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Numbers Chapter 32 | Parsha: Mattot

1The Reubenites and the Gadites owned cattle in very great numbers. Noting that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were a region suitable for cattle, 2the Gadites and the Reubenites came to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the chieftains of the community, and said, 3“Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon— 4the land that the Lord has conquered for the community of Israel is cattle country, and your servants have cattle. 5It would be a favor to us,” they continued, “if this land were given to your servants as a holding; do not move us across the Jordan.”

6Moses replied to the Gadites and the Reubenites, “Are your brothers to go to war while you stay here? 7Why will you turn the minds of the Israelites from crossing into the land that the Lord has given them? 8That is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to survey the land. 9After going up to the wadi Eshcol and surveying the land, they turned the minds of the Israelites from invading the land that the Lord had given them. 10Thereupon the Lord was incensed and He swore, 11‘None of the men from twenty years up who came out of Egypt shall see the land that I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for they did not remain loyal to Me— 12none except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they remained loyal to the Lord.’ 13The Lord was incensed at Israel, and for forty years He made them wander in the wilderness, until the whole generation that had provoked the Lord’s displeasure was gone. 14And now you, a breed of sinful men, have replaced your fathers, to add still further to the Lord’s wrath against Israel. 15If you turn away from Him and He abandons them once more in the wilderness, you will bring calamity upon all this people.”

16Then they stepped up to him and said, “We will build here sheepfolds for our flocks and towns for our children. 17And we will hasten as shock-troops in the van of the Israelites until we have established them in their home, while our children stay in the fortified towns because of the inhabitants of the land. 18We will not return to our homes until every one of the Israelites is in possession of his portion. 19But we will not have a share with them in the territory beyond the Jordan, for we have received our share on the east side of the Jordan.”

20Moses said to them, “If you do this, if you go to battle as shock-troops, at the instance of the Lord, 21and every shock-fighter among you crosses the Jordan, at the instance of the Lord, until He has dispossessed His enemies before Him, 22and the land has been subdued, at the instance of the Lord, and then you return—you shall be clear before the Lord and before Israel; and this land shall be your holding under the Lord. 23But if you do not do so, you will have sinned against the Lord; and know that your sin will overtake you. 24Build towns for your children and sheepfolds for your flocks, but do what you have promised.”

25The Gadites and the Reubenites answered Moses, “Your servants will do as my lord commands. 26Our children, our wives, our flocks, and all our other livestock will stay behind in the towns of Gilead; 27while your servants, all those recruited for war, cross over, at the instance of the Lord, to engage in battle—as my lord orders.”

28Then Moses gave instructions concerning them to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the family heads of the Israelite tribes. 29Moses said to them, “If every shock-fighter among the Gadites and the Reubenites crosses the Jordan with you to do battle, at the instance of the Lord, and the land is subdued before you, you shall give them the land of Gilead as a holding. 30But if they do not cross over with you as shock-troops, they shall receive holdings among you in the land of Canaan.”

31The Gadites and the Reubenites said in reply, “Whatever the Lord has spoken concerning your servants, that we will do. 32We ourselves will cross over as shock-troops, at the instance of the Lord, into the land of Canaan; and we shall keep our hereditary holding across the Jordan.”

33So Moses assigned to them—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 King Og of Bashan, the land with its various cities and the territories of their surrounding towns. 34The Gadites rebuilt Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35Atroth-shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran as fortified towns or as enclosures for flocks. 37The Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38Nebo, Baal-meon—some names being changed—and Sibmah; they gave [their own] names to towns that they rebuilt. 39The descendants of Machir son of Manasseh went to Gilead and captured it, dispossessing the Amorites who were there; 40so Moses gave Gilead to Machir son of Manasseh, and he settled there. 41Jair son of Manasseh went and captured their villages, which he renamed Havvoth-jair. 42And Nobah went and captured Kenath and its dependencies, renaming it Nobah after himself.

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