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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Numbers 32

 

 

Verses 1-27

Numbers 32:1-27. A Request by Reuben and Gad for Permission to Settle on the E. of Jordan.—The character of the high moorland S. of the Jabbok still bears out the description of it as suitable for pasturage (Numbers 32:1; Numbers 32:4); and a traveller declares, "We should never have believed the amount of (the) flocks, had we not seen and attempted to count them." The pastoral associations of Reuben are alluded to in Judges 5:16.

Numbers 32:1. Gilead: the term here denotes the country S. of the Jabbok, for the towns enumerated in Numbers 32:3 are all thus situated.

Numbers 32:17. ready armed to go: read, "equipped in array."


Verses 28-33

Numbers 32:28-33. The Request Granted conditionally on their Taking Part in the Conquest of W. Canaan.—The assistance rendered by Gad in the conquest of W. Canaan (see Joshua 1:12-18) seems to be referred to in Deuteronomy 33:21. The statement that besides Reuben and Gad the half tribe of Manasseh received from Moses a piece of territory E. of the Jordan (Numbers 32:33) appears to be an anachronism, for Numbers 32:39 implies that the establishment of Manasseh in E. Canaan was effected by settlers who went thither after the conquest of W. Canaan had been accomplished.


Verses 34-38

Numbers 32:34-38. A List of Towns built (or rebuilt) by Gad and Reuben.—The towns here assigned to Reuben form a group within the territory of Gad, for the most northerly and the most southerly of the places named are Gadite: contrast Joshua 13:15-33. The rebuilding of the towns must be regarded as effected after the two tribes returned from the conquest of W. Canaan.

Numbers 32:34. Dibon: the modern Dhîban.—Ataroth: Attarûs, 9 miles NW. of Dibon.—Aroer: probably the place of that name on the Arnon (Joshua 13:16).

Numbers 32:35. Atroth Shaphan: unknown.—Jogbehah: the modern Ajbehât.

Numbers 32:36. Beth-nimrah: the Nimrah of Numbers 32:3 and the modern Nimrin, 13 miles E. of the Jordan and 9 miles from the Dead Sea. Beth-haran: the modern Beit-harran.

Numbers 32:37. Heshbon: (Numbers 21:25*) modern Hesbn. Elealeh: modern El Al, 2 miles NE. of Heshbon. Kiriathaim: modern Kereiyah, some distance S. of Heshbon.

Numbers 32:38. Nebo: near Mt. Nebo, 5 miles SW. of Heshbon. Baal-meon: the Beon of Numbers 32:3, and the modern Main, 5 miles S. of Nebo. The parenthesis should be rendered, "these names are to be changed," a direction to the reader to substitute some other names for the last two, which contain the hated appellations of heathen gods (Nebo and Baal). The repugnance to the name of Baal similarly led to the change of the personal names Eshbaal to Ishbosheth, and Meribbaal to Mephibosheth (1 Samuel 14:47-51*, 1 Kings 16:32*). The writer of the parenthesis was seemingly not aware that the tribe of Gad itself bore the name of a heathen deity (Isaiah 65:11 mg.).—Sibmah: the Sebam of 3: its site is unknown.


Verses 39-42

Numbers 32:39-42. The Settlement of certain Manassites in Gilead.—This is a fragment relating to a period later than the Mosaic age. Machir was a Manassite clan, and Jair and Nobah (Numbers 32:41 f.) were probably subdivisions of Machir. Manasseh and Ephraim were at first established together on the W. of Jordan by Joshua (Joshua 17:14 f.), and any Manassite occupation of Gilead was probably subsequent to his time.

Numbers 32:39. Gilead: the name, here and in Numbers 32:40, is applied to the country between the Jabbok and the Jarmuk.

Numbers 32:40. This verse (which contains an anachronism) is an interpolation, for in Numbers 32:41 the towns (better "tent-villages") thereof are the habitations of the Amorites mentioned in Numbers 32:39, the connexion between these verses being broken by Numbers 32:40.

Numbers 32:41. Jair the son of Manasseh: i.e. the descendant of Manasseh, and, according to Judges 10:3 f., a judge who lived much later than Moses.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Numbers 32:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/numbers-32.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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