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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 32

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Request of Gad and Reuben. 1Now the Reubenites and Gadites had a very large number of livestock. Noticing that the land of Jazer and of Gilead* was grazing country, 2they came to Moses and the priest Eleazar and to the princes of the community and said, 3 * “The region of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Baal‐meon, 4which the LORD has laid low before the community of Israel, is grazing country. Now, since your servants have livestock,” 5they continued, “if we find favor with you, let this land be given to your servants as their property. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”

Moses’ Rebuke. 6But Moses answered the Gadites and Reubenites: “Are your kinsmen, then, to engage in war, while you remain here? 7Why do you wish to discourage the Israelites from crossing to the land the LORD has given them? 8That is just what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh‐barnea to reconnoiter the land. h 8f: Nm 13, 31ff; Dt 1, 22 . 9They went up to the Wadi Eshcol and reconnoitered the land, then so discouraged the Israelites that they would not enter the land the LORD had given them. 10 i 10f: Dt 1, 34f . At that time the wrath of the LORD flared up, and he swore, 11‘Because they have not followed me unreservedly, none of these men of twenty years or more who have come up from Egypt shall ever see this country I promised under oath to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, 12 j Nm 14, 24; Dt 1, 36 . except the Kenizzite* Caleb, son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, son of Nun, who have followed the LORD unreservedly.’ 13So in his anger with the Israelites the LORD made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD had died out. 14And now here you are, a brood of sinners, rising up in your fathers’ place to add still more to the LORD’s blazing wrath against the Israelites. 15If you turn away from following him, he will make them stay still longer in the desert, and so you will bring about the ruin of this whole nation.”

Counter Proposal. 16But they were insistent with him: “We wish only to build sheepfolds here for our flocks, and towns for our families; 17but we ourselves will march as troops in the van of the Israelites, k Jos 4, 12f . until we have led them to their destination. Meanwhile our families can remain here in the fortified towns, safe from attack by the natives. 18We will not return to our homes until every one of the Israelites has taken possession of his heritage, 19 l Jos 13, 8 . and will not claim any heritage with them once we cross the Jordan, so long as we receive a heritage for ourselves on this eastern side of the Jordan.”

Agreement Reached. 20 * Moses said to them in reply: “If you keep your word to march as troops in the LORD's vanguard 21and to cross the Jordan in full force before the LORD until he has driven his enemies out of his way 22and the land is subdued before him, then you may return here, quit of every obligation to the LORD and to Israel, and this region shall be your possession before the LORD. m Jos 1, 15 . 23But if you do not do this, you will sin against the LORD, and you can be sure that you will not escape the consequences of your sin. 24Build the towns, then, for your families, and the folds for your flocks, but also fulfill your express promise.”

25The Gadites and Reubenites answered Moses, “Your servants will do as you command, my lord. 26 n Jos 1, 14 . While our wives and children, our herds and other livestock remain in the towns of Gilead, 27all your servants will go across as armed troops to battle before the LORD, just as your lordship says.”

28Moses, therefore, gave this order in their regard to the priest Eleazar, to Joshua, son of Nun, and to the heads of the ancestral tribes of the Israelites: 29“If all the Gadites and Reubenites cross the Jordan with you as combat troops before the LORD, you shall give them Gilead as their property when the land has been subdued before you. 30But if they will not go across with you as combat troops before the LORD, you shall bring their wives and children and livestock across before you into Canaan, and they shall have their property with you in the land of Canaan.”

31To this the Gadites and Reubenites replied, “We will do what the LORD has commanded us, your servants. 32We ourselves will go across into the land of Canaan as troops before the LORD, but we will retain our hereditary property on this side of the Jordan.” 33So Moses gave them [*the Gadites and Reubenites, as well as half the tribe of Manasseh, son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og, king of Bashan,] the land with its towns and the districts that surrounded them. o Dt 3, 12; 29, 7; Jos 12, 6; 13, 8 .

34The Gadites rebuilt the fortified towns of Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35Atroth‐shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36Beth‐nimrah and Beth‐haran, and they built sheepfolds. 37The Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38Nebo, Baal‐meon [names to be changed!],* and Sibmah. These towns, which they rebuilt, they called by their old names.

Other Conquests. 39The descendants of Machir, son of Manasseh, invaded Gilead and captured it, driving out the Amorites who were there. 40[Moses gave Gilead to Machir, p Dt 3, 15 . son of Manasseh, and he settled there.] 41Jair, q Dt 3, 14 . a Manassehite clan, campaigned against the tent villages, captured them and called them Havvoth‐jair. 42Nobah also campaigned against Kenath, captured it with its dependencies and called it Nobah after his own name.


h: 8f: Nm 13, 31ff; Dt 1, 22 .

i: 10f: Dt 1, 34f .

j: Nm 14, 24; Dt 1, 36 .

k: Jos 4, 12f .

l: Jos 13, 8 .

m: Jos 1, 15 .

n: Jos 1, 14 .

o: Dt 3, 12; 29, 7; Jos 12, 6; 13, 8 .

p: Dt 3, 15 .

q: Dt 3, 14 .

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