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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 32

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



The Reubenites and Gadites sue for their inheritance on that side Jordan, as being fit for cattle, Numbers 32:1-5.

Moses reproves them as discouraging the people, and herein following their fathers’ ill example, Numbers 32:6-15.

They promise to leave their children and cattle there, and go armed before their brethren till Canaan should be subdued, Numbers 32:16-19; on which condition they, together with the half-tribe of Manasseh, obtain their desire, Numbers 32:20-42.

Verse 1

Jazer; a city and country taken from the Amorites, Numbers 21:32. Gilead; a mountainous country, famous for pasturage, Jeremiah 1:19; Micah 7:14.

Verse 3

Ataroth; different from that Ataroth, Joshua 16:2,Joshua 16:7, which was on the other side of Jordan.

Nimrah, called Beth-nimrah, Numbers 22:36; Joshua 13:27; and the waters of Nimrim, Isaiah 15:6. Shebam, called Shibmah, Numbers 32:38.

Beon which is thought to be the same place called Baal-meon, Numbers 32:38, and Beth-meon, Jeremiah 48:23.

Verse 4

Which the Lord smote before the congregation, and gave to them for a possession, in the same manner as he will give the land of Canaan.

Verse 5

To wit, to give us our possession there, but let this land on this side Jordan be our whole possession.

Verse 6

In case and peace, whilst your brethren are engaged in a bloody war. Their words were ambiguous, and Moses thought this to be an act of unbelief and sloth and self-love and policy.

Verse 9

That they should not attempt to go, but rather return to Egypt. Numbers 14:4

Verse 12

The Kenezite; so called from Kenaz, his grandfather, or one of his eminent ancestors, Joshua 15:17; 1 Chronicles 4:13-15.

Verse 14

Succeeding your fathers, as in their places and estates, so also in their sins.

Verse 15

Who being moved by your counsel and example, will refuse to go over Jordan, and to possess the land of Canaan.

Verse 17

We ourselves; either all, or as many of us as shall be thought necessary, leaving only so many as may be necessary to provide for the sustenance and defence of our wives and children here. See Joshua 4:12,Joshua 4:13.

The inhabitants of the land; the Moabites and Edomites, or other bordering people.

Verse 20

Before the Lord; either,

1. Sincerely and heartily, as in God’s presence. Or rather,

2. Before the ark, which was the token of God’s presence. He alludes either to the order of the tribes in their march, whereby Reuben and Gad marched next and immediately before the ark, as appears from Numbers 2:10,Numbers 2:14,Numbers 2:16,Numbers 2:17; or to the manner of their passage over Jordan, wherein the ark went first into Jordan, and stood there whilst all the tribes marched over Jordan by and before it, Joshua 3:0; Joshua 5:0, and these amongst the rest, as is expressly noted in these very words, that they passed over before the Lord, Joshua 4:13.

Verse 22

Before the Lord, i.e. by his presence, and gracious and powerful assistance.

Verse 23

i.e. The punishment of your sin; as that word is very oft used.

Verse 24

Which you have uttered and promised to do. See this or the like phrase Numbers 20:2; Matthew 15:8.

Verse 26

Largely so called, as that word is oft used, for that whole country beyond Jordan, as in other places it is taken more strictly for a part of it, as here below, Numbers 32:39,Numbers 32:40, and elsewhere.

Verse 30

They shall forfeit and lose their possessions in Gilead, and shall be constrained to go over Jordan, and to seek possessions there among their brethren.

Verse 31

As the Lord hath said; either at this time by thy mouth; or formerly, where he commandeth us as well as our brethren to go into Canaan and possess it.

Verse 33

Half the tribe of Manasseh are here added to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, either because upon the good success of the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, they were encouraged to make the same request for themselves, as having much cattle as well as they; or because upon further consideration it was found that this portion of land was more than sufficient for those two tribes; and it was given by Moses to these rather than to any other, because they fought against the Amorites with great courage and success, here Numbers 32:39; Joshua 17:1.

Verse 34

i.e. Repaired and fortified, as that word is oft used, as 1 Kings 12:25; 2 Kings 14:22; 2 Chronicles 8:1; 2 Chronicles 11:5; 2 Chronicles 26:2; Daniel 4:30; for they neither had need nor leisure as yet to do more, the old cities not being burnt and ruined, as divers in Canaan were.

Verse 38

Nebo; of which city see Deuteronomy 34:1; Jeremiah 48:1.

Their names being changed; either because conquerors of places use to do so; or because the names of other gods (which Nebo and Baal-meon unquestionably were) were not to be mentioned, Exodus 23:13, especially at the first settling of the Israelites there, that the very remembrance of the idols might be blotted out, and so the temptation to idolatry removed, though afterwards, when that danger was over, they were called by their old names again, Joshua 13:17,Joshua 13:20.

Verse 39

Took it, i.e. part of it; or Gilead is here taken more strictly. See Poole on "Numbers 32:29"; Genesis 31:21; Deuteronomy 3:12,Deuteronomy 3:13.

Verse 40

Unto Machir, i.e. not to Machir himself, who doubtless was long since dead; see Genesis 1:23; but the family or posterity of Machir, which are called by their father’s name; as the names of Abraham, Acts 7:16; of Isaac, Amos 7:9; of Jacob or Israel frequently; of Judah and Simeon, Judges 1:3; of David, 1 Kings 12:16; are manifestly put for their posterity.

Verse 41

Jair is called here

the son of Manasseh, partly because he was so by his mother, 1 Chronicles 2:21,1 Chronicles 2:22; and partly because he joined himself with the Manassites in this expedition, and settled himself among them.

Verse 42

Nobah, who though not elsewhere named, was doubtless an eminent person of the tribe of Manasseh.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 32". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/numbers-32.html. 1685.
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