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Num 32:1 Now 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;
Ver. 1. A place for cattle. ] Fat, and fit for the purpose; like those pastures in Ireland, so fertile and abounding with sweet grass, that the people are forced to drive their cattle to some other more barren grounds, at some time of the day, lest they should over eat. See Mic 7:14 Jeremiah 50:19 .
Num 32:5 Wherefore, 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.
Ver. 5. Let this land be given unto thy servants. ] An unsavoury and unseasonable motion this might seem at first, and did, even to Moses himself, as appears in the next verse. And surely it is probable that they were too much set upon that portion of earth, as Lot was upon the plain of Sodom, Gen 13:10 and was therefore soon after carried captive by the four kings, as these in the text are noted to be the first that were carried captives out of their land. 1Ch 5:25-26 Strong affections cause strong afflictions; when God seeth people set upon it to have this or that, have it they may, but with an after-clap that shall dissweeten it. How was David crossed in his Absalom, Absalom in his kingdom, Amnon in his Tamar, Elkanah in his Hannah! 1Sa 1:5 He loved her, and the Lord made her barren.
Num 32:11 Surely 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:
Ver. 11. They have not. ] See Trapp on " Num 14:24 "
Num 32:14 And, 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.
Ver. 14. An increase of sinful men. ] A race of rebels; neither good egg nor bird; sin runs in a blood many times; ye seed of serpents, "ye generation of vipers, ye fill up the measure of your fathers’ sins" Mat 23:32 Domitius, the father of Nero, foretold the wickedness of his son; for it cannot be, said he, that of me and my wife, Agrippina, any good man should be born. a When one complained that never father had so undutiful a child, Yes, said his son, with less grace than truth, my grandfather had.
a Dio, in Vita Neron.
Num 32:16 And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
Ver. 16. We will build sheep folds. ] This was their intent at first, though Moses mistook them. There may be gross mistakes, and thereupon grievous unkindnesses, betwixt dearest friends. Cyril, and John, bishop of Antioch, objected heresy one to another, and proceeded as far as excommunication; postea comperti idem sentire: so did Cyril and Theodoret.
Num 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
Ver. 23. Be sure your sin will find you out. ] The guilt will haunt you at heels, as a bloodhound, and the punishment will overtake you, as it did that Popish priest in Lancashire, who being followed by one that found his glove, with a desire to restore it him, but pursued inwardly with a guilty conscience, leapt over a hedge, plunged into a mirey pit behind it, unseen and unthought of, wherein he was drowned. Or as it did that other priest, who, having escaped the fall of Blackfriars, A.D. 1623, where two of his fellow shavelings, a with about a hundred more, perished, and taking water, with purpose to sail into Flanders, was cast away, with some others, under London Bridge, the boat being overturned. b
a A contemptuous epithet for a tonsured ecclesiastic.
b Jac. Rev., De Vit. Pontific., 312.
Num 32:38 And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they builded.
Ver. 38. Their names being changed. ] Out of detestation of those idols, Baal, Nebo, &c. see Exo 23:13 Psa 16:4 Isa 46:1 Absit ut de ore Christiano sonet Iupiter omnipotens, et Mehercule, et Mecastor, et caetera, magis portenta quam nuraina, saith Jerome. Heathenish gods should not be so far honoured as to be heard of out of Christian mouths, nor Popish idols neither. I myself, saith Latimer, a have used in mine earnest matters, to say, Yea, by the rood, by the mass, by St Mary, which indeed is naught. Some simple folk say, they may swear by the mass, because there is no such thing; and by our lady, because she is gone out of the country.
a Sermon in Third Sunday in Advent.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 32". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/