31And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As the LORD hath said unto thy servants, so will we do.

 32We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be our's.

 33And 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 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.

 34And the children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer,

 35And Atroth, Shophan, and Jaazer, and Jogbehah,

 36And Bethnimrah, and Bethharan, fenced cities: and folds for sheep.

 37And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kirjathaim,

 38And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they builded.

 39And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorite which was in it.

 40And Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt therein.

 41And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns thereof, and called them Havothjair.

 42And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name.