Bamidbar 32 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

The tribes of Reuben and Gad and one-half tribe of Manasseh seek permission to settle east of the Jordan River. Moses is deeply concerned at their request believing that it is

divisive of the unity of the nation. Up until now they have travelled and fought together, and he does not want that unity to cease.

He advances several warnings from past history, and exhorts them to preserve the national unity. He is reassured by the representatives of the tribes that their warriors will move over the Jordan with those of the other tribes to jointly do battle for the Promised Land. On that basis he agrees to the request.

The half-tribe of Manasseh join with the other two as King for an inheritance east of the Jordan and that also is agreed to. The other tribes are notified of the decision, after which the conquered territory on the east of the Jordan is allocated to the tribes concerned. *

1 Now the children of Reuben [Bnei Reuven] and the children of Gad [Bnei Gad] had a very great multitude of cattle [ mikneh]: and when they saw the land [Eretz] of Jazer, and the land of Gilead [Eretz Gil`ad], that, behold, the place was a place for cattle [makom for mikneh]; 

A multitude of cattle...livestock from Egypt, expert farming and in addition the spoils of war

Reuben and Gad were closely associated together on the southern side of the Tabernacle...observing that the land on the East is outstanding cattle-grazing country in which they specialise, make request to Moses that they be permitted to settle in there.

...Gilead is noted for its pleasant, rolling countryside, the glorious elevation of its plateaus, and its fertile terrain.

... Yahweh had designed the deep declivity of the Jordan Valley as a barrier of separation for thetribes. Later, Gilead became a constant battle-ground. *

2 The children [Bnei] of Gad and the children of Reuben [Bnei Reuven] came and spake unto Moses [Moshe], and to Eleazar the priest [Eleazar HaKohen], and unto the princes of the congregation [nasiim of the Edah], saying,

Gad seems to have taken the initiative in this action, for that tribe is mentioned first *

3 Ataroth, and Dibon [Divon], and Jazer [Yazer], and Nimrah, and Heshbon [Chesbon], and Elealeh, and Shebam [Sevam], and Nebo [Nevo], and Beon,

"Ataroth" - Though it is here assigned to Gad (v. 34 it was later given to Reuben (Josh. 13:17). Later still it was recovered by Moab, and became a Moabilish stronghold (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 48:18,22).

"Heshbon" - Here it is assigned to Reuben (v. 37), but in Josh. 21:39; 1Chron. 6:81 it is assigned to Gad. Perhaps the temporary settlements of the two tribes were mixed. Later it fell into the hands of Moab, together with Elealeh, Kiriathaim, Nebo, Baal-meon and Sibmah (Isa. 15:4; 16:8; Jer. 48:2,34).

Heshbon was an important city dominating a strategic portion of the land. It was the capital of Sihon (Num. 21:25-26; Deut. 1:4; 2:24-30; 3:2,6; 4:46; Josh. 9:10), who is described as the King of Heshbon.

It was noted for its beauty (Song 7:4), and was appointed a Levitical city (Josh. 21:39). However, with the decline of Israel, it was taken by the Moabites (Isa. 15:4; 16:8-9; Jer. 48:2,34,45; 49:3).

"Elealeh" - This name signifies El has ascended. It was situated about a mile from Heshbon, at the present town of El-Al. It was later taken by the Moabites (Isa. 15:4; 17:9; Jer. 48:34).

"Shebam" - This town was assigned to Reuben (v. 38), although it does not occur

in the catalogue of the towns of Reuben in the Book of Joshua (13:15-22), which may

be because the Israelites gave it another name. Although rebuilt (and perhaps renamed)

by the Reubenites (w. 37-38; 33:47; 1 Chron. 5:8), it ultimately reverted to Moab as is stated on the Moabite Stone. Its site was on, or near Mt. Nebo, where Moses died.

"Beon" - In v. 38 this is styled Baal-meon or Lord of Habitation, whereas Beon signifies In the dwelling. Beon was rebuilt and renamed by the Reubenites (v. 38). It is identified with

Ma'in, 9 miles east of the top of the Dead Sea.*

*The Christadelphian Expositor